Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Menguante '08 - Old Vines Grenache

Here's another wonderful Spanish bargain that delivers more quality than it's price point might indicate. This nice little wine made from organically grown old vines Grenache hails from the lesser known DO Carinena, whose vineyards lie in stony soils at 400 to 800 meters in northeastern Spain. In Spain of course, Grenache is known as Garnacha. The family run winery that produces this food friendly quaffer is called Vinedos y Bodegas Pablo and is imported by Frontier Wine Imports. Though not as complex as the Guimaro Ribeira Sacra I wrote up last week, this $9.99 bargain gives forth plenty of enjoyment. Forthcoming aromas of baked cherry, blackberry and a bit of that Grenache pepper greet you, along with a little bit of alcohol heat. In the mouth it's nicely balanced, with dark berry flavors, a generous mid-palate and a lightly tannic finish. Carinena is a centuries old viticultural area that is the origin of Carignan, a grape most common in southern France. There, it is found chiefly in Corbieres and as a blending grape in more well known wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape. In Carinena though, it is known as Mazuelo. Cheers!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I've sold out!!...but not too much.

Yes - I've become an Amazon affiliate but the news isn't all bad. Yes, I've put an Amazon widget on the blog but I can pick the products displayed, so the widget will always display something I think is worthwhile. In this case, it's Kevin Zraly's great wine book for neophytes, Windows on the World Complete Wine Course. It's a great book that explains the European wine system, where wines are named most often for the places they come from and what grapes are grown in those places. It's absolutely a must have for those of you embarking on your wine journey. It's also interesting to note that, having just passed the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, Windows on the World was the name of the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center's north tower and Mr. Zraly was the wine director for 25 years or so. He is still active in wine education and his book was my introduction also. Oh yeah. Amazon does pay me a commission on sales, as long as you get there via this humble blog - and even if you buy a different product. Might I suggest a 50" TV? Cheers!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Guimaro '09 - Indigenous Grapes, Inimitable Terroir Spanish Style

On the whole, most Spanish wines deliver the goods for everyday drinking when it comes to unabashed fruitiness. But there aren't that many in the low cost category that deliver the kind of complexity that I search for. In 2009, Eric Asimov of the New York Times posted a feature on Rebeira Sacra, a little known area of Galacia in northwestern Spain. It's a fascinating article that documents the historical abandonment of vineyards on terraced land that goes back 2000 years and the recent rebirth of those same vineyards. These wines, made from grapes grown on incredibly steep, terraced hillsides, can really deliver flavors that showcase the slate and granite laden soils that they come from. Made primarily from Mencia and other indigenous grapes such as brancellao, mouratón and garnacha, the idea that wine can deliver a "sense of place" is evident in these wines. Which brings me to a great example of that idea for a mere $12.99. You're met right away with soil driven, mineral aromas that give way to blackberry and baked cherry. In the mouth, the Guimaro puts forth wonderful medium-bodied earthy, red fruit flavors and a long sweet finish. It's really balanced nicely and keeps you coming back for more. This is imported by one of my favorites, David Bowler. Don't miss it. Cheers.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Buccia Nera "Donna Patrizia" Toscana Bianco '09

I know what you're thinking..."what the heck is a Toscana Bianco?" Okay, it's from Tuscany, but wines like this have a very generic sound to them. We all like to know what grapes have gone into the wine we are drinking. Often the varietal(s) are listed in small print on the back label, but how many folks know that? When they don't see it on the front, they move on. But hey, since I've touted the portfolios of certain importers a lot, the readers of this blog should be checking out the back label anyway. Then, when you see that a wine like the Donna Patrizia is from a reputable importer like the Maximum Wine Co., you should not be afraid to check out a $9.99 value like this. And when you do, you will love this wine. This beauty is an indigenous 3 grape blend comprised of 40% Malvasia, 40% Trebbiano and 20% Grechetto. It features soaring, exotic aromas of pink grapefruit, white flowers and a nutty nuance. It's flavors and textures are bolder than you expect at this price point, and put forth citrus, pear and mineral flavors that keep on coming. It finishes long with bright, balancing acidity. It is produced with organically grown grapes and is fermented entirely in stainless steel. This should pair nicely with lighter fish dishes or a simple grilled chicken. The Donna Patrizia is the sister wine of Buccia Nera's wonderful Guarniente Chianti, which I wrote up in April. Cheers.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Colosi Nero d'Avola '09

Colosi is a producer whose wines I have been drinking for years. It's a name that is synonymous with quality year in and year out. Their '09 Nero d'Avola from Sicily is a case in point. This wine features beautiful cherry and violet aromas, bright, juicy red fruit flavors and a touch of minerality in the finish. It's fairly large in the mid-palate, quite smooth in texture and exhibits none of the baked fruit aromas and flavors that can sometimes accompany wines from hot climates. There's no over-ripeness here. And, at $11.99 it won't hurt your wallet. Nero d'Avola is the most important grape of Sicily and it comes in a range of styles. The style of this wine however is really easy to like. It's also a nice package. Imported by one of my favorites, Vias, their portfolio is one you should seek out. Cheers.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

No power, No Water....Get Out the Corkscew.

    I know it's been awhile since my last post but I was set back a bit by Hurricane Irene, which dumped about 7 inches of rain in our area. We were without power for a couple of days, a small number compared to folks just over the hill from me who still haven't had the lights turned back on. Our hearts go out to those folks in upstate New York and Vermont, areas hit especially hard. Wilmington, VT, a town we know intimately due to many years of skiing was destroyed. It's just too sad.
   We did get to enjoy some great wines by candlelight. One was a delicious Pinot Noir that is a private label project of Polaner Selections called Wyatt. It sports typical pinot aromas of bright cherry and cinnamon. In the mouth it has a very lush feel with bold cherry fruit, excellent concentration and good balancing acidity. It sells for around $15.99 and though I know it's a little expensive to be an everyday wine in these pages, it's a good one for Saturday night.

   Another delicious wine we tried was a fantastic and very affordable Vouvray from Domaine d'Orfeuilles. Good Vouvray has gotten so expensive so finding this $11.99 beauty made me very happy. Vouvray comes from the Loire Valley of France and is made from the Chenin Blanc grape. These wines are fantastic with seafood of all kinds, especially lobster, but they have the body to stand up to heavily sauced chicken dishes as well. This beauty features aromas of pear, lemon zest and a distinct stony element. Pear and mineral flavors are balanced by typical Vouvray acidity that keeps it fresh and lively feeling. These wines can easily age 10 or more years and develop more nuance along the way. I'm a big fan.