Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chateau d'Oupia Minervois 2009

  Minervois is one of those unheralded Southern French AOC's that very few people know about, or know what it is. It's located In the extreme south, right on the Mediterranean Sea and it is the source of some very good everyday wines. The Chateau d'Oupia Minervois, from importer Louis/Dressner, is a wonderful bargain year in and year out. It's dominated by the Carignan grape to the tune of 60% with the rest of the blend made up of 30% Syrah and 10% Grenache. With 2009 being a very warm and fruit forward vintage in the region, this version of Chateau d'Oupia is sure to please just about anybody looking for an excellent wallet friendly bottle. The nose is dominated by intense black pepper and dark berry aromas along with a touch of minerals. It's very forward and fruity in the mouth with bold berry flavors that never turn jammy. It finishes long and smooth with spicy notes. It's all estate grown and bottled and at $10.99, this beauty is one to seek out. Cheers.

Monday, February 13, 2012

San Felice Chianti Classico '07

   This Chianti from the Classico DOCG is a textbook example of what good everyday Chianti can be. It's also one of the reasons that I love Italian wines. Sangiovese is the grape of course, and this version gave me everything I love about Sangiovese from this part of the world. Complex aromas of smokey cherry, cinnamon and cloves give way to medium-bodied bitter cherry flavors with notes of licorice and leather. It's elegant and beautiful and even though I expected a touch more body from an '07, a generally warm and ripe vintage in Tuscany, there's a lot to like with this wine. Chianti has been made in various forms for centuries of course and some folks still think of it as a quaint little peasant quaff that usually comes in a bottle with that straw covering. Some misconceptions are hard to change but there really has been a quality revolution in this and many other parts of the wine world. Although now under corporate ownership, San Felice is a producer who has been around an awfully long time and their track record is quite solid. At $13.99 this is a Chianti bottling to seek out. Cheers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fattoria Selvanova Aglianico "Vignantica" '05

   I've always had a fondness for good Aglianico, the most important grape of Campania in southern Italy. There's always something wild and rustic about wines made from it, and those are characteristics that frequently bring complexity also. Aglianico is the main grape of Taurasi, whose wines have been dubbed by some "the Barolo of the south". In truth, that is a gross over-simplification as wines made from Aglianico and wines from Barolo (which are made with Nebbiolo) actually have little in common. What they do have in common is that they can be very long-lived and deliciously complex. In this case, we have an entry level Aglianico that cost a mere $12.99 and is an '05, which probably means that it isn't selling very fast at my local shop. That's a shame because this wine is still fabulous while most everyday wines that old are probably fading fast. What I love about this wine are the wild aromas of roasted plum, coffee, iron and a distinct forest floor earthiness. It's still got a good fruity mid-palate, excellent acidity and nary a trace of typical hot climate over-ripeness that can be sometimes found in these wines. The very modest 13.5% alcohol is proof of that. It finishes long with some dusty tannins and stony notes. Imported by David Vincent Selections, this is a portfolio I will definitely be on the lookout for. Cheers.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bodegas El Angosto "La Tribu" 2010

   Here's a very nice 3 grape blend from the Valencia region of Spain, where they have been making wine for more than a few centuries. Called "La Tribu", this blend consists of equal parts Monastrell (Mourvedre), Garnacha (Grenache) and Syrah. It's got attractive yet somewhat reticent aromas of blueberry, blackberry and a touch of smoke - probably from the 4 months of oak barrel aging this wine gets. In the mouth it's medium-bodied and very up front fruity with very nice balance and grace. It's never heavy handed and there's no alcoholic heat on the back end. It's not the most complex quaffer I've had but fans of the fruitier styles will find a lot to like here. It went perfectly with the artisanal  pizza from our hometown favorite, Nomad Pizza, and it set me back a mere $12.99. It's imported by one of my faves, Vintage Imports. Cheers.

....and while I have Nomad Pizza on the brain, those of you in the Philadelphia area should watch for the opening of the Philly restaurant on Feb. 10th. I can't rave enough about these individual pies, made in a very traditional Italian manner with mostly local and/or organic ingredients in a wood-fired oven that they had shipped here from Italy. They have a great draft beer list;
1. Allagash White
2. Anchor Liberty Ale
3. Brooklyn Lager
4. Dogfish Head 60 min IPA
5. Dominion Oak Barrel Stout
6. Long Trail Ale
7. Ommengang Hennepin
8. Rogue Dead Guy Ale
9. Stone IPA
10. Victory Prima Pils
11. Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale
12. Seasonal Tap

and a wine list put together by yours truly, featuring many of the values touted on this blog. Pictured here is the margherita pie with shitake mushrooms. Yum.