If you are anything like me you love a good bargain. That is exactly what I found recently when I was browsing the “Chairman’s Selection” offerings in my local P.L.C.B. store. El Esteco Don David Reserve Malbec Calchaqui Valley 2016 was on sale for $9.99. Quite the bargain when you consider it has received a 91 point rating from James Suckling (June 2017) and 90 points and a “Smart Buy” from Wine Spectator (February 2018) plus several medals at international competitions.
This medium-bodied 100% Malbec displays flavors of blackberry, black cherry and plum with an oak undertone, all in a well-structured wine. Surprisingly smooth tannins and a finish with a hint of chocolate rounds out this high altitude Argentinian Malbec.
Available at http://finewineandgoodspirits.com Product code 000078904 or in select stores. Check for store availability on website.
Wine Spectator has released a new app for iPhones and iPads, but wait it gets better because it is FREE. The app is named Xvalues and claims that the user will “Never buy bad wine again.” “Period.” Xvalues is the latest release from WS and is built on the simple idea that most people are looking for a good wine at a good price when shopping for wine. This app helps the shopper find a good wine at a value price. You can search four topics to find the bottle that best suits your tastes. The four search perimeters are 1) Top Values $12 dollars & under rated 85+ 2) Reds $20 & under rated 87+ 3) Whites $20 & under rated 87+ 4) Sparklers $40 & under rated 85+.
This app has the potential to be very helpful because it uses Wine Spectator’s rating system to pair the consumer with well-priced readily available wines. Ultimately, the final decision will be based on the buyers preferences but this will assist them in the process of narrowing the field of choices.
Go to http://apps.winespectator.com or search Xvalues in the Apple App store to get your free app.
Goulart “The Marshall” Malbec 2010
The 2010 vintage of Goulart’s “The Marshall” Malbec keeps this winery’s tradition of giving us a good Argentine Malbec at an exceptional price alive and well. This vintage will not disappoint the followers of “The Marshall” because it checks all the boxes that has made this wine a perennial favorite. If you are looking for a fruit forward wine with cherry and berry flavors this is not the wine for you. “The Marshall” has fruit but it is dark fruit that is integrated into the body of the wine. This classic Malbec has mid-range tannins contained in a firm structure that is carried from start to finish. The aroma is one of spice and there is oak to spare for those who prefer an exotic oak component in their Malbec. Malbec is a perfect pairing for grilled meat, especially beef, so if you are planning a cook out be sure to grab a couple of bottles of Goulart 2010 “The Marshall” Malbec to enjoy with your meal. This wine has been rated 88 points by Wine Spectator and 87 points by International Wine Cellar. P.L.C.B. stores are currently offering this wine as a “Chairman’s Selection” for $13.99 Product code 33356.
Gene Pierce & Steve DiFrancesco with “The Egg” Courtesy: G.W.
A little while ago I reblogged a post from Glenora Winery on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes that dealt with their newest acquisition, a concrete fermentation tank A.K.A. “The Egg”. I was curious how things were going with their venture into this rediscovered method of winemaking that has long been used in Europe but is now catching on here. One reason that it took so long for the idea to take hold here was that the only producers of these vessels were in Europe and it was cost prohibitive to ship. Now that there are manufacturers on this side of the pond the idea has more appeal to winemakers because of the more manageable prices making them comparable to oak. Wine Spectator published a short article on concrete fermenters in last months edition or visit my original reblog of January, 2014 “Great Egg-spectations” if you would like to read more about them. I would attempt to summarize what the winemakers at Glenora Winery told me but I wanted to be totally accurate on their experience so I am posting their response as follows verbatim “The project is still in progress, but we anticipate an early July release of the three Pinot Blancs. During fermentation, the wine began to take on personalities of their own. The micro-oxygenation that occurred using the egg and barrels helped to open up and develop flavors from both the fruit as well as the yeast interaction during fermentation. However, the concrete egg contributed no additional flavors to the wine the way the oak did. The stainless steel is very inert, contributing little to the wine. However, dead corners in the stainless steel tank slowed down aging and development of the fruit derived flavors.”
Thank You to the winemaking team at Glenora Winery for your help and I will continue to post updates about the “Egg Wine”.
Photo Courtsey: Paper Boy Winery
I read an interesting article in Wine Spectator about an alternative to iconic wine bottle. Truett-Hurst of Healdsburg, California in partnership with Greenbottle, a United Kingdom-based company, has developed and introduced a bottle made from recycled cardboard. The “Bottle” has a screw top and a plastic liner. The packaging can be recycled by breaking the shell open and separating the individual components. The paper bottle provides better insulation than glass and can withstand the cold water of an ice bucket for about one hour. The paper bottle is 85% lighter than glass which equates to lower shipping costs that in turn reduces the carbon footprint of the entire operation. I have included a link to a Wine Spectator video about the Paper Boy Winery and their innovative paper wine bottle. www.winespectator.com/video/paperbottle
Tom and Marti Macinski Photo Courtesy: Standing Stone Vineyards
I would like to congratulate the entire Standing Stone Winery family for being chosen to have their 2012 Riesling served at the 2014 Super Bowl Media Party. Standing Stone Winery was also mentioned by James Molesworth in Wine Spectator Magazine this month as a Finger Lakes winery that should be sought out for their excellent Riesling. Martha (Marti) Macinski has again provided me with a candid glimpse inside the winery from her unique perspective as both owner and winemaker.
The winery is relatively calm this time of year but some structural work is being done in the vineyards on the posts and wires so there will be no delay when the time comes to prune and tie the vines. Jess, the assistant winemaker, is planning the upcoming bottling runs along with monitoring the fermentation of the dessert wines. The pressing of the frozen grapes is close to completion with only a small amount left unfinished. Marti is excited about the 2013 vintage calling it “Truly spectacular with lovely ripe and rich flavors, near perfect fruit chemistry to make the winemaking work go smoothly.” Her only problem was figuring out where to put this very abundant crop. Assessment of the vines will be made next week when they will prune as needed to balance out any damage caused by the severe weather. She isn’t expecting to find much of an issue because when the temperature dropped below zero the wind blew hard off the unfrozen lake circulating the “warm” air around the vineyards buffering them from the extreme cold.
I would like to thank Marti for taking the time and effort to keep me informed of the activities at Standing Stone Winery. When you are in the Finger Lakes Region plan a stop at Standing Stone to taste their superb wines and say “Hello” to Marti. www.standingstonewines.com
Vina Equia Rioja 2008
The beat goes on from Bodegas Equía, in the village of Elcigo in the heart of Rioja Alavesa. Their Viña Equía Rioja 2008 is a good example of a well made Tempranillo at great sale price of $8.99 at P.L.C.B. stores. This Rioja has flavors of lush ripe red fruit and lightly toasted oak all contained in a rich medium-bodied wine that displays its’ silky tannins throughout the finish. Bodegas Equía produces this ruby-red colored Rioja by fermenting the Tempranillo grapes for 15 days in stainless steel vats while doing daily pumpovers to extract the greatest amount of color and flavor from the grapes. The wine then goes into stainless steel tanks for malolactic fermentation and then is racked twice before being aged 12 months in American oak. Wine Advocate rated this vintage at 91 points and Wine Spectator gave it an 87 rating, while not as highly rated as the 2007 vintage that I reviewed last April, this is an exceptional wine at a bargain price.
- Rioja Wine – Muga (nov14th.wordpress.com)
- Viña Berceo Crianza 2008 (canadianwineguy.com)
- Wines from Rioja (thedrinksbusiness.com)
- Wines in Spain (allinspainblog.wordpress.com)
While we were in California I tasted plenty of good Sauvignon Blanc and it reminded me that this wine was a favorite of mine for years but had been forgotten recently. I decided to remedy this oversight by doing some research to find not just a good
Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2010
Sauvignon Blanc but a very good one. The search led me back to Healdsburg, California with the discovery of Chalk Hill Estate 2010 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc. This offering was bestowed a 90 point rating by both Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate. My impressions of this wine were spicy, floral, lemons, herbaceous, bright, energetic, crisp with an interesting balance. It can be found in P.L.C.B. stores or online at their website with the product code 46248 for $29.99.
A glass of Malbec wine from Argentina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This wine is an excellent example of a well made Malbec, it displays good body along with both red and black fruit flavors at a reasonable price. A glass of this Malbec can be equally enjoyed and savored with food or alone. I will be taking the advice of Dave De Simone, author and restaurateur, who suggests using your emotional reaction to a wine to describe its character and unique personality. My descriptive feelings about Achaval-Ferrer Malbec 2011 would be agreeable, pleasing, appetizing, rich and vigorous. Wine Spectator gave it a rating of 92 points in 2012 and it is available in P.L.C.B. stores for $29.99 but can be found online for under $25. This is a solid Malbec and worth the price.
Vina Equia Rioja Reserva 2007
I believe that sitting around a table covered with tapas while surrounded by friends and enjoying a high quality Rioja is a memorable pleasure that everyone should get the chance to experience. When you find yourself in this situation I hope that your wine glass is filled with Viña Equía Rioja Reserva 2007. This Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain will not disappoint with its tight structure, great balance and smooth tannins framed by a noticeable acidity. The bright cherry red color of this Rioja leads you flawlessly into a complex palate of red fruits and spice followed by a long finish to be savored with classic tapas fare. This offering received a 92 point rating from both The Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator. I have found that it pairs surprisingly well with chocolate, but I have had several people highly recommend it as an excellent choice to serve with lamb. The real mystique of Rioja is that they are superb wines at a reasonable price, pair well with small plates and can set your imagination free to enjoy the simple pleasures around you or allow you to picture yourself in the green mountians of Basque country.