Photo Courtesy: A to Z WineWorks
With summer fast approaching I have decided to revisit a recommendation I made last year for my favorite summertime wine Rosé. This wine is a perfect fit for an idyllic afternoon spent sitting on a blanket spread out on a lush green lawn under a shade tree with a picnic basket full of artisan cheeses, fresh fruit and a loaf of hard-crusted bread. I like this Rosé because it is full of flavor and made to please with a slightly complex mid-palate that remains bright and juicy while filled with a virtual produce stand of red fruit flavors. A to Z Rosé first catches your eye with its beautiful magenta color then tickles your nose with the aromas of strawberries, red currants, raspberries, peach and watermelon while finally winding it all up with a crisp clean finish. There is no wine as closely associated with summer as Rosé, so when you pull out the shorts and sandals add in a bottle of Oregon-made A to Z Wineworks Rosé, you won’t be sorry you did!
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.
Vina Cobos Bramare Malbec La Consulta Rebon 2009
I usually do not buy a wine with this many words in its name especially when I can not pronounce most of them but I was intrigued by the back story and origins of this Malbec. The Malbec grape is not native to Argentina but was introduced into the region from its homeland of France about 150 years ago, the vines quickly found their new home a perfect match and the rest is history that is still being made today. This Malbec is more complex than the Appellation Malbec with its aroma of exotic spices and floral notes. Dark violet tones treat the eye as the muscular palate of plum, raspberry and black licorice fill your mouth letting you know that this is a seriously complex wine. The finish can only be described as complex and long with rich pliant tannins. The grapes are the key here and are sourced from the Marchiori Vineyard and other properties within Mendoza. The word complex comes up often when describing this Malbec because so many factors come into play during its production not the least being that it is aged 18 months in 100% new Taransaud French oak and then bottled unfined and unfiltered. Wine Advocate gave this 2009 vintage a 94 point rating and commented that it needed to unwind 2-3 years making its cellar life 2014-2024. I am sure it will age wonderfully but I don’t like to wait so I aerated it and it opened up nicely with plenty of aroma. The P.L.C.B. has this wine in limited availability and is most easily purchased through their website www.finewineandgoodspirits.com. The product code is 39329 and the price is more than the normal price of the wines I review at $54.99.
DaVinci Chianti Photo Courtesy DaVinci Wines
I like to try new wines but I also like wines that have a proven track record of high quality and consistency. DaVinci Chiantis are all in this category because they always provide dependable results at a fair price. DaVinci Chianti D.O.C.G. is the lowest priced offering from the DaVinci family of wines selling at the P.L.C.B. store for $10.99 (product code 9380) which is a $4 savings from the retail price. This Chianti is made from 90% Sangiovese grapes and 10% Merlot grapes with produce a medium weight wine with a deep crimson color. The grapes are crushed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and left to ferment to a dry wine for eight days, then 15% of the batch is aged for six months in new and used American oak barrels to add complexity. When recombined the resulting wine exhibits jammy flavors of ripe plums, cherries and red fruit along with round tannins that linger in a soft peppery and mineral finish. The traditional pairing of pasta and meat dishes work well here and remember to serve this wine at slightly below room temperature to enjoy its complete taste palate.
Assortment of wine . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Thanksgiving is only a week away and the menu is set but the wine list will remain fluid until the last-minute. White wines are the traditional choices because they pair wonderfully with Thanksgiving fare. A dry Chardonnay with a light oak aging is always a sure bet but a fruity unoaked offering might be a more interesting choice. Sauvignon Blanc is also a good pick with its lively acidity or if you want to spur some dinner table wine talk try a Gewürztraminer, White Burgundy or even a Viognier. If your guests like a little sweeter wine try a White Zinfandel to satisfy their tastes. Reds are hard to blend with the flavor palate of this holiday meal but if you must uncork a bottle of red I suggest trying a light bodied wine with fine tannins and the best choice for that is Pinot Noir. We will be pouring three New York white wines from the 3 Brothers Winery in the Finger Lakes Region, a 2010 1st Degree Medium Dry Riesling and a 2010 2nd Degree Medium Sweet Riesling along with a 2011 Stoney Lonesome Estates Grüner Veltliner. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you are looking for a wine that can be described as Bold, Plush, Opulent, Intense and Concentrated then you should look no further than Altus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2005. This Cab has potent dark fruit flavors like currant, blackberry and black cherry along with wild berry flavors. The tannins are velvety but the finish is firm with a creamy minerality. This wine is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 3% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. Wine Spectator bestowed a 92 point rating upon it in 2008 and because of the structure of this blend, time has been kind to it. You can purchase this Altus wine in Pennsylvania only online from the PLCB website where it is listed on the Wine Sale page. The regular price is shown at $74.99 but the sale price is $35.99 and I believe that is a fair price for this bottle. PLCB Product Code 11238. http://www.finewineandgoodspirits.com
English: A colorful bottle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I recently discovered an unbelievable policy that the Pennsylvania LCB (Liquor Control Board) stores offer to their customers. The unwritten policy is to replace any unopened bottle of liquor or wine that a customer breaks as long as they return it with proof that the bottle was sealed when it was broken. I would have to admit that returning a bag full of shattered glass to a store for a replacement when it was my fault strikes me as strange but rules are rules. Imagine walking in with what is left of a bottle of $7000 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet and asking for another one for free. It is worth a try and Good Luck.
moscato party ! (Photo credit: portobeseno)
I will use the next few posts to look at light bodied wines that I believe would be good choices for your summer outings. I like the lighter wines for warm weather entertaining because they are easy to drink and allow you to enjoy the company of friends and family without having to worry about what wines to serve. Beringer Red Moscato 2011 fits nicely into this category by being light with fresh fruit flavors and a floral aroma. It is a little sweet but often described as “not too sweet or not too dry with a smooth refreshing finish”. This deep scarlet colored Moscato is produced in Argentina from a blend of Moscato, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah grapes and bottled in the Napa Valley of California. I don’t think you will be disappointed if you take this one with you to the park for an evening concert under the stars.
I usually only recommend rated wines because to put it simply I see no reason to reinvent the wheel by trying to rate wines myself. When a wine is rated you can check its rating against the rating opinion of several other reviewers to see if it deserves your further consideration. The scale is a 100 point scale with the two most important ranges to me being 85-89 for a very good wine with special qualities and 90-94 for an outstanding wine that has superior character and style.
Pinot Noir is a popular wine that can be expensive but if you do your research some good examples can be purchased at a reasonable price. Louis Latour Volnay 2007 is Wine Spectator rated at 89 and can be found as a Chairman’s Selection at PA L.C.B. stores for $19.99, a sizable discount from its quoted price of $55.oo. This Pinot Noir is broad and sweet with a juicy ripe fruit body that offers cherry and raspberry flavors plus a silky texture. Look for it with the product code 13223 in the store or online.
Pinot noir Grapes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)