Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Picks: Vintages Release – January 9, 2010

Here’s my shopping list for the Vintages Release on January 9.

What am I looking for? Three things.

Organic: I’m always on the lookout for wines certified biodynamic or organic. (Check out my posts on biodynamic and organic wines.)
Off the Beaten Track: I’m keen on lesser-known or underappreciated varietals and blends, so you’re unlikely to find any Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay on my shopping list. I do buy them, but they don’t need any more publicity.
Value: I’m looking for wines at less than $30. Again, I do go over, but that’s not the focus here. (The theme of this release from Vintages is “Great wine, great value: easy on the wallet and easy to love”. God bless ’em! The recession’s over…but who doesn’t like value?)

And I try to keep the list to a dozen.

1.  PURE VISION ORGANIC MERLOT 2007, South Australia; #148411; Price: $21.95; 15.0% ABV
Viticulture and vinification processes registered with Australian Certified Organic

2. PERRIN NATURE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2007, AOC Cotes du Rhone (France); #948059; Price: $ 16.95; 13.0% ABV
Grapes certified by Ecocert; Perrin is one of the better producers in the southern Rhone, plus an excellent year…what’s not to like?
[UPDATE, February 9:  Turns out, there's a lot not to like.  See Tasting Note.]

Off the Beaten Track
First up, 3 white wines from the Loire, a very under-appreciated region. Good acidity, you can keep them until summer if you prefer.

3. DOMAINE DE LA SEIGNEURIE DES TOURELLES SAUMUR BLANC 2008, AOC Saumur (France); #141879; Price: $12.95; 12.5% ABV
Dry Chenin Blanc…don’t know Chenin Blanc? It’s typically light-bodied, high in acidity, with melon and floral aromas. Go on, try it!  Tasting Note

4. BOUGRIER VOUVRAY 2008, AOC Vouvray (France); #106880; Price: $14.95; 11.5% ABV
Off-Dry Chenin Blanc with good acidity  Tasting Note

5. CHÂTEAU SALMONIÈRE MUSCADET SÈVRE MAINE 2008, AOC Muscadet Sèvre & Maine (France); #142380; Price: $13.95; 12.2% ABV
Made from the Melon de Bourgogne varietal; light, crisp, perfect with oysters.  Tasting Note

More whites:
6. PAÇO DE TEIXEIRÓ BRANCO 2008, Vinho Regional Minho (Portugal); #21469; Price: $12.95; 12.5% ABV
Made from Avesso and Loureiro varietals. It’s from Portugal…with a screw-cap!  Tasting Note

7. DUBARIL CHASSELAS ROMAND 2008, Vin de Pays, Switzerland; #143552; Price: $15.95; 12.4% ABV
Memories of skiing in Verbier! A perfect match with raclette and fondue. Chasselas is known as Fendant in Swiss-German and Gutedel in Germany.  Tasting Note

Now, some reds:
8. MALIVOIRE GAMAY 2008, VQA Niagara Peninsula; #591313; Price: $17.95; 13.0% ABV
One of my favourite Niagara producers!  Tasting Note

9. ROUGES DES KARANTES 2007, AOC Coteaux du Languedoc (France); #143651; Price: $16.95; 14.0% ABV
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre…another great value in a full-bodied wine from Languedoc  Tasting Note

10. TSANTALI RESERVE RAPSANI 2004, AO Rapsani (Greece); #734855; Price: $18.95; 13.5% ABV
Here’s your Olympics wine! Rapsani is located in the foothills of Mount Olympus and is a region of great potential. Blend of Greek varietals Xinomavro (literally, acid-black), Krassato, Stavroto.  Tasting Note

There are 4 reds from Portugal in this release. I think the best bets are from Douro:
11. MIMO 2005, DOC Douro (Portugal); #147918; Price: $17.95; 12.7% ABV
Finding Mimo! Douro, home of port wine, also produces more and more “main course” wines. This is a blend of two varietals used in port: Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional, as well as Tempranillo and Tinta Barroca.  Tasting Note

12. QUINTA DO RONCÃO RESERVA 2006, DOC Douro (Portugal); #147942; Price: $13.95; 14.1% ABV
Good value red at $14!

Lots of bargains...enjoy!

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