Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Picks: Vintages Release -- May 29

I’ve been a frequent critic of Vintages’ chronic under-representation of the fabulous wines of the Loire Valley. (I won’t get started here about the lack of dry German Rieslings…shame). So with this week’s release holding 14 wines from the Loire, that’s where we start, taking note of an organic wine first…


DOMAINE DU PETIT COTEAU LES GRENOUILLES SEC VOUVRAY 2008, AC Vouvray, France; #106815; Price: $16.95; 13.0% ABV
Made from Chenin Blanc, a poster child for underappreciated varietals. The beauty of Vouvray is its acidity, wonderful when young, but able to age well over five years or more. Known for its aromas of citrus, apricots, and flowers. Try it, you’ll like it! Part of Chateau Moncontour, Domaine de Petit Coteau makes their organic wines.

Off the Beaten Track 

Moving east to west along the Loire Valley…

LA CROIX CANAT POUILLY-FUMÉ 2008, AC Pouilly-Fumé (France); #145805; Price: $21.95; 13.3% ABV
A famous name…you pay a premium for it. But the name is famous for its quality. Typically citrus, floral, flinty (even smoky) minerality, with some peach aromas.

DOMAINE LECOMTE QUINCY 2008, AC Quincy (France); #172528; Price: $18.95; 13.5% ABV
Ah, Sauvignon Blanc from its traditional home. Look for citrus, floral, and pepper aromas and the citrus continuing on the taste. Not as grassy as, say, most New Zealand examples. Excellent summer sipping as an aperitif or with grilled seafood or chicken.

DOMAINE DU CARROI PORTIER CUVÉE DES FOLIES CHINON 2008, AC Chinon Rouge (France); #170241; Price: $13.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Cabernet Franc. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Should have more fruit, less herbaceousness than Ontario Cab Franc. Continues to age well into 2013.

DOMAINE DES QUATRE ROUTES MUSCADET SÈVRE & MAINE 2008; AC Muscadet Sèvre & Maine (France); #608893; Price: $11.95; 12.0% ABV
100% Melon de Bourgogne. Citrus & minerality. Crack open some raw oysters…yes, you can too eat them all year round.

Our trip across the 400 km Loire Valley ended on the Atlantic coast. Now let’s head down the coast to northwest corner of Spain…

MARTÍN CÓDAX ALBARIÑO 2008, DO Rias Baixas (Spain); #984906; Price: $17.95; 12.0% ABV
100% Albarino…a personal favourite from the extreme northwest of Spain on the Atlantic coast, that bit just above Portugal. Look for crisp, fresh acidity with apple and herbal aromas. Another great match for summer dining.

On to this week’s crop of rosés. Unfortunately, none of them fit the bone-dry criteria that I like to hold to, but here are five that I’ll try.

MAS BELLES EAUX COLLECTION LANGUEDOC ROSÉ 2009; Vin de Pays D’Oc (France); #117358; Price: $13.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of Syrah (90%) – with very short carbonic maceration – and Mourvèdre (10%) – obtained from Saignée method. Fermentation in stainless steel. Made by a honking big wine merchant that’s part of AXA, an insurance company. Well, nobody’s perfect.

CHÂTEAU VAL JOANIS TRADITION SYRAH ROSÉ 2009, AC Luberon (France); #707281; Price: $14.95; 13.0% ABV
Syrah and Grenache, using the Saignée method (some juice is bled off after a short period of skin contact; the remaining juice stays on the skins and becomes red wine). Look for aromas of raspberries and redcurrant.

CASA DO VALLE VINHO VERDE ROSÉ 2009, DOC Vinho Verde (Portugal); #167478; Price: $11.95; 12.5% ABV
A blend of Vinhão, a red-fleshed varietal known for high acidity that's sometimes used in Port blends, and Rabo de Ovelha.

VENTOZELO QV ROSÉ 2009, DOC Douro (Portugal); #165068; Price: $11.95; 13.5% ABV
A rosé Port? A blend of classic Port varietals – Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz. Fermentation, then aging for 3 months, in stainless steel. Filtered. Look for aromas of red fruits and spices.

MARQUÉS DE VALCARLOS ROSADO 2009, DO Navarra; #167239; Price: $11.95; 12.9% ABV
A blend of Tempranillo and Merlot. 24-hour maceration, with fermentation in stainless steel.

And, finally, here’s a red that’s worth picking up for next winter…

LAN GRAN RESERVA 2003, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #928622; Price: $28.95; 12.5% ABV
Last month, we saw the 2004 LAN Reserva, now here’s the Gran Reserva from the year before. A blend of Tempranillo (80%), Mazuelo (10%), and Garnacha (10%). 3 weeks of maceration with fermentation in stainless steel. Aged in American and French oak barrels for 24 months (compared to 12 months for Reserva), followed by 36 months in bottle (compared to 24 months for Reserva).

That’s right. I’m completely skipping the Argentine wines. I guess I’m Malbec-ed out.

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1 comment:

  1. Though I love Malbec, I certainly hope we start seeing more of the other grapes that seem to have potential in Argentina. The big ones like Syrah and Cab Sauv. But, Bonarda seems very interesting, and Torrontes is great for these hot "summer" days.