Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Picks: Vintages Release -- September 4 2010

This week’s release features Southern Rhone wines (16 reds, 1 white) from the incredible 2007 vintage. It's hard to go wrong buying wines from a great vintage, so if you like the blended big red wines from Southern Rhone, dominated by the Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Carignan varietals, with aromas of black fruit, spices, dried herbs, and game, then there's lots to choose from with prices from $13 to $37. 

And 6 more wines from the Okanagan!  If you want a small sample of what's happening there, here's your chance.


NATURA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009, DO Casablanca Valley (Chile); #93914; Price: $15.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Sauvignon Blanc, aged 5 months in stainless steel. Casablanca Valley is right by the Pacific coast and the cooling Maritime effect of the Humboldt Current, yielding a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Look for the classic aromas of citrus and fresh herbs.  From Emiliana, the leading producer of organic wines in Chile.

Off the Beaten Track


7 whites this week, counting the organic SB listed above.  Let's start off with an unusual white from BC:

SANDHILL SMALL LOTS VIOGNIER 2009, VQA Okanagan Valley; #126862; Price: $24.95; 14.9% ABV
Sandhill says they’re experimenting with Rhone varietals in small lots at their Osprey Ridge location, just east of Oliver in southern Okanagan. Here’s an example: Viognier. Hot, dry summer boosted the alcohol levels to almost 15%! Fermented and aged in stainless steel. No oak.

Let's not forget Niagara:

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009, VQA Niagara Peninsula; #186254; Price: $19.95; 12.5% ABV
Billed as a limited edition wine from Malivoire, I like a rarity. Fermented in stainless steel. Whatever these men are guilty of, sentence suspended!

Here are two more Sauvignon Blancs, one Old World and one New World...sometimes it just works out that way:

F. TINEL-BLONDELET L'ARRET BUFFATTE 2008; AC Pouilly-Fumé; #169730; Price: $21.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Sauvignon Blanc from the eastern edge of the Loire Valley, fermented and aged in stainless steel. Grown in Kimmeridgian marls, the same soil in which the chardonnay that produces Chablis is grown, and often exhibiting the same gunflint aroma, along with citrus, flowers, and peach. Some think the gunflint aroma is where the “fumé” gets its name. More likely, it’s from the fine powder that collects on the SB grape and is then scattered during harvest, creating a smoky haze.

O. FOURNIER B CRUX SAUVIGNON BLANC 2008, Uco Valley (Mendoza, Argentina); #177949; Price: $19.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Sauvignon Blanc, grown at altitude. Fermented for 10 days in stainless steel tanks. No oak. Look for the cool tastes of citrus, mint, and minerality.

CARABELLA DIJON 76 CLONE CHARDONNAY 2006, AVA Chehalem Mountains (Oregon); #180133; Price: $24.95; 14.5% ABV
A Chardonnay? Yes, when it comes from a region we don’t see very often: Oregon. Made in a "Burgundian style", so likely they’ve throttled back on the oak. The vineyard is dry-farmed, using no herbicides. Carabella’s winemaker, a geologist, says producing wine is all about the vineyard; they sound like terroir-ists to me. My kind of wine producer!

NICOLAS MAILLET 2008, AC Mâcon-Verzé (Burgundy); #702605; Price: $19.95; 13.0% ABV
Another Chardonnay? Well, when its good value from the less-respected (and less pricy) southern Burgundy, sure. Nicolas Maillet uses no chemical herbicides. Harvested by hand, fermented for nine months (brrr), followed by Malolactic fermentation. Drink Macon wines while they’re young.


DOMAINE LE MALAVEN ROSÉ 2009, AC Tavel (France); #184101; Price: $15.95; 13.2% ABV
According to the winemaker, it’s a [co-fermented] blend of Grenache noir (50%), Cinsault (20%), Mourvèdre (10%), Syrah (10%), and the remaining 10% are the white varietals of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, and Picpoul.

Hey Vintages, why no rosés from Lirac, next door to Tavel?  They're usually just as tasty and less expensive.


My pick of the 3 reds from BC:

CEDARCREEK ESTATE CABERNET/MERLOT 2007, VQA Okanagan Valley; #175604; Price: $23.95; 13.9% ABV
A very precise blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (46.9%), Merlot (28.4%), Cabernet Franc (22.1%), Pinot Noir (1.4%), Malbec (0.5%), Syrah (0.4%) and Petit Verdot (0.3%), selected from eight different vineyards in Kelowna, Naramata and Osoyoos. Fermented in stainless steel, then aged in 95% French oak and 5% American oak. With this blend, why not try it with a mixed grill?

You can't go too far wrong with the 2007 Rhone reds in this release.  Here's my choice:

PIERRE AMADIEU ROMANE MACHOTTE 2007, AC Gigondas (France); #17400; Price: $22.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of Grenache and Syrah. Handpicked. Maceration of 30 days. Aged partly in two year-old barrels and partly in larger casks over 12 months.

And, for contrast, here's a Grenache wine from down under: 

YALUMBA BUSH VINE GRENACHE 2008, Barossa (Australia); #531228; Price: $19.95; 14.5% ABV
Grenache is a Mediterranean – mostly France and Spain – varietal with a second home in Oz (along with Shiraz and Mourvèdre). Hand harvested. Fermentation started with natural yeasts, but they add cultured yeasts to keep it going. Matured for 6 months in older French oak. Look for lots of ripe red fruit. They say it's suitable for vegans, which means no animal by-products used in fining.

Something from a long-time favourite producer:

TORRES CELESTE 2006, DOC Ribera del Duero (Spain); #672691; Price: $19.95; 13.5% ABV
100% Tinto Fino (what Ribera del Duero calls Tempranillo). Torres' home is in Penedes but here’s something from another Spanish region. Grown at 900 metres. 20 days of maceration with a week of fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Aged in French and American oak for 12 months.  You can't go wrong.

Finally, for my peers from the Algonquin Sommelier compressed program, here’s an extra pick from Moldova that should bring back stemmy memories…

FIREBIRD LEGEND PINOT GRIGIO 2009, Vulcanesti (Moldova); #189936; Price: $12.95; 13.0% ABV

Subscribing to this blog through RSS or email is easy! Just click on the subscribe link to the left ←

No comments:

Post a Comment