Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Picks: Vintages Release -- November 13 2010

This week's release is a bigger one (72 pages) with lots of expensive stuff as things gear up for the holidays (already?!).  There's a minor focus on Tuscan wines as well.

Just because there's lots of expensive stuff, some of it wildly over-valued, doesn't mean there aren't wines worth our consideration.  And here they are...


COLLEFRISIO ZERO 2008, DOC Trebbiano D'Abruzzo (Italy); #181164; Price: $13.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. Fermentation in stainless steel, no oak. Uncomplicated.

Off the Beaten Track


Three worthy Rieslings in this release.  Some, including yours truly, consider Riesling to be the greatest white-wine varietal.  Expect aromas of citrus and tree fruit, floral, minerality, and good acidity.  I like my Rieslings dry, very dry and these fit the bill.  You can't have too much Riesling!  

FLAT ROCK CELLARS NADJA'S VINEYARD RIESLING 2009, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula; #578625; Price: $19.95; 10.5% ABV
Handpicked and sorted. Slow, cool fermented with cultivated yeast. Filtered. Nice and light, just 10.5% ABV (although the winemaker says 11.6%)

PIKES TRADITIONALE RIESLING 2009, Clare Valley (Australia); #66894; Price: $19.95; 12.0% ABV
The label has a fish on it, but since their name is Pike, I’ll overlook the “critter wine” stigma. Fermented in stainless steel with cultured yeast. Clare Valley turns out some great Riesling. Citrus and mineral when young.  Capable of 10 years of aging.

SCHOENHEITZ LINSENBERG RIESLING 2007, AC Alsace (France); #196618; Price: $17.95; 12.5% ABV
Alsace is home to the world's best dry Rieslings.  From grapes grown on a steep slope with southern exposure. Also capable of aging, but it’s delicious young. Instant or delayed gratification? Buy two!

Two more Canadian wines to pick up...

JACKSON-TRIGGS PROPRIETORS' GRAND RESERVE WHITE MERITAGE 2008, VQA Niagara Peninsula; #109371; Price: $19.95; 12.4% ABV
A Bordeaux-blend of Sauvignon Blanc (80%) and Semillon (20%). They left the juice on the skins for 6 hours and then cold fermented with cultivated yeasts. Aged for 5 months in oak. Should be a great match with full-bodied seafood, like scallops or lobster.

MISSION HILL SLC CHARDONNAY 2006, VQA Okanagan Valley; #144170; Price: $24.95; 13.5% ABV
SLC = Select Lot Collection. Harvested from vineyards in Oliver and Naramata. Aged 35% in French oak for 8 months. Grab an all too rare wine from BC.


MCKINLEY SPRINGS SYRAH 2006, AVA Horse Heaven Hills (Washington); #199794; Price: $27.95; 14.9% ABV
A Northern-Rhone-inspired effort, co-fermented with 3.5% Viognier. Aged 18 months in 20% new oak (75% French and 25% American). From a fourth-generation family winery. A rarity from Washington, so definitely worth trying. But…15% alcohol?

HECHT & BANNIER 2007, AC Saint Chinian (Languedoc, France); #184184; Price: $22.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of mainly Syrah with Grenache and Mourvèdre. Aged 35% in stainless steel, 20% in one- and two-year old 600-litre barrels (known in Languedoc as “demi-muids”), and 45% in new and one-year old barrels (both 225 litres and 500 litres). Hecht & Bannier is a negociant-eleveur: they don’t raise the grapes or make the wine, but they blend wines together and age them to produce what we have here. Another chance to pick up a Languedoc wine from the wonderful 2007 vintage.

E. GUIGAL 2006, AC Gigondas (Southern Rhone); #331900; Price: $27.95; 13.5% ABV
Guigal…the most famous producer in the Rhone and some think the best. This is a blend of Grenache (60%), Mourvèdre (30%), and Syrah (10%). Aged 2 years in oak, 50% new.

VINUM VITA EST 2007, DOC Nebbiolo D’Alba (Piedmont); #181461; Price: $15.95; 14.5% ABV
100% Nebbiolo, the variety that gives us the more famous (and more expensive) Barolos and Barbarescos. Fermented on its skins for 12 days, followed by Malolactic fermentation. Aged in Slovenian oak for 12 months. Unless you really like your tannins grippy, put this one away for 2 to 7 years.

TOMMASI RIPASSO 2008, DOC Valpolicella Classico Superiore (Veneto); #183780; Price: $38.95; 13.9% ABV
Ripasso is a great value.  Blended from Corvina (70%), Rondinella (25%), and Corvinone (5%). They take the Valpolicella wine and re-ferment it on the grape skins that they used to make Amarone. If you think of Valpolicella as the lightweight and Amarone as the heavyweight, Amarone comes in as a middleweight. Aged 18 months in Slovenian Oak. The added attraction here is this is a 1500 ml bottle.  Nothing says a family holiday dinner like a magnum on the table!

Here's a dessert wine (half-bottle) that's a great value:

QUADY ESSENSIA ORANGE MUSCAT 2007, California; #299552; Price: $13.95; 15.0% ABV
100% Orange Muscat. Fortified and aged 3 months in French oak. Brilliant match with chocolate...or as a liquid dessert on its own. Quady is justifiably famous for its dessert wines made from Muscat grapes.

Finally, if you’re in a mood to splurge, go with

POGGIO ANTICO 2005, DOCG Brunello Di Montalcino (Tuscany); #700377; Price: $64.95; 13.0% ABV
My profile of Poggio Antico and tasting notes are here.

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