Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Picks - Vintages Release: April 16 2011

I didn’t find the selection of theme wines (from New Zealand) that compelling and none of them made it onto My Picks.

But 3 organic wines did make it, after an absence for 2 months of pick-worthy organic wines.

Organic & Biodynamic

GRGICH HILLS FUMÉ BLANC 2009; Napa Valley (California); #346296; Price: $29.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc. What turns Sauvignon Blanc into Fumé Blanc? Oak! Fermented in 900-US-gallon oak casks (80%) and neutral (used 3+ times) French Oak barrels (20%). Aged for 6 months on its lees in neutral barrels. Try it with a light, white fish or roast pork tenderloin.

FATTORIA LA RIPA 2008, DOCG Chianti Classico (Tuscany); #651596; Price: $18.95; 13.0% ABV
A blend of Sangiovese (90%) and Canaiolo (10%). Aging in oak casks, then in the bottle before release. Made from organic grapes. Try something “Classico” like pasta in tomato sauce.

FATTORIA LA RIPA 2006, DOCG Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany); #984401; Price: $26.95; 13.5% ABV
This Riserva is from the same producer as the “regular” Chianti Classico listed above. Also a blend of Sangiovese (90%) and Canaiolo (10%). Traditional fermentation and aging in oak casks for 2 years, then in the bottle for 6 months. Made from organic grapes. This wine deserves something more substantial, like steak Florentine.

Off the Beaten Track


DORNIER DONATUS WHITE 2009, WO Western Cape (South Africa); #597278; Price: $18.95; 13.5% ABV
An interesting blend of Chenin Blanc (77%) and Semillon (23%). Separately fermented in new and second-use French oak. Aged 8 months on their lees in the barrel. Match to a heavier fish, like swordfish…only sustainable.

LES PILIERS VIOGNIER 2009, (Languedoc); #669531; Price: $15.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Viognier. Hand harvested. Skin contact for 12 hours. Fermented in stainless steel, then aged on its lees. No oak. Fined and filtered. Drink now with seafood in a cream sauce.

MICHELE CHIARLO LE MARNE GAVI 2009, DOCG Gavi (Piedmont); #228528; Price: $14.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Cortese grown in a maritime climate. Fermented with indigenous yeasts, with part cold maceration. No oak. Light, fresh. Is summer here yet?


MAS DES DAMES LA DAME 2008, AC Coteaux du Languedoc (France); #223214; Price: $15.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of Grenache (50%), Syrah (30%), and Carignan (20%). Hand harvested. Fermented in cement tanks, then left on its skins for 5 weeks. Aged in cement tanks. No oak.  Try it with lamb chops.

CARPINETO 2004, DOCG Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano Riserva (Tuscany); #368910; Price: $28.95; 13.0% ABV
A blend of Prugnolo Gentile, aka Sangiovese, (70%) and 30% Canaiolo (although they are allowed to throw a few other varietals into the blend).  Maceration on the grape skins for 10 days. Aged 2 years in 5,500 litre Slovenian oak barrels, with a small quantity aged in French oak barrels. Aged for 12+ months in bottle before release.

ENCOSTAS DE ESTREMOZ QUINTA DA ESPERANÇA 2005, Vinho Regional Alentejano (Portugal); #160465; Price: $13.95; 14.0% ABV
A blend of Touriga Nacional (70%), Trincadeira (20%) and Aragónes (10%), all indigenous Portuguese grapes. Fermented for 8 days, followed by 12 days of maceration. Aged for 7 months in new American and French barrels.

ONTAÑÓN RESERVA 2004, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #725895; Price: $24.95; 12.4% ABV
A blend of Tempranillo (95%) and Graciano (5%). Aged 24 months in French and American oak.

VIÑAS ELIAS MORA 2008, DO Toro (Spain); #209650; Price: $18.95; 14.5% ABV
100% Tinta de Toro (aka Tempranillo). Aged just 6 months in American oak. Drink it ASAP.


RAVENTÓS I BLANC L'HEREU RESERVA BRUT CAVA 2007, Spain; #221796; Price: $19.95; 12.2% ABV
A blend of Macabeo (60%), Xarel-lo (20%), and Parellada (20%). Hand harvested and fermented using the traditional method with 15 months of bottle aging. Great value.

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