Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Picks: Vintages Release -- May 28 2011

The trend continues this week of bucking the theme of the release. Californian wines? Nope, not a one. (5 Chardonnays…7 Cabernet Sauvignons…yawn)

Alsatian wines? One there, a Riesling. And I’ll say a good word for the rest of them too because you should get to know an under-appreciated region.  

Ah, but I found 4 Biodynamic or Organic wines. Plus some interesting wines from the rest of the big, big world.

Read more about how I choose My Picks.

Biodynamic & Organic

A white, a red, and 2 rosés...

MEINKLANG GRÜNER VELTLINER 2009, Burgenland (Austria); #219014; Price: $15.95; 11.1% ABV
Grüner Veltliner is the signature white grape variety of Austria; it's known for its citrus and white pepper character. This is a certified Biodynamic wine from the homeland of Rudolf Steiner, the father of Biodynamics. The winery belongs to a mixed-production farm that produces a number of different crops. Feelin’ groovy? Try it with grilled whitefish.

EMILIANA WINEMAKER'S SELECTION SYRAH 2009, Casablanca Valley (Chile); #212407; Price: $18.95; 14.0% ABV
A blend of Syrah (88%), Merlot (8%) and Viognier (5%). Another, albeit unusual, example of a warm climate grape grown in a cool climate on the Pacific coast. Aged in French oak (80%) and American oak (20%) for 12 months. Production of this wine is certified “carbon neutral”. I’d match it with grilled game.

SOUTHBROOK CONNECT ORGANIC ROSÉ 2010, VQA Niagara Peninsula; #168492; Price: $18.95; 12.2% ABV
100% Cabernet Franc. Fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeast, using the Saignée method. Sounds like a great match with salad or grilled chicken. Still don’t like the label, though.

EMILIANA ADOBE RESERVA ROSÉ SYRAH 2010, Rapel Valley (Chile); #229690; Price: $11.95; 14.0% ABV
100% Syrah. Fermented, then aged for 5 months, in stainless steel tanks. Certified organic. It has the heft to drink with grilled lamb chops.

Off the Beaten Track


ROBERT OATLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010, Margaret River / Pemberton (Australia); #186106; Price: $17.95; 12.2% ABV
100% Sauvignon Blanc from Western Oz. I’m a big fan of Cabernet Sauvignon from this part of Australia with its Maritime climate, so why not Sauvignon Blanc? No oak. Makes a great aperitif.

GRAHAM BECK BOWED HEAD CHENIN BLANC 2009, WO Paarl (South Africa); #231357; Price: $17.95; 14.0% ABV
100% Chenin Blanc. I’m a huge fan of Chenin Blanc in its home base (Loire) and here’s chance to try it in its 2nd home: South Africa. Barrel fermented, then aged 8 months in a combination of new, second, and third-use French oak. Look for tropical and floral notes. It will match well with fish on the grill; don’t be afraid to add some spices!

TRIMBACH RÉSERVE RIESLING 2008, AC Alsace (France); #995316; Price: $25.95; 13.0% ABV
Bone-dry Riesling from one of the oldest (since 1626!) and most reliable family producers in Alsace. They’re proud of their style, which emphasises minerality. You could drink it now but it will reward your patience. Better yet, buy more than one! I will…unless you guys get there first.


DOMAINE LACROIX-VANEL CUVÉE MÉLANIE 2005, AC Coteaux de Languedoc (France); #221978; Price: $24.95; 14.0% ABV
A blend of Syrah (70%), Mourvèdre (20%), and Grenache (10%). Hand harvested. 3 weeks maceration. No oak! Grilled lamb, anyone?

DOMAINE MERCOURI RED 2006, Letrinon (Greece); #652974; Price: $18.95; 13.0% ABV
A blend of Refosco (a grape that’s indigenous to Friuli in northeast Italy!) and Mavrodaphne (“black laurel”) grapes. Aged 10 months in oak, then 6 months in bottle. Worth a try but save it for hardy winter dishes.

APOLLONIO TERRAGNOLO PRIMITIVO 2004, IGT Salento Rosso (Puglia); #211813; Price: $17.95; 14.5% ABV
100% Primitivo. Hand harvesting. Maceration for 30 days, followed by fermentation. Aged for 1 year in American oak barrels, then 1 year in bottle. I’m thinking BBQ ribs.

FAUSTINO CRIANZA 2007, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #214296; Price: $14.95; 13.5% ABV
100% Tempranillo. Aged 8 months in American oak, then 6 months in French oak. Solid, entry-level example of Riojan Tempranillo. Try it with grilled sausages.


(Don't miss the 2 organic rosés further up.)

CHÂTEAU DE TRINQUEVEDEL ROSÉ 2010, AOP Tavel; #729947; Price: $17.95; 13.9% ABV
A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Clairette, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Bourboulenc. Hand harvested. Cold maceration for 12 to 48 hours, depending on the variety. Fermentation takes 20 days, followed by aging for 6 months in stainless steel vats. Worth repeating, rosé is all they do in Tavel; it's not an afterthought!  Good value. Just don’t stand there, grill something.

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