Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Picks: Vintages Release - June 25 2011

This week’s primary theme is Argentina (represented by 9 reds and 4 whites) with the suggestion that you put on a parrillada, an Argentinean grill. I’m a big fan of much of what Argentina has to offer, both wine and food. But only one Argentinean wine, a Malbec, made the cut.

The secondary theme is where you should pay attention. “Pure Elegance” is a selection of 15 white wines with all kinds of goodies. Maybe it’s a matter of timing, with summer arriving this week, but 4 of these zippy acidic wines made it on to my list. Plus 3 more white Varietals that I love...Picpoul, Vernaccia, Verdejo...appear elsewhere in the release.

Nothing organic or Biodynamic this week.

Learn more about how I choose wines at My Picks.

Off the Beaten Track 


MULDERBOSCH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010, WO Western Cape (South Africa); #933424; Price: $18.95; 13.0% ABV
A blend of Sauvignon Blanc (92%) and Semillon (8%) from 3 different vineyards. After harvesting, crushing and pressing, they cold-fermented with selected yeast. Left to age on its lees. No oak. Ideal with grilled veggies.

DOMAINE D'ORFEUILLES 2006, AC Vouvray (France); #223966; Price: $18.95; 12.1% ABV
100% Chenin Blanc. Barrel-fermented with indigenous yeasts. Filtered. If you haven’t tried dry Vouvray (the sweeter version is more famous), then you’re in for a great treat. Try it with grilled tilapia.

DOMAINE DU PIOCH D'OR PICPOUL DE PINET 2009, AC Coteaux de Languedoc (France); #219394; Price: $13.95; 14.0% ABV
100% Picpoul de Pinet, the not well-known but delicious white Varietal from Languedoc. Fermented in stainless steel. It’s the perfect summer wine. Surprisingly crisp acidity. It’s great with grilled seafood and perfect with fresh oysters.

TRAMIN PINOT GRIGIO 2009, DOC Südtirol-Alto Adige (Italy); #627059; Price: $16.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Pinto Grigio from the cool climate of northeast Italy, where they make a good Pinot Grigio. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Clean, refreshing minerality with citrus aromas and flavour. Perfect for sipping on the patio.

TERREDORA 2009, DOCG Fiano di Avellino (Italy); #120048; Price: $18.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Fiano. Fermented in stainless steel tanks and left on its lees for 5 months. Half of it is aged in French oak barrels for six months and then blended with the other half. One of my favourite Italian whites: look for citrus and tree fruit with floral aromas. Made to match with seafood.

SANTA CHIARA 2009, DOCG Vernaccia di San Gimignano (Italy); #231852; Price: $16.95; 13.2% ABV
100% Vernaccia di San Gimignano, which is a cut above the many other Vernaccia grape varieties that can be found in Italy. Hand harvested. Cold maceration, followed by fermentation in stainless steel with cultured yeasts. No oak. Crisp acidity with a typically bitter finish, it’s another wonderful “food wine” to match with grilled white fish or veggies (like asparagus).

PEDRO ESCUDERO FUENTE ELVIRA VERDEJO 2009, DO Rueda (Spain); #218313; Price: $13.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Verdejo. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. Verdejo is not for everyone: known for its herbal and spice aromas up front, with tree fruit and minerality on the palate. Sounds great to me!


SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC 2009, Mendoza (Argentina); #640854; Price: $19.95; 14.5% ABV
100% Malbec. Hand harvested. Cold maceration of whole berries for 5 days in stainless steel tanks, followed by fermentation with cultured yeasts for 10 days. Maceration continued for another 15 days. Gravity fed into new, second and third-use French oak barrels, where Malolactic fermentation took place. Barrel aging for 12 months, followed by bottle aging for 6 months. No fining or filtration, so needs decanting. Perfect match for grilled red meats in any guise.

CHÂTEAU SAINT-ROCH DE LAURENS 2007, AC Faugères (France); #223685; Price: $18.95; 13.0% ABV
A blend of Syrah (60%), Grenache (20%), Mourvèdre (10%), and Carignan (10%). Carbonic maceration for 10 days. 70% is aged in new French oak for 12 months. 2007 was a very good year in Languedoc!  Great with BBQ’d ribs.

ABBONA RINALDI 2008, DOC Barbera d'Alba (Italy); #216416; Price: $19.95; 14.2% ABV
100% Barbera. Fermented for 5 days in stainless steel tanks. Aged 4 months in stainless steel tanks, 8 months in 500L oak barrels, followed by 6 months in bottle. Ever tried pizza on the grill? This is the wine for it.

CARLOS SERRES GRAN RESERVA 2001, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #221945; Price: $27.95; 13.3% ABV
A blend of Tempranillo (85%), Graciano (10%), and Mazuelo (5%), all from Rioja Alta. Handpicked. Fermented in stainless steel for 15 days. Aged 36 months in French and American oak, then another 36 months in the bottle before release. Another of my favourites…but more of a winter wine, ideal with braised meats.


LA BASTIDE BLANCHE ROSÉ 2010, AC Bandol (France); #71084; Price: $21.95; 13.2% ABV
A blend of Mourvèdre (at least 50%), Cinsault, and Grenache. The Cinsault and Grenache soak on their skins just 24 hours; the Mourvèdre is a dark, tannic grape, so they can press it immediately without maceration. Bandol rivals Tavel as the “best” producer of rosé wine (hence the price premium). But why not treat yourself and try it with grilled fish, or a niçoise salad, or even a bouillabaisse?

Bonus Pick:  It's still the season for celebrations:  weddings, anniversaries, graduations, Canada Day.  If you're looking for a sparkling wine for one of those occasions, why not try this one?  JACKSON TRIGGS ENTOURAGE SILVER SERIES BRUT MÉTHODE CLASSIQUE 2006, VQA Niagara Peninsula; #234161; Price: $22.95; 12.0% ABV

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