Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Picks: Vintages Release ─ November 26 2011

Vintages continues its long march towards Christmas with the second of three holiday-themed high-end releases that cover nine weeks, from early November to the new year.  Ka-ching.

As usual, a careful review shows that there are good choices that make the cut for My Picks. No surprise but, as usual, it’s Spain and Italy, each with 3 picks, that bring the value. And just to show that I’m not the Grinch, I’ve included a sparkling and a Port for your holidays, as well as an affordable Pinot Noir from Germany for your turkey dinner.

Nothing organic.

Off the Beaten Track


ULISSE UNICO PECORINO 2010, IGT Terre di Chieti (Italy); #249128; Price: $17.95; 13.0% ABV
There’s Pecorino the cheese...and Pecorino the grape, grown along the Adriatic coast in Abruzzo. Handpicked. Cold maceration for 24 hours, then fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Aged 3 months in stainless steel. No cork, no screwtop…this one has a glass closure. Made for seafood, the raw and the cooked. And why not try it with Pecorino cheese?

GROTTA DEL SOLE FALANGHINA 2009, DOC CAMPI FLEGREI (Campania, Italy); #247940; Price: $15.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Falanghina from the volcanic soil northwest of Napoli. Grown on Vinifera roots. Handpicked. 12-hour cold maceration, then cool fermentation. No oak. Bottled after 6 months in tanks. Great with seafood, as they do in Napoli.


13TH STREET GAMAY NOIR 2010, VQA Niagara Peninsula; #177824; Price: $19.95; 12.0% ABV
100% Gamay Noir from 3 vineyards, one of which is organic. Handpicked. Cold maceration and fermentation in stainless steel vats. Malolactic fermentation and aging for 8 months in French oak barrels (25% new), then blended. Gamay Noir is greatly underappreciated and one of my favourites, now that the Beaujolais region is back on track. Look for red fruit and earthy aromas. Try it with roast poultry.

ACACIA PINOT NOIR 2007, (Carneros, California); #235960; Price: $29.95; 14.4% ABV
100% Pinot Noir from Carneros, a wonderful cool climate for Pinot Noir in the Napa Valley. Hand-harvested. Cold maceration. 3 weeks fermentation. Aged in oak barrels for 7 months.

MAD FISH SIDEWAYS CABERNET SAUVIGNON/MERLOT 2009, Margaret River (Australia); #247163; Price: $23.95; 14.0% ABV
A Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (53%), Merlot (42%), and Petit Verdot (5%) from the west coast of Australia. Fermented in a mix of open-top and closed fermenters with some extended maceration. Aged in French oak barriques for 15 months. Try it with game.

DOMAINE SERGENT OAK AGED MADIRAN 2008, AC Madiran (France); #251561; Price: $19.95; 14.5% ABV
100% Tannat from southwest France. Big big tannins. Hand harvested. Cold maceration for 5 days. Fermentation for 21 days in stainless steel tanks, followed by Malolactic fermentation in cement tanks. Aged in oak barrels (1/3 new) for 12 months. Fined and filtered. Duck confit is the brilliant regional match.

REICHSRAT VON BUHL PINOT NOIR 2008, QbA Pfalz (Germany); #249649; Price: $19.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Pinot Noir from the Pfalz, the largest wine-producing area (by volume) in Germany. Yes, it’s true. Fermented on its skins for 10 days in sealed stainless steel vats. Malolactic fermentation in a combination of stainless steel and large oak casks. Aged in oak for 10 months. This is the ideal (and affordable) wine for a large turkey dinner at Christmas or, as the winemaker suggests, “simply for a cold winter’s evening in front of the fire”. What’s a Reichsrat, you ask? No, it’s not a Nazi war criminal. The Reichsrat was the upper house in the German legislature during the Weimar Republic. von Buhl was a member of the Reichsrat.

DUCA DI SALAPARUTA PASSO DELLE MULE NERO D'AVOLA 2008, IGT Sicilia (Italy); #250928; Price: $19.95; 13.2% ABV
100% Nero d’Avola. Hand harvested. Maceration for 8 days. Aged 10 months in oak barrels and, after bottling, 6 months in the cellar before release. Great match with stews and roasted game.

BODEGAS BERCEO GONZALO DE BERCEO RESERVA 2005, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #246744; Price: $20.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo (aka Carignan), and Grenache. Hand picked from 14 vineyards. After maceration, fermentation, and Malolactic fermentation, aged in both French and American oak barrels (for at least a year, according to the Riojan rules) and then 2 years in bottle before release to round out the tannins. Another wine that’s great with winter dishes (stews, braised, or roasted meats, especially game).

MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES GRAN RESERVA 2001, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #976670; Price: $29.95; 13.6% ABV
A blend of Tempranillo (85%), balanced by Graciano and Garnacha. Aged in French oak for 26 months and then 4 years in bottle before release. Wonderful stuff.


SEGURA VIUDAS BRUT RESERVA HEREDAD CAVA, DO Penedes (Spain); #558825; Price: $29.95; 11.5% ABV
A blend of 2 indigenous grapes: Macabeo (67%) and Parellada (33%). They use the traditional method (same as in Champagne) in Penedes (outside Barcelona) for Cava. Dollar for dollar, Cava represents excellent value in sparkling.


FONSECA LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORT 2005, DOC Douro (Portugal); #87551; Price: $22.95; 20.0% ABV
A wonderful treat at the end of Christmas dinner. Winemakers can use 90 different grape varieties to make a Port wine but usually they use only 6…and they don't disclose which of the 6, as is the case here. They make LBVs from grapes harvested in a single year when winemakers don't make a Vintage (top of the line) port, such as 2005. Aged in wood vats of 50 pipes (27,500 litres) capacity and then bottled after five years. Ready to drink now. Unfiltered, so needs decanting!  (As it turns out, this is a no-show.)

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

No comments:

Post a Comment