Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Picks: Vintages Release ─ December 10 2011

This week’s release, entitled “holiday cheer”, is the third of the Christmas-themed releases going back to early November.  And it’s still 2 weeks until Christmas.

It’s generally a disappointing effort, with way too much Chardonnay on what is a meagre list of white wines…and more Cabernet Sauvignon than we should have to endure.   And the third strike?  It’s the prices.

And so, dear readers, just nine wines made the My Picks grade.  No organics.  No white wines!

But what is here is worth a trip down to Vintages.  7 red wines, 5 of which have Grenache in the blend.  Grenache, which thrives in sunny, hot, dry climates (southern France, Spain, Australia) is the perfect low-tannin wine for slow-cooked winter comfort foods such as stews, braised, and roasted meats (especially game).  Ah Grenache, you are a friend indeed.

And 2 sparkling wines.  One is a rarely found Brut Nature (no dosage, that sugar-wine syrup that they add to a sparkling wine to increase its sweetness).  Makes for a wonderful aperitif.

Well, at least we have the “bargains” of the New Year to look forward to! 

Off the Beaten Track


VIÑA COBOS FELINO MALBEC 2009, Mendoza (Argentina); #118067; Price: $19.95; 14.5% ABV
100% Malbec from 3 different vineyards in the arid Mendoza highlands.  Fermented with cultivated and native yeasts in large closed-top stainless steel fermenters.  Cold maceration for 3 days, followed by fermentation for 15 days.  Malolactic fermentation in oak barrels over 4 months, followed by aging in American and French oak barrels (21% new) for 8 months.  Big but not over-oaked.

DOMAINE COMELADE LE CASOT ROUGE 2010, AC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages (France); #255000; Price: $17.95; 14.2% ABV
A blend of Syrah, old-vine Carignan, and Grenache.  The Syrah and Carignan undergo carbonic maceration.  Fermented in stainless steel and partially aged in oak barrels (new, 2, and 3 years old).

LES HAUTS DE CASTELLAS VACQUEYRAS 2009, AC Vacqueyras (France); #177634; Price: $19.95; 14.0% ABV
A GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) blend.  Hand harvested.  Aged in oak for 12 months.

PIERRE AMADIEU DOMAINE GRAND ROMANE CUVÉE PRESTIGE GIGONDAS 2009, AC Gigondas (France); #968693; Price: $27.95; 12.0% ABV
Another GSM blend.  Hand harvested.  Open-top maceration for the Grenache and Syrah; long carbonic maceration for the Mourvèdre.  Blended and then aged in a combination of oak barrels and in 100 hl oak casks.  Unfiltered, so decanting is a good idea.

KATOGI & STROFILIA XINOMAVRO 2005, AO Naoussa (Greece); #249615; Price: $17.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Xinomavro, which translates literally as “acid black”.  Cold maceration for 7 days.  Fermentation and then maceration for 20 days.  Transferred to oak barrels for Malolactic fermentation, where it’s left on its lees for 2 months, and then aged in the barrels for 10 months.  Should easily handle a few years more aging.

ARGIOLAS COSTERA 2009, DOC Cannonau di Sardegna (Italy); #99028; Price: $17.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of Cannonau (what Sardinians call Grenache), Carignano, and Bovale.  Seems more Languedoc than Italy.  Harvested by hand.  Fermented for 10 days. Malolactic fermentation in cement glass-lined tanks.  Aged in small oak casks for 8 months.  Great with roast lamb or pork, as they do in Sardinia.

RAMON BILBAO GRAN RESERVA 2004, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #244715; Price: $29.95; 14.0% ABV
A blend of old vine Tempranillo (90%), Graciano (5%), and Garnacha (5%) from Rioja Alta.  Hand harvested.  Aged for 30 months in American oak casks, then 36 months in the bottle in “complete quietness and darkness”.  A classic.  A perfect match with lamb.


CARLES ANDREU BRUT NATURE NV, DO Cava (Spain); #246686; Price: $15.95; 11.9% ABV
A blend of Macabeo and Parellada from the region that makes Cava, which has become both the name of the wine and the region where they make the sparkling wine.  Just like Champagne.   Fermentation of the base wine for 10 days.  Second fermentation in bottle and left on its lees for 18 months.  No dosage, so it’s dry, dry, dry.  Refreshing start to any evening.

ROEDERER ESTATE BRUT SPARKLING NV, Anderson Valley (California); #294181; Price: $28.95; 12.0% ABV
A blend of Chardonnay (60%) and Pinot Noir (40%).  Fermentation in stainless steel tanks.  No Malolactic fermentation.  Otherwise, it’s the traditional method.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment