Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Picks: Vintages Release ─ April 28 2012

For a variety of reasons, the stars (or wines) didn’t all line up for My Picks so it’s a slightly slimmer selection (just 10) this week.

The main theme is “Veneto”, a region that I like and that too many consumers overlook, or just think Amarone.  The pick of the theme is a Valpolicella Classico, which is an ideal wine for springtime drinking and comes at a great price.

The secondary theme is “New Zealand Whites” and a biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc is first up.


SERESIN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010, Marlborough (New Zealand); #735043; Price: $21.95; 14.0 ABV
A blend of Sauvignon Blanc (94%) and Semillon (6%).  Handpicked from 3 different vineyards, each fermented separately using wild yeast; the Semillon and 10% of the Sauvignon Blanc fermented in aged French barriques, then blended.  Certified organic with BioGro New Zealand; biodynamically certified by Demeter.

Off the Beaten Track


DUCKHORN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010, Napa Valley (California); #94375; Price: $28.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of Sauvignon Blanc (75%) and Sémillon (25%).  Fermented for 21 days, 15% in new oak.  Aged 5 months on its lees in French oak barrels.  Drink this year.

FINCA EL ORIGEN RESERVA TORRONTÉS 2010, Cafayate Valley (Salta, Argentina); #262089; Price: $14.95; 14% ABV
100% Torrontés Riojano.  Fermented for 21 days.  A great aperitif.


SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE MALBEC 2009, Mendoza (Argentina); #79798; Price: $21.95; 14.5% ABV
A blend of Malbec (95%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (5%).  Hand harvested.  Fermented using selected yeasts with 30-days maceration, followed by Malolactic fermentation.  Aged 13 months in French oak (80% first-use, 20% second-use).

CHÂTEAU SIGNAC CUVÉE TRADITION CHUSCLAN 2009, AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages (France); #252288; Price: $16.95; 14.4% ABV
A blend of Syrah (45%), Carignan (30%), and Grenache (25%).  Hand harvested.  Fermented in cement vats with local yeasts for 12 days.  Aged 12 months in tanks.  No oak!  Fire up the grill and throw on some meat.

TELIANI VALLEY 2006, Mukuzani (Georgia); #181271; Price: $16.95
100% Saperavi, a variety that’s common to most of the former USSR.  Known for its acidity and ability for long aging.  So the 2006 vintage should be right on time!  Aged in oak barrels for 12 months.  The vintner recommends grilled veal or ham.

MONTE DEL FRÁ TENUTA LENA DI MEZZO 2008, DOC Valpolicella Classico Superiore (Veneto, Italy); #272500; Price: $15.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of Corvina (80%) and Corvinone (20%).  Fermentation in stainless steel vats, followed by Malolactic fermentation.  Aged in French oak casks for 12 months.  An extremely versatile wine for food matching; a slow roasted chicken on the grill seems ideal.  Capable of aging but great now.  Best value in the release.

QUINTA DO ATAIDE ALTANO RESERVA 2008, DOC Douro (Portugal); #273573; Price: $28.95; 14.0% ABV
100% Touriga Nacional, the signature grape of Douro if not all Portugal.  Hand harvested.  Fermented in stainless steel vats with prolonged maceration.  Aged 10 months in French oak barrels.  A wine to put away for a winter stew.

BORSAO TRES PICOS GARNACHA 2009, DO Campo de Borja (Spain); #273748; Price: $19.95
100% Garnacha.  Fermented in stainless steel tanks.  Maceration for 21 days.  BBQ ribs!


100% Glera (aka Prosecco).  Fermented in steel tanks. Second fermentation using the Charmat (closed tank) method.  Drink now.

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