Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Picks: Vintages Release ─ May 26 2012

I wasn't too optimistic for My Picks when I saw the theme of this week's release at Vintages:  wines rated 90 points or higher.  First, I'm not a fan of scoring systems, which reduce a wine's qualities to a numerical score...and I'm an accountant.  (But perhaps I have a better sense than most of when numbers can be used intelligently.)  Wine is an analog product and isn't suited to a reductive digital evaluation.  That's a discussion for another day.  Second, high scores often mean over-priced wine.

But surprise! surprise! half of My Picks are from the main theme.  And 2 more are from the secondary theme:  Portugal's hotspots.


UMANI RONCHI MONTIPAGANO 2010, DOC Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (Italy); #134585; Price: $13.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Montepulciano.  Hand harvested.  Fermented in steel tanks for 10 days, followed by Malolactic conversion.  Aged in oak barrels.  Drink it this summer…chill slightly and serve with pizza off the grill.  Best value of the release too!

Off the Beaten Track


TRIMBACH RIESLING 2009, AC Alsace (France); #734517; Price: $18.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Riesling.  Extra-dry, the way it should be.  If you haven’t tried extra-dry Riesling from Alsace, here’s a great way to find out what you’ve been missing.  Look for aromas and flavours of white peach, quince, grapefruit and lemon, with lingering minerality.  Goes well with lots of different foods…pork, trout, sushi.


SEQUILLO CELLARS RED 2009, WO Swartland (South Africa); #277996; Price: $29.95; 14.5% ABV
Languedoc-style blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Carignan, and Cinsault.  Cold-soaked for 3 days in concrete and wood vats, followed by fermentation for 3 weeks and an additional maceration for 2 weeks…that’s going to be some dark wine!  Aged 24 months in larger (500- and 600-litre) barrels, 18 of those months on its lees.

MOMMESSIN LES GRIOTTES MORGON 2010, AC Beaujolais (France); #276402; Price: $17.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Gamay.  Hand harvested.  Semi-carbonic fermentation.  Aged in oak.  Excellent summer drinking with damn near anything off the grill.  Also capable of aging.

DI MAJO NORANTE RAMITELLO 2009, DOC Biferno Rosso (Molise, Italy); #973214; Price: $15.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of Montepulciano (80%) and Aglianico (20%).  Fermented on its skins for 1 month, followed by Malolactic conversion.  Aged in a combination of oak barrels and steel vats, then 6 months in bottle before release.  A wine to tuck away for a few years.

The next four wines are from the Iberian Peninsula, which consistently provides the best values in wines today...along with Italy and Languedoc.  Any of these versatile wines will be delicious with grilled beef or lamb in the summer, or braised dishes in the depth of winter.

CABRIZ RESERVA 2008, DOC Dão (Portugal); #21410; Price: $15.95; 13.7% ABV
A blend of 3 indigenous grape varieties:  Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, and Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo).  Aged 9 months in French oak barrels.  

PORCA DE MURÇA RESERVA TINTO 2008, DOC Douro (Portugal); #684753; Price: $16.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca.  Fermentation and maceration in stainless steel tanks.  Aged in new French and American oak for 12 months.

COTO DE IMAZ GRAN RESERVA 2001, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #976811; Price: $29.95; 13.5% ABV
100% Tem­pra­ni­llo from Rio­ja Al­ta.  Fermented in stain­less steel vats for 21 days.  Aged in Ame­ri­can- and French-oak casks for 24 months, fo­llo­wed by 36 months in the bottle before release.

LEALTANZA RESERVA 2005, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #276097; Price: $19.95; 13.5% ABV
100% Tempranillo.  Fermented in stainless steel tanks for 15 days, with 10 extra days of maceration, followed by Malolactic conversion in French oak vats.  Aged 18 months in French oak casks (1 or 2 years old), then 3 more months in French oak vats, followed by 15 months in the bottle.


DELAS FRÈRES SAINT-ESPRIT ROSÉ 2011, AC Côtes du Rhône (France); #224964; Price: $12.95; 12.5% ABV
A blend of Grenache (40%), Syrah (40%), and Cinsault (20%).  Maceration for 18 hours.  Blended and fermented for 8 days.  Aged in stainless steel.  Filtered.

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