Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quick Picks: Vintages Release ─ July 21 2012

More quick picks for the summer, when the livin’ is easy.  And I (try to) keep time at the computer to a minimum.

Great main theme for this release:  the wines of Victoria, the Australian state that radiates out from the coolest city in Oz (Melbourne).  Love the wines of the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula.  I’ve picked a Pinot Noir – it’s what Victoria does best – and a Tempranillo, one of my favourite grape varieties.  Can’t wait to see how it does in Victoria.

The other theme of this week’s release made me laugh:  Why We Love the Loire.  If neglect is love, then OK.  I can’t think of a major wine region that more under-represented at Vintages than is the Loire, although Beaujolais comes a close second.  Oh well, maybe the tide is turning.


BONTERRA VIOGNIER 2010, Mendocino County (California); #128900; Price: $19.95; 13.9% ABV
One of my favourite warm climate grape varieties – Viognier – that thrives in California.  And it’s from one of the oldest certified organic wineries.

SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE ORGANIC CABERNET FRANC ROSÉ 2011, VQA Niagara Peninsula; #279117; Price: $19.95; 11.0% ABV
Southbrook is rapidly becoming one of my favourite producers…consistently good!

Off the Beaten Track


FIELDING VIOGNIER 2010, VQA Niagara Peninsula; #142323; Price: $25.95; 13.5% ABV
Yup, more Viognier. Try it, you’ll like it!

KEN FORRESTER RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2010, WO Stellenbosch (South Africa); #231282; Price: $17.95; 14.5% ABV
For many years, Chenin Blanc was the workhorse wine of South Africa with little of quality to show for it.  But the last decade has seen great improvements.  If you know Chenin Blanc from the Loire (one of my favs), see what a different terroir can do.

HIEDLER GRÜNER VELTLINER TROCKEN LANGENLOIS THAL 1ER CRU 2010, Kamptal (Austria); #285056; Price: $23.95; 12.0% ABV
100% Grüner Veltliner.  Known for its citrus, herbal, and white pepper aromas and flavours, with great minerality.  A great summer wine, perfect with grilled whitefish.

DOMAINE SIGALAS ASSYRTIKO/ATHIRI 2010, PDO Santorini (Greece); #276535; $16.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of 2 indigenous grape varieties:  Assyrtiko (75%) and Athiri (25%).  Fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks.  I tasted this wine at the Santorini winery in September 2011.  Pale yellow with a delicate citrus and floral nose.  Lemon-lime with a hint of white peach on the palate.  The minerality comes through on the back palate.  Fresh acidity; it makes a great match for grilled seafood or chicken.  Drinkable now but capable of aging.

MARTÍN CÓDAX ALBARIÑO 2010, DO Rias Baixas (Spain); #984906; Price: $16.95; 13.0% ABV
Albarino, the white grape from that piece of northwest Spain that sits on top of Portugal.  Another crisp citrus-y wine that’s ideal for this summer's drinking.


MICHAEL DAVID PETITE PETIT 2009, Lodi (California); #213017; Price: $24.95; 14.5% ABV
A blend of Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot.  Unusual!  Great with grilled meat.

DE BORTOLI WINDY PEAK PINOT NOIR 2010, Yarra Valley (Australia); #48587; Price: $17.95; 13.0% ABV
Pinot Noir from the ideal cool climate around Melbourne.  Meant for early drinking.

TAR & ROSES TEMPRANILLO 2011, Heathcote and Alpine Valley; #280198; Price: $24.95; 13.0% ABV
Tempranillo, the signature Riojan grape variety – and personal favourite – finds another new home down under.  Must try it.

LAURENT GAUTHIER GRAND CRAS VIEILLES VIGNES 2010; AC Morgon (Beaujolais); #279059; Price: $15.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Gamay.  If there’s another red wine that’s perfect for summer, I haven’t found it.  Perfect when chilled.


DOMAINE MABY LA FORCADIÈRE TAVEL ROSÉ 2011, AC Tavel (Southern Rhone); #701318; Price: $15.95; 13.5% ABV
Crisp and extra dry; mostly Grenache.

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