Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Quick Picks: Vintages Release: August 4 2012

It's a mixed bag in this week's release.  The main theme is "a summer lineup of blockbuster wines" with a pseudo-cinema theme.  To each his own, I guess, but when it comes to summer drinking, I'm not looking for "blockbusters".  I'm looking for lighter, easy-drinking wines that go well with hot, hot days and cooler evenings out on the patio.

There's also a secondary theme on German single-estate wines.  Now, I'm a big fan of German wines and I dearly wish that Vintages would bring in many more than what shows up.  But why-oh-why do they all have to be the same "medium" sweetness?!  Germany makes some delicious bone-dry Rieslings.  But they are as rare as hen's teeth at Vintages.  Give us variety!  What a disappointment.

So, I've come up with my own theme for this release.  All of this week’s picks are ideal for summertime drinking.  The whites are light- to medium-bodied, with refreshing acidity.  Great on their own but they are all Old World wines that go great with food as well.  The reds are also light-to-medium bodied, except for a bigger one from Douro.  The rosés, of course, are all what they should be:  extra-dry and young.  And, except for a Cabernet Franc from Niagara, they're all under $20.

Nothing organic this week.

Off the Beaten Track 


STEININGER GRÜNER VELTLINER 2010, Kamptal (Austria); #280842; Price: $14.95; 12.5% ABV
Simply Gruener to its fans, it’s the signature varietal of Austria.  Light-bodied by modern standards…crisp…a perfect summer patio wine.  Drink alone or with grilled white fish or chicken.

KÖNIGSCHAFFHAUSEN TROCKEN PINOT GRIS 2011, Kaiserstuhl (Baden, Germany); #597500; Price: $13.95; 13.0% ABV
A touch of nostalgia for all of us who’ve been lucky enough to live in the Black Forest.  It’s what the locals call Grauburgunder or, sometimes, Rulander.

TERRE DORA 2010, DOCG Fiano di Avellino (Campania, Italy); #120048; Price: $18.95; 13.0% ABV
Fiano:  it’s another one of those delicious southern Italian whites that brings the aromas and flavours of tree fruit (think apricots and peaches) along with great minerality.

ABAD DOM BUENO GODELLO 2010, DO Bierzo (Spain); #154302; Price: $14.95; 13.0% ABV
What the Portuguese call Verdelho, the Spanish call Godello.  But the Portuguese also call it Gouveio…and some Spaniards call it Verdello.  Confused yet?  Just drink it.  This one’s from Beirzo, up in the northwest corner of Spain.   Look for tree fruit and minerality.


FIELDING ESTATE CABERNET FRANC 2010, VQA Niagara Peninsula; #36194; Price: $21.95; 13.0% ABV
Poor Cab Franc, nobody gives it any respect.  But it’s a delicious wine that’s just right for summertime drinking with red berry fruit and fresh herbaceousness that's perfect with grilled veggies and pork.

JEAN-PAUL BRUN TERRES DORÉES 2010, AC Côte de Brouilly (Beaujolais); #235127; Price: $18.95; 12.5% ABV
A Cru Beaujolais from one of the very best producers who specializes in the classic style.  What a deal!

DOMAINE LES YEUSES LES ÉPICES SYRAH 2009, IGP Pays d’Oc (Languedoc, France); #177584; Price: $13.95; 13.5% ABV
Syrah from Languedoc, with « spices » on the label?  Good enough for me! BEST VALUE IN THIS RELEASE.

PODERI COLLA PIAN BALBO 2010, DOC Dolcetto d'Alba (Piedmont, Italy); #285494; Price: $16.95; 12.0% ABV
Known for its great acidity, here’s a Dolcetto with loads of berry flavours from one of the best regions.  Meant to be drunk young.

QUINTA DE VENTOZELO TOURIGA NACIONAL 2008, DOC Douro (Portugal); #657452; Price: $18.95; 14.0% ABV
This week’s only big wine would be great with a mixed grill of beef and game.


WILDASS ROSÉ 2011, VQA Niagara Peninsula; #71712; Price: $19.95; 12.5% ABV
God only knows what’s in this one! [Update: They tell me it's mostly Cabernet Franc and Gamay.]  But I love their wines so I’m in.

DOMAINE CORNE-LOUP ROSÉ 2011, AC Tavel (Southern Rhone, France); #71209; Price: $16.95; 13.5% ABV
More delicious Rosé from the folks who do nothing but.  Try it with grilled sausages, like merguez.

PARDEVALLES PRIETO PICUDO ROSADO 2011, DO Tierra de León (Spain); #274449; Price: $12.95; 13.5% ABV
A rare grape variety from a little-known region.  It's perfect!

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