Friday, October 12, 2012

Quick Picks: Vintages Release ─ October 13 2012

We’re just back from a month in Languedoc (more on that soon) and so while catching up on correspondence and all those other mundane tasks that pile up, there’s just enough time for a quick look at this week’s release at Vintages.

The primary theme, Aussie Artisans, is a good one.  Australia is home to some of the largest industrial wineries in the world.  Casella (makers of [yellow tail]) is just the most obvious example.  This theme gives a showcase to smaller, one-person or family-run wineries, where individuality and terroir can shine.  A couple of picks here, but you can’t go too far wrong with any of the choices in this theme.

Otherwise, the picks include 5 wines from France, 4 from the south.  Hmm, wonder how that happened?  Don’t miss the Picpoul.


DOMAINE CAZES EGO VIELLES VIGNES 2010, AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages (France); #77701; Price: $17.95; 14.0% ABV
A blend of Grenache (40%), Syrah (40%), and Mourvèdre (20%).  A classic representative of what Roussillon (just north of Catalonia) has to offer.  A can’t miss match with any braised meat.

Off the Beaten Track


BEAUVIGNAC PICPOUL DE PINET 2011, AC Coteaux de Languedoc (France); #350124; Price: $12.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Picpoul.  Don’t know Picpoul?  It’s a wonderfully simple wine, ideal with oysters and clams and mussels.  High acidity; hence the name, which means lip stinger.  A personal favourite, much consumed on our recent trip to Languedoc.  Drink now.  BEST VALUE.

PASCAL JOLIVET LES CAILLOTES 2010, AC Sancerre (Loire); #287086; Price: $31.95; 13.0% ABV
THE ideal in Sauvignon Blanc.  Not inexpensive, but worth the loonies.

CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL COUDOULET DE BEAUCASTEL BLANC 2011, AC Cotes du Rhône (Southern Rhone); #48892; Price: $33.95; 14.0% ABV
A wonderful blend of Marsanne, Viognier, Bourboulenc, and Clairette…bringing back the aromas of the fruits and flowers of southern France.  Matches well with seafood, chicken (or anything that tastes just like) and pork in an herb-based sauce. 

PRÀ CLASSICO 2011, DOC Soave (Veneto); #74534; Price: $19.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Garganega.  Soave is still struggling from a poor brand image.  But it can be a delicious wine…and Pra is one of the best producers.  Taste how good a Soave can be.  Drink soon.  Excellent with white fish.


BENMARCO MALBEC 2010, Mendoza (Argentina); #657601; Price: $17.95; 14.0% ABV
90% Malbec with 10% Bonarda.  It’s a standard from Susana Balbo.

PAXTON AAA SHIRAZ/GRENACHE 2010, McLaren Vale (Australia); #149898; Price: $19.95; 14.0% ABV
A blend of Shiraz (65%) and Grenache (35%).  A family-run winery, which is a good sign.  Michael Paxton says, “Expression of the vineyard in a glass.”  I’m in.

RED CLAW PINOT NOIR 2010, Mornington Peninsula (Australia); #296970; Price: $29.95; 14.0% ABV
Pinot Noir from the cool climate peninsula just south of the great city of Melbourne.

GUARDIAN PEAK SMG 2009, WO Stellenbosch (South Africa); #296681; Price: $19.95; 14.5% ABV
A blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Grenache.  From a family-run winery.  If you like wines from Languedoc, try this.

JEAN-LUC COLOMBO LES FÉES BRUNES 2009, AC Crozes Hermitage (Northern Rhone); #286351; Price: $24.95; 13.0% ABV
It’s Syrah from Northern Rhone, where (regrettably) bargains are hard to come by.  It’s supply and demand.  Match it with a dish featuring anise flavours.  Drink soon.  Oh, just one more question…the brown fairies?

FRASCOLE 2009, DOCG Chianti Rufina (Tuscany); #85167; Price: $16.95; 14.0% ABV
100% Sangiovese.  I know what you're thinking…Chianti is not off the beaten track.  Yes, but Chianti Rufina is, compared to Chianti Classico.  Ages better than Classico.  An excellent food wine, matches with damn near any simple, classic Tuscan (or any Italian) dish.  And a great value at this price.

PEDRO MARTÍNEZ ALESANCO RESERVA 2006, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #170092; Price: $17.95; 13.5% ABV
Of course, it can’t be My Picks without something from Spain.  A blend of Tempranillo (90%) and Garnacha (10%), aged in both American (the traditional approach) and French (the modern approach) oak.  Is it too late for a grilled steak?

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