November 14, 2011 |
Don't recognize the Beaujolais cru called Régnié? That's probably because it's the youngest, established only in 1988, and not as well known as Morgon or Fleury. Vines grown in sandy soil produce a wine that's round and supple, with light, graceful tannins. Burgaud's Vallières comes from 50-year-old vines. The result is an elegant, refined Beaujolais that hints at Burgundy. Vivid and quick, it is Gamay at its best with tastes of cherries and sweet spices. And it's a terrific value.
February 2, 2012 |
Celestino Lucin, winemaker for Abbazia di Novacella, an abbey in Italy's Alto Adige region that dates to 1142, is renowned for his white wines. This Sylvaner from the 2010 vintage is no exception. The grapes are grown on steep hillsides surrounding the abbey. Yields are low. And the result is this complex Sylvaner with a flowery bouquet and mineral undertow. It tastes of honey and pear, and its crisp acidity makes it an ideal food wine. Drink it with steamed mussels or clams, vegetable soups and grilled fish.
February 23, 2012 |
The Antinori family now counts 26 generations in the wine business in Tuscany, Italy. That's quite a history. But in the Napa Valley, it's much shorter. Though Marchese Piero Antinori bought an estate on Atlas Peak in the 1980s, the family produced its first wine, a Cabernet, only in 2001. The 2009 Antica Chardonnay is one of the finest Chardonnays I've tasted recently from California. I love its minerality and bright acidity, the light touch with oak. Each sip reveals something different - citrus, smoke, stone.
January 27, 2011 |
2004 Alejandro Fernandez 'Dehesa La Granja' Yet another stunning, value-priced wine from Alejandro Fernandez and his Grupo Pesquera, the 2004 Dehesa La Granja is 100% Tempranillo from 13-year-old vines. That's young by Spanish standards, yet this unfiltered medium-bodied red is lush and complex, with deep flavors of blackberries and plums, herbs and a touch of smoke. Tannins are mellow, and the finish lingers. Drink it now or wait awhile. But somehow I don't think this bottle is going to be hanging around in anybody's cellar for long.
July 28, 2011 |
Say what? A Sauvignon Blanc from Burgundy? Under $15? I was skeptical. But when I tasted the 2009 Saint-Bris from Domaine Bersan, I understood why Saint-Bris is the only appellation in Burgundy where the required grape is Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp and bone dry, Bersan's Saint-Bris has an enticing minerality and a light touch of citrus. Perfect summer drinking at an incredible price for the quality. Bring on the oysters! Serve it as a cool refreshing aperitif or with smoked salmon or a whole grilled fish.
September 17, 2008 |
Better break out two bottles of this superb Rioja, not just one, because this beauty tends to disappear fast. Luscious and full-bodied, the 2005 Artadi Vinas de Gain starts out strong and just keeps going. It has everything you'd want in a Tempranillo -- balance, finesse, fire and an indefinable earthy character. Bring on your best ribs, your grilled porterhouse or calf's liver. This wine can stand up to red meat. It's great with any or all parts of the pig too. -- Quick swirl Region: Rioja.
November 16, 2005 |
This Viognier is a beauty. It carries a scent of white peaches and flowers. It's all silk in the mouth, soft and lush with a bright point of acidity that keeps things interesting. It comes from Southern, not Northern, Rhone, specifically from the Cotes du Rhone Village of Beaumes-de-Venise, better known for the sweet Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise than for Viognier. But this remarkable Viognier "La Tabardonne" from Domaine Saint-Amant blows most Condrieu -- the famous Viognier of the Northern Rhone -- out of the water.
March 3, 2004 |
For the last decade, Chappellet has been making a marvelous Chenin Blanc from vines planted in 1962 on the steeply terraced slopes of Pritchard Hill. Aged in small oak barrels, it has the heft and weight of a Chardonnay but a character all its own. Extravagantly perfumed with citrus, its taste is complex and alluring, with a tart minerally finish. Serve it chilled, with seared scallops, fried shrimp or trout sauteed in butter. It has enough verve to stand up to lobster or crab too.
August 27, 2008 |
I opened a bottle of Atalayas de Golban the other night to have with a rack of lamb. The combination of Tinto Fino (the local Tempranillo) and lamb is classic and sublime. And this Ribera del Duero from Madrid wine merchant Miguel Sanchez and winemaker Bertrand Sourdais is a beauty. The grapes come from Sanchez's second property, Atalayas de Golban (his first is Dominio de Atauta -- famous and much more expensive). Atalayas comes in at a terrific price for such a graceful and irresistible Ribera del Duero.
June 23, 2011
2009 Domaine Chignard Fleurie 'Les Moriers' If the only Beaujolais you've ever encountered is Beaujolais Nouveau and you've never tasted a Beaujolais cru, then this is the wine to make you fall head over heels for the region. Unfined and unfiltered, Domaine Chignard's Fleurie "Les Moriers" from the great 2009 vintage carries the scent of wild sweet strawberries. It's so lush and vivid, tasting of blueberries, black cherries and plums. The vines average 60 years old, so this is some deep fruit underpinned with soft tannins.