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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Summer Wine

September 15, 2010
Ah, irony... this is one of those times during the year when it becomes necessary to dry old Frank out. Which leaves me with time on my hands. Here's some summer favourites:

Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2007 Beppi in the Globe: "...has a classic pinot core of raspberry jam and beetroot carried on a silky light- to medium-bodied frame."  $23.95 in BC. New Zealand Pinot. Standout. You seldom run in to the really fine Pinot's. Never take a chance without a recommendation. This is among the 3 or 4 best I've tasted: from California South-Central Coast, Oregon Willamette Valley, Chile Casablanca Valley (Casas del Bosque -- heavenly one year and acidic and without the trademark berry flavours the next), even our own Okanagan once every something like 5 years. There's a quote from a high profile California winemaker that he once made a great Pinot Noir and has no idea how he did it.  Reference: The Heartbreak Grape: A Journey in Search of the Perfect Pinot Noir by Marq Devilliers

SEGURA VIUDAS - BRUT RESERVA One of the things Myra brought back from Spain was a fairly serious Cava habbit. Under control I think in that it shouldn't need a full fledged intervention. This Cava is on a lot of lists of best values. It's about $15. Cava is made in the tradition Champagne method (bottle fermentation creating finer bubbles that lift the aromas)
ORVIETO CLASSICO - MELINI This long time favourite is my choice for glass (or three) of wine in the Muskoka chair on the terrace. A suggestion of clover honey. Used to  be under $10 which also endeared it to me. A subtle sipper -- trebianno from the vineyards nearest the village of Orvieto. There's also a Rufino Orvieto Classico which has a bit of a pungent flavour maybe from too long on the skin and stems which I don't care for. The 09s are on the shelves now which is pretty young but won me over. The 08 was especially nice I thought and interestingly if you came across a 07 when there were a few left, it would also have a bit of that pungent thing... best young.
SAUVIGNON BLANC - SANTA RITA 120 Myra's vote for best sipper and this is a serious food wine.. lemon lime, this is not wine with training wheels... Beppi: "Sauvignon Blanc...  also is a great source of cabernet's white relative (parent vine, actually), and Santa Rita 120 Sauvignon Blanc is a standout value. Herbaceous, and zesty and plump with citrus-tropical fruit, this fresh, light-bodied white is good for shellfish, lighter vegetable dishes such as poached asparagus, and even a variety of cheeses. Runner-up: Les Fumées Blanches from France, a whiff of delicate, elegant Sancerre at about half the price.
YECLA - CASTANO LA CASONA 2007 At $9.50 this may be the biggest bargain ever at the LCB.  Truly an amazing value. "A terrific red with earthy, European guts, it tastes like it was handcrafted rather than blended in a factory. And it's under 10 bucks! For connoisseurs who follow the numbers, I'm heartened to report that it scored 89 out of 100 points in Robert Parker's hugely influential Wine Advocate newsletter and received 88 points from Stephen Tanzer, another American who is no slouch at the spittoon. That's remarkable arithmetic for a wine that sells for so little… Though the wine has bright berry flavours and a hint of sweet oak, don't expect fruit-bomb character along the lines of many inexpensive Australian shirazes. This medium-bodied red has “Europe” stamped boldly on its rump, with impressive layers of licorice, violet and herbs. The texture, though relatively smooth, ends with a satisfying tug of acidity.” - Beppi Crosariol, Globe And Mail, 100% old vines monastrell (mourvedre) from the Spanish east coast district of Yecla.

CHATEAU de SERAME Flavours of the Languedoc and fond memories of our explorations in the area last fall. This is one of the primo apellations in an area famous for vast quantities of tanker wine. Corbieres another. This 2007 reserve du chateau 50% mourvedre , 38% grenache, 12% carignan was terrific: had this authentic quality from the crystals in the bottom to the dynamite complex flavours. Soooo good. The real deal.
Minervois A staple of Parisian brasseries, Minervois wine comes from a prime district of the sunny, southern Languedoc-Roussillon region. Usually blended from red varieties such as carignan, grenache, syrah and mourvèdre, it's hearty and often brimming with spiciness and the wild-herb essence the French call garrigue
COSTERS DEL SEGRE CHARDONNAY ALBARINO - RAIMAT 06/07  White wine made from the albarino grape was a favorite in Spain.    The only albarino we've found in the stores here is this chardonnay albarino blend. Distinctive characteristics marked acidity, terrific food wine when a sauvignon blanc isn't the thing.