About this Blog

The blog focuses on the essence of wine and food, not how many points or stars it receives. The opinions are mine and should be taken only as that, an opinion not gospel.

Like many collectors, initially I was very much influenced by wine ratings. I purchased wines based on points, even if I had never tasted the wine. And it was much worse than that. I would drink a wine with a high rating, not like it, yet since it was highly rated I’d rationalize that I did not yet appreciate the wine, or that my palate was not sophisticated enough to understand the wine. How’s that for lunacy? As a result my cellar grew in all directions while my palate narrowed. By the time I realized the style of wine that I enjoyed, my cellar abounded with wines whose styles I did not enjoy. All of these wines were very highly rated, just not my cup of tea, or glass of wine to be more accurate. Fortunately I was able to sell many of these wines to those who either enjoyed them or wanted highly rated wines. Don’t misunderstand, I am not against wines with high ratings, in fact I own many. It is just that I now purchase wines based on the producer, the style and my palate, not the rating. Nor do I shun reading reviews. I very much respect Antonio Galloni, Alan Meadows, Eric Asimov and John Gilman and read their reviews routinely. I pay attention to what they write, not the points they award.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Recent Discoveries Under $40 Part 2 – Red & Rosé Wines

Wow, this post, part 2 of Recent Discoveries Under $40 is a bit late.  I hope you find it worth the wait.

If you like Rosé wines, here are four worth seeking out.  If you don’t like Rosé, these could well change your mind.

2012 Cantina Terlano Lagrein Rosé. A 24-grower cooperative located in the Alto Adige region of Italy, with a primary focus on white wine, the winemaking tradition at Terlano dates back more than 2,000 years. Located in the Dolomite Mountains, in the foothills of the Alps, Terlano’s distinctive location and extraordinary terroir are the keys to the development of these stunning wines.  This glorious Rosé is an example.  It reminded me of Valentini Cerasuolo ant 1/4th the price tag. The wine has great depth and focus on the palate with a lengthy and seductive finish.  It is made from 100% Lagrein, a native red grape of Alto Adige, Italy.  One of the best Rosé’s I have ever had.  $18 New York Wine Warehouse.

The Cassis region of Provence in Southeastern France is located between Marseilles and Bandol on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and is known for it’s white and Rosé wines.  The wines are full-bodied with balanced acidity and enticing herbal bouquets.  They are inexpensive drink beautifully whether sipping by the pool, or accompanying fish.

2013 Domaine du Bagnol Cassis Rosé.  This is a grown-up Rosé.  It possesses a Salmon colored hue, intoxicating fruity bouquet and a round and delicious palate marked by superb acidity. The wine is a blend of Grenache (55%), Mourvedre (31%) and Cinsault (14%).  Of the 40,000 bottles produced each year, only 6000 are allocated to the US market.    $24 Wine Searcher.

2012 Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rosé.  If I could only buy one Rosé, it would be this one.  One expects the great and expensive wines such as Barolo and Burgundy to evolve in the glass with each sip and seduce the palate in the process.  To expect this from a $30 Rosé may be asking a bit much, unless it is this wine.  That is what you get here.  It is everything the Bagnol is and then some.  The wine is comprised of the same grapes as the Bagnol, but in different percentages, 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 20% Mourvedre.  If you like Rosé, this is a must. $33 Wine Searcher.

Most people, when the hear Beaujolais usually think of Beaujolais Nouveau (Thanksgiving Wine).  I on the other hand think of Cru Beaujolais made by artisanal producers of the Loire Valley that craft glorious examples of the Gamay grape for a song.  I find them to be easy drinking wines with an earthy and peppery palate, good acidity, balance and the ability to age quite nicely.  Here are a few that I find to be amongst the top Cru Beaujolais produced.

2010 Thierry Puzelat VDT "Le Rouge est Mis"  $30
2010 Domaine des Billards Saint-Amour $20
2012 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie $20
2011 Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Py $35 

The commune of Chinon is located in France’s Loire Valley in the AOC appellation of Touraine.  The principal red grape of the area is Cabernet Franc.  Two of the regions’ iconic producers are Bernard Baudry and Olga Raffault.  Their wines are simply ethereal.  They can be approached relatively early upon release or held in the cellar for 2 or 3 decades. They possess a compelling bouquet of spicy laden soil, while on the palate the earthiness is complemented with pure fruit, soft tannins and a long elegant finish.  These are wines with soul at a bargain price.

2009 Bernard Baudry Chinon Domaine $17
2009 Bernard Baudry Chinon Le Clos Guillot $30
2009 Olga Raffault Chinon Champ Chenin $30
2005 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses $30

Readers of this blog know that I love Barolo and Barbaresco.  The Nebbiolo grape when produced in a traditional style by masters such as Conterno, Mascarello and Rinaldi provides a truly delicious and elegant wine experience.   The only negative(s) with these wines is that they are expensive and require 10+ years of aging on average before they can truly be enjoyed.  While I wait for these to mature I find that I can have my cake and eat it to by drinking Nebbiolo wines from Northern Piedmont.  While these wines do not possess the profound depth of an aged Barolo or Barbaresco, they are round and delicious wines with lots of old world style.  They exhibit purity of fruit, complexity, balance, finesse and a gorgeous finish.  They also represent some of the best values in wine today, im my opinion.  Try these and see for yourself.

2009 Produttori dei Carema $18
2009 Produttori dei Carema Riserva $27
2004 Petterino Gattinara $35
2010 Vallana Spanna Cuvee Bernardo Vallana $22
2004 Vallana Gattinara $30

Here are a few from Piedmont that are made by outstanding Barolo producers that are also worth looking into.  Many top Barolo producers make small quantities of Freisa each year.  Indigenous to Piedmont, the Freisa grape has lots of character and is a terrific every day drinking wine.

2010 Cavallotto Langhe Freisa Bricco Boschis $22
2009 G.D. Vajra Freisa Kyé $38
2010 G.D. Vajra di Aldo Langhe 
Rosso $18
2009 G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe $30
2012 Burlotto Verduno Pelaverga $19

Most of these wines are available locally.  I suggest using Wine-Searcher to locate them.


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