If you don’t think of Australia when you think of Rieslings, maybe you should. In South Australia there is a wine region called the Clare Valley that specializes in Riesling, mostly the dry sort. This particular one comes from Watervale, a relatively high altitude site that has nice, cool evenings (a characteristic that Riesling grapes love). The Mitchell family, which includes Andrew and Jane and their son Angus, organically farm their estate owned vineyards. The 50 year old Riesling vines are dry farmed and the grapes are always hand-picked. The wine itself has a core of lime and a stony minerality that complement this bone dry, crisp Riesling. Extended contact with the lees lends a rather round mouth feel that balances out the wine’s crisp acidity. A great example of a wine that will pair wonderfully with many different cuisines. Cheers!
We got a great deal on this Pinot Noir and as I needed one for Thanksgivng dinner, I took a bottle home. It was a hit. In 1973, when Davis Bynum first released his small lot of single vineyard Pinot Noir from the famed Rochioli vineyard in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir was a relative stranger to the region, but the fickle grape thrived in the unique terroir. The first to produce single vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Davis Bynum was instrumental in bringing prestige to the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir growing region. Today, more than forty years later, the heritage of Davis Bynum lives on through the hand-crafted creation of single-vineyard wines like this one. Here is what the Wine Enthusiast said about it: “This wine opens with the fresh liveliness of stemmy earth and black tea notes, growing funkier and more herbal on the midpalate. Brightly layered and deeply flavored, it’s a full-bodied rendition that remains true to its variety. 91 Pts.”
Well as delicious as the 2015 Pierre Guillemot Bourgogne rouge is, I WAS tempted, but I just couldn’t write up another 2015 Bourgogne as my wine pick. (See what I did there.) I had a good reason for switching gears to Bordeaux: we finally got a long awaited staff pick back in stock in time for the Holidays. To sweeten the deal, we are now selling the 2012 vintage, which is even better than the 2011 that sold at least 25 cases—and for the same price! This “Bordeaux Superieur” (comprised of approximately two thirds Merlot and one third Cabernet Sauvignon) is elegant with a supple balance, yet dense enough to give it the necessary structure, and finally the hallmark refinement and lengthy finish; in short, everything and more that I look for in a Bordeaux at this price point. Founded in the 13th century and now owned and managed by the highly regarded Maison Sichel, this fine wine is modest enough to drink casually, but certainly special enough to dress up your Holiday table. A top value!
I have to thank my friends Josh and Stephanie for recommending this wine to me—they know I enjoy a glass of Viognier every now and then. Viognier is a white grape that is mostly grown in the Rhône region of France, and it is often used in the white blends of the Côtes du Rhône and Chateauneuf Du Pape. The Rhône region of Condrieu is where the grape truly shines and there are some spectacular Viogniers coming from there, although they are considerably more expensive than this one. The Maryhill comes from four different vineyard sites within the Columbia Valley AVA in Washington. On the nose, the wine shows white peach, a touch of orange blossom and the light floral note that Viognier is known for. On the palate, the wine shows nice acidity, but still maintains a creamy mouthfeel without being cloying. The wine has flavors of white peach, nectarine, honey, and orange zest, and will go well with a number of different cheeses (think brie or white stilton with apricots). It can also be paired with seafood. This wine will be a great addition to any holiday gathering. Happy Holidays!
This is the entry level Syrah for this Walla Walla winery founded in 2005 by Master Sommelier Greg Harrington and his wife Pam. In a previous life, Greg managed the wine programs for some of the top restaurants in New York. During a backyard tasting in Brooklyn hosted by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, both he and his wife were impressed by the earthy character and balance they found, characteristics neither had come to expect from American wines. The seed was planted, and a spring visit to Walla Walla followed by Greg working the harvest that fall, sealed the deal. Today, Gramercy Cellars is dedicated to operating as a small winery focused on quality, integrity and sustainability. This 2013 is the first Syrah from the wineries entry level Lower East series. It definitely over delivers for the price point. There’s an earthy component to the herb laced blueberry and cherry aromas, while the spicy fruit flavors are plush and ripe, but not overripe. Impeccably balanced, you get a bit of smoked meat and green olive on the silky finish. A shockingly good and very approachable wine.
Thanksgiving is coming up soon and I have a great bottle of wine to put on the dinner table, one that will go with the bird and all the fixin’s that come along with it. This wine is produced by Steve Matthiasson from Matthiasson Family Vineyards. At first glance it would appear that it is from Austria because of the clear one liter bottle with no punt and a crown cap; however, it is actually from the great state of California. To be exact, the Barbera, Aglianico and Montepulciano grapes that make up this wine come from the Windmill Vineyard in the Dunnigan Hills AVA. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks at cool temperatures, and then aged in neutral barrels with no sulfur added and no filtration. The Tendu Red has a light ruby color and portrays aromas of cherry, strawberry and pomegranate. On the palate it is fresh and lively with tart cherry and cranberry followed by a nice hit of spice on the finish. With an alcohol level of just 11.7 percent, this will pair wonderfully with just about anything you throw at it. Also, I’m sure that the extra wine in the one liter bottle will help it go a little further once Aunt Betty figures out how delicious it is. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!
Here at the wine shop we sell an awful lot of Grüner Veltliner. This crisp, clean, Austrian white is perfect for sipping, drinking or glugging. Most of them even come in a full liter bottle, not the more typical 750. What could be easier? Curiosity started nagging at me though, curiosity about Grüners with more dignity, Grüners from estates or single vineyards, Grüners that, with food, make a meal. Found one! This wine is precise and clean with a generous richness that is detailed and fine. It offers subtly gorgeous floral and fruit aromas with hints of fennel and grass. Good rounded depth, typical of the vintage. I’ll still sip, drink, and gulp those easy Grüners, but (as usual) I’m really happy I went exploring.
With Thanksgiving coming up soon, I was looking at the different Pinot Noirs that we carry around the wine shop, when I remembered the Left Coast Cellars. I have enjoyed the last two vintages of their White Pinot, and this 2016 is even better. Yes, it is a Pinot Noir, just with very little skin contact, so it is a beautiful, pale salmon color. Still a good wine to go with the traditional turkey dinner, it has flavors of Rainier cherry, peach and poached pear. Rich and broad, it offers bright, balancing acidity on the palate, with a lingering mineral finish. Try something different this year and surprise the relatives.