Top 10 wines in the US press
Will Lyons picks out a “simply stunning” white wine as a perfect pairing on salad days, while Eric Asimov recommends a “pure, lively and energetic” Santa Barbara Chardonnay.
With warmer weather rapidly approaching, Lyons tackles the tricky subject of matching wine with salads and vegetarian food. He wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “It just so happens that most wine-and-food absolute write-offs are based around vegetables. Asparagus is a notoriously difficult customer, leaving white wine tasting a little metallic. A partially ripe tomato can strip a red wine of all its charm, while spinach, artichokes and even sweet carrots can cause problems.
“Nuts are generally good accompaniments to most aperitifs, but woe betide the wine lover who attempts to pair dry roasted peanuts with wine. Perhaps this is why wine lovers tend to approach the conundrum of matching wine with vegetarian dishes with such trepidation.”
Lyons added: “With any pairing, one is looking for harmony. The flavour of neither the wine nor the food should overpower one another.” He also told his readers: “The important point is to match the intensity of the wine with the intensity of the dish.”
Meanwhile in the New York Times, Asimov features Californian Chardonnay, writing that the wine “seldom makes a wine lover’s pulse these days.” But, he adds, “quietly, the formula for California Chardonnay, if such a thing can be said to exist, has been recalibrated. The stereotype of an almost sweet oak-rimmed butter bomb with its cornucopia of tropical fruit flavours has given way (or at least made room) for something much finer, leaner and more energetic.”
Click through the following pages to find out which wines these, and other writers in the US press, have recommended over the last week.
2009 Paul Jaboulet Ainé Crozes Hermitage ‘Les Jalets’
Writing in the LA Times, Irene Virbila recommends this wine, she wrote: “The taste is redolent of spice and blackberries, smoke and something brambly and wild. A close but less glamorous cousin of Hermitage, the 2009 Crozes Hermitage “Les Jalets” from Jaboulet is made from 25-year-old vines. The grapes come mostly from ‘Les Jalets’ vineyard, named after the old French word for the pebbles left by Alpine glaciers.”
Virbila added: “This is a Crozes Hermitage that can stand up to grilled meats. Skip the heavy barbecue sauce, though. I love it with Provencal-style daube of beef with black olives. Butterflied leg of lamb would be a fine match too.”
Eberle Cotes du Robles, 2008
Michael Petersen, writing in the LA Daily News, picks out this as his “red wine of the week”.
He wrote: “A blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah, this wine is layered with powerful and savoury fruit. This California wine from Paso Robles is deep purple in colour, and features a playful assortment of berry flavours on the palate.”
2004 Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Champagne
In the Miami Herald, Fred Tasker wrote that the US is still the world’s number one “wine-quaffing” country, adding that, “we’re pulling further ahead of Europe in consumption, but are seeing increased competition from China”.
Tasker also wrote that the data from Vinexpo revealed that wine drinkers in the US “love Champagnes and sparkling wines, with consumption up 18% between 2007 and 2011.” He recommends this Champagne on the back of that, which he describes as “lively, long-lasting bubbles, intense flavours of ripe peaches, golden apples and citrus, spicy finish.”
Henry Natter 2010, Sancerre
Dave MacIntyre wrote about Sauvignon Blanc in the Washington Post, telling his readers: “To understand the impact of climate on wine, look to Sauvignon Blanc.”
He added: “Sauvignon Blanc expresses climate and terroir quite clearly: the grassy, exotic flavours of a cold climate and the tropical fruit flavours in warmer areas.”
MacIntyre wrote of this wine: “Concentrated red-currant flavours are tinged with a hint of smoke from chalky Kimmeridgian soils in the western part of Sancerre. Textbook, and delicious.”
Tyrrell’s Wines Vat 1 Hunter Semillon
This is the wine that the Wall Street Journal‘s Will Lyons picks out as a salad or vegetarian match, he wrote: “If you are planning a more ambitious vegetarian dish, it might be worth investing in this serious white wine from Australia’s Hunter Valley.”
He add: “This example from Tyrrell’s Wines sits in the glass with a pale golden hue and the nose has a gentle, lemony character. Once sipped it is incredible how youthful this wine is. Coupled with its mineral complexity, one has a very serious wine indeed. This will cellar for many more years yet and is simply stunning.”
2010 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
In the Chicago Tribune, Bill St John features Vino Nobile di Montepulciano which, he writes, “sweeps the Tuscan trifecta: It’s all, or predominantly, made of the great grape Sangiovese; it’s terrific with food; and it’s Tuscan.”
In regards to this wine, he wrote: “True to the winery’s aim, this all-Sangiovese Vino Nobile offers up gobs of pretty, bright red fruit aromas and tastes, with subtle grace notes of wood, menthol and balsamic; tangy acidity and soft tannins have an eye on food of many stripes; great price for all it gives.”
Sandhi Santa Barbara County 2011
This wine was ranked number of the Californian Chardonnays tasted by Eric Asimov’s tasting panel in the New York Times, he described it as “pure, lively and energetic with lean texture and fresh flavours.”
Asimov added: “Of the top six wines, three were from new Santa Barbara producers. Our favourite was the lively and energetic 2011 Sandhi Santa Barbara County, made by the team of Rajat Parr (a superstar sommelier), Sashi Moorman (a winemaker) and Charles Banks (a wine executive), whose stated goal is wines of finesse and balance. At $23, this was also our best value.”
Liquid Farm, Santa Rita Hills White Hill 2011
This wine was also given three stars by Asimov’s tasting panel, he wrote: “Jeff and Nikki Nelson, the proprietors of Liquid Farm, say they were inspired by cool-climate, low-alcohol Old World wines. Their wine, the savoury 2011 Liquid Farm White Hill from the Santa Rita Hills, was our number two bottle.”
He described the wine as “youthful and well balanced, with savoury citrus flavours that linger.”
Charles Krug Sauvignon Blanc, St. Helena-Napa Valley 2012
Sandra Silfven recommends this white wine in the Detroit News, she wrote; “Charles Krug is the first winery established in Napa Valley — in 1861 — and since 1943 has been in the hands of the Mondavi family. Owner Peter Mondavi, brother of the late Robert Mondavi, will turn 99 during the 2013 harvest. He still goes to work every day.”
Of this wine she added: “Imagine what you get when you mix together citrus, grapefruit and melon: Tart! Crisp! Dry! Throw in passionfruit, lime and orange blossom and you have the 2012 vintage of this iconic Sauvignon Blanc. What a fine wine for seafood.”
Isabel Mondavi 2011 Carneros Chardonnay
Paul Gregutt recommends this wine to his readers in the Seattle Times, he wrote: “Whole-cluster-pressed, barrel-fermented and crisply defined with lively acidity, this is a sleek, fruit-driven, 21st-century style of Napa chardonnay. Versatile and age-worthy, it tasted best with several hours of breathing time.”