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Top 10 wines in the US press

Raúl Pérez Bierzo Vico 2010

In the New York Times, Eric Asimov once again led a tasting panel, this time through Bierzos wines. He wrote: “We have tasted Bierzos several times over the last eight years. In the past we’ve been thrilled by the unusual qualities of these wines, and by our own sense of discovery. We’ve observed Bierzo, an ancient wine region yet new to the world of international wine commerce, as it navigated the intricacies of global business, wavering between a desire to appeal to established popular tastes and a devotion to what made the wines distinctive in the first place.”

In describing this wine he added: “Number one wine, the 2010 Vico from Raúl Pérez. Mr. Pérez is one of the superstar winemakers in northwestern Spain, and his wines always show great purity and definition. This wine was burlier than his more graceful Ribeira Sacra wines, an excellent example of mencía made in a slightly warmer climate, with fruit flavours buttressed by mineral and oak accents. Yes, it was beautifully balanced, and it will reward a few more years of ageing. At $35, this was one of Mr. Pérez’s more modestly priced wines. Other cuvées can soar past $90 or $100.

“Dense and burly, with lingering, stony flavours of red and purple fruits cushioned by well-integrated oak.”

Losada Bierzo El Pájaro Rojo Mencía 2011

This wine was voted second by Asimov and his New York Times tasting panel, he wrote: “Our number two wine, the 2011 El Pájaro Rojo from Losada, was a juicy, fruity, structured wine with spicy, herbal notes unburdened by flavours of oak, unpretentious and pleasurable. At $16, it was our best value.”

2012 Abbazia di Novacella Stitftskellerei Neustift Kerner

Irene Virbila recommended this wine in the LA Times, telling her reader not to “let the long name of this beautiful Italian white wine scare you off. Just remember Abbazia di Novacella and Kerner.”

She added: “The wine is gold, very clean, very flowery yet crisp and appealing. I’ve enjoyed it with soba, sushi and cured salmon. It also goes nicely with spaghetti alla bottarga or with any other seafood pasta or risotto.”

Goats Do Roam, Western Cape, Rose 2012

This was Rebecca Murphy’s “wine of the week” in the Dallas Morning News. She wrote: “Goats Do Roam is a play on the name of the French wine appellation Côtes du Rhône. Charles Back, third-generation owner of the Fairview wine estate in South Africa, may have a sense of humour, but he is quite serious about the quality of his wine.”

She added: “The 2012 rosé is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Gamay Noir. It is an intense rosé with concentrated strawberry and cherry fruit, with a spicy hint of black pepper animated with tangy acidity. Enjoy it with a taco salad or spicy salumi.”

HandCraft Cabernet Sauvignon California 2011, $12.99

This is one of the wines recommended this week by Sandra Silfven in the Detroit News. She wrote: “This is a softer style Cab with cherry, chocolate and mocha notes, and added structure and berry flavours from a splash of Sangiovese. Proprietor Cheryl Indelicato writes on the back label: ‘… The wines are like me, with a California home and a touch of Italian heritage.” The eye-catching label features a playful swirl of grapes, leaves and birds that looks handcrafted.’”

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Petite Sirah California 2011, $10

Silfven also recommended this wine, writing: “It’s a cliche, but there’s nothing petite about Petite Sirah, even at this friendly price. This one from Ravenswood has muscle, structure, tannins, acidity. Call it a ragin’ red! It’s 76% Petite Sirah with an extra boost from Carignane, Syrah and other dark grape varieties. It’s a good buy.”

Giacomo Fenocchio Roero Arneis 2012

In the Washington Post Dave McIntyre picked wines “to help you cling to the vestiges of summer — or embrace the autumn.”

In describing this wine he wrote: “Exotic and compelling, a botanical garden in a glass, this outstanding wine made me want to turn down the lights, crank up an opera and have a good cry. All this from a white wine. Serve slightly chilled. Alcohol by volume: 13.5%.”

Browne Family Vineyards Red Blend 2010

McIntyre also picked out this wine, writing: “A stylish blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, it’s a lovely example of what Washington state can accomplish. I appreciate the light touch with the oak that allows the fruit to shine through. This wine can often be found at a lower price, making it an even better value. ABV: 13.6%.”

Heitz Cellar Napa Valley Grignolino Rosé ($19, 13.5%)

In the San Francisco Chronicle Jon Bonné described this as “one of Napa’s lesser-known classics, pink edition.”

He added: “The legendary Joe Heitz inherited the Italian grape Grignolino (presumably Grignolino; midcentury vine mysteries abound in California) when he bought his vineyard in 1961 from Leon Brendel. It’s been part of the Heitz story ever since – in both rosé and red form – the sort of joyously refreshing wine that’s hard to find in modern Napa. The rosé is better than ever, full of strawberry blossom, mandarin orange, and peach. A quintessence of great Napa ground, with a humble purpose.”

1996 Krug

And finally in the Wall Street Journal, WIll Lyons wrote: “Vintage Krug is an unctuous, concentrated, powerful wine. Krug, regarded by many as the world’s finest Champagne house, produces its Champagne in small oak casks and it shows. The 1996 is especially powerful, with ripe fruit and a rich mouth-feel. It will last a good few years yet.

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