Close Menu

Top 10 wines in the US press

2012 Gouguenheim Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

Colette Bancroft, writing in The Tampa Bay Times, recommended this “classic” wine from the Argentine region of Mendoza priced at a savvy $12.50.

She said: “The bouquet of this medium-bodied red, which is aged four months in oak, is complex and nuanced, with big blackberry accented by warm spice, a touch of chocolate cherry and a nice brambly edge. The same is true of its flavor profile, a spiky melange of blackberry, bramble, mocha and black currant, all well-structured with soft, round tannins. It finishes long with a big pop of black pepper at the end. All in all, this is a fine Malbec at a very good price.

“Pair it with a steak slathered in Argentine chimichurri sauce, a dark and rich lamb and wild mushroom ragu or smoky pit barbecue.”

Price: $12.50

Domaine de la Rosiere Jongieux 2012, Savoie, France

This “sprightly” white from the the French Alps was recommended by Rebecca Murphy, writing in the Dallas Morning News this week.

She said: “This week’s wine is from the Savoie, a lesser-known wine region in the Alps of eastern France near Lake Geneva. Jongieux is a village within Savoie, and if you see its name on the label of a white wine, it means that it’s made from the Jacquère grape.

“You don’t need to know any of this to enjoy this sprightly, fresh white wine with light floral, flinty and candied lemon zest aromas and lean, crisp, citrusy flavors with a hint of smoke. Try it with a grilled cheese sandwich or grilled shrimp.

“Domaine de la Rosière owns 33 acres of vines in two Savoie appellations. Grapes are hand-harvested and go through a long fermentation in stainless steel at cool temperatures. The wine has a tiny bit of fizz.”

Price: $12.99 to $15.99

Masseria Li Veli Valle d’Itria Verdeca, Tuscany, Italy

Jon Bonné, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, rounded up 20 wines for under $20 this week including this Italian Verdeca –  “a native Italian grape, returned to respectability.”

She said: “In 1999, the Falvo family of Tuscany’s Avignonesi launched Li Veli, restoring a 19th century property all the way down in Puglia. Most of Li Veli’s fare is standard for the heel of the boot – Negroamaro, Primitivo – but their Askos project aims to revive Salento’s traditional grapes.

“Verdeca is just that, often used for blending but on its own possessing a mix of exoticism – ripe honeydew, turmeric, gardenia – and a flinty, briny kick.”

Price: $16

Montesecondo Toscana Rosso, Tuscany, Italy

Another of Bonné’s under $20 wine recommendations was for this Tuscan red, which he said had “all the joys of Chianti, without the name.”

He said: “In the late 1990s, Silvio and Catalina Messana returned from New York to his family’s land in Tuscany. They began farming, eventually using biodynamics, to make great Chianti. But no Old World bias here: The Messanas also planted Merlot and Cabernet (their Rosso del Rospo is a fine example of the latter grape).

“This Rosso came about because one of their blends, a standard mix of Sangiovese and Canaiolo, was denied the official Chianti designation. No matter. Here’s a hybrid of old and new Tuscany; the Rosso is Chianti in all but name, exuding candied cherry, juniper and toasted rye seed. What great Chianti used to taste like.”

Price: $20

Dog Point Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand

Dave McIntyre, writing in the Washington Post, rated this New Zealand Pinot Noir “exceptional” with big fruit flavours.

He said: “From vineyards planted in 1979, among the first planted in the southern valleys off the Wairau plain, this outstanding wine offers bright flavors of red fruits, impeccable balance and a long, graceful finish.”

Price: $39

Neudorf Chardonnay 2011, Nelson, New Zealand

Another of McIntyre’s “exceptional” rated wine recommendations was this “delicious” Chardonnay made from what he said was a “warm, ripe vintage.”

He said: “The Chardonnay grape is grown mostly on the estate vineyards in the Moutere hills, pressed in whole bunches, then barrel-fermented and aged for about 12 months. The wine begins toasty with butterscotch, then turns mineral before yielding to intense orchard-fruit flavors.”

Price: $24

J Vineyards Misterra Pinot Noir Russian River 2012, US

Sandra Silfven raved over this Californian red which she said delivered a “unique” blend of Pinot Noir, Pinotage and Pinot Meunier perfect for “special guests”, writing in the Detroit News.

She said: “There is an unmistakable earthy, rustic personality to Pinotage — the signature red grape of South Africa, which is a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. And there is not much of it in this wine, but you know it’s there.

“Pinot Meunier is a black grape used in the production of sparkling wine. The Pinot Noir is the lead actor in this cast, with the intensity and flavors typical of Russian River. I love this wine because it’s so different — rarely does anybody blend Pinot Noir with other grapes for a non-sparkling wine. It’s got so much going on, it’s like a meal in a glass — intense berries, roasted meat, firm acidity, supple tannins. It’s a wine to pour for special guests. The name Misterra was the winning suggestion in a 2012 ‘name that wine” contest.’”

Price: $50

2001 Faustino I Tinto Rioja Gran Reserva, Rioja, Spain

Irene Virbila, writing in the LA Times, recommended the “distinguished” 2001 Faustino I Tinto Rioja Gran Reserva as her wine of the week, which she said also comes with an “inviting price”.

She said: “This is why Rioja is one of the best values in red wine right now. Where else could you find such a distinguished red from the 2001 vintage for less than $35? This isn’t something a shrewd wine merchant put away for a few years but the estate’s current release. And what a mature beauty it is — aromas of dried cherry and rose petals, flavors of dark berries and tobacco, ripe tannins and a long, inviting finish. A seamless package.

“It will go well with just about anything, but I’m thinking lamb — a roast or chops. If we were in Rioja, those baby chops would be grilled over vine cuttings and would be just the thing to show off the nuances of this great Rioja.”

Price: $30

 2012 Leth Gruner Veltliner, Wagram, Austria

This “especially rich, creamy version” of the classic Austrian wine variety was recommended by Michael Dresser writing in The Baltimore Sun this week.

He said: “It’s basically dry but with a hint of sweetness. Its lush texture is reminiscent of a top-flight Alsace pinot gris, but at a more affordable price. This wine is bursting with flavors of honey, peach, pears, orange, lime and mulling spices. It’s a very impressive wine from a producer I haven’t seen before. Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates.”

Price: $19

Troublemaker, Hope Family Wines, Paso Robles, California

Dennis Sodomka, writing in The Augusta Chronicle, recommended this $20 “blockbuster blend” that he said “drinks like a more expensive wine.”

He said: “It is a complex, powerful wine filled with fresh, bright fruit flavors, dark ruby in the glass, with inviting aromas of black cherry and vanilla. Raspberry and strawberry flavors dance in the mouth with a slight black pepper finish. Open the bottle at least 20-30 minutes before drinking.

“The wine starts with a typical Rhone-style Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre blend and adds some Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. It also takes wine from two vintages. The current release is lot six, with the blend changing with each version. The wine is wonderful, and I love the name. It’s perfect for tax time.”

Price: $20

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No