Top 10 wines in the US press
MAN Family Wines Chenin Blanc Coastal Region, South Africa 2013
Sandra Silfven, writing in the Detroit News, took the opportunity to showcase the wines of José Condé this week – a Kansas-born winemaker and proprietor of South Africa’s Stark-Condé wines, and a partner in MAN Family Wines.
Of this Man Chenin Blanc she said: “Chenin Blanc is the signature white wine of South Africa and is known as “Steen” to the locals. The Chenins in the Cape are a world apart in taste from Chenins grown in France’s Loire and the U.S. This one is as zesty, grapefruity and tart as a Sauvignon Blanc, as green apple-like as a Chardonnay, as minerally as a Pinot Grigio from Italy’s Alto Adage — and still has those mandarin orange tones of the Loire. It’s so crisp, lean and refreshing – for a good reason: They only ferment the free-run juice, which eliminates the tannins and herbal flavors of the thick skins. I am totally impressed with the style, the balance and the food-worthiness.”
Price: $9 to $12
Essay Syrah 2012, South Africa
Man also produces a range of “Essay” branded blends from South Africa, with its Syrah variety described as “phenomenal” by Silfven.
She said: “Essay” for Man means an assembly or blending of wines and the “sa” is short for South Africa. For the price, it’s phenomenal — spicy, fruity, dry, nicely composed. It’s actually a blend of Syrah braced with Cinsaut, Mourvedre and Viognier. The flavors are blackberry, cherry, boysenberry, dark chocolate and a touch of mocha with a slam of spicy black pepper.”
Price: $10 to $12
Starke-Condé Cabernet Sauvignon Three Pines Jonkershoek 2010, South Africa
Silfven’s third recommendation was for this 2010 Starke-Condé Cabernet Sauvignon.
She said: “This wine is intense: Bold cassis, cherry, blackberry jam, and cocoa braced by firm acidity, supple tannins. In the finish, you catch tart, herbal, cranberry tones. It’s 90 percent Cabernet with a smidge of Merlot and Petit Verdot. It comes off a harvest with the lowest yield in these vineyards in the winery’s history, which accounts for the good color and tannins. Wine Spectator gave it 91 points.”
Price: $40 to $44
Montinore Estate Pinot Noir 2012, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir 2012
The Dallas Morning News’ weekly wine recommended this Willamette Valley Pinot Noir this week – a wine it said had a “stylish mingling” of red cherry and raspberry fruits.
It said: “If you prefer light-bodied, elegant wines that are willing to co-star with food, rather than blockbuster fruit bombs, here is a delightfully well-mannered choice. It’s a stylish mingling of red cherry and raspberry fruits, savory wood spices and a dash of dried rose petals in perfect alignment, with vibrant acidity and polished tannins. Team it with grilled salmon or a mushroom risotto.
“Owner and wine grower Rudy Marchesi oversees the vineyards and winemaking at the Forest Grove winery. His daughter Kristin is the general manager in charge of marketing and communications. Their 210 acres of vineyards are Demeter-certified biodynamic, which means they were farmed organically following the tenets developed in the early 1900s by Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist and philosopher. While some of the practices of biodynamic agriculture have variously been called witchcraft or voodoo and may seem to verge on the mystical or religious, the major goal is to develop a property based on diversity of plants and animals and self-sustainability. The ideal biodynamic farm requires no outside resources and sends no waste materials out.”
Price: $19 to $22
2010 Domaine Daniel Dugois Trousseau Grevilliére
Will Lyons highlighted this Trousseau wine from Domaine Daniel Dugois writing in the Wall Street Journal this week.
He said: “Made from the Trousseau grape variety, this light red Jura wine is aromatic, with a cherry, red fruit character. Once sipped it is unbelievably delicate slipping down the tongue before its taste vanishes on the palate. Perfect for a hot summer’s day.”
2012 Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, California, US
This Cabernet Sauvignon was recommended by Michael Dresser, writing in The Baltimore Sun, for its black cherry, chocolate and spice flavour.
He said: “With Father’s Day coming up, what better choice than a bold, well-price Cabernet Sauvignon made as a tribute to the winemaker’s father? Josh Cellars is named for Joseph Carr’s dad, who bore that nickname. This full-bodied but smoothly textured wine delivers moderately complex flavors of black currant, black cherry, chocolate and spices. It’s fully drinkable now but could age for at least five years.”
Grassi Ribolla Gialla 2012, Napa Valley
Catherine Bugue, writing in the Napa Valley Register, reviewed this Napa white made from the Italian grape variety Ribolla Gialla, picking out its flavours of pear, tangerine and dried herbs.
She said: “Ribolla Gialla is a great white wine; it manages to be refreshing and full of flavor at the same time. There is a special pocket of Ribolla Gialla in northern Italy, in the Collio region, where the wines are so rich, complex and golden in color, yet confoundingly fresh, that it makes you demand more from every other white wine you will taste.
“This Napa Valley Ribolla Gialla by Grassi ($34) is wonderfully flavored with layers of pear, succulent tangerine, subtle floral and a hint of dried herbs.
“You can sip it by the glass at Napa’s Torc restaurant, a newer food tour de force on Main Street, where four of us recently gushed about the blend of flavors and textures in seven different small bites, starters and side dishes.”
Chateau Montelena 2011 Napa Valley Chardonnay
The priciest wine recommended in the US press this week was this $50 Napa Valley Chardonnay by Stacey Vreeken, writing in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, who described it as “like taking a ride in your well-heeled aunt’s Mercedes”.
She said: “The subtle, light-bodied Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena shows balance and restraint in winemaking. Not overly sweet or oaked, the creamy wine has elements of both without going overboard, saved by balanced acids and tart apple flavors. This is Napa Chardonnay at its best.
“Chateau Montelena helped put California on the wine map when it won out over a field of white Burgundies at the 1976 Judgment of Paris; its owner James Barrett is the subject of the movie “Bottleshock,” which documents the now famous Paris tasting. The Barrett family continues to manage the winery, founded in 1882, turning out classic Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2011 Chardonnay is the first vintage from a new state-of-the-art wine cellar revamp in Calistoga and reflects the cool 2011 growing year.
“This wine is like taking a ride in your well-heeled aunt’s Mercedes. Smooth, rich and luxurious, it’s what you would expect from a Napa Chardonnay at its price point. Golden in color with grapefruit aroma, the wine delivers tart green apple and creamy lemon flavors with a hint of butter and oak on the finish.”
2009 Chateau du Pin, Bordeaux, France
Gil Lempert-Schwarz, chairman of The Wine Institute of Las Vegas, recommended this Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon blend writing in the Las Vegas Review Journal this week calling it “more than a mere table wine” which could be drunk from now until 2018.
He said: “Chateau du Pin is a deeply opaque blackish-red color with a dense core going out into a saturated pinkish-red rim definition with medium-high viscosity.
“On the nose: This wine comes out of the glass firing on all cylinders with a plethora of crushed black fruits, attractive notes of black cherries, blueberries, loganberries, minty freshness, oak references, mocha and milk chocolate. It’s an attractive nose that continues to present pleasant black fruits for as long as your nose is in the glass.
“On the palate: There is even more wonderful black fruit character coming through with layers of sexy juicy black currants, huckleberries, crushed elderberry fruit and underlying oak references, coffee and lacy minerals. The midpalate is fine and balanced with lots of structure, that mint note and the tannins are kept in check through the finish, which is again rich in black fruits and even a hint of spiciness. A superb, lingering after-mouth with pure black currant juice lasts for well over 30 seconds. I really like this one.”
He added: “While a classic blend of the two most widely planted grape varieties in Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it is more than a mere table wine. Pretty much everything produced in this region in 2009 holds up to serious scrutiny, such is the success of this great vintage. You can easily have this delicious, overachieving wine with grilled lamb chops and a baked potato. Drink it now through 2018.”
Karine Lauverjat Sancerre Rose 2013, Loire Valley, France.
Finally Liz Johnson, writing in New York’s lohud.com, recommended this “delicate rosé” made from 100% Pinot Noir which she said had notes of bright, fresh strawberries, red apple, and raspberry.
She said: “The palate reveals a soft texture, bright acidity, and notes of strawberries and minerality. This wine is a true example of classic Sancerre terroir. This wine makes an excellent companion to shellfish, salads, white fish, goat cheese, pizza, caramelized onions, and, of course, the beach! Why we chose it: Nothing complements a warm summer day better than a crisp, refreshing rosé. For those who are fans of pinot noir and looking for something refreshing or with a slight chill, that still has complexities and subtleties, this is the perfect choice.”