Top 10 wines in the US press
2012 Garciarevalo Tres Olmos Lias Rueda Verdejo
With his “spring-wine kick” still going strong, Jon Bonné, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, picked this Spanish white among a number of “fresh, well-weighted, aromatic and complex” wines; everything that should make up a “spring drink”, according to Bonné.
He said: “Rueda is one of Spain’s most consistently frustrating wine regions – its star bid with the Verdejo grape has never quite reached the heights of, say, Albarino. But this winery outside Valladolid has achieved the heights of Verdejo off ungrafted century-old vines. Aged on lees (lias) for some weight, it matches a lime-curd creaminess with the refreshing cucumber and wet stone aspects that make Verdejo such a springtime choice.”
2012 Marisa Cuomo Ravello Bianco Costa d’Amalfi, Italy
Bonné also recommended this “masterful” Italian white produced by Marisa Cuomo, whose 10 hectares of vines cling to the steep rock face of the Amalfi Coast.
He said: “Cuomo and partner Andrea Ferraioli have established themselves as arguably the top vintners on the Amalfi Coast. The Ravello, a mix of Falanghina and Biancolella, shows the best of the Campanian shore – a stark crushed seashell aspect, with mustard seed, green tea and ripe, sweet fruit, like poached pears. Cuomo’s wines are marked by their masterful texture, which here is dense and pleasantly oily. Pair it with a squid salad.”
Mas Llunes, Maragda 2013, Empordà, Spain
This “intriguing, crisp” Spanish white wine was picked by Dave McIntyre, writing in the Washington Post, a wine he gave 2.5 out of 3 stars and which he said would suit as an aperitif.
He said: “Crisp and dry, with hints of lemon grass and sea air, this is an excellent white for salty nibbles such as olives or nuts, as well as for dried fruits and garlicky dips. It’s a blend of white Grenache, Macabeu and rosé Grenache.”
Masseria Surani Ares 2012, Puglia, Italy
Another of McIntyre’s wine recommendations was this “hearty” Italian blend from Pugila.
He said: “This hearty red from southern Italy is 50% primitivo, the same grape as Zinfandel, with 30% Negroamaro and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon to give it worldly flair. Made by the Tommasi wine family of northern Italy. Think of this for your late-summer cookouts.”
Wente Vineyards Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Sandra Silfven, in her weekly wine round up for the Detroit News, highlighted the wines of Wente Vineyards in Livermore Valley, Northern California – now led by fourth- and fifth-generation family members.
Founded in 1883, it is the oldest continuously operated family-owned winery in the US, according to Silfven, drawing on 3,000 acres of vineyards in Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, and Arroyo Seco appellations.
Of its 2012 Cabernet, Silfven said: “Intense aromas of black cherry, dark plum, sweet spice, dark chocolate greet the nose. In the mouth, supple tannins and firm acidity give structure to the flavors. It’s medium-bodied, complex, balanced — a great buy. It’s grown on the valley floor in Livermore and the southern hills, hence the name. It was fermented in stainless steel and aged 14 months in American, French, and Eastern European neutral oak barrels, along with a portion in stainless steel tanks, all to emphasize the fruit.”
Wente Vineyards Morning Fog Chardonnay Estate Grown Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay 2013
The estate’s 2013 Chardonnays mark the 130th vintage for the Wente family, making this Morning Fog bottle something of a milestone.
She said: “For a wine that may cost you less than $10 if you shop at an aggressive retailer, this is a tangy, crispy, refreshing dry white with subtle oak, good acidity for balance and charming fruit reminiscent of green apple, pear, apricot and pineapple. Half the juice is fermented in neutral oak, the rest in stainless steel to marry the best of both worlds. Count yourself lucky if you can find this wine on a restaurant “by the glass” list.”
2011 Tuella Douro Vinho Tinto, Douro Valley, Portugal
From the vineyards of Portugal’s Douro Valley comes Tuella, a wine produced by one of the region’s biggest producers, Symington Family Estates, in partnership with P&S Chryseia, formerly of Cos D’Estournel fame. Gil Lempert-Schwarz, writing in the Las Vegas Review Journal, described its as “a bright, sturdy and medium bodied” wine that provides “ample summer drinking” pleasure.
He said: He said: “On the nose: This is a wine that comes out of the glass with a plethora of interesting perfumed red fruit laced with spice basket and dominated by crushed red currants, red beet juice, pomegranate seeds, allspice and coriander seeds, as well as hints of tobacco leaf and warm minerals.
“On the palate: The wine immediately asserts itself with powerful acidity that intermingles with the red fruit crush, red currants, red plum skins, strawberry sauce without the sweetness, spice phenolics and spice melange going into the mid-palate that has yet more red fruit medley, a fine delineation and structure and nicely lingering finish. It’s a bright, sturdy and medium-bodied drinking experience; just fine altogether.”
2012 Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio e Verduzzo delle Venezie, Veneto, Italy
Irene Virbila, writing in the LA Times, recommended this “refreshing and bracing” Pinot Grigio from one of the oldest wine houses in the Veneto.
She said: “Masi’s Masianco Pinot Grigio e Verduzzo delle Venezie blends 75% Pinot Grigio with 25% Verduzzo. Picked very ripe and dried on racks for a few weeks before fermenting, the native Verduzzo gives the wine depth and character. It’s not often you find a summer quaffing wine, especially at this price, that you want to keep drinking. It’s round and fruity, with a bit of minerality but finishes dry.
“Just the wine for spaghetti alle vongole, steamed mussels, seafood pasta and risotto — and paella.”
Price: $10 to $12
Landmark Vineyards Overlook Chardonnay 2012
This “big, bold, buttery California Chardonnay” was recommended by Dennis Sodomka, writing in the Augusta Chronicle this week, singled out for its ability to pair well with food, a quality Sodomka said was not easy to find among buttery Californian Chardonnays.
He said: “Many of the old-style oaky Chardonnays are such a mouthful of flavor that they overpower the food. Not so with the Landmark Overlook Chardonnay. It’s made in the rich, classic California style, despite the growing popularity of Chards that see only stainless steel. It’s a beautiful gold color in the glass with interesting aromas of grapefruit, melon and lemongrass.
“The palate swims with complex flavors of peach and lively citrus. It is a fun, refreshing wine to drink with or without food. But with food it really comes alive.
Landmark calls itself a negociant, selecting the best from Sonoma in the north to Santa Barbara in the south for this wine. This is generally how winemakers in Burgundy operate, picking grapes from throughout the region to come up with an interesting blend. Sonoma contributed 83 percent of the grapes, Monterrrey 11%, and Santa Barbara County 6%.”
2013 La Cappuccina Pinot Grigio, Veneto, Italy
Finally Colette Bancroft, writing in the Tampa Bay Times, picked this “lovely soft summer white” crafted from organically grown grapes.
She said: “We paid about $13 at a bay area big-box wine retailer and consider that a very good price for such a well-structured table wine.
“The nose displays just one note — a clean and soft Meyer lemon — but it is precisely the right note. The subtle freshness of Meyer lemons dominates the flavor profile, too, abetted by equally soft apricot and a subtle floral floor, as well as a welcome kiss of minerality. It finishes long and clean and fresh with a pronounced pop of white tea at the finale. In addition to serving with food, this wine makes a superior social sipper or aperitif.
“When it comes to pairing, we suggest sautéed Greek-style shrimp with feta and tomatoes or a rich asparagus risotto.”