Top 10 wines in the US press
Quivira, 2012 Wine Creek Ranch, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Grenache
Peg Melnik, writing in the Press Democrat, picked this “standout” Californian Grenache as her wine of the week, praising winemaker Hugh Chappelle for its “bold” deep cherry and fresh strawberry flavours, firm tannins and “edgy undercurrent of spice.”
Speaking to Melnik, Chapelle said what most don’t realise is that Grenache is “the base of the world’s finest rosé wines, universally acknowledged as the best single grape from which to make rosé.”
2012 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly, Beaujolais, France
This “nuanced Beaujolais” with “soft tannins” was recommended by Irene Virbila of the LA Times. It is produced by the Geoffray family of Château Thivin who Virbila said produce a “reliably delicious Côte de Brouilly Beaujolais.”
She said: “It’s a deep wine with some weight to it, made from Gamay vines on Mont Brouilly that are more than 50 years old. Tasting of sun-ripened raspberries and blackberries, the 2012 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly has soft tannins and a long, satisfying finish.
“Treat it like the serious wine it is and pour it into a Burgundy glass to enjoy with grilled chops and sausages, roast chicken with butter and herbs tucked under the skin, or with a big plate of mushrooms sautéed with garlic and thyme.”
Price: $20 to $25
Mercer Canyons Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills 2012, Washington
Sandra Silfven, writing in the Detroit News, said this was a “delicious Cabernet from a premier Washington appellation” which was also good value coming in at a reasonable $14.
She said: “The Mercer family braces this beauty with a fair amount of Merlot, plus dollops of Malbec and Petit Verdot. Swirl and inhale the blast of blueberry, cassis, brown cooking spices, ripe plum and smoke. In the mouth, catch the berries, bittersweet chocolate, plum and spice wrapped up in supple tannins and firm acidity. The wines were aged 18 months in barrel before the final blend. You can’t ask for more at this price.”
Price: $14 to $19
Mercer Reserve Ode to Brothers Horse Heaven Hills 2011
An “ode to the Rhone”, Silfven described this blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre as “amazing”.
She said: “It’s a wine with muscle girded with soft tannins and acidity. It’s all about red berries, dark plum, spice and an infusion of oak. It’s young and tightly stitched and would benefit from decanting. Or at the least, let the wine sit in your glass for a while. It’s a Rhone experience — from Washington state.”
Stinson Vineyards Tannat 2011, Monticello, Virginia
Dave McIntyre, writing in the Washington Post, showcased four wines from Virginia made using “unusual grape varieties” this week, including this Tannat.
He said: “Stinson is a young, rising-star winery just outside Charlottesville. Its Tannat is vibrantly fruity, with good structure to keep the flavors going for an impressive length. Two other 2011 tannats — from Horton Cellars and Fabbioli Cellars — won gold-medal honors at this year’s Governor’s Cup competition, suggesting that this grape can perform well in wet vintages.”
Barboursville Vineyards Vermentino Reserve 2013, Virginia
This Vermentino is the third vintage produced from vines planted in Virginia in 2010, with McIntyre proclaiming the wines to be “getting better with each vintage”.
He said: “Winemaker Luca Paschina was enjoying Vermentino from Tuscany and Sardinia during a trip back home to Italy a few years ago when he had the idea to plant the variety in Virginia. His first vintage, in 2010, proved it can thrive here, and the wine keeps getting better with each vintage. Great acidity and mineral flavors make it ideal for seafood salads and other light dishes from the sea.”
2008 Marques de Caceres Rioja Reserva, Rioja, Spain
“Finding a well-aged, high-quality red at a reasonable price isn’t easy”, according to Michael Dresser writing in the The Baltimore Sun, adding that the world’s “most reliable source of wines that meet that description has be Spain’s Rioja region.”
In recommending this 2008 Marques de Caceres Reserva he said: “At six years old, this well-structured Rioja is a mere adolescent in its own development, but it’s beginning to show the complexity that only comes with five or more years in the bottle. It’s a deep, complex wine that improves in the glass with exposure to air. Decanting is called for. There’s plenty of flavor of cedar, vanilla, spicy oak and black cherry. Thirty years ago someone of modest means looking to cellar a wine for decades could easily lay down a fine Bordeaux. In 2014, such a collector can still find values such as this Rioja, a fine example of its breed.”
Dona Paula Los Cardos Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina
This “powerful” Argentine Malbec was recommended by Gil Lempert-Schwarz writing in the Las Vegas Review Journal.
He said: “This wine makes an entrance with a massive concentration of black peppered fruit, cherry crush, sloe fruit and loads of licorice-laden berries. The acidity is striking. It creates a great melange with the fruit and the tannins through the midpalate, thereby giving the wine a powerful backbone and a good sense of balance. It carries through to the finish that lingers for a good 20-plus seconds with hints of toast, coffee and anise.”
Bolla Prosecco NV, Italy
This “bright, lively, refreshing” Prosecco was recommended by Dennis Sodomka writing in the Augusta Chronicle who stated that while there are many brands on the market, Bolla Prosecco was “one of the best” he had tried.
He said: “The wine is a pale straw in the glass, almost colorless. There is some fruit in the nose, but taste is where the wine really delivers. It’s fresh and fruity, with peach, pear and melon flavors and a hint of citrus.
“A good balance of acidity gives this a crisp finish and a touch of minerality. There are no oak or yeasty tastes. Unlike some Proseccos, the bubbles last a long time, even when you pour the wine into a regular wine glass instead of Champagne flute.
The wine is made from 100 percent Glera grapes, which used to be called Prosecco, named after the town north of Venice where the vines are concentrated. It is speculated that the grapes were grown by Romans 2,000 years ago, but there is no proof of that.”
Price: $12 to 14
Handley, Anderson Valley, Gewürztraminer 2012
This Gewürztraminer was recommended by Rebecca Murphy, writing in the Dallas News, who called it an excellent introduction to a variety which is “very distinctive” and may “not appeal to everyone”.
She said: “It’s a beautifully crafted, elegant wine with aromas and flavors of peaches, roses and lychee nuts. The aromas suggest the possibility of sweetness in the flavors, but the wine is dry and round with a bit of creaminess in the texture. Zesty acidity keeps it lively and makes your taste buds beg for more. Enjoy it as an aperitif or with butternut squash and apple cider soup or fresh crabmeat.”
Price: $14.99 to $16.99