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Top 10 wines in the US press

Backsberg Estate Cellars Chenin Blanc 2012, Paarl, South Africa

Following Earth Day yesterday, Sandra Silfven, writing for Detroit News, rounded up a selection of wines produced by “forward-thinking” wineries in South Africa, where 95% of vineyards are certified sustainable.

Of this Chenin Blanc from the Backsberg Estate, she said: “The Back family made this one off their estate vineyards. Aromas are floral, mandarin orange, green apple and herbs. On the palate, it’s dry with more notes of floral and herb along with green apple, pear and cashew. It has good length, plenty of acidity for structure.”

Price: $15

Beyerskloof Pinotage Chenin Blanc 2014

Silfven also recommended this “unusual” blend of Pinotage and Chenin Blanc – South Africa’s flagship varietals.

“This is the only commercially produced “white” Pinotage. Winemaker-proprietor Beyers Truter is often dubbed the “King of Pinotage” and vows only to make wines that include the this varietal — even white wines. This one is 82% Chenin Blanc, 18% Pinotage. The winery supports social efforts to help workers.”

Price: $12


2008 Pensées de Lafleur, Pomerol, Bordeaux

With en primeur prices starting to flow, Will Lyons, writing in the Wall Street Journal, recommended a number of Bordeaux wines, including this second wine from Lafleur, a small estate in Pomerol, owned by Guinaudeau Family Wines.

“Tasting recent Lafleur vintages, I found them marked with an attractive finesse. Like those of Vieux Château Certan, they possess huge concentration without being too heavy”, said Lyons. “Aromatic in their youth, they display floral and sweet dark fruits that, with age, evolve into notes of tobacco and cedar.”

Of this example, he said: “Made in small quantities, Lafleur’s second wine is often a really smart buy. A blend of 61% Merlot and 39% Cabernet Franc, the 2008 is medium-bodied, with a cool mouth feel, and is exhibiting secondary notes of mature black fruit and cedar.”

Price: £85 or €115

2010 Guinaudeau G Acte 2, Bordeaux, France

“If you can’t afford the first wines of Lafleur, this is a great way to try the winemaking of the Guinaudeau family”, said Lyons of this 2010 Bordeaux Superieur.

“A micro-cuvée of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc from vineyards in the Fronsac area, this possesses both vitality and generous red fruit, and is ready to drink now.”

Price: £25 or €35

Elderton Shiraz 2012, Barossa Valley, Australia

This week’s wine selections from Dave McIntyre, writing in the Washington Post, included this Australian Shiraz from the Barossa Valley.

“This wine has some of that eucalyptus, blackberry character that defined Aussie shiraz a decade or so ago, but it displays a more restrained style. There’s some earth and a coolness to the fruit that balances the alcohol.”

Price: $28

Domaine des Terrisses Rosé 2014, Gaillac, France

McIntyre also recommended this “textbook” French rosé which he described as “pale pink, bright with strawberry and melon fruit flavors and tart, refreshing acidity”.

“Enjoy it by itself on the patio or with garlicky appetizers. You might need to have another bottle chilling in the fridge, because this wine goes down easily.”

Price: $13


Louis Latour, Pouilly-Fuissé AOC 2012

“Long before American wine lovers learned to ask for Chardonnay, Pouilly-Fuissé was the go-to wine”, wrote Rebecca Murphy in the Dallas News. 

“It, too, is a Chardonnay, but you won’t find that grape name on the label. It’s from the Maçon region of Burgundy in France where, by law, white wines are made from the world’s most popular grape. It’s a pure chardonnay, untouched by oak, with aromas and flavors of Granny Smith apples and Meyer lemons with a stony, mineral quality and floral notes. It’s got a creamy texture in the mouth, while the ripe fruit is enlivened with crisp acidity. It will make an elegant gift for Mother’s Day and will pair well with a roast chicken or a grilled salmon.”

Price: $24.99 to $40.99

Frank Family Chardonnay 2013, Carneros, Napa Valley, US

Dennis Sodomka, of the Augusta Chronicle, also recommended a Chardonnay, picking Frank Family’s 2013 Chardonnay from Carneros in Napa as his wine of the week.

“The wine is a gorgeous golden yellow in the glass, with a nice pineapple aroma. On the palate there are plenty of fruit flavors, especially peaches and pears, with some citrus. The finish is long and creamy, with just a touch of green apple. This is a well-balanced, easy-to-drink wine. All the grapes are from the cool Carneros region, which is ideal for growing Chardonnay grapes. Cool breezes and fog blowing in from the San Francisco Bay allow the grapes to ripen slowly and develop complexity.”

Price: $34 to $36

G.H. Von Mumm 50 Degrees Riesling Trocken 2011, Rheingau, Germany

“There is an abundance of classic white flowers, crushed white currants, stone fruit, lemon zest, lime rind, white nectarines accompanied by chalky minerality”, wrote Gil Lempert-Schwarz of this German Riesling in the Las Vegas Review Journal. 

“The wine is at first high in acidity, but expands to reveal lovely supple lemon meringue, kaffir lime zest, green apples, white cranberry juice minus the high sweet content. There’s mouthwatering character of acidity and minerality through the midpalate, ending with a lingering citrus-immersed profile that just makes you want to smack your lips.”

He added: “The “trocken” in the name simply means “dry” and refers to the style of the wine. Most consumers equate German Riesling with something sweet, but the dry style and the high acidity make this riesling so suitable for food and for aging.”

Price: $3.99 (as stated by the Las Vegas Review Journal), up to $20


La Crema, 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Finally Peg Melnik, writing in The Press Democrat, crowned La Crema’s 2013 Pinot Noir as her wine of the week.

“This is a sleek Pinot with bright, concentrated Bing cherry fruit, coupled with crisp acid. There’s a hint of mineral and white pepper in the mix. This is a standout, a smart pick for the price.”

Price: $25

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