Sunday, June 28, 2009

2005 Jackie Preys "Cuvée de Fié Gris" TOURAINE "Vieilles Vigne" (Loire Valley, France)

The Fié Gris is a varietal I've had neither heard of nor tried before, but apparently is an old variety still made in minuscule quantities in the Loire Valley. It was really good, and had a truly unique set of flavors and nice complexity.

Extremely pale gold. Enormously fun nose -- ripe grapes and peaches, lemon-lime, spearmint leaves, and chalky stones. Soft, dry, and light-textured, the wine featured focused, youthful (and remember, this is a 4-year old white!) grapey-herbal flavors, and a long chalky/stoney finish. Very nice sipper for this heat wave we're enduring. 89. Was $18 direct from North Berkeley Imports.
(Sorry, 2006 pictured).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Coupla Interesting Reds Drunk in Virginia

Was in DC for a deposition, had dinner with Liz's family there (thanks for the great pot roast, Jane!), and brought over a couple of interesting reds I picked up at Arrowine in Arlington (a store I love to visit when I'm in town).

2005 Domaine du Bel Air BOURGUEIL "Les Vingt Lieux Dits" (Loire Valley, France) -- a beautifully fragrant, flavorful, yet ethereally light-textured red, with scents of herby cassis and walnut oil and great length and balance. (Thomas Calder Imports). (Sorry, 2006 shown).

2006 Inama Carmenere "Piu" (Veneto, Italy) -- the French-born Carmenere grape isn't grown in France anymore, and probably reached its highest expression in Chile, but there are a few growers in this region of Italy that grow it. Herbal, dried leaves and dry blackberry scents. Full, deep, and featuring a fair amount of soft tannin, this wine had lengthy, low-toned flavors. Unique and flavorful. Imported by Dalla Terra Winery Direct.

NV Lolonis "Ladybug Red" Old Vines Cuvee VIII (Redwood Valley, Mendocino County, Cal.)

This non-vintage blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, and several other varietals is really fun to drink, just as previous editions of this wine had been.

Vibrant, dense dark ruby. Fun-loving, fruity nose -- shows a lot of Zinfandel spicy black raspberry, with sweet cream and smoky balsa accents. Round, lively, and mouthfilling. Loads of ripe, red fruit flavors. Good length, great balance and texture, with a bit of soft tannin to structure it. 89. Kind of like a California version of a ripe, lively Chianti Classico. $14 and change at Spec's on Smith. (Sorry, could only find a picture of Cuvee V).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

2008 Espelt "Corali" GARNACHA ROSE (Emporda, Spain)

This is your dry rosé for what will be the long, hot Texas summer of 2009!! Really flavorful and refreshing.

Gorgeously vibrant bubble gum pink color. Exuberant nose of watermelon, cherries, sweet minerals and flowers. Round and full, yet lively and dry in the mouth, with great purity of flavors -- ripe mixed fruits and stony minerals. Refreshing as all get-out. 90. Was $13 at Central Market. Imported by Eric Solomon European Cellars.

2005 "Le Paradou" COTES DE LUBERON (60% Grenache, 40% Syrah) (Rhone Valley, France)

Yum! My kind of Rhone. Modestly-priced, full of flavor, and balanced.

Dark ruby with some garnet hues.

Intense, deep nose of fruitcake, sweet earthy/stony scents, and blackberry juice.Full, ripe, structured, and lively in the mouth. Intense, mouth-coating flavors of spicy, ripe blackberry/raspberry and balsa wood.Good acidity to balance, and a long, somewhat tannic (but not overly so) finish. Very good. Kind of a synthesis between old-style and modern-style Rhones. Drink before the year is up. 89. Although I lost the receipt, I think this was around $15 at Central Market. Imported by Jon David Headrick Selections, who seems like an up-and-coming young importer of naturally-made wines.

2007 Beckman Vineyards CUVEE LE BEC (44% Grenache, 28% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre, 8% Counoise (Santa Ynez Valley, Cal.)

This perennial good buy is a great buy in this vintage.

Dark blackish ruby violet. Big southern Rhone-like nose of earthy herbal scents over blackberries and pungent minerals. Big, deep-toned, and fleshy in the mouth, with intense "garrigue" (that's the French way of saying "earthy-herbal") and iodine/mineral-tinged blackberry fruit. Long, peppery finish with substantial but soft tannin. A big, satisfying mouthful of red. 89. Was about $17 at Spec's on Holcombe.