Saturday, July 17, 2010

2007 Hopler RIESLING (Burgenland, Austria)

A really refreshing, bone-dry Riesling. Very good value. Not as complex and deep as a good Alsace, but terrific for a hot day.

Very light gold with gorgeous greenish glints. Fun, lively nose of perfumey, powdered stones, crisp cool pears, and crunchy Macintosh apples, along with a peachy note. Light-bodied, mouthwateringly refreshing, and dry, it sports crisp, apply fruit and a clean, stony streak. Clean, crisp, medium length finish. 88. Was $16 at Houston Wine Merchant on South Shepherd.

Boots GRENACHE "Size 07" (nonvintage) (Barossa Valley, Australia)

A decent, fleshy, but fairly simple Grenache.

Dark ruby. Ripe but kind of galumphy nose of tangy berries and pungent stone powder. Gutsy, straightforward, ripe fruit in the mouth, with full body and a moderately long, minerally finish. Not bad. The Aussie equivalent of a solid, entry-level Cotes du Rhone. 85. $13 and change at Spec's on Smith.

(Sorry: "Size 04" pictured).

2006 John Robert Eppler ZINFANDEL (Paso Robles, Cal.)

Eh. Decent, but a bit out of balance.

Very dark black ruby. Disjointed nose showing some ripe berries, but very low-toned, almost bitter minerals underneath. Very full-bodied, with low acid ripe Zin flavors marred by too much alcoholic pepperiness and not enough acidity. Slightly bitter finish. All the earmarks of being picked way too ripe, particularly for a Paso Robles Zin -- whose best features are their vibrancy, crisp berry fruit, and stony minerality. 79. Was $15 at Spec's on Weslayan.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

2008 Viu Manent "Secreto" CARMENERE (Colchagua Valley, Chile)

Another well-made, good value wine from this consistent Chilean producer. Lots of flavor and body for the money.

Thickly saturated ruby mulberry color. Ripe, highly extracted nose of sticky blackberry oozings and graphite. Mouthfilling, full-bodied flavors of very ripe blackberry and cassis, with significant notes of baker's chocolate. Lots (a bit too much) of peppery heat from the alcohol intrudes on the finish. A massive bruiser of a wine. Subtle as a sledgehammer. Some may like this style better than I do. I find it just a tad overdone, particularly in the heat of summer. Still, 86, for oomph, mostly. Was under $10 at Whole Foods on Bellaire.

2009 Yves Cuilleron SYRAH ROSÉ "Sybel" (Rhone Valley, France)

A very nice, fleshy rosé. Just barely off-dry.

Light, peach-tinted pinkish color. Beautiful nose of just-picked grapes, watermelon, and peach, with a hint of flowers and dry, stony minerals. Round, ripe, yet lithe flavors of crisp berries and fruit salad. Decent acidity and freshness for such a ripe style of rosé. Absolutely pure tasting, just off-dry finish. Very nice summer sipper. 88. Was $15 at Spec's on Smith. Imported by Neal Rosenthal Selections.