Saturday, July 28, 2012

2010 Azienda Santa Barbara ROSSO PICENO (Marche, Italy)

Rosso Piceno is the workman's wine of the Marche, and this is a decent one.  Not bad for under 10 bucks.  Picenos are a blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano, and you can usually tell which is present in the greater proportion by how dark the wine looks and how low-toned the flavor profile is.  Dark color and low-toned fruit means lots of Montepulciano.  Sangiovese is not particularly distinguished in this region, and just tastes kind of winey.  Nowhere near the electricity it displays in the Chianti Classico or Rufina regions in Tuscany.  I bet this one was mostly Sangiovese.

Dark ruby/garnet.  Shy nose that benefits from being poured through a Vinturi.  Modest scents of   minerally, dry gravel and cherries.  Very dry and lean, with earthy gravel the predominant component and cherry skins taking a back seat.  Soft texture, with a lean, austere, and slightly bitter finish.  It's got good acidity.  A decent choice to wash down pasta on a weeknight.  B-.  Was $9.99 at The Italian Store on Lee Highway in Arlington.  Imported by Michael R. Downey Selections, Lorton, VA.

Monday, July 16, 2012

2007 Viticcio CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA (Tuscany, Italy)

A stunning wine.  Doesn't try to do too much, just stays within itself and ends up being an absolutely spot-on, sweet-spot CC.

Dark ruby with just the slightest lightening at the rim.  Amazingly pure nose of the sweetest, highest toned cherry extract, fruitcake, and pure, focused Chianti earth.  A floral note too.  Linear, bone dry, generous flavors.  No fat, but not an iota too lean either.  Got that great, cherry fruit-mixed-with-schisty-Tuscan gravel thing going on.  Excellent acids keep it energetic.  Long, clingy finish, with a barely perceptible dose of micro-tannin.  Killer.  A.  F*ck that new school stuff, this is the real deal.  Was $21.99 from, but I've also seen this at Spec's (on Bissonnet) in Houston.  Get some.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

2010 Domaine Calot MORGON "Vieilles Vignes" (Beaujolais, France)

This is a solid, very lively Beaujolais.

Medium ruby garnet color.  Very tangy, boysenberry, grapey, rhubarby nose, with a bit of stoniness.  Bright, tangy, and much more minerally in the mouth, bone dry, with great acids.  Dry cherrystone/berry fruit attacks the palate.  A bit of soft tannin, and crisp acids.  This is a very refreshing wine to drink with fatty foods or grilled burgers in hot weather.  Not complex by any stretch, but refreshing on a summer night.  B.  Was $17.99 at Whole Foods in the Clarendon area of Arlington. Imported by Dionysos Imports, Manassas, VA.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

2009 Domaine Gouron CHINON (Loire Valley, France)

This entry-level Cab Franc from this excellent producer is very tasty.  About the only good thing that can be said about global warming is that it's made a huge difference for Loire reds.  The Loire is about as cool a climate as Cab Franc can stand. In the 70s and 80s, these wines typically sucked.   Except in the hottest vintages, they were usually weedy, sharp, thin, and generally unfriendly.  But in the 2000s, with all the warm summers, they've started to shine.  Of course, it helps that there are a lot more serious, careful, minimalist wine growers now, but I can't help thinking that none of that would matter if it weren't for warmer summers.  Anyway, this is very user-friendly.

Dark black ruby color with great clarity.  Classic Chinon nose of black cherry extract, loads of minerals, with a streak of machine oil and licorice.  Light in the mouth yet with a lot of flavor, it's bone dry and has crisp acids.  Lively dry black cherry extract fruit in the mouth, with dried forest underbrush and some nice minerality.  Medium bodied.  Drink over the next 1-2 years.  It's an excellent warm-weather red because it's not tiring at all to drink.  B+.  Got this on sale from Zachys.con for $14 and change, making it an excellent bargain.  Imported by Massanois Imports (a Franck's Signature wine).

Sunday, July 08, 2012

2008 Fattoria Le Terrazze ROSSO CONERO (Marche, Italy)

Disappointing.  It's got that scorched, bitter-tinged nose and flavor profile that signals some over-extraction by the winemaker.

Dense, saturated dark ruby/mulberry color.  Nose of scorched earth and notes of dark berry fruit struggling to be heard.  Ripe and broad in the mouth, but the bitterness and rough tannin are the primary features.  C.  I readily dropped $15.99 on this, because, for some reason, it's so hard to find Rosso Coneros here these days (and it's a potentially great terroir, with the Montepulciano grape grown on volcanic soil).  But alas, it was not to be.  Got it from Winex in L.A.  Imported by deGrazia Imports.

Friday, July 06, 2012

2007 Rivetti Massimo BARBARESCO "Froi" (Piemonte, Italy)

This is an elegant, pure-tasting, lighter-styled Nebbiolo.

Medium-light ruby color with the beginnings of some amber at the rim.  Light-intensity nose of dried cherries, black cherry, and sandalwood.  The flavors are more intense than the nose would lead you to believe.  An intense, linear attack of dried dark cherry, old barrels, dark slightly-bitter minerals, and lightly-scorched gravel that is not heavy but clings to the palate a long time.  A fair amount of fine-grained tannin provides texture.  Moderate acidity.  B+.  This is drinking well now and will continue to drink well, or possibly improve, over the next 1-3 years.  Was $19.99 from Wines Til Sold Out, making it an extremely good value for a solid Barbaresco.  Imported by Superior Wines, Cranford, NJ.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

2009 Domaine du Grand Montmirail GIGONDAS "Cuvée Viéilles Vignes" (Southern Rhone, France)

Not a typical Gigondas, but delicious.  Much more lush and approachable than the textbook Giggie.  80% old vine Grenache.

Gorgeous color:  deep, dark ruby.  Nose is intensely minerally, showing a lot of warm sandstone and pungent crushed stone scents, along ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit, and a meaty, beef jerky component.  Lush, ripe, and deep in the mouth.  With low-toned blackberry fruit laced with baker's chocolate and emulsified crushed rock powder.  Loads of soft tannin adds structure, but (unlike many Gigondases . . . Gigondi?), I wouldn't wait too long (no more than 3 years) to drink this up, as it's very open and approachable now, plus it's got low acidity.  Very tasty!  A-.  Was $19.99 from (Wines Til Sold Out) -- which is very good for a Gigondas of this quality.  Imported by Serge Doré Selections. 

(Sorry, 2003 depicted).