Thursday, April 26, 2012

My 1000th post!!! 2009 Busi CHIANTI RUFINA (Tuscany, Italy)

I love Chianti Rufina.  It's a region northeast of both the Chianti Classico region and indeed west of Firenze.  It tends to be a little leaner, lighter in body, and crisper than Chiantis from the Classico region, and this one is true to its type.  They can be extraordinarily food-friendly wines.

Bright color of spectrally-pure ruby.  Fairly animated nose of crisp cherries and cherry liqueur, along with the prototypical Chianti minerally earthiness I refer to as "schisty gravel."  Crisp, aggressive, high-toned flavors of stony minerals and cherries that linger, gradually (and this is unusual) molting from more minerally into more pure cherry as the finish goes on.  Usually, it's the other way around with most wines.  Nice crisp but unobtrusive acids, and some very fine-grained but puckery tannin comprise the physical characteristics.  A very notable value at $9.99.  Got this at The Italian Store on Lee Highway in Arlington.  Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  B+.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2009 Domaine des Roy TOURAINE Blanc "Les Silex" Loire Valley, France)

Although it doesn't say, this is certainly a Sauvignon Blanc.  And a really good one.  Better than most Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume out there, and cheaper too.

The first night it was funkily earthy, but on the second night it really blossomed.  Light gold with silver and  brassy glints.  Piercing and intense nose of green apple and lemon/lime fruit, with distinct notes of chicken broth shot-through with crushed limestone.  Big, mouthwatering, crisp flavors aggressively coat the palate, with loads of lemon-drenched green apple and a brothy minerality.  Long, clean, interesting finish with great persistence and vibrant acids.  Would be fantastic with shellfish.  Drink over the next 2 years and enjoy.  A-.  Imported by Thomas Calder Selections, this was $14.99 at Arrowine in Arlington.

Monday, April 23, 2012

2010 Domaine de Dionysos CAIRANNE Cotes du Rhone Villages "La Cigalette"(Southern France)

Intensely earthy and closed on day 1, it really blossomed on day 2.  Almost like two different wines.  It's a really flavorful but civilized Rhone blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 10 % Mourvedre, and 5% Carignane.

Incredibly vibrant -- almost vibrating! -- magenta-tinged deep ruby.  Intensely stony, lively nose.  Crunchy plums and red berries, shot through with rock dust and a barely perceptible rosemary/pine resin note in the back.  Incredibly pure-tasting.  Dry, but with ripe cherry liqueur flavors, minus the alcohol and sweetness, and again with the rock dust.  Loads of fine-grained tannin, good acids, and a very lengthy, stony, pure finish.  A very nice wine.  But if you're drinking it over the next 18 months, be sure to let it breathe or pour it through a Vinturi.  A-.  Imported by Serge Dore Selections.  Was $12.99 from, making it an excellent buy.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Osél RUCHÈ di Castagnole Monferrato (Piemonte, Italy)

Yet another Ruchè!  I hadn't seen one in decades and now in a period of two months I see two different ones in Arlington. Go figure.  This one has lots of flavor, but is in a very modern, fruity style.  It's good, but I like the character of the more traditional style better. 

It's got a very bright ruby color.  Loads of red and black fruits (mostly plums and dark cherry) in the nose, with a very subtle stony note.  Mouthfilling fruit, but in a very soft and open style.  Texturally it's like a new-styled Beaujolais/Cotes du Rhone cross.  It seems like it would take a slight chill nicely and serve as a great hot weather cook-out red.  But drink it before 2012 is up.  B-.  Imported by Siema Wines of Springfield, VA, it was $9 at Whole Foods in Clarendon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

2010 Roger et Didier Raimbault SANCERRE "Les Belles Cotes" (Loire, France)

A good, balanced, fresh and typical Sauvignon Blanc from this region.  Good value.

 Very pale silvery-gold color.  Lively nose of green apple and lemon/lime fruit, with a little grassy herbaceousness, and significant notes of chicken broth and rain-soaked limestone.  Fresh, zingy, brothy and green apply in the mouth, with modest concentration.  Good acids keep it very fresh, and a clean, mouthwatering, if a little short, finish.  It's not super distinguished, but it would be pretty darn hard to find a better white at this price point ($16.99).  Got it from Wines Til Sold Out.  Imported by Serge Dore Selections, NY.  B.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

2010 Sobon Estate ZINFANDEL "Old Vines" (Amador County, Cal.)

I don't usually buy Zins from Amador County, because in the 1980s and 1990s I had several that were very cloying and simple -- not as vibrant, complex, and zesty as from places like Dry Creek and Paso Robles.  But I recently gave this one a shot and it is a winner!  Everything in balance, lots of flavors, and good energy.

Dark ruby with violet highlights.  Great nose of lively, tangy, rich blackberries, and loads of sandstone-y, balsa wood notes.  Mouthcoating flavors, but not the least bit heavy, showing very nice balance for a Zin.  Pretty good acicity and a wee bit of soft tannin.  Very pure flavors of ripe, spicy blackberry and black cherry fruit and loads of stony minerals.  This would go really nicely with all sorts of red sauces, meat braises, grilled meat, etc.  Which is really what I love most about Zinfandels -- their food-friendliness.  At least when they're not pushing 16% alc. (This one was a more modest -- for Zin -- 14.9%.)  A-.  Was only $12.99 at Total Wine in McLean, VA.

Friday, April 13, 2012

2009 Domaine Carpy "Les Pins" FITOU (Southwest France)

I haven't had many Fitous, but they've all been good, and good values.  Including this one.  It's an appellation that's arid, hot, stony, and right up against the Mediterranean.  A blend primarily of Grenache, Syrah, Carignane and Mourvedre (the 4 Musketeers?).

Beautiful dark ruby color.  Very nice nose of perfumed rock dust, dark minerals, and ripe black cherry and blackberries.  Very pure-tasting dark cherry-berry fruit and powdered black stones fill the mouth.  Loads of very fine-grained nano-tannins.  Medium full body and darn good acidity for a wine from this region, adding up to very nice balance and mouthfeel.  A wicked good value at $8.99.  Got it at Whole Foods in Clarendon.  Whoever picks out the wines for that store does a nice job picking out an array of nice values.  Imported by Dionysis Imports, Manassas, VA.  B+.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2008 Volpetti CESANESE LAZIO (Lazio, Central Italy)

This wine was both exciting and disappointing.  Exciting because I do not remember ever drinking a wine made from the Cesanese varietal (apparently indigenous to this area) and it had unique, very intense, somewhat spiced fruity scents and a very soft texture, along with some good concentration and good acids.  But disappointing because this particular wine had very noticeable residual sugar; so much that it made the wine a bit cloying in the mouth.  If they had fermented it dry, I think this would have been very special.  In its current, more-than-slightly-sweet form, it's a C.  I'd like to taste a fully dry one.  Was $10 at Whole Foods in Clarendon, and I saw it in The Italian Store on Lee Highway (Arlington) for a little more.  Imported by Siema Wines, Springfield, VA.

Monday, April 09, 2012

2010 DeAngelis ROSSO PICENO (Marche, Italy)

I feel about this wine the way that the right wing must feel about Romney.  The words say one thing but the reality is very watered down.  This is an Italian copy of a Beaujolais.  Not even a real Beaujolais . . . a Georges DeBoeuf industrial candy Beaujolais.

Bright ruby color with a thin sheen of micro bubbles.  Fruity nose of tangy plums and strawberry along with a cherry soda component.  Cherry and peach juice fruit in the mouth, with no tannin, a soft texture with a faint prickle of CO2, and a fruit-juicy clean finish.  More like a soft drink or fruit smoothie than a wine.  Not that it's unpleasant, but WTF?  C-.  Was under $10 at Whole Foods in Clarendon.  Imported by Potomac Selections, Landover, MD.

UPDATE:  You know what?  Now that I've slept on it, I've changed my mind.  F.  This is a travesty.  Is there technically anything wrong with it?  No.  Does it taste and smell pleasant?  Yes.  But it is so wrong for a supposed Marchegiano Montepulciano/Sangiovese blend.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

2009 Col des Vents CORBIERES (Southern France)

This dirt cheap wine was very good.  Worth buying in quantity.  Focused, balanced, deep, and satisfying.  It's 50% Carignane, 35% Grenache, and 15% Syrah.

Fairly saturated black ruby.  Nose a little shy, but showing very delineated scents of black raspberry and dark cherry juice poured over freshly-cracked clean dark stones.  Soft, concentrated, and with great balance, this wine coats the mouth with rich dark cherry fruit and some very fine-grained tannin.  Loads of clean stony minerals too.  Good acids for a wine from this region (which can be brutally hot), showing not only the 2009 vintage's blessings but also someone's careful attention to when to pick. Buy this wine by the case and drink with dinners over the next year or two.  B+.  Was $7 freakin' .99 at Whole Foods in Clarendon.  Imported by value seeking importer Kysela Pere et Fils, Winchester, VA.