Thursday, February 21, 2013

2011 Domaine du Carrou SANCERRE ROSÉ (Loire Valley, France)

A terrific rosé.  It's got fragrance, flavor, texture, and great vibrancy.  No rosé I've ever had comes close to a good Sancerre rosé.

Light salmon/copper color.  Great cherry/grapey/strawberry fruit aromas shot through with limestoney minerals.  Soft, instantly flavorful and mouthwatering upon entry.  Loads of crisp fruit flavors are balanced by saliva-inducing acids and great, clean, high-toned stony minerals.  Hard to stop drinking this one.  A. Was $21 from  Imported by Fleet Street Wine Merchants.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

2006 Bodegas Olarra RIOJA "Añares Reserva" (Spain)

A very nicely-balanced, nicely-composed, and fairly complex Rioja.  Elegant, flavorful, and ready to drink.  But it should also keep and improve for at least 3-5 years.  It's not really traditional style, but neither is it in the stereotypical modern style.  Most important, a great value.

Vivid, deep ruby color.  Somewhat shy but very nice nose of ripe blackberries and cassis, along with warm, sweet sandstone scents, and an unusually deft and subtle note of sweet vanillin from the oak-ageing.  In the mouth, it's flavorful and ripe, with full body and lots of soft, fine-grained tannin.  Medium-pitched berry and cassis flavors with a clean streak of minerality running through it.  There's a little sweet toastiness from the oak, but it's joining the chorus of flavors rather than trying to take the lead.  Very nice acidity keeps it lively and keeps inviting another sip.  A-.  Was a remarkable $12.99 from  Imported by Classic Wines, Stamford, CT.

Monday, February 11, 2013

2011 "Honoro Vera" GARNACHA (Calatayud, Spain)

A nice, very soft, fruity, weighty, varietally-true Grenache.  The only complaint I have -- and it's a minor one for a $9.99 bottle -- is a just barely perceptible bit of residual sweetness.

Inky ruby-violet color.  Open and inviting nose of oozing raspberries, plum jam, and some clean, stony minerality.  Mouthfilling, richly fruity, and full-bodied, this offers loads of ripe plummy, raspberry fruity, leaving behind a vaguely bitter-tinged liquid rock taste at the very end.  Low acidity. As I said, it's got a barely perceptible bit of residual sugar, and it's pretty simple, so this gets a little tiring to sip on its own, but it's a nice accompaniment with casual weeknight fare (it went well with a simple roast chicken).  B.  Was $9.99 at Total Wine in Fairfax.  Imported by The Country Vintner, Ashland, VA.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

2011 Tarima Monastrell (Alicante, Spain)

Dirt cheap and very good.  A great weeknight dinner choice.  Simple but varietally true and satisfying.

Fully saturated black ruby/violet.  Straightforward scents of ripe, sweet, perfumey blackberry and a nice classic Mourvedre (Monastrell) scent of tree bark.  Lots of oomph entering the mouth, with loads of smoky blackberries, full body, some nicely integrated if not super-soft tannin, and surprisingly good acidity.  A bit of heat, but not intrusively so, on the finish (which is long and fruity).  B/B+.  Was only $7.99 from B-21 Wines in Florida, but it's pretty widely available (including being available at Total Wine in Fairfax at the same price).  Imported by Jorge Ordonez Selections.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

2010 Domaine des Fées CÔTES DU RHÔNE (Southern France)

A really good, large-scaled, ambitious Côtes du Rhône that thinks it's something more important.  Dark and extracted, but nicely-balanced at the same time.  Apparently it's an unfiltered 50/50 Grenache/Syrah blend.

Completely saturated black ruby-violet.  Interesting and atypical nose, with lots of smoky, iodiney minerals, and a thing that alternately reminded me of either roasted herbs or a big pan-full of sauteed spinach with garlic and olive oil.  And some blackberry skin fruit in there too.  Mouthcoating flavors of iodine, blackberry, and faintly bitterish minerals, with a long finish that clings and clings.  Some fine-grained tannins for physical structure.  Very good acids for a wine this large-framed.  Basically, tastes like a very good Gigondas.  B+.  Got this for $12.99 from B-21 Wines in Florida.  Excellent value at that price point.  Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.