of the greatest comments about wine was made by James Thurber:
It's a nave domestic
without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption.
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tag on a bottle is not necessarily an indication of the quality of the wine
inside. In fact, many wines are priced exorbitantly because the winery has a
"celebrity" winemaker or because a (cellar-blind) vintner tasted their
wine alongside an expensive, famous wine and they liked theirs better...hence
the hundred-dollar price. We have
some great wines to delight your palate & purse.
VIU MANENT Grand Reserve CHARDONNAY $9.99 v
We taste a lot of inexpensive Chilean wines...this family-run winery is
a favorite as they make really good wines at below-market prices.
Light oak, classic Chardonnay.
LE LOUP DANS LA BERGERIE French Red $9.99
From the Orliac family in France's Languedoc, this is a delightful
blend of Grenache, Syrah and Merlot. Berryish
CABOTTE COTES-DU-RHONE (list $13)
The Southern Rhone can be a treasure trove of good values.
Lots of dark fruit notes to this medium+-bodied Grenache-based red.
DUFFOUR GASCONY WHITE $8.99 v
Colombard and Gros Manseng in this bottling from Michel Duffour &
family...crisp and light.
WELLINGTON Sonoma CHARDONNAY $13.99 v
A blend of Carneros, Sonoma Mountain and Sonoma Valley fruit, this
beautifully-balanced Chardonnay features ripe pear fruit and a mild background
of oak. Dry, too. Stellar.
FIRE ROAD New Zealand SAUVIGNON BLANC
Lots of classic, citrusy Kiwi Sauvignon in this "Best Buy"
VIGNERONS DE BUXY PINOT NOIR/GAMAY
Blend $9.99 v
France's Burgundy region has a history of blending Gamay with Pinot
Noir...here's a simple version that's eminently drinkable...lightly cherryish
with a touch of strawberry. Ten Buck
COLONIA LAS LIEBRES
Piemontese immigrants brought the Bonarda grape to Argentina and
here's a beautiful bottling showing red berry notes.
Thoroughly delicious and berryish...red fruits!
TAHBILK Australian MARSANNE
The world's largest planting of Marsanne is not in the Rhone, but in
Australia...dry white...no oak.
QUINTA DAS AMORAS Portuguese Red $5.99 v
Good "house red," this is a berryish blend based on Castelão
with Camarate, Tinta Miuda and Touriga Nacional.
We prefer this to the new vintage of Bons-Ventos...
FORNAS Italian PINOT GRIGIO
The Bidoli family makes wine near the famous Prosciutto town of San
Daniele in Italy's Friuli.
MASI CAMPOFIORIN Famous ROSSO del VERONESE (List $17) SALE $12.99
This is the original "ripasso" wine made using the grape skins
from the expensive Amarone production. Now
they call it a 'double fermentation.' No
matter what it's called, it's delicious!
VILLA PILLO "BORGOFORTE" $11.99
Most Tuscan Sangiovese wines which are blended with Cabernet cost a
small fortune. This Super Tuscan has
long been a favorite and for good reason.
LAMBLIN BOURGOGNE BLANC (CHARDONNAY) SALE
From a smallish Chablis house, here's a crisp, tangy, non-oaked
Chardonnay. Zesty & lemony.
Kabinett RIESLING 10.99 v
From a small winery near the Mosel, here's a remarkably nice Riesling
which outshines many entry-level bottlings from famous & expensive
producers...floral, off dry...fresh...classic!
MASCIARELLI MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO
M&M: Masciarelli's Montepulciano is a remarkably satisfying, robust
TRENTADUE "OLD PATCH RED" SALE
From Sonoma's Alexander Valley we have a really good Zinfandel-based
blend (Geyserville area).
PORTA DOS CAVALEIROS Portuguese Red
Few Americans know the Dao region of Portugal, but it's long been a
source of 'fine' wine. Medium-bodied
and a bit old-fashioned, but mighty good for such a low price.
CASA DEL BOSQUE CHARDONNAY
Along with Viu Manent, this Chilean vintner excels at making good wine
and offering them at sensible prices. Nicely
appley Chardonnay fruit and it even has a touch of oak...just right!
Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc...Sonoma fruit.
Very amiable, as it should be.
CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET MORGEOT 1er Cru
This is the epitome of finesse and elegance in French white Burgundy.
It's a grand vin, if you will...one sniff and you know this is a noble
Laurent Drouhin of the Maison Joseph Drouhin
CHIUSE 2004 BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO RISERVA $97.99
The grapes for this wine used to go to Simonetta Valiani's uncle
Franco at the famous Biondi-Santi winery.
But these days she makes her own and the wines have been stellar.
This is a wonderful Riserva and it's complex and drinkable immediately.
PIERRE GONON SAINT JOSEPH
2011 BLANC "Les Oliviers" $47.99 v
2011 ROUGE Sale $39.99
Gonon's white is remarkable, exuding class and complexity.
It's 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne...very fine.
His red is a beautiful rendition of Northern Rhone Syrah...Got lamb?
QUINTA DA COSTA DAS AGUANEIRAS Douro
Red $29.99 v
In a recent blind-tasting, this stood out as a remarkably elegant,
polished red from a single vineyard site in the Douro.
More than half the vineyard is a mixed planting, so the precise 'blend'
is a mystery.
Medium-bodied and fairly smooth, with a light cedary, woodsy note.
ATA RANGI 2011 PINOT NOIR $49.99
Some will tell you Central Otago is the best place for Pinot in New
Zealand, but we've yet to taste a wine from that region that's as good as Ata
Rangi's from Martinborough.
And some of those Otago wines cost a fortune.
The scarcity tax is expensive!
Beautifully cherryish Pinot with a floral note & nice oak.
BOTT 2011 FURMINT $26.99 v
There are many interesting developments in the wines of slumbering
"Old World" regions.
Here's a wonderfully expressive Hungarian white wine made entirely of the
Furmint grape...stony notes with an underlying honeyed tone...crisp and dry on
YOUNG INGLEWOOD 2009 Napa CABERNET
A new winery from Napa, this wine is the most complex and charming
Cabernet we've tasted this year...dark fruit, nicely integrated oak, mild
tannins with a dry finish...very fine!
WALLACE CREEK'S NIMBLE HOG Dry Creek
Valley 2010 RED BLEND $29.99 v
We tasted a Syrah and this blended red incorporating Zinfandel and
Syrah and preferred this "Nimble Hog" blend.
It's got lots of dark fruit notes with a lightly cedary tone from the
If you're a fan of The Prisoner or Paraduxx, give this a try!
GROS FRÈRE ET SOEUR
2008 CLOS-VOUGEOT Musigni Sale $119.99
We've been enjoying the wines of this venerable
Burgundy producer for many years...We had a 1964 Vosne-Romanee a few years ago
and it was magnificent! The 2010 is
very pretty, too, and showy in its youth. The
Clos Vougeot comes from a small parcel adjacent to the border of
Chambolle-Musigny. It's got
"Grand Cru" written all over it...beautiful dark cherry fruit and a
sweet oak bouquet and flavor...Very fine.
Tasting in the cellar with Vincent Gros.
ALTAMURA 2009 Napa CABERNET Sale
As usual, Frank Altamura has a jazzy wine in the bottle of his latest
release of Cabernet...we like the dark fruit, mild brown spice notes and the
reasonably modest level of tannin. It's
quite pretty now and promises to cellar most handsomely should you have
From a small domaine in France's Saint-Chinian appellation comes this
magnificent old vines' bottling of the Carignane grape.
It's a fairly full-bodied red, but isn't a fruit bomb.
An old-timer we used to know told us that his (prominent)
viticulture professor claimed "old vineyard Carignane can be superior to
the supposedly more noble Cabernet." The
old boy may have been right.
DEHLINGER 2010 Russian River
CHARDONNAY $36.99 v
Dehlinger is now assisted by his daughter, Eva, in the winery and his
wines continue to be the best kept secret in Sonoma!
Tom has been making good wines since the mid-1970s and his Chardonnay
offers beautiful notes of lemon and crème brûlée with a mildly oaky note.
Our recent French intern (whom you may have met in March) from Burgundy
said this was his favorite Chardonnay of our numerous tastings of West Coast
wines. Smart kid.
This is good!
CHÂTEAU GRUAUD LAROSE 2007
A new regime took the reins at this famous St. Julien estate and their
impact is now easy to see (taste).
When this wine was first released a few years ago, it was tight and lean. Now
it's blossoming beautifully, showing ripe Cabernet (difficult in 2007) and the
oak completes the package. I recall
asking an ambassador from the winery if they'd made changes and, sure enough!
New winemaker! A report in
Decanter magazine tells of a vertical tasting in London and this 2007 was a
JOHN ANTHONY 2011 Napa SAUVIGNON BLANC $16.99 v
This may not be the most typical Sauvignon Blanc you've tasted, but
we're sure you'll agree it's one of the most delicious!
There's a ripe melon quality here more than grapefruit and
citrus...full-flavored and yet not heavy. Fine
as an aperitif and lovely with food...
HEITZ 2007 Trailside CABERNET $74.99 v
From a special Rutherford vineyard site, Heitz offers this
beautifully berryish Cabernet with exotic wood spice notes.
It's smooth enough to enjoy now and it should cellar well for a decade,
or so. We were smitten by the 1999
of this and are delighted to find the 2007 to be equally charming.
Very classy...their regular bottling of Napa Cabernet, $39.99, is also
remarkably good and well-priced.
PRODUTTORI DEL BARBARESCO 2008 Sale
The latest vintage of Barbaresco from the Produttori is amazingly good
and we've sale-tagged it to lure Weimax regulars to the charms of the Nebbiolo
grape. If you're preparing a
Mushroom Risotto or braising some lamb or beef, consider pairing those with this
remarkably fine Barbaresco. It's a fantastic introduction.
MAYACAMAS 2007 Napa CABERNET $64.99 v
Here's another "old school" producer whose
"mountain" Cabernet is a delight!
Years ago, this winery made the biggest, baddest Cabernet in Napa...the
1970 was (probably still is) amazing. Today
the Mayacamas Cabernet is still in the "amazing" category...loads of
blackberries and it's beautifully balanced.
We enjoyed a half bottle recently...very fine!
SANDRONE 2010 BARBERA D'ALBA
We've long been fans of this great Barbera...Sandrone is
highly-esteemed for $150-$200 bottles of Barolo, yet their Barbera remains
sensibly-priced and beautifully made. While
Barolo from Sandrone shows a bit of oak in its youth, Barbera focuses on more
black fruit notes and wood is not detectable here.
Perfect for a wide range of foods, from a Crab Cioppino to Chicken
Cacciatore to red meat dishes. Super!
VALDUERO 2009 CRIANZA RIBERA DEL DUERO
Ribera del Duero's Tinto Fino
is known as Tempranillo elsewhere. Whatever
you call this, "delicious" is about right.
Nicely oaked Spanish red...perfect for grilled steaks or lamb.
FORADORI 2010 TEROLDEGO
Elisabetta Foradori makes the reference-point bottling of this
Trentino-area red wine...red and black fruits...no oak showing...beautifully
Foradori's dynamite Teroldego with some salumi in a simple place in Italy's
Veneto this past April.
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