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Distinctive New Wines

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UNDER THE RADAR & VALUE PRICED ROSÉS AND WHITE WINES

John Tilson • 8/29/12        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

My last Distinctive New Wines article featured rosé and white wines (to read that article click here). As the end of summer approaches, here are more rosé and white wine selections that are perfect for warm weather drinking. There are many Under The Radar wines and many terrific values. There are also rare wines and not so rare wines. There are rosé wines from France and Spain and white wines from Argentina, California, France, Italy, Hungary, Oregon, Portugal, and Slovenia.  Many are to drink now and some are to drink now or lay away. They are priced from $5 to a couple over a $100, but with most in a range of  $10-$30. Please take a look. You are sure to find many things here to fit your taste and pocket book. A Votre Santé!

ROSÉ WINES

France

Corsica

Corsica is a 3350 square mile island that is part of France even though it is actually closer to Italy. Vineyards were first established here in the 6th century BC and then went through a massive expansion that began about 50 years ago. This expansion largely favored quantity over quality. But, in the last 30 years that has all changed. Here is a quote from Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant who is now importing wines from several Corsican producers (including the rosés reviewed below):

“It’s an upheaval! In thirty years Corsican vineyards have completely changed face. In the 1970’s, vines occupied over 30000 hectares, for the most part planted on the eastern plains with excessive yields. In 2011, only 7000 hectares remain in production on the island. Far from being a failure, this contraction heralds a tremendous renewal.

Let’s say it clear: Corsica is THE exciting wine region in France. Twenty days of inquiry and a complete tour of the island have permitted us to identify the factors of its dynamism. Foremost, the recognition and protection of a rich heritage of indigenous varietals after thirty years of research. Secondly, spectacular work on modernization of cellars and the emergence of a generation of vigerons liberated from the errors of the past and assuming their identity….”

More recently, he lamented the fact that Corsican wines are called French wine and are not found at Italian restaurants. Here are a few highlights:

  • …it is closer to Tuscany than it is to the Côte d’Azur
  • …one of the two major Corsican red grape varieties has proven to be a descendent of the Sangiovese.
  • The whites are mainly from Vermentino.
  • And here are the names of our producers: Arena, Leccia, Gioielli, Maestracci,Abbatucci, Marquiliani, Canarelli—how French is that?
  • Corsican wines go with Italian cuisine—that’s the important thing.

So you decide. I like the Corsican wines with Italian foods as well as other foods. I find them, in general, to be better balanced and not so intense, woody and alcoholic as a lot of new world wines which I don’t like so much. And, these rosés will match well with light pastas as well as chicken and fish prepared in any way you wish unless heavily sauced or seasoned. So for me, I am an equal opportunity eater and drinker. I don’t care where things come from so long as they suit my taste. These Corsican rosés from 3 different producers are very different and all have a very distinguishing profile. Give them a try and try them with different foods.

NV Domaine Compte Abbatucci Gris Imperial Rosé.
This is a very crisp stony rosé. It is pale salmon pink in color and has a nice floral mineral and citrus tinged perfume. Like wise on the palate it shows citrus and a stony underlying minerality and floral berry nuances. Very crisp this rosé would be great with sashimi or delicate fish – Highly Recommended.     $25    Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA   

2011 Domaine Compte Abbatucci Ajaccio Rosé Cuvée Faustine.
This wine is made from 100% Sciacarellu grapes. It is consistently a lovely wine (to read an earlier article featuring this domaine click here). Light salmon pink in color with a floral perfume that hints of berry fruit and citrus this rosé is beautifully balanced with subtle floral nuances and hints of citrus and berry fruit and a faint underlying minerality. It has a nice crispness on the finish and is delicious to drink – Outstanding.    $32   Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA   

 

Domaine de Gioielli

Dating from the 14th century, Cap Corse is an isolated peninsula at the top of Corsica. Near the sea an estate was created called Gioielli or “Crown Jewel.” Centuries later the old estate was in ruins. After World War II it was taken over by a young man named Michel Angeli. He replanted the vineyards and harvested his first crop in 1952.

Here is what the importer Kermit Lynch had to say about Michel Angeli:

“Little has changed at the domaine since it began, and it is still Michel who works the vines and makes the wines on his own as he has done for nearly six decades. The tourist buses do not stop at Domaine Gioielli—in fact, it is very hard to find. Angeli never intended to make his wines known beyond his neck of the woods and never exported anywhere, not even to mainland France (!) before meeting Kermit. Since the beginning he has paid little attention to the outside world, uninterested in the new technologies and fads that have afflicted so many other domaines. His wines have a timeless sense of place, much as the one who makes them, a wise, gentle, true artisan who lives for his métier.”

This sounds like my kind of vigneron! And the wines are gorgeous. BRAVO!

 

2011 Domaine de Gioielli Rosé Vin de Pays de l’Île de Beauté.
This wine is made from 45% Aleatico, 45% Niellucciu and 10% Vermentinu grapes. It is an absolutely gorgeous rosé. Light salmon pink in color with a golden hue the wine has a stunning perfume redolent of rose petals accented by spice and citrus. The flavors are very pure and offer hints of cherries and rose petals with a tinge of citrus and minerality. Balanced with great style and finesse this is rosé that is very easy to love – Outstanding Plus.    $30    Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA

 

2011 Domaine Leccia Rosé Vin de Pays de l’Île de Beauté, Patrimonio
This is a gorgeous fruit driven rosé made entirely from Niellucciu grapes. The wine is light reddish pink in color and has a gorgeous perfume of cherries and rose petals. With great elegance and texture it is brimming with fruit. Cherries and watermelon are intermingled with floral spice nuances and the finish is bright and crisp  – Outstanding.   $26   Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA  

Coteau Varois En Provence

The Coteaux Varois appellation encompasses 28 towns in the heart of Provence. Tucked between the two largest AOCs – the Côtes de Provence and Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence – this area is sheltered by the surrounding limestone hills of Sainte-Baume and the Bessillons, which have a tempering effect on the climate. Mild spring and fall weather alternates with hotter summers and harsher winters than are found elsewhere in Provence. The vines grow in chalky clay soils at an average altitude of 1,200 feet. The region earned AOC status in 1993.

  

2011 Bastide De Trians Rosé Coteau Varois En Provence.
This wine is made with 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault and 20% Syrah. It is gorgeous. Pale salmon pink in color the wine has a lovely floral perfume with hints of peach and berry fruit. Lovely and soft yet with a nice underlying crispness this rosé has lovely pure floral tinged fruit with hints of peach and melon. It is really tasty and very easy to drink – Outstanding.    $12.99   Best Buy    Selected by K&L Wine Merchants and Imported by Premier Wine Company Richmond, CA  

Côtes De Provence

 

2011 Mirabeau Rosé Côtes de Provence.
This is a nice elegant rosé made with Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault grapes. It is light salmon pink in color and has a subtle floral perfume with hints of peach and berry fruit. It is light and fresh with a nice finesse. The flavors show an intermingling of peach and melon with a floral undertone and there is a nice crispness on the finish –  Highly Recommended.    $14.99   Imported by Kirkcrest Imports Danville, CA   

2011 Quinson Fils Rosé Côtes De Provence.
Looking for a rosé under $5? Well, here’s one. It has a light golden orange color and a subtle perfume that is faintly floral. Light and supple the wine is balanced with floral tinged berry fruit and a nice clean finish. Very pleasant and easy to drink this is a bargain – Recommended.   $4.99   Best Buy   Imported by Latitude Wines Inc. Danville, CA

 Gigondas

 Les Pallières

 

This domaine was created in 1998 when Daniel and Frédérick Brunier, the two brothers of the famed Vieux Télégraphe estate, in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Kermit Lynch, the long time importer of Vieux Télégraphe, joined together to buy the propery. Here is the history leading up to the sale as described by Kermit:

 “Domaine Les Pallières is undeniably one of the greatest, longest-running properties of the Southern Rhône—outside the village of Gigondas, woven into the foothills of the beautiful and brooding Dentelles de Montmirail. The domaine had been a continuously running farm within the same family since the fifteenth century! Les Pallières was once a famous domaine with wines of impeccable character, yet the property had slowly fallen into disrepair. Two great frosts of the twentieth century had killed off many of the olive and fruit trees, and both the winery and the vineyards were badly in need of repairs. By 1998, the Roux brothers wanted to make a change. With no future successors to take their place, they decided to sell.”

This 2011 rosé is stunning.

 

2011 Les Pallières Au Petit Bonheur Rosé Gigondas.
This wine is made from grapes grown on young vines Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Clairette. It is fermented and aged in large barrels which give the wine a faint hint of vanilla and a nice underlying softness. It is youthfully appealing with a light salmon pink color showing a faint orange hue and a deep floral vanilla tinged perfume with berry and cherry fruit. With gorgeous balance the wine is supple and round with floral berry nuances and a faint tinge of spice. This is a really delicious velvet textured rosé – Outstanding Plus.    $22   Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA 

Languedoc

2011 Domaine Begude Pinot Rosé Pays D’Oc.
This rosé is made at a family owned estate from Pinot Noir grapes grown in vineyards high in the cool climate region of Limoux in the South of France. Light reddish pink in color with a faint golden hue it has a lovely perfume with hints of raspberry and cherry and a touch of spice with a faint floral nuance. The wine is very pure with a tart raspberry fruit that is accented by a touch of minerality and a faint floral spice quality – Highly Recommended.   $12.99      Selected by K&L Wine Merchants Imported by Premier Wine Company Richmond, CA   

 

2011 Les Vigernons De Fontés Prieure Saint-Hippolyte Languedoc.
This wine is made by a co-op in located in the heart of the Langudoc. It is made from 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache. It is a gorgeous fruit driven rosé with a light red color showing a faint golden hue. The perfume is very fruit with strawberry and watermelon accented by a faint floral nuance. It is packed with a myriad of red fruits and is supple and very tasty with a nice crisp finish – Outstanding.    $10.99   Best Buy   Selected by K&L Wine Merchants and Imported by DA Vineyards & Partners Oakland, CA

Loire Valley

 

Along with the great white wines made from the Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne grapes there are also many fabulous Loire Valley rosés made from Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. In Sancerre it is Pinot Noir that is used for rosé. This 2011 is yet another lovely example (to read about other 2011 Sancerre rosés click here).

2011 Philippe Raimbault Sancerre Rosé Apud Sariacum.
Pale orange pink in color this rosé has a lovely floral tinged perfume with hints of raspberries. It is lovely, crisp and balanced with a floral nuance and hints of raspberry and citrus –  Highly Recommended.    $21.99      Shipped by Jean-Marie De Champs Beaune, FR and imported by Wine House Limited San Francisco, CA  

 Spain

 

2011 Albero Bobal Rosé.
Available exclusively from Trader Joe’s, this wine is made from organically grown Spanish Bobal grapes grown in the hills just west of Spain’s Mediterranean coast near Valencia. The producer, Iranzo Fields, is Spain’s oldest estate bottled winery with origins dating back to 1335. The Bobal grape is said to contain some of the highest tested levels of the natural antioxidant Resveratrol. And, along with the $4.99 price this seems a perfect fit for Trader Joe’s. This rosé could pass for a light red wine. It has a light red color and has a nice floral berry perfume with a faint herbal nuance. It has very nice clean fruit with a nice underlying crispness. Not very complex, but very pleasant and easy to drink – Recommended.    $4.99    Imported by Latitude Wines Danville, CA.  


WHITE WINES

 Argentina

At this time, Argentina is producing some of the best valued wines in the world. One of my favorites is a white wine unique to Argentina. The wine is Torrontes.  It is inexpensive (usually in a range of $10-13) and irresistibly delicious. I have written several articles on Torrontes (to read one that explains Torrontes in more detail click here).

The wine reviewed below is the least expensive Torrontes I have come across thus far. If you don’t know Torrontes, this is a good place to start.

2011 Alamos Torrontes Salta, Argentina.
Light yellow in color this wine has a very floral perfume with a tinge of spice and is rounded and lush. The flavors are also very floral and accented by faint hints of spice and citrus – Highly Recommended.     $8.99    Best Buy     Imported by Alamos USA Hayward, CA   

California

Central Coast

In the Central Coast area of California there are many wineries making very diverse styles of wine. Paso Robles is making some of the biggest most intense wines imaginable, but there are others who are pursuing something that is more traditional. For me the clear leader in this area is Tablas Creek. In the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara area wineries like Au Bon Climat, Qupé, Chanin and Tyler are making gorgeous balanced wines. Shortly I will post another article on Au Bon Climat and Qupé (to read my first article click here)  and that will be followed by new articles on Chanin and Tyler.

Chanin Wine Company

Last year I first wrote about this winery founded by Gavin Chanin (to read that article click here). Gavin is rapidly gaining recognition for his wines that are made in a balanced classic style following the likes of Au Bon Climat and Qupé with whom he worked for several years

This year Gavin has moved to his own winery facility and I will be visiting there soon. Below is a note on a gorgeous new Chardonnay which was reviewed as a barrel sample in the above article. (To learn more about Chanin and join the mailing list click here).

 

2010 Chanin Wine Company Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard.
The fruit for this wine comes from a plot of nearly 40 year old vines within the famed Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria. Light yellow in color with a faint golden hue this Chardonnay has a lovely floral perfume with tropical peach tinged nuances and hints of citrus and spice. It has great fruit that is complemented by a faint mineral and citrus quality and a faint underlying tropical note. The wine is balanced and elegant with great style and finesse. This is a gorgeous Chardonnay – Outstanding Plus.       $40  

 

Tablas Creek Vineyard

 Below is the background information from my first article On Tablas Creek Vineyard:

“…Tablas Creek Vineyard is a partnership between the Perrin family, proprietors of Chateau Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape, and Robert Haas, founder of Vineyard Brands, as majority partners and French and American friends as minority partners. The search for a vineyard location to grow Rhone varietals began in 1987 and in 1989 they purchased a 120 acre parcel in West Paso Robles some 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Here the rock and limestone soils are of the same geologic origin as at Beaucastel and the climate is also similar. The result is grapes that mature fully, yet retain crisp acidity. The vine cuttings were imported from Beaucastel to replicate the clonal selection and assure the quality and genetic source. The vine cuttings arrived in 1990 and planting began several years later. The first wine was made in 1997. Production, both in terms of quantity and number of wines produced, has been increasing steadily since then. Today the planting is complete and consists of 2/3s red varieties – Mouvedre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Tannat. and Counoise and 1/3 white varieties – Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, Picpoul Blanc, and Grenache Blanc. The centuries old Chateauneuf du Pape tradition is followed with the varieties blended to produce wines of a unique style and complexity. The concept of blending different varietals to make wines is one that I have always believed would make better wines in California….Tablas Creek is dedicated to pursuing its goal of balanced, harmonious wines. In the past three years the alcohol range for the white wines has been 13-13½% and 14-14½% for the red wines…. But, one thing is consistent through all the recent vintages. The wines have lovely fruit and are harmonious and balanced. Some require aging, others are meant to be consumed young. This is a very good trend, and is as it should be.”  (To read the entire article click here).

 

Tablas Creek Vineyard seems to go from strength to strength. The last releases of 3 different wines, a white, rosé, and red, were all outstanding (to read that article click here)

And so it is with these latest white wine releases. An encore performance, it is yet another vinous hat trick. If you like your wines pure and balanced in a style that marries beautifully with food, these are wines for you. Tablas Creek Vineyard wines are available in limited quantities nationally for most of their offerings. The wines are also offered for sale directly from the winery along with special limited bottlings offered only from the winery. They can be contacted at www.tablascreek.com and also have a wine club, Tablas Creek VINsider, which offers discounts and special offerings to members.


2011 Tablas Creek Vineyard Vermentino.
Vermentino is a grape that is widely planted in Italy and also in Corsica and the Mediterranean areas of France. In the latter area it is known as Rolle. This is a lovely example that has adapted beautifully in Paso Robles. The 2011 is the tenth bottling of this wine from Tablas Creek and the production totaled 820 cases. Pale yellow in color the wine has a gorgeous perfume of melon with floral citrus nuances. It is very finesseful and pure with beautiful balance and the flavors show melon tinged with grapefruit and a faint underlying floral note. Underlying these flavors is a faint stony minerality and the silkiness of the wine is balanced by a nice crispness on the finish. This is a unique wine that you really should try – Outstanding.    $27   

2010 Tablas Creek Vineyard Roussanne.
Roussanne is the white grape that originated in the Rhone Valley of France and is widely planted there along with Marsanne. Roussanne is also planted in other areas of France and in Italy. More recently it has found a home in Australia, Washington, and several areas of California. It seems to do particularly well in the Central Coast area of California. Tablas Creek is a leading producer making a consistently beautiful Roussanne. This 2010 is another example. Light yellow gold in color the wine has gorgeous perfume with hints of pear and a faintly honeyed quality accented by citrus blossom. It is a luscious wine with hints of pear and a honeyed nuance. Soft and supple the wine is beautifully balanced with a subtle underlying crispness. Over a period of several days the honeyed quality of the wine becomes even more pronounced. This is a really lovely wine with 490 cases produced in 2010 – Outstanding.     $30  

2010 Tablas Creek Vineyard Espirit de Beaucastel Blanc.
This is Tablas Creek’s flagship white wine that is a blend of 3 estate grown white wine varietals that were propagated from budwood cutting taken from the Chateau de Beaucastel estate in Chateauneuf du Pape. The Espirit de Beaucastel Blanc is consistently excellent and this 2010 is a great example. Blended from 60% Roussanne, 35% Grenache Blanc, and 5% Picpoul Blanc, the 2010 production totaled 2100 cases. Light golden yellow in color the wine has a stunning floral perfume with hints of citrus and spice and a faint honeyed quality. This is a beautifully balanced white wine. The alcohol is 13.5% and the wine is finesseful yet with lots of flavor. It is supple yet with a nice underlying crispness. Everything is beautifully integrated and the flavors exhibit a floral citrus quality with a honeyed nuance and a kiss of spice. Underneath there is a faint hint of minerality and the finish is long and crisp. This is really gorgeous – Outstanding Plus.    $40

 

North Coast and Sonoma County

 

Steelhead Vineyards

This winery was formed as part of creek restoration efforts in Northern California. Here is a description of the history and mission:

“Since the first vintage in 2002 we have participated and supported creek restoration efforts in Northern California. You may be aware that in 1998 Quivira Vineyards partnered with government, educational and non-profit organizations, including Trout Unlimited (TU), on a successful project to restore Wine Creek (a tributary of Dry Creek) running through the Quivira estate and established Steelhead wine. Steelhead Vineyards stands as its own winery today and continues to partner with Quivira to support TU, donating a portion of the proceeds from every bottle of Steel head sold to help fund TU’s work and conservation projects.

 At Steelhead Vineyards our guiding principle, “Better Wine. Better World” is a commitment we have believed in since our beginning and will continue to uphold. We are proud of our involvement with conservation efforts but equally proud of the wines we produce. This past year we have concentrated our efforts with TU’s Water and Wine program that targets the instream flows and salmonid habitat. We have also honed in our wine sourcing focusing on specific vineyards throughout the North Coast that produce outstanding wines. Our partnership with Pete Kight, also owner of Quivira Vineyards and Wine Creek Estates, has allowed us to utilize Hugh Chappelle (Quivira winemaker) as our Steelhead consulting winemaker.”

There are two red wine and two white wines produced. Following are notes on two recently released value priced white wines. Notes on the red wines will follow in the next Distinctive New Wines article.

2011 Steelhead Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc North Coast.
Light yellow in color this is a lovely well crafted Sauvignon Blanc with finesse and style. It has a nice perfume with hints of melon, citrus and herbs. The fruit is lovely showing the same intermingling of melon, citrus, and herbs and the finish is clean and crisp – Recommended Plus.      $12.99   

2010 Steelhead Vienyards Chardonnay Sonoma County.
Like the Sauvignon Blanc this Chardonnay is stylistically the same. It is light yellow in color with a very faint gold hue and has a nice floral peach tinged perfume with a hint of citrus. The wine is elegant and balanced with subtle hints of peach and citrus backed by an underlying floral nuance and the finish is clean and crisp – Recommended Plus.     $14.99    

France

Alsace

Situated in mid-eastern to north eastern France on the border with Germany to the north and Switzerland to the south, some 80% of the wine produced in Alsace is white. The wines are made mostly from varietals that are also grown in Germany and Austria. Over the years, the ownership of Alsace has gone back and forth between France and Germany and this has undoubtedly had an influence. Today the wines are exported mainly to Belgium, Netherlands, Germany,  Denmark and the United States. Many Alsatian wines show a degree of residual sugar and Alsace may be most noted in the export market for Gewürztraminers most of which are slightly sweet.

2010 Domaine Ehrhart Gewürztraminer Herrenweg.
This is a lovely example of a slightly sweet Gewürztraminer. It is light gold in color with an intense spice tinged floral perfume. The wine is rounded, sweet, and lush with an intense floral flavor that is is accented by spice and honey. Supple and very pure this is an opulently styled Gewürztraminer – Highly Recommended.      $20.99      Imported by Robert Kacher Selections Washington, DC   

Domaine Ostertag
This domaine is relatively young having its beginnings in the 1960s. Today André Ostertag is in charge and the domaine has been run along biodynamic lines since the late 1990s. Unlike most producers in Alsace, he ferments most of his wines completely dry and he also believes in the use of small amounts of oak in some of his wines, but not Riesling. He is a man driven by the quality of his wines and he defines this in different ways. Here is a quote from him taken from Kermit Lynch’s book Inspiring Thirst:

“…true quality is that which succeeds in surprising and moving us. It is not locked inside a formula. Its essence is subtle (subjective) and never rational. It resides in the unique, the singular, but it is ultimately connected to something more universal. A great wine is one in which quality is contained. Such a wine will necessarily be uncommon and decidedly unique because it cannot be like any other, and because of this fact it will be atypical, or only typical of itself. (p 279)

 
 

 

2009 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Fronholz.
This wine is made from a less than one acre parcel of 20 year old vines. After several days it really started to open and lasted for over two weeks showing no sign of decline. The wine has a light yellow gold color and a great perfume that shows hints of peach and apricot with floral citrus notes and a tinge of spice. On the palate it delivers a real yin and yang. First, peach and apricot fruit with a floral spice undertone. Then there is a citrus zing on the finish. This is a very pure wine that really delivers. Supple and elegant, but with flavor and backbone, this Pinot Gris really makes a statement – Outstanding.     $50 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA   

2010 Domaine Ostertag Pinot Gris Muenchberg A36OP G.C.
This wine is made from grapes grown on 30 year old vines in a one acre parcel of the Grand Cru vineyard Muenchberg. Because the wine spent some time in oak it was not permitted to be labeled as Grand Cru so the coordinates of the parcel “A36OP G.C.” were put on the label. Light yellow gold in color the wine has a deep perfume that is floral and honeyed with tinges of spice and citrus and a faint exotic nuance. It has gorgeous balance and is very finesseful with subtle flavors of melon and peach interwoven with a touch of spice and a faint floral honeyed quality. A nice citrus tinge on the finish is the perfect complement to the wine. This is stunning – Outstanding Plus.    $70   Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA  

2009 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Fronholz.
The 3 acres of vines in this vineyard are over 35 years old. The wine is light yellow in color with a faint golden hue and there is a lovely perfume with hints of peach and apricot with a faint floral citrus note. The wine is very pure, subtle and balanced showing hints of peach, apricot, and citrus and a nice underlying crispness – Highly Recommended.    $36    Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA  

2009 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Hessenberg.
This wine is made from grapes grown in a 2 acre vineyard of over 25 year old vines. Light yellow gold in color the wine has a gorgeous floral perfume with hints of peach, mango and citrus. The wine is brimming with very pure fruit and is balanced and shows great finesse. The flavors of peach, mango and citrus are beautifully integrated and complemented by a nice underlying citrus crispness – Outstanding.    $36     Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA   

2009 Domaine Ostertag Riesling Muenchberg Grand Cru.
Made from an approximate 4 acre parcel of vines over 35 years of age this is a gorgeous Riesling with great purity. It is light yellow gold in color and the perfume is stunning with a mélange of fruits suggesting peach, mango, apricot and citrus with an underlying floral note. With great breed, style, and finesse, the wine has flavors that are a complex intermingling of citrus with peach, apricot, mango, and melon. This wine is in a word, delicious – Outstanding Plus.    $49     Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA   

 

Burgundy
Burgundy is the land of the great red and white wines which are some of the very best wines on the planet. The great White Burgundies such as Montrachet are world renowned and tremendously expensive. But, at a less exalted level are many wines sold as “Bourgogne” which is the name for wine of the area rather than a specific vineyard. (To read my article on 2010 Burgundy which contains an article, A Simple Explanation of Burgundy, that explains this in more detail click here).     These wines are much less expensive, and while lighter than the more expensive wines, when made by the right producer they offer good value. Take a look at the ones below.

Domaine Paul Pernot et Ses Fils

 

I have been visiting Paul Pernot since the 1980s. And, I have been buying and drinking these wines for the entire ensuing period. They are consistently very fine and represent really good value. Here are the two recent releases of the “entry” level wines. One made from Chardonnay and one made from Aligoté which is the ancient grape of Burgundy. Aligoté was once the primary grape used to make White Burgundy. But after an attack of Phylloxera in Burgundy during the 1ate 19th century, Aligoté was mostly destroyed and was replaced with Chardonnay which is the basis for the great white Burgundies of today. Aligotés are characterized by a leaner structure and a higher level of acidity. This is classically represented in the following two wines.

2011 Paul Pernot et Ses Fils Bourgogne.
Light yellow in color this wine has a lovely perfume showing floral tinged citrus notes with a faint spice tinge. It is very elegant with a lot of finesse. The fruit has a faint tropical nuance and is balanced by a tinge of spice and citrus with a nice underlying minerality – Highly Recommended.    $23.49    Shipped by Jean-Marie De Champs Beaune, FR and imported by Wine House Limited San Francisco, CA  

2011 Paul Pernot et Ses Fils Bourgogne Aligoté.
Pale yellow in color this wine has a subtle perfume showing a touch of citrus with a distinct underlying stoniness. It is finesseful and crisp, fresh, and very pure with citrus and mineral notes backed by a faint floral nuance – Highly Recommended.    $21.59  Shipped by Jean-Marie De Champs Beaune, FR and imported by Wine House Limited San Francisco, CA  

Cassis

 

The Cassis appellation, located along the coast between Marseilles and Bandol, is unique in the Provençal wine region due to white wine comprising over 75% of its production. Perched on a bluff overlooking the sea, it is beautifully situated.  The soil of is primarily limestone which is particularly suited to the cultivation of Clairette, Marsanne, Ugni Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc which are the major varieties of the area. The rosé and white wines produced here include some of the most exquisite and finesseful of all the wines of Provence.

The dry white wines are characterized by their full bodies, low acidity and herbal aromas that pair well with the local seafood cuisine such as bouillabaisse. Local consumption has outpaced supply and has limited the amount of Cassis wine that could be exported. Local laws are being developed in the region to protect vineyards from being overrun with commercial and residential development from the city of Marseilles.

  

2010 Clos Ste Magdeleine Cassis Blanc.
This wine is made from 50% Marsanne, 25% Clairette,  and 25% Ugni Blanc. It is a wine of great finesse and breed. The color is pale yellow and the wine exhibits a delicate perfume of flowers intermingled with citrus and mineral notes. Beautifully balanced it is delicate yet complex with hints of melon and citrus followed by a faintly exotic floral nuance and a tinge of minerality. This is really lovely – Outstanding.    $32     Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA  

 Côtes De Gascogne

This area in the South West of France is best known for the production of Armagnac which is made from the Ugni Blanc grape. The Ugni Blanc grape is the most widely planted grape in France and is also used in the production of Cognac. White wines made with Ugni Blanc have a very distinct yin and yang quality that has a distinct pomello quality. These are not often seen here, but offer great value and are very versatile food wines that are great accompaniments for mild fish and many lighter foods. Don’t miss the two wines reviewed below. They are stunningly delicious and great bargains!

2010 Domaine La Hitaire Les Tours Vin de Pays Des Côtes Gasgogne.
This is an amazing white wine that is simply a great value. It is made with a blend of 65% Ugni Blanc, 30% Columbard, and 5% Gros Manseng. The fruit comes from vines that are over 50 years old. The wine exhibits a great floral perfume with hints of grapefruit. It is irresistibly delicious with loads of floral tinged fruit and a distinct pomello quality that really makes it sing – Outstanding.     $10.39     Best Buy    Imported by Robert Kacher Selections Washington, DC   

2011 Domaine De Pouy Vin de Pays Des Côtes Gasgogne.
Pale yellow in color this wine has a complex floral perfume tinged with peach and grapefruit. It is finesseful with lovely flavors that hint of peach with a floral undertone and a great underlying pomello flavor. This is really delicious – Outstanding      $9.99    Best Buy     Buy    Imported by Robert Kacher Selections Washington, DC  

Loire Valley

Jasnières

This small area in the north end of the Loire valley consists of some 160 acres of hillside vineyards facing south or south-east. The wines are produced from Chenin Blanc grapes and the majority of the wines are dry. Jasnières from the best vintages can age for decades. Most of the wine produced here is sold in the local area and only small quantities are exported.

Domaine Pascal Janvier

I first reviewed the wines from this small producer last year.  They were from the 2010 vintage (to read that article and the background for this domaine click here).

Now the 2011s are here and they are terrific. These are really under the radar wines that will amaze you.

2011 Pascal Janvier Jasniéres.

Pale yellow in color this wine has a lovely perfume hinting of quince with a faint tinge of pineapple and an underlying mineral nuance. It is crisp and bright with subtle citrus and pear flavors intermingled with a distinct minerality – Highly Recommended Plus.    $19.95    Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA   

2011 Pascal Janvier Jasniéres Cuvée de Silex.
This is a really gorgeous wine. Light yellow in color it has a great perfume showing hints of citrus with pineapple and mineral undertones. The flavors are very pure and offer suggestions of pineapple and citrus with a distinct mineral nuance. The surprise is the faint sweet pineapple tinge that is offset by the citrus and mineral component. These two opposite flavors give the wine a well defined yin and yang quality that is irresistible. This is a bright fresh wine with balance and structure that will develop over a long period of time although it can certainly be enjoyed now and consumed with great gusto – Outstanding Plus.    $22     Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA   

Quincy

 

The Quincy district is one of three less known wine zones in the Loire Valley, in the vicinity of the famous Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé zones. (Ménétou-Salon and Reuilly are the other two.) The sandy and gravelly vineyard area lies on the left bank of the Cher River, a tributary of the Loire, between Bourges and Vierzon. The history of wine growing here dates back to the 12th century. In 1936 Quincy was the first commune to be awarded an appellation in this part of the Loire region. The Quincy appellation applies only to white wines, which must be crafted entirely from Sauvignon Blanc. Interestingly the maximum alcohol allowed in the appellation is 12.5%. It is a small area with only some 650 acres of vines under cultivation.

The wines of Quincy are sold mainly in the French market with exports accounting for only about 20%. Therefore, it is not well know here. But my experience with the wines of Quincy is that that are very consistent and well crafted. To me they represent a sort of “poor man’s Sancerre” and as such should not be ignored. And, like Sancerre, they are best with light foods, particularly delicate fish, and fresh goat cheese.

 

2011 Domaine Trotereau Quincy.
This small domain produces some 4,000 cases annually. This 2011 is gorgeous. It is pale yellow in color and has a great floral perfume with hints of citrus and pear and an underlying mineral note. The wine has lovely balance and finesse and very pure fruit with suggestions of citrus and pear with a touch of pineapple. With a crisp mineral tinged finish complementing the lush fruit this is very special –  Outstanding.     $18.95     Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA   

Rhone Valley

Chateau Grillet

 

Although Chateau Grillet is located in the region of Condrieu in the northern Rhone valley, it has its own appellation which was created in 1936. At under 10 acres in size, it is the second smallest appellation in France, after La Romanée in Burgundy. The annual production is under 10,000 bottles. The vineyards are situated on steep granite cliffs where the slopes form a natural amphitheater with south-southeast exposure. The soils here are lighter and more fragmented than in Condrieu. Both appellations produce exclusively white wine made from the Viognier grape. The Neyret-Gachet family owned Chateau Grillet from 1830 to 2011 when it was sold to French Billionaire Francois Pinault who is also the owner of Chateau Latour.

Years ago the conventional wisdom was to drink Chateau Grillet young like a Condrieu. It was Bruce Lefavour of the restaurant Rose et Lefavour who first introduced us to older Grillets years ago. Rose et Lefavour existed in St. Helena, California form the 1980s into the 1990s (to read the article featuring Bruce and other great chefs including Roberto Cortez click here).  In those days we drank Chateau Grillets from the 1960s and 1970s. Since that time I have keep a stock of older Grillets which now date back into the 1980s. With age the wines take on distinct subtle nuances which often include almond and honey intermingled with citrus, mineral, and floral under tones. They have extreme finesse and are a wonderful match with the lightest, most delicate foods that might grace your table. These 2 recent vintages are lovely and will repay aging for an extended period, especially the 2008.

 

2009 Chateau Grillet.
Pale yellow in color this wine has a gorgeous floral perfume with herbal note and a tinge of minerals complemented by a faint peach nuance. It has great finesse and is rounded with floral notes and hints of herbs and minerals with a faint kiss of spice. This is a superbly elegant wine of great style. It is rounded and drinks beautifully now, but will keep – Outstanding.   $126    Imported by Atherton Wine Imports Atherton, CA 

2008 Chateau Grillet.
Pale yellow in color this wine has a lovely floral perfume with hints of herbs and citrus with a faint minerality. It is supremely elegant with great finesse and lovely flavor with hints of citrus and peach offset by a citrus undertone and a lovely mineral tinge on the finish, yet it is structured with good backbone. This wine is lovely now, but should be a wine that will keep for an extended period Outstanding Plus.   $108   Imported by Atherton Wine Imports Atherton, CA 

Sancerre

 

For me, the area of Sancerre produces some of the greatest dry white wines in the world. They are crafted exclusively from the Sauvignon Blanc grape and offer a unique expression of purity, balance, finesse, and flavor (to read more about Sancerre from a prior article click here).

Here are notes on two new Sancerres. If you love Sancerre you do not want to miss these. If you don’t know Sancerre then there is no time like the present!

 

2011 Cherrier Pére & Fils Sancerre.

This Sancerre is produced by Francois and Jean-Marie Cherrier with father Pierre. The yields are kept low and the wine has intensity and is very aromatic. The color is pale yellow and the wine has a great perfume with a floral note and a faint hint of grapefruit, citrus and minerals. It is a wine of great finesse and style and has gorgeous balance with lovely citrus tinged fruit and a lovely crispness on the finish. This is a wonderful, value driven Sancerre. Don’t miss it – Outstanding.    $16.99   Best Buy   Selected by K&L Wine Merchants and imported by Kirkcrest Imports, Danville, CA   

2011 Daniel Chotard Sancerre Cuvée Marcel Henri.
This wine is a homage to Daniel’s father, Marcel, and his uncle, Henri, and is made from nearly 50 year old vines. Daniel Chotard’s vineyards lie on slopes surrounding the small commune of Crezancy-en-Sancerre, which is close to the town of Sancerre. Winemaking in the Chotard family goes back for some 200 years. Daniel practices sustainable farming and harvests late. This is the first time I have tasted this cuvée (to read my notes on his other wines and other Sancerres and food recipes to serve with Sancerre click here).  This Cuvée Marcel Henri is absolutely stunning and is not to be missed.

Pale yellow in color the wine has a stunning perfume that is faintly floral with mineral notes and a touch of citrus. It is all about finesse and balance yet there is depth and complexity. This is a gorgeous example of Sancerre with elegance without sacrificing flavor. Bravo! Like I said last time, I have yet another favorite producer in Sancerre – Outstanding Plus   $34    Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Imports Berkeley, CA  

 

Savoie

Savoie is at the base of the Alps in south-eastern France. Wine grapes have been grown here for over five centuries. This wine is made 100% from the Jacquere grape variety. This grape produces a crisper wine than those made from the predominant grape variety of the area, Bergeron, which is known as Roussane in the Rhone valley and other parts of the world.

2011 Domaine Jean Vullien Et Fils Montmélian Vin de Savoie.
Light yellow in color the wine has a lovely perfume with hints of pear and citrus and a faint floral nuance. It has lovely balance and finesse with flavors that hint of citrus, pear, and apple with a very faint floral undertone. This is a very tasty wine that is flavorful and balanced with only 11.5% alcohol – Highly Recommended.    $10.98    Imported by Jeff Welburn Selections Wine Agencies. Inc. Van Nuys, CA

 

Greece

Santorini

 

This island located in the southern Aegean Sea about 120 miles southeast from the mainland of Greece. Santorini was created from a massive volcanic explosion some 3600 years ago. This may have been the greatest single disaster in human history. Magma was sent very high into the air and the resulting tidal wave claimed the lives of millions in the Mediterranean area. The sheer force is estimated to have been fifty thousand times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. The eruption caused a massive void in the center of the island as that land mass fell into the sea and created a group of islands from the once large land mass. This rendered Santorini uninhabitable for some 200 years and some believe that stories of the devastation were used as inspiration for the biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The volcanic history of the island created a soil consisting of pumice, volcanic ash, lava rocks, and sand that is rich in minerals, but with virtually no organic matter. Moreover, there are no rivers on the island and very little rainfall. The vines and vegetation are mostly nourished by nighttime fog. Santorini is also subject to very high winds which accentuate the dryness. In such a climate one would hardly expect to find grape vines. But the vines are trained into a basket shape that grows very close to the ground. The result is that yields are very low and everything must be harvested by hand. The resultant wines have a high degree of acidity and a pronounced minerality.

 

Over time the vines have survived despite the harsh growing conditions. But, the acreage planted to grapes on the island has been steadily declining. Why? Simple. Urbanization. Every year the island is visited by some 2 million people (my wife and I visited there with some of our friends in 2009). Almost the entire economy of the island is based on tourism so the pressures land utilization are immense. This means that, over time, the wines of Santorini are like to be even scarcer.

Here is an excerpt from the Underground article featuring Santorini which was written by Greg McCluney:

“…we neared the Greek island of Santorini, where atop a volcano we sampled some ADDunusual wines… a unique varietal called Assyrtico is grown in “baskets.” The grapes grow on the ground with the vines wrapped around the bunches in the shape of a basket to protect them from the drying effects of the strong winds on top of the volcano. The varietals, including Aidani and Athiri, exist almost nowhere else on earth. Later, we would visit the Sigalas winery of Oia, Santorini, a progressive vineyard that uses some trellis systems (support structures for the vines) in addition to the baskets and produces award-winning reds as well as the island’s traditional whites. The Sigalas Santorini white is the finest Greek wine I’ve had the pleasure to taste—great body, open fruit and rich volcanic minerals….”  To read the entire article click here.

 Domaine Sigalas

 

The predominant grape on the island of Santorini is Assyrtiki. Paris Sigalas began Domaine Sigalas in 1991. Initially he operated out of his home. But by 1998, production had grown enough that a winery was constructed in Oia, on the northern end of Santorini. Today the domaine is some 60 acres in size. The Assyrtiki vines here are over 50 years old and other local varieties are also grown. Since 1994 the domaine has been organic. The winemaking technology is modern, but the philosophy here is that the wine is made in the vineyard and not in the winery. My first experience with the Doamine Sigalas wine was with the 2009 vintage. I was impressed by the balance and complexity of that wine (to read that article click here)  and this 2011 is, if anything, even more impressive. These wines are said to be capable of aging like a fine white Bordeaux for many years. I have put some in my cellar to test this thesis and I would advise you to do the same. This is a great, unique wine with a marvelous history and it is a pleasure to drink. It is great with lighter foods, particularly with grilled white fish and smoked trout.

 

2011 Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiki Santorini.
Pale yellow in color this wine has a great complex perfume hinting of citrus and minerals and a faint smoky, flinty nuance accented by a floral undertone. The fruit is very refined and bright with minerality and faint hints of melon and grapefruit married in a seamless fashion. The combination produces a lovely contrast of yin and yang and the finish is crisp with a great lasting impression of flintiness accented by citrus. Surely this is unique in the world and a great wine that is not to be missed  – Outstanding Plus.   $21.98    Imported by Diamond Imports, Inc. Chicago, Il    

 
Hungary

 

Hungarian wine has a very long history dating back to at least Roman time. Hungary and Greece are the only two European countries with languages that have words for wine that are not derived from Latin. Outside Hungary the best known wine is the Tokaji dessert wine.

 

 
2011 Szõke Mátyás Zöld Veltelini Grüner Veltliner Mátra. 
This is a wine made from the Grüner Veltliner grape in the Hungarian area of  Mátra. This area which is located just north east of Budapest has volcanic soils and a relatively warm climate. Hence, the Grüner Veltliner grape has migrated from neighboring Austria and found a home in Hungary where it thrives.  Here the grapes produce a wine that is more lush and rounded than the famous Grüner Veltliner’s of the Wachau area of Austria. This one is really delicious and a great value.  With a light yellow color this wine has an intriguing perfume that is faintly floral and honeyed with a touch of spiciness and beeswax. It has a wonderful mouth feel and is lush, supple, rounded, and creamy, but maintains elegance and it not at all heavy. The flavors are complex with hints of melon with a faint honeyed nuance and pomello. An underlying crispness on the finish gives the wine zip and enhances its appeal – Outstanding.      $12.98      Best Buy     Imported by Blue Danube Wine Company  Los Altos Hills, CA    

Italy

Gavi

 

Gavi is an area in the Piedmont district of northern Italy. It consists of about a dozen towns with the town of Gavi in the center. The white wine made here is made from the Cortese grape. Gavi is the name of wine from the area. Gavi di Gavi comes from the area around the town and is considered to be the areas finest wine. These wines are delicious wines to drink young with lighter foods. Picollo Ernesto is one of the more renowned producers in the area making consistently fine wines from just under 20 acres of vineyards having an average age of just under 30 years.

2011 Picollo Ernesto Gavi.
Pale yellow in color this wine has a lovely perfume showing hints of citrus and melon and a faint mineral nuance. It is crisp and zesty with melon and citrus nuances and an underlying minerality – Recommended Plus.   $10.49   Imported by Wine House Limited San Francisco, CA    

2011 Picollo Ernesto Gavi di Gavi Roverto. 
The grapes for this wine come from the slope of Roverto in the town of Gavi. Pale yellow in color the wine has a deep perfume of lemon lime with floral notes and hints of melon. It is balanced and elegant with lovely flavors showing floral citrus nuances and a crisp underlying minerality – Highly Recommended Plus.    $15.99    Imported by Wine House Limited San Francisco, CA    

Lugano

This area in northern Italy is near Lake Garda and is renowned for white wines made from the Trebbiano grape variety. Trebbiano is known as Ugni Blanc in France and is used there mostly for making Cognac. Ca’Lojera (translated as “The ancient house of the wolves”) consistently makes a very fine white wine that offers great value.

2011 Ca’Lojera Lugano.
Pale yellow in color this wine has a lovely floral perfume with hints of peach and citrus. It is soft and elegant with lovely pure fruit showing hints of melon and peach with a nice underlying crispiness. The citrus tinged finish is a beautiful complement to the other fruit components and serves to accent the suppleness of the wine – Outstanding.      $14.99  Imported by Wine House Limited San Francisco, CA  

Molise
This is the newest appellation in Italy having been separated from Abbruzzi e Molise in 1963.  It is a small region in the south near the Adriatic coast and its wines are steadily getting increasing recognition outside of Italy.

2010 Borgo Di Colloredo Malvasia Terra degli Osci.
Light yellow in color with a faint golden hue this wine has a floral perfume with faint hints of peach and citrus. It has lovely subtle fruit with hints of peach and citrus and a floral undertone. Rounded and supple the wine is elegant and well balanced with a nice crispness on the finish. This is a lovely value priced white wine – Highly Recommended.    $10.98     Imported by Tesori Wines San Francisco, CA 

Puglia

 

Puglia is a long thin region in the south eastern corner of the “heel” of Italy. Falanghina is an ancient Italian white grape variety said to be Greek in origin. It is also thought to be the grape used to make Falernian, the most famous wine of Roman antiquity.

Fujanera
Fujanera is a wine estate that dates from the 18th century located in the north of Puglia near the sea. It has been restored and features and underground cellar that is 8 meters deep. The name “Bellalma” is their proprietary name for their wine made from the ancient Falanghina grape variety.

 

2010 Fujanera Falanghina “Bellalma” Puglia.
Light yellow in color this wine has a distinct floral perfume with a hint of peach and a kiss of citrus. It is soft and rounded with floral peach flavors accented by a touch of citrus. The wine a beautifully balanced and has lovely well integrated flavors. This is a wine that seems to be made to serve with fresh tomatoes. The balance, texture, and flavors of the wine are exquisite with the sweetness and underlying acidity of the tomatoes. A favorite dish of ours for this wine is sliced heirloom tomatoes combined with a few slices of fresh yellow peach and served with burrata cheese, virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, fresh mint and basil and sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. It doesn’t get any better than this folks. This wine is a winner with this dish and goes well with nearly all lighter foods – Outstanding.    $11.99      Best Buy      Selected by K&L Wine Merchants and Imported by Premier Wine Company Richmond, CA    

  
San Gimignano

   

San Gimignano is a beautiful small walled medieval hill town in Tuscany that we have visited several times over the years. It is a great place to visit.  It was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Etruscans and is known for its medieval architecture an famous towers which can be seen for miles outside the town. It is also known for a lovely white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, which is produced from the Vernaccia grape.


2009 Montenidoli Vernaccia Di San Gimignano Tradizionale.
Light yellow gold in color this wine has a lovely floral perfume with hints of citrus and a tinge of apricot and almond with a nice mineral undertone. The wine is very refined and elegant with lovely flavors showing subtle hints of melon and citrus with floral mineral tinged accents. Impeccably balanced this is a wine that marries beautifully with a wide variety of lighter foods – Outstanding.    $17.99   Imported by Wine House Limited San Francisco, CA  

2009 Montenidoli Vernaccia Di San Gimignano Fiore.
Light yellow in color this wine has a delicate floral perfume with hints of citrus and almond and a faint mineral undertone. It is crisp and finesseful with subtle fruit flavors of melon and citrus accented by floral mineral nuances – Highly Recommended.    $21.99  Imported by Wine House Limited San Francisco, CA  

Veneto

 

2011 Tenuta Sant’Antonio Scaia Bianco Veneto.

Here is an introduction to the review of last year’s wine (to view the article click here)

When was the last time you did the Garganeja? Well, I have news for you, it can be a lot of fun, but you should drink it. It is, after all, the 6th most widely planted grape variety in Italy. But, of course, you knew that! This wine is Garganeja in a blend with Chardonnay and comes from the Veneto region of north east Italy. The bottle is gorgeous with clear glass with clear labels affixed in a most artistic and pleasing manner and a user friendly glass stopper.

This 2011 is again lovely. It has an intense floral perfume with herbal nuances and hints of spice and citrus. The flavors are distinctly floral with hints of melon and citrus showing faint herbal nuances. Nicely balanced the wine is rounded and supple with a nice underlying crispness – Highly Recommended.     $12.98     Imported by Tenuta Sant’Antonio USA, Napa, CA  

 Oregon

Oregon is the home of many lovely balanced wines. One of my favorites is Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris is also known as Pinot Grigio. The grape is a mutant clone of Pinot Noir and first appeared centuries ago. The fruit is normally grayish blue in color often with a brownish pink color. Oregon Pinot Gris is very tasty and refreshing and very food friendly. One of the most consistent Oregon Pinot Gris producers is Ponzi Vineyards. Founded in 1970, it has been under the direction of the second generation for over 20 years. Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris always represents great value and this 2011 is no exception.

2011 Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Pale yellow in color this wine has a lovely floral perfume with hints of apple and citrus. It is very crisp and bright with citrus flavors backed by just a hint of melon and pear. This 2011 is more racy than the previous 2 vintages and would make a wonderful accompaniment to delicate fish dishes – Highly Recommended.   $11.99  

Portugal

Harvesting grapes from high trellised vines in Portugal

Vino Verde

Vino Verde is the name of a wine region in Northern Portugal. It was demarcated by law in 1908. Vino Verde means green wine, but in fact designates young wine that is made to be consumed in the first year after bottling. The wines are light and crisp with a faint pétillance and are low in alcohol in a range of 8-12%. They are made from several local grape varieties. The grapes are grown on high trellised vines which allows the farmers to grow other crops underneath the vines. In warm weather, consumed ice cold with light foods, they are most refreshing. The wine below is the best Vino Verde I have ever experienced. It is great! Try it with light salads and light pasta dishes and serve ice cold.

2011 Vera Vino Verde.
This is just a great wine for easy drinking. It is pale yellow in color and has a gorgeous citrus tinged perfume with a hint of kiwi fruit. It is a lovely wine that is light (12% alcohol), yet very tasty. It has a delightful pétillance and is zesty and crisp with a yin and yang combination of kiwi fruit and citrus. This is a very affordable wine that is easy to drink and irresistibly delicious.  What are you waiting for?  This is a wine you must try – Outstanding.     $10.98    Best Buy   Imported by Obrigado Vinhos Portugal Sausalito, CA  

Slovenia

    
 

I’ll bet you have no experience with wine from the Central European country of Slovenia. And, I will also bet that you didn’t know that wine making existed in Slovenia long before the Romans would introduce winemaking to Western Europe. Today there are 28,000 wineries in Slovenia with 70% of production in white wine. Less than 10% of the wine produced is exported. Most of what is exported goes to other Central European countries with a little to the United States. So here’s your chance to jump on board and try something that no one else is likely to have experienced. And, how about wine in a 1000 ml bottle with a bottle cap! That’s real bang for your buck and a conversation piece to boot!


2011 Crnko Jarenican.
This wine is made from a blend of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. It comes from the Crnko farm in Slovenia near the Austrian border. It is named for the city of Jarenina where it is often used to make a spritzer. It is a very nice crisp wine with a pale yellow color and a very nice floral perfume with just a hint of  lychee nut.  It is light, soft and elegant with a floral nuance accented by a faint citrus and lychee nut quality. This is a unique and amazing wine for the price. You can be the first on your block to serve this – Recommended Plus.   $10.98     Imported by Blue Danube Wine Company Los Altos Hills, CA  

So there you have it, a really great list of unusual and affordable rosés and white wines for the last days of summer and the warm days of fall. But, don’t forget, as I have said many times, rosés are wonderful all year round when the weather is warm. And most will keep for a year or two and many well beyond. So, if you see big discounts on rosés at the end of the season or next year in late winter/early spring (just before the 2012s start arriving) be sure to take advantage and buy your favorites. Next on tap for Distinctive New Wines will be an article on red wines and a few white wines for the beginning of the fall season. Stay tuned!

 

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4 comments for “UNDER THE RADAR & VALUE PRICED ROSÉS AND WHITE WINES”

  1. Wow, this is the post that keeps on giving! Love the breadth of coverage – it’s nice to see value and higher end wines mixed in together. Fun to read – thanks!

    Posted by Chris Tyler | August 30, 2012, 8:03 am
  2. Thanks Chris,
    Stay tuned! More to come. Great deals and notes on great wines old and new plus commentary for the wine consumer. Please pass the Underground along to your friends.
    Thanks.
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | September 6, 2012, 11:23 pm
  3. Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the amazing work.

    Posted by Resort In Thailand | May 29, 2013, 12:21 pm
  4. Thanks!
    Please pass the Underground along!
    In Vino Veritas,
    John

    Posted by John Tilson | May 29, 2013, 2:12 pm

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