Following up on my last Distinctive New Wines article which featured under the radar and value priced rosés and white wines, we now enter fall and it is time for some reds. This article will highlight some really terrific red wines including many that are great values and are under the radar. Another article featuring the same theme will follow soon.
Chanin Wine Company
Young Gavin Chanin is now in the midst of harvest in his new winery facility just a short distance from the Au Bon Climat and Qupé winery where he got his start in the wine business (to read more about the history click here) .
The review of his terrific new 2010 Bien Nacido Chardonnay was in the last Distinctive New Wines article (to read that article click here ).
The 2010 Bien Nacido Pinot Noir is also just being released and it too is terrific. This is a winery to watch! (To learn more about Chanin Wine Company and join the mailing list click here ).
2010 Chanin Wine Company Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley.
This wine is made from grapes grown on low yielding 10 year old vines situated on the upper terrace of Bien Nacido Vineyard. This vintage yielded 150 cases. Deep in color the wine has a great floral perfume with berry and cherry fruit and a faint tinge of exotic spice. This is a very pure and finesseful expression of Pinot Noir that is beautifully balanced. There is a myriad of fruits accented by and exotic spice tinge and with wine has a lovely finish. This is a Pinot Noir that is delicious to drink now, but will age for many years – Outstanding Plus. $40
Joel Peterson founded this winery in 1976. The emphasis was on wines made from grapes produced from old vine Zinfandel. Recently the Ravenswood County Series was introduced. This is a group of 3 old vine Zinfandels made from three of the best sites in California for these wines – Napa, Sonoma, and Lodi. The winemaking is traditional and non-interventionist and the wines are made to show the individuality of the wines from the different regions. They are well crafted and attractively priced. These are wines to try.
2010 Ravenswood Napa County Old Vine Zinfandel. With a deep color this wine has a lovely plumy perfume with a touch of spice. Plums and spice carry through on the palate and there is a nice roundness with good underlying backbone. This a more claret style Zinfandel – Highly Recommended. $15.99
2009 Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel.
This is a very tasty Zinfandel with a deep color and a lovely perfume of plums and berries with just a touch of spice. The wine is supple and rounded with lovely fruit and a nice finish – Highly Recommended. $15.99
2009 Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel.
This is a delicious Zinfandel that is really expressive. It is deep in color and has a lovely perfume that is plumy and briary with a touch of spice. The wine is soft, lush, and rounded with lots of spice tinged plumy fruit and has depth and richness – Outstanding. $12.99 Best Buy
This winery was created to sell wines with a portion of the proceeds going to Trout Unlimited. The money is used to fund restoration efforts to rebuild spawning grounds and restore watersheds for Steelhead Trout and Coho Salmon in Northern California.
The Steelhead Vineyards white wines were reviewed in the last Distinctive New Wines. You can read about those wines and more about the history of the creation of the Steelhead Vineyards wines by clicking here .
2010 Steelhead Vineyards Red Wine North Coast.
This wine is an unusual blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. This was the wine that started the Steelhead Vineyards story in 2002. The primary grape is either Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon from Dry Creek Valley and other grapes are sourced from growers in Mendocino.
The wine has a deep color and a very nice cassis like perfume with a tinge of cedar and spice. It has lovely pure fruit again with tinges of cedar and spice and is rounded and balanced with a nice finish – Highly Recommended. $14.99
2010 Steelhead Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma County.
The grapes for this wine mainly come from the Southern Sonoma Coast around Carneros with the addition of some grapes from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma and the Anderson Valley in Mendocino. This 2010 is blended with 3% Syrah.
The wine has a deep color with a nice floral tinged berry perfume showing a hint of green olive. It is fruity and rounded with a spice tinge and is faintly herbaceous. The wine has depth and just needs a little time to come together – Highly Recommended. $14.99
The first of the 2011 Beaujolais are arriving. It appears that 2011 is more like 2010 than 2009 with perhaps more crispness. We shall see as more of the wines arrive. Also, here are 2 stunning late released 2009s. If you love Beaujolais, you will not want to miss these.
2011 Domaine Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers.
With a deep color this wine has a lovely floral perfume with hints of berries and cherries. It is elegant and light with very pure berry fruit and a nice underlying crispness – Highly Recommended. $25 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
2011 Château Thivin Brouilly.
This wine has a deep color with a purple hue and a lovely floral perfume with hints of blackberries. It has nice fruit and is rounded with a nice underlying crispness – Highly Recommended. $22 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
2011 Château Thivin Côte Brouilly.
With a deep color and a purple hue this Beaujolais has a subtle floral berry perfume. It has lots of fruit with a firm underlying backbone and will need a year or two of bottle age to soften and become more expressive. Tasted over a period of 2 weeks it did begin to open, but was still a bit restrained – Highly Recommended. $24 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
2009 Jean Foillard Morgon Cuvée 3.14.
The grapes for this cuvee come from vineyards that are 100 years old. The 3.14 stands for the mathematical constant Pi which is approximately equal to 3.14. But, the decimal representation never ends and never repeats. So it would seem is this wine. It is stunning.
This Morgon has a deep color and a great intense perfume of olallieberries and mulberries with exotic floral nuances. The fruit is very pure and there are layers of flavors accented by an intriguing hint of exotic spice. This is stunningly delicious to drink now, but should age beautifully for many years – Exceptional. $60 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
2009 Jean Foillard Fleurie.
The grapes for this wine come from Foillard’s 2.5 acre plot of vines in Fleurie that average 45-50 year of age. It is just plain delicious. The color is deep and the wine has a lovely floral berry perfume with a tinge of mint. There are layers of cherry fruit showing floral nuances and the wine is supple and rounded with lots of flavor and a long finish – Outstanding Plus. $48.00 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
The Loire Valley is best known for its great white wines that are based on Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. But there are also some great rosé and red wines as well that are based on Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. I have been drinking these wines for many years and have a lot of personal favorites. But, now there is something that is new to me. It is a Loire Valley Malbec which goes also by the local name Cot. So, if you are not familiar with Loire Valley red wines, you owe it to yourself to give them a try.
2010 Jöel Taluau L’Expression Saint-Nicolas-De-Bourgueil.
Saint Nicolas De Bourgueil is an area I am not familiar with. It is a small area on the right bank of the Loire River. The wines are made from Cabernet Franc and are similar to those of neighboring Bourgueil. If you are like me and are not familiar with these wines, this is a great place to start! This producer has a strong record of producing top wines. This 2010 would certainly confirm that reputation.
Dark in color the wine has a gorgeous berry perfume with strawberry and raspberry intermingled with a floral undertone and a faint tinge of spice. The wine is really fruity with floral accents and a faint touch of black pepper. It is balanced and has an alcohol content of 12.5%. This is a delicious wine and a real bargain – Outstanding. $12.99 Best Buy Imported by Premier Wine Company Richmond, CA
2010 Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon.
This is a lovely Chinon. It has a deep color with a floral tinged berry perfume. The fruit is very pure with a faint herbal nuance. As the wine opens there is a faint exotic nuance that begins to show through the herbaceous tinge and the wine softens and becomes very engaging – Highly Recommended Plus. $14.99 Selected by Jon-David Headrick and Imported by Jon-David Headrick Selections LLC Asheville, NC.
2009 Jean-Francois Merieau Cot Cent Visages Touraine.
This wine is really something. The alcohol is only 12.5%, but oh my, what richness and depth. And, the flavors and the balance? Well just let me say that this wine has it all. The color is dark and the perfume leaps out of the glass with blackberries and plums backed by an exotic floral tinge and a hint of cedar. There is a lot of fruit on the palate and the wine has layers of flavor with an exotic undertone. Supple and lush, this is a delicious wine with an impressive finish. It is irresistible now, but my guess is that it will keep for many years – Outstanding Plus. $18.99 Selected by Jon-David Headrick and Imported by Jon-David Headrick Selections LLC Asheville, NC.
The Rhone Valley is the home of many historically great white, rosé, and red wines. The reds in the northern part of the valley are most known by the great wines of Hermitage and Côte Rotie which are based on the Syrah grape. In the last 20 or so years many of these wines as well as many of their neighbors to the south in Chateauneuf du Pape have succumbed to the dense, extracted, alcoholic style of wine that has also been manifest in California and Australia. Last year I wrote about the efforts of Northern California importer, Kermit Lynch, to buy and import Rhone wines that represent the more historic balanced style (to read that article click here )
Working with negociant Louis Barroul, these wines are represented by the Blended by Kermit Lynch designation. I was very impressed with the 2009s. Now here are some of the 2010s. Once again I am very impressed. If you like the historic style of Rhone wines as I do, you owe it to yourself to give these wines a try!
2010 Louis Barroul, Blended by Kermit Lynch, Côte Rotie La Boisselée.
Dark in color this wine has a deep floral blackberry perfume with a faint spicy smokiness. It is balanced and very flavorful with very pure fruit and great intensity. There are layers of blackberry fruit that are intermingled with spice and smoke and the finish is long and lingering – Outstanding Plus. $70 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
2010 Louis Barroul, Blended by Kermit Lynch, Côte Rotie Viaillere.
Wow! This is a stunning wine. It is dark in color and has a deep perfume of blackberry fruit with a tinge of spice and smoke and an underlying floral nuance. With great depth and balance the wine is loaded with rich blackberry fruit intermingled with complex floral and exotic spice flavors and just a whiff of smokiness. This Côte Rotie should age effortlessly for many years – Exceptional. $70 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
2010 Louis Barroul, Blended by Kermit Lynch, Crozes Hermitage Tiercerolles.
This wine has a dark color and a deep perfume of plums and cassis with a faint herbal undertone. It has depth and very nice herbal tinged fruit, but is firmly structured and will need a few years to soften. Taste over a week it softened somewhat and the herbal quality began to diminish. This argues positively for the wines ability to improve with some age – Highly Recommended Plus. $34 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
2010 Louis Barroul, Blended by Kermit Lynch, Hermitage Les Pierrelles.
Like the 2009, this is a great Hermitage. It is dark in color and has a stunning perfume with blackberry and cassis fruit accented by a faint smoky spiciness. There is a great intensity of blackberry and cassis fruit intermingled with a touch of chocolate and exotic spiciness. There is a seamless integration of the fruit, acid, and tannin in this wine. It drinks well now but will continue to improve over a very long time – Exceptional. $74 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
2010 Louis Barroul, Blended by Kermit Lynch, Saint Joseph Les Cochés.
Dark in color this wine has a nice perfume of berry fruit with floral, vanilla, spice nuances. It has nice plummy fruit with hints of cedar and spice and hints of roasted nuts. Just now there is noticeable tannin, but there seems to be enough fruit for this to resolve with time. Tasted over the course of a week the tannins did begin to soften – Highly Recommended Plus. $37 Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant Berkeley, CA
In Tuscany the primary grape is Sangiovese which is used to make the great Brunellos and Chiantis of the region. For the last couple of decades there have also been “Super Tuscans” which use other red grape varieties including Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Morellino Di Scansano is an area near Montalcino. Here are 3 terrific value priced Tuscan wines that reflect the beauty of the Sangiovese grape as a single variety as well as blended with small amounts of other varieties. They are very special for their quality and value.
2010 Rocca Di Montegrossi Chianti Classico.
This winery is located in the commune of Gaiole in Chianti. The is the top wine from the estate which is 90% Sangiovese with equal part of Canaiolo and Colorino and aged in large casks for 14 months before bottling.
With a dark color this wine has a deep perfume of cherry fruit with hints of cedar and spice. This is a Chianti with great flavors and balance. It has lots of fruit and is sappy and very tasty with cedary nuances. This is a wine that can be consumed now with great pleasure or laid away for an extended period – Outstanding. $19.99 Selected by K&L Wine Merchants and imported by Premier Wine Company, Richmond CA
2009 Eric Banti Morellino Di Scansano.
This wine is made from 85% Sangiovese with 10% Merlot and 5% Ciliegiolo without ever seeing oak. It is a very tasty balanced wine and a very good value. The color is deep and there is a very nice floral berry perfume. It is balanced and supple with lovely fruit and a very nice finish – Highly Recommended Plus. $10.99 Best Buy Imported by Premier Wine Company Richmond, CA
2009 Eric Banti Morellino Di Scansano Riserva Ciabetta.
This is Eric Banti’s flagship wine. It is 100% Sangiovese aged for one year in large Slavonian oak barrels. This is a gorgeous wine with a deep color and a gorgeous berry perfume with faint hints of cedar and spice. It has gorgeous fruit and is supple and rounded with some cedar and spice. Balanced and showing a nice underlying complexity this is a delicious wine to drink now or keep for many years – Outstanding. $18.99 Imported by Premier Wine Company Richmond, CA
Spain is the source of many great value priced white, rosé, and white wines. Here we have some really great Riojas that are compelling values.
2008 Bodegas Puelles Rioja Crianza.
This wine is made from grapes grown on 30-90 year old Tempranillo vines with a small amount of Garnacha and Graciano added. The fruit is all estate grown on vineyards located in the historic Rioja Alta Village of Abalos. It is aged in American and French oak for 14 months and released soon after bottling to retain the primary fruit.
The wine has a deep color and an amber edge with an amber tone and has a lovely berry fruit perfume with hints of spice and cedar. This is a balanced wine that is very tasty with lots of berry fruit and a hint of cedar and spice. It is very tasty and lovely to drink now, but will keep – Highly Recommended Plus. $15.99 A K&L Selection Imported by Vinos & Gourmet, Inc. Richmond, CA
2004 Bodegas Puelles Rioja Reserva.
This wine is made from grapes grown on 30-90 year old Tempranillo vines with a small amount of Garnacha and Graciano added. The fruit is all estate grown on vineyards located in the historic Rioja Alta Village of Abalos. It is aged in American and French oak for 2 years and in bottle for more than one year. This is a terrific wine to drink now or keep for 10-20 years. It has a deep color and a very faint amber edge with a gorgeous perfume that is floral, cedary and woodsy, with an underlying plummy berry fruit. The wine is rounded and supple with balance and lovely plummy berry fruit accented by cedar and spice nuances with a faint kiss of vanilla – Outstanding. $19.99 A K&L Selection Imported by Vinos & Gourmet, Inc. Richmond, CA
2005 Casa Juan Señor De Lesmos Rioja Crianza.
This wine is made from 85% Tempranillo and 15% Mazuelo by a small family owned Bodega located in Laguardia. It is a hand made wine of great purity and is a great value.
With a deep color, just amber at the edge, this Rioja is perfumed with hints of spice and cedar and cherry berry fruit. It is lush and rounded with great elegance and balance. This is a terrific claret styled wine that is seamless and refined, yet with the structure to carry it for a very long period. Drink it now or keep for a very long time – Outstanding. $12.99 Best Buy A K&L Selection Imported by Vinos & Gourmet, Inc. Richmond, CA
So there you have it. This is a great selection of red wines for your fall enjoyment. There are great values, under the radar wines, great wines, wines to drink now, and wines to cellar. That pretty much covers the range. Go for it!