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  • -Yes, Pleiades, I would like a glass of that, thanks. (Get it?  I know you do.)

 

Short, sharp wine recommendations

Monday
Aug082011

Modest Mondays - '09 Alois Legeder Pinot Grigio

Summertime and seafood go hand in hand for me and nothing pairs better with those two than the crisp white wines from Northern Italy. For me, the 09 Alois Legeder Pinot Grigio has captured the magic of the Dolomite Mountains in a bottle. Pale straw with a tinge of green, you can imagine the sundrenched foothills of the region green from the winter melt off. As you close your eyes and drift into the floral aromas of high country meadows rising from the glass, you breathe in the crispness of the mountain air. The bounty of water and sun greets the palate with flavors of peaches and apricots, while the finish reminds you that the soil under foot is rich in the minerals from the surrounding mountains. Are you there? I am.

Wine rating points aside, the Wine Advocate rates this wine as very good and I agree, if you are considering the wine only on its taste and aroma. Now the folks at Wine & Spirits, they gave this wine an outstanding rating. Again, if I consider the wine only for its taste and aroma, I can’t say the wine is more than very good. However, given the wine’s true sense of place and its ability to take you to Northern Italy for $13.50 a bottle, it is an outstanding deal. So if you’re inspired to summer in Italy, you can find this ticket to paradise at the Wine Mine (and elsewhere online).

Monday
Aug012011

Modest Mondays - 2010 Mulderbosch Rosé

When it's summertime, and the living is easy, I, for one, reach for a thirst quenching, quaffable rosé. Now, rosés have long since shaken off the unfortunate "sweet, bad wine" stigma that crappy white zinfandel bestowed upon them, so much so that there may even be somewhat of a backlash: they have become the wine hipsters' bottle de riguer. But that doesn't make them any less enticing to me. They're kick ass summertime wines, they don't break the bank, and they tend to please even people who claim to "only" like white or red wines.

The Mulderbosch Rosé is somewhat unique in two respects: it's from South Africa, and it's made from Cabernet Sauvignon (which is kinda rare for rosés).  It's a delicious wine, dry with a lot of fragrant berry and rose on the nose, wonderful strawberry and spice with alluring, quenching acidity on the palate, and a subtley minerally finish, and goddamn it, it's $10! I buy it from the Wine Mine, where I think I've even seen it for $9.  

Monday
Jun272011

Modest Mondays - Leone De Castris - 2006 Maiana (Salice Salentino DOC)

Okay, this puppy is $11 at the Wine Mine - I can't speak for anywhere else.  This is from the Salice Salentino DOC, and let me tell you, it's a steal for the money.  A traditional blend of 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvesia, this bottle is from a fairly giant producer, Leone De Castris.  You can tell they're giant, cuz if you go to their website, you'll see it's actually, like, not completely terrible, and let's face it, European wine websites are generally, well, 'disgraceful' might be too harsh of a term, but, you know, they tend to be really REALLY REALLY bad. Unless they have tons of cash, and then they're only half-bad.

Anyway, I digress.  This deep dark wine shows nice complexity for the price, very present but balanced acidity, a pleasant medium-to-full body, plum, dark cherry, firm tannin, and spice - but definitely a bitterness on the finish (I like bitter, so not a huge problem for me).  

My first sip was like, "Hmm, this is not so bad."  My second sip was like, "Hey, this is pretty good..."  My third sip was all, "Wait, I gotta buy more before they run out of this stuff!" For an everyday wine, this is molto bene.

So skip the two buck chuck -- it's not worthy to sit in the same shopping cart as this Leone de Castris Maiana Salice Salentino.  Spend the extra $9 -- you're worth it.

Sunday
Jun122011

Sean Thackrey - Pleiades XX 

Thackrey's old vine red blend ($24), his 20th bottling of it, is an incredibly fun wine.  I decanted it for an hour and in my first glass, I could discern several of the grapes in the blend quite distinctly (pinot noir, sangiovese, mourvedre and petit sirah were all coming in loud and clear) -- so I'd say I wasn't finding a lot of integration with this wine. I was thinking maybe it needs some more cellar time, afterall it was just bottled in February. But then again, it was also kinda fun having my tongue hit all these different grapes: a wino's version of the Willy Wonka's gobstopper.  After another hour, there was much more integration, and then it was almost reminding me, strangely, of a nebbiolo, and even of some Barolo's I've had -- deceptively light in color, and both bright and dark fruit on the nose and palate, anchored by firm (but not overly grippy) tannins and some earthy tar, kirsh, and spice on the finish.  So interesting.  Alcohol is a bit hot on this wine, but it's such a good time you don't care.  Get it while you can -- rumor is this may be the last Pleiades, frowny face :(

Monday
Jun062011

Modest Mondays - Clos La Coutale, 2007 Cahors

A soul pleasing blend of 80% Côt (aka Malbec, for you non Francofiles) and 20% Merlot (sidenote: that grape that got a bad rap when Sideways' Miles hated on them should be reconsidered, people, and not just in blends like this), has a nose of ripe blackberry, herbs, bacon fat, a bit of funk, and goddamnit, Parker's right about the black walnut husks (ok, I admit the guy has a great nose).  Medium bodied, wild berries and black cherry in the midpalate, grippy tannens, racy acid, bone dry: good times, and for $14, I mean, C'mon.  Decant for a few hours (it's tight out of the bottle), or hell, let a bottle or two of this one sit for a couple years to let the tannins smooth out.  Or do it like they do in Cahors: melt the tannins and cut the acid with some nice duck fat!

(PS - three of my favorite people -- and, er, frogs -- I've never met are named Kermit -- Kermit Ruffins, Kermit the Frog, and Kermit Lynch, whose imports you can always trust -- and this Cahors is one of em.)