Short notes on recent bottles we’ve tried:
Colli Ripani Pharus Rugaro Pecorino DOC Falerio 2013 ($12.99)
It seems I’ve been talking about how under the radar Le Marche is lately, yet the PLCB continues to bring in more and more winners from the region, including this pretty white at a great price. Though the Falerio DOC isn’t as highly regarded as the Offida DOCG, this is still a fresh, bright match for seafood or chicken that features nice fruit and a touch of salinity. (For more on Pecorino check out my article on Palate Press.)
Domaine du Salvard Cheverny Sauvignon Blanc 2013 ($16.99)
Classic traits of Sauv Blanc. Lush nose, flavors of grass, grapefruit, peach, a pinch of white pepper, intense acid. Medium body and good intensity; medium to long finish. Versatile food wine. Kermit Lynch strikes again. (review by Jeff)
Trimbach Gewurztraminer 2012 ($19.99)
Clean and lean, Trimbach is always dependable in the aromatic Alsatian department. Lychee and spice, spin, repeat. Good intensity to mid palate and a respectable finish. A great mate for cheese. (Jeff)
Les Cretes Chardonnay Valle d'Aosta 2011 ($19.99)
It’s extraordinary rare to find a wine from the Val d’Aosta – the tiny landlocked Italian region that separates Italy’s Piedmont from France and Switzerland, that’s arguably more French than Italian – in the Chairman’s Selection program. (I’m pretty sure this is the first one I’ve seen.) Considering the region contains Alpine vineyards that are the highest in all of Europe, I was expecting a Chard of steely, rocky character similar to what one might find in the most austere Chablis. And, from that standpoint, this was disappointing. More middle of the road, it was a mostly nutty wine with spice accents, solid acidity and supreme balance. Overall, still an excellent wine, if not the mountain beauty I was hoping for. (Marked down from $24.99)
Dr. Loosen Blue Slate Riesling Kabinett 2013 ($23.39)
8% alcohol, meaning you’ve got some sweetness on deck—and it comes but nix the fret. There’s some pucker here too, accompanying the lemony honey mineral mix. Long finish. Very long. Pleasurable, uncomplicated and quenching. Screw top. Available at Total Wine in Delaware and in PA via special order – minimum quantity of a case. (Jeff)
Tenuta Castelbuono Montefalco Rosso 2009 ($12.99)
Though I consider Montefalco one of my absolute favorite sub-regions worldwide, this is probably the worst bottle of Montefalco wine I’ve tasted. Was it truly a bad wine, or merely a bad bottle, or (even more likely) a badly-stored bottle? That I can’t be sure of. Unless someone else is pouring, however, I don’t plan to find out… and I suggest you follow the same advice.
Colli Ripani Pharus Castellano Rosso Piceno Superiore DOC Marche 2010 ($13.99)
Another Marche wine, this is more on the modern side – a bit oaky on first pour but balances out with decanting. Notes of tobacco and cocoa intermingle with cherry fruit and moderate acidity. At this price, a solid alternative to Tuscan reds for pizza or pasta night… give it a try for something different.
Artesena Tannat 2012 ($15.99)
I was a fan of the 2011 and there are similar traits here. The wine will certainly benefit from some aging but it’s stacked with fruit that’s currently guarded by tight, earthy tannins. Chewy, big and wide, pleasantly acidic. And in control, thanks to skilled winemaking. Very well priced in PA. (Jeff)
Domaine Dubost Moulin a Vent En Brenay Beaujolais 2013 ($17.99)
Higher-end Beaujolais is always a tough sell because of how people have been exposed to the nouveau and even cheaper villages-level wines. But as I’ve said before, there is some amazing wine being made in the region, and this is an excellent example. It’s elegant, fruity, complex and balanced. On the nose there’s an assault of violet and plums – as one would expect from Gamay, the grape of Beaujolais reds. On the palate, there’s black tea, more plums, and even some chocolate on the finish. At 12.5% abv, this isn’t a blockbuster for Napa Cab-heads, but it is a beautiful red that’s perfect for this time of year.