Short notes on recent bottles we’ve tried.
Sheldrake Point Pinot Gris 2012 ($16.99)
A particularly rich, inviting and spice-infused effort. Aromatic in the glass before going down the hatch. Good concentration, mouth feel and acidity. Lovely balance between ripe fruit and minerality. Fine representation of its place of origin and a good value for the price.
Arnaldo Caprai Grecante Grechetto 2012 ($19.49)
This fresh Umbrian is bright and crisp, featuring zesty stone fruits, touches of herbs and on the nose and bitter citrus on the finish. It’s an interesting change of pace for those who enjoy the lighter side of white, such as Pinot Grigio, etc. 2009 available in PA, 2012 available at Wine Library for $14.99 (review by Mike)
Baer Winery Shard 2011 ($19.99)
As in, shards of metal. A fully steel-fermented Chardonnay from Washington State brings clean and aggressive acidic bite to bear. Medium-rich with pear/apple fruit, a prime candidate for richer dishes.
Pali Wine Charm Acres Chardonnay 2013 ($24.99)
A sharp and alive Central Coast effort with lovely aromatics. Lime, pear, stone and light oak. Drying finish. 2010 available in PA.
Arcadian Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vineyard 2007 ($36.99)
The color of this special Chard impresses right away: Beautifully, richly hued. Clean fruit, nutty tones and excellent balance. Good minerality, vibrancy, just the right level of toastiness. Special.
Chateau La Croix Teynac St Emilion Puisseguin 2009 ($14.99)
This Bordeaux blend offers nice complexity for the price, evolving well over the course of the evening and showing best with food. Decant for at least an hour for best results. A mix of dark berry and plum fruit, with green pepper, chocolate and chalky, dusty tannins that add noticeable bitterness to the finish. (Mike)
Beckmen Vineyards Syrah 2011 ($21.44)
Still young but a graceful, expressive Syrah that shows impressive restraint. Bright red/dark fruit, spice, menthol, light earth. Good bite. Somewhat lacking in body but age will likely add weight. Needs a good decant at this stage. Available at Saratoga Wine.
Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina Riserva Nipozzano 2009 ($24.99)
This Rufina shows the richer side of Chianti, with dark fruit flavors, violets and a deep, smoky earthiness. It is both classic and eye-opening. Perfect for upcoming fall and winter nights. (Mike)
Baer Winery Star 2011 ($28.99)
A Merlot-weighted blend (with 11% Cab Franc and 8% Cab Sauv) from Washington’s Columbia Valley. With a gorgeous, juicy nose, this is fuller-bodied wine with chewy structure, tannic grip and expressive red/dark fruit. Rich, herbal and slightly spicy. 2010 available in PA.
Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 ($29.99)
Drawn from vineyards across various Washington appellations, a nearly full-bodied Cab that throws off a tasty nose thick with fruit and spice. Medium intensity with blackberry, plum and dusty tannins. From mid palate to finish, the results of full French oak barreling are displayed in the form of vanilla and spice. The wine throws some heat at 14.5% alcohol and grapey residue at the bottom. Approachable, any day red that would be easier to swallow at $20.
Penns Woods Merlot Reserve 2010 ($34)
This is a big wine with a Napa nose, highly-extracted and extremely rich. Up front, it’s hot and full of wood-aided vanilla which blows off with time, introducing a tart factor, slight acid sting and subtle tannin. Decanting brings more charm. While it’s muscular and all business at the moment, some shelf time may calm the storm. Available from the winery and select restaurants.
Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir 2012 ($34.99)
A winery creating abundant buzz out of California’s Santa Rita Hills. Wonderful, big aromas, cherry fruit and intensity. Baking spices (cinnamon), good tannins, earthy, lengthy finish. Think cherry pie. Slightly alcohol-hot but quite enjoyable; a PN that makes you pause and ponder. Would love to get into the single vineyard wines from this outfit. 2009 available in PA.
Crossing Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2006 ($35)
A well-aged effort from the Bucks County winery. Intriguing aromas of prune and tomato, good full body and color. Well fixed with blackberry and distinct pomegranate juice flavors as well as meat, peppery spice and earth. Fine, drying tannins on the finish. Fairly complex, structured and polished drinking. Another bonus: The reasonable 12.5% alcohol content. Available from the winery.