Short notes on recent bottles we’ve tried.
Bernard et Christophe Richel Apremont 2013 ($10.99)
Crisp and clean, with big-time acidity just like a mountain wine should. At only 11.5% ABV and bone-dry, it won’t stand up to much food-wise, but it sure is refreshing.
Lingenfelder Bird-Label Riesling 2010 ($12.99)
A good everyday German drinker by definition (in that it’s a baseline Qualitätswein from the Pfalz region), this golden, aromatic Riesling doesn’t disappoint for the price. Leaning more toward citrus than honey, it’s semi-sweet and stony-clean with an added drop of petrol and some bite. A healthy viscosity gives good mouth feel and there’s enough acid to keep the wine alive in the glass. In fact, it continues to rise through the medium-plus finish. With 11.5% ABV and Stelvin screw-top. (Review by Jeff)
Fox Run Vineyards Riesling Dry 2012 ($14.49)
Petrol from first pour, pale yellow color. Dry style for sure, plenty of slate and mineral effect. Mouthwatering acid hits the back of the palate, yet it’s not overly aggressive. Lemon and spice with just a pinch of sugar. Smooth-drinking, almost mellow Riesling from the Finger Lakes. 10.8% ABV. Available on SLO, minimum order of one. #541302. (Jeff)
Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Bianco 2013 ($31.49)
A unique blend of native Sicilian grapes – Albanello and Zibibbo (Moscato d’Alessandria) – that has some odd similarities to Viogner with a dash of Gewurzy spiciness. The nose is tropically fruity and floral with ripe melons that give way to exotic spices such as coriander, along with citrus and maritime herbs. This is full bodied for a bianco and becomes smoother and weightier as flavors of peach and pear emerge on energizing waves of acidity. A wine for those looking for something different and challenging. Available on SLO, minimum order of 12. #547592. Also available at WineWorks in Marlton, NJ for $24.98 (Review by Frank)
12 e Mezzo Primitivo del Salento 2012 ($11.99)
A jammy, easygoing wine with touches of spice and vanilla. Nothing special, but ok for pizza night or similarly casual fare.
Bodega Goulart Malbec The Marshall 2010 ($13.99)
A balanced, well-made crowd-pleaser. Lots of dark fruit, with notes of anise (pair with sausage!) and well-integrated oak notes make this easy to drink. A touch bitter on the finish, and could use more acidity, but generally this is a good buy for the price.
Poggio Scalette Chianti Classico 2012 ($16.99)
A solid, if unspectacular Chianti Classico. Everything one would expect from a traditional, elegant version is there – cherry fruit, rustic savory notes, and firm acidity. The drawback here is the price; as it seems that the Chairman’s program is able to regularly deliver similar quality in Chianti for $12-14, although this one isn’t exactly a disappointment at $17, it isn’t worth getting excited about either.
La Velona Rosso di Montalcino 2011 ($16.99)
This baby Brunello was an enigma from the get-go. Initially it felt ultra-modern: sweet, a little hot, all fruit and tobacco. With time it did develop some old world characteristics, especially some distinct manure on the aroma, alongside a smoky quality, but it wasn’t particularly harmonious. In the end, I was left feeling a little bit perplexed and not quite satisfied.
La Crema Pinot Noir 2011 ($19.99)
Earthy, lower key Pinot with spicy extensions. A little hot on the finish. In fact, starts well and ends muddled. Next… (Jeff)
Beaulieu Vineyard Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 ($29.99)
Nothing distinguishing here. Worse, the wine fails to render a mentionable dose of Rutherford dust from its cells. More damning evidence that high-alcohol Napas (14.5% in this case) tend to fall apart with a little age. You could do much better for the price. (Jeff)
Castillo Clavijo Rioja Reserva 2007 ($14.99)
It’s rare to get a full impact Rioja just reaching its stride at a bargain basement price. All the characteristics that make Tempranillo popular are here: solid structure, mouth-friendly acidity, smooth texture, and a balance of red and dark fruits holding up well at mid-maturity. Has the goods to stand up to roasted meats and fuller autumn dishes. Available at Total Wine in Claymont, DE. (Frank)
Vina Rubican Crianza Tempranillo Navarra 2010 ($11.99)
Smooth and mildly tannic with more densely packed fruit flavors than this varietal shows in Rioja, but presents the usual ripeness of the grape after a mildly earthy entrance. There is obvious evidence of barrique aging that does nothing to detract from its simplicity, or its drinkability as a more than suitable daily table wine. Available at Total Wine in Claymont, DE & Cherry Hill, NJ. (Frank)
Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 2007 ($39.98)
A brutish Cab with ample time on its side. Dark as night, blanket-like wine with dense fruit, tannin and earth; absolutely calls for red meat to tame its force. Medium finish, some spice and menthol, moderate finesse. A bit ponderous to my taste, and I dock it for its apparent contempt of restraint. The acidity will aid aging for a few more clicks and, judging from my periodic consumption, it will be more enjoyable with added maturity. 2011 available at WineWorks in Marlton, NJ (Jeff)