Bottle Roundup

Our short notes on wines we tried in February.


red-newt-circle-rieslingRed Newt Circle Riesling 2012 ($13.99) 
A strong value, showing balance and edge. A rounded package of mineral core, subtle fruit, moderate residual sugar, acidity and pungent nose. An apt representative of a semi-dry Finger Lakes Riesling from a longtime producer of strong repute. A can’t-miss pour.

Dr. Loosen “Dr. L” Riesling 2012 ($13.99)
A perennial go-to for Mosel lovers, Dr L is the entry-level wine from this famed estate. A lovely balance of off-dry stone fruit flashed out with a slated crispness, it’s hard to dislike this wine. This vintage seems lighter than the last, although it’s possible the spice I paired it with was just too assertive. Perhaps better saved for aperitifs and lighter fare. (Review by Mike)

Dr. Fischer Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett 2011 ($8.99)
A revisit to this Chairman’s Selection, a slightly bracing, semi-sweet effort – reviewed here last year. Drier, mineral elements on the finish and decent acidity brings some balance but the overall experience is less fulfilling this time around. Slightly out of whack and leaves one longing for additional sharpness. Chalk it up to bottle variation, perhaps, and certainly worth a venture at the further-marked-down tariff of $8.99.

De Chanceny Vouvray Brut Excellence 2011 ($13.99)
A sparkler with spicy ginger notes, nuttiness, satisfying fruit and minerals. Good finish. Well priced, thanks to the Chairman, and has structure and acidity that could allow for a couple years of graceful aging.

Jean Noel Haton Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs 2005 ($39.99)
A toasty toast to whatever you have to celebrate. Bready and rich into the mid palate, with strings of fine bubbles, this vintage Champagne brings plenty for its Chairman’s Selection price. There’s apple, custard, mineral qualities and a longish, complex finish. Light but not lightweight, it’s a fine effort suited for a weeknight tête-à-tête or a formal meal but, at 40 bucks a pop, you might opt more for the latter.


Poggio Capponi Chianti Riserva 2010 ($12.99)
This is the type of Chianti that makes people who don’t like Chianti make vague, over-generalized statements such as “I don’t like Chianti.” For those with open minds, however, this rustic, traditional example is medium-bodied with red fruit, notes of spice and stinky cheese, and bracing acidity that demands food. At $13, a good pick for simple meals like pizza or pasta. (Mike)

Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage 2012 ($12.99)
About to drop the cliche “you either love or hate Pinotage,” the realization that I neither love nor hate it prevented a platitude. I do like its unique ashy flavor, but only to an extent. It’s a good change of pace, not a cellar standby. Enter Ken Forrester. Unlike the previously-reviewed Barista Pinotage, which attempts to mask said divisive flavor, this Pinotage embraces it for all it is. Sure, there are lush red fruits, as well as hints of spice and herbs, but there’s no escaping a certain ashtray quality. That sounds gross, yes, but this wine isn’t gross. It’s interesting, and reasonably priced. (Mike)


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