Thursday, June 29, 2006

2005 Gramona ‘Gessami’ (Spain)

The 2005 Gramona ‘Gessami’ is a Spanish white from Catalonia that is a mix of Moscatel and Sauvignon Blanc. Straw yellow color with notes of honeydew and grapefruit along with floral notes. There’s also a nice minerality the wine. It’s crisp and has a nice balance of fruit and acidity. It’s a great refreshing summer white.

The only place I’ve seen this wine is at Vino Vino for approximately $16 but keep an eye out for it at other wine shops. It’s worth picking up a bottle.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

2001 Cantina Zaccagnini Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo - Italy)

The 2001 Cantina Zaccagnino Riserva from Italy’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo region is garnet colored with lots of fruit, including strong notes of blueberry and kirsch. Smooth texture with a medium finish.

This is a good everyday wine but not wine to ponder much. I’ve also found it better in the past having had both the 1999 and 2000 vintages.

I discovered this wine as a $20 bottle at Po, an Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village that used to be run by Mario Batali as his first endeavor in New York and is now run by his partner Steve Crane. It’s fantastic and this was one of the best wine values on the list.

The wine is also commonly known as “The Twig Wine” because of the twig wrapped around the neck of the bottle. It can be found at Garnet Wine on 68th and Lexington for $12 and they almost always have it in stock.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

1994 Clos du Marquis (St. Julien - Bordeaux)

Wow! That’s the first word that comes to mind with the 1994 Clos du Marquis, the second wine of Chateau Leoville Las Cases in the St. Julien region of Bordeaux. This beautifully mature wine has aged beautifully despite not being a Grand Vin and coming from a not so great vintage. I think this is a testament to the winemakers at Leoville Las Cases and the graceful way a fine Bordeaux can age.

This Clos du Marquis is ruby red in color with cedar, oak and tobacco on the nose. There is an overall presence of dark fruit with notes of fig and blackberry. The blackberry especially comes through on the tongue. Very soft texture with a nice long finish. After about an hour, the wine opens up more, continuing to reveal cedar but adding chocolate and violets to the mix.

This wine was purchased on our trip to Bordeaux at Vinotheque, a wonderful wine shop near the center of town. I have never seen this wine available in the US which is one of the reasons we picked this up there. As wonderful as it was, I would look for other easier to find vintages available year as this wine is of high quality year in and year out.

Vinovino - A Loire Valley White (Tribeca)

Another wine by the glass at Vinovino in Tribeca is the 2004 “Clos Naudin” Vouvray Sec from Fillipe Foreau. It’s $14 by the glass at the bar or $48 by the bottle. However, you can take it home for $26 if you buy it in the store.

Bright yellow in color with a smoky nose mixed in with a little bit of lemon and a lot of minerality. It’s an acidic wine with a zing to it on the tongue.
It’s a nice wine that that I would get by the glass again and possibly take home to pair with a light fish or possibly shellfish.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

1996 Bricco Manzoni - Rocche dei Manzoni (Piedmont - Italy)

The 1996 Bricco Manzoni by Rocche dei Manzoni is a red table wine from the Piedmont region of Italy which we first discovered a couple years ago at Otto, a Mario Batali restaurant here in New York. It was being poured by the glass at the bar and we loved it enough to track down a half case of it. We have one bottle left.

This is a beautiful wine that is probably at its peak of maturity.

Notes of cedar, tobacco and tar on the nose just on top of dark fruit which reveals itself to be a combination of crème de cassis and what I think is boysenberry. There are also hints of chocolate and mint. Fine tannins and a lush, soft, and long finish. Great texture and mouthfeel.

This was purchased at Union Square Wines for $30 two years ago and although they don’t have any 1996 left, they typically carry the most recent vintage of this. Its worth checking out.

Monday, June 19, 2006

1999 Duhart-Milion (Pauillac - Bordeaux)

The 1999 Chateau Duhart-Milon from the Pauillac region of Bordeaux was another wine bought as a sort of test run to see if I like the style enough to seek out other vintages. This chateau is managed by Barons de Rothchild, the same owners of first gowth Lafite Rothschild in the same Pauillac region so my hopes were high.

The wine was very nice and I wasn’t disappointed but I wasn’t completely won over either. It is dark cherry red in color with earthy aromas of tobacco and leather to start, opening up into rich cassis and other dark fruits. Medium bodied with a soft tecture and a medium long finish.

D. Sokolin on Long Island carries this for $48 which is too much in my opinion. More reasonably it can be found at Morrell & Company in mid-town for $30 and Soho Wine & Spirits for $35. If you’re just looking for a taste, K&D Wines on the Upper East Side has half bottles for $23.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

2003 Chateau Moulin Haut-Laroque (Fronsac - Bordeaux)

I recently purchased a bottle of the 2003 Chateau Moulin Haut-Laroque from the Fonsac region of Bordeaux as a test to see if I wanted to purchase any of the 2005s as futures. I really hadn’t discovered the Fronsac region until this wine and was very pleasantly surprised.

The wine is still young and needs at least a couple more years to soften in the bottle. For now, its deep red in color with beautiful aromas of tar, saddle leather and crème de cassis. Very dark berry influenced and very spicy with notes of cloves and all spice. Very soft tecture with a medium long finish.

A very lovely wine that I will be buying more of along with the 2005 which is supposedly equal in quality.

This was purchased for $23 at Garnet Wines on 68th and Lexington and is also available at Zachys for $22.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

2003 Domaine Bachelet Chassagne-Montrachet (Burgundy)

The 2003 Domaine Bachelet – Chassagne–Montrachet from Burgundy is yellow with a greenish tint in color. Floral and herbaceous notes abound but its hard to define exactly which ones. It has a creamy texture with a soft mouthfeel and a medium finish. There is a little bit of minerality to the wine but it falls short of being “steely.” This is a good thing. Very nicely balanced.

The wine sells for $34 at Sherry Lehmann which is the only place I have seen it for sale. I think it’s a fine wine at that price which is actually a little more than I’m used to paying for a white. This would make a wonderful pairing with shellfish this summer.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

2004 Standing Stone Reserve Chardonnay (Finger Lakes)

The 2003 Standing Stone Reserve Chardonnay is gold in color and almost the color of a dessert wine. Butter and oak on the nose but not so much that the floral and hawthorn notes don’t come through. Creamy texture that lingers for a medium finish.

It’s a nice wine and another good effort from the Finger Lakes Standing Stone vineyard. In my opinion, Standing Stone and Chateau Lafayette Reneau, both on Seneca Lake, are among the best producers of Finger Lake Chardonnays in an area dominated by Riesling.

This was purchased for $14 at GCP Wine and Liquors in Elmira Heights.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

2004 Domaine Alfred Pinot Noir - Chamisal Vineyards (Edna Valley - California)

The 2004 Domaine Alfred Pinot Noir – Chamisal Vineyards is a fantastic Central Coast California Pinot. It retails for approximately $25 to $35 which also makes it a decent value when compared to the rising prices and limited availability of other Pinots from the region.

Cherry red in color with a beautiful nose of toasted oak and bright red fruit, noteably fresh raspberries. Creamy and lush texture with a great mouthfeel and a long finish.
This was purchased at Garnet Wines at 68th and Lexington for $27 but its available elsewhere, including Columbus Circle Wines for $32 and D. Sokolin on Long Island for $35.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

2004 Warwick Pinotage (South Africa)

I received the 2004 Warwick Pinotage – Old Bush Vines in the mail as part of a wine of the month club. This South African wine retails for $23 on their website.

I’ve never been a big fan of Pinotage, although my experience has been limited, and this wine didn’t do anything to change my opinion.

Dark garnet in color with an earthy nose full of underbrush, blackberry, and cigar box. It’s a high alcohol wine at 14.5% and you can taste it. The alcohol overpowers the fuzzy texture and its medium finish.

If you find yourself with a bottle of this wine, it needs big food to go along with it like BBQ as it isn’t much of a pleasure to drink on its own or even with lighter food.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

2002 Fiefs de Lagrange (St. Julien - Bordeaux)

Fiefs de Lagrange is the second wine of Chateau Lagrange from the St. Julien region of Bordeaux. I consider Lagrange to one of the best values in Bordeaux as prices for the Grand Vin typically range from $30 to $50 in great vintages (i.e. the 2005 for example). The Fiefs de Lagrange is consistently a quality wine and a real bargain as it typically ranges from $15 to the low $20 range. The 2005 can be had as a future for $22 from Zachys in Scarsdale. This is where I bought the 2002 Fiefs for the incredible low price of $12 about 6 months ago although I have not seen that price before or since and I haven’t even been able to find the wine anywhere else.

The 2002 Fiefs de Lagrange is young and full bodied. Deep garnet in color with black currant, spice, tobacco, and chocolate. It has a nice chewy texture and a long finish. The wine isn’t as massive as the 2002 Lagrange but its close. This wine probably can probably stand at least two to three more years of bottle age to soften up.

Like I mentioned, I haven’t been able to find the 2002 anywhere since I found it at Zachys but just about any vintage of this wine is worth checking out.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

2004 Vitiano – Falesco (Umbria – Italy)

The Vitano is made by Falesco, an Italian winery based in the Umbria region of Italy and is an equal blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. The wine is then aged three months in small oak barrels.

Deep purple in color with fresh berry notes mixed in with licorice and herbs. Medium bodied with smooth texture and soft tannins. It ends with a nice medium long finish.

The price of this wine and its quality also make it very versatile in my opinion. It’s definitely a food wine and for approximately $8, there is no reason not to open this with pasta and Ragu, pizza, or even something like take out Mexican. I think it’s a great price per quality value and very solid.

I really like the Vitiano and consider it to be one of the best values on the market right now with prices in NYC Wine Stores ranging from $8 to $11. It can also be found nearly everywhere as there were 200,000 cases of the 2004 vintage produced.

Just a handful of places that carry it include Garnet on 68th and Lexington and at Sherry Lehmann on Madison and 62nd where both sell it for $9. Beacon Wine and Spirits on the Upper West Side sells it for $10. However, the best deal thought is $8 at PJ Wine on 207th and Broadway.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

2003 Monte Tondo San Pietro Valpolicella (Verona - Italy)

I bought this recently as a way to educate myself on Italian wines outside of the usual Chiantis and Brunello's that I know best. This Valpolicella is an entry level wine from producer Monte Tondo and is a blend of 55% corvina, 30% rondinella and 15 % molinara

It's cherry red in color with bright red fruit and light oak on the nose. Bright fruit comes out in the taste with some acidity. However, it's very thin and light in texture with nearly no finish.

The wine was tasted at room temperature and might be better chilled but I believe a Valpolicella shouldn't need that.

I can't recommend this wine and can only imagine this is not reflective of what a Valpolicella can be, even in the $10 to $15 price range.

This wine was purchased at Garnet Wines on 68th and Lexington for $12 and can also be found at 67 Wine & Spirits for the same price.