Archive | September, 2013

Triple Play

29 Sep

First Base

Heinz Eifel’s Spatlese Riesling, 2011. Mosel, Germany.  From Mayfair Wine & Liquor, @ $15/bottle.

Having enjoyed Eifel’s Eiswine immensely, I picked up the Rielsing to give it a try. With a pale straw color and sweet nose of agave and apple, the palate demonstrates nice green fruit with taut, crisp acidity that provides an excellent balance with a medium finish. This wine is probably best served earlier in the day in the sun, as an aperitif, or with near the final course. Sweet but balanced, my reactions on two tastings over several days were: “among the best rieslings I’ve ever tasted” and “really well balanced but feels too sweet right now” which pointed back to being tasted at a time of day that did not suit the wine well, a fault I claim. I think this is a great wine in the under-$20 range and has become a strong contender for my go-to riesling.


Second Base

Macon-Lugny “Les Charmes” Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2011, Burgundy, France. From Sherry-Lehman, $16/bottle.

A delicious, entry-level burgundy with a light, greenish- gold color and nose of green fruit with a hint of citrus. In the mouth, a simple yet savory peach, lemon & fresh fruit base with notes of chalk, nuts, and vegetation. A savory quality without either an oakiness or buttery quality, this wine allows the drinker to appreciate the grape, not the barrel.  Best served over 55 degrees, as colder temperatures inhibit secondary notes and some creaminess, I appreciated the wine much more after sitting in the open for an hour.


Third Base

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Vielle Vignes Santenay, Ceps Centaires, 2011. Cote de Beaune, France. From Oak & Steel, $49/bottle.

A delicate burgundy with vibrant, pale translucent red color and nose of raspberry.  Very clean and tart mouthfeel of pure old-vine pinot noir: gentle red fruit, nice acidity, even tannins. Ideally this would best left in the cellar for another 3-5 years, but it paired wonderfully with grilled salmon and greek feta cheese bourekas. On night two with the Santenay: served with fusilli pasta with broccolini, garlic and olive oil. A wonderful pairing, the gentle flavors of the pinot really come alive on the palate. Delicious.  I noticed that after more air, the nose has great floral notes (iris, violet) and the acidity and tannins played perfectly with the garlic and oil. I’ll try to cellar a couple of these and see how the wine fares in 5 years.
I found this bottle in midtown Manhattan, hence the sticker shock, but the same wine is available online as low as $37. This cote de beaune is a rare, wonderfully crafted example of delicacy and efficiency.



à votre santé!


Saint-Romain, Alain Gras 2011

26 Sep

Saint-Romain by Alain Gras, 2011.

13%ABV, $38 at Oak and Steel, NYC.

This wine is from Alain Gras, whose vineyard is in Saint-Romain-Le Haut, just southwest of Meursault. This wine is everything you would want in a classic white burgundy that features depth and structure of fruit, earth and acidity at a reasonable price.

Medium straw in color, the fruity nose has a touch of citrus. The palate is crisp young green fruit featuring lemon on the back palate with notes of toasted almond, dried wood, chalk and limestone rounding out this delicious wine. After the initial response in the mouth and after mixing with air, I experienced a floral mix with the citrus and toasted oak across the top palate with a rich, long finish. If I had to guess I would bet these are old vines- twenty-five to thirty years old.

This can be found online for as little at $28/bottle, and I know I’ll be looking for more. This is a perfect wine to pair with delicate foods or share with other with lovers with discerning taste, also a great gift bottle. This delicate wine has power and depth I’ve not found in the under $60/bottle range before. If you love white burgundy, you owe yourself to try an Alain Gras so that you know what is growing just west of Puligny-Montrachet for 1/10th of the price.


à votre santé!

Sauv Blanc from Down Under

21 Sep

Saint Clair Family Estate Vicar’s Choice Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand.
from Mayfair Wine & Liquor; $15/bottle.

I picked this up locally upon a recommendation from a trusted vendor (John, the owner of Mayfair Wine and Liquor, is a kindred soul and we have been sharing tasting notes for two decades now.) Color of light straw. The nose features citrus and some underlying minerals, while the palate is strong with lychee, gooseberry, passion fruit and secondary notes of fresh grass, herbs and a chalky-meets-sandstone minerality. Crisp and light, delicious and inviting.

Had I not seen the label, I might have mistaken this for a classic country French sauv blanc or a new world Cali from a small producer: it is classic, straightforward, and a great introduction to the grape.  Allow me to say this is one more example of some excellent winemaking going on “down under”,  not like that is any news.  Perhaps in time, I might learn to recognize the characteristics of the specific winemaker’s blends due to secondary notes, but in the meantime buyers should know that Saint Clair provides an excellent value in their entry-level wine, and that means they have some really great wines in reserve that I can’t wait to try.

If you like sauvignon blanc, this is absolutely one to taste and gift at this price. I’ll be going back for more, and looking at the rest of their line. So should you! Hey, Saint Clair, I want to meet the Vicar. He’s got good taste!


à votre santé!

Semi-Sweet Sancerre and Super Sweet Eiswein!

9 Sep

Couronne & Lions Sancerre, Loire Valley, 2012

$18 from Mayfair Wine & Liquor

Pale straw in color with a hint of green on the tinge. A nose of  white peach, hibiscus, and citrus with a note of chalky clay. In the mouth, gooseberry, grapefruit, lemon, and lychee flavors dominate the palate and are followed by sharp acidity, with notes both sweet and sour on the upper palate and during the finish. A nicely made sancerre that will also please lovers of sauvignon blanc; I think this wine shines best when served quite cold.


Heinz Eifel Eiswein

 375ml bottle, $18 from Mayfair Wine & Liquor

The color is a lovely orange sunset and the nose reminds me of candied apples with pears poached in brandy. The palate of this sweet wine is ripe pear, apricot & plum, dominated by the sugary sweetness of the blend and a hint of must. I’m stunned to find an eiswein so similar to a sauternes. After three separate tastings on different days, my notes all agree:  at the right temperature (serve very cold), this eiswein is a superb dessert wine.


à votre santé!

The Northern-California Fumé

6 Sep

photo-2The Fume’ Sauviginon Blanc. 2011 North Coast from Murphy Goode.
Straw with-green tinge, and a lychee, grapefruit nose. On the palate: green apple, bosc pear, a touch of sour grapefruit. Nice acidity, tart finish with a touch of oak. A blend of 93% Sauv Blanc with 7% Semillon;  this wine is great with spinach dip, light cheeses, chinese food, or seafood. Available for a mere hint over $10.

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