Archive | Grenache RSS feed for this section

Roustan’s Big Bang from the Rhône Valley

4 Jan

Adrien Roustan Domain D’Ouréa Vacqueyras, 2011, Rhône, France. 14.5%ABV, priced on the internet from $27-32 per bottle.

vacqueyras

From France’s second Rhône appellation to receive AOC (after Gigondas) comes a delightful, rustic, powerful and tasty red blend.

Color is deep crimson (nearly maroon) with ruby edging. The nose offers dark red and purple fruit with herbs and a powerful waft of alcohol. The palate is huge -a big bang of its own, a cannon shot across the bow- showing ripe red fruit, nicely demonstrating the traditional blend of syrah, grenache and mourvèdre expected from rhone reds. After the initial impact, the palate shifts into a darker series of  gentle woodsy flavors with saddle leather, potting soil, and a medium-long, bold and savory finish with elements of clay and calcium but missing the obvious notes of wood, steel, or concrete. A hint of effervescence dissipated after the initial taste.

This wine came to me as part of a grab bag case from Garagiste and is simply a delightful wine. Were I able to find more of it at under $20/bottle I’d be quick to pick it up; at the internet prices I saw the wine offers medium-pricey but massive flavor for a tasty and well-made biodynamic wine. Compares easily to mid-level Gigondas and other bold Rhône blends price-wise, but not a killer value.

à votre santé!

 

Advertisements

Garnacha With Love

17 Nov

The wine grape Grenache in France, or Garnacha, as it’s called in Spain, is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. Sadly in the USA, we tend to think of it primarily as a blending grape, when there are many vineyards producing great single varietals. I recently had an opportunity to taste six of the Spanish beauties, and the first four wines have tasting notes are below. Thanks to Sofia Gonzalez, Wines of Garnacha, and Stefanie Schwalb for the tasting!

 

La Miranda de Secastilla 2012, Granacha Blanca, Spain. 13.5% ABV, Street price $13-14/bottle.

Color is a neutral medium straw. With a delightfully floral nose, honeysuckle and sweet white peaches, the mouth gets a crisp fruit attack with creaminess in the body before the acidity. Some gentle minerality of sandy loam and aged cedar plank on the finish. The overall experience is rich and opulent, and understand the depth of this compliment: I really enjoyed this bottle, would accept this wine in place of a white Bordeaux blend in the same price range of $13-20.
LaMirandadeSacastilla

 

 

Castillo de Monséran Cariñena Garnacha 2012 by San Valero. 12.5% ABV. Street price $8.

Color is medium violet with garnet edging, the nose is gentle blue fruit, menthol and old wood. Black plum, blueberry, and black cherry are evident on the soft palate with hints of forest floor, potting soil, and an essence of stone on the finish that reminds you of Pyrenees mountain range. Really surprising value to be had here; with the soft fruit and complex body this bottle compares well with wines over $35.

CastillodeMonseran

 

Vinas Del Vero’s Secastilla Somontano Garnacha 2009. 14.5% ABV. $24 street.

Deep garnet in color, a nose of blackberry jam. Dark, spicy black fruit on the palate. Robust and viscous, this wine begs for tapas and Spanish entrees but paired equally well with chili, Mexican, and a spicy chicken stir-fry.

SecastillaB&G

 

PDM Pagos del Mancayo, Garnacha 2012, Campo de Borja, Spain. 14% ABV, Online from $12-14/bottle.

Deep violet color, nose of blue and black young fruit with green vegetation, and a hint of dank compost. On the palate, the fruit is muted yet mature, while strong tannin and acidity remain. An ideal wine for protein-heavy tapas: not overpowering, but palate cleansing. Very dark palate and secondary flavors, forest floor, tar, cedar, graphite, and coffee grounds. My food pairing choice was mediocre but the strong flavors in the bottle made me certain that a proper pairing shows this as a stunning wine. Hearty meals centered on meat would pair best, such as a stew, roast, or meat sauce. http://pagosdelmoncayo.com/en/11-garnacha.html

PdM Garnacha

 

Overall I was impressed by the quality of the wines I tasted, and was glad to be educated to the quality of this grape by the sampling. This tasting certainly opened my eyes and my taste buds, and I enjoyed both the wide range of flavors, the quality of production and the end value to the consumer that was demonstrated by these producers, and I know that you will appreciate them as well!

What’s your favorite garnacha/grenache wine? Click the comments tab and let me know!

à votre santé!

Summerland Wine

10 Jul

While visiting Santa Barbara, I had an opportunity to do a tasting with Summerland Wine. Winemaker Etienne Terlinden seems to be quite busy, as they already have six wines from 2013 that include an orange muscat, a sauvignon blanc, a grenache rosé, a viognier, two pinot noir, a syrah, and a cabernet sauvignon, each of these wines is made from local grapes sourced from either Montery, Santa Barbara, or Paso Robles. In addition, they have a library of vintages from 2006-2012 that includes several single-vineyard chardonnay and pinots, a sparkling, and zinfandel. Here are some shots from my tasting, more notes are below!

grenache rose

chardonnay

 

viognier

solomon

 

 

 

Here is my hands-down favorite:

Summerland Cabernet Sauvignon,  Santa Barbara County, 2012. 

Summerland

Deep purple color with violet edging. Nose of blue and black fruit, the scent of  alcohol burns off with more exposure to air, revealing vegetation and fresh cedar. In the mouth, the cab features boysenberry, blueberry, and black cherry fruit along with notes of dark chocolate, licorice, and a hint of potting soil on the upper and back palate. The nice, lingering finish is one more element of this wine that complements food well. Note: all of the Summerland wines have high alcohol content, the cab is no exception with 14.1%ABV.

 

I was also impressed by two other wines, the 2012 single vineyard pinot noir from Wolff Vineyard, as well as their 2012 “Trio”, a mix of syrah, grenache and mouvedre grapes, which is Summerland’s take on the classic Rhône style wine. Summerland has a little of something for everyone, it seems. I’d love to see their Cab or Trio in a 3L large format bottling, which seems to be popular for their single vineyard pinots. A note for pinot lovers, I much preferred the older vintages I tasted,  -they felt settled, while younger vintages seemed like they still needed time to blend- so age may be a determining factor in your enjoyment. YMMV.

wolf pinot trip

 

à votre santé!

 

Un, Deux, Trois: Three Wines from Paul Mas and the Languedoc Region

16 Aug

I often rant about how first and second growths are impossibly expensive. To find great value today you have to seek out  lesser-known wines that have rich history and huge local presence that have not yet exploded globally.  That way,  you can acquire good pricing on a wonderful product that amounts to great value. This is one of those tales. Through a winding story we won’t tell, I met up with a fellow wine lover who also adores country wines and especially wines from the Languedoc region. I was nervous I wouldn’t care for the wines I got to taste as happens sometimes, but read on, and you’ll see how I responded. Special thanks to Michelle and Anne for your help and support! -JvB

Un

Paul Mas Estate Pinot Noir 2011

List price  $14/bottle. 13.5% ABV. Samples provided by McCue Marketing.

Light ruby in color with a nose of fresh, sharp cherries, hints of cola and saffron. Cherry and red plum are the dominant fruit flavors on the palate. Holding the wine in my mouth, I pondered the experience: an unexpected, ideal expression of the grape. The clean finish made this wine feel like a pricier burgundy to me, but without the historic wooden barrel effects. Notes of gravel and chalk appear on the medium finish. Overall, my response is a great balance of fresh red fruit with a good acidity and tannin. Juicy, tart, and mouthwatering, you can drink this all day without getting bored, or start the evening with it and move on to pair it with lighter fare up through a fish course.

photo-4

Deux

The Paul Mas Estate Malbec 2011 

List price  $14/bottle. 13.5% ABV.  Samples provided by McCue Marketing.

Bright violet with a purple center and ruby edging. Ripe red fruit on the nose with herbs and wildflowers. On the palate: soft essence of cassis, boysenberry. Short notes of clay and lime and a long, tart finish.  Concentrated, singular and enjoyable, I expected this was a single vineyard before I looked at the label. Paired perfectly with spicy marinana sauce, strong cheese, and spicy food- such as Thai or Mexican, I made fajitas specifically on the second night of tasting this and was wowed by how nice the pairing was. The bright acidity and ripe fruit will allow the wine to cut through the palate when served with powerful flavors such as duck or a bourguignon sauce. Another surprising value from winemaker Jean-Claude Mas. 

PaulMas Malbec

Trois

Chateau Paul Mas Clos de Savignac Grés de Montpellier 2011

List price $27/bottle. 14.5% ABV. Samples provided by McCue Marketing.

Deep purple color with violet edges in the glass; the nose exhibits a lush blend of dark blue and black fruits. On the palate, the initial rush of blackberry, black plum, and currants are met with spice, licorice, oak, and a green vegetation note that hung across my top palate. Limestone, gravel, and mocha notes appeared during the lengthy, oaky finish.  This is a wonderful old world blend with modern efficiency. Speaking of the blend, it is 50% Mourvérdre, 30% Syrah, and 20% Grenache.

PaulMas Montpellier

Centuries of rustic charm on sun-beaten vines meets finesse with the relaxed tannins pulling forward after the liquid has moved below. Powerful, invigorating, and complex are my initial overall impressions, and they stayed consistent as I came back to this wine time and time again. Over four days the nose and fruit aired nicely and developed without losing quality. You can enjoy the 2011 now at this ripe young age, but the smart buyer will pick up a case or three hold this six to eight years and taste it to see how the tannins and fruit mellows over time.  I’d think this wine would cost at least twice as much for the quality, so enjoy it before everyone starts to stockpile and drive the prices up.

Clos de Savignac

About the winemaker: Jean-Claude Mas is a fourth generation winemaker who began work with his family’s winemaking at the age of three. He ascended to run the family business (begun in 1892) in 2000, and has expanded the acreage and updated the technology to mass production, including pneumatic pressers and stainless tanks. The brand Arrogant Frog are among his most visible successes and he has been named International Mediterranean Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young and the Domain Paul Mas was named Winery of the Year by England’s The Guardian Newspaper under his helm.

Jean-Claude Mas - Chai à barriques (1)

Paul Mas wines are carried nationwide by BevMo and other fine wine retailers. In the NYC area Paul Mas wines can be found at Beacon Wines & Spirits, London Terrace Liquor Shop, Phillipe Wine & Liquor, and 120 Wine & Liquor to name a few locations in Manhattan.

More about Domain Paul Mas can be found at their website,  www.PaulMas.com.

à votre santé!

Orin Swift’s Abstract 2011

23 Jan

Abstract Wine 2011 Red Blend by Orin Swift Cellars, Napa, CA

Deep violet color with ruby edging. The nose is plum with hints of wildflowers, cedar, clove, and anise. Huge fruit initially on the palate: raspberry, blackberry, with a slow finish that features gravel and peppercorns. After that initial taste, I decanted a glass and was quite pleased with the way the wine opened up, pushing the fruit back and introducing structure and balance that was previously absent. Decanting also allowed me to detect additional floral and red fruit in the nose, a touch of cacao and oak on the wine’s finish along with some welcome tannins. As always I suggest you drink responsibly, noting this wine features a high alcohol content at 15.2%.

photo-11

The bottle states “Red Blend” and I noted it tasted like syrah and grenache with a small amount of cabernet. The Orin Swift website says it “is a blend of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Syrah primarily from hillside vineyards.” As you might guess from my notes above, I highly suggest decanting. Found locally in Columbus, OH at $29/bottle, online as low as $23/bottle. I enjoyed this wine over several days after decanting, but preferred Swift’s Papillon even more. David Phinney is a winemaker to follow and watch, his work is fascinating, unusual, and delicious.

photo-12

à votre santé!

Going Out On a High Note

31 Dec

 

Famille Perrin Côtes du Rhône Réserve  2010 (From Mayfair Wine on Union Turnpike, Queens $9/bottle)

Color: Ruby center edging in garnet. Nose: red and black plum with violet, touch of spice.

perrin

On the palate this wine shows boysenberry  and cassis up front with loads of pepper, some earth, notes of oak, clove, and limestone on the finish. Nice balance, medium body, shows more depth than many young wines. Great value. An impressive blend of grenache,  syrah and mourverdre grapes to develop a tremendous wine at this price and age. Consistent work from a talented winemaker whose  stable includes Chateau Beaucastel and La Vielle Ferme. If you like French wines, don’t miss out on this one- it’s a great deal at this price and shows very well compared to wines priced at double this.

 

Check out more about Famille Perrin’s wines here.

Here’s to a great 2012 send-off, and looking forward to an amazing 2013 with my readers and fellow oenophiles.

à votre santé!

A Trio of Tens

4 Nov

I found these three ten-dollar bottles on a recent visit to one of my local wine haunts, Mayfair Wine & Liquor on Utopia Parkway. (For anyone who travels Fresh Meadows, this is a great store for quality and value. The owner has phenomenal knowledge of wines and liquors and a surprisingly wide range of stock.)

Each of these wines offers something different, and could be a good or great option in the appropriate pairing. Here are my most recent finds, in no specific order:

 

Canyon Road Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010

A purple color with garnet edges in the glass and nose of red ripe fruit. On the palate this wine features raspberry and plum with hints of vanilla, oak, and a touch of smoke. I tasted this with a strong cheese, then noticed it went very well with chocolate that brought out nice mocha notes. Light for a cab with an easy finish and gentle tannins, this was delicious and my favorite of the three wines.  I’d like to taste other offerings from this winemaker!

Visit Canyon Road Winery for more information.

 

Esteban Martin Carinena Reserva 2007

This wine has a ruby color and a spicy nose of red fruit and dried wildflowers. In the mouth it features red currants, powerful spices, notes of cigar box, and aged wood on the finish. The spice in this wine is dominant, and as such it would ideally pair with a strongly-flavored complement. The blend is 70% grenache, 15% syrah, and 15% cabernet sauvignon from grapes grown in Carinena, Spain. An interesting vineyard to keep an eye on.

Esteban Martin‘s website features much more on their winery.

2010 Chateau La Garrousse Bordeaux (bronze medal winner, Concourse de Bordeaux 2011)

Pale garnet color, with raspberry & violet and some gravel on the nose.

On first taste I was overpowered by sweet red fruit, followed by loads of acidity and some bitterness on the back palate I didn’t care for. My immediate reaction: not enough tannin, this wine is young and requires time to develop. Fortunately I decided to let this take some air. After an hour, the bitterness was gone and I felt the wine was decidedly different and greatly improved. The next day, I enjoyed this wine with a salad and pizza and the elements I’d been concerned with had entirely disappeared. With a little age, this has great potential.

*If you find a website for Chateau La Garrousse, please let me know! *

à votre santé!

Stealing Home: The 90-point Côtes du Rhône

22 Sep

Delas-Freres St-Esprit Côtes du Rhône 2009

My brother-in-law went to a big-box store in search of a good red wine value for dinner and came up with this!

A solid value in a good red table wine that has also received a 90 point rating from Robert Parker, this Delas Freres St-Esprit ’09 Côtes du Rhône has a nice ruby-purplish color with a nose of red ripe fruit and herb garden with hints of white pepper and vanilla. The palate is full of raspberry, cherry, licorice, and spice with notes of loam, earth and gravel on the finish.  A well-balanced combination of fruit, acid, tannins in a tasty wine that pairs quite nicely with most foods, easily with fowl or medium to light fare.

At $10-12/bottle, don’t pass this by if you see it in your aisle without trying it. At this price point, it’s a steal.

You can find out more about the vineyard, winemaker and importer here.

à votre santé!

Gabriel Meffre 2009 La Châsse du Pape Côtes-du-Rhône Reserve Rouge

13 Aug

 

I started drinking the Meffre Reserve red wine almost a decade ago when a local wine shop owner showed it to me. “This is one of the best buys I have and it’s delicious,” she said to me quietly, “you should really try it.” Her preference and shop stock was largely Italian wine, and to crack open a wooden case of Meffre Châsse Côtes du Rhône for me in the back of her small store demonstrated her passion for the brand. I bought the bottle, tasted it that evening, and went back for more later that week.

 

Since that time, I’ve watched and tasted as the winemaker has evolved in their approach to wine and marketing. Today in addition to the reserve, they offer other red blends listed as ‘tradition’ and ‘prestige’ which may be listed depending on the year as ‘winemaker’s selection’. Note the interchanging of synthetic corks and screwcaps in the modern bottling, as well as the custom-inscribed bottle. That’s all good for packaging, but how is the wine?

 

In common French style, this is a blend of four grapes:  grenache, syrah, cinsault and mourvèdre. That means to the casual drinker that the wine is a deep red with purple tinges in the glass. It has ripe red fruit and violet on the nose. The palate has red plum, raspberry, and black currants, licorice, with notes vanilla, pepper, limestone, clay, and a touch of oak with a tight finish. It’s fruit forward and spicy, “chewy” is a word often used for younger wines made for drinking now and not aging or cellaring as most Bordeaux wines would be.

 

 

This is a solid and flexible Rhône red that is decidedly Mediterranean in its style and flavors- with the spice of the syrah, it is ideally paired with grilled meats, strong cheeses or other powerful flavors that will complement those spices well, and has performed consistently well over the years as a solid, good daily vine du table that can be kept in your home and served for company at a fancy dinner party or served with burgers on the barbecue

 

The only thing I don’t like about this wine is the number of accent circonflexes (that’s the little roof accent above the a, o or u) you should type when reviewing it for your blog. Yes, I’m kidding…well, only a little. Purchased locally at $12/bottle, available online from $9-14/bottle.

If you are interested, you can see the entire line of the La Chasse brand of wines here.

and winemaker Gabriel Meffre’s site is linked  here.

 

à votre santé!

 

%d bloggers like this: