Posts Tagged PersonalWine.com
Only a few wineries consistently produce a wide variety of great wines at great prices year after year. One to mention is the Peter Lehmann Winery, in Australia’s Barossa Valley. Given my affinity for red blends, it’s no surprise that I’ve been a huge fan of Lehmann’s Clancy’s for many years. A bold, robust mix of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and merlot, Clancy’s really over-delivers at it’s modest price-point.
With the 2004 vintage scoring 90 Wine Spectator points, and the 2005 coming in a great vintage year in Australia, this is a wine not to miss. Lehmann’s ’05 Shiraz garnered a 91 point Wine Spectator score, and the shiraz component of the ’05 Clancy’s is clearly the headliner of this star-studded show.
A variety of dark fruits is proffered, with black cherry and plum predominating. The spice palate is shot through with everything from allspice to white pepper. Aussies are well-known for blending the distinctly diverse flavors of cab and shiraz, and Lehmann does so to great effect. The merlot component softens the package, providing finesse with it’s rounding qualities. It is on sale at Wines.com for $13.99 a bottle (typically $20) with free shipping on a case. Call 800-690-WINE and mention the “Diversity Special”.
Last week I had the great pleasure of meeting Alois Lageder, famed Italian winemaker. He makes over 20 different wines in the highlands of the Dolomites. He carefully chooses which grape will be planted at which particular site, reaching such decisions by considering the whole terroir, the complex and total array of all of the natural factors that determine the uniqueness of any given locale.
Lageder has been at the forefront of biodynamic agriculture for many years, with the long-term goal being to strengthen the vineyards’ biological equilibrium. By increasing the vitality of the vines, their resistance to parasites and disease is enhanced. Allowing full ripening of the grapes, and utilizing gentle vinification processes (such as relying upon gravity vs. the use of pumps), Lageder is able to produce wines of singular typicity.
These elegant wines truly taste of their origin. Two of my favorites from the tasting were the 2007 “Benefizium Porer” Pinot Grigio & the 2007 “Haberle”Pinot Bianco. The Pinot Grigio was a shining example of the often-flat varietal. Super-clean, stunning minerality, just enough acidity and some creaminess for balance. Just a hint of lime for the minimal fruit component. The Pinot Bianco, on the other hand, could not have packed more fruit onto the palate. This dry, fresh, vibrant fruit-bomb washed starfruit, green melon, grapefruit, and tart green apple over my beaming tastebuds. Chockfull of fruit flavors and fully supported by crisp minerality. This is the best Pinot Bianco I’ve ever tasted.
This man is a genius, and I hope that he is able to create wines this good for many years to come. While the PG would be great with anything with flippers from the sea, the PB is a super “stand-alone” wine, simply calling for the good times to roll. We are very proud to be able to offer Alois Lageder’s wines here at Wines.com, and we wish he and his family continued Great Success.
While the trend in California chardonnays is towards more tropically flavored wines, featuring dominant pineapple/mango/guava/citrus notes, the big trophy chardonnays still reign supreme. Think Kistler, Far Niente, Newton Unfiltered, Grgich Hills, Rombauer, Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch.
On the other end of the spectrum are the “new chardonnays” of Central and Southern California. Many chardonnays, especially from the Paso Robles area seem more tropical every year. Surprisingly, these wines are exhibiting more of this tropicality than the leaner-styled chardonnays from Australia and New Zealand. It seems, through my tastings, that this flavor profile is a hallmark of the lower-and mid-priced tier, while in the upper-price tier, the traditional apple/pear/fig/honeyed notes tend to predominate. If you’re seeking that tropical stylee, Clos LaChance Santa Cruz Mt. 2006 Chardonnay delivers under $20. In the more traditional Burgundian-style, the wines from Tolosa in San Luis Obispo/Edna Valley are a steal. They offer both a non-oaked and an oaked version, a daytime & a nighttime option, if you will. I’ve found, generally, that these more “tropically”-flavored chardonnays (as well as the non-oaked versions) are best enjoyed in sunny situations. Save the oaky/fall-fruit-flavored chards for darker pursuits.
If you looking for a good value wine, try a Malbecs from Argentina. I recommend the Telteca Anta Malbec. Old vine, reserve-level, solidly oaked, from the high desert in Argentina’s Mendoza province, this wine will redefine what you think about Malbecs. Telteca’s Anta line uses hand harvested grapes, vinified with indigenous yeasts and controlled malolactic fermentation. Twelve months of oak-aging, utilizing 100% first-use, new barrels, followed by nine months of bottle aging before release produces a Malbec of exceptional quality. Profound, intense red-tinged-with-violet in the glass. Thick black fruits and vanilla on the nose. Distinct, characteristic spiced red berries begin the palate attack, with honeyed, rounded tannins wrapping the package. An elegant grip, structure and density pervade this wine. All contribute to give this wine a value far beyond its modest price, around $17. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate agrees, giving the 2004 vintage 92 points. This is not your average grocery store Malbec.
Shattering misconceptions is one of life’s great joys. One common misconception involves the belief that all rieslings are heavy, sweet, dum-dum wines that all come from Germany. While the world’s greatest still do come from there, great rieslings are currently being produced in Australia, New Zealand, and here in the U.S. (particularly Wa. state). The unifying taste characteristic of these twenty-first century rieslings is clean, crisp mineral-driven purity of fruit, as opposed to reliance on sugar. One of the main advances in German rieslings has been the limits placed (and enforced) on vineyard yields for qualified wines. German importer Terry Theise may have said it best, “…the iciest blade of electric, splashing acidity supports a fruit so clear, so sharply rendered, the entire experience is so vivid it makes your toenails laugh!”. Randall Graham, of Bonny Doon, was somewhat more restrained, while remaining on point, “Riesling will be the dominant white grape of the twenty-first century.”. These wines are super-food-friendly, pairing well with seafood, poultry and pork. Especially Asian cuisines. One to look out for is Coopers Creek, from New Zealand. All hail the “new” rieslings.