Tony – ты мой мужчина! – Anya Balistreri
September 20, 2015; the last Sunday of summer. Time flies, that’s for sure. But unlike the stock market, traffic on the bridge, or the fortune of your favorite team, the fact that time moves on is predictable with 100% accuracy. Keeping that in mind, without getting too far ahead of myself, this means October, November, and December are coming next. What might be a good idea to stock up on for these 3 upcoming months? Something that was recently poured for me comes to mind: The NV Pascal Doquet Horizon Champagne might come in handy as we ride out Q4 of 2015.
Ready, set, go! – Peter Zavialoff
September? Have no fear, summer is not over. Not yet. It will be later this month, but let’s not let that put a damper on our spirits. There’s plenty to look forward to as fall approaches. Pigskin lovers are happy, the leaves will be changing, baseball will be turning into its serious phase, and the nights are getting longer. To accompany these changes, how about 12 wines, all different, for one low price? The September Dirty Dozen!
Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.
2014 Ventoux Rosé l’Instant, Domaine de Fondrèche $16.29, $13.03 reorder
In the eastern section of the southern Rhône Valley, Sébastien Vincenti makes some fine wine in the Ventoux appellation. His Rosé l’Instant is another great example of a southern French Rosé made in the Provençal style. It’s sleek and crisp with hints of citrus and dried flowers. It’s a great food wine and will pair best with a seared ahi tuna salad Niçoise.
2013 Hors Saison, Domaine La Hitaire $13.99, $11.19 reorder
From the Côtes de Gascogne in southwest France comes this snappy little sipper inspired by the white blends from Bordeaux. 85% Sauvignon Blanc and a little Sémillon combine for a bright, fresh, citrus-like aromatic profile. The palate is light and the finish clean. A versatile table white, salads work well, especially those with goat cheese.
2012 Unoaked Chardonnay, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder
Englishman Alex Dale grew up with wine, and in the 1990’s he invested in vineyards near Capetown, South Africa, and founded The Winery of Good Hope. No fancy label, no marketing, it’s all about the wine. 100% unoaked Chardonnay is what you get, no tricks, no makeup. The screwcap enclosure makes it great with picnics and chicken salad sandwiches.
2014 Entre-Deux-Mers, Tertre de Launay $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
The Greffier family has been making wine for over 6 generations and exporting Chateau Tertre de Launay to the US for nearly 40 years. We think they’ve got this thing down. A classic Bordelaise blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle goes into this intense, yet classy wine. Apart from shellfish, try it with grilled lemony-chicken.
2014 Xarel-lo, Bohigas $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Bohigas, a family-run winery an hour north of Barcelona, can trace their history back to the 13th century. Today, father and daughter make a dry white from Xarel-lo, best known for being one of three grapes used for Cava. Zippy flavors of pineapple and white fruit are supported by a solid acid backbone. Try with salty snacks and tapas.
NV Gála Sec, Törley $11.98, $10.78 reorder
At the end of the 18th century, after working at Roederer and Delbeck in Reims, József Törley returned home to Hungary to make sparkling wine. His image is on the neck of every Törley bottle. The Gála Sec is indeed dry and made up of three varietals, Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, and Királyleányka. A Prosecco look-alike; it’s yummy with fried chicken.
2013 Poggio d’Elsa, Bruni $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
A 50/50 blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, this hearty red from the wine region of Maremma, along Tuscany’s coastal flank, offers up ripe flavors of Morello cherries and black plums wrapped up in a smooth tannin finish. Beef brochettes topped with a pungent salsa verde would do nicely here, especially served outside on the terrazza.
2011 Minervois Cuvée Spéciale, Chateau de Paraza $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
After a period of neglect, the Danglas family has brought this historical estate back to its former glory. Along with renovation of the château, emphasis has been on elevating wine quality. The Cuvée Spéciale is a blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and the rest Mourvèdre. Spicy, juicy, round and delicious! Try with flavors inspired by the Middle East.
2013 Santofimia, Niel $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Black as night in the glass, this Garnacha Tintorera, aka Alicante Bouchet, is a bold, zesty Spanish red wine. The vines are 30 years of age on average and are grown at high altitudes in nutrient-poor soils. Blackberry liqueur and juicy cassis fruit flavors are backed up with formidable acidity. It’s a tooth-stainer! Try with bleu cheese topped grilled steak.
2013 Merlot, Domaine Saint Antoine $11.49, $9.19 reorder
We’ve been carrying the wines from Domaine Saint Antoine for well over a decade, one of the main reasons is for the price, they’re quite a deal! This Merlot is not to be taken lightly. It speaks of ripe cassis and cherries, tobacco and lavender. Tee up a rotisserie chicken, baked potatoes with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, and asparagus. Yum.
2012 Syrah/Grenache, Grange des Rouquette $11.99, $9.59 reorder
You may have heard us extoll the virtues of Thierry Boudinaud and the panoply of wines he produces from in and around the southern Rhône. This Syrah/Grenache blend is all business; all tank-fermented, so it’s pure and fresh. What you get are aromas of red and purple berries, a medium-bodied palate and a bright finish. A great all-purpose table red.
2011 Costières de Nîmes Cuvée Trassegum, Château d’Or et de Gueules $22.99, $18.39 reorder
Cuvée Trassegum. In the local Occitan dialect it means “love potion,” and we are smitten. This is serious stuff here. Wine wizard Diane Puymorin blends 20% each Carignan and Mourvèdre (both from 80 year old vines) with Syrah and the result is spectacular. Get the fancy stemware out, grill up a nice grass-fed ribeye and share it with someone special!
Visiting Bordeaux each spring to attend the En Primeur tastings is always an interesting experience. Full of challenges and deadlines, but also rife with learning opportunities and plain old dumb luck, I try to approach the week as open and accepting as possible. It is not a time for stress or mood swings. You never know what is going to happen. Not being much of a planner, Primeurs is the one week that I keep a list of appointments, from 9am until 6pm, every day, and I cram a lot of tastings and appointments into those time slots! Monday was spent in the Médoc with appointments at 11 châteaux, including 2 First Growths, 5 Seconds, 2 Thirds, and 2 Fifths. Tuesday was again spent in the Médoc, only 3 appointments, but all 5 UGC tastings were there. Wednesday morning began with the UGC Pessac-Léognan tasting at Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte. Between the reds and whites, that was 31 wines, so it was rather amusing as to why I busted my tail after this tasting to drive to Pomerol for a noon appointment to taste one wine. What was the wine? Believe it or not, it was the 2014 Château Armurey Bordeaux Clairet.