2010 Thymiopoulos Young Vines Xinomavro

I’ve had Xinomavro (Ksee-no-ma-vro), a Greek varietal meaning “Acid Black”, on my mind for a while and my hope is to follow up with a post on why (hint: because the wines are excellent and affordable) soon. That said in the meantime something is better than the alternative so I wanted to share this enjoyable wine for the time being…

2010 Thymiopoulos Young Vines XinomavroPrice: $13.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Athenne Imports

What They Said:

Per Athenne Importers Splendid, purple red colour. Complex, typical bouquet of red small fruits, cherry, blackberry, plum. Full mouth, rounded tannins, balanced acidity. Long and pleasant aftertaste. The vineyards are located at Trilofos and Fytia, at southern tip of the appellation of Naoussa.

What I Think:

(13.5%) The 2nd vintage of the single vineyard that has been bottled it is the younger sibling of the Uranos offering from the same winery that is only made from 15+ year old vines. Bright, brooding red cherries up front with fresh acidity and spiced cinnamon notes before soft, chalky, minerally tannins (the limestone shines through) take over on a dry, lingering finish. Smooth, pure and focused throughout. While good on its own this one shines with burgers. Perhaps a bit simple at $14 compared to some of its brethren that cost just a few dollars more but certainly an enjoyable wine…

Rating: Worth Exploring

Wine Geek Notes: Imported by Athenne Importers, biodynamic, fruit from 5-15 year old vines

QOTD: How about you? Have you tried Xinomavro? And if so what are your favorites?

2011 Weingut Allram Grüner Veltliner

2011 Weingut Allram Grüner VeltlinerPrice: $10.99 (for 1L) @ K&L Wines imported by Latitude Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “From some of the top sites in the Kamptal. Michaela Haas is the 4th generation of this family to run the 23 ha domaine. Fermented and aged in stainless steel and bottled with a crown cap, this is the perfect liter – fresh, light and snappy; delivering all the thirst quenching qualities you look for in a wine like this. The nose is textbook Gruner Veltliner filled with spice and pepper, snap pea and grapefruit. It is sleek, focused and juicy owing to the wonderful bright acid structure of the 2011 vintage.”

What I Think:

(13%) Fresh and zippy with bright, juicy grapefruit before a refreshing, white pepper laced finish that lingers on nicely. A thirst quencher except that it keeps calling you back for more. Before you know it the 1L bottle is gone. Perhaps Grüner on summer solstice should become a new tradition. Between this and the Franz Etz one should always be on hand…

Rating: Buy It

Wine Geek Notes: Direct K&L import, Fermented and aged in stainless steel, Pop-top so have your bottle opener handy

2009 Bodegas Vinae Mureri Xiloca

2008 Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Blanc - SemillonPrice: $9.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Classical Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Located just outside of the Calatayud D.O. (famous for Las Rocas, amongst other inexpensive Garnachas), Xiloca actually reminds me of the incredible value these wines presented about 10 or so years ago: big, juicy, spicy, plump berry fruit, without the sense of overt fruitiness nor dumbed down to simplicity, which unfortunately has become very common in many Spanish (and French) Garnachas of late. Produced from vines averaging 80 years, yielding only 1/3 ton per acre (!), in arguably one of the world’s best suited terroirs for Garnacha, this wine offers a whole lot for the money. Highly recommended.” (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)

What I Think:

(14%) 100% Grenache – Picked this one up after receiving an email offer from K&L Wines. Rich, earthy nose loaded with cherries. On the palate this one is rich, lush and juicy but yet balanced. Nice spice and berry fruit but backed by a mineral, rocky acidity that adds dimension to this wine. Very enjoyable with nice layers of complexity and an earthy finish that goes on and on. Granted I’m a sucker for Grenache but at $10 this is a gem! Just bought 3 more bottles…

Rating: Buy It

Wine Geek Notes: Imported by Classical Wines; Produced from vines averaging 80 years; Yields managed to only 1/3 ton per acre

2009 Dos Minas Malbec

2009 Dos Minas MalbecPrice: $11.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Michael Skurnik Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Plain and simple, this is delicious, organic malbec, perhaps the best $12 and under version we’ve tasted all year. It is produced from 15 year-old vines in sandy, rocky clay in the high (5,500 feet plus) elevations of Cafayate, Argentina. A brief four month elevage in used French oak helps to add some texture without taking away from the wonderful fruit. Rich dark fruit aromas lead to a seriously structured palate, full of dark plum fruit and a refreshingly dry, serious quality.”

What I Think:

(14%) Ok, I’ll admit it! When I first bought this one I thought I was trying a wine from El Calafate near Patagonia rather than Cafayate in Salta. Nonetheless still interesting as this one is grown at 5,500+ feet in altitude. Nice mouthfeel here with rough, rocky acidity around the edges protecting a core of plush dark fruits that emerges to coat the mid-palate before velvety, tangy tannins kick in (along with a touch of heat) on a lasting, pepper streaked finish. Delicious! Best Malbec I’ve had in ages. I really like the rocky, earthy balance added to the as expected lush, rich Malbec fruit. This one also gives me the sense it can age. An almost unbelievable value at $12. I’ve already bought more!

Rating: Wow!

2008 Mud House Swan Pinot Noir

Price: $10.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Maritime Wine Trading Collective

What They Said:

2008 Mud House Swan Pinot NoirPer K&L Wines “This is a great deal in Pinot Noir coming in at 1/2 the normal price. The fruit comes from Central Otago which is the new “darling” area for New Zealand Pinot and to be specific the sub-region of Bendigo. The wine which spent 10 months in 30% new French oak offers a bouquet of raspberry, cherry, clove, earth and mocha. On the palate, there are fine tannins that frame the core of fruit with good acidity supporting the fine finish. Buy a case of this one. (Jim Chanteloup K&L New Zealand Wine Buyer) Stephen Tanzer adds: “Bright medium red. Red berries and cherry dominate the nose and palate, with some spice notes emerging with air. A juicy, fresh, supple wine with the sweetness of fruit to support its oak element. Finishes with good life and lift.” (Sept/Oct 09)”

What I Think:

(14%) Warm, ripe, supple fruit (tart cherry and raspberry) out of the gate with a beautiful inflection to the proper acidity which also delivers a nice clove spice. This one is a fine choice. Great balance, smooth and lengthy on the palate. A very nice Pinot for the $11 (retail is $24) this one cost me; too bad I didn’t figure that out before they sold out of this one. A very nice, lush, new world, fruit forward Pinot. Would buy more if I could…

Wine Geek Notes: 10 months in 30% new oak; Screwtop; Imported by Maritime Wine Trading Collective

Rating: Buy It

2009 Tormaresca Neprica Puglia IGT

2009 Tormaresca Neprica Puglia IGTPrice: $7.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Chateau Ste. Michelle

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines 90 points and a Best Buy from the Wine Enthusiast: “Neprica is an awesome blend of Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon from southern Italy that offers an unbeatable price versus quality ratio. This rising star of Puglia would pair with meats, pasta or aged cheese and offers clean aromas of ripe fruit, spice and leather.”

What I Think:

(13.5%) 40% Negromaro, 30% Primitivo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon – Tormaresca is owned by the Antinori family, and distributed by Chateau Ste. Michelle. This bottle hails from the south of Italy and opens with lush but rustic fruit (strawberry, sour cherry, red licorice spice) showing nice depth. It comes across as juicy, smooth and balanced with some pleasant earthiness on the edges. Nice acidity and structure on the mid-palate despite the big fruit. Spiced on the mid-palate this one turns dry, meaty and herbal on the finish with smooth tannins and lingering black pepper notes. There is nothing out of whack here. Gets better with time and air so give it an hour if you can. Either way this is still the most exciting $8 bottle I’ve found in some time. I just bought 6 more!

Rating: Bulk Buy

Deligeroy Cremant de Loire Brut

Price: $11.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Premier Wine Company

What They Said:

NV Deligeroy Cremant de Loire BrutPer K&L Wines “A pale yellow wine with tiny bubbles, this Cremant de Loire Brut is rounded and delicate with a fine, nervy, complex nose and the freshness of Chenin Blanc, floral Chardonnay and fruity Cabernet Franc from 20- to 30-year-old vines. With its lively attack, it evolves gracefully across the palate with nice aromatic persistence in the mouth and lingering notes of fresh peaches and pear.”

What I Think:

(12.5%) Blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc – From Saumur in the Loire Valley of France which just happens to be the largest producer of sparkling wines outside of Champagne. This one is made in the traditional method and is pale gold, yellowish color in the glass. Fresh, crisp, and lively on the palate this one starts with toasty, baked apples and a firm lemon minerality. This all rides on top of a fine, bubbly, creamy mousse that is present throughout all the way to the dry, lingering finish. A nice QPR at $12. Be sure to let this one warm up a bit after you take it out of the fridge as it shows much better.

Wine Geek Notes: Couldn’t find the varietal percentage on this one for the life of me. If anyone happens to know holler!

Rating: Buy It

Gruet Winery Brut Rosé

NV Gruet Winery Brut RoséPrice: $13.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Sparkling wine from New Mexico, you say? Yep, and it’s really good, too! The Gruet family makes champagne in France and fell in love with New Mexico when they were visiting. The result of this love is a classically styled Brut Rose with bright strawberry fruit and toasted bread on the nose. Clean, raspberry fruit on the palate with a dry, crisp finish. Only 5000 cases produced. A wonderful bargain!”

What I Think:

(12%) 100% Pinot Noir – Hails from New Mexico which seems a bit unlikely and explains why this has been on my list of wines to try for quite some time. This one is NV (per winery website it is limited to 5,000 cases per year) and starts by showing beautiful color and big bubbles in the glass. On the palate it is lifted with lively strawberry and raspberry and a tinge of orange (Clementine) peel. Yeasty, toasted bread on back side with a touch of minerality. The berry fruits make it all the way through to a nice, dry, crisp finish. I’m a fan!

Wine Geek Notes: 88pts Wine Spectator, Residual Sugar = 1%, Aged 24 months en tirage

Rating: Buy It

Jean-Louis Denois Brut Tradition

Price: $14.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Premier Wine Company

What They Said:

NV Jean-Louis Denois Brut TraditionPer K&L Wines “Outstanding sparkling wine from the Languedoc? Absolutely and resoundingly, YES! There will be those of you who will scoff at the price of this wine, and claim that a sparkling wine set so low will never be worth any serious consideration. Well, those of you would be WRONG. One of the rising stars of the Languedoc, Jean Louis Denois makes exciting, world class wines that nonetheless remain amazingly inexpensive, a fact of his location more than anything else. His vineyards sit in the very southwestern corner, at the foot of the Pyrenees, and include red, white and sparkling examples, all made from perilously low-yielding vines, vinified with as little interference as possible. Denois’ Brut Tradition is composed of 50% each pinot noir and chardonnay and spends 18 months on the lees before degorgement. It is dry, elegant and long, with notes of hazelnut, red berries and toasted bread. This is one delicious bubbly! 12.5% abv.”

What I Think:

(12.5%) 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir – Made by Jean – Louis Denois, a sixth generation winemaker with roots to Champagne, this one hails straight out of the Languedoc. More specifically from Limoux in the southwest corner of France in the foothills Pyrenees. Made in the traditional method this one has a rose hue in the glass with some initial bubbles that dissipate quickly. Dry, crisp, and refreshing on the palate with nice green apple and lime fruit followed by a rocky, lively acidity. This one is delicate with a creamy mousse throughout. The mid-palate is yeasty with a touch of nuttiness and leads to a citrus hued, lasting finish. At $15 this may be spendy (or not if you are used to buying proper Champagne) but it is worth the price of entry. The kind of wine you should always have chilled and ready to go in case a celebratory situation (or large parties/weddings) avails itself…

Wine Geek Notes: Aged 18 months on lees before disgorgement

Rating: Buy It

2009 Sainte Leocadie Minervois Rosé

2009 Domaine Sainte Leocadie Minervois RoséPrice: $4.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “What do you get when you combine saigneed grapes (40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 20% Cinsault) with one of Southern France’s most ideal terroirs? This deeply colored pink wine is a poolside sipper if there ever was one. Plenty of spice, garrigue and red fruits. Great with grilled Provencal pizza!”

What I Think:

(13%) 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 20% Cinsault – A saignée style rose of the Minervois this one is beautiful salmon pink in color. On the palate this is full and dry with briary strawberry notes showing over a mineral acidity that slowly fades on a soft, spiced finish. A bit richer than your typical rose (attributable to the saignee syle) makes this one a bit better suited to go with a summer lunch than as a patio sipper. Either way for $6 (which is what I paid; $5 now) this is a steal…

Rating: Buy It