2009 Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon

2009 Domaine de la Noblaie ChinonPrice: $14.99 @ K&L Wines imported by David Headrick Selections

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “My new house red! This is produced all in stainless and solely from Cabernet Franc which is grown on a limestone slope. It has a rich ruby color and excellent structure. A nice fruity style of Chinon, this value-priced wine has a subtle peppery spice, ripe dark berries, soft chalky mineral character that really makes the fruit core come to life and express the fantastic character of Cabernet Franc. There are rich tannins on the finish and a juicy freshness throughout. I swear to you that you can actually taste the fresh glow of the summertime sun right in this bottle. Absolutely stellar while enjoying a burger right off the grill or even with a simple thin crust pizza. Just a pure, unadulterated wine meant to be enjoyed while moving along the game board of life.”

What I Think:

(13%) 100% Cabernet Franc – Bright red berries with juicy dark currant flavors. Nice acidity, nice crushed stone mineral with a smoky, spicy finish that lingers on warmly. Nice green, herbal streak throughout. Delicious! Chinon is definitely an under looked star in the (QPR) value world! Time to pop my 2004 to make sure it delivers. Once confirmed I’ll load a case of this one into the cellar…

Wine Geek Notes: Produced in all stainless. Grown on a limestone slope

Rating: Wow!

2009 Rabl Grüner Veltliner Spiegel

2009 Rabl Grüner Veltliner SpiegelPrice: $6.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “An AMAZING value, this white boasts subtle green grass with that classic Gruner peppery spice and mineral tones racing up and down the middle. A touch of lime zest interplayed with green apple, lemon wax and a crystalline structure that has a fantastic elegant structure and length. Weingut Rabl is a family run winery quietly located in the village of Langenlois, the heart of the Kamp Valley. The unique microclimates and mineral rich soils give these wines their unique and renowned character. If you are looking for wines that are spot on typical of Kamptal and posses spot on varietal character, these are most definitely wines for you.”

What I Think:

(12.5%) Tight lemon, mineral palate with green apple fruit on a backbone of refreshing mineral acidity. Well balanced and dry with nice fruit leading to a zesty, white pepper (perhaps a bit light for Grüner) spiced finish that lingers nicely (with a hint of creaminess). Single vineyard Grüner (discounted from $18) for $7? Are you kidding me? I already stocked up…

Rating: Buy It

2009 Rabl Riesling Steinhaus

Price: $7.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

2009 Rabl Riesling SteinhausPer K&L Wines “Imagine yourself sipping on a cold glass of fresh grape juice (white grape juice not that oddly colored purple stuff) with a slightly muddled apricot right off the tree. For being so delicate and lifting this has quite the structure behind it along with plenty of power keeping everything in check just in case you leave it open for a day or three or, forget a few bottles in the back of your closet. Weingut Rabl is a family run winery quietly located in the village of Langenlois, the heart of the Kamp Valley. The unique microclimates and mineral rich soils give these wines their unique and renowned character. If you are looking for wines that are spot on typical of Kamptal and posses spot on varietal character, these are most definitely wines for you.”

What I Think:

(12.5%) Pure, perhaps a bit light golden in color. Bright minerality on the palate with faint peach and firm acidity which leads to a spicy finish lacking fruit perhaps. Clean, crisp almost perfectly dry. More fruit as it warms so be sure not to drink this one too cold. A tad of sweetness emerges as it warms; makes me wonder what the residual sugar is? Either way this one is well structure and appears it will last for a while. Single vineyard Riesling (discounted from $19) for $8? Sign me up! I already grabbed six more…

Rating: Buy It

2010 Trajarinho Vinho Verde

Taking a break from Oregon let’s get back to finishing off my Summer Top 10 Whites list. Those paying attention were likely wondering where this one was. A fave in 2009 it seems destined to be so for many years to come. Get it if you can!

Price: $8.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Vinos Unico

What They Said:

2010 Trajarinho Vinho VerdePer K&L Wines “Back again is this delicious vinho verde: fizzy, ripe and juicy, while maintaining a refreshing dryness, warm weather white wine does not get much better than this! This is one of our favorites: crisp, citric, relatively low in alcohol and in a classically dry style. Don’t let the deliciousness fool you, though; this white offers up a whole lot more complexity than the humble price might suggest. More than likely, one could attribute this amazing quality to two factors: First, the rock solid reputation and focus on quality of the Adega Cooperativo Regional de Monçao; and second, their reliance on Trajadura and Alvarinho grapes, which deliver wine of greater complexity and texture than the Paderña grape so commonly grown in the rest of the Vinho Verde region.”

What I Think:

(11.5%) 60% Alvarinho, 40% Trajadura – A long standing summer favorite of mine this one is always a crowd pleaser. Pale gold in the glass with a green tinge. Lively on the palate with a slight spritz and primary grapefruit flavors with lemon citrus. The mid-palate show a firm, clean acidity with a nice mineral depth that gives this one much more complexity than you should expect at $9. From there the quick dry, crisp finish leaves you instantly reaching for another sip. A fun, easy going with at home with brunch or by the pool (but please use plastic glasses ;) Just be careful because before you know it the bottle will be gone. On 2nd thought just buy a couple to begin with…

Rating: Buy It (and buy more than one! I’m at 6 and counting for the summer…)

2009 Franz Etz Grüner Veltliner

2009 Franz Etz Gruner VeltlinerPrice: $11.99 (for 1L) @ K&L Wines imported by Winemonger

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines When it comes to killer value-priced Gruners like this one, more is definitely more. You will find that a liter of this in your fridge goes much much quicker than anticipated! This very dry, peppery white rings in at just 12.5% abv, and it is a cool, clean, bracing quaff with a spicy finish and notes of green melon and grapefruit. Just what a white wine should be, and nothing more.

What I Think:

(12.5%) I don’t know that I can say simple with any more enthusiasm than right here. Light straw color with stony, citrus notes on the nose. The palate is immediately dry, crisp and refreshing with nice mineral driven acidity and juicy lemon and honeydew flavor that gently fade in to an again crisp, white pepper finish. This one comes in a liter bottle and is perfect for any summer quaffing occasion. Going to the beach? Yes. Having a barbeque? Yes. And can pair with just about any meal to boot. Good stuff. If you are looking to get started with Gruner look no further than this crowd-pleaser!

Rating: Buy It

2010 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc

Much like the Bonny Doon Vin Gris this Veramonte has long been a favorite of mine. The 2008 vintage was the first to be a staple in my summer drinking lineup and the 2010 has once again insured that it will stay as such moving forward. Need to hear more?

Price: $8.99 @ K&L Wines2010 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Located alongside a creek that runs from high in the hills of El Mauco, Sauvignon Blanc vineyards at Veramonte are managed with air tunnels through the canopy, to preserve airflow and with specific canopy adjustments to manage sunlight all to retain freshness and aromatics. Carefully controlled fermentations in the winery also maintain the wine’s vibrant fruit and aromas. The wine is entirely fermented in stainless steel, never touching oak, so that its freshness and lively aromas and flavors.”

What I Think:

(13.5%) Pale to clear straw in color. Citrus and stone fruit on the nose. Grapefruit and racy acidity greet you on the palate with lemon and lime joining in. This one is clean, fresh and juicy with a stony, mineral quality emerging on the mid-palate. It remains vibrant and refreshing through a lasting, dry, crisp finish. A long time favorite in my household this one disappears in mass quantities come summer time. I appreciate its dependability from vintage to vintage as it has yet to disappoint which is rare for a wine that retails for <$10. Worth seeking out.

Rating: Buy It

*I paid for this wine with my very own wallet and will happily do so again…

2009 Tilia Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $7.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Winebow Brands International

What They Said:

2009 Tilia Cabernet Sauvignon91 points Wines & Spirits: “Lightly floral and decidedly fruity, this is rich in cherry flavors that give it a fresh, clean air. A selection from organically farmed vineyards in Mendoza, the fruit is pure and direct, with enough tannin for an Argentine asado.” (06/10)

What I Think:

(13.9%) 100% Cabernet Sauvignon – Another offering from the Catena family wine stable this one is dark purple in color turning ruby on the edges. You get sweet red currant on the nose. Full bodied and juicy on the palate with oak emerging on the mid-palate which adds loads of vanilla and layers of soft tannins to the finish. I’m not sure how Wine & Spirits got to 91 points on this one. Perhaps they were having a rough day in the tasting room. That said this is a perfectly drinkable everyday wine at a nice price point. Don’t buy it for the 91 points. In fact forget about them. I bet you’ll enjoy it even more without the lofty expectations to live up to. I know I am going to try that the 2nd time around…

Rating: 12th Bottle

2006 Zaca Mesa Syrah

2006 Zaca Mesa SyrahPrice: $16.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “93 points and a “Smart Buy” designation from Wine Spectator: “Offering wonderful floral, grapey plum and wild berry aromas, this is rich, smooth and supple on the palate, with tiers of dark berry, mocha, mineral and spice flavors that glide along. Drink now through 2015.” (02/10) Zaca Mesa has been on a serious roll over the last few vintages with their Santa Ynez Valley Syrah bottling. The 2005 was wonderful with its mix of ripe fruit and intense spice, the 2006 is more of the same except that it is even bigger and has a little more of everything packed into the same $16.99 package. The nose is perfect varietal Syrah, full of roast fennel, hot tar, muffuletta, and sweet black berry jam. Back that with deep, perfectly ripe flavors of white pepper, cassis, fried sage and violet and this is one intense, full throttle Syrah. For well under $20 this is one of the biggest steals we currently have in the Domestic section. (Bryan Brick, K&L)”

What I Think:

After reading an intriguing tasting note from Steve Heimoff I set out to find the Zaca Mesa Grenache. That didn’t work out but I did find this Syrah and boy am I glad I did. Wow! It starts with a great nose. Deep fruit with brambly spice on a jammy nose. The palate is powerful with a surprisingly nice acidity that keeps it perfectly balanced. Nice layered flavors showing violets, blackberries, bacon, dusted chocolate and a nice mineral component to boot. The finish is loaded with herbs and spices and lingers on ever so nicely. This one makes me want to drink a whole lot more Syrah. Wine Spectator gave this one 93 points and I see why! This is the most enjoyable bottle of wine I have had in quite a while. I just bought a few more bottles and after taking a quick look as the other Zaca Mesa offerings this is a winery I need to explore further. Now if I can somehow just get my hands on that Grenache…

Rating: Wow! <- And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Interested in reading more about the Zaca Mesa Syrah?

2009 Domaine de Guillemarine Picpoul de Pinet

2009 Domaine de Guillemarine Picpoul de Pinet Price: $9.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Premier Wine Company

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Picpoul de Pinet is considered the “Muscadet” of the south. Grown just meters from the oyster beds of the Bassin de Thau, the wine marries perfectly with fish and shellfish. Picpoul (also known as Folle Blanche or Gros Plant) means “lip stinger,” which refers to the high acidity of its must. Great with oysters and seafood. This wine is crisp, but quite long and full with nice floral and mineral notes in the nose. Bracing acidity backs up a wine with surprising breed for this price point.”

What I Think:

First a bit on the varietal. Picpoul de Pinet is considered the “Muscadet” of the south and Picpoul means “lip stinger” in reference to the high acidity of these wines. This one shows papaya and lemon notes on the nose while hinting of effervescence (that never does come through) and a saline quality. The palate as expected shows a tight, racy acidity with a firm rocky, mineral backbone that displays notes of lemon and green apple flavors. The finish is the definition of refreshing; crisp, tart and lasting. For a wine with this much acidity I found it to be fuller of body and bright fruit flavors than expected. No doubt that the traditional pairing of oysters and seafood is right on for this one. For those looking for a new varietal to try this one will serve as an excellent (and affordable) introduction to Picpoul de Pinet.

Rating: Buy It

2009 Trajarinho Vinho Verde

Price: $8.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Vinos Unico

What They Said:

2009 Trajarinho Vinho VerdePer K&L Wines “Classic, dry, fizzy Vinho Verde does not get much better than this! This is one of our favorites: crisp, citric, relatively low in alcohol and in a classically dry style. Don’t let the deliciousness fool you, though; this white offers up a whole lot more complexity than the humble price might suggest. More than likely, one could attribute this amazing quality to two factors: First, the rock solid reputation and focus on quality of the Adega Cooperativo Regional de Monçao; and second, their reliance on Trajadura and Alvarinho grapes, which deliver wine of greater complexity and texture than the Paderña grape so commonly grown in the rest of the Vinho Verde region.”

What I Think:

Vinho Verde and I have come a long way in the last two years. When I had my first bottle I was still pretty sure that Vinho Verde was a grape varietal. For those that may not know it is in fact a wine region nestled along the Douro river (map) near the Spanish border. Over the years I’ve appreciated and enjoyed a handful of these wines but attending the Port4lio Tasting back in May reopened my eyes to them. This is one of those I tried then and here were my notes; “An unoaked blend of 65% Alvarinho and 35% Trajadura this one clean and crisp with nice lemon flavors and a bit of spritziness on a very refreshing finish. At $9 everyone should have a bottle of this in their fridge”. So what happened when I spent a little more time with it?

More magic! Spritzy even on the pour. This one is potent & lively on the palate with creamy bubbles and a minerally finish with lingering lemon citrus notes. Crisp, tangy and refreshing. A steal of wine that is perfect for summer sipping. But that is not all folks. There is much more to this wine if you open your mind to it with an intriguing stony, mineral component. This wine is suited to pair with food and would be a perfect compliment for ceviche or a chilled seafood platter. I’ll second my recommendation from above that at $9 everyone should have a bottle (or 2) of this in their fridge.

I’ll have much more to come on Vinho Verde (attended a dinner this week where I tasted a bubbly, a ’98 and a red version) and the wines of Portugal (I grabbed 2 of each mentioned in the Portfolio Tasting post) over the summer. In the meantime give this one a try next time you’re spending a sunny afternoon on the patio. You can thank me later…

Rating: Buy It+