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?

2010 Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Refosco

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2010 Trader Joes Petit Reserve RefoscoPer the bottle “Black cherry, plum, cassis with hints of thyme.” As usual not much on these TJ’s offerings. A quick search on Refosco and Paso Robles turns up some interesting things but nothing concrete. Guess this bottle needs to speak for itself…

What I Think:

Refosco you say? What the hell is that! That was my initial reaction when Andy Rathbone kindly sent this recommendation my way. But those of you who read regularly likely already now I am always game for a new wine adventure so I quickly snagged a bottle to see what this was all about…

(13.3%) 75% Refosco, 25% Merlot – Nice, ripe, smooth and juicy berry fruit balanced by a nice earth and spice leading to rustic finish with light lingering tannins and pleasant acidity. My first Refosco experience and this one is a fun change of pace. At $7 I’m not rushing out to grab a case but given its very food friendly I can certainly see another bottle in my future.

Wine Geek Notes: Made by Familia Nueva which rolls up to Ancient Peaks Winery

Rating: Interesting <- a nice bottle that makes me want to try another Refosco…

2010 Fetzer Echo Ridge Sauvignon Blanc

2010 Fetzer Echo Ridge Sauvignon BlancPrice: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the bottle Balance. I’m a grape-friendly winemaker. Rather than push, I persuade. Our Sauvignon Blanc is a wine that calls for a soft hand to capture the crisp, clean flavors of lemon, green apple and mint making this a popular, food-friendly wine. With its balance of refreshing flavors and smooth taste, this is a great wine to start the end of your day. Pairs well with a salad with goat cheese and shellfish, especially oysters or lighter dishes.

What I Think:

(13.5%) Fresh and grassy on the nose backed by Lemon and mineral notes. Round on the palate with ripe pineapple and grapefruit balanced by a tart acidity. The acidity is followed by a talcy spice and leads to a crisp but short finish. While a bit flabby (could use more acidity IMHO) this is a simple sipper. Can’t knock it but at the same time it isn’t that exciting either. Serviceable may be the word I’m looking for…

Rating: Serviceable <- to absentmindedly drink but not recommended to “taste”…

2010 Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Grenache

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

2010 Trader Joes Petit Reserve GrenacheAs usual little to be heard here given the Trader Joe’s designation. The only thing we learn from turning the bottle around is that this one is made by the Hahn Family Wines. Checking their site shows a GSM but no varietal bottling of Grenache so it looks like we are on our own here…

What I Think:

(14.2%) Made by the Hahn Family this Grenache hails from Lodi. It starts rich, ripe and juicy with loads of black cherry flavor. A bit over the top and a touch sweet (can almost feel tomorrow’s headache…) before toning down a bit on the backend to deliver some spice on a short finish. This one could have used some acidity for balance. That said if you like your wines fruit forward (and don’t mind a touch of sweetness) this one might be for you.

Rating: Serviceable <- to absentmindedly drink but not recommended to “taste”…

2008 Core Grenache

Price: $20.00 @ Core Wine

What They Said:

2008 Core GrenachePer Core Wine “85% Grenache and 15% Syrah. 100% of the fruit comes from the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard grown at 3000 feet. 24 months in neutral barrels and bottled without fining or filtration.

Huge nose of juicy red fruits and grilled meat. On the palate the wine is loaded with lush red and blue fruits, brown spices and nice concentration. A crowd pleasing wine at a great value that you won’t find everywhere. This is a follow-up to our hugely popular 2007 Grenache. If you ask me I’ll say it’s better, but you be the judge.”

What I Think:

(14.9%) 85% Grenache, 15% Syrah – Cloudy and clearly unfiltered to the eye this one starts bright and pure with dense, tart berry and cherry flavors on an earthy palate. This is all backed by a firm acidity that leads to a nice, lengthy, spiced finish. Surprisingly on the lighter side given its ABV (and the inclusion of Syrah) this is a perfect dinner wine. It will pair with virtually anything; that said I choose pizza and it was a hit for all.

Wine Geek Notes: 89pts Jeb Dunnuck/Rhone Report , 600 cases made, 24 months in neutral oak

Rating: Buy It (fair at $20; nice QPR at the $12 I paid…)

2010 Quady North Pistoleta

Price: $19.00 @ Quady North

What They Said:

2010 Quady North PistoletaPer Wine Enthusiast “This intense, concentrated blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne combines vivid floral aromas with almost candied citrus fruit. It’s seductive and lengthy, with a gamut of scents and flavors from perfume to pastry.” P.G. (10/1/2011) — 92

What I Think:

(12.5%) 33% Roussanne, 33% Marsane, 33% Viognier – I picked this up this white Rhone blend while swinging through the Applegate Valley late this summer. In talking with the winemaker Herb Quady this one is made for the Dutch markets so relatively hard to come by stateside which sure is a shame.

Great nose, Great mouthfeel. Rich with lush (forward) tropical fruits and banana with floral overtones and a soft acidity. Loads of tertiary action (citrus, melon, mineral and more) keep you intrigued before a soft, spiced finish that lingers on nicely. Nothing subdued here. It is a white that keeps the palate rocking and you are thankful for it. I enjoyed this one far more than the words above are letting on…

Rating: Wow!

2010 Quady North Bomba

2010 Quady North BombaPrice: $20.00 @ Quady North

What They Said:

Well in this case unfortunately not a word. I picked this one up last summer when visiting the tasting room in the Southern Oregon town of Jacksonville. I also learned there that the entire lot of this (more or less) is shipped off to Belgium which might explain why I can’t find a lick of information about it…

What I Think:

(13.5%) Big, lush, juicy fruit (cherry first and foremost) backed by a nice spice and smooth acidity (showing a touch of iron) leading to a lasting, savory finish. A nice example of how a wine can be both fruit forward but food friendly at the same time. I tried this Grenache based blend (can’t find exact percentage) and bought a bottle after a tasting room visit in downtown Jacksonville, Oregon. If I remember right Herb told me most of this (retails at $20) was shipped over to Belgium which is a shame because if I could find it on the shelf here I’d happily grab another bottle…

Rating: Good but… (you can’t get it anyway)

2010 Quady North Rose 4-2,A

Price: $13.50 @ Quady North

What They Said:

2010 Quady North Rose 4-2,APer Quady North “Our Rose was originally a blend of the “saignees” from the Syrah that went into our 4-2,A. Over the last few years, we have begun incorporating early picked and pressed Grenache with our favorite Syrahs. This year’s blend is 40% Grenache and 60% Syrah.”

What I Think:

(12.5%) 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache – Picked this one up on a recent visit to the Applegate Valley in Oregon. Beautiful color, bright nose and then straight to the Beatles…strawberry fields forever… with a crisp acidity and touch of citrusy orange rind on a dry finish. Refreshing and delicious; enjoy on its own, with the salad of your choice and even some BBQ chicken. Get some if you can!

Wine Geek Notes: 100 cases made

Rating: Buy It

2010 Seismic Sauvignon Blanc

2010 Seismic Sauvignon BlancPrice: $7.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by V2 Wine Group

What They Said:

Per the bottle “Situated on the “Ring of Fire”, an enormous fault line skirting the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand has its share of seismic activity. The fault line goes directly through the center Marlborough’s Wairau Valley and our vineyards where we craft earth-shattering wines. Our Sauvignon Blanc is a true revelation of the great growing season, careful vineyard site selection, and stringent fruit development that result in exceptional, distinctly varietal wines. Showing ripe lychee notes and underlying grassiness this refreshing wine finishes with hints of flint. Enjoy chilled as an aperitif or with seafood or Asian flavors.”

What I Think:

(13.5%) Bright with nice round, juicy fruit (passionfruit, nectarines and more) but on a flinty, mineral based backbone before giving way to a tart, grassy acidity that drives this one to a crisp. (white pepper) spiced finish. I dig it. If you are a Sauv Blanc fan and looking to stock up give this one a try. I’m likely to grab a handful more as summer nears…

Rating: Buy It

2010 Grifone Primitivo

2010 Grifone PrimitivoPrice: $3.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Latitude Wines

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s “Grifone Primitivo comes to us from Italy, Zinfandel’s ancestral home. Grapes from vineyards in the Manduria region (geographically, in the boot’s heel) are handpicked at their peak and crafted into a deep, inky red wine with concentrated aromas of red berries and licorice. Not quite as spicy as American Zinfandels, this Primitivo is full-bodied, warm & fruity, with strong, lingering tannins. It’s a wine that’s meant to be enjoyed now”

What I Think:

(13%) 100% Primitivo – Ruby red in the glass with a light strawberry/raspberry, floral nose. On the palate this one is fruit forward with more of those tart red berry fruits. This one turns a tad creamy before an acidic streak kicks in delivering loads of spice on a (slightly hot) tangy, tannic finish. While this one has nice forward fruit it is a bit rough and rustic around the edges which I like. For $4 this is an enjoyable wine I am likely to be buying again (but steer clear of the Toscana…)

Rating: Buy It

Interested in reading more about the Grifone Primitivo?

  • My friends over at Beards & Bellies describe this as “Not an overwhelming wine, but a great and enjoyable everyday drink to go with dinner, although it is more than fine on its own.”
  • The folks over at Cheap Wine Finder call this one a “very complete wine for $3.99.”