2010 Martin & Weyrich Moscato Allegro

Want to meet the surprise wines of my summer? Yes it might be trying a little too hard to create a niche for itself via their marketing and produce packaging (which I can’t blame them for; needless to say the fact that their online shop routes to “CleverConcepts.com” is fitting). Not overly sweet, surprisingly refreshing and only 7.5% ABV to boot. Available for approximately ~$10 retail this is an interesting wine worthy of your summer consideration…

2010 Martin & Weyrich Moscato AllegroPrice: $10.99 @ Moscato Allegro*

What They Said:

Per Moscato Allergro “Using only the finest Muscat Canelli grapes from our California vineyards, Moscato Allegro is fermented at an extremely cold temperature, creating an elegant wine that dances across the palate with intense fruit, then ends with a crisp, clean finish. Moscato Allegro is fresh and spicy, offering exotic floral and fruit aromas reminiscent of orange blossoms, honeyed apricots and peaches.

Deliciously versatile, Moscato Allegro is lovely on a hot day or a cold night. It is delightfully refreshing on its own, but also makes a wonderful complement to brunch, desserts, spicy dishes and sweet and tangy sauces. Serve as an aperitif, pair with your favorite foods or enjoy all by itself — the possibilities are endless. Salute!”

What I Think:

(7.5%) Honeyed, floral nose with lush fruit. Sweet (without being syrupy or cloying), honeyed peach on the palate. From there a light acidity emerges leading to crisp, focused and surprisingly refreshing finish (I was surely expecting sweet) with the slightest hint of carbonation as it lingers on. Per the winery this one is “fermented at extremely cold temperatures for up to six weeks to retain the natural acidity” which makes a world of difference on this one. My ideal pairing would be with a bowl of ice cream (or pie) topped with fresh fruit. That said I was shocked by this wines versatility as it worked equally well as an aperitif on a warm afternoon. With a low ABV (7.5%) and a screwtop to boot there is a lot to like here; grab a bottle for your next picnic. 40,000 cases made. Geek notes: Total Acid 0.8g/100ml, Residual Sugar 10.35%

Rating: Buy It

*This wine was received as a press sample but I would purchase another bottle with my very own US$ if I see it…

2005 York Mountain Paso Robles Viognier

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the winery (pdf) “Our Viognier is rich and complex with aromas of peaches, apricots and honeysuckle, along with a lingering spicy finish. Its bold flavors will match well with Asian, Cajun or Indian cuisine. We love it with sushi.”

What I Think:

I picked this one up the same day I grabbed the Martin & Weyrich Nebbiolo Reserve, at the time I had no idea that they were both made by the same company (Martin & Weyrich). Similar to the Nebbiolo Trader Joe’s seems to be dealing a steal on this Viognier which is going for $22 on the winery site. Would love a peek inside how the process of these finding their way into a Trader Joe’s works. My guess on these is that they are taking up space in a warehouse and need to be moved. A broker is called to liquidate stock. The broker calls Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s tastes. Trader Joe’s likes. Trader Joe’s offers $1 a bottle, broker says $20, they meet around $4 and Trader Joe’s sells for $6. I wonder how close to accurate that is.

Anyway back to the matter at hand. We had salmon on the menu and friends on the way over for dinner so I threw this in the fridge and opened the Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot so that we had a few options available. Randomly, my friend Eric brought over this same exact bottle over that night which was a curios coincidence. In a previous post I mentioned that I thought Viognier’s from the US were on the sweeter side. This one certainly helped debunk that myth. On the nose it showed some light notes of white fruit on top of a mineral, stony backdrop. On the palate white peach and pear came to the fore. The texture was full and rich before fading to a slightly crisp finale. I didn’t get any hint of the spicy finish they mentioned on the bottle. I initially thought perhaps I had overcooled the wine but upon letting it get to room temperature it was still nowhere to be found. Regardless, this is worth another thought I would pass on the Asian food pairing recommended above. Luckily I have another on standby. Look for an update here soon.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2001 Martin & Weyrich Nebbiolo “Il Vecchio” Reserve

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

nothing here for you other than the tasting notes for the 2002, this ’01 appears to be non-existent or disowned by the winery…

What I Think:

You are probably saying the same thing that I was, a Nebbiolo at Trader Joe’s? From California? For $7? Aren’t those supposed to be from Italy and cost a fortune? What in the world? Aw heck! I might as well give it a try. If for nothing else for novelties sake. That is a glance at what went on in my head for about 10 seconds before this bottle ended up in my cart. Some initial research showed that the winery was selling the 2000 on their site for $15 and the 2002 for $22 (but $99 a case) so my guess was that they were having a hard time moving these wines. A few days later a York Mountain Viognier showed up as well as a Matador Rose from this same winery so guessing that was the case.

Now onto the main event! This is a nice effort and enjoyable for its uniqueness above all else. That said I would guess this is strikingly new world in style. Given my lack of experience with Nebbiolo I don’t have much to base that on other than that I was expecting a more complex, tannic offering rather than a straight forward drinker that went down without even tickling the throat. I found an interesting post comparing drinking the ’03 vintage of this one side by side with an Italian version here. Sadly this has disappeared since I grabbed this bottle as I would surely do so again. It would be fun to give to my friend who enjoys high-priced Nebbiolo as a blind gift to see what he thinks. Alas, doesn’t look like that is going to happen as this already appears to be gone.  Should it reappear I surely would give it a spot it in my Top 10 list. If you see this first grab a bottle for yourself, then let me know!

Rating: Buy It