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

2010 Bodegas Muga Rioja Blanco

2010 Bodegas Muga Rioja BlancoPrice: $13.00 via Bodegas Muja*

What They Said:

Per Wine Library “The 2010 Blanco is a blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia fermented in new French oak where it remained sur lie for 4 months. White flowers, mineral, melon, and mineral notes inform the nose of this tasty, lively, impeccably balanced wine. This lengthy effort is an outstanding value for drinking over the next 3-4 years.” – 90 Points, Jay Miller The Wine Advocate

What I Think:

(13%) 90% Viura, 10% Malvasia – Ripe, lifted citrus blossoms on the nose. Fuller bodied, juicy and lush on the palate with peach, tangerine and melon flavors. Turns a bit oily with a mineral driven acidity before the oak imparts a pleasant vanilla creaminess which leads to a tart, spiced, finish that lingers nicely. An interesting use of oak (this one is barrel-fermented) as it is clearly present but interplays well with the vibrant, ripe fruit. The end result is a wine that strikes a nice balance between the fruit, richness and acidity. At $13 or so retail this one shows some nice QPR.

Wine Geek Notes: 90pts Wine Advocate, 88pts Wine Spectator

Rating: Interesting (this one had a unique appeal that I look forward to trying again)

*This wine was received as a press sample.

2009 Heron Hill Unoaked Chardonnay Ingle Vineyard

2009 Heron Hill Vineyards Chardonnay Unoaked Ingle VineyardPrice: $19.99 @ Heron Hill Winery*

What They Said:

Per Heron Hill Winery “Sustainably farmed, grapes were selected from the Ingle Vineyard plots named “Carl & Vern’s Blocks”. These plots are cooler and have a mineral laden, rocky soil. Pure and firmly structured with aromas of crushed granite, lemongrass, citrus and green apple. It has balance and finesse finishing with lingering essences of fresh fruit.”

What I Think:

(12%) Wow did this one surprise. I’m not much of a Chard fan so the “unoaked” certainly left me a glimmer of hope but this wine really stood out. Bright lemon with green apple and a fresh stony mineral driven crispness. Nice pureness and clarity throughout. Certainly simpler but somewhat reminiscent of Chablis. Given its lightness this one is would serve well as an aperitif. $20 via the winery but appears to be available for $16 or so retail which makes it a more compelling choice.

Wine Geek Notes: 87 pts Wine Enthusiast

Rating: Good but… (just a tad too pricey given my wine budget)

*This wine was received as a press sample.

2010 Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc

I’ve had a few vintages of this one and it has always been a good choice for the money. Long a fan of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (and given the broad distribution reach this one has) I was hoping it would once again highlight why Chile is an area to be exploring further. Did it? Read on my friends…

Price: $10.99 via Pasternak Wines (pdf)*

What They Said:

2010 Los Vascos Sauvignon BlancPer International Wine Cellar “Bright straw. Spice and herb-accented aromas of citrus zest and green apple, enriched by a deeper honeysuckle nuance. Dry, taut and linear, offering dusty lemon and grapefruit flavors, along with a suggestion of melon. Shows good clarity and closes with fine cut and lingering spiciness. I like this wine’s uncompromising character. ” 88pts – International Wine Cellar

What I Think:

(13%) Pale greenish yellow in the glass. Big grassy, lemon nose. Big and tropical on the palate with bright flavors of pineapple, grapefruit and peach. This one is lively and fresh with an herbed, spiced mineral acidity that keeps it bright and refreshing throughout. This all leads to a zesty citrus finish that is clean, focused and persistent. Available for as little as $8 retail. Given its broad availability this one is worth grabbing if you don’t mind your wines aggressive or should you ever find yourself in a pinch…

Wine Geek Notes: 20,000 cases made

Rating: Buy It

*This wine was received as a press sample.

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

2009 Hermann Wiemer Dry Riesling

2009 Hermann Wiemer Dry RieslingPrice: $14.99 @ Hermann Wiemer

What They Said:

Per Hermann Wiemer (pdf) “The dry style Riesling is the signature of Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard. Exceptional grapes from each of our three vineyard locations come together to create this mouth-watering wine. This wine is fermented in small lots to ensure quality and then blended to perfection to create an elegant and balanced wine. With each vintage, we seek to match the appropriate level of fruit flavor with refreshing crispness that lets the true qualities of the Riesling grape shine through. Hints of lime and orange blossom on the nose set the stage for a succulent palate of apricot and grapefruit. Our trademark minerality creates a beautiful texture that carries into a long, lingering finish.

What I Think:

(11.5%) Apple, floral blossoms with lemon and lime on the nose. The palate starts with bright tangerine, lemon flavors followed by crisp green apple notes on a backbone of crushed rock. A firm mineral, citrusy acidity lasts through to the finish which is long and lingering. A beauty, so refreshing and just the slightest hint sweet (0.9% RS) to add a pleasant richness to the palate. Mouthwatering to the last drop which you are sad to see go. This one is worthy of a case buy if I can find it. Thanks to @wineingwoman for sending this one my way!

Rating: Wow!

How about you? Had a wine from New York? If so what did you think?