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!

2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant

2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare VolantPrice: $35.00 @ Bonny Doon Vineyard*

What They Said:

Per Bonny Doon Vineyard “Bright ruby red with a pale purplish rim. Bright cherry aromas with a bit of spice, menthol, and black pepper. On the palate, fresh cherry, currant, and red bramble fruit. Peppery and lively with good acidity around an earthy, savory core.”

What I Think:

(14.4%) 60% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 4% Mourvèdre, 4% Cinsault – Beautiful, layered nose of earthy, berry fruit, herbs and spice. Dark and lush with ripe blueberry flavors and a lot of them on the palate. That said this one isn’t jammy as it has a nice acidity to keep it honest. Slightly tart (yet barrelly sweet and creamy) with dry herbs and soft, lingering tannins on a warm, comforting finish. Nice character and layers of flavor throughout with meaty, herbal, mineral and spice components making appearances. Easily drinkable now and appears ready to age effortlessly. Pair it with steak or the hearty meal of your choice. Perhaps Randall said it best: “the wine is powerful, yet still retains a fair elegance and grace”. A wine I look forward to drinking more of!

Wine Geek Notes: 2,732 cases produced.

Rating: Wow!

*While I did receive a bottle of this wine as a sample I’ve purchased previous versions of this with my very own money and plan on doing so again…

2010 Bonny Doon Vineyard Grenache Clos de Gilroy

2010 Bonny Doon Vineyard Grenache Clos de GilroyPrice: $18.00 @ Bonny Doon Vineyard*

What They Said:

Per Bonny Doon Vineyard “The Wine Formerly Known as Clos de Gilroy (TWFKaCdG) pays homage to the quaint, rustic town of Gilroy, the spiritual locus of all matters alliaceous. The fruit for our Grenache does not, despite its name, derive from Gilroy (clos, but no Cigare), but instead primarily from our former estate vineyard in Soledad and the Alta Loma vineyard in Greenfield, along with a sprinkling of other vineyards along the Central Coast. The wine exhibits all the hallmarks of exceptional cool climate Grenache—bright raspberries, a strong suggestion of black pepper and red fruits, and a supple, lingering finish.

The strawberry-rhubarbity of grenache is complemented by a delicate note of kirsch from cinsault and the spicy catch of syrah’s white pepper. Brilliant rubescent pink with a fuchsia rim, the wine is intensely aromatic, with notes of strawberry, raspberry, pepper, and wild herbs. Supple and medium-bodied, the dominant flavors on the palate are of red fruits: strawberry, red currant, kirsch, and strawberry-rhubarb. Fruity and spicy but fully dry, this wine is the perfect foil for all manner of grilled meat or vegetables, roasted poultry, the aïoli platter (naturellement), and anything prepared al fresco—especially when anointed with olive oil.”

What I Think:

(13.1%) 75% Grenache, 13% Cinsault, 12% Syrah – My 2nd vintage of this one and a winner again. Fresh floral aromas, light fruit and a bit of earth on the nose. Initially light bodied with tart cranberry, strawberry (of the brambly sort) and hints of rhubarb. Not overly fruity and well balanced with bright acidity. Perhaps a bit too green for some but I am a fan. Dry and herbal showing white pepper (and a touch of oak) that lingers pleasantly on a soft finish. Has the looks of a regular favorite!

Rating: Buy It

*Yes again I did receive this wine as a sample but I’ve previously purchased on my own and plan on doing so again…

2009 Bonny Doon Vineyard Grenache Clos de Gilroy

Price: $15.00 @ Bonny Doon Vineyard

What They Said:

2009 Bonny Doon Vineyard Grenache Clos de GilroyPer Bonny Doon Vineyard (pdf) “The great grenache years at Bonny Doon tend to be very late, when the grapes have had a better opportunity to develop the nuance and complexity we esteem. 2009, was no exception to this historical dictum – apart from the fact that this grenache does not, in fact, derive from Gilroy – hence the slightly perplexing nomenclature. The fruit this year is from the Alta Loma Vineyard in Greenfield and from our own estate vineyard in Soledad. The wine itself exhibits all the hallmarks of exceptional Grenache – bright raspberries; a strong suggestion of black pepper and kirsch; and a piney, resinous quality that shows up in only the best vintages of Grenache from cooler climats. To those yearning for the early days when CdG was the first wine out of the blocks, this vintage should induce a happy remembrance of Gilroy’s d’antan

What I Think:

(13.5%) 88% Grenache, 10% Cinsault, 2% Syrah – Almost translucent violet in the glass with violet aromas, cherry and a bit of pepper on the nose. Starts bright and juicy with nice strawberry flavors, rhubarb leafs and hints of cherry. This is delivered over a smooth yet firm structure that shows nice acidity throughout. Firm tannins emerge on the mid-palate and lead to a dry, spicy finish that lingers on nicely. For $15 this is all you can ask for and more. I’ll certainly be looking to buy more…(750 cases made)

Rating: Buy It

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 King Estate Pinot Gris

My drinking local series from my family’s summer vacation is winding down as I am now back to work and the kids in school. That said, we saved the best for last. King Estate was founded in 1991 and has 1.000+ acres of organic estate fruit they tend to making Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They are often credited for helping Pinot Gris achieve the recognition it has today. Given that I was keen to see what they could do to my impression of Oregon’s work with the grape…

Price: $13.99

What They Said:

2010 King Estate Pinot GrisPer King Estate (pdf) “Appearance: Light straw with emeral green hue
Aroma: Green apple, citrus, honeysuckle, white peach, apricot, and floral notes
Flavor: Pear, melon, lemon and lime, wet stone, kiwi, honey
Mouthfeel: Soft rich entry, nice texture, good weight, long lively crisp finish”

What I Think:

(13%) Bright tangerine and lime fruit with nice mineral and acidity (with a bit of pepper spice) on the back of the palate. Nice mouth feel; crisp and refreshing with a lively finish with tart green apple and lingering citrus fruit. None of the flabbiness I typically get on your average Oregon Pinot Gris and much more restrained (or is it just “less rich”) as well. At $13 this is money well spent. A nice wine at a reasonable price; replacing the Elk Cove Pinot Gris as the best I’ve had (and my new benchmark) to date from Oregon. I’ll buy again.

Wine Geek Notes: 82,500 cases made, fermented in 100% stainless steel

Rating: Buy It

How about you? Any favorite Pinot Gris from Oregon to share?

2008 Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon Margarita Vineyard

In honor of today being #CabernetDay (if you are interested in participating you can find details here) I thought I might share a few of my favorites starting with this stunner that “Jon Bonne turned me onto late last year. Broadside is a partnership of Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars and Brian Terrizzi of Giornata that focuses on making artisanal wines with a natural approach that are priced for people to drink, not collect. And based on my experience I must say they are doing a fine job of it (perhaps except that I want to drink and collect this one…)

Price: $18.99 @ Cheese Plus

What They Said:

2008 Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon Margarita VineyardPer Jon Bonne “The new release of Chris Brockway’s naturally fermented Cabernet from this high-elevation Paso site continues a stellar run. Pretty cassis and cured tobacco, with juicy bramble fruit. Try finding similar quality California Cab for the price.”

What I Think:

(14.1%) 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petite Verdot – Made with a super non-intervention philosophy you know you are on to something different as soon as this hits your tongue. Lively and pure this one starts with an aggressive flavor profile from the get go showing bright cherries and juicy brambly berries on a firm mineral backbone. These dry out to show tea leave flavors on a mid-palate that features a cola (along with a bit of caramel) tinged acidity leading to grippy, chewy tannins on a smooth, lingering finish. What can I say? I’m smitten. I will certainly be buying again.

Rating: Wow! (that said not your typical California Cabernet, though I wish it were, with only 2% new oak so approach with an open mind)

How about you? What are you drinking for #CabernetDay?

2009 Uvaggio Vermentino

Uvaggio is a winery that focuses on “interesting Italian grape varieties offered at extremely interesting prices”. Now that is one way to get my attention in a hurry. Not only is Vermentino their flagship wine, it is more than half of their annual making them the largest producer of the varietal in California. Their take on Vermentino is that if you like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc that you definitely need to give Vermentino a try. I have before, on a limited basis, but was glad to get a chance to do so again. How’d it go?

2009 Uvaggio VermentinoPrice: $14.00 @ via the winery*

What They Said:

Per Uvaggio “We harvested beginning in early Sept, finishing by the end of the month, all at peak maturity – yet at relatively low brix, making this an ideal variety for a lower alcohol wine. All the lots were free-run juice (no pressing) and cool fermented in tank with a fruit enhancing strain of yeast and without a malo-lactic conversion. About 10% was aged in neutral oak for complexity. Post fermentation it was racked twice followed by a light fining, then another racking and filtration prior to bottling.

Our descriptors: fresh and supple; lively yet subtle lime, quince and pear aromas; flavors of melon and stone fruits.”

What I Think:

(11%) Light golden yellowish (reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc). Great nose, multi layered with green apples and floral blossoms. You are going to want to keep your nose in the glass for awhile. Equally as exciting on the palate where it starts fresh and bright before delivering a plush dose of cantaloupe flavors. A smooth, balanced acidity emerges on the mid-palate before a nice salty, saline tinge on a minerally finish that lingers on refreshingly. Makes me want to drink more Vermentino. Perfect as an aperitif on a sunny patio or pair it with the summer fare of your choice. At $14 this one is well worth the price of entry.

Rating: Buy It (another one to add to my list of Summer faves)

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

2010 Blanco Nieva Verdejo

My summer Top 10 list rolls on with yet another new grape. Verdejo. For many years Verdejo was used to make an oxidized Sherry-like wine until the 1970′s when Marqués de Riscal paved a new path for a more refreshing offering. A decade later, in the 80′s, these were recognized with DO status and another three decades after that I am first experiencing them. What did I think?

Price: $16.99 @ Vinos Unico imported by Vinos Unico

What They Said:

2010 Blanco Nieva VerdejoPer The Spanish Table “Blanco Nieva is a classic Rueda region white wine made from the indigenous Verdejo grape. Crisp, bright and refreshing, this tank fermented wine will work as a stand alone refresher on a hot day as well as during a meal where it will pair well with salads, egg dishes and all manner of seafood. The vines that produce the fruit for this wine are quite old (40+ years). Some of the vines are planted on original root stock that still thrives in this region thanks to the sandy soils that resisted the phylloxera. blight of the previous century. To taste this wine is to experience the true flavor of Northern Spain.”

What I Think:

(12.5%) 100% Verdejo – Yellowish with a green hue in the glass. What a nose on this beauty! Intense grassy, grapefruit aromas. This one is immediately fresh, crisp and vibrant on the palate with bright, zesty lime flavors over a stony, mineral backbone. Passion fruit emerges on the mid-palate and remains throughout the dry, refreshing finish. This wine isn’t shy. It will smack you over the head and you are going to like what you get. The firm acidity here makes this one a compliment for nearly any food (ceviche would be my first choice). It is also perfectly suited to drink on its own. Pair with a sunny day! I’m getting me some more of this one. Viva Verdejo!

Rating: Wow!

While I’m a big fan of this one it may be a bit hard to find. If you’re itching to try your first Verdejo I’ve also enjoyed the Shaya which seems to be more widely available.