Thursday, November 8, 2012

Great Wines

A couple of years ago

a friend of mine expressed an interest in wine. 

And so I began to guide her in 


exploration of the seductive grape.

On a number of occasions

I've taken her shopping.

Sometimes for a bottle or two.

Sometimes for a case or more. 

We've had a lot of fun

and I believe she's learning a lot.

So far she leans toward reds and away from whites. 

Within the world of red wine...

a nice wine from the Rhone,

or a very good Sangiovese - 

Antinori's Chianti Classico Peppoli - 

for example,

will do just fine.

We went shopping 

for a case or so last week.

Here are some of the wines 

we picked out.

2009 Château Sénéjac - Haut-Médoc

I thought my friend might broaden her horizons with this 
stunning Bordeaux, as I want her to experience 
the beauty of 
Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varietals.

Wine Advocate
Score: 93
This is a major sleeper of the vintage and the finest Senejac I have tasted. The team from Pontet Canet, who have done such a phenomenal job at that estate, were in charge of making this Senejac, and the result, not surprisingly, is a sensational wine that consumers need to buy by the case. Dense purple, with notes of creme de cassis, incense, licorice and forest floor, this wine is delicious and full-bodied, with sweet tannins, low acidity, copious fruit and exceptional concentration. Everything is in balance, and the wine is capable of lasting 10 or more years.

2010 Chakana - Malbec Estate Selection

Here again

 I thought introducing my friend to a new varietal

- Malbec -

might be fun. 

Wine Advocate

Score: 93

The 2010 Estate Selection seems even better, perhaps because it’s had an extra year of bottle age. The silky tannins, sweet red and black fruits, and the big, perfumed nose of black fruits, flowers and white chocolate are followed by a full-bodied, remarkably concentrated wine... that should drink well for 5-6 years.

Then since Rhones...


have been some of her favorites...

we picked up a few.


comfy & delicious.

2009 Laudun Chusclan - Côtes du Rhône Villages Les Genets

Wine Spectator
Score: 90
Rich but racy, with lots of pastis and graphite notes carrying layers of crushed plum, blackberry and boysenberry fruit. The long, racy finish lets everything drive through nicely.

2009 Domaine La Grand Ribe - Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvee Centenaire

Made from 100% certified organic grapes, predominantly Grenache with a little Syrah, the 2009 La Grand Ribe Cotes du Rhone Villages Centenaire comes from a conscientiously tended small estate in the southern Rhône village of Sainte-Cecile des Vignes. Led by prominent organic (and biodynamic) growers such as Château de Beaucastel and Chapoutier, the Rhône has been in the forefront of the organic movement, not simply for health and environmental reasons, but because these methods produced better-tasting wines. 
Wine Advocate
Score: 91-93
The blockbuster 2009 Cotes du Rhone-Villages Centenaire tastes more like a Chateauneuf du Pape than a Cotes du Rhone. Dominated by Grenache with a small amount of Syrah included in the blend, the wine possesses great intensity, a terrific texture, full-bodied power, and wonderful purity and Provencal typicity. This sensational effort is filled with red and black fruit, roasted herb, barbecue smoke, meat juice and bouquet garni characteristics. Enjoy it over the next 7-8 years or longer.

2007 E. Guigal - St.-Joseph

Wine Advocate

Score: 91

Produced from granite-based soils and aged completely in old barrels, the 2007 St.-Joseph displays more minerality than the Crozes-Hermitage. With abundant pepper, black cherry and raspberry characteristics, a full-bodied mouthfeel, wonderful purity, texture and length, this beauty can be consumed over the next 5-6 years.

2009 Domaine Santa Duc - Gigondas

Wine Advocate

Score: 92

A blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, with smaller amounts of Syrah and Cinsault, this blockbuster Gigondas is both powerfully constituted and voluptuously fruity. Deeply saturated ruby red in color, it offers full-throttle blueberry/blackberry fruit accented by notes of kirsch and anise, with hints of smoke and tar rising on the finish. Despite its considerable heft, this wine is drinking surprisingly well now, while still offering an additional aging potential of 8-10 years. 

2009 Clermont - Tonnerre (Alain Corcia) 
Chateauneuf du Pape
Cuvee Julie

Wine Advocate

Score: 90 - 92

Super-negociant Alain Corcia has come up with another remarkable series of single cuvée Châteauneuf-du-Papes in 2009, each named after a different member of his family, including this outstanding bottling, named after daughter Julie. Robert Parker gives it 90-92 points in The Wine Advocate, saying it "… has a more saturated ruby/purple color and a big, sweet kiss of blackberry, boysenberry, black cherry, licorice, and camphor. Full-bodied, with unctuosity and some heady alcohol, it displays impressive purity, texture, and depth and should drink well for at least a decade or more."

2009 Las Rocas De San Alejandro
Calatayud Garnacha

And here again 

I'm making my friend stretch


just a little bit. 

From Grenache we move to Garnacha

and other fine varietals.

Wine Advocate

Score: 90

The 2009 Las Rocas is 100% Garnacha sourced from 80-year-old vines from the DO of Calatayud with 25% of the wine aged in wood. It is a forward, savory, ripe, succulent offering that should prove to be a crowd-pleaser.

2010 Bodegas Borsao - Tres Picos Garnacha Campo de Borja

Wine Spectator
Score: 90
This rich red is brimming with raspberry jam, chocolate, licorice and wild herb flavors. Firm tannins are well-integrated and buoyed by orange peel acidity. A lively modern style. 

2009 Clos Pons - Alges

Wine Advocate
Score: 90
The 2009 Alges is a blend of 30% Tempranillo, 40% Garnacha (from the valley floor) and 30% Syrah from calcareous soils, fermented in tanks for 10 months and raised in 80% French oak (new to four-year-old) and 20% American oak. It has a pure, well-defined bouquet with black currant, boysenberry and liquorice with a hint of Valrohna chocolate. The palate is well-balanced with succulent black, slightly tarry fruit that is underpinned by fine tannins that lend the finish a satisfying symmetry and sense of finesse. The finish is taut, dry and finely delineated with a hint of sea salt on the aftertaste.

2009 Onix - Priorat

Wine Advocate

Score: 90

The unoaked 2009 Onix Classic is a blend of 50% Carinena and 50% Garnacha sourced from vines over 60 years of age. Tempting aromas of liquid minerality, Asian spices, incense, black cherry, and black plum inform the nose of this savory, smooth, intensely flavored effort from an excellent vintage. Layered, spicy, and long, it finishes with no hard edges.

2001 La Rioja Alta
Rioja Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial

Here is a wine that I have very fond memories of.
I specifically remember the warmth, spice, leather, minerality, and fruit
of this wine, the 1973 La Rioja Alta, that I enjoyed in San Francisco in the mid 80's. 
I have always described that wine as a "wine of elasticity" because just as the 
lingering flavors seemed to come to a very, very long finish...
they started coming back up again. 
Slowly, gently,
then gaining more strength and flavor. 
It was truly fantastic. 
A very special wine & experience. 
This is why I had to have my friend try this.

Here's what Eric Asimov had to say about this recent vintage in an article in which he sampled quite a few Rioja:

"No. 1 was the 2001 La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza, a wine that right now is absolutely delicious, but is also so much more than that. With lightly spicy fruit flavors, mellowed by long aging in barrels of older American oak, it was a brilliant example of a classic Rioja, with complexity and finesse. The 2001 vintage is widely regarded as great, and the producer, La Rioja Alta, thought so highly of this wine that it called it Reserva Especial, only the third time one of its wines has earned that designation, along with 1964 and 1973."

2010 Thorn - Clarke - Shotfire
Cabernet Sauvignon - Shiraz
Barossa Valley

The wines of Australia can be 
awfully seductive.

And I know my friend is fond of Shiraz. 

So, here I just wanted to lure her into the delights of Cabernet

with this wonderful blend.

Wine Advocate

Score: 91

Another winner and sensational, the 2010 Shotfire Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon and 44% Shiraz. A whopper of a wine, it is deep ruby/purple and possesses loads of glycerin and full body along with stunning notes of wood spice, graphite, blackberry and pepper. Rich, chewy, and dense, in a typically bold, exuberant Aussie style, this is a wine to drink over the next 6-10 years. 

2009 Castello dei Rampolla - Chianti Classico

Now as I mentioned earlier,

this friend is fond of some Italian Wine and so I wanted her to enjoy one type
 that she was more familiar with,
as well as a couple other special bottles that would broaden her palette.

Wine Advocate
Score: 92
The 2009 Chianti Classico is insanely beautiful. Layers of flavor flow effortlessly from this sexy, supple Chianti Classico. Sweet red berries, licorice, mint and flowers are woven together in a fabric of inimitable class and sheer elegance. The Di Napoli family, with their extraordinary commitment to quality, elevate Chianti Classico to a level that is exceedingly rare. Chianti Classico as an appellation continues to struggle in the marketplace, but this is a perfect example of the recipe for success: A great site; meticulous, painstaking work in the vineyards and cellar; no shortcuts. This is a dazzling wine in every way.

2007 Produttori del Barbaresco - Barbaresco

And now we move from Sangiovese 
to Nebbiolo
and to 
The Queen of Piedmont,

Wine Advocate

Score: 90

Unlike Produttori del Barbaresco's numerous (perhaps too numerous) single vineyard offerings, which are clearly designed for the cellar, its normal Barbaresco can clearly go both ways. It can be cellared for 7 to 10 years, but is also delectably enjoyable to drink now (Decant one hour in advance.) A luminous deep ruby red in color, with a discreet nose of truffles, rose petal and berries, it offers up succulent, spicy red and blackberry fruit, with a hint of saffron and new earth rising on the tart, tangy classically Piedmont finish. Tremendous refinement and aging ability...

Wine Spectator

Score: 90

Very aromatic, showing menthol, spice and blackberry, this is sweet and juicy on the palate, with ripe fruit and oak spice notes. The tannins pack a bit of an edge, so give this at least a year. Fine length. Best from 2013 through 2022.

2006 Giovanni Manzone - Barolo Gramolere

And here we save

The King of Piedmont,


for last. 

Wine Spectator

Score: 93

Packed with lush, sweet fruit, cherry, strawberry and hints of plum flavor, this also offers tobacco and spice notes. Boasting well-integrated tannins, there's a full, dense feel to this red. Fine length.

So, there you have it!

My wine list for my dear friend.

And for all my dear friends. 

In it you find wines from 
France, Spain, Australia, Italy, 
& Mendoza, Argentina.

Wines here made up of - 
Cabernet Sauvignon/Bordeaux Blend, Malbec, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault,
Garnacha, Carinena, Tempranillo, Shiraz, Sangiovese, and Nebbiolo.

Wines from the $10 to $50 range.

Some of them quaffable,

some of them deeply thought provoking. 

All of them delicious.

Something to enjoy for the Holidays,

or quite frankly, 

for just about any day.



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