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Monday, April 16, 2012

Fun (And Good Value) Wines from the Weekend

I tasted A LOT of wines over the past week or so, most of which I liked, but over the weekend it was time to drink what I wanted to drink, and I decided to pull some unique bottles from the wine racks at home.
Friday night I began with the 2010 Joseph Cattin Alsace Gewurztraminer.  As you may know by now, Gewurztraminer is and has always been one of my favorite grapes.  This one was a great value, fairly inexpensive and very satisfying.  It’s a pale golden color with medium to low viscosity, with characteristics of lychee (the telltale sign of Gewurztraminer), candied orange, white blossom, ginger, and mineral, and perceived sweetness with wonderful underlying acidity, very aromatic and beckoning, smooth, long, and delicious.  It was paired with citrus and herb marinated grilled swordfish and I was really happy with the pairing.

2010 Joseph Cattin Alsace Gewurztraminer

Late Friday evening I decided to wind down with a very inexpensive find - the 2009 Chateau de Paraza Cuvee Speciale Minervois, a wine from Languedoc-Roussillon made up on 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 20% Mourvedre.  It’s a dark red with fairly high viscosity, and characteristics of some red but mostly dark fruit, soft spices, earthiness, mushroom, wildness, and some “animal” aromas (leather, hide, and animal sweat - sounds unappealing but trust me on this one!).  It’s quite rustic but it’s nicely structured and smooth with a clean finish, and it’s funky and fun.

2009 Chateau de Paraza Cuvee Speciale Minervois

Saturday night was a dinner of chicken and stuffed artichokes, perfect for spring.  I wanted a wine that’s bright and fun, so I chose the 2010 Ostatu Blanco Rioja, a blend of mostly Viura and some Malvasia.  The pairing was excellent - the wine is a very pale color with medium viscosity, and characteristics of citrus, a hint of herb, and lots of mineral, bright acidity, and a clean feel.

2010 Ostatu Blanco Rioja

Saturday evening I was ready to open an exciting find - something I had never had before - a Pinot Noir from Hungary.  It’s the 2009 Pannonhalmi Aparsagi Pinceszet from an area of Hungary where vines were planted by monks toward the end of the 10th century, only to have production halted during the time of Communism in Hungary.  Fortunately, production resumed in the area in recent years.  The wine is a clear red with fairly high viscosity, and characteristics of both tart and sweet cherry, berry, and mostly red fruit, lots of baking spice, earthiness, and smoke.  It smells and tastes a bit warm, presumably from the alcohol around 14%, but it doesn’t throw off the balance at all.  It has nice bright acidity, a smooth feel, and it’s absolutely delicious.

2009 Pannonhalmi Aparsagi Pinceszet Pinot Noir

Last night during the Yankee game I opted for a wine from one of my favorite regions, South West France.  The wine is from Madiran, and I’ve had it once before.  It’s the 2008 Domaine Le Serp, 80% Tannat and 20% Cabernet Franc.  I love this wine, and it was very much the same as when I first tried it in December.  It’s a very dark red, almost black color, with an extremely dark core, and medium viscosity.  Characteristics include a bit of red but mostly dark fruit, berry, plum, and unique baking spices, wood, forest floor, mushroom, and purple flowers.  It has nice balance of fruit, acidity, and soft tannin, it’s clean and smooth and wonderful and fascinating.

2008 Domaine Le Serp Madiran

So, all 5 wines from this weekend are quite unique and different, but there’s one thing they have in common - they’re all around $20 or less.

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