Tuesday, March 30, 2010

LB Sauvignon Blanc 2007

I was recently passing thru Armonk, NY and noticed a new wine store called Moderne Barn Wines & Spirits (see sidebar).  So of course I had to stop.  I asked the owner, Diana , which white and red wines she would recommend.  (The red will be posted later)  The only caveat I made was it could not be a Pinot Grigio.  She suggested a South African Sauvignon Blanc from the LB Vineyards.  The LB Vineyards is another wine produced by the Bouma family who has owned and operated the Anura Vineyards in the foothills of the Simonsberg Mountain range north of Cape Town since 1990.  LB is named for Lance Bouma, son of Tymen & Jenny Bouma that run the Anura Vineyard.  In addition to the two vineyards, Anura has a second label called Frog Hill.  In a recent blind taste test between South African and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the judges split.  Surprise Surprise that the New Zealand judge picked their own and the South African judge picked their own.  The aromas of this pale yellow wine are fruity with citrus and melon along with some herbs and asparagus.  The flavors were a refreshing lemon-lime, pineapple and grapefruit along with some grassy tones and more minerality than I have tasted in the New Zealand wines.  It had a nice crisp acidity and quite dry.  We paired this with tilapia.  Would also go well with other fish, shell fish, white meats or even an appetizer plate.  If you haven't had a Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa, give this one a try.  Overall, an easy drinking and enjoyable wine.  Only 400 cases were made.  It retails for about $12.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Red Virgin

As a first time poster for Wine Blogging Wednesday hosted this month by Joe Roberts from 1WineDude, the topic is "what wine would you pick to introduce a white wine drinker to red wines?"  This was a tough one.  I would not want to blow them away with a big Cabernet Sauvignon or Petite Sirah or go too light such as a Rose.  It is tough to pass up an Italian Brunello or Barolo but I will save them for their second tasting.  So, I will go in the middle with a Spanish Tempranillo.  The nose on these wines are full of fresh red fruits and the flavors are just as ripe with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries along with some slight spiciness.  You could also add a little Garnacha or Mazeulo.  The tannins are soft and approachable and the acidity is generally well balanced.  Several of my favorites that were previously posted that I would recommend are the 2003 Cigales Museum Real Reserva, the 2004 Ondarre Rioja Reserva, the 2004 Allende, or the 2004 Tinto Figuero 15.  Welcome to the the other side.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chateau Bellefont-Belcier 2004

I have to admit, I picked up this bottle because of the label.  I was raised in a small town in PA called Bellefonte, so of course seeing a label with the name on it was a must buy.  The Chateau Bellefonte-Belcier estate dates back to the 17th century and was founded by Count Louis Fran├žois de Belcier.   Our tasting of this wine was over a two day period.  This medium to full bodied St. Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux is from the Libournais region in France.  It has a dark purple color and is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.  It starts off with a big nose of black fruits, cassis, leather and dark chocolate, along with a hint of vegetables from the Cabernet Franc.  The flavors were filled with black fruits, black cherries and plenty of smokey oak, along with some mushroom/earthiness flavors.  The tannins were very chewy the first day but mellowed slightly on the second day.  Additionally, I thought there was some extra acidity on the back end along with a slight bitterness.  I would hold this for another 3-5 years.  I think the 2004 has great potential and rumor has it the 2005 is exceptional.  I have the 2005 vintage in the cellar and look forward to comparing the two.  However, I think I will hold off for a few more years.  Spring arrived with some great weather for grilling.  This is a nice bottle for grilled chicken, pork or veal.  The Chateau Bellefont-Belcier reatils for about $34.  Wine Spectator gave the 2004 a 90 point rating.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Domaine Mercouri 2005

A few weeks ago, while staying at my brother's ski house, I had a Greek wine that I can actually say I liked this time.  If you remember, I posted another greek wine that was terrible, so I didn't know what to expect this time.  The bottle had been opened the night before we arrived so it had a little extra time to breathe.  The 2005 Vin De Pays des Letrinon is made from a blend of Refosco, an Italian grape, and Mavrodaphne, a Greek grape.  The winery was founded in 1864 by Theodoros Mercouri in southern Greece where he planted Refosco vines that he had carried over from Friuli, Italy.  Following his death in 1897, his son Leonidas built the area's first modern winemaking facility which remained in operation until 1955.  Between 1955 and 1989, the grapes from this estate were sold by Leonidas's daughters (Maria and Kate) to other winemakers.  In 1990, under the new management of Kate's two sons Vassilis and Christos Kanellakopoulos, the entire facility was rebuilt.  In 1992, part of the vines were also replanted. Today, instead of selling their grapes, they are making some nice wines.  This 2005 vintage has a nice aroma of dried cherries and plums along with some leather and spices.  On the palate, the medium bodied wine had a dark cherry and black raspberry flavor along with a mild white pepper and a hint of vanilla.  This relatively dry wine had medium acidity but the flavors were relatively short lived.  The tannins were very mild.  Overall, it was an enjoyable every-day type red wine that could be paired with white meats or a pasta dish.  If you are looking for something out of the normal grape varieties, give this one a try.  I believe it retails for about $20. 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

GruV Olympics

In following of the Olympics, we were invited by the Brand Action Team to participate in an Olympics of four Gruner Veltliners from Austria.  Points were given for 10 different catagories and medals were awarded at the end.

In the starting gate, in Lane 1 was the 2008 Austrian Pepper produced by Weingut Pfaffl.  In Lane 2 was the 2008 Lois produced by Fred Loimer.  In Lane 3 was the 2008 GV Vienna Hills produced by Weingut Wieninger.  And in the outside lane was the 2007 GV by Weingut Stadt Krems.

At the gun, Lois came out of the gate strong with a bright color and a well balanced sweetness and acidity but a slight bitterness.  It had nice fruity flavors that were moderatly long.  The Austrian Pepper quickly passed Lois in the first turn with a complex and peppery aroma followed by a silky body with a great balance in acidity and multi-layered flavors of fruits and pepper that continued well after the race.  The Vienna Hills was third out of the gate and put up a nice run.  It had a slightly larger aroma of fruits and pepper than Lois, but less than The Pepper.  This contestant had a slight tartness in the aroma that the other two did not have.  The flavors were robust and fruity but they did not last that long.  Overall, a solid competitor.  And finally, the Stadt Krems.  This competitor was slow out of the gate with a mild aroma, a fairly well balanced sweetness but a slightly tart acidity.  It's body was thin and lacking compared to the other three with a green underripe flavor that quickly faded.  This was no match for the other three.

At the finish line, the Austrian Pepper held on to a slight lead to edge out Vienna Hills, followed by Lois in 3rd and Stadt Krems in a distant 4th.  The Austrian Pepper received the gold medal while Vienna Hills and Lois each received ribbons.