Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Llai Llai Pinot Noir 2009

Now there is an interesting name.  However, llai llai in the local mapuche language means wind.  And this wine comes from a windy and rainy area of Chile known as the Bio Bio Valley.  The region is located approximately 300 miles south of Santiago and 30 miles from the Pacific Ocean and is rich in red clay soils and volcanic stone.  The Bio Bio (pronounced Bee o) region is slowly catching on for wine making compared to the easier growing climate in northern Chile.  Moscatel is the most prevalent grape in the Bio Bio, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, with Pinot Noir taking up a close 4th.  The Llai Llai is made by Louis Vallet, who is the 5th generation family member that has gone into the wine business.  His father, Bernard Vallet, is well known in the Burgundy circle.  Louis spends 6 months a year in Chile and the other 6 months back in France also making Pinot Noir wines.
Upon opening the 2009 vintage, I immediately thought of meat.  My wife went one step further and said grilled pork.  She was right on.  I had smelled this once before in a wine from Koyle wines, also from Chile, but it was a completely different grape.  Although it had a rather deep red color, it was a very light bodied wine.  It had been aged for 16 months with 40% aged in 2nd use French oak barrels and the remaining 60% aged in stainless steel.  Once you got past the meat aromas, there was some raspberries and cherries along with herbal notes.  On the palate, the initial flavors were black cherry, followed by some currants and some oakiness.  In addition, there was a minerality that came thru on the back end.  The alcohol content was 13.8% and the acidity was medium.  The tannins were also fairly mild.  Overall, an interesting wine that would be the perfect match for fish.  Yes, a red with fish.  We agreed that it might not be a wine that we would pick up again, but would certainly be enjoyed by others.  This can be purchased for $12.98 at "Buy Wine Online" located on the right sidebar of this blog.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Paul Dolan Zinfandel 2007

The Paul Dolan 2007 Zinfandel is a medium-bodied wine that is a blend of zinfandel grapes from Mendocino County (79%) and Amador County (21%).  Mr. Dolan is probably as well known for his organic and bio-dynamic farming as he is for his award winning wines. This Zinfandel is Certified Organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). It is not the full bodied, full flavored Zin that you typically find in CA.  I would guess that these grapes came from younger vines.  In fact, it was more of a French Beaujolais to us than a zinfandel.  This light garnet colored wine started off with a sweet juicy raspberry aroma followed by some leather and pepper.  However, on the palate, there were more black fruits and cherry flavors along with some plum and chocolate.  Although it has a 14.5% alcohol volume, it was well integrated.  The tannins were mild but there was a slight oaky aftertaste.  It was not overly dry either.  As it reminded us of a Beaujolais, we put it in the refrigerator and chilled it and it became a much nicer wine.  This is not a wine to decant.  I would hold this for another 2-3 years if possible.  Wine Enthusiast rated this 91 points.  I think this is a bit high but still a nice overall wine.   The Paul Dolan 2007 Zinfandel could pair nicely with many foods.  For a change, give it a shot with turkey, duck or even ham.  It retails for $22-$25 but can be found at "Buy Wine Online" for $19 on the side bar of this blog.   

Viticcio Toscana Bere 2007

This wine caught my attention because it is from Greve In Chianti, which is a nearby town of our favorite Radda.  Greve in Chianti is the "capital" of the Chianti region with the old Tuscan town square with some small wines shops, butchers and cheese shops.  If you are ever in this area, it is worth the stop.  The Viticcio winery was founded in the early 1960's by Lucio Landini and his wife.  Their first harvest was in 1964 with a total production of less than 20,000 bottles.  Today, the ownership and operations have been taken over by Lucio's son Alessandro.  They have slightly more than 30 hectares (74 acres) and have specialized in Chianti's and super Tuscan blends.  The Bere is a medium to full bodied wine which has a dark crimson color and is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot.  On the nose, there is a dark fruit aroma, dried raisins and some earthiness.  On the palate, the cherry and currants are the initial taste followed by some chocolate and some of the Tuscan dirt.  There is a slight tartness on the back, but it went away on the second day of being open.  This wine was barreled for 8 months in Slovenian oak.  Overall, this dry wine was well structured with a nice acidity and long lasting flavors.  The tannins were still slightly chewy but did not bother me.  You will want to decant this for about an hour to really get the flavors out.  Wine Spectator rated this 90 points, which is slightly high. I would have thought they would be in the 87-88 range.  It is a very enjoyable and easy drinking wine that is a great bargain for the $12 retail price.  This was paired with Swiss sausages but would also be great with a pasta dish or a sausage and pepperoni pizza.