Three Clear Winners!
What are the best three wines on this 5 cent sale? After scanning what our wine buyers are offering, my notes pointed me to three clear winners!
What a surprise, when I traveled to South America with one of our buyers, Cameron Wilson, this past year, I found myself at Viña Santa Rita tasting a bunch of wines that I was not super excited about and wow was I way off of the mark! Don't get me wrong, I have always enjoyed the Santa Rita wines, but I was rarely super excited about them and here I was facing a bunch of them. With palate ready and my fingers to the keyboard, I went about doing my due diligence and one by one, my palate became very enlightened. The wines were really, really good.
When the dust had cleared, there was no doubt in my heart that this winery had stepped up its program and most surprisingly was the 2011 Santa Rita 120 Chardonnay. Beautifully balanced and quite concentrated, this wine bursts of ripe nectarines and steely mineral. Long and persistent on the palate and crisp in the finish, this wine easily tops others in the marketplace at twice its price. This is a Wow! wine. I highly recommend you nab this one quickly as it is one of our very best 5 cent sale wines.
In scanning my notes, I found two other wines that are absolutely worth putting into your shopping cart. The rich, layered and smooth 2009 Corazon de Plata Syrah Tannat. Aside from gushing with ripe fruit flavors, when are you going to stumble upon a Tannat blend again? This is a great choice for your geekiest of friends and what about a Grenache?
The impressive 2010 Buscado Granacha from Spain will simply sweep you off of your feet. It is flavorful and lasting on the palate. I can already imagine beef short ribs on the grill for this one. Get these three wines home soon and find out why I am so excited! There is a plethora of wines on our 5 cent sale, these three wines are a clear cut about the crowd!
An Incredibly Important Cabernet!
Cakebread Cellars has had a long and rich history with sommeliers, merchants and consumers. One can hardly mention Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc without including this storied winery in the conversation. Those of us who make a living tasting and evaluating wines know that we must taste Cakebread wines each and every year. Why, you ask? In any given vintage, these guys are always in contention to produce one of the best wines of the year and not just for domestic wines, but for wine the world over.
In May, I tasted the 2009 Cakebread Cabernet and was incredibly seduced by the wine’s quality. Imagine me a guy who rather have a glass of Pinot Noir in my hand enticed by the power of cab. This was a real wow moment! I have always enjoyed Cakebread Cabernets, but the 2009 has rocketed itself beyond the charts and could very well be my #1 wine of the year (which I am close to announcing, along with my Top Ten Wines of the Year).
If you are a wine lover (especially a cab drinker), you have to get your hands on this one; we have a few in stock now and are expecting more shortly. Don’t let this wine pass you by; your cellar has already made a space for the wine.
A delicious Pinot Grigio!
Am I missing Italy? I have traveled to Italy a few times in my life, where I enjoyed some of the world’s greatest wines- Barolos, Barbarescos, Chianti Classicos, and many other DOC ‘s and DOCG’s. Even more important are the great values that this incredibly, beautiful country brings to the wine world- Nero d’Avola and the Pinot Grigio. They are often some of the very best values found anywhere in the world. Recently I tasted the 2011 Fratelli Pinot Grigio from the IGT of delle Venezie and it hits the bull's-eye.
Pinot Grigio has been actively around for 40+ years, where it has often served without distinction or fanfare. But, it has put some pretty impressive numbers in terms of international case good sales. Unfortunately the range of quality has been spotty. From bargain basement (chill the heck out of and serve it) to the most heroic offerings from the Alto Adige in the northeastern part of the country, PG has served wine drinkers well. Most recently, the varietal has seen a major resurgence and our BevMo! buyers have worked hard to find the best. This is certainly one the best ones I have tasted in the last 10 years (includes 100’s of tasting examples).
Fresh, fine and fragrant, this wine just sings on the palate and returns me to Italy, where I sometimes long to be. Please give this one a try, you may find yourself transformed to this country of great wines, delicious food and incredible scenery. There is more to Italy than this…stay tuned because I am on it! Hey, as I am writing about this, I am no longer homesick for Italy, all I have to do is to pull the cork and I am there! (Note: some stores may have the 2010 in stock, it's pretty fine, too) The delicious 2011 Fratelli Pinot Grigio- perfect with fresh pasta, light garlic, extra virgin olive oil and fresh cracked black pepper. (Photo by Wilfred Wong, August 20, 2012, Concord, CA)
In the hands of a winemaker
What is the separation between a wine we like and one we don’t? When the data (alcohol, acidity, pH) is the same, why is one so good and another so bad? In the current climate of winemaking, there is no excuse for making bad wines, yet there are some excellent wines that some of us may not like. What is the separation? For my money, it is the winemaker and how the winemaker incorporates art into the science of making wines.
One of BevMo’s most exciting wines is the Longhand brand. Made by top winemaker, Alison Crowe, both the 2010 Chardonnay and 2010 Pinot Noir has won rave reviews from our customers. As one of our Vineyard Partners wines, this is a wine that is specially made for BevMo! I meet with Alison many times over a year’s time, tasting blends to be turned into a final product. As with many of our Vineyard Partner programs, the winemaker and I have to be on the same page as to what direction the wines should go. I instruct them to make the wine as if I was the only person in the room. How’s does this differ from wines made for the general marketplace, you ask? The focus is narrower and highly directed. I represent the end-user, whereas when a winery makes a wine from the general marketplace, they aim towards the market trends (e.g. the entire USA as opposed to the BevMo customer). I often tell these guys, “Make the wines as if they were for your own enjoyment.”
This weekend, I am on my way to the 2012 Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Portland. There I will be presenting the 2010 Longhand Chardonnay on Friday, August 17th and the 2010 Longhand Pinot Noir on Saturday, August 18th. If any of you have tried this wine, you can follow along on my twitter account @WillieboySF as well as @Bevmo, #WBC12 and @alisoncrowewine. Please feel free to chime in how you feel about Alison’s wines.
Thunder from the vineyard
This morning as the sun rose over my computer keyboard, I could hear the name, Tapiz calling me. Reminding me that I rated it's 2011 Malbec a stunning 93 points. The vineyard, shouting at me to talk about how great a wine it had produced, forced me to go back into my notebook, and re-examine its qualities!
For more than a half-a-dozen years, Argentina has been rocking the wine world with its tremendous malbecs. The wines have taken the market by storm and continue to gain traction. This January in the San Pablo Vineyard, in the Valle de Uco near Tupungato, as I chomped on delicious empanadas, grilled goat meat, and array of delicious wines, I found myself hypontized by the incredibly fine and bold 2011 Tapiz Malbec. Not a stranger from past vintages of this wine, this vintage caused my palate to write a new chapter in this wine's history.
As I traveled back in time, I found myself re-wrapping my entire being into the spirit of Argentina. The 2011 Tapiz Malbec is one red wine that you need to include into your life. Incidentally, this could be the best deal of the current 5 cent sale! Don't wait to buy this one; it could be gone before you know it! You, too could discover the thunder from this vineyard!