Friday, March 27, 2009

Julia & Malbec

My first entry is going to be an Argentine Malbec since my first glass of Malbec that I had in a bar in Salta (province in the north of Argentina) was decisive for my further path in life… I know this sounds sort of dramatic but it really was!!:-) I had been on a three month backpacking trip through the country at that time and after having been in Argentina for only two weeks I decided to throw away my plane ticket for the way back and stay. The endless amount of amazing places, the crazy loud happy people, the sun and the fantastic wine made me curious for more, and at the same time I felt very much at home in this place from beginning on…

Let me share one of my favorite “every day” Malbecs from Mendoza with you...

from the foot of the "Cordon del Plata"

Brand: Zagal

Winery: Hacienda del Plata

Vintage: 2006

Varietal: 100% Malbec

Winemaker: Hugo Galiotti

Winemaking: cold pre-maceration at 8° - 10° for 48 hours. Fermentation in steel tanks during 14 days at controlled temperature (use of selective yeasts). 40% of the wines is aged in 3rd use oak barrels for 8 months (French and American). The other 60% stay in stainless steel at low temperatures. Natural sedimentation, aging in bottle before entering the market: 6 months.

Alcohol: 14%

Average Price: € 9,50

Tasting Notes: Intense aromas of ripe red fruit, blackberry, clove and violets; in the background hints of toasted bread and coffee. Well structured and strong body, smooth and sweet tannins. Drink now through 2012.

Food Pairing Suggestions: wonderful with grilled beef marinated in herbs and garlic, accompanied with grilled vegetables like red bell pepper, onions, potatoes

General rating: 3 tastevins

Categories: Super Value! Weekly drinking

More Dessert - Please!

Winery: Castelnau du Suiduraut

Vintage: 2001

Appellation: Sauternes

Varietal: Semillon 90%, Sauvignon Blanc 10%

Oak: 12 months

Average Price: $29

Tasting notes: This wine has a deep intense straw yellow color, and a very complex nose. Covered in figs, prunes, caramel and the taste is so nice in balance. So sweet, yet so fine, fresh and delicate. This is one of the best Sauternes buys at the moment!

Food Pairing Suggestions: Grilled bananas with vanilla ice cream! Apricot pie with caramelized figs and crème anglaise. Yummy!

Winery Notes: I thought this tasting note would fit the spot just right. After the last review of “Rieussec 01” – which is one of my favorite wines of all times (!!). I wanted to give you an example of a world class Sauternes at a good price. This is the second wine of the famous Ch. Suiduraut, and what a bargain!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dessert Please!

David Grega is a certified sommelier and wine consultant living in the Napa Valley; In addition David is the consulting winemaker and national sales manager for Carlotta Cellars. For more information e-mail

Winery: Château Rieussec

Vintage: 2001

Appellation: Sauternes AOC

Varietal: Semillion/Sauvignon Blanc

Average Price: $150.00

Tasting Notes: By far the greatest and most memorable Sauterne I have ever tasted (yes, including Y'quem). A rich and profound aroma of pure organic honey, Creme Brulee and ripe apricots, trumped by the impeccably balanced and rich flavors on the palate. Well over a minute after taking my first taste, this wine is still lingering, amazing length and perfect acidity. I expect this the age well over 30 years.

Food Pairing Suggestions: I had this wine with an amazing dish prepared by chef Casey Gibson of restaurant 58 degrees in Sacramento CA. Chef Gibson presented a blue cheese panna cotta topped with organic honey "caviar" garnished with fresh raspberry and Spanish almonds. A truly ethereal pairing!

Winery Notes: Chateau Rieussec is one of 11 Prémier Cru properties designated in the 1855 classification, and was originally owned by Carmelite monks pre-dating the French Revolution. Currently the Chateau is owned by the Lafite-Rothschild group. The vineyards border that of the great Chateau Y'quem and consistently produce wines that rival Y'quem in Quality.

Monday, March 23, 2009

2007 Grüner-Veltliner 'Wachtberg, Salomon-Undho

Winery: Salmon-Undhof

Vintage: 2007

Appellation: Kremstal (Wachtberg vineyard)

Varietal: Gruner-Veltliner

Oak: No

Average Price: £22

Tasting notes: The appearance is a clear, with a lemon-green color. The nose is beautiful with the classic tones of green apples, asparagus, lychee and white pepper. The palate is dry with a medium body and intensity – good herbal length. Ooh what a beauty on that hot summer evening at the beach!

Food Pairing Suggestions: I’ve recently learned something new. Gruner Veltliner is excellent with creamy soups! Try them in all sorts, the crisp, but still good bodied wine matches the structure of the soups just perfect. Gruner is also excellent pair to dishes with a lot of herbs – examples could be 'moules marines' or baked fish with creamy sauce flavored with your favorite herbs.

Winery Notes: The winery is very old – 1792 – and has been in family hands ever since. Today, Erich and Bertold Salomon are making the wine and controlling the vineyards. The wines are VERY affordable, so avoid the ‘lowest’ range of their wines, they seem a little to cheap, lack of fruit etc, but the singe vineyard wines are an excellent buy.