La Crema PN 2009 comes down in price; buy now

February 27, 2012

I know this is a wine column, but I am compelled to do a brief book review first. “The Lily: Evolution, Play and the Power of a Free Economy” by Daniel Cloud is remarkable. Here are two quotes: "The true measure of human genius lies in the fact that we're able to bring about things that exceed our own comprehension." And "As long as you're just installing old technology invented by someone else, a planned economy and a managed society can be made to work, but as soon as you reach the technological frontier, as soon as the free play of endogenous innovation is genuinely needed to maintain the pace of growth, as soon as you actually have to cope with real uncertainty, the whole thing is likely to grind to a halt at some arbitrary point.” Those interested in a different economic point of view should read this book.

For being patient, I reward you with a $15 Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Shiraz. Aromas of blackberry, plum and black pepper lead to spicy, dark cherry flavors. A ripe wine with fine-grained tannins from new and old American oak and French oak hogsheads. Goes great with garlic roasts, steak au poivre. The wine was placed No. 33 on WS top 100 for 2011. 92 points. This was the highest-rated Aussie in the top wine list. It will fly from shelves. Work fast. McD says 94, 2 price points.

Razors Edge Shiraz 2008, previously reviewed at 91 points, came off price to $11. Buy now. Yarra Yering Dry Red No. 3 continues to knock it out of the box, and the 6 is better.

These are more expensive, in the $70-90 range, but great value. Columbia Crest Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, 90 points and under $120/case, is a steal. I saw it for $9/bottle locally. Sebastiani Sonoma Chardonnay 2009, on sale at $13, is an old-time lovely with pineapple, pear, green apple, honey and oak aromas, and a buttercream palate with a long, spicy finish. The La Crema PN 2009 I reviewed in the column about Boardwalk Plaza at 92 points and said hold fire. Saw the whites of their eyes yesterday. At $20/bottle and 93 points, it is a central coast PN that is best of breed, on par with King Acrobat, priced $30.

Big props to KJ Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2009. I had The Grand Reserve on the Garden Gourmet list from 1990 to 1999. It was a great value then and is still a truly splendid old-line Chard. The nose opens varietal with nice accents of lees produced from barrel fermentation and lees stirring with oak notes from malolactic fermentation in oak barriques and aging in French oak. On the palate, tropical fruit vies with grapefruit, lemon and lime with vanilla and cinnamon fillips. Creamy, lush mouth feel, buttery with vanilla accents and a hint of cinnamon spice through the long finish; WA 91, McD 93 at $240/case or less.

Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay has been rated above 90 by most since it was introduced by Jess Jackson in 1986. OK the buy here is the 2004, ‘07 or ‘09. I saw the 2004 on sale for $255/case and the 2007 for $230/case. Be sure the label reads Grand Reserve. Keep in mind KJ tries to blend in a way that keeps the flavor profile the same.

There has been no bad vintage. Best would be a case with four each of ‘04, ‘07, ’09.

Finally, a 91-point Bodegas Ondarre Rioja Reserva 2004 priced under $160/case. Black cherry and spicy oak aromas open on the palate to licorice, smoke and tobacco riding a firm acid frame with good balance, integrated tannins and a moderately long finish. Buy it under $160/case; drink it now through 2015. I gave the wine a higher rating than many of the writers because it has developed very nicely in the bottle.

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