Who knew a Maryland Pinot Noir could be so good?

April 8, 2013

This wineflash just in: Selvapiana Chianti Rufina Riserva Vigneto Bucerchiale 2009 has just come on sale at $250/case delivered to your house. Friends, let me tell you to buy a case right now. It is rare to find a 95 IWC, 93 Suckling WS Chianti Riserva for this price. The only Italian reds from 2009 to achieve this rating were the Sassicaia and Ornellaia Masseto. Dark, medium red-colored, it opens to a very complex nose filled with many lovely aromas. I detect plum, red currant, tobacco, forest floor and spices. The flavors are thick layers of blueberry, tobacco leaf and earth. The finish is silky and fruit-sweet, with smooth tannins, ripe cherry and spice flavors. I think this is as close to perfection as Chianti can get. However, do not rush out to buy the liver and fava beans just yet. It will definitely improve with another two years in your cellar and drink through 2018.

While in Italy at your local wine shop, search out Sartarelli’s 2010 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Tralivio. It opens to huge peach and floral aromas, but then the minerality appears. The mid-palate is rich and textured, and the wine has exceptional balance and finesse. A very clean, very long, very complex finish shows mint, flowers and citrus with saline notes, 2013-18.

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Merlot 2010 is a very nice exhibit of winemakers' art. French oak plus opulent fresh plum, round spicy finish with tobacco, leather and vanilla.  Cali merlot that has ripe, round, spicy finish with ripe berry flavors.  Joel Petersen, aka “the Godfather of Zin,” has been knocking them out. This is a lot of wine for $9.

The 87-point Deep Creek Cellars Maryland Pinot Noir 2010, 91 McD., $17, is truly an organic with very little tampering by the winemaker. I was reluctant about a Maryland Pinot Noir, but tasting changed my mind. They use the European model. Employ wild, naturally occurring yeast for fermentation and natural cold-clarification. Deep Creek wines are pure, lively and truly low tech. "We rarely filter and use only minimal amounts of sulfite preservatives. If you enjoy the wine, the winery offers no-sulfite bottlings for those who request them."

Bridgeview Blue Moon Pinot Noir Oregon, WS 89, $15. This Oregon lovely is sourced from Bear Creek Vineyards and Estate grapes. Dark stone, fruit aromas with some notes of cedar give way to flavors of licorice and black currants.  Great up front, and well-rounded tannins give it a structured balance that has a lasting finish. WS wrote this up as the Best of the West PN. Those who are interested in comments by a guy who is an expert on terroir and how rocks affect wine, especially Carmenere, can read a very well-done interview by Rebecca Gibb with Pedro Parra, noted Chilean wine geologist. Extremely interesting for the curious, go here: If you are not internet friendly you can go to your public library for help.

I just put down a wonderful book, “Celebrity Vineyards: From Napa to Tuscany in Search of Great Wine,” by Nick Wise. The coolest story concerned Natalie Oliveras, a Tuscan wino who burst onto the scene in 2004 with her release of Sogno Uno 2004. As time evolved, Mrs. Oliveras formed a partnership with winemaker Roberto Cipresso and bought LaFiorito from its previous owners. The products they have been releasing have had favorable reviews by RP and others. Recently they have put a lovely Tuscan Super Cuvee named NV Fattoria La Fiorito Laurus Toscana IGT onto the market. This will take cooperation from your wine store guy or ability on the net. If you can buy it under $25, it will be worth the effort. OK, so what piqued my curiousity on this wine? It turns out that Mrs. Oliveras was formerly known as Savanna Samson, a notorious American porn star. I found her candid conversation with the writer to be humorous and compelling and applaud her continued interest in providing titillation for the wine drinkers of the world. The wine was great!

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