Lots of great choices for new warm weather wine list

April 15, 2013

I’ve been trying to finalize the Grove Market wine list. As a result, there are quite a few ideas this week. So, let’s jump right into it with an inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc that will slake that warm, hazy weather thirst.

Montes, Leyda Valley in Chile sends us a lovely SB Limited Selection 2011, an excellent value when priced under $155/case. Very pale gold with slight green tint, opens to a bouquet of green apple, lime, gooseberry, some flowers and a saline hint. Zesty and fresh, pleasantly acidic with a mineral aftertaste, the finish is clean and long lasting, with classic grass and lime notes.

The 94-point 2009 Beringer Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, No. 8 on WS 2012 top 100 list, recently written up here, dropped in price more quickly than I thought. On sale at $48 down from opening at $59, it is a very good buy. There were 3,600 cases produced, and Beringer will retain a bunch. I don’t see this going much lower.

Don’t be tricked into the hype on discounts for Chateau Gloria 2009 and ‘10. These are indeed lovely, but they need some cellar time, and why bother when the Gloria 2005 is available, ready to drink and rated slightly higher by Jancis Robinson, Tanzer and Gault & Millau. Last month I had a sip. Notes read: clear, dark garnet. Aromas: smoke, blackberry, plum, cassis, mint and leather; ripe, fruit-forward palate of blackberry, cassis, blueberry, dust, leather and graphite. Long finish. Fruit, acidity, integrated tannins and oak in balance. Drinking beautifully; has time to 2017. Tony Soter is a legend; he founded Etude in 1982 and consulted for Napa stalwarts such as Araujo, Niebaum-Coppola, Shafer, Spottswoode, Viader and Dalle Valle. Tony picked his plot in Oregon’s Yamhill and focused his talents and energies on his own family vineyard.

The 2010 Soter Vineyards Mineral Springs Ranch Yamhill Carlton District Pinot Noir is crimson colored with legs that cry softly down the glass. Aromas of pencil lead, cola, tobacco and cassis on the palate. The medium-body wine drinks well with intense raspberry, cherry and spice cake flavors. Fine tannins, proper acidity and fruit reverberate through a long finish. 93 by Tanzer, 94 McD if you buy under $50.

2005 Giacomo Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia, 94 points, came down to $120. Lot of money and it won’t be ready until 2018. I would buy the 2007 Aldo Conterno Barolo. You can find it under $60, 92 points, ready now. Best after 2015. Rich and saturated with cherry, raspberry, licorice and tar notes, some chocolate, this red is concentrated and intense. Lovely tannins provide grip in the finish of this nicely balanced wine.

A little more affordable, Jos. Phelps second label Innisfree Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 can be found under $20. Ripe currant nose, concentrated fruit on entry with cassis, black currant and blueberry. Great balance, subdued tannins with a long finish. Innisfree has now produced four 88-point vintages in a row. Great, go to, inexpensive Napa Cab.

Unfortunately Phelps claims this is the last year they are producing the Innisfree, so if you wish to use it for your house Cab, lay some in now. I located a ladder of 2006, ‘08 and ‘09, and I’m thinking an active seller might ship you cases for $240-250.

Finally, how about an $18 bottle of Jean Jacques Vincent Pouilly Fuisse Marie Antoinette 2010? There was a day when Pouilly Fuisse was on the lips of many restaurant goers and few asked which vintage or shipper. Today’s consumer is far more informed, and for some reason, PF has disappeared into the pack.  The Marie Antoinette is a wonderful seafood or summer sipper. Keep in mind white Burgundy cellars. The shelf here is easily 2017, probably longer. Pale golden with a mixed bouquet of apple, peach, oak-driven vanilla and spice. Bright acidity is nicely balanced by the fruit, and the long finish is cleaned up by grapefruit tones, 90 points.

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