It’s finally time to break out those summer sippers

July 15, 2013

The lazy, hazy days seemed to never arrive, but now, as the temperatures and humidity have soared, my taste buds crave more summer sippers.  I had the opportunity to sample some Mulderbosch; that filled the bill. I have been a long-time promoter of the Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc. I was informed Charlie Banks, of Cali’s  Screaming Eagle purchased the property to glom onto the “old vine”  stock. Banks makes great, very expensive wine, especially when terroir cooperates. Most of them come on the market north of $1,500/bottle. It is curious that they rarely get the price escalation of the best vintage Bordeaux.

A Cabernet rose 2012 was interesting, as was Chenin 2012 and a Sauvignon Blanc 2011. The Rose was like Molly Ringwold, pretty in pink; it opens to cherry and strawberry. Nice bright fruit, soft on palate with strawberry notes well balanced by proper acidity. Refreshing medium finish. Buy priced under $12. The Sauvignon Blanc 2011 is pale yellow-green in color, with an intense nose of citrus peel, kiwi, wet stones and grass. A light-to-medium-bodied, tangy Sauvignon Blanc, with 13.5 percent integrated alcohol and flavors that reflect the nose through a crisp long finish; 89 points, under $15. The Chenin Blanc 2011 is an 89-point, refreshing summer sipper with enough acidity to support many crab and white fish recipes. The nose is pear, guava with lime accent. Some melon and grapefruit supported by tart acidity on the creamy mid palate. The finish is long and clean with a mildly spicy note. It appears the wine was barrel aged at least in part. I rate it 88 points because price at $17/bottle is fair, but no bargain.

Denis Durantou, owner of Chateau L’Eglise Clinet, Pomerol, also produces Saintayme, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2010, an 100 percent Merlot in the style of Pomerol. Suckling, 93; WS, 91; Tanzer, 89; and Martin, 90. It can be found under $220 per case. When I initially wrote this, it was $15 and needed at least three years. The price is beginning to escalate, so buy now. I found the rating on this wine curious, in that each writer seem to discern a different profile. Following are several slightly edited reviews. WS: wonderfully pure and unadorned, with a thoroughly engaging, vibrant beam of linzer torte and steeped cherry notes coursing along, with only embers of singed spice and a twinge of licorice checking in on the finish, letting a minerality play out more instead.  Now through 2022. Suckling: 93 points. A dense and polished red with wonderfully integrated tannins and a mineral, flower, fruity character. It's full-bodied, and very reserved. I love the texture and finesse here.  Try in 2018. Neal Martin's Wine Journal: 90 points The Saintayme 2010 is a pure Merlot from Denis Durantou from clayey-gravel soils. It has an exuberant, lively nose with hints of blood orange informing the red berry fruit. There is lovely definition evident here. The palate is medium-bodied with firm backbone. You would almost think there was some Cabernet Franc in here.

I found a pretty dark garnet colored wine with primary bouquet of ripe, crushed plum aromas with hints of blackberry supported by oak-driven toasted spice. The palate is disjointed as the wine needs time, but the acid/tannin nexus supports the fruit. The wine finishes long with cocoa notes and a hint of licorice. Should be ready in two to three years and cellar through 2025.

Finally, the police and other agencies did an abysmal job with the traffic on Fourth of July. I recognize that it is a difficult undertaking. However, to move from the Indian River Inlet bridge to Country Club Road it took from 10:25 a.m. to 1:10 p.m. As I wound my way along the route from work, there were clusters of police from each town and the state standing by and shooting the breeze, making no effort to keep things moving. Their disruption of normal traffic patterns with cones and parked cars with flashers caused many to try to make u-turns and others to rubber neck, causing massive back ups. Since this happens each year, perhaps the brass could stand up to take the weight off their brains and try devising a better plan.