Ministry of Vinterior’s motto: ‘Relax; it’s just wine’

July 29, 2013

Lots of info, so hi! And let’s dive in. A case of 2009 Edict Cabernet Sauvignon can be bought for $37/bottle, including shipping. A very dark garnet hue, it opens to black cherry, plum, tar, vanilla, leather and toasted French oak. Cherry, coffee, fennel, truffle and cocoa powder flavors ride fine tannin and balanced acidity finishes smoothly and cleanly.

However, you, my friends, would be far better served if your local wine store pal brings in a case of Ministry of the Vinterior The Messenger Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Dan O’Donnell has a great resume with stints at Ravenswood, Laird and under the tutelage of Paul Hobbs, Voss and Aubert.

This bottling underlines his creds. Ripe, black currant aromas and complex layered flavors of vanilla, caramel, spice and mocha, finishing with a touch of earth and smooth tannins. We slapped them around at 85 points. I think their snobometer got in the way. You can buy The Messenger well under $20. I rate it 88 points and maybe 89 if you can purchase this Oakville cab under $16. BTW, Dan’s motto: “The ministry frowns upon those who take wine too seriously as such behavior detracts from proper employment of wine consumption. Relax; it’s just wine.”

Montagny is a white Burgundy Village from Cote Chalonnaise that can be bought at a reasonable price. Domaine Faiveley is a producer that regularly is rated 88-90 in most vintages. Prior to 2005, it was named Givry les Joncs. The 2009 is a good example of a balanced table white Burgundy. A bit of floral nose, food-friendly acidity and palate-cleansing finish. When priced under $21, it’s a fine buy.

Priced under $11, Torcidas Malbec 2011 is a good buy. Claret-colored with ripe plum, spice and violet aromas accented by oak-driven vanilla. The palate expresses red fruit and proper acidity that balances the firm tannins.
The finish is round and generous with a touch of sweet oak. I’m not a big Malbec fan, as tannin is not my cup of tea (think about that word play). However, for those who enjoy the profile, this is a wonderful buy, 91 McD points.

Chateau LaForge St. Emilion Bordeaux 2009 was rated 90, 92 and 96 by the top names in the wine writing gaggle. The reviews read as if three different wines were sampled. I’ll add a fourth opinion.

This is very Merlot, very fruity and full of blueberry and blackberry; some licorice, truffle, mocha and chocolate add to the complex bouquet. On the palate, dark fruit, dark chocolate, huge mouthfeel, but balanced and elegant; the finish is very long with enough tannic grip evident to suggest plenty of time to improve in your cellar. Drink 2015-25 or more. Shoppers can find it priced under $50. A great buy at that price.

Think about this! Chateau Pavie 1999 rated 90 points can be bought for $180 and is ready now. The 2008, $200, rated 90 will be ready in 2015-16

Closing on a high note, but regarding a lower-priced bargain, Mollydooker Two Left Feet 2011 can be had under $22. This is a delightful blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet. It is purple garnet-colored. The nose is a delightful bouquet of spicy plums and blackberry with a soupcon of chocolate, vanilla and mocha. On a substantial palate, I found plenty of fruit and chocolate riding medium tannin and supportive acidity that carried a long finish well. These folks produce great wine in most vintages, and the 2011 is no exception; 92 points and look for a case priced under $210

Legendary Aussie wine impresario Peter Lehmann died at age 82. He was often nicknamed the Baron of Barossa. If you can find the time be sure to read of him.

He is a fascinating character who bucked the establishment and won. RIP, Mr. Lehmann.

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