Plenty of wine options to keep spirits bright

November 26, 2018

Hope all had a Thanksgiving to be thankful. Are you now frantically exercising, running and walking, or did temperance and dashing about shopping prevail? I’m typing for a pre-TDay deadline, so I can’t inform you of my status other than to say I am thankful for all who read here and take the time to correspond. All your queries and comments are responded to, good, bad or factual. Although this isn’t about wine, it is worthwhile for those who like old-time Memphis rock ‘n’ roll. The following site is worth looking into for an upcoming event at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 29 at the Ocean City Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at the Ocean City Convention Center Box Office or Ticketmaster. Following is a preview for your “eardification” – Please read entire paper before viewing. I’ve seen this and it is a great value. 

The release of Domaine Bousquet 2017 Tupungato from Uco Valley, Argentina, is up to expectations. These folks consistently rate high 80s. You may remember this name as Domaine Jean Bousquet. Don’t know what happened to Jean. I was fortunate to sample three of their products recently. The Chardonnay reserve is a good QPR findable under $16, 87 McD. Green-tinged golden, opens to light oak, melon, trop fruit with citrus back notes. Peach and green apple flavors are supported by bright acidity and barrel spice. The Reserve Malbec composed of 85 percent Malbec, 5 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 percent Merlot, 5 percent Shiraz can be found around $170/case or $18/bottle. Dark violet, red rim, blackberry, currants and earthy nose. On the palate raspberry, chocolate, black pepper balanced by proper acid/tannic/fruit equation. Finishes long and dry. Keep in mind, folks, these are new releases. You may be looking at the 2016s locally. It is actually bud break in Argentina now. If you see any 2013 hanging around under $18, snatch it up. The Reserve Cab spent 10 months on oak, will need a few years. This should appeal to those who like Cabs with chalky mineral notes. There are sufficient cherry and currant aromas, fruit flavors supported with barrel spice, subdued tannic grip and proper acidity. A step up from the $14 generic Cab that is worth taking. All three are certified organic.

Haven’t visited Spain lately. How about Bodegas LAN? Name is the first letters of the three DOCa Rioja Provinces: Logrono, Alava and Navarra, which lie along the Ebro River Valley. The primary grape for Crianza is Tempranillo.  The new release 2014 is 100 percent Tempranillo, dark crimson-colored.

The nose is complex with raspberry, barrel notes of vanilla, paprika and buttery caramel (often described as toffee but, as one who enjoys toffee, I find it lacking as a descriptor due to toffee’s many variations), smooth palate with firm tannins and a long, pleasing finish. Easily findable under $12 or $110/case. The LAN Riserva is blended of 80 percent Tempranillo, 10 percent Mazuelo and 10 percent Garnacha. I prefer the 2009 or the 2010. My notes on 2010 written in 2013 were: Blackberry, popcorn, pomegranate, orange zest aromas. Fruit and acidity, tart with grippy tannins. The wine has come together beautifully and is available in many locations at $19, 89 McD. 

Vina San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Leyda Valley, Chile, 2016 was underrated by many because of the vegetal notes. I find these very appealing for food compatibility. This is a $22 value 90-point McD. Great with oysters and broiled buttery rockfish. Green-tinged pale golden colored. Interesting nose with vegetal notes such as green pepper and asparagus, with grapefruit and pea back notes.

The grapefruit and some lime repeat on the palate with supporting acidity and minerals for its full body and long, bright finish. They also produce a very favorably priced, under $18, Elqui Valley Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, 88 McD. Garnet colored, raspberry, roses, and barrel spice nose add some herbal notes on the palate. Fruit sweet attack with tart backing and mild tannins. Here’s wishing all a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Hopefully without any Black Friday bruises.

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