When trying to determine what to share with you in my blog, I was at a loss on coming up with a cohesive theme. So I decided that my theme this time around would be no theme at all. Instead I’ve got wines from both California and Europe, which are both white and red, and ones that I’ve tried in the last month or so. I’m picking these because I thought they were all exceptional. The added bonus is that all of these wines have budget friendly prices as well.
The arrival of March means Spring is just around the corner (although it seems that Winter just skipped California entirely). Pretty soon you’ll begin seeing Rosés populating wine shelves around the country. The first ones of the 2013 vintage have just arrived, and one is a cut above the rest. The 2013 Cyprus Rosé of Pinot Noir ($14.99) is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. The grapes are sourced from the Anderson Valley in Mendocino which has received a lot of publicity recently as being a top quality Pinot region. The wine has a soft and delicate nose that was punctuated with peach and apricot. The peach carries over onto the palate and is accompanied with notes of lemon zest, melon rind, and fresh strawberries. The delicate nose belies a crisp wine with great acidity that would make this wine a perfect complement to oysters, steamed mussels/clams, cracked crab, or a fresh garden salad.
The next wine I want to talk about is the 2013 St. Supery Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($14.99). While most Napa producers pay little attention to this grape (often using it as a moneymaker to fund their “real” wines), St. Supery focuses on making a top quality California Sauvignon Blanc and the results are exceptional. The nose has that classic grass/hay aroma with notes of grapefruit, but what makes this wine interesting is the subtle hints of lavender that peak through. The strong citrus note carries through on the palate to go along with a crisp acidity and pleasantly long finish. You don’t need any food to really enjoy this wine, but if you’re hungry try it with some grilled fish.
To me it’s no secret that when it comes to quality with affordability very few wine regions beat Italy. The 2010 Domenico Clerico Trevigne Barbera d’Alba ($21.99) is a perfect example of exactly what I’m talking about. Every once-in-a-while I get to try a wine that completely blows me away. This is that wine. The nose is a blend of contrasts with earth, wood, and a gaminess competing for your attention with ripe red fruit and baking spice. It is an aroma that challenges you and pulls you in deeper. On the palate there is a plush firmness that gives off subtle hints of ripe black cherry. The finish lingers for eons. I can easily see myself enjoying this wine with pork loin or roasted chicken.
The 2010 Castaño Monastrell ($9.99) from the Yecla region of Spain is a wonderful wine with a small price tag. This Monastrell is made from old vines so there is a bit more fruit to it than other European offerings. The nose was enveloping with notes of cracked pepper, black currant, and foie gras of all things. The pepper and currant carried through to the palate to make for a seamless experience. This wine is well balanced, has good structure, and a long finish. It would be perfect for some grilled meats.
I love wines from the Rhône Valley in France. There is such a wide range of exciting flavors that just speak to me. Recently I tried one that stopped me in my tracks. The 2012 La Cabotte Colline Côtes du Rhône ($10.99) is an amazing value for what you’re paying. The grapes are grown under strict biodynamic practices. I’m not entirely sold on the concept, but if more producers make wine like this, I might become a convert. The nose sung of black pepper, black currant, and candied orange peel. It was utterly breath-taking. This voluptuous wine has showy tannin and a voluptuous finish. The pepper and currant flavors carried through nicely to make for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I highly recommend this wine the next time you’re about to dig into lamb chops.
The last wine I want to talk about is a collaboration between two powerhouse producers. The winery of Nicolás Catena combined with the First Growth Lafite Rothschild to create Amancaya in the heart of Argentina’s Mendoza region. The 2011 Amancaya Gran Riserva ($17.99) is a blend of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a Malbec for Cab lovers. The nose had notes of pepper, vanilla, savory spices, and smoked meats. On the palate there is a strong currant of black fruits that go with big tannin structure and a nice finish. Did someone say steak?
We at Beltramo’s strive to provide the highest quality for your dollar and the wines listed are no exception. I hope that you enjoy these wines as much as I did. Please come in and visit, me and I’ll talk some more about these wines and others that I think are worth your time. Happy times and happy drinking. Cheers!
Rob R., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant