Friday, June 09, 2006
Friday Wines the Fourth
Inventory was this week, so things should ease up for a bit now, until just before Independence Day. That means more time for wine blogging, so look for more posts to follow. I don't know about you, but I think it's a great time to have wine. Shall we?
White under $20
2005 Eberle Viognier Mill Road Vineyard Paso Robles ($19.99)
If you haven't heard of Viognier, I have a great analogy for it. If Chardonnay is an 18-year old girl right out of high school- bouncy, energetic, vibrant, but all over the place - then Viognier is her 30-year old sister who lives in New York City and works in the fashion business. She's more grounded, elegant and sophisticated. What's that mean in terms of flavors? Where Chardonnay has apple, pear and fig flavors, Viognier is more peach, apricot and mango, but dry, NOT sweet. Chardonnay hasn't lost its baby fat yet, while Viognier is more angular, graceful and leaner, without losing her perkiness. She's a great date. Trust me.
Red under $20
2004 Marquee Cabernet/Merlot Victoria ($11.99)
Marquee wines are an interesting concept. The owners combine purchased, finished wines with wines they made themselves. The results are silky, polished everyday values with some real character. The Cabernet/Merlot has great black cherry and strawberry fruit with touches of cedar and a dollop of blackberry. Lush with soft tannins, it'll serve you well over the course of the summer and fall. The entire line is good (Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Grenache/Shiraz/Merlot), but the Cabernet/Merlot stood out for me.
White over $20
2004 Nigl Gruner Veltliner Kremser Freiheit ($20.49)
It's hot. Africa hot. You need thirst quenching, refreshing, tangy, light-bodied white wine. Look no further than Austria and look no further than Gruner Veltliner. With grassy, herbal aromas followed by green apple and lime, you'll already bring down the temperature a few degrees. In your mouth the wine is so light, it floats on your palate. Make no mistake though, this wine is chock full of lime and lemon zest, wet stones, and peaches, framed by juicy, tangy acidity. Pair, this with - no, I'm not drunk as I write this - fried chicken. The national dish of Austria is Wiener Schnitzel, a pork cutlet rolled in bread crumbs and then fried in lard, so this wine will kick fried chicken butt.
Red over $20
2001 Artesa Elements California ($21.99)
This is a sly blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and assorted Rhone varietals. With smoky aromas of black raspberry, red currant and a touch of bacon fat, the wine presents good complexity for the price. Black fruit flavors dominate in the mouth, but you get a hint of rasbperry and Christmas spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves echoing in the long finish. This is rich, full-bodied red but with enough acidity to keep the fruit fresh. This wine's an overachiever.
Please keep the reports coming in on these wines as you try them. Look for BIG changes coming to the format soon.
Have a terrific weekend and stay cool.