So much detail goes into crafting quality wines. Dedicated vineyard management, precise and timely picking of fruit, crushing, pressing, racking and fermenting. Not to mention blending, fining, filtering, aging and choosing closure. The winemaker has more decisions to scrutinize over than a Blue Jay’s general manager.
Related – more from the VINTAGES November 24th, 2012 Release
As a consumer you may find yourself caught like a deer in the headlights, bound by brands you blindly return to again and again. Or you might be lost in the details, challenged and unable to see the forest for the trees. When it comes to seeking value it can be difficult to sift through the lees and the slag. The key is to let the makers deal with the ABC’s, sidestep minutiae and focus on the big picture. Step out of your comfort zone. See the wine for the grapes, for the money. Here are five current release whites that demonstrate more than just the sum of their parts.
The grape: Moschofilero
The history: From a Greek winery located in the heart of Arcadia, in the ‘Polyampelos Mantinia’
The lowdown: Organically grown and produced in a state-of-the-art facility
The food match: Greek Chicken Kebabs, red onion, oregano, tzatziki
Domaine Spiropoulos Mantinia 2011 (710970, $14.95) takes a salt bath in crystalline, Aegean waters. Honey, manna, aconite blossom and marmalade scents give way to a stoney, tangy soupçon sprinkled with feta. Crisp and pure Moscho. 89
The grape: Sauvignon Blanc
The history: Two years ago Richard Kershaw took over vinification from legendary Western Cape winemaker Mike Dobrovic
The lowdown: We’re definitely not in the Loire anymore
The food match: Poached Chicken Breast in Dark Chicken Demi-Glace
Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (933424, $18.95) defines the saying plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose for South African SB. Unchained, unique, woody, herbal and welling with gregarious acidity. Brilliant SB actually. “Non-stop talker, what a rocker!” 89
The grape: Riesling
The history: Made by the Eden Valley terroir master, Louisa Rose
The lowdown: Find me a better Aussie Riesling under $20 and I will buy a boatload
The food match: Pork Fried Rice, sambal oelek, kecap manis
Pewsey Vale Riesling 2011 (686600, $19.95) shimmers an iridescent emerald-green on gold patina. Cracks like a whip straight in your face with lemon, lime and slate than lowers a sledgehammer of petrified wood. Snake-like Sasak fruit tang and acidity “goes dancin’ in,” “builds that power” and lingers long after its skin has been shed. 91
The grape: Riesling
The history: The Berres family is recorded to have resided and worked in the vineyards of Ürzig since the year 1510
The lowdown: Ürzig and Erden are famous for their red slate soils and singular rock outcroppings that retain heat and concentrate the typical herb-spice of the wines. These are the only villages in the Mosel allowed to replant without grafting, as phylloxera was never able to penetrate the rock barriers.
The food match: Hu Tieu My Tho Noodles, shrimp, pork, baby bok choy
C.H. Berres Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett 2009 (207274, $19.95) certainly represents its number 16 spot on the periodic table and bursts from the Bunsen Burner with wafts of coconut, lime and pear. Chemistry in an Erlenmeyer, puffing carbon smoke, petrol fumes and giving way to a lively palate of apple and glucose. Goes smoking, dry ice at the finish. Love this. 90
The grapes: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Gewurztraminer
The history: The most famous Ontario white blend
The lowdown: Low yields, late picking, a winemaker’s (J-L Groux) tour-de-force
The food match: Roasted chicken with Jerusalem artichoke & lemon
Stratus White 2009 (660704, $44.20) is a vision of glittering gold, an atomic L’Européenne white blend that reminds me of the Loire. The 31% Sauvignon Blanc stands out with green peas and pepper berries. Waxy yellow apple (Semillon), peach blossoms (Viognier), elemental viscosity (Gewurz) and buttery caramel (Chardonnay) all come into play. Tough acidity and autoroute length look to extend the life of this iconic Niagara-on-the-Lake white. 91
Good to go!
Thanks for the Like, Mike. Beautiful site you have. Love the wine notes, especially, as I am a collector.
Thanks Nancy. It’s my open road, alone. Your words make me want to search for more.