The Cellars are nearly bare
By TOM MARQUARDT and PATRICK DARR
We know your cellars are nearly bare, so we’ve drummed up a number of interesting buys for you to consider. We taste wines every week and maybe one out of 10 are worth mentioning.
It’s rare when we taste a really bad wine. It’s not hard to make a technically correct wine nowadays. It is more difficult to create something special and will speak of its wine region.
Here are a few we like:
Decoy Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($18). From the makers of Duckhorn, this Napa Valley sauvignon blanc offers fresh acidity and the classic notes of grapefruit, fresh-mown grass, pineapple and citrus. Assertive display of sauvignon blanc’s expression.
Domaine du Vieux Chene Bosquet du Sanglier Vin de Pays 2009 ($13). This wine was the steal. From the Vaucluse region of southern France, it has generous grenache flavors of ripe cherries, strawberries, black pepper and a hint of tobacco. There’s probably syrah or merlot blended with this delicious wine.
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($25). Always one of the best from New Zealand, this sauvignon blanc has grapefruit and citrus flavors, fresh acidity and aromas of peach and lime.
Gabbiano Chianti Classico DOCG 2008 ($14). There is a lot of mediocre chianti on the market to confuse consumers, but we have always found the ones from Gabbiano to be reliably delicious and balanced. This classico represents value. It sports a floral nose and plum, cherry fruit. Gabbiano’s reserve chianti is a more complex wine for $23 — still a very good buy.
Gabbiano Alleanza 2008 ($35). Using the best estate grapes, this blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese is an iron fist in a velvet glove — bold in style but soft in texture. Blackberry flavors and floral, herbal and clove aromas.
Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($16). This California sauvignon blanc has a lot of personality with lemon grass and pineapple aromas, citrus and tropical fruit flavors. Rich in the mouth and long in the finish.
Murphy-Goode Chardonnay 2009 ($14). We tasted this in a flight of a half-dozen chardonnays and we were most impressed with its restrained oak. The oak flavors are there but in moderation. The flavors are of tropical fruit and pear with a dash of mineral and vanilla.
Plantagenet Omrah Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($15). This Australian wine packs soft tropical fruit flavors and generous mineral and citrus aromas. Crisp finish and enjoyable as an aperitif.
d’Arenberg The Broken Fishplate Sauvignon Blanc 2010 ($17). More complex than we expected, this Australian beauty has opulent aromas of citrus and guava followed by mango and pineapple flavors,
Antinori Tenuta Guado al Tasso Scalarone 2010 ($21). This is a blockbuster blend of cabernet sauvgnon (40 percent), merlot and syrah from one of the most reliable producers in Italy. Dark red fruits abound with nice hints of herbs and cedar.
Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2009 ($35). We loved the rich creme brulee flavors of this opulent chardonnay. Tropical fruit and peach flavors with a nice splash of sweet, toasty oak.
Patz & Hall Zio Tony Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2009 ($60). The price is high for chardonnay, but this comes close to burgundy. Well balanced and opulent in texture, it has a broad array of aromas and enticing flavors of peach and apples.
Clos Pegase Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 ($48). This is an extraordinary wine that continues to please year after year. It may be pricey for you, but it’s worth every penny — and more. Very complex with fruit forward flavors and dusty tannins. Ripe black cherries, plum and chocolate notes.
Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage Red 2008 ($17). Often underestimated, the Crozes Hermitage region of northern Cotes du Rhone produces great values. This one has the generous and round blackberry flavors with soft tannins and hints of spice and cassis. Syrah is the dominant if not only grape used in this luscious wine.
Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage White 2010 ($17). This is a wonderful blend of marsanne and rousanne has a beguiling bouquet of pineapple, mango and anise. Fresh citrus notes dominate the palate with hints of almonds.
Rodney Strong Symmetry 2008 ($55). Indeed, this wine has a lot of symmetry. Using grapes from Alexander Valley, the winemaker has crafted a delicious, balanced wine that is 65 percent cabernet sauvignon. The rest of the blend is made up of malbec, merlot, petite verdot and cabernet franc. Ripe sweet plums and blackberries command the palate and are followed by hints of dark chocolate and cinnamon.