Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2008 Kanu Vineyards Chenin Blanc, South Africa

This is an interesting little dry white that also happens to be dirt cheap. The winery is located in the Stellenbosch viticultural area. Chenin blanc (also locally called steen) has been cultivated in South Africa for a long time but it has generally been relegated to also-ran status. This one is not going to provide serious comoetition to the classic Loire Valley chenins, but its rounded fruit-driven flavors, spicy aromas and good overall balance results in a wine that does not have to make excuses.

The price? $9 at the World Market in Kansas City (135th and State Line). This is a perfect summer pool-side wine. I would be difficult to find a better white quaffer at this price.

Monday, May 3, 2010

2007 Luna Pinot Grigio, Napa County

Year after year, this producer can be depended on to make a satisfying California pinot grigio. This may be their best one yet. Light yellow in color, with notes of lemon and honey in the nose. Not at all watery like many pinot grigios can be. Lots of ripe flavor interest with zesty acidity complete the picture. This wine normally sells for around $16, but the World Market store in Kansas City (135th and State Line) had it last week for $10! A case of this wine gives you a good start for the summer.

1994 Kalin Cellars Chardonnay, "Cuvee W"

You might think this review should be posted in "Old Tastes." But this is actually a recent release from this winery, located in Novato, CA (northern Marin County). The fruit was sourced from the Wente Estate Vineyard located in the Livermore Valley AVA. The wine is amazingly fresh even though it is almost 16 years old. The color is a deep yellow but shows no signs of any browning. When you taste it, you can tell it has some age but, again, its freshness and vitality would lead you to guess five years rather than 16.
And this is not a one-of-a-kind offering from this producer. The web site ( offers several other older wines for sale, including a 1997 sauvignon blanc (which I have had and it is amazingly well-preserved), a 1994 pinot noir and a 1988 (!) chardonnay.
The price for this 1994 chardonnay was $38 plus shipping. This is a bargain when you factor in the decade and a half of storage costs. Parker gave this wine a 94;Tanzer gave it a 91.