Saturday, July 31, 2010

2008 Rio Vaca Vineyards Chardonnay, "small lot reserve"

This wine is a prime example of the incredible wine bargains that can be found today. It's modest "California" AVA designation tells you it has no special pedigree. It originates from a vineyard to the east of the Vaca Mountains (which in turn are to the east of Napa Valley.) Looking at my California map shows the vineyard is actually on the edge of California's Central Valley. But no matter, the proof is in the pudding. The back label claims it was barrel fermented in 100% French oak. I don't know about that, but this is one tasty little Chardonnay that appears to have been intended for a more upscale market. This wine has good structure and focused aromas and flavors.

The price - an unbelievable $7 at the Kansas City Lukas store (135th and State Line on the Missouri side). Lukas seems to have purchased a big load of this so you may not be able to find it elsewhere.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2007 Pellehaut, Cotes de Gascogne, "Ampelomeryx"

The 2007 vintage in the southern regions of France continues to pump out interesting and tasty wines at bargain prices. This white wine is from the relatively obscure southwest region (south of Bordeaux). It is an unlikely blend of chardonnay and petite manseng, a grape that is normally used in this region to make sweet wines. It reportedly sees some oak but that element is far in the background. This is a completely dry, clean, fragrant wine that has an interesting flavor complexity.
Like the red Faugeres posted below, this wine came from the Wine Exchange in Orange, CA (800-76-WINEX). The price is a very reasonable $11. The perfect summer sipper.

2007 Faugeres, Leon Barral

Here is yet another delicious Languedoc red from the exemplary 2007 vintage. Faugeres' schist soil plays a big role here, as does the fact that the vines are 40 to 70 years old and are tended by a quality-driven fanatic.
This wine is a blend of grenache, syrah, mourvedre, cinsault and carignan. The purity and focus of the fruit-driven aromas and flavors are impressive. Fully ripe tannins mean there are no rough edges to be found. An altogether satisfying wine that is delicious now but it will handle a few years in your cellar with ease.
The Wine Exchange in Orange, CA (800-76-WINEX) carries this wine. It is bargain-priced at $16.