Sunday, April 24, 2011

2009 d'Arenberg "The Stump Jump"

D'Arenberg is a reliable Aussie producer that has been in business since 1912. Although many of their McLaren Vale wines are pricey indeed, their lower-priced reds and whites are high in quality, delivering a lot of bang for the buck. Such is the case with this tasty offering, a blend of 42% grenache, 33% shiraz and 25% mourvedre. Medium-full bodied (14% alcohol), this wine offers lots of complexity and flavor interest. Ripe tannins and medium acidity signal a wine ready to drink now, although it will not lose anything if it spends a year or two in your cellar. This wine is widely distributed and its $12 (or less) price tag should cause no heartburn.

2009 La Crema Chardonnay, Monterey

La Crema winery, now owned by Jess Jackson, is quietly increasing the quality of its various bottlings without jacking up prices. This wine is simply delicious with subtle oak accenting the solid tropical fruit aromas and flavors. A nicely balanced chardonnay with no rough edges or excessive acidity. Perfect for immediate consumption, it should not fade in your cellar for at least a couple of years. Robert Parker Jr. gives it a 90 and indicates a retail price of $20. This wine is certainly worth that, but you should be able to find it at a reduced price in your local area. I purchased my bottle from a grocery store in Tucson for $14, a price that puts it in the outstanding value category.