Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2004 Martinelli chardonnay, Three Sisters Vineyard, "Sea Ridge Meadow"

I purchased this wine in April 2007 for $56.  Both Parker and Tanzer gave it a 94 score.  I pulled the cork two nights ago and was amazed at the youthful freshness of this 7+ year old wine.  Beautiful yellow color without a trace of oxidation.  The aroma was astonishingly complex and made you think the wine had been bottled a year ago.  This wine of course is a "true" Sonoma Coast wine: the vineyard is only two ridge lines from the Pacific Ocean, as contrasted with the silly Sonoma Coast AVA which is so huge as to be meaningless.  Martinelli calls it "Three Sisters" because the three Martinelli sisters decide when the grapes will be harvested.  Good job there ladies!  I am finding with increased frequency that chardonnay from this region is almost as fine as the legendary pinot noirs and Martinelli does an exemplary job with both.  Another "island in the fog" chardonnay from this producer is their Charles Ranch bottling and it is a winner also.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2009 Gotham shiraz, Langhorne Creek

This Aussie red wine once again shhows that there is a lot of good wine at very reasonable prices to be found in today's market. If you like rich, ripe shiraz/syrah aged in American oak, this is your cup of tea. There doesn't seem to be any residual sugar and the tannins are held in check. The finish is amazingly long for a wine in this price bracket. I think it will be even better with a few more years in your cellar to round off any rough edges. The price at the World Market in Tucson was $11.50, making this a real bargain.

2009 Louis M. Martini cabernet sauvignon, Sonoma

My previous review of a cab from this producer was the 2006 version. Although 2009 was not an outstanding vintage for this varietal in Sonoma County, Martini obviously has reliable grape sources. This is a delicious wine that makes no pretenses, it simply delivers accurate varietal flavors in a very balanced package. Good acidity and fine-grained tannins will see this wine nicely through several more years in your cellar. But why wait, it is drinking beautifully right now. This wine has widespread distribution. I bought my bottle at a grocery store in Tucson for $16.

Friday, February 3, 2012

2010 D'Arenberg "The Hermit Crab"

This Aussie white wine is a blend of 68% viognier and 32% Marsanne. I reviewed the 2008 version about a year and a half ago and I find this one to be a worthy successor. Nicely structured with a medium-full body, soft acid (but it is not flabby), and perhaps a touch of residual sugar, which does not detract from this style of wine. A very easy-drinking wine that will match up with a wide range of foods.
This wine has wide distribution and you should be able to buy it for under $15. I would consume this wine within the next 12 months.

2008 Beringer "Alluvium Blanc", Knights Valley

I have been a fan of this white wine for a number of years and I have become used to paying well over $10 a bottle. I did a real double-take when I saw this wine selling for under $6 at the World Market in Tucson. When I noted the vintage was 2008, I then suspected this was a market "dump" of an over-the-hill white wine. I bought one bottle to test my theory...the next day I rushed back to the store to buy two cases!
This wine is a blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon, chardonnay and viognier. Usually this sort of blend has a short life span, but Beringer can be relied on to craft a wine that does not fall apart a year or two from the vintage date. This is a substantial wine, full of rich flavors and complex aromas. This wine goes amazingly well with Asian dishes. I note on my World Market receipt that I received an additional case discount, bringing the bottle price down to $5.29!