Life is better on the corner, the place where great wines meet reasonable prices!




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wines of the Week: My Top Choices





"It's my contention that good food and great wines should not be the rare commodity, but rather it should be a model which we all strive to live-by!" ~ Wise Vinosapien


In the illustration above, you see a busy wine writer attempting to post his next article, the desk filled with more 'in' than 'out', it's funny how often that scenario plays out, in real life. Just this month, a couple cases have shown up on my doorstep, some expected and many, I'm not sure how or why they've arrived. I'm not the mass taster I use to be, tasting hundreds of wines and then regurgitating some notes on each wine. Now I like to slow down, take my time with a wine, so I can get to know it a bit better, a far better analysis than what just a one time impression would allow.

When it comes to my style and the way I do things, regarding wine reviews. I often like to say; it's my one man mission is to provide readers with current, objective, relatable content and hopefully even a wee-bit of entertainment about the wonderful world of wine. I'm continually spanning the globe [no really, just got back from Champagne] looking and eventually landing on the intersection of where great wine meets reasonable prices. I'm also fond of saying; "let the wine speak for itself and let the chips fall where they may" and if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I do just that. 




Now that said, today I'm doing something far too few wine-blogs [yes even the ones you may know and love, far more than the one you're reading now] are willing to do. What is that you ask? In today's wine roundup are wines I discovered via the traditional, ages old method of wine acquisition, the wines featured in today's review are wines, I paid good money, to have in my own cellar, and are selections I'm eager to recommend to each one of you. 

So instead of focusing solely on wines from public relations groups, samples and the like, today's review will be agenda free. I'm not going to make a nickel off the wines I'm promoting today, there are no advertisers here, pushing me to write this or that and there never will be, my opinion is NOT for sale. I want to bring these wines to your attention for a couple reasons, maybe even three. One, because, I like many people, really dig getting great bang for my buck, and while not all of the wines featured here in this review are inexpensive, many of them represent a fantastic value for the dollars invested. Second, these are all wines I'd happily purchase again. Especially so if the current lotto jackpot just happened to fall into my lap [wink]. 



The wine you see above is nothing but classic Burgundy, it's a wine I purchased to celebrate finding a new career path in the wine industry. It's another small step forward in the pursuit of goals to not only talk about wine here, but to expand those skills to the workplace where financial and professional rewards are both realized. Now that said, this wine is complex, textured, sporting that famous 2011 acidity [cool year] and still very taught tannins. 

I say classic, because there is abundant forest floor, think of licking wet mushrooms, or smelling a fallen tree branch that has been on the ground for weeks. Freshly cracked peppercorns and fresh summer bing cherries jamming on bass and did I say minerality? No, well there's plenty of that to go around as well. You could easily cellar this puppy for years to come, but it's enjoyable now. A word to the wise, decant is the word, sorry to disagree with the author of the wine bible, Karen McNeil who does not like to decant PN, instead she likes to see it evolve in the glass. Trust me, decant this puppy for a full flavored thrill ride. This wine is $54 and I scored it, 93 points. 



Jumping from Burgundy to Bordeaux, let's take a trip to tasty town via Chateau Teyssier, a Saint Emilion Grand Cru. This wine, of which I just ordered four more, is mind blowing good for the tiny $29 price tag. A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, taunt tannins stretched out over a canvas of rich black fruit, blackberry, dark plums, cassis, some rustic minerality, beautifully textured, coupled with a long finish bringing it all home. It could definitely age for much longer, 2010 was one thee very best recent vintages in Bordeaux and in this bottle, you find out why that is true. My score 91 points. This is case purchase territory. 



I discovered this label on my very first wine blogging trip, one which I paid for, I was not a junketeer by stretch back in 2008. Nonetheless, the winemaker was a gracious host, inviting Mrs. Cuvee and I into his house, grabbing some pecorino cheese and a baguette and pouring his wines, we chatted for a few hours, and taking a quick tour of his property, we both quickly realized this was some of the best wines we've ever had before. I predicted back then, this label would reach super-star status and it has, but the prices have not shot as much as their winemaking fame has. I found the 2005 Pian Dell' Orino Brunello silky smooth on the palate, just a great mouth feel, but a bit more rustic than the great 2004 I brought back home. Still an amazingly authentic wine with real soul and substance, decant for an hour or more.

This wine was still in barrel when at the time of my visit, but seeing it in a wine store, I knew I had to have it. I found it wonderfully balanced, with good acidity and bonus Biodynamic farming practices to boot, way back in the day, before it was a buzzword. In a nutshell I would say that the wines made at Pian Dell' Orino offer the average vinosapien, an excellent picture into the heart of Brunello , lovely aromatics a have mouthwatering acidity, and a long finish. What more could you ask for? My score for this wine is 94 points, it sells for $59 most places. 


For those of you reading this, and fainting dead away because most of the prices above are more than $9.99, please stick around, because this is your wine. It's also one I've purchased a case of myself, an extraordinary Italian table wine, that is truly authentic, and possesses both soul and substance for just $9.99. I scored this wine 91 points, yes you heard me right, so if you want an authentic Italian wine experience without having to fly to Italy, than this is your wine. The perfect pizza wine. Great acid, beautiful light plums, floral, minerality, meaty strawberry and medium tannins. Drink now and drink often!





Another gem, I pulled from the collection a few weeks back. This wine for me, represents the joy of collecting wine and enjoying it later. I remember uncorking this bottle, and showing the label to Mrs. Cuvee. It brought back fond memories of our trip to Sonoma, where we met some like minded wine friends and had an opportunity to meet one of the few remaining Seghesio family matriarchs. Moments in time, captured by a bottle of wine, with good friends and amazing wine making trail blazers. This wine was inky, dark and brooding in the glass, throwing sediment you could see staining the side of decanter as it was poured. 

Blackberry, cassis. dark plums, blueberries, underbrush, painted across still taunt tannins, and just enough acid to carry the abundant upfront fruit. This wine is very textured, layer upon layer, opening up and evolving over the course of the evening. The San Lorenzo vineyard was purchased in 1896 by Frank Passalacqua for the sum of ten gold coins. The deed indicated a young vineyard most likely planted in 1890 and planted almost entirely with Zinfandel, but 17% of it's Petite Sirah and only bottled as this single varietal in very good years. It sells for $49.99 to $59.99 they were generous to extend the standard industry discount. I walked out this place with nearly a case. My score for this gem, 94 points. 


I acquired this wine last year, while on a quick press trip to the Napa Valley. I love 100% Cabernet Franc or near 100% wines so much, I purchased this wine at full price, their proceeds go to charity and they only offer industry discounts to other winery owners or employees. It's also owned by a nonprofit foundation that was founded to benefit international cardiovascular research. 

 A wonderfully vibrant, wine, packed like a summer picnic basket, the perfume of lavender and spice swirling around the top of the glass, and fresh raspberry, fig and blackberry fruit are easily carried by mouthwatering acidity and well-embedded structure. Lots of anise, spice on the finish. A tremendous wine, from a producer that turns many heads, with a near cult like following. This wine sells for $59 most places, I scored it 91 points. It's not thee most compelling CF, I've encountered, but neither would I kick it out of bed in the morning.



Another very good 2010, but a bit more of a modern style Bordeaux. Still it has a lovely vein of acid, which keeps the abundant red and dark fruit in check. Medium tannins and finish. Drinks like an mid to high priced Napa Valley Cab, which sells for half that price $29.99. With this kind of stellar QPR, you could easily buy 6 or [I know I have] more, and enjoy for years to come. 

Okay there you have it folks, seven more wines reviewed without anything being in it for me, my only hope is that you'll seek a few of these wines out for yourself now, or in the new future. Until next time folks remember, life is truly short, you never know when you may be uncorking that last bottle, so make it a good and please don't settle for ordinary commodity wines, slurp long and prosper cheers!

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