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Slurping Around with P.D.W. January, 2012

Hi all,

Apologies for being a week late, but I was away all last weekend and had no opportunity to find wines you may like. I made up for that yesterday.


2010 Scloss Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner, Austria ($14). GV is a grape variety tightly associated with Austria, and may be a new experience for many of you, so I thought to add it. Many are somewhat “generic white wine” in character, but this one is a step above. It is clean, with a citrus/tropical nose, and on the palate has good bright acidity, and citrus/tropical fruit that is rich and viscous.

2010 Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch Reserve ($12). This wine has stonefruit and citrus in the nose and palate. It is clean, with good acid and is not sweet at all. The finish has a lot of vanilla-caramel.

2010 Martinsancho Verdejo “Rueda” ($14). This is an interesting white with a slightly green, stemmy nose that also has honey and grapefruit. The palate is rich if a bit short with melon and citrus. Acid balance is very nice.

2010 Backhouse Chardonnay, California ($6). This is unusual wine. The nose is clean, with green apple and slight passionfruit, both of which appear on the palate too. Nice acidity, no discernible oak, it is almost like a sauvignon blanc. But at this price, what’s not to like? Bought a few myself.

2010 Wisteria Cellars Chardonnay, California ($6). A little wet socks on the nose that cleared quickly, with nice citrus and tropical fruit on the nose and palate, which was clean from the start. It is creamy and viscous, but very light on oak, and quite crisp.


2008 Columbia Crest Cabernet, “Horse Heaven Hills”, Washington ($10). This is very tasty stuff. Lots of dark berry fruit and quite a bit of American oak (dill) on the nose, the palate has very forward, ripe, dark cherry fruit, quite a bit of vanilla, and no green characters. The palate is similar, with excellent fruit intensity but a lot of vanilla, dill, almost caramel. Tannins are soft, acid is medium and length is very good. While I would not age it more than a year or two, it is very easy to drink right now.

Petite Sirah’s:

In this column a year ago, I wrote up 2005 La Storia Petite Sirah, Alexander Valley, CA  ($19). This wine “was stunning (I said), not because of the 15.2% alcohol, but because it is new age Petite Sirah. That means there is actually some fruit (truly, loads of the stuff) and yet the tannins are actually in check and not tooth-rotting or mouth drying.” So, we have more of the same to recommend a year later–in fact three more, that together you can buy for less than one bottle of La Storia. Go get them and see for yourself.

2010 Crane Lake Petite Sirah, California ($3). Yes, I made no mistake, $3. This stuff is, well, really very good. Yes, the fruit tastes a bit grapey and young, but it is mouthfilling in red and dark berry/blueberry flavors and is moderately soft in tannins. It has some vanilla oak, but not much, excellent balanced acidity, and good length. I have no idea if it is at all ageworthy, but why wait. It may not be very complex, but it is so tasty……p.s.: has only 12.5% alcohol, and comes in flat-bottomed bottle, something one hardly ever sees.

2007 Napa Ridge Petite Sirah, Napa Valley ($5). Yes, I made no mistake, $5–for a Napa grown wine. This is quite extracted and has considerable structure, yet it too has only 12.5% alcohol. Although 5 years old, it tastes quite young and fresh. It has blueberry on the nose and palate, with some anise, sage, cedar, and earth. The tannins are not soft, but the fruit is good enough to give balance. As a big wine, it needs good red meat (actually, you need the meat, the wine doesn’t really care), but overall for the price, it is great.

2009 Bogle Petite Sirah, California ($8-50). I tasted these three PS’s blindly side by side, and both of the above beat out the Bogle by a little bit. Bogle is a bit lighter in style this year, with blueberries on the nose and palate. It is a bit one-dimensional in taste – a bit simple. It is all good, but not great, so I am happy with one bottle each of Napa Ridge and Crane Lake for the same price as one Bogle.

2008 Vina Zaco, Tempranillo, Rioja ($10). If this all sounds Greek to you, Vina Zaco is the winery; Tempranillo the grape and Rioja the region. Spain, duh. This is a deeply colored wine with a complex nose of dark berry, spice, oak, dill and vanilla. All these same features appear on the palate. It is a full-bodied wine, with medium tannin. It is clean, with good acid and decent length.

2009 Chateau Baby red wine, Bordeaux, France ($9). I am not a “…..” crook? Nah,try Francophobe. I like $200 French wines just as much as you do. I just have trouble with the $10-15 French reds that make it to the USA. This wine is the exception. It has dried herbs and cherry fruit on the nose and palate, is a touch green, has some vanilla and is a generally pleasant lighter style party wine with soft tannins. Chateau Baby? Come on!!

Good drinking,

Peter, January 2012

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