Slurping Around with P.D.W. May 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 8:05AM
Rick Robbins, M.D.

Hi all: Lots to choose from, but the prices are steadily rising. Without exact numbers, wines under $20 are all about $3 more this year than last.


White Wines

2010 Kato Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough NZ, $9. Another typical, excellent NZAB at a lower than average price. Strong herbal gooseberry nose, very similar palate, very clean, viscous, with good length. The acidity is on the lower side for a NZSB.

2010 Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ $7. Here we go again. Great nose of herbal gooseberry. There is a very faint whiff of sulfur, which is not discerned on the palate. The taste is typical - herbal gooseberry and lime - with unusually low acidity. The low acid makes it taste almost sweet, and for me this means drinking it quite cold. But for those of you who find NZSB too bracingly tart, here is your wine.

2010 The NED Pinot Gris, Marlborough $12. This is the first Pinot Gris I have seen from NZ, and it is - surprise - excellent. The nose has stone fruit with a distinct minerally edge. The palate has forward peach and tropical fruit, and softer acids. It is viscous and long.

2010 Martin Codax Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain $13. I have developed an affinity for good Albarino, and this is certainly good. It has a clean aroma of lemons, with a similar palate. The acidity is high, but it is viscous and very tasty. It may be one-dimensional in flavor - citrus - but it is very nice.

2010 Martinsancho Verdejo, "Rueda" $14. Verdejo is an unusual varietal. The nose is stemmy, with grapefruit and honey. The palate is rich with melon and citrus. It is clean, with balanced acid. It is worth trying if you have not had the variety before.


Red Wines

2010 Columbia Crest Red Wine, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington $10. This is a really good party/BBQ wine, a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah. Red cherry and raspberry with a lot of sweet vanilla and some spice on both the nose and palate. Excellent bright acidity, medium body, light tannin, and lots of vanilla and almost sweet, briary (woody-stemmy) red berry palate with some spice. While this is not a wine to keep more than a year - not a lot of structure - it is very easy to drink right now.

2010 Primal Roots Red Blend, California $7. This has Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel and is quite similar to the Columbia crest in character - forward almost sweet spice red berry nose with vanilla oak, and a similar fruit-first berryish palate with vanilla. PS - this one was at Costco. Another tasty party wine.

2008 Cimicky Shiraz "Trumps" South Australia $15. Charles Cimicky is a first-tier winemaker from the southern Barossa Valley in SA, and he is known for great high-end reds. This one is affordable and interesting rather than high end. The nose has dark plums, some forest floor (earthy, mushroom) and a touch of oak char. The palate is full of dark plum and berries, again shows the forest floor features, and has a little dill. Medium acid and tannin. Probably needs an hour to open fully.

2009 Casa Silva Carmenere Reserva, Chile, Colchagua Valley $10. This dark wine has a nose of dark plums and red currants and a hint of orange peel. At first a hint of sulfur, this blew off. The palate is soft and rich with dark berry fruit, a little stemminess and hint of black pepper. Acid is balanced, tannins are soft, and length is very good.

2010 Easton Zinfandel, Amador county, California $13. Amador is a very hot climate in the Sierra Foothills, made hotter by being close to Sacramento politics. Surprisingly, this zin is not over the top and port-like as one might have thought. It has a jammy, raspberry nose with a touch of oak char. The palate is very forward with lovely raspberry fruit, excellent acidity and a light mouthfeel. It is bright and briary, neither tannic nor sweet, and has an interesting taste of sage (dry herbs).

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