Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cave de Rasteau Cotes Du Rhone Villages Rasteau 2008

Trying to follow the 2007 vintage in the Southern Rhone is no easy task. I worry every time that I try 2008 and 2009 wines from the Rhone Valley that I will be disappointed after having had so many great wines from the legendary 2007 vintage. It seems thought that the values just keep coming from the Southern Rhone especially from some of the lesser known and up and coming villages scattered throughout the region.

The Cave de Rasteau Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau 2008, made from 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Syrah, is just such a value. In your glass it is medium red with a little bit of brick like color at the edge which suggests a much older wine. The nose brings mixed raspberries and strawberries with spice and a subtle earthy element. In your mouth you get much more of the same raspberry and strawberry fruit with ample spice to add some depth. The acidity is nice with mild tannins, and the finish has decent length and brings an additional element of sour cherries.

Overall, this is a nice, easy drinking wine that is perfect for everyday enjoyment at a price of $12. This would pair nicely with a grilled pork tenderloin or would certainly work well with an assortment of cheese and olives.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vega Escal Priorat 2006

I am a lover of all things Spanish, but I especially love Spanish food and wine. Many months ago I discovered Despana, a fantastic and authentic Spanish food shop on Broome St in New York City that carries everything from Bomba rice and piquillo peppers to Jamon Serrano and a huge assortment of Spanish cheese. I make a point of stopping in to stock up on goodies every few weeks. Recently on one of my trips I discovered to my delight that they opened up a wine store next door. Despana Vinos y Mas is a small wine shop that carries a huge selection of Spanish wine. Their cozy little shop has over 400 different bottles of wine from all over Spain, and they are very knowledgeable about their wine and the many fantastic and varied wine regions in Spain. My only lament is that I was taking the train home and was only able to carry a box of six bottles back with me. Otherwise I would have walked out with 3 or 4 cases of delicious juice!

One of the first bottles I tried after coming home was the Vega Escal Priorat 2006. Priorat is one of my favorite regions, but there are so few values to be found in lower price ranges. The Vega Escal Priorat 2006 retails for about $20 which is about as low as it goes for a Priorat. The wine is made from 60% Carinena, 30% Garnacha, and 10% Syrah that is aged for 6 months in American and French oak. The wine is deep red in color and has a beautiful, intense nose of black raspberry and cherry with notes of leather and mocha. On the palate you get black raspberry, raspberry, and sour cherry fruit with a hint of dark chocolate on the finish. The acidity and nicely integrated tannins bring some structure. This is a really nice bottle of wine for right around $20.

From a pairing standpoint, this would go very nicely with a flank or hanger steak or it would certainly go well with some Jamon Iberico. If you live in the NYC area, definitely check out Desspana Vinos y Mas and pick up a bottle of this great Priorat value.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008

It's pretty safe to say that the royal family of California wine is the Mondavi family. What started as a small business with Cesare Mondavi and his sons Peter and Robert has spread into something huge, and along the way there have been family dynamics playing out that could provide story lines for any of the remaining daytime soaps.

Robert Mondavi left his family's business many tears ago to start the now better known Robert Mondavi Winery which was sold to Constellation Brands. Robert's sons and daughter are each involved in different ventures now. From Robert's side of the family, you have an outstanding Reserve program from Robert Mondavi Winery, some up and coming really good Cabs from Marcia and Tim's Continuum label, and a variety of wine businesses from Michael.

Peter Mondavi's family on the other hand, has been consistently making wine under the Charles Krug label that Cesare purchased decades ago. Peter's sons Peter Jr. and Marc are more involved than ever, and I'm here to say that the results right now are fantastic. Charles Krug is consistently turning out really good Cabs in the $20 to $30 range that are delicious, balanced, and food friendly. The 2008 vintage is no exception.

In your glass the the Charles Krug Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 is deep purple-red in color. The nose brings blackberry and cassis with a mild floral element. This has the bouquet of a classic Napa Cab. In your mouth you get outstanding blackberry fruit up front, but this is not just just another fruit bomb. The fruit is backed up by very well integrated tannins, nice acidity, and a medium-full body that is restrained compared to so many Napa Cabs that err on the side of syrupy.

Then Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 is simply an outstanding value in the low $20's for a bottle. It brings plenty of fruit but also shows some restraint and it makes for an excellent pairing with any grilled red meats. It would go particularly well with a grilled tenderloin with shallot reduction. The recipe can be found here Treat yourself to a bottle of this delicious cab and give it a try with some nice filets.