New Weekend Splurges: a Rioja Gran Reserva Beauty and German Riesling

18 Jan


There are two major blunders in life – never pass on a Rioja Gran Reserva under $30 and never go in with a Sicilian when death is on the line #favouritemovie. This week there’s a fabulous Rioja Gran Reserva. I recommended this same wine about a year ago. The story then was that I had a 2001 of these still sitting around and opened it one night. It did not disappoint – “beauty” as DC would say. This is from a vintage generally regarded as better than 2001 and is equally a “beauty” – the wine is 2004 Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva (#114454 $22.95). Not big but well balanced and the drinkability index is very high – very high. It’s gorgeous. I’m surmising that this will not be available in large quantities. Inconceivable.

MountVeederI feel that I need to declare my biases here. I’m doing a bit of that with a new space on my web site that lets you in on why certain wines get mentioned and others ignored. But, let’s not worry about that right now. I love Napa mountain wine, Mt. Veeder, Diamond Mountain, Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain (remember my faux pas last week?). Some of my best Napa moments have been from these AVA’s. It’s usually just so beautiful. It’s what the geeks call terroir.  So, when I saw the 2009 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon (#708842 $49.95I thought that I had to mention it. This wine is awfully good. Now, I won’t compare it to other California wines (compounding my Caymus error) but it is cellarable and good now with meat – the kind of meat that Napa district cabernet solicits – red, grilled, rare. Let it lay or breathe.

There’s a great entry level pinot noir from Inniskillin – why classify as a weekend splurge wine, you say? Because it costs a bit more is all. I saw Natalie MacLean do a video tasting of this wine that piqued my interest (it’s pretty cool when you can use the word piqued – appropriately that is). So, I poured a glass and low and behold it is as advertised – clean and elegant. Sharp acidity that fits with a sit down meal or a finger food thing – 2010 Inniskillin Winemaker’s Series Select Vineyards Pinot Noir (#175174 $22.95). Is your interest piqued?

GreppiIn Italy, they say, “Chi mangia sulo s’affoga.” He who eats alone suffocates, I believe. If I knew the appropriate declension and future pluperfect in Italian, I would translate, “Those that drink alone suffocate.” However, I admit that infrequently there are evenings I’m on oxygen – gasping until my wife comes home. There’s a wine on offer this week that should welcome company to your home – no need to suffocate – 2009 I Greppi Greppicante Bolgheri (#170381 $23.95). This is a great blend of cabernet sauvignon (circa 60%), merlot, and cabernet franc. I recommended the 2007 a couple of years back. It was spectacular (#46 Wine Spectator’s Top 100) and this won’t disappoint either. Pick up a bottle to have with some Italian fare – sausage, tomato sauce, pasta. Awesome. And, I’d say a bargain at $23.95. I’d like to remind those of the Brancaia Tre a few months ago. This has the same vibe.

I was treated to some great German Riesling over the holidays. I know that I don’t venture into these regions that often on these pages, but I do think that we owe it to ourselves to start reacquainting ourselves with these beautiful wines. “But, Bill, I find them too sweet.” My child, you are harkening back to the days of Blue Nun and Black Tower, marathon Monoploy games, knives, and the whirlies. Things have changed and although I still see people carting bottles of Black Tower out the door, most Mosel and Rheinhessen wines are not overly sweet. This week, the 2010 C.H. Berres Ǘrziger Würzgarten Reisling Spätlese (#301952 $24.95should be your choice. This has minerality, fruit and a very nice finish. Go ahead and try this medium sweet wine on its own while sitting in a sunny window reading your new favourite novel – no, not The Hunger Games or other such teen literature – real novels only. Caution: this wine is not fit for non-fiction.

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