Wine of the Week:
2007 Craggy Range “Te Kahu” Gimblett Gravels ($22). How many times do I have to say it – Steve Smith really knows how to make wines, whatever the grape. OK, so this may not be the best wine I’ve ever tasted, but it is a delicious Bordeaux blend – complex fruit with mulberries, minty creams, dark cherry, buttery oak and a lean finish. As a winemaker friend who tasted this with me said, “It has New World fruit, but is very smooth and drinkable.” Blend is Merlot (54%), Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot.
Wines of Interest:
2008 Liebfraustift-Kirchenstuck Riesling Trocken (SRP not set). This is a good wine for Riesling lovers who can’t make up their whether they prefer plumpness or austerity, as it has a little of both. The first taste is of succulent oranges and peaches smoothly transition into a slatey, minerally finish. Not a great wine, but a very pleasant one. (Estate formerly known as P.J. Valckenberg.)
2008 Gabriel Meffre “Laurus” Gigondas ($24). Dark, concentrated cassis and raspberry flavors with nice tonic bitters around the edges. Tasted it with a cassoulet, and it was a great pairing.
2009 Craggy Range “Te Muna” Road Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc ($22). This is a big and firm wine, seeming almost a different variety that the boxwoody, lean Sauvignons of Marlborough across the straits at the tip of New Zealand’s South Island. It is an excellent food wine, well-balanced, with more tropical fruit flavors than grassy tastes. Apples and pears.
2007 Blackstone Winemaker’s Select Merlot ($12). A bargain. I like this wine for its dark fruits concentration – especially black raspberry - yet it never becomes too fruit-forward or tiring on the palate. In some ways, it is more reminiscent of a good, earthy Grenache from the southern Rhone or Languedoc than of a Bordeaux varietal.
Until next time...