Friday, April 9, 2010

The Friday Lineup™

A weekly commentary on selected wines tasted. All wines are sampled pristine and with food.

Wines of the Week:

2008 Franciscan Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($17) and 2008 Franciscan Napa Valley Chardonnay ($18). The area where I live – Chester County, PA – is well-known for its many great BYOBs, as on-premise liquor licenses in this quirky state are scarce and expensive. These bottles from the venerable Franciscan Estate are just the kinds of wine to “bring” on a weekday night when you want something a cut above average but not extravagant. They are of a kind – both with complex tropical fruit flavors, yet both finish with a lean, though not harsh, juiciness. The Sauvignon is in the style of Pessac-Leognan, rather than the Loire, with herbal, sur lie richness and a finishing ripe, red gooseberry tanginess. The Chardonnay has melons with lots of creamy, but not heavy, toasty oak. Both are good values.

Wines of Interest:

2008 Quivira “Wine Creek Ranch” Grenache ($26). This wine is not quite “there” yet, but it’s getting close. The fruit is right – big dark, Languedoc-style Grenache berries, good firm tannins, a gentle bit of tonic bitters prickling around the edges in the finish. The oak, to my taste, is not quite right – a little too much caramel, which fights with the fruit for dominance. The two blend much better in a next-morning second tasting, which indicates that a better harmony might be achieved with decanting or a couple of years of bottle aging.

NV Dibon Brut Reserva Cava ($9). It’s an elegant sparkler with light candied flavors, but it sort of fades in the stretch just when – like so many things in life – you wish it could last just… a… little… longer.

Articles of Interest

It’s been a good couple of weeks for articles, especially in the May issue of Wine Enthusiast – a major piece on “A Day in the Life of a Chateau” with six pages of text and photos, plus an probing Q&A session with consultant and winemaker Michel Rolland. In Signature Brandywine, there is a profile of perhaps the first cult winery and cult winemaker on the East Coast – Anthony Vietri and his Va La Vineyards. The Hunt magazine features my piece on Bluecoat gin. Online, Sommelier News ( has my piece on how Rioja is reloading, and Chester County Dwell ( features an article on the first solar-powered vineyard operation in the region.

Until next time…

Roger Morris


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