Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Friday Lineup™

A weekly commentary on selected wines tasted. All wines are sampled pristine and with food.
Last week I took off Friday as I was en route back from the West Coast where I visited several wineries, with in-depth looks at Jordan and Bouchaine, both for assignments for upcoming magazine pieces. And next week I will be late again, coming back from assignment in the Loire Valley. But I will be posting.

Wine of the Week

2007 Inama Vigneti di Foscarino Soave Classico ($19). I’ve been commenting on several interesting Soaves recently, but this has to be one of my favorites, and Stefano Inama is definitely my favorite winemaker in the appellation and certainly one of the most interesting winemakers anywhere to talk with. This wine is 100% hillside Garganega, which produces here juicy, tropical flavors – full and complex, yet with good acidity. I found I had to work my way into the wine, however, and not just start drinking, which is unusual – almost as if the wine were saying, “Don’t take me casually.” But the more I sipped, the more I became pulled in.

Wines of Interest

2008 Bota Box California Cabernet Sauvignon ($19 for 3 liters). Yeah, yeah, I know that good box wines are no longer news, and I don’t need another pitch on environmentally correct packaging. But you’re going to have to work hard to find a better Cab at under $5 a bottle. This one has plenty of straightforward cherry and raspberry fruit and offers a very pleasing, lightly tangy finish (the way Cotes de Rhones used to do). All of which makes it very drinkable with or without food.

I am moved, though, to wonder whether we will need new terminology for boxers. Can a wine have “box shock?” Will BYOBs charge you a “spigot fee?” And if a box of red has bret, should we term it a “bladder infection”?

2009 Dancing Coyote Clarksburg (CA) Albarino and 2008 Dancing Coyote Clarksburg Petite Sirah (line priced at $11). I was prepared for a critter attack when I opened the shipment of extended varietals from this appellation that has in the past produced the best Chenin Blanc in America. And I was partially right, but not with the Albarino. It is quite delicious – very much like what you would get from Spain’s Galicia – with crisp, aromatic pear and light melon flavors and a lightly spicy finish with fine acidity. The Petite Sirah was also good, if not outstanding, but only after it sat overnight uncorked and a glass short. Increasingly, I am finding red wines from California that have bitter edges just after they are opened and poured that grate on the palate. More-complex wines can get away with it, as we’re used to decanting or giving the wines a little airing to come around. But that's demanding a lot work and time from a simple grab-and-gulper.

2009 Concha y Toro Xplorador Mendoza Malbec ($7). This is a fairly new line of wines from the venerable Chilean house that is now a Banfi brand, so I decided to start with the one wine from outside that country and get to the ones from Chile later. It’s OK for an entry wine with true Malbec flavors, but it doesn’t quite have enough of them. Simple cherry flavors with a sweetish finish and some mild tannins.

2008 Rocca di Montemassi “Calasole” Maremma Toscano Vermentino ($15). A very nice wine from a grape few Americans have had from a beautiful region of Tuscany (the coast) that few of us have visited. It has juicy, green flavors – somewhat similar to a Sauvignon though not as grassy – that are refreshing and clean. Very versatile food wine.

Article Alert: Read my piece in the May Beverage Media about the state of American sparkling wines at

Until next time…

Roger Morris