This is what our editors and contributors were drinking last week…


Evan Dawson: Gai'a 2009 Wild Ferment Assyrtiko 

There is a slowly growing buzz about Greek wines, and I'd love to have more access to them. They're hard to find in Rochester and the Finger Lakes, and this bottle was a gift from a friend.

What a fascinating and bewitching wine.

Many wines shake hands and say, "I'll offer you citrus and honey, with a bit of flowers," or "Here is some lime and peach." This wine plays hard-to-get, forcing you to think.

What a nice change.

It's a crisp, stony wine and I look forward to finding more of it.

FDC Julia Burke: Fleur du Cap 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

An unfiltered South African sauvignon blanc? Yes please.

I tried this at work when a rep brought a bag full of Fleur du Cap goodies for us to taste. At the time this was my favorite, so I brought it home for reexamination. Its Wine of Origin is Western Cape, for those who are SA wine geeks.

For an unfiltered wine it's quite clear with a lovely pale yellowish tinge.On the nose, it's gooseberries, lemon zest and just a touch of asparagus, with firm acidity and a lovely long finish.

When I brought it over to Freedom Run to taste with my former coworkers while I checked on my own wine, they said it reminded them of Sancerre.

For the curiosity factor alone it was definitely worthwhile, but it's also a tasty and refreshing sauvignon blanc that is begging for a cheese plate.

IMAG0389 Tom Mansell: Heron Hill 2007 Cabernet Franc Ingle Vineyard

Black cherry and strawberry on the nose. On the palate, raspberry, black currant and a not insignificant dose of toasty oak.

In spite of the hot vintage of 2007, it's still got a decent amount of acidity, which defines the structure.

It's a bit hotter than the 12.5% ABV on the label would imply and a lingering finish turns to a slight toffee note after some time.

It seems that Ingle Vineyard, located on Canandaigua Lake, got some of the benefits of the 2007 vintage yet maintained the classic profile of a Finger Lakes red, defined more by acidity than tannin.

As harvest wraps up in 2010, it will be interesting to see how producers approach another spectacularly hot vintage.

IMAG0135 Lenn Thompson: Bear Flag Wines NV Dark Red Blend

I get regular wine samples sent to me from wineries in California (and other places) that don't really fit the NYCR editorial bent. I still diligently taste them, ponder them and use them to keep my "house palate" at bay.

This blend of petit sirah, alicante bouschet, zinfandel, petit verdot and tempranillo certainly fits the name "Dark Red." And the packaging will no-doubt garner attention on a wine shop shelf (it's also sealed under screwcap).

And you know what? For $9, it certain has its place and I'd much rather drink this than something like Yellow Tail.

Big, jammy and soft, it's loaded with dark berries and plum fruit and just a little spice.

Is it complex? Nope. Is it well structured or age worthy? HELL no. Would I ever buy it? No. But I'd drink it at a party if presented with a group of similarly priced wines.

Botani 2009 David Flaherty: Moscatel Seco, Botani, Jorge Ordonez & Co, 2009

I'm going deeper and deeper into my obsession with Spanish whites. If you happen to call for me one day and my cell phone has been disconnected, don't be alarmed. Calmly check my apartment for recent airline receipts and you will find I've run off to Spain.

There's something both intriguing and limitless about Spanish wines and, in particular, the whites. Both of incredible value and of unique character, they are in a camp all their own. I recently purchased a bottle of Botani at a new local wine shop in my neighborhood (go to your local shop today—if they're friendly, passionate and eager to share their knowledge, befriend them. They will lead you to hidden treasures), and was again, transported to new flavors.

The Botani is a unique wine as it hails from Málaga on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) on the Mediteranean Sea, a warm, sub-tropical region. To give you perspective, the region is right next to Jerez, the powerhouse region known for it's sherries. Made from the Moscatel grape—the Muscat of Alexandria, a member of the Muscat family, to be precise—the Botani sees about 40% barrel fermentation, with the rest being fermented in stainless steel. This gives the wine a nice textural body while not imparting much flavor from the oak.

Very light straw in color with hints of green. Creamy citrus notes on the nose blast you with a lime peel mist. Alive and vibrant with an acidity that snaps you to attention. My entire mouth salivated like a puppy with a new bone. It was like eating a fresh grapefruit first thing in the morning after waking with a hangover. Notes of tropical fruit and lime creme fraiche on the palate with a finish that sustained for more than ten seconds. Left me refreshed like drinking a lime-ade at mile 10 of a marathon.

It could be dangerous for me if I keep encountering Spanish whites this unique. I just may have to run away to the Mediteranean with only a hobo's handbag to my name.