Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor – Domaine Chignard 2012 Fleurie “Les Moriers”
My birthday was last weekend. I turned 39, so it wasn’t any sort of milestone. Not worth spending money on a birth-year wine. That’ll be next year.
I did use my birthday as an excuse to go wine shopping though. I spend most of the house wine budget on local wines, but I decided to visit the only decent wine shop for 30 miles and came home with this beautiful Fleurie.
Beaujolais is always a good bet in my house. It’s one of the few regions that my wife and I both really enjoy. It’s fruity enough for her and yet still has a herbal vein with a bit of graphite minerality to it to appeal to me. Lighter-bodied and fresh, it was great with the slow roasted pork shoulder, cheesy polenta and garlicky southern greens I cooked. My only complaint was that it wasn’t a magnum.
Amy Zavatto, Contributing Editor: L’Isola dei Profumi 2012 Catarratto – Greciano
To be filed under: Cheap, keep-it-on-hand, delicious warm-weather wines. My friend Lorie Honor opened a great little wine shop in my neighborhood — which was sorely, sorely in need of a place that gave a cork (or a cap) about drinking well. She tries to tailor, for the most part, to the neighborhood’s demands, which tend toward the affordable but interesting small producers, with about 30% of the rest what I like to call her crushes; things she’s totally smitten with and doesn’t care if they’re pricey or not.
Lorie has turned me onto many things, pricey and ridiculously affordable, and this week’s wine falls under the latter category. I served this cheerful, simple, but super refreshing Italian white from Italy at a party recently and now I just keep it on hand for nights when I feel like something refreshing and easy, but with a little edge. A blend of 60% Catarratto and 40% Grecanico, it smells and tastes of lemon and fresh fennel, with a juicy, racy, light mouthfeel that’s (I hate this term in wine writing, but I’d be lying if I didn’t cop to it), totally gulpable. But at 12% alcohol, this little treat from Marsala is definitely going to kick the ubiquitous bottle of Sauv Blanc to the curb this summer around my house.
Tracy Weiss, Long Island Correspondent: Christophe Pacalet 2012 Moulin-à-Vent
I didn’t order this wine because it sounded like Moulin Rouge; I ordered this wine because Gamay is my Spring Time Gateway Red and wanted to try something new. I got more than I bargained for.
Less floral than my favorites from Fleurie. More dark ripe red fruit than the filling of a mid summer pie, this Cru Beaujolais had some serious shove and structure. My very own bottle (I didn’t want to share, the minerally goodness) stood up to a five-course meal than ranged from asparagus soup to octopus to a giant hunk of pork (said the Jew.) Vibrant and electric from my first sip to my last slurp, I’d love to drink this again. Soon.
Paul Zorovich, Finger Lake Correspondent – Flos de Pinoso 2012 Organic White
This was a nice surprise in a hummus place on Broadway on a recent trip back to New York City. I hadn’t heard of the grapes (it’s made from 50% Macabeo and 50% Airen), so I did a little research and found that Airen represents 30% of the grapes grown in Spain, making Airen the 3rd most grown grape in the world (I have so much to learn), and that none other than Jancis Robinson thinks wines made from Macabeo are completely underrated.
The wine was light and crisp, with nice fruitiness and lowish alcohol. I’d drink this again.
Todd Trzaskos, Contributing Editor – Red Tail Ridge 2010 Blaufrankish
Maturity merged with freshness. Half a bottle at a dinner then tasting half of remainder each successive approach hoping to never to reach the finish. After four days I never met with diminishing returns and found this wine climbing into prime with the very last sips. Vivid fruit and savory profile. Baked ham roasted in a slather of honey and black currant jam. Light weight, silky mouthfeel and vivid acidity. The barrel profile shows a bit in the end but its floating in a cranberry pomegranate sauce with a sharp bite that is quite compelling. I found that a buddy who imports Austrian wines knows and likes this rendition of Blau, so I was happy to be able to confer and affirm, what I thought was a ringer. He’s been my mentor in the Blau so I appreciate his take, and look forward to sharing future vintages. Uniquely expressive and certainly on to something.