As one of the new features of this site, I’m planning on publishing month-end roundups of wines that I’ve tasted over the previous few weeks that, for whatever reason, just didn’t fit into other posts. Think of them less as stragglers or misfits, and more as wines that were just too good to leave out!
This month, particularly, there are some really good wines in here. Starting with a juicy, affordable Austrian red, and ending with an absolutely delicious Viognier from one of my favorite California producers. Lots of good stuff in between, too. Enjoy!
Zantho 2009 Zweigelt Burgenland ($14). Full of black raspberry and currant character but still light on the palate and refreshing. Juicy through the finish, picking up a touch of pepper spice. Easy to like and paired nicely with some sauteed shiitake mushrooms. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
La Posta del Vinatero 2009 Malbec Mendoza Angel Paulucci Vineyard ($18). I tasted several of the ’09 Malbecs from La Posta and will be writing more about them soon, but here’s one to get you going. Offers sweet floral and brown spice accents to the red berry and plum jam flavors. Long, lush finish develops herbal accents along the way. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Meyer 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($45). Slick and supple, with loads of cassis and black cherry character from beginning to end, picking up generous accents of aromatic cedar, tobacco, sweet vanilla and smoke. Concentrated and ripe but not jammy. Plenty of structure for aging (6-8 years), but awfully tempting now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Rodney Strong 2009 Cabernet Sauvginon Alexander Valley ($25). A nice balance of concentrated fruit — black currant, blackberry — and firm structure. Picks up sage, cedar, leather, spice and vanillin oak through the tasty finish. Nice price, too. Ready to drink now and over the next 3-4 years. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Belle Glos 2010 Pinot Noir Meiomi Monterey-Santa Barbara-Sonoma ($22). Offers some tangy concentration to the red berry and cherry fruit, with a supple mouthfeel and touches of clove, brown spice and vanilla through the lush finish. Ready to drink now. Paired easily with a veggie-intensive dish of roasted cauliflower on wild rice, tossed with pecans, dried cranberries and fresh herbs. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Torres 2009 Sangre de Toro Red Blend Catalunya ($10). It had been a long time since I tasted this wine, and I was unreasonably excited to see that little toy bull dangling from the bottle. And it was just like I remembered it! Easy, juicy, bright, ready to quaff. Red plum, berry, simple spice notes. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Conundrum 2010 White Blend California ($22). It had been a while since I tasted this wine, and it was fun to go back to. Full-flavored and expressive, with apricot, candied citrus peel, and a touch of creme brulee on the finish. Bright acidity keeps the sweetness in check. Worked for me paired with a dish of fried rice and chile-glazed salmon. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Grgich Hills 2009 Chardonnay Napa Valley ($42). Nice balance between bright green apple and concentrated citrus on one hand and rich palate weight, smooth melon and spicy oak influence on the other. Long, bright, focused, lingering finish. Very nice. Ready to drink now but should age beautifully — for at least 5-6 years. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Bodega Elena 2010 Chardonnay Mendoza ($11). Not at all bad for the money, with pineapple, lemon and melon notes that stay juicy and fresh through the finish. Paired easily with a smoked salmon panini and a arugula/avocado salad. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Puiatti 2010 Sauvignon Isonzo del Friuli Zuccole ($13). A big name for a simple, likeable wine. With tangy sour apple, fresh citrus and a light touch of mineral through the crisp finish. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Puiatti 2010 Pinot Grigio Isonzo del Friuli Zuccole ($13). I wish all inexpensive Pinot Grigios were this appealing! Smooth, pretty, appealing, with a mineral accent to the smooth melon and crisp apple flavors. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.
Calera 2010 Viognier Central Coast 35th Anniversary ($16). Loved, loved, loved, loved, loved. And a great value for the money. With apricot skin notes bringing concentration and focus to the peachy, apricot fruit profile. Clean, fresh, bright finish, with just a touch of dried herbal notes. Was a fantastic match to a wild rice pilaf and creamed spinach topped with smoked oysters. Ready to drink now. Locate this wine online or in your area.