Selections for February 2017

Want an extra glass of wine?

2015 AZUL y GARANZA TEMPRANILLO – Navarra, Spain

We are providing this 1-Liter size bottle for the second vintage around NOT because you’re getting an extra glass from this format, but because this wine is a no-brainer, slam-dunk demonstration of inexpensive quality.  In most instances a larger bottle implies ‘plonk’.  In this instance it declares undeniable value.

Two positive forces are at work here.  Azul y Garanza in Navarra, Spain (just east of Rioja) is a cooperation between winemakers Dani Sanchez and Maria Barrena who let the fruit and the place from which its derived do the talking via minimal winemaking.  You’ll not find a barrel in this winery.  Wood has no part in this program.  Dani and Maria are far more into their Navarra vineyards, organically maintained, where the wine nearly makes itself.  The second “force” is the discoverer of this producer, Valkyrie Selections.  These folks who also produce Banshee Pinot Noir on this side of “The Pond” have applied their appreciation for unfunked freshness to their wine searching abroad.  We sell many Valkyrie wines here and have a sit-down event with them about once a year as well.  Good importers such as Valkyrie Selections are worth your attention, folks!

Smell this:  100% Tempranillo never exhibited more freshness.  The fragrance of cherries, oranges, chocolate, and thyme is irresistible. 

Taste it:  Immediately juicy with plums and an appealing sweet earthiness, followed by an enlivening “grip” that keeps your mouth interested in yet another glistening gulp.

You’re in trouble, right?!

Bordeaux, the quintessential winter red

2012 CHATEAU PARET – Bordeaux, France

This is a hell of a wine, but we have to qualify that for those more used to riper, fruitier California reds.  Bordeaux is hardly ever a stand-alone “cocktail” experience.  Rather, you should anticipate more “grim” and “stern” qualities from this type.  Imagine Clint Eastwood’s sturdy, unyielding visage confronting freezing rain and howling winds . . . his trigger hand momentarily leaves the rifle . . . he reaches for his glass of encouraging, muscle-flexing Bordeaux Rouge . . .

Get it?  This chewy, earthy, and sometimes-fruity macho red is meant for food of the wintertime type.  Braise something like short ribs or pot roast to go along and it will make perfect sense.

This comes from the Right Bank of Bordeaux, more specifically Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux.  On this more clay-oriented side of the estuary Merlot plays the starring role.  In this case it gets help from a 10% addition of Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. 

Fresh leather, lead pencil, cedar, and black raspberries comprise the nose.  Acids and tannins surround freshly-turned earth and cherries in the mouth.  You are in the presence of Bordeaux.  Go, Thou, and cook something!!