Selections for July 2016

Supple, Suave, Elegant . . .

2010 VIVANCO CRIANZA – Rioja, Spain

We have shown you more “stupendous” Rioja with darker color and more obvious oak treatments but none have dipped this far in price.  Vivanco is more modest in heft than some, yet satisfies by the whole glass.  About five minutes into the experience of this wine you’ll realize here’s yet another example of wine not having to be big to be good.  It knows its role like good Chianti from Tuscany, the Sangiovese-based red inherently medium-bodied and meant to mate with a good meal rather than overwhelming it. 

Rioja Crianza’s aging requirement:  A minimum of twelve months.  In Vivanco’s case, sixteen months of napping in used French and American oak barrels were afforded this 100% Tempranillo.  Because of the older barrels this longer period added no additional oak flavor; it only served to further soften the wine with a little more oxidation (Tempranillo depends on that).  The result:  Aromas of damp leather, moist tobacco, graphite, and smoky cherries leading to a palate of juicy citric liveliness and plummy plushness. 

Wine Spectator Magazine calls this a $21 wine, awards it 90 points, and reflects:

 “This plush red shows plum and blackberry flavors, ripe and sweet, with vanilla and toasty notes. The light, firm tannins and juicy acidity keep this lively. Fruit-forward yet balanced, in the modern style. Drink now through 2019.” 

We like it, too – for less!

The Final Vintage of an Intriguing Beauty . . .

2008 MARCHESI di GRESY – Monferrato, Piemonte, Italy

Do you have a Pinot Noir glass?  Preeminent stemware producer Riedel would call that its “Burgundy / Barolo” stem, suggesting it’s the perfect set of acoustics for not only Pinot but Piemonte’s Nebbiolo grape.  With its more pale color and – when aged - sultry potpourri and strawberry scents, Nebbiolo fascinates both nose and palate especially when singing from that glass shape.

. . . So let’s start there with this 8-year-old red.  Here’s a great reminder of what good wine will give you with a little patience.  I’m talking about the time we waited to open it (fortunately, the winery kept it for us until now) AND the recommended practice of smelling it over and over again over a long, thoughtful period.  Poured at my desk a half hour ago, this showed dusky/musky qualities at first.  Incessantly swirled and revisited, I’m now discovering uncloaked fruit and chocolate.  In the mouth the wine has widened and become more supple, whilst remaining juicy with endearing, mouthwatering acidity.  Roasted and braised meats, along with mushrooms, polenta, risotto, and soft, smelly cheeses would all have their flavors enhanced with this alongside.

From the land of Nebbiolo’s more majestic examples – Barbaresco and Barolo – comes something with a similar effect for far less; yet another treat which needn’t be “big” to deliver intrigue and profundity.  This is Marchesi di Gresy’s final bottling of this particular wine, and we took a large position on it hoping you’d order more (please do – we had to order about 8 extra cases to get you a better price!!). 

By the way, this Piemontese beauty isn’t made of Nebbiolo.  . . . Remarkably, it is 100% Merlot.