Selections for March 2017

Southern love. . .

2014 ANTICO SIGILLO – Primitivo di Manduria, Puglia, Italy

Primitivo is genetically identical to our Zinfandel.  That said, within that there are clonal mutations and – perhaps more importantly – a grapevine’s reaction to where it’s planted.  Consider:  Would the exact same clone of Pinot Noir perform identically when grown in two very different places?  Wouldn’t climate, soil, and orientation apply its variations to the finished products?  Doesn’t geographical separation encourage divergence?  - And what of cultural consumer preference?  Wouldn’t Italians with their tradition of wine at table invoke more liveliness compared with our aim for a more nummy, cocktail-ish Zin?

 With these questions in mind let’s head for the heel of the boot . . . Puglia, that is!   

This is a Wine Spectator Top 100 wine. 

. . . and that publication reports, “There’s a rich, mouthfilling quality to this medium-bodied red, offering a velvety mix of spiced cherry, mulberry and herbed olive, with accents of mocha and graphite. Plush tannins show on the juicy finish. Drink now through 2021.”

I would also point out the sultry warmth of baked and dried fruit (dates, dried cherries . . .).  The palate feel is broad and nearly lacking in focus, but if you chill this wine down to so-called “cellar temperature” it will find its center of brisk, food-craving acidity.  I can imagine smoked pork chops performing brilliantly here!! 

I got to visit another BdV producer in January,

So you’re bound to see ‘Bernardins’ soon!

The next of several 2015 Rhones!

2015 DOMAINE de DURBAN – Beaumes-de-Venise, Rhone Valley, France

Last month we showed you a “simply good” 2015 Sablet.  Now let’s take a 12-minute drive south and east, passing through tiny Gigondas and Vacqueyras, to the just-as-unknown village of Beaumes-de-Venise.  Like the places we just zoomed by, “BdV” makes red blends of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre but is actually more famous for its lightly-fortified, super-fragrant “Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise” dessert wine.  Try some when we get it in, perhaps along with an apple and pear tart!  

- But this is about the red:  In our 17 years of wine retail The Wine Steward has shown no more than THREE different rouges from this little village, and the Kermit Lynch import Domaine de Durban was our first ever example.  Their 1999 was the first to impress us with its heft and peppery kirsch per the very reasonable price.  That wine cost no less than $16 way back then, so today’s slightly-hiked price isn’t all that severe, is it?  Take this as a NOW red for its boldness and a LATER wine considering its ageability; that’s a lot of wine for your wine club price of . . .