It took a bit of digging in this release to find the value. California is featured and while the wines are interesting they are for the most part over-priced.
As you may know, I have a fundamental issue with the US exchange rate which pushes US wine prices up by 30-40% right out of the gate. So I balk at paying $25-$50 for wines that are not scoring well into the 90s.
There are lots of quirky wines featured in the Southern Italy section. These grapes are unfamiliar to most of our palates but in case you are feeling experimental here are a few that are getting the best reviews for what they are.
Camporeale 2015 Aglianico ($13.95)
Magnificat 2015 Greco di Tufo ($17.95)
Feudo Maccari 2015 Grillo, IGP Terre Siciliane ($14.95)
Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2011 (Portugal)
87551 Score 92 $22.95
Port is one of the best bang for your buck wines. Powerful, intense and fantastic value. This one is described by Mark Squires of robertparker.com as ‘Rather gorgeous, ..fresh, tight and powerful, …perfectly focused, extracted and tightly wound, finishing with intensity of flavor laced with some herbs and a hint of garrigue….Another super 2011.’
Williams & Humbert Walnut Brown Medium Sweet Sherry (Spain)
437467 Score 4/5 stars $13.95
You can serve this as a dessert wine with the spiced nut cake or ginger snaps as recommended by Vic Harradine of winecurrent.com. I also use it to cook shrimp, add to salad dressings etc. Vic Harradine describes divine aromas, dark raisin, caramel and fig predominant…. lovely spice and nutty notes with a long sweet finish. You could also try it slightly chilled with tapas.
The value proposition winner in this release is:
Cygnus Organic Brut Nature Reserves Cava (Spain)
352856 Score 90 $16.95
Beppi Crosariol of The Globe and Mail describes this as ‘Absolutely bone-dry and light, it’s got piercing, sour lemon-lime fruit underpinned by toasty bread and suggestion of mineral.
Schloss Schonborn Estate Riesling 2011 (Germany)
653535 Score 90 $16.95
David Lawrason of winelalign.com is call this great value, ‘a lovely, brisk, lively riesling with classic aromas of apricot, stone and a touch of honey and minty freshness… light to medium bodied, with fine, mouthwatering acidity…not at all austere. Lemon, peach and honey on the finish.’ Stock up!
Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (New Zealand)
675629 Score 93 $29.95
Joe Czerwinski of Wine Enthusiast is calling this a huge success as far as the 2015 vintage is concerned. He says it is ‘complex, effortlessly combining hints of pungency with soothing notes of grapefruit. ..fairly full and creamy in texture then punctuates that richness with a long, vibrant finish.
Waimea Classic Riesling 2016 (New Zealand)
408666 Score 93 $18.95
This is getting good reviews around the web. Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz says it is ‘instantly appealing on the nose showing nectarine, mandarin, orange peel and floral characters with a hint of spicy complexity. The palate is juicy and lively, and delivers excellent fruit focus and intensity….Mouth wateringly delicious.
Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2015 (Canada)
183491 Score 90 $23.95
Vintage panel notes call this ‘astonishingly complex and food-friendly..offering plenty of tangy citrus, apple, nectarine, apricot and layer upon layer of mineral. The finish is mouthwatering and long.’
Jules Taylor Pinot Noir 2014 (New Zealand)
329805 Score 92 $25.95
Blair Campbell of bobcampbell.nz calls this ‘Ripe, fleshy, flavoursome and high energy…with dark cherry, berry flavours plus a subtle influence of smoky oak.
Cederberg Shiraz 2015 (South Africa)
374199 Score 90 $25.95
Vintage panel notes says this ‘serves up notions of ripe blueberry, blackberry jam, black pepper, mocha and vanilla in a powerful frame. Full bodied and smooth.
Trenel Beaujolais Village 2015 (France)
487140 Score 90 $16.95
The ‘Village’ designation is awarded to only 38 villages within Beaujolais appellation, indicating a more intense colour, flavour and structure than the generic Beaujolais appellation. This one is ‘zesty and smooth with plum, raspberry, cherry, blackberry, chocolate, smoke and light spice tones’ according to Vintage panel notes. Stock up at this price!!
Santa Ema Amplus Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Chile)
76307 Score 93 $19.95
This is a Wine of the Month feature which can be had now but will be better in 2019 according to James Suckling of jamessuckling.com. ‘A curious wine with lots of fruit character such as blueberry and blackberry, stone and spice too. Full body, very intense..’ Drink from 2017 or hold another year or two.
Balbas Reserva 2005 (Spain)
85183 Score 90-92 $21.95
David Lawrason of winealign.com says this ‘has an intense nose with considerable oak resin, burning leaves, vanilla and ripe cherry. Rather nutty as well. Nicely complex.. a touch sweetish and warm with generous fruit on the palate…. Excellent length.’