Tag Archives: Sauvignon Blanc

Vintage Tunina: a classic white blend goes large!

18 May

Silvio Jermann “Vintage Tunina” 2009 white wine blend, Venezia Giulia, IGT, Italy. 13.5% ABV, Purchased from Garagiste.com at $40/bottle, sourced locally at $64/bottle, online as low as $54/bottle.

Color: warm amber center melding into deep straw. Nose of wildflowers, stone fruit, and baked apple. On the palate, individual fruit flavors give way to the notes of specific grapes used in this blend: sauvignon, chardonnay, ribolla gialla, malvasia, and picolit. Gentle secondary notes of honey, flowers, limestone, and young wood come forth from the huge mouthfeel of this wine with its supple acidity and lengthy finish. If you love rich and creamy whites, this is a wine you will want to try. Be warned, you might fall in love! 

This bottle fits well into the “massive wine” category that few white wines can fill. It is an example of expert winemaking taking from both Italian and Austrian heritage. As a fan of the Bordeaux blend, it’s plain to see why this creation from Silvio Jermann is a big wine that is easy to adore. The intensity and size of the wine cries out for a perfect meal to pair it with to accent the flavor profile and allow the huge finish to linger on your palate.

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My only regret with this wine is having not purchased more of it when I found it at  a superbly low price from Garagistes when it sells for $64/bottle locally, and more recent vintages are even pricier. It’s worth the cost to get a couple of bottles- one to taste and try with your recipes, and one to share with friends.  It will pair beautifully with first and second courses as well as with white meat entrees, and handled a grilled salmon with a sharp green herb sauce beautifully.

If you’ve tasted Vintage Tunina, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

 

à votre santé!

 

 

Smooth Criminal

24 Mar

Domaine Horgelus Sauvignon Blanc & Gros Manseng, 2013, Côtes de Gascogne, France. $6 from Astor Wines, NYC. 12% ABV.

 

Sometimes you pop the screwcap, enjoy the nose, have a taste and sigh pleasantly. Then you let your fingers do the walking and do a serious double take. WHAT? This wine hit me like that. I was expecting to see $15/bottle, on special from Astor as I got this in their “12 under $12” package I try a couple of times a year to find new inexpensive wines. So I saw what Astor charges a bottle for this: $5.96. I almost spat out the wine. “REALLY?” I thought, “That’s simply criminal!”

Here’s why: the color of this wine is a transparent light straw. The nose is grapefruit with a touch of lychee, sniff deeply and you’ll find the B.O./funkiness that makes unfiltered Sauv Blanc infamous. In the mouth, this is delightfully fresh, popping bright citrus with gentle acidity and delicious tartness. Secondary notes of minerality just make you want to drink more. I think I’ll order a case of this, and  another for the party I’m having in a month. The only problem I have with this wine is that at this price point, it’s going to get more expensive. It could easily sell at $15/bottle, which is what I would have expected to pay after my first taste.

You evil, terrible, smooth criminal. You take my gold watch and I admire you for it, like Jesse James, the outlaw turned folk hero. Next time I see you, you’ll cost me even more to enjoy. In the meantime, the townfolk might as well enjoy the benefits of a well-made wine for a great value. Best served well chilled, you might just hide out in the cooler with this to prevent your friend from asking for a glass. Enjoy it while it lasts, it can’t last for much longer. People are surely going to find out.

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à votre santé!

 

 

 

 

Sauv Blanc from Down Under

21 Sep

Saint Clair Family Estate Vicar’s Choice Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand.
from Mayfair Wine & Liquor; $15/bottle.

I picked this up locally upon a recommendation from a trusted vendor (John, the owner of Mayfair Wine and Liquor, is a kindred soul and we have been sharing tasting notes for two decades now.) Color of light straw. The nose features citrus and some underlying minerals, while the palate is strong with lychee, gooseberry, passion fruit and secondary notes of fresh grass, herbs and a chalky-meets-sandstone minerality. Crisp and light, delicious and inviting.

Had I not seen the label, I might have mistaken this for a classic country French sauv blanc or a new world Cali from a small producer: it is classic, straightforward, and a great introduction to the grape.  Allow me to say this is one more example of some excellent winemaking going on “down under”,  not like that is any news.  Perhaps in time, I might learn to recognize the characteristics of the specific winemaker’s blends due to secondary notes, but in the meantime buyers should know that Saint Clair provides an excellent value in their entry-level wine, and that means they have some really great wines in reserve that I can’t wait to try.

If you like sauvignon blanc, this is absolutely one to taste and gift at this price. I’ll be going back for more, and looking at the rest of their line. So should you! Hey, Saint Clair, I want to meet the Vicar. He’s got good taste!

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à votre santé!

The Northern-California Fumé

6 Sep

photo-2The Fume’ Sauviginon Blanc. 2011 North Coast from Murphy Goode.
Straw with-green tinge, and a lychee, grapefruit nose. On the palate: green apple, bosc pear, a touch of sour grapefruit. Nice acidity, tart finish with a touch of oak. A blend of 93% Sauv Blanc with 7% Semillon;  this wine is great with spinach dip, light cheeses, chinese food, or seafood. Available for a mere hint over $10.

Memorial Day/Start of Summer Wine!

26 May

 La Maroutine 2010

This white Bordeaux blend (80% sauvignon blanc, 20% semillon) is what I pulled from the fridge when my neighbor decided to have a backyard wine & cheese party to celebrate Memorial Day and the start of summer. We popped it open and passed it around, enjoying the the yellow-green color, nose of grapefruit, and the flavors of lychee, melon, and citrus that dominate this fresh, fun wine that is a perfect for an afternoon in the sun.

I source this from Sherry-Lehman Wine in NYC, and it lists for $12 and the ad says 100% sauv blanc. Well, they charged me $10 (it’s on sale) and the wine is most definitely a blend of sauv blanc & semillon acording to both my palate and the back label on the bottle. Less worry, more fun. My neighbor said it well: “If you’re buying more of this, get me three bottles.” It’s delicious, everyone enjoys it, and its a bargain. Whats not to like?

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à votre santé!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Night Whites

11 May

From the “What I’m Tasting Right Now” files:

Moillard Bourgogne Tradition Chardonnay Bourgogne 2009

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A basic white burgundy I found while trolling wine shops near Columbus Circle. Color is deep straw. Nose has citrus and a touch of oak. In the mouth, a basic chardonnay, some fruit, a little cream as it warmed plus the classic wood finish as expected, but sadly there is little else of note here. I know that Maison Moillard was purchased in 2008 and is a huge producer but I had high expectations from this vintage. Perhaps as the second or third wine from this producer, my expectations were too high. $14/ half bottle (.375 litre).

Cupcake Vineyards Marlborough, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2011

After a dozen mentions from my wine friends & followers, I took the plunge and tasted several Cupcake wines. I found most of them good, solid values. I recently picked up a bottle locally to try over several days with different food pairings, here are the results:

Color: light straw. Nose: lemon, grapefruit, sweat. (Really. Don’t stick your nose in and drink the bouquet without being ready for a little underarm funk on the end. Sniff gently and enjoy.) In the mouth, tons of grapefruit, with a little key lime sweet & tartness, more tight, tart lemon on the finish. Nice acidity, this is a lovely apertif on a hot day, pairs beautifully with light appetizers- fresh fish or sashimi, salads, veggies- and just strong enough to work with asian or eastern entrée flavors. It cut through and cleaned the palate beautifully when tasted after castello blue cheese. But keep the wine cold or it loses some of its delight. For $11 this screwcap wine is a good value, and one you can trust will please your friends but won’t break the bank. Here’s a link to Cupcake Vineyards if you want to find out more.

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I leave you with my usual toast, and a picture from my friends Charles and Lynnette, who shared the picture below.

à votre santé!

Sante Wine

Spring Is In The Air…Sancerre!

6 May

Recently after an evening performance I joined friends for a quick drink at a new restaurant. As we arrived one by one, the waiter provided a drink list and without prompting, each person examined the wines by the glass and declared, “Sancerre!”  It seemed that to each of us, without knowing what anyone else had ordered, Sancerre appeared to be an excellent choice to have when there was no expectation for pairing or food (yet) and ideal for the late evening- all of this in spite of a nice wine menu featuring several chardonnay, white bordeaux, aligote and a chablis available. The choice was a clear winner: sancerre.

It must be Spring. The weather has finally changed, its gorgeous outside, everyone is suffering from allergies, and the bars are stocked with Sancerre.

The success of 2010’s wine crop in France did not end in Bordeaux. The Loire Valley also has had wonderful production and the evidence is in your glass. Sancerre is traditionally 100% sauvignon blanc grapes grown on the west side of the Loire river (facing Pouilly-Fumé on the east bank). There are several terroirs in Sancerre, and as they are often aged in stainless tanks or concrete without exposure to oak, drinkers will find the minerality to be a major character in their glass, be it chalky clay, limestone and flint, the classic white clay and limestone, or another wonderfully expressive version of the amazing terroir.

The only downside? It has become nearly impossible to find a great sancerre for under $15. The good news is, you can find a good value for $10 and really well-made sancerre under $20. So go, drink, enjoy, and share your findings with us!

à votre santé!

Seeking the ‘right’ White Wine

9 Mar
  • An entertainment industry associate reached out to me with a straightforward, basic wine question. She wrote:

    “I love your Jvb Uncorked! I’m learning more about wines. Can you tell me what’s the best white wine that is semi- sweet, but not too dry either? Something in the middle.” -WB

  • I responded:

    “Thanks for enjoying my blog! For white wine, there’s a huge amount out there.
    For future reference, some questions for you to help narrow the field might be:
    -Any specific grapes you prefer?
    -Any region or country of origin you prefer?
    -Have you found some grapes or wines that you know you don’t like?
    -Any price point/range to stay within?

    What fun we could have walking through a wine store and discussing pros and cons of various grapes and wines. Since that wasn’t possible, we’ll have to try it with simple response and a few web links.

    Obviously, I can be much more accurate if you have any specific answers to the above questions. I’ll happily take a stab without that information, but if you have any thoughts in response to that I’ll try again. Here you go:

    1) The white that first comes to mind in terms of your descriptors is one I keep on hand all the time for my wife Annette: a dry riesling, which is inexpensive, easy to drink on its own and pairs with just about anything. Her favorite brands are Clean Slate and Relax, both are German wines from Mosel and are easy, semi-sweet wines that are $9-11/bottle where I buy them.

    2) Next, a Loire Valley wine from France I’d suggest considering that matches your description is Vouvray (the grape is chenin blanc) and has the same flexibility as the dry riesling (having a touch of sweet and nice acidity to balance in the mouth). My favorite,  called Domaine de Vaufuget, is usually around $10/bottle and also easy to find.

    3) Now, this is too dry, but I think you might enjoy knowing about it. My personal favorite white wine to cellar and serve for special meals is sauvignon blanc over $30/bottle, so I don’t drink it often though I keep several bottle on hand and buy it direct from the California manufacturer: Modus Operandi’s Sauvignon Blanc. (Have I ever mentioned the delicious Napa cabernet sauvignon that had the essence of chocolate-covered strawberries on the finish?) This is from that same, amazing winemaker!) This sauv blanc reminds me of a great white bordeaux blend with the finest of California and New Zealand grapes. I raved about it here back in July.

    4) On the “high” end of the white wine spectrum, there are two wines I look to: White Bordeaux blends and White Burgundies. These can start in the under-$20 and head upwards from there, with some of my favorites being $60 and up (often limited to very small quantities!) They are subtle and complex, offering incredible structure in their delicacy.

    These are great wines to try, they usually have a lot of citrus, pear and apple but are not very sweet. Entry-level white burdgundies might include Laforet Chardonnay by Drouhin, or Les Charmes by Macon-Lugny. Both are in the $11-13/bottle range, a great entry to white burgundy. These are chardnnays that don’t have a lot of butter or oak, but are on the crisp side and are good by themselves or wonderful with vegetarian fare and fish dishes.

    The next grape in this category is called Aligote, which would be something nice to try if you like one of the less expensive white burgundies -that link will give you ten examples at one of NYC’s bigger stores, with prices from $11-28.

    5. For white bordeaux, there are two easy, entry-level white blends (just about every Bordeaux is a blend, so you get the best characteristics of several grapes, such as sauvingnon blanc, semillon, and the sweet muscadelle grape- to create a very flexible white table wine. Lamothe de Haux and Mouton Cadet Blanc are two white bordeaux in the $10-$12 range that are great entry level Bordeaux whites I trust very well. If you are ever looking for a higher end white Bordeaux for a special meal, there are great, subtle, well-structured wines like Chateau Corbonnieux , Blanc de Lynch-Bages, and Smith-Haut Lafitte, which are my three favorite white bordeaux wines hands-down, and I’d be remiss in not mentioning them.

    6. While it doesn’t have much sweetness, I’d be remiss to not even mention Pinot Grigio, which is Italy’s biggest export and the USA’s biggest wine import. Pinot Grigios are usually crisp and dry, and are very popular to drink at cocktail parties. Not much sweetness as I mentioned before, but worth tasting and considering if you like the grape in general and should consider it when you are pairing. The easiest to find Pinos (just about everywhere) are the Santa Margharita, about $20, Ruffino Lumina (about $13) and from California is Woodbridge Pinot Grigio that is a little more sweet and about $9/bottle.

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    While it would be much more fun to peruse the aisles of a fine wine store together, pulling out several bottles for WB to review and choose from, I hoped my suggestions would be welcome and helpful in her selection of thoughts about what to buy.

    I got an note back with thanks from WB:

    “Jim, this excellent information! I tend to go towards a riesling most of the time and I’ve tried Pinot Grigio but felt it was a little dry. I’ll have to try the California one you suggested. This info is really great and I thank you for sharing.”

    You’re quite welcome, WB! I’m always happy to be of service, and thanks for reaching out!

    If you have a question or topic you’d like me to address, you can DM me at JvbUnCorked on Twitter, or email me privately at jvbuncorked@gmail.com.

    à votre santé!

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