Tag Archives: wine

Wine of The Week: Lafite’s Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon for $14

IMAG0074by Andrew Chalk

For reasons that nobody explained to me, it has been a week of tasting outstanding Malbecs. All of these came from Argentina, and some ranged over $100 for a bottle. However, for our Wine of the Week we generally look for something less than $20 and with Argentine Malbec the field is target rich.

Our recommendation this week is 2011 Amancaya Gran Reserva Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon from the Mendoza region of Argentina. It is actually a 70% Malbec-30% Cabernet Sauvignon blend from a winery called Bodegas Caro, which is a joint venture between the branch of the Rothschild family that owns Château Lafite in France’s Bordeaux region and pioneering Argentine winemaker Nicolas Catena.   Continue reading

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Wine of The Week: A Classy Rosé for Under $20

IMG_4656by Andrew Chalk

I bet that 90% of you have not had a Tavel. A statement that is semantically, but nonsensically, equivalent to your left arm having had a Tavel, but the rest of your body not having done so.

More reasonably, Tavel wines are hard to find in Dallas/Fort Worth, so many readers will not have tasted one. I urge you to change that! Tavel is a village in the south of France near the town of Avignon. Oenologically, it is famous for making rosé wines of distinctive character when young and tremendous ageing potential. The major grape varieties are Grenache and Syrah, but in this region Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan and more obscure varieties are also widespread.    Continue reading

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Wine of the Week: A Quality Spanish Red for About $12

torres, ibericos, crianza, a_2007, 75_clby Andrew Chalk
Ninety percent of the Tempranillo grape plantings in the world are in Spain. Increasing quality and good value have propelled Spanish Tempranillo all over the world. The best-known producing region is Rioja in the north-central part of the country.

The 2011 Torres Ibéricos Crianza, Rioja is an excellent example of good value Rioja. It has glorious forward, open fruit, in the mouth (like a bowl of raspberries). A hint of oak and a pleasant finish. It will pair well with lamb or goat as well as the usual repertoire of the more popular red meats. Try it with red sauce pasta dishes as well.   Continue reading

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Wine of the Week: A $20 Aussie Shiraz That Scored 90 Points for $13

IMG_20140819_180318by Andrew Chalk

What a bargain. A wine that scored 90 points out of 100 in the prestigious Wine Advocate (placing it in the top 5% of wines tasted) for $19.98 is rare enough indeed, but the Lakewood wine store with the wacko name, The Wine Therapist, is discounting it to $12.99 for a limited time.

2010 Mr. Riggs ‘The Gaffer’ Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia

The special price is the one that they offered at a store tasting two Saturdays back. They sold out. The reason for the resumption of the tasting price is that they just managed to secure new supplies from the distributor.  Continue reading

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Three Wine Finds

IMG_20140819_175926 by Andrew Chalk

1999 Artéis Champagne Brut ($50)

It is not often that one sees a Champagne this old and not for this price. But this newly introduced brand is the real thing. It introduces a new name into the Champagne market, Artéis and Co. which began distributing in the U.S. last fall. They now have four wines, this being the oldest.

This wine has a moderate yeastiness, long-lived bubbles and a vibrant acidity making it suitable for a wide range of food. The hardest thing may be getting it due to its small production. Currently Crave readers on one of their regular trips to a list that includes Colette in Paris, The Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood and Le Baron in New York as well as gastronomic destinations including Daniel in New York, Fig, FarmShop and Nikita in Los Angeles as well as Saison and La Folie in San Francisco.

Whoever is taking over from the inimitable Michael Flynn at the Mansion should give the U.S. importer a call and get some of this.   Continue reading

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A Stellar Italian Wine That Isn’t Made from the Grape You Might Expect

chalk by Andrew Chalk

Most of the top wines from the Tuscany region of Italy are made wholly or mainly from the Sangiovese grape. However there is another indigenous red Tuscan grape that I recommend you check out. 2011 Corte alla Flora Pugnitello is made from the Pugnitello grape, sometimes called Tuscany’s forgotten grape. Pugnitello means ‘little fist’ and refers to the grape’s tight bunches on the vines. It lost favor in the mid 20th century to Sangiovese partly because of its low yields. A research project by the University of Florence, in 1960, is believed to have pretty much saved it from oblivion.   Continue reading

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Bob Pepi – Multi-Continent Winemaker

Robert Pepi Photo at Wineryby Andrew Chalk

A big drawback of winemaking is that it is totally in the hands of nature. A great advantage of winemaking is that it is totally in the hands of nature. It depends what nature does that leads you to the first conclusion or the second. In the case of consulting winemaker Bob Pepi, it is the foundation for a lifestyle that sees him commuting quarterly to the southern hemisphere from his California base to make wine at Bodegas Valentin Bianchi in Mendoza, Argentina’s largest wine region. When home he consults with numerous domestic clients in California and Colorado (even in Texas at one point in the past). Plus he has founded his own label, Eponymous.   Continue reading

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