Thursday, July 18, 2019

Domaine Le Sang de Caillou Vacqueyras, 1998

labelIf I had tasted this blind, I would have pegged it as a Chateauneuf du Pape. But that's no surprise; I have had the same impression with the previous four bottles I have opened over the past 10 to 15 years. Even at 19 years of age, this 1998 Vacqueyras still seems to be getting better.

I see some bricking at the rim but the color still shows some deep crimson. Aromatic herbs along with Grenache cherry and earthy notes. This is the least expensive of the Sang de Caillou bottlings,  but the fruit is clearly special. Rich but not heavy. Great depth and concentration on the finish.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Villadoria Bricco Magno Langhe Nebbiolo, 2013

Villadoria Nebbiolo Bricco Magno 2014According to the producer, this wine is made in an "international style" with small oak barrels being used for the initial phase of aging. The juice is then moved to barrels of various sizes until "it achieves the right aroma-flavour balance." For me, this international style is usually a red flag, and the 2010 vintage of this wine did not receive a very good rating from my most trusted authority on Italian wines, Kerin O'Keefe of the Wine Enthusiast. I am glad I tried it, though; it was a very pleasant surprise.

From the first sniff, this wine displayed the Piedmont Nebbiolo scents that I love--dark cherry, licorice, aromatic flowers. Intense and powerful. In the mouth, the wine is even more impressive. Oak tannins as well as fruit tannins but they tend to frame rather than overwhelm the very fine Nebbiolo fruit.

Even at its retail price of $18 to $20, I find it a very good value.

Tuatea Marlborough (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc, 2018

Our local Trader Joe's store displays this wine prominently, and, at the urging of staff, I decided to try a bottle. Glad I did.

Leans toward the grapefruit spectrum of Sauvignon Blanc, but I also find a touch of passion fruit and melon. Has more weight and concentration than your typical New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc--more like a white Graves from Bordeaux. Yes, I learn, some of the wine has seen some new oak, but it hasn't been overdone, as it often is in New World SBs, and I like the result. The acidic intensity keeps you coming back for sip after sip.

At $6.99, I think this is one of the best values at Trader Joe's. It's a dollar cheaper than one of my old favorites, Picton Bay, and it's a more serious wine. As one writer put it, it would be cheap at double the price.