Walt 2010 Pinot Noir - Blue Jay Anderson Valley
I visited Walt on a recent trip to Sonoma. They have a tasting room right off the square in a little house. They specialize in Pinots sourced from up and down the west coast. From Santa Barbara to the Willamette Valley. This one’s a tasty one. Found at Central Market for about $40 (there was a little ‘new’ label next to it so I guess they just started carrying Walt.)
Here’s Walt’s own tasting notes: 2010 Walt Blue Jay
Twomey 2011 Pinot Noir - Sonoma Coast
Found at Central Market on Lamar. Having recently visited Twomey on Westside Rd west of Healdsburg I was going out of my way to find it. And sure enough, found one here in Austin. Love it. Clearly not some of the single vineyard specific stuff I tasted on site but I love this wine. A bit pricey at about $49 a btl at C-Mkt. Oh so nice though.
I ran across this one and was surprised to see a red Conundrum. As a fan of the white though I had to give it a try.
Interesting. I like it although whatever the blend is it’s a bit different. The winemaker’s notes ring true so I’ll just post ‘em:
NOSE: Almost floral, with tones of lavender, dried berries, baking chocolate, bacon bits. Aromas are rich, velvety and wonderfully appealing.
PALATE: Silky round entry with acid to balance and high fruit concentration. The nose leaves no doubt about the seriousness of this wine. The palate is fruit driven both before and after the high tannin middle core. The finish is long, not drying of tannin, and beckons a second sip.
Found in Austin for somewhere in the $20 range.
I ran across this one at Whole Foods Lamar in central Austin. Nice example of Willamette Valley Pinot. Upon initially opening it, the wine had a definite spicy note to it but that evened out as it remained open. Great fruity taste to this wine. I’d get it again.
I couldn’t find details on this wine at the winery website http://amityvineyards.com
Billa-Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages
I wish I could remember where I ran across this wine. I’m going to guess one of my frequent Austin wine sources of either Whole Foods, Austin Wine Merchant or Twin Liquors. I’m recalling less than $15.
The Les Vignes de Bila-Haut from the Cotes du Roussillon Villages is a tasty blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. A medium bodied red with notes of black cherry.
My reading tells me the Côtes du Roussillon Villages is a designation given to a small number of villages along the Agly river in the far southern corner of France. Côtes de Roussillon Villages produces only red wine. Wines can be made from the principal grape varieties Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah with Lledoner Pelut being permitted as a supporting variety. Blending is required with at least two principal grape varieties being required and at least 80% of the blend coming from the principal grape varieties.
Colomé Torrontés was a favorite I had while in Argentina. I’ve been able to find it several places here in Austin too, including Whole Foods, Twin Liquors and Austin Wine Merchant. At $10.95 at Austin Wine Merchant, they clearly have the best price I’ve found for it.
One of the folks at a b&b I stayed at in Salta said she used to work at the winery. She mentioned that Colomé was started by Donald Hess. No doubt you’ve probably run across other wines from Hess.
From the website:
Torrontés is the signature white wine of Argentina. A cross between Muscat of Alexandria and the Mission Grape of Galicia, Torrontés grapes typically yield a light, refreshing white wine with Muscat tones redolent of jasmine and orange blossoms. Thriving in cool dry conditions, Torrontés has become synonymous with Argentina’s Salta Province and, in particular, the Calchaquí Valleys. Their altitude and microclimate have helped produce particularly outstanding Torrontés harvests.
MOMO Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand
With the weather warming up, a crisp NZ Sauv Blanc really hits the spot. I found this one at Specs in Austin up on hwy 620 for less than $15. The MOMO wines apparently come from the folks that used to do (or still?) the Seresin wines from NZ. I was a fan of those wines as well. Haven’t seen it in the Austin area recently. Winemaker says:
Aromas of tropical fruit and citrus with a hint of minerality. The palate is textural and rich with ripe tropical fruit and grapefruit. The finish is crisp and dry. The 2010 MOMO Sauvignon Blanc is made from fruit grown in vineyards located on the plains of the Wairau Valley of Marlborough. The Sauvignon was picked between April 8 and April 17, in the late evening and early morning, to ensure the fruit was cool when it reached the winery.
I missed the wine tasting of Priorat wines at Vino Vino this evening. But, I made up for it with my oft repeated visit to Whole Foods at the end of the day. Along with a few dinner fixings, I picked up a Monsant wine: Besllum 2008.
Monsant is a region of Spain, in Catalan, that borders the more well known region of Priorat. You can read more about this region here. This wine in particular is a blend of Carinena 45%, Garnacha 45%, Syrah 10%. The wine importer has a nice write-up of all the details here.
Found at Whole Foods for somewhere near $20. I’d get another.
Doña Paula Malbec-Syrah
In honor of an upcoming trip to Argentina, I found this really lovely blend of Malbec and Syrah from Mendoza. Too bad I won’t be going to Mendoza.
Wine maker’s notes: Intense violet color. In the nose, notes of ripe plums, nuts, spices and white pepper stand out. In the mouth, this is a very harmonious and balanced wine, with round tannins and long finish.
Found at Twin Liquors in far NW Austin for something less than $20. Click through the image for more details.
Duckhorn Vineyards 2006 Napa Valley Merlot
Awesome stuff. Enjoyed with a tasty grilled pork tenderloin tonight. Found at the Lake Travis Wine Trader some time last year. Can’t quite remember the price. Somewhere around $50, if you can still find it. Read the winemakers notes here.
Domaine de la Soleiade, Vacqueyras, 2009
Found a tasty red of 55% Grenache and 45% Syrah at Whole Foods on Lamar. From the heart of the Rhone Valley. Less than $15 on sale.
"Lavender, spice box, tobacco leaf, jus de viande, licorice and kirsch notes emerge from this deep, plum/ruby-colored wine along with wonderful ripeness, admirable purity and a medium to full-bodied texture with no hard edges." — 91-93 points Wine Advocate, October 2010
la yunta torrontes - 2010 Famatina Valley, Argentina
With temps pushing 80 recently, time to break out the white wine. This one for about $10 I found at Whole Foods in Austin fit the bill nicely. Crisp and citrusy:
"Notably aromatic of green melon and white peach. It has balanced citrus flavor with a touch of French oak to provide a crisp yet lingering finish."
Heller Estate 2007 Rose’ of Merlot
One of my all time favorite Rose’ wines from the Carmel Valley in California. Kem and I visited this winery several years ago. She routinely re-orders it and has some shipped in. Unfortunately, not something we’ve found offered locally in Austin. Wine maker’s notes below:
Beautiful palate of strawberry — the center white part — and crisp cranberry. Light touches of cherry and nicely balanced acidity throughout. Clean and delicate finish.
Cuvée Papillon 2008 - Crozes Hermitage AOC
This was Kem’s and my Valentines Day dinner wine, paired with dinner at Foreign & Domestic in Austin. We thought it went really well with the meal. Notes from the wine maker:
"Deep and ruby colour, with a frank and charming nose. Small black fruits, cherry and sweet spices build a nice harmony. On the palate, this wine is round and firm, then develops a beautiful clear and precise structure made of ripe fruits."
You can read more about it on the website of the wine maker.