Digging on Garnacha Blanca

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Savorian Wines.

Or Grenache Blanc if you prefer. I’ve only had a few bottles of Garnacha Blanca in my time as a [wannabe] wino. Based on those, I can say that I really enjoy the grape.  Quite some time ago I tried the Curran Grenache Blanc that I picked up from Domaine LA and loved it, and I also loved this bottle of the 2010 Bogatell Garnacha Blanca. Perhaps I just love Garnacha Blanca!  I had a chance to speak with Chad Turnbull, one of the founders of Savorian Wines about his company a few weeks ago. Savorian Wines is working with producers in Spain to produce, import, and market wines from the Terra Alta in the U.S. Currently they have the Bogatell Garnacha Blanca, but plan to expand in the future. The business model reminds me a bit of Enoforum Wines who I traveled to Portugal with last year. Though with Savorian, the wines retain the name of the original producer in Spain and Enoforum operates under a co-op system producing brands specifically for export. Currently Savorian is mostly available in the NY area in restaurants such as Beebo Seafood and Raw Bar and 101 Restaurant, both in Brooklyn.

The wine. It clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and I understand should retail for somewhere between $10-$15 when it reaches retail markets. At that price, this makes a perfect crisp, refreshing wine for these long hot summer months that are rapidly approaching. (I’m still mourning spring here people. It’s just not fair that we seem to have missed it.) On the nose I got pineapple, melon, star fruit, white pepper, spice, and cream. In the mouth I got more melon, pineapple, and star fruit, and then mandarin orange and lime zest. We drank this with herb marinated grilled chicken and it made a nice match with the citrus flavors in the wine.

More New Grapes!

*Disclaimer: I received this as a sample from Pasternak Imports.

This wine combines a couple of my favorite things: bubbles and interesting grapes! I’m still on the hunt for more grapes to try in hopes of some day making the Double-Century Club. Which, I should really submit my application since I finished up my Century Club ages ago now…I just never got around to it!  We popped on the Lady of Spain Brut Cava the other night. Why? Because it was a weekday and bubbles make weekdays better! The Lady of Spain clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, retails for around $12, and had a traditional cork closure.  It’s composed of 45% Macabo, 40% Xarel-lo, and 15% Parellada. The first and last are new grapes for me!

On the nose I got lemon, yeast, wax, apples, and a little toast. The palate on this was almost pure green apples. My notes say “very apply,” (I like to make up words) “green apples,” and “more apples.” I found the wine to be crisp, fresh, and lively, and for $10-$12 for a weekday sipper, it’s sure to spice up your Tuesday night!


A Party Temprañillo

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Gallo Family Wines

I’ve had Martin Codax wines before. In fact, I used to frequently purchase the Albariño, finding it to be a good deal for what you got in the bottle. The same can be said for the Temprañillo, especially at the $10 price tag I see if for online. It’s reliable, pleasing, and a great bargain mid-week wine or for a party if you’re looking to find something that your guests will enjoy for a reasonable price point. The 2006 Martin Codax Ergo Tempranillo had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and went well with our beef stroganoff.

On the nose I found spice, oak, cedar, black fruit, black cherry, and plum.  In the mouth I found more black cherry and plum, spice, cedar, and some black pepper notes. This wine is fruit driven, with the other notes being secondary to the dominating black fruits. It has mild tannins on the finish making it easy to drink and enjoy alone or with a good burger.




Light and Bright

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the folks at Pasternak Imports.

As I mentioned, we’re finally easing out of the DC spummall and into (slightly) cooler temperatures.  And the humidity is gone, at last. So that means red wine! But I’m looking at the gateway red wines (ha), of the lighter variety before settling into my Zins and Petite Sirahs for the winter. A Tempranillo seemed to fit the bill, so I pulled out the 2008 Terracita Tempranillo from Spain. It had a plastic cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $9.

On the nose I found lots of bright fruit. Blackberry, black cherry, and black plum, with some red edges, spice, and baking spice.  In the mouth I got cherry, plum, spice, cedar, fresh cherry, black cherry, very tart cherry, and more cherry.  Along with great acidity, this wine provided exactly the bright, light red I was looking for this evening, and at only $9 to boot.

Bubbles and New Grapes!

Buying this bottle of wine might help you get 3 grapes for your Century Club application! It added two more to my list on my (slow) quest to reach 200. So I’m at about 208 now. At this rate I’ll make it in 10 years! I picked up this bottle of Cava Barcino from Domaine LA. Jill is always good for bubbly and new grapes! I paid about $15, it had a traditional Champagne-type closure, and clocked in at 11.5% alcohol by volume. This Cava is a blend of Xarello (not new to me), Macabeu (new!), and Parellada (new!).

On the nose I got toast, lemon, and lemon custard. While it had a simple nose, it smelled clean and fresh, and well, I like lemon custard. In the mouth I found lemon, lime, and other citrus. I thought I got a hint of the toast from the nose, but really it was mostly citrus. Overall I found the wine to be crisp, but it had a nice creamy smoothness on the finish. I’d definitely get this one again at the price point.

Soft Tempranillo

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks representing this brand.

Tonight we pulled the 2006 Campo Viejo Crianza Tempranillo from the racks. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and I see it retails for about $9. I served this with leftover lamb pie and was desperately glad I did so. I found it a lot better with the lamb than without, but overall, I wasn’t a big fan.

On the nose I got herbs, spice, strawberry, blackberry, perfumed wood, oak, and cherry. I thought it smelled sweet. In the mouth I found soft berries, mostly blackberries, slight red edges, and soft tannins. The sweet note I found on the nose followed through in the mouth. It tasted candied. This wine just didn’t hold up for me. NMS.

Pretending it’s Spring

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Gallo Family Wines.

Despite nearly all evidence to the contrary at the moment, spring is coming. Yes, I realize we currently have about 40 inches of snow on the ground, but it will melt. Eventually. And before it all fell I saw my Irises and Daffodils coming up! Poor flowers. I’m ignoring all the snow in my yard and drinking white wines. It helps to get me in a spring frame of mind. Or perhaps I’m just delusional, it could really go either way. We popped open the 2007 Martin Codax Albariño the other night. The wine had a plastic cork, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and I see it available online for as low as $10.

On the nose I found sweet peach, apricot, pear, honey, apple, lemon, and other citrus. I also got an overall “tropical” sense from the wine.  In the mouth I found the citrus to be more pronounced along with the apple. Pear, peach, and a little spice rounded out the palate. I thought the wine was crisp and refreshing, but definitely one to be served very chilly.