Strikes a wonderful balance between the crispness of riesling, the floral aromatics of gewürztraminer and the friendly fruitiness of pinot blanc, all combining into a clean, long, expressive finish. A wine for all sorts of occasions, from simple summer sipping to accompanying grilled pork chops or fish in a cream sauce. Highly recommended..
If you think pinot noir from South America is inevitably too rich, too extracted and too ripe, you really need to get yourself a bottle of this subtle, balanced gem from Bodega Chacra, founded by Piero Incisa, scion of the family who brought you a little Tuscan wine called… Sassicaia. Made from old vines found by Incisa in the cooler reaches of Patagonia (the youngest vineyard was planted in 1978, the others in 1955 and 1932), it is clear, with a bright garnet color, and a set of aromas that probably wouldn’t be out of place in the Côte de Beaune. Drawing a comparison is unfair, however, as there is a very specific personality to Barda, the entry-level cuvée from this special venture. With dried cherry and tea-leaf aromas, wild and earthy undertones on the nose, a bright and fresh feeling on the tongue, an overall impression of ripeness rounded out by maybe a bit of oak, this is a really fine pinot noir at a very reasonable price. A warning: it will likely make you want to buy the estate’s single-vineyard bottlings, whose prices hover closer to 100 dollars a bottle. Highly recommended. RC
Quite an unusual wine from this Okanagan Valley winery : a field blend of grenache, viognier and marsanne, pressed together and fermented together in oak barrels, thus creating an unusual, largely blanc de noirs, white wine. Coming from a cool vintage, it has an edgy, vibrant touch, combining the aromatics of Rhône varieties with a blend of lime and tropical flavors. Crisp, it also has good weight and a fairly round mouthfeel. creating a unique profile and balance. It is, at this point, a very young wine. A year or two in bottle will round it out, and it may well have several more years of life in it. Highly Recommended. RC
Combining the pleasantly mineral and grippy character of Carignane with rounder notes from five other grape varieties, this inexpensive offering from Bonny Doon is rather easy-going, despite the contrarian attitude implied in the name (which also refers to Contra Costa County, where most of the grapes come from). That contradictory character may be found in the fact that it is, in fact, so lovely and elegant and pleasant to drink, despite having fairly moderate alcohol (13.5%) and none of the overbearing fruit that so many Californian wines (certainly in that price range) would have you believe is balanced. At $14, there’s a lot of great stuff in there. A great deal—and just a really pleasant wine to drink. Recommended. RC
This particular Pleiades (XX has also been released) is a symphonic, multilayered blend that keeps changing at every sip, with spices jumping over red fruit, richness competing with acid, eucalyptus rolling in over earthy, gamey notes. It’s unlike anything else, for sure, an unidentifiable drinking object that defies definition and expands the possibilities of what wine can be. Highly recommended. RC