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please, more Verdelho from Lodi

May 14, 2010

Who doesn’t like to discover a new and unexpectedly refreshing wine?  I’ve just come across one: 2009 Lee Family Farm Verdelho from the Silvaspoons Vineyard in the Alta Mesa sub-region of Lodi.  Frankly, Lodi is a California region I associate with hulking, high-alcohol Zinfandels (not my favorite tipple). But Verdelho, a traditional Portuguese varietal and a staple of Madeira production, manages to keep its acidity even in hot dry climates like Lodi’s.  The grapes in Ron Silva’s vineyard came from cuttings near his grandfather’s home in the Azores, and were turned into a tart, fleshy, minerally white by Morgan Winery for its sister label, Lee Family Farm.  The price is right, too: $15.

tasting the 2008s in Burgundy—next week, Bordeaux

March 25, 2010

This week I’m in Burgundy, tasting the 2008s. Began in Chablis Monday, I’m now ensconced in Beaune, visiting domaines. So far, the highlight has been a stop in Auxey-Duresses at Domaine Jean and Gilles Lafouge. . . wines with astonishing precision and elegance, what I think Burgundy should be all about and isn’t always. Premiers crus reds La Chapelle and Les Duresses – just to take two of the wines Gilles Lafouge poured in his tiny cellar—have deliciously pure fresh fruit balanced by savory, mouthwatering acidity. These are wines with great life and energy—true Burgundy for $25 to $35 a bottle.  More reports later. . . then on to Bordeaux to taste 2009 vintage en primeur next week.

what I’m drinking: $11 rosé

March 1, 2010

Decent wine for $11?  I’ll admit that bottles in the $12 and under category usually end up as cooking wine in my house, but the 2009 Château de Campuget Tradition rosé surprised me:  fresh, zingy, cleansing—a very drinkable dry pink quaffer, perfect to have on standby in the frig.  No, it doesn’t have the drama of Sacha Lichine’s $85 Provençal rosé, but I’d be very happy if one of my non-wine geek friends brought it out for a weekend barbeque this spring.  Details? It’s 30% Grenache Noir, 70% Syrah, appellation Costières de Nîmes.