Archive for December, 2011

Eight New Wines from Argentina

Recently, our friends at Vineyard Brands sent us samples from three Argentine producers whose wines they have introduced into the U.S. market. All eight of these proved to be some of the most enjoyable selections we’ve tried from South America in some time, and we would recommend any and all of them. Included here with our notes are links to pages giving background information on each of these wineries.  Click label images to enlarge.

Altos de San Isidro from the very northern Cafayate:

2011 Altos de San Isidro Torrontes Cafayate, 13.5% alc., $16 SRP: Clean medium color, with the typical orange blossom and honeysuckle nose, though perhaps not as effusive as with some models; still, it’s very pretty and follows through on the palate in a restrained manner, with a core of ripe red and green apple flavors and a note of mineral underneath it all. Medium-full bodied, rich and almost oily, not unlike Gewurztraminer in that regard; ripe, but not excessively so. Enough acidity to work well with food, and nice length on the finish; a pleasure to sip on while playing the old 12-string. 8 hour cold maceration and the cool temperature fermentation at 22° C.; no malolactic fermentation, no oak aging. Find this wine
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Two Beauties from Edmunds St. John

Click image to enlarge.

We happened upon these two delightful wines last Friday, whilst perusing the selection in a department I once managed in a previous lifetime. (It seems so long ago!) We’ve reported on them in the past, and indeed, I may have brought them into that department myself. Their presence seems to illustrate a problem that winemaker Steve Edmunds had in Michigan in that the last two distributors that carried his wines didn’t seem to know how to market them, and the buying public has been generally indifferent towards them here. (I put them in as many hands as I could, but I was just one simple country wine retailer…) Because of this, Edmunds doesn’t bother with our state anymore, which is a real shame, because his wines are wonderful. We enjoyed both of these with Kim’s birthday dinner, and they paired quite nicely with the no-hormone/antibiotic Delmonico steak and shrimp stir fry with fresh mushrooms and snow peas that we shared. It had been a little more than five years since we’d had the first selection.
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December 10, 2011 Florida Jim Cowan’s 2011 Tasting Notes Archive-Part Two

Jim Cowan Photo by Chris Witkowski - click to enlarge

The 2011 archive part 2 is presented by date the notes were compiled and submitted. Part 1 may be found here. Prior year’s tasting notes may be found here.

December 10, 2011

A very nice dinner with friends included the following:

2006 Overnoy, Arbois Pupillin:
Crisp, clean and deep – perhaps not typical descriptors for Overnoy but in this vintage, certainly appropriate. A unique flavor profile to any other poulsard I have tasted and a wine I never tire of. Lovely. Find this wine

2006 Allemand, Cornas both the Chaillot and Reynard:
The Chaillot is pretty open and forthcoming for being so young and it is complex, even now. The Reynard is a coiled spring and made of sterner stuff; clearly we are too early to this bottle, but its promise is evident. Both are obviously Cornas and obviously Allemand. And both accompanied my steak very well indeed. Thanks Justin. Find Allemand Cornas Chaillot and Find Allemand Cornas Reynard

I have given up writing any notes on my wines except those not yet released. There are only about 15 cases of the 2008 Skin-Fermented Sauvignon Blanc and I tried a bottle recently.

I am pleased with where this has gone; it’s darker than when first bottled (think burnished copper), softer and has developed some ginger and sauvage notes while maintaining its balance and skin-fermented character. Starting, I think, to tend into Gravner-esque territory. I do hope our 2010 Isa does this with age.

Beautiful with squash soup.

I also recently tasted the as yet unreleased 2009 Calluna Vineyards, Merlot Aux Raynauds and was surprised by how European it came across. This one needs several years in the bottle but promises to be the kind of merlot I actually like, that is to say, merlot without the chocolate, oak signature so many CA merlots have. No “booty” here, just a focused and layered wine. Impressive and dandy with beef stroganoff. Thanks David. Find this wine

Calluna is located in the Chalk Hill AVA here in Sonoma County.

The 2008 Occipinti, Frappato is a thing of beauty; smells a bit like gamay but reminds me more of something from the Jura when tasted. I have never had this grape before so I apologize for the comparisons but it was excellent wine with good grip and sustain. Thanks Garrett. Find this wine

And one last comment; for those of you in the Oakland area, do not miss the wine bar called Punchdown at 2212 Broadway. They have two wine lists; one by the bottle or carafe, and one by the glass. Both are extraordinarily well chosen, filled with things esoteric and unusual, and loaded with quality. The service is provided by the owners (always a good thing) and the noshes are delicious. Finally, a good reason to go to Oakland.

Best, Jim
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