2004 Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos (Garnacha), Campo de Borja ($12.99) 91 points Robert Parker: “…old vine Grenache vineyard cropped at an amazing two tons of fruit per acre, the 2004 Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha was aged half in stainless steel and half in French oak for ten months. It is a lovely, expressive, deep ruby-tinged wine offering sweet aromas of kirsch liqueur, licorice, white pepper, and dusty, loamy characteristics. Full-bodied, supple textured, flashy, and flavorful, it is an unreal value.” 2003 Cellers del Roure, Les Alcusses ($13.99) 92 points Parker: “...a blend of Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, and Mando. This beauty boasts a dense ruby/purple color along with a fragrant display of black cherries, raspberries, currants, white flowers, and background notes of wood smoke. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, and gorgeously pure with admirable elegance, palate penetration, and acidity, it is an expressive, artistic Spanish red.” 2004 Bodegas Hijos de Juan Gil, Juan Gil, Jumilla ($13.99) 90 points Parker: “A serious effort, the 2004 Juan Gil is fashioned from 45-year-old Mourvedre vines and is aged for 12 months in American and French oak. This rich, full-bodied, inky/purple-tinged cuvee exhibits aromas of scorched earth, blueberries, licorice, and pepper, a savory, layered texture, and remarkable opulence for a Mourvedre.” 2004 Finca Luzón Jumilla Altos de Luzón ($13.99) 90 points Parker: “The seriously endowed 2004 Altos de Luzon is a blend of 50% old vine Mourvedre (52 years) and equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo, aged 12 months in a combination of French and American oak. A dense ruby/purple color is followed by beautiful aromas of smoky licorice, black currants, cherries, and earth. Offering wonderful ripeness, an alluring texture, sweet tannin, and adequate acidity, it certainly over-delivers for its price. Drink it over the next 2-4 years.” Buen Provecho! —Anne Pickett, firstname.lastname@example.org
No, they’re not from Champagne or even California, but they are all really tasty and well under twenty dollars. Do I have your attention yet? The first two of these fantastic wines are from the Loire Valley and the other two from Alsace. These are all outstanding wines for almost any event, whatever it may be: weddings, an evening sipper while relaxing on the porch, brunch with somebody special, or not so special. You get the picture! Domaine de l’Ecu (Guy Bossard) Cuvée Ludwig Hahn Sparkling ($13.99) 45% folle blanche (Gros-Plant), 25% chardonnay, 20% melon de bourgogne (Muscadet) and 10% cabernet cauvignon ( I know, this was a first for me too). The complexity and length that you get out of this bottle is outstanding for a $14-bottle of bubbles. François Pinon Vouvray Pétillant Brut ($16.99) This sparkling chenin blanc comes from soils that are clay and silica on a base of limestone (tuffeau) with flint (silex), and the area is rated among the top sites in the appellation. Fantastic earthy characters with warmth and charm make this a great fit for a variety of foods. If you have never tried a sparkling Chenin I really suggest that this be the first one. Jean Philippe & Francois Becker Cremant d’Alsace ($14.99) A blend of pinot noir, chardonay and pinot blanc that is bright and edgy but a bit shy all at the same time, a lot like me! The sharp minerality and focus always leaves me wanting more than just that first glass. Charles Baur Cremant d’Alsace ($14.99) Made up of pinot blanc (40%), auxerrois (40%) and chardonnay (20%), this has a happy aromatic character with a creamy richness running through the middle giving it more of a softer, rounder finish. Don’t be scared of the unknown, you never know what kind of interesting and special things you may find! —Eric Story
I am pleased to report that new releases from one of my favorite Languedoc properties have arrived. Tucked in the northeastern corner of the Languedoc appellation of St. Chinian, Jean-Marie Rimbert crafts simply lovely regional wines full of character, vitality and charm. 2005 Saint Chinian Blanc Domaine Rimbert ($11.99) If you’ve ever grown a pot of thyme in your kitchen window, you know what happens when you pinch off the little white flowers that appear on the end of the stems. The smell that comes off those tiny, innocuous looking blossoms is springtime, summer, honey and citrus all at once. A sniff of this fresh white effects similar responses in your nose and mouth. A blend of marsanne, roussanne, vermentino, grenache blanc and carginan blanc, picked manually in the early morning hours to maintain freshness, it’s ideal with grilled fish, or try with your favorite mild fish cooked in parchment! 2004 Saint Chinian Domaine Rimbert “Le Mas au Schiste” ($14.99) Even if you’re incredibly tough on yourself you owe it to your inner child to pick up a bottle of the new vintage of Rimbert’s playful Mas au Schiste. The blend is 40% carignan, 30% syrah and 30% grenache aged for 12 months on the lees in old barrels, which impart no wood flavor and no destraction from the amazingly pure and vivid fruit. Delicious and jam-packed with spicy and juicy red and black berries, this is an ideal house red to go with lamb, chicken, burgers, you name it. There are also 1.5Ls of the 2003 “Le Mas au Schiste” ($29.99) —Mulan Chan
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