I just returned from a week in Germany and Austria tasting the new vintage and getting to know new growers. I mentioned last month that I was to visit Stadlmann in Austria and hopefully taste older Zierfandler, which I did. A 1992 Zierfandler Igeln was proof positive that this is a wine of substance, powerfully dry, dense and firm with a wondrously spicy nose and length to die for. Also newly arriving are some 2005 Grüner Veltliners from Bernard Ott in the Wagram-Donauland an up and coming young star in Austria who works only with stainless steel to preserve the fruit and fully express what the soil has to offer. His wines have verve and a steely firmness that drives the flavor home. The 2005 Ott Grüner Veltliner Am Berg ($13.99) is is his lightest wine at 11.5%, but this baby is fresh, juicy and peppery, not at all slight in size. It will put a smile on your face. Coming soon we will have the 2005 Ott Grüner Veltliner Rosenberg ($14.99), made from younger vines and the first pickings of his oldest vines, all hand harvested. A purely mineral wine with a high note of wild cherry, pepper and plum. Also on the way is the 2005 Ott Grüner Veltliner Faß # 4 ($18.99), a blend of five vineyards, from his second picking. He calls this his gastronomic wine. It is deeper, more textured yet still fresh and vibrant. Germany, too, has a tale to tell this vintage. For now let us just say that the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer is King. Johannes Selbach feels this is his greatest vintage since he has been in charge of the winery. Manfred Prüm has stated it is his best in the last 40 years, I heard similar things from most growers, and the wines backed it up. More on that front soon… Live in the Light! —Jeff Vierra
2004 Burgans Albarino ($9.99) Albarino is the most famous wine from the Rias Baixas. Many people liken this varietal to Viognier, but I find it has a more delicate quality. Full of fruit and quite refreshing, the Burgans will be great drinking throughout the summer. 2004 Gramona Gessami ($11.99) 90 points Parker: “A terrific buy … Exotic waxy notes intermixed with notions of rose water, acacia flowers, and minerals jump from the glass of this medium-bodied white. It possesses a fruity, dry, intense, pure, spicy personality.” 2004 Mas Que Vinos Ercavio Roble, La Mancha ($9.99) Made from 100% cencibel, the local name for tempranillo, this tinto is made using a blend of traditional and modern methods…spending some time in large clay amphoras known as tinajas and aged for 5 months in a mix of French and American oak. Full and fleshy, this red from La Mancha has plenty of ripe black cherry fruit and a long finish. Perfect with your favorite grilled steak! 2001 Quinta de Roriz Reserva, Portugal ($16.99) 91 points Wine Spectator: “Full-bodied, deep-colored and rich with lip-smacking flavors of dark plum, blackberry jam, cocoa and a hint of French roast as well. Tannins build on the finish, but with an appealing silkiness and dark chocolate notes that go on and on. Drink now through 2008.” 2003 Bodegas Tikalo Kios, La Mancha ($16.99) 90 points from Robert Parker: “The outstanding 2003 Kios (100% Tempranillo) is an exceptional bargain. Attractive blackberry and blueberry aromas are followed by elegant, medium to full-bodied flavors. Tremendous density, purity, and ripeness cascade over the palate in this seamless beauty. It should drink well for 1-3 years.” Buen Provecho! —Anne Pickett, firstname.lastname@example.org
I have just returned from a fall time trip to South America and have had some awesome wines from Argentina and Chile. Here are a few suggestions for your casa this summer or for any season! 2005 De Martino Organic Sauvignon Blanc, Chile ($12.99) The South American wine press always ranks the wines from De Martino at the top of the heap. Their latest offering is this organic Sauvignon. Fresh and full of citrus flavors, the perfect aperitif or poolside sipper. 2003 Santa Ema Reserve Carmenere, Chile ($12.99) This offering from Santa Ema shows of all of the charming qualities this often maligned varietal. Full of soft plummy fruit, this red has aromas of tobacco, currants and vanillin oak. Enjoy this Carmenere with grilled pork chops! 2004 Pascual Toso Reserve Malbec, Argentina ($14.99) The folks at Pascual Toso have been making wine in Maipu since 1890. Recently, they hired to Paul Hobbs as consulting winemaker. The combination of Italian tradition and California flash results in a Malbec with style and grace. Packed with ripe blueberry/blackberry fruit, this inky red has a suave palate feel and a long finish. Fantastic with ribs! 2003 Kaiken Ultra Malbec, Argentina ($17.99) A blend of 92% malbec and 8% cabernet, this red wine is a broad shoulder bruiser with aromas of roasted coffee, oak and blackberry. The burst of ripe fruit really packs a punch on the palate. Enjoy with grilled sausage! 2004 Viña Montes Syrah Colchagua Valley, Chile ($15.99) A wine so good that it will make the angels sing, the Montes Alpha Syrah is packed with blackberry/raspberry fruit and a long peppery finish. This red has more style and substance than wines at twice the price. Perfect for steak! Buen Provecho! —Anne Pickett
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