The rebirth of the Château de Puligny Montrachet since my visit there in 2002 is astounding. Since Etienne de Montille took over, the yields are down, farming is organic or biodynamic and attention to detail shows from top to bottom. The result has been extremely fine wines, all estate grown. A particularly good bargain is the 2004 Château de Puligny Montrachet Bourgogne Blanc, Clos du Château ($24.99). Made from 100% estate-grown fruit from the walled vineyard around the Château, this is a Puligny Montrachet in all but name, with bright fruit and lovely focus. The 2004 Château de Puligny Montrachet Monthelie Blanc ($29.99) has lovely mid-palate balance, with bright creamy notes and good weight. The pretty floral notes on the nose add to its charm. The 2004 Château de Puligny Montrachet St. Aubin 1er Cru, “En Remilly” ($39.99) is a rich wine with elegant minerality and a lemon-cream note. The finish is long, persistent and balanced. The 2004 Château de Puligny Montrachet Puligny Montrachet ($50.99) shows very pretty pine and mineral notes, with fresh, bright fruit. The wine has a precise focus to it, and is lovely, fine and lingering on the finish. There are also small quantities of the 2004 Château de Puligny Montrachet Meursault 1er Cru, “Poruzots” ($53.99), the 2004 Château de Puligny Montrachet Meursault 1er Cru, “Perrieres” ($68.99) and the 2004 Château de Puligny Montrachet Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru, “Folatieres” ($75.99), as well as tiny quantities of their spectacular Grands Crus, Chevalier, Bâtard and Montrachet (please inquire). Á Santé. —Keith Wollenberg
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 Robert Parker: “A terrific buy, … is an intriguing blend of 60% muscat de alexandria, 30% sauvignon blanc, and 10% muscat de Fontignac that comes across like Spain’s version of a white Hermitage, although it is lighter bodied. 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 spent some time in large clay amphoras known as tinajas and was 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...” 2003 Bodegas Tikalo Kios, La Mancha ($16.99) 90 points Robert Parker: “...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
This month I have a stunning group of value priced wines perfect for summer chilling and grilling. The 2005 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand ($9.99) has a lifted nose of lime, snap pea, light passion fruit, and a powdery talc note. Clean and snappy with a mineral note and a round mid-palate supported by fine acidity leading to a long racy finish, this is Chardonnay without the oak! The 2005 Alpha Domas Unoaked Chardonnay Hawkes Bay New Zealand ($10.99) offers a refreshing version of this omnipresent varietal, which has a bouquet of light peach, pear, apple and melon notes. On the palate there is some minerality and pure clean fruit with lemon zest accents, good acidity and fine length. The Redheads Studio is an old bar and restaurant converted to a “playground” for a group of very talented winemakers. The 2004 Redheads Studio “Yard Dog” Southeast Australia ($10.99) has soft supple tannins with smoky dark plum, spicy red current, cherry, sweet red licorice and notes of milk chocolate. The palate shows fine balance with good acidity purity of fruit and a long finish. Buitenverwachting in Africans translates to “beyond expectation,” and so does this wine from one of the coolest areas in South Africa. The 2005 Buitenverwachting “Beyond” Sauvignon Blanc Constantia South Africa ($10.99) is vibrant and zesty with a nose of wet stone, mineral, light passion fruit and citrus blossom. On the palate there is good purity with great acidity and length. Pair this with grilled shrimp and a spicy chili-lime sauce. Cheer —Jimmy C
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