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
Jim was a cowboy, rough and tough. He liked to say that he preferred his coffee black and his women blue. The wine he drank was red, and not that fruity stuff, like Beaujolais. He was a Syrah man, a Zin man, a Cabernet man. A real man. Jim roped steer and steered ropes. Jim drove cattle, drove them through valleys, across streams. Jim drove those cattle, drove them crazy. Jim was deaf, and when his incoherent mumblings reached the ears of the beasts they would bleat mournfully as if asking him to stop. But their cries fell on, well, on deaf ears. The deaf ears of a real man. Cowboy Jim was hard at work one sunny day, driving the cattle crazy on his way to deliver them to a dude named Hoss down at the Ponderosa. Jim had met Hoss on previous cattle runs. Hoss was a big man with a barrel chest, and he was slightly dense. Hoss was different, for sure. he was fond of show tunes and interior design. He dressed impeccably, and his diction was flawless. But he was a cowboy, a real man, so Jim could forgive Hoss his quirks. Another thing about Hoss, something that Jim liked a lot: Hoss loved his wine. In the evenings the two cowboys would pull some corks and shoot the bull. Their conversation was easy and relaxed. They were just two manly cowboys drinking hearty red wine. Jim played the accordion and soon learned a number of Ethel Merman tunes so Hoss could sing along. Hoss and Jim became a team, and traveled together across the cinematic countryside. They had everything they needed: A good horse, a blackened coffee pot, wine... and orchestral backround music. It was the good life. But there were whispers from the other cowboys. Whispers that Jim and Hoss were... well, a different breed of cowboy. There were horse whispers too, but that’s another film entirely. Hoss and Jim did not care. They were happy roping, happy riding. Happy singing songs from The Music Man by the campfire. They were a team. After their workout (they had taken up the sport of Rassling) Hoss opened a bottle of 1995 Palmer ($139.99), and a ’96 Palmer ($129.99) as well. To compare and contrast, Hoss explained, and to pair with duck confit. A new world opened up to Jim. These Palmer wines were vibrant and exciting. Hoss explained that Palmer blended the characteristics of every commune: hearty (and manly) like Médoc, soft and supple like Pomerol and St-Emilion, sturdy and straightforward like St-Estèphe. And with the Fragrance of Margaux. Jim found that the ’95 was fleshy and soft, and brimming with a sweet cherry jaminess. The ’96 was firmer, denser. Manlier, yes, than the ’95. One to drink and one to save. But as Hoss explained the wines, how Palmer was made from nearly half merlot, Jim grew agitated and fled. He would no longer partner up with Hoss. Jim and Hoss were finished. Now a lonesome cowpoke, Jim worked alone. And he denied the truth about himself each and every solitary day. “I ain’t no Merlot drinker…” —Joe Zugelder
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