Wine Briefs: Earthquake Petite Sirah 2012

Now that I have this new briefs section of the site, I will kick it off with by mentioning this great wine.  I’ve been meaning to tell you all for a while how much I enjoyed it. Drinking it was a tasty culmination of much ado among family, friends, and customers about Michael David wines. My dad’s a tough nut to crack when it comes to wine. When I asked what he did like, he said Seven Deadly Zins first. Then I had a customer rave about many of their wines, one of which was this lovely Petite Sirah. Coincidentally my daughter’s boyfriend’s father is a huge wine enthusiast and after I gifted him some favorite wines last Christmas, he shared a bottle of one of his favorites, which just happened to be this wine. Following all this fuss I not only extensively researched this favorite winemaker for my own curiosity’s sake, but also opened the bottle post-haste. Tasty, tasty stuff.  Mostly PS with a bit of Cab in the blend. Lots of black fruit to balance the tannins and ready to drink.  2012 was a great year in California. Will have to pick up more, but this time I will have to pay for it! He has many wines including the enticingly-named “Lust”, “Freakshow”, “Rapture”, “Sloth”, “Rage”, “6th Sense Syrah,” “Petite/Petit”, and of course “7 Deadly Zins”, which is the ‘gateway red,’ to their wines, as my customer put it. Not in any derogatory way whatsoever though. Only that this is the most well known and accesable of the Michael David wines, and a fan would soon find their way to the others.

More info on the this wine here. The ratings are very kind to it as well, but taste and decide for yourself.  It’s about $24.



Domaine Michel Thomas Sancerre 2012

Domaine Michel Thomas Sancerre 2012

Domaine Michel Thomas Sancerre 2012

I just returned from a wonderful trip to London, filled with historical landmarks and family gatherings. Of course I brought back a few bottles of wine. One of these was a lovely Sancerre that my family and I enjoyed over the weekend at a barbeque.  Domaine Michel Thomas 2012 Sancerre is a delicious example of this classic Loire style. Michel and his son Laurent run this family business. The family have grown grapes for many generations and have focused on winemaking since 1968. They are of the philosophy that minimal cellar intervention gives the purest expression of the vineyard.

Pale lemon in color, it has expected stone fruit and citrus notes, is medium in body and dry. I also picked up green pea and fresh cut grass notes which is also characteristic of Sauvignon Blanc. It was crisp and refreshing and the perfect apéritif on this hot day. The Loire style of Sauvignon Blanc is more subtle than you would find in a Marlborough, New Zealand example, with less bright acidity and more flint/mineral notes — though you will find the herbaceous ‘cat’s pee’ aromas in both styles. Calcified remains of an ancient seabed provide this mineral accent in the terroir as it does in nearby Chablis.

There’s also about 20% red and rosé production here. I actually just ordered a Pinot Noir Sancerre in the recent pre-harvest marathon on Last Bottle wines which I can’t wait to try.

I paid 14 pounds for the bottle, which is in the ballpark of its average web price of $23. Abv is 12.5%.  I’ve been enjoying Sancerre for many years and this is a very good one – Try it!

Favorites of 2012

Ravines 2010 Cabernet Franc

Ravines 2010 Cabernet Franc

Happy new year!  I am looking forward to another great year in wine. I was thinking over the last week or two about how I wanted to wrap up the inaugural year of this blog. I can do a wrap-up of all my favorite wines of the year, as many do. But I’ve already written about them in detail on this blog, so that would just be repetitive. So I will tell you about a few more that I really enjoyed over the holidays, and then will link you back to my other favorites I reviewed this year…

Cabernet Franc and I met for the first time in 2012. It quickly became one of my favorite wines, and I will kick things off with a few I’m fond of.

Ravines 2010 Cabernet Franc (Finger Lakes) was something I found in our new wine mega-store (I have to admit they have an impressive inventory including many fine wines now on my wish list).  They have a nice selection of local wines including Finger Lakes, North Fork, Hudson Valley and Connecticut wines. I wanted to try a Finger Lakes red, as I will be experimenting with making one of my own, and I don’t think I’ve had one yet. It was a really nice wine. It had a nice bright ruby color and the nose was enticingly smoky and spicy and bursting with red and black berry aromas. The tannins were soft and the acidity was bright but nicely balanced with the tannins and body. A lingering spicy fruit finish made this a new favorite.

Bedell 2011 Cabernet Franc

This was one of those Cab Francs I had for the first time in March on my inaugural North Fork visit that made me fall in love with the variety.  It was a ruby color of medium intensity. On the nose were blackberry and currant and a little ‘farmyard’. The palette echoed the rich black fruit and currant, with the addition of a spicy earthy flavor. The body and finish were about a medium.

Château Doisy-Védrines Sauternes

Château Doisy-Védrines Sauternes

I also grew quickly fond of fine Sauternes. Usually I don’t have a major sweet tooth (unless peanut butter is involved) but the quality of this wine is so high that its really hard not to enjoy it. I had the amazing Château Suduiraut 2005 Sauternes at Château Pichon Longueville in Bordeaux in October, and another from our range over thanksgiving that was very nice. But I picked up one at the wine shop that day for Christmas that was delicious.

Château Doisy-Vedrines 2009 is a nice example of Sauternes. It was in the $25 range for a half-bottle, which is average for this wine.  The body was nice and round, and the sweetness was pronounced as expected yet not cloying and overly sweet. Everything was nicely balanced and I enjoyed it over a few occasions last week, in most cases as a luxurious nightcap. Also, I can’t really have more than one a day, as its too much sweetness for me (well except for Château Suduiraut)  and this is not a table wine . One wants to take their time to enjoy sipping this one.

Some other 2012 Favorites from this year in my blog:

Paumanok Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Paumanok Assemblage 2007

One Woman Vineyards Gruner Veltliner

Château Pichon-Longueville Pauillac 2009/2010 and Château Suduiraut Sauternes 2005

Land of Nod Chocolate Raspberry dessert wine

Bodegas Carrau Tannat 2000, Font de la Figuera Priorat 2008

Lenz Blanc de Noir 2008

Bedell First Crush (red) 2010

Hope your holidays were joyful, and here’s to 2013!

Georges DuBoeuf Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau 2012

Georges DuBeouf Beauolais Nouveau 2012

Georges DuBeouf Beauolais Nouveau 2012

Given that today is Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to cover what has become an annual tradition in the United States this time of year. The release of the new Beaujolais Nouveau on the third Thursday of each November. While there are critics who say anything from it is too soon for the wine to be ready to it gives ‘real’ age-worthy Beaujolais a bad name, I think there’s a lot of great things about this wine and this tradition. It is also one of the first wines I discovered ‘on my own’, read that I identified with as a tasty, quality red wine that had something special about it. That something special as we all know is carbonic maceration. In this technique, the grapes are fermented in a CO2-rich environment, causing the process to happen while they are still mostly whole. Also important to note is that there is no yeast involved in this method at all. Gamay lends itself beautifully to this process, and I have enjoyed this wine every year. It results in light, ready-to-drink and easily palatable wines that are delicious and fresh, but don’t have the structure to age. That’s just fine with me. I have already filled my rack with fine age-worthy wines and sometimes I don’t know what to drink because there’s too many I can’t part with. I have come a long way since I first discovered this wine, and it is just as rewarding and fresh today in the 2012. I love a fine aged Beaujolais as well but I think there’s a place for this wine and millions of others agree!

It has a bright ruby color of medium light intensity, and on the nose and palette, smoky and spicy black and red fruit aromas and flavors dominate. Often, ‘bugglegum’ is used to decribe the flavor as well. Tannins are present, but different than you might be used to (less skin contact in this process, and a different method altogether), and its got a refreshing acidity and fruit-forwardness that carries it all the way home. A pleasure to drink and a nice wine to have on the Thanksgiving table.