Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gran Selezione!!!!

Chianti Classico DOCG, at Tuscany's epicenter, has added a new upper tier to its line up! Above and beyond the Annata (year's vintage) and Riserva, now comes Gran Selezione. The Chianti Classico Wine Consortium has worked for several years to add a new type of wine to the top of the denomination's quality pyramid. And these wines will be under strict guidelines: from using a winery's own best grapes, in its finest vineyards, to a minimum aging of 30 months and additional time in bottle.

Recently premiered in Florence, the Consorzio will launch Gran Selezione here in the US in May/June of 2014.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Vinkara Kalecik Karasi 2011 Turkey

Kalecik is a small village in Central Anatolia Turkey, where Kalecik Karasi grapes (pronounced Kah-le-djic Kah-ra-ser) are used to produce this Pinot Noir like red wine. Ruby red colors in the glass, while vibrant floral and ripe fruity aromas appear with raspberry, vanilla and hints of sour cherries.  Dry on the palate but the ripeness of strawberries, waves of rosewater and strangely enough hints of banana (usually a white wine trait), make this a really interesting flavor profile. Soft tannins are  set against a fresh acidity and nice lingering finish. My first Turkish wine, I found it lively and fresh with a pleasant balance. SRP $15.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Eureka! Central Otago/New Zealand Wines Strike Gold!

Recently, I had the delicious opportunity to experience wines from New Zealand's Central Otago, which is the world's southernmost wine region.  This area's climate and geography is similar to that of Burgundy and Willamette Valley, and one of its sub-regions, Bannockburn, was a gold mining town in the 1860's. It's an area of extremes, boasting the highest and lowest temperatures nationally, as well the highest light intensity of the country, with 95% percent of its wineries part of the New Zealand Sustainable System. That's enough to entice me, so without further ado, here are some of my wine notes:

Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir Single Vineyard Pipeclay Terrace 2010 $95
Opaque deep rose colors, violet on the nose with complex but subtle hints of stone, roasted vanilla beans and caramel. On the palate delicious ribbons of cola, ripe cherry, strawberry and spice. This vineyard and winery is certified sustainable. Unfiltered and unrefined, this was my hands down favorite.

Felton Road Bannockburn 2010
Vegetal, strawberry, red fruits, raspberry, spicy bing cherry.

Felton Road Pinot Noir Cornish Point 2009 $55
Attractive aromas, metallic mineral, vanilla, yummy cherry and strawberry.

Felton Road Pinot Noir 2010 $40
Caramel aromas with fresh red berry flavors, mild tannins and long finish.

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2009 $40
Alluringly funky on the nose with barnyard and underbrush contrasting violet, glycerine and wood, beautifully balanced against blue fruits and vanilla. Excellent long finish. This one was outstanding, especially for the price.

Amisfield Pinot Noir 2010 $37.95
Dark and brooding, also funk, horsey but again beautifully balanced. Very attractive floral aromas, with vanilla, barnyard and plum. White pepper and spice on the palate, slightly high alcohol content, ripe tannins and good finish. This vineyard and winery is certified sustainable. Aging: One year in French oak and another in bottle.

Felton Road Chardonnay 2011
Beautiful! Fresh, mineral, quenching, kiwi and green apple. Tastes more like a Sauvignon blanc than a Chardonnay. 

The dinner/tasting took place at the fantastic Aureole New York at 135 West 42nd Street. A wonderful evening, highlighted by wines that prove there might still be some gold in those New Zealand hills!

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio
Crispy Shitake, Sacallion, Taro Root, Ponzu, Lavash Cracker

Main Course
Roasted Scottish Salmon 
Sweet Potato, Black Trumpet Mushroom, Apple Nage