Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Newsletters you can trust
Bookmark and Share

Wine On The Road Check out Wine On The Road to explore the world’s most renowned wine regions with behind-the-scenes access to top winemakers and their incomparable wines. With Wine on the Road tours, professional wine writer and Chief Wine Sherpa Ben Weinberg has created the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor. Our wine-focused, luxurious, behind-the-scenes itineraries are now available online. Go to Wine On The Road for more details.


Sommelier Journal
Ben is the author of Weinberg's Wine Tech in Sommelier Journal and regularly contributes features, as well. Take a look at Sommelier Journal’s website for more information on this excellent behind-the-scenes wine magazine.


Tasting Panel Magazine
He is the Rocky Mountain Editor for Tasting Panel Magazine. Check out Tasting Panel’s website for more information on this wine industry powerhouse. Ben will continue to craft feature stories fpr Tasting Panel but will also be providing monthly briefs on Colorado restaurants for national publication. If you wish your restaurant to be considered for these articles please email him at: benweinberg@ unfilteredunfined.com


Colorado Statesman
Ben also pens "Politics Uncorked with Ben Weinberg" on a bi-monthly basis for the Colorado Statesman. Check out the Colorado Statesman’s website to learn what's going on in Colorado politics and wine.

Calendar of Events

July 2014
S M T W T F S
« Oct    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Subscribe to our RSS feed

Weinberg’s Wine Notes #89 – Living La Vina Loca

Vines are everywhere

Vines are everywhere

While tried-and-true wines are by far the most easily accessible, some of the most interesting values are from relatively unknown regions and grapes.  Wines from off the beaten path have much less name recognition than those from well-known areas such as Napa and Bordeaux, or varietals like Pinot Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The producers can’t charge a premium merely for the letters on the label, and as a result the wines are often much easier on the pocketbook.

 

 

Being easier on the wallet, however, doesn’t necessarily indicate lesser quality.  Many wine grapes and growing regions are obscure for a very good reason – they’re just not that excellent.  Fortunately, I’ve recently received some far-flung samples that are worthy of mention, produced in sufficient quantities to allow a decent level of distribution.

 

As I’ve often discussed in this column, sparkling wines are an underutilized subspecies, especially when food is part of the occasion.  Bubbles ease the passage of spicy or oddly textured foods down the gullet and scrub the mouth clean after each tasty swallow.

 

Beautiful bubbles

Beautiful bubbles

The next time you plan on setting out small nibbles for a crowd, seek out the Trapiche Extra Brut, a non-vintage bubbly from Mendoza Argentina.  The wine shows aromas of apples and pineapples, with a toasted bread note that reminds me of good, non-vintage Champagne.  In the mouth, the unusual sparkling blend of Semillon and Malbec create a full, crisp wine with plenty of personality.

 

 

Etienne Hugel in one of his Alsatian vineyards

Etienne Hugel in one of his Alsatian vineyards

Still whites (as opposed to bubbly) also offer a lot of variety that seems to pass under the noses of most consumers.  Sure, old standbys like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are tasty, but there are so many other wonderful whites from lesser-known locales.  Alsatian whites are delicious, food friendly, and can offer great value.  One that recently crossed my path was the Hugel Gewurztraminer “Hugel,” bursting with iris and pink cherry blossoms on the nose and a racy lemon-lime element on the pithy finish.

 

Another fun, mostly obscure wine style with which to get reacquainted is dry rosé.  Like sparklers, rosés are terrifically food friendly.  A great rosé combines the bright acidity of typical whites with the savory qualities inherent in most reds, and the best result is a medium-weight, silky texture that pairs well with just about anything.

 

Try the Alexander Valley Vineyards dry Rosé of Sangiovese out of Healdsburg, California.  This low-alcohol beauty boasts a nose redolent of summer fruits like strawberry and peach, and finishes both dry and slightly steely.  It can easily handle a variety of dishes, from hearty autumn stew to a roast of spring lamb.

 

Press conference at Vino 2010

Press conference at Vino 2010

As for reds, here is where you’ll find the most variety overall, especially in reference to lesser-known varietals from offbeat regions.  Keep an eye out for the Feudi Dei Sanseverino I.G.T. from the Italian region of Calabria, which I most recently explored during Vino 2010 in New York.  This wine overflows with black pepper, cinnamon, black raspberry and dark cherry.  Made from Lacrima Nera, it’s a perfect example of something that would sell for double the tariff if it came from a more famous place like Tuscany or Piedmont.

 

 

A similar price-value ratio exists in the creamy Cantina Val Di Neto Rosso Superiore Melissa “Mutro,” smelling of brown butter, strawberry and Bing cherry.  On the palate this is all about raspberry liqueur and black licorice, frankly a stunning wine at a very fair price.

 

As for dessert, make sure to sample the bright and peachy Paul Jaboulet Ainé Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise Le Chant des Griolles, a mouthful of a name for such a lightly viscous wine.  I like the feel of this pure, floral, Rhone Valley juice.  Peach, green plum and candied orange peel notes cascade through a pillow-puff finish.

 

While the tried-and-true may be most comfortable, in wine as in most things, taking a chance can produce a huge reward.  Look for one of these wines, or ask your local wine professional for his or her pick.

 

Recommended:

 

Sparkling

 

Trapiche Extra Brut NV (Mendoza, Argentina) $14

 

White

 

Hugel Gewurztraminer “Hugel” 2007 (Alsace, France) $19

 

Rosé

 

Alexander Valley Vineyards dry Rosé of Sangiovese 2009 (Healdsburg, California) $14

 

Red

 

Feudo Dei Sanseverino I.G.T. 2006 (Calabria, Italy) $22

Cantina Val Di Neto Rosso Superiore Melissa “Mutro” 2005 (Calabria, Italy) $29

 

 

Dessert

 

Paul Jaboulet Ainé Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise Le Chant des Griolles 2007 (Rhone Valley, France) $22/375ml

 

4 comments to Weinberg’s Wine Notes #89 – Living La Vina Loca

  • Paul Skizinski

    I like the new page layout, but the text is much too small, and very hard to read for us old fogies. Much of the text is in a frilly serif face and a tiny font, and not even a solid black. I’m also not fond of all the movement on the side bars, which I find distracting as I’m trying to focus on the main body of text. I know where to find that information if I need it, so I don’t need animated stuff to draw my attention. Please be more kind to your older readers.

  • Hola,
    Super post, tienen que marcarlo en Digg
    Gracias

    [url=http://www.getstufftool.com/]BernieR[/url]

  • Thanks Bernie, glad you like it.

    Don’t forget you can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook (BentheWineBerg on both sites). Please stay in touch.

  • Hi Paul:

    Very thoughtful comments and thanks. I also get a lot of email saying they like the sidebars, etc., so I’m working on a solution that will hopefully satisfy most readers. Please stay in touch, and let me know if any of the upcoming changes strike your fancy!

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>