A New Rose Every Day...and New Releases From Ortega-Fournier.
Thursday, August 2:
Marche Rosato "Piccini", Fontezoppa 2010- $14.99/btl ($11.99 by case or mixed case): One step outdoors is all that's required to let you know that it's full-on rose season. Hot, sticky, soupy weather normally equals beer for us, but when the wine bug bites, dry rose is always the first choice. And, we're especially fond of great dry rose from any coastal area...in this case, the coast being the Adriatic and the grower, longtime JWS favorite, Fontezoppa. Their "Piccini" cuvee is a beautiful, pale salmon, bone-dry, sea-salty gem, based on Sangiovese, and it goes without saying that it'll perfectly match all sorts of sea creatures, or even a dish of red peppers and anchovies. Best of all, Fontezoppa is one of a dwindling number of growers who hold back their rose for a year, allowing it to settle down and develop a bit of intensity and complexity.
Jumilla, Bodegas Luzon 2009 NEW VINTAGE- $9.99/btl ($7.99 by case or mixed case): One of the other things we've discovered about the dog days of summer is that it's a great time for loading up on value-priced red wines from all over, as it's often the case that expensive, ageworthy reds just don't show their best in miserably hot weather. It's also a safe bet that red wines that issue from hot-climate appellations tend to show their best in hot weather, and we'll point to the sumptuous new Monastrell from Luzon as a prime example. There is a pure, exuberant and thick kind of dark fruit to the best Jumilla, yet there's also an appealing lift and minerality that keeps them from being tiresome or cloying. A few bottles of this wine, a handful of rosemary and some lamb shoulder chops are all that's needed for you to pretend you're on holiday in Valencia.
Friday, August 3:
Campo de Borja Rosado, Borsao 2011- $8.99/btl ($7.20 by case or mixed case):The annual arrival of Borsao's festive Garnacha rose is cause for us to celebrate, as the first tomatoes, heirloom melons and other summer garden goodies usually aren't far behind. And we've found there are few better wines to pair with all kinds of fresh veggie-based dishes than this sprightly, attractively-packaged delight from Spain's Campo de Borja. Garnacha gives this wine an extra shade of color and flavor intensity, and even though there is the barest hint of sweetness to this particular bottling, it's far from those turgid, treacly White Zinfandels of yesteryear. One of our favorite summer things is to create an entirely pink meal by combining watermelon, tomatoes, shaved red onion and red vinegar...then serving it with lots of Borsao Rosado.
Ribera del Duero "Urban", Bodegas Ortega-Fournier 2008- $14.99/btl ($11.99 by case or mixed case): Last week, we were honored to be paid a visit by world-hopping vigneron, Jose Manuel Ortega Gil-Fournier, who sampled us on new releases from his holdings in Spain, Chile and Argentina. JWS regulars are already familiar with his superb Urban Uco, Alfa Crux and Urban Maule Blend wines from South America, but Fournier's Ribera del Duero offerings are a sensational glimpse into his approach to handling the noble Tempranillo grape at its Spanish source. We've found over the years that much of the middling quality Ribera that finds its way into the US market is heavy, low-acid, way too oaky and (not surprisingly) tiresome to drink. Fournier's "Urban" Ribera stands in complete contrast to that heavy-handed style, offering a lush texture, fresh acidity and a lighter hand with the oak that allows this wine to taste like wine, and not the cariacature that modern Ribera has become. There are few bottles in the store that represent as much quality for the dollar as this one!
Saturday, August 4:
Minervois Rose, Chateau d'Oupia 2011 NEW VINTAGE- $13.99/btl ($11.20 by case or mixed case): Another of summer's milestones at JWS is the arrival of the new vintage of the Iche family's reliable and tasty Minervois Rose. Of course, we always feature their flagship red, the Pays d'Herault "Les Heretiques", but it seems as though we can never get enough of this rose to satisfy everyone, and it's usually long-gone by mid-September. Best to act now- while the weather is hot and it shows its best- to stock up on this one, if your tastes run to a more substantial and spicy rose, with flavors of blue and red berries.
Centauri Blend-Maule Valley, Bodegas Ortega-Fournier 2008- $22.99/btl ($18.40 by case or mixed case): As much as we love all the wines of the Ortega-Fournier portfolio, none are more representative of excellent value or more groundbreaking than their overachieving bottlings from Chile's Maule Valley. Although Chilean red wines are quite the rage right now, we've never understood what all the fuss is over, since- taken as a whole- most of these reds issue from the wrong grapes being planted in climates that are too cold and too wet to allow for proper ripeness. Naturally, the omnipresent wine flaks have been telling us for years that the green, mean, vegetal wines that result from all this are somehow supposed to taste this way and that we are somehow supposed to like them. We, on the other hand, would like to introduce those wine flaks to this: a ripe, polished, fleshy bottle of pleasure, which is Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot unified through a brilliant addition of 45% Carignan (a grape that Fournier insists reaches Grand Cru heights in the Maule). It's not Pichon-Lalande...and it's not Cask 23, but it is a top-flight red that reveals the best of where Chilean grapegrowing is today, and where it's headed.
We've got some real treasures coming in this Friday. Some are one-time releases that we thought we wouldn't get. Some come our way as a bit of a "thank you" from the distributors. One thing all of them have in common is that they won't be on our shelves for long.
Epic (New Zealand) Armageddon 12 IPA- 16.9 oz
Anchorage Brewing The Tide & Its Takers Tripel- 750 ml
Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti- 22 oz
Great Divide Claymore Scottish Ale- 6 pks
Thornbridge Halcyon Double IPA- 16.9 oz
Ballast Point Calico Amber Ale- 6 pks
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA- 22 oz
Ballast Point Dorado Double IPA- 22 oz
Rogue Double Dead Guy- 750 ml
The Return of Brenna
Fresh from her five week tour of rural New Hampshire's criminal courts, we're happy to announce the return of Brenna. We can report she's thirsty as ever for great, new wines and now filled with the false confidence that comes from having flim-flammed a gaggle of hack prosecutors. She'll be here on Thursday, slinging samples and talking up the following:
Cotes-du-Rhone Blanc, Eric Teixier 2011- $15.99
Cowhorn Spiral 36 White Blend, Applegate Valley, OR 2011- $27.99
Cowhorn Syrah 74, Applegate Valley, OR 2008- $33.99
Selbach-Oster Riesling Feinherb, Mosel 2011- $19.99
Cotes-du-Roussillon Rouge "Effet Papillon", Les Vignes de l'Aire 2011- $11.99
Cote de Nuits-Villages, Domaine Rion 2010- $23.99