A true story for you, on this Saturday. Most weeks I start out with the intention of picking a wine and writing about it. Duh. But if one were to review my blogging history, you’d see that I hardly ever post back-to-back weeks; there’s usually a spell of a week or two where I am silent. And here’s the reason why: I have too many choices. I like too many wines. Many of them, like these three, I like SO much that I spend a chunk of time bound by indecision, struggling to come up with one unifying or decisive factor that will dictate which wine I will write about.
And then all of a sudden it’s Friday, and I have written nothing. And I feel guilty. And resolve to do better next week. And sometimes that is successful, and sometimes it’s not. Such is the human condition. Many writers probably know the feeling of wanting to write, but when you sit down to do it, the words don’t come. Words are fickle creatures, and you can’t force them. Even when they are not incredibly profound, and all you want to do is blather about wine and impart a bit of silliness along the way.
But today the stars seem to be aligned, and once I elected to just narrow it down to three wines, my brain seemed to cooperate and here I sit, ready to rock it out. These three wines are simply stunning! They are perfection. They are three wines that once open, it’s literally impossible not to keep drinking them. So on with the show…
Muga Rose of Garnacha/Viura/Tempranillo, 11 Spain, Rioja. Retails for $13.
Okay, so here’s the thing about Muga Rose: IT’S FAB. This is such an elegant little wine with a microscopic little pricetag, and it’s almost unfair. So if you’re new to Rose, and you still think they’re sweet- this wine begs to differ. It is delightfully dry, with perfect acidity, and yet a soft mouthfeel that caresses the ever-lovin’-shizzle out of your tongue. The nose is flowery and zesty. When it first hits your mouth (especially if it’s a touch too cold), you might think it tastes like nothing. But the mid-palate really explodes with pretty flavors of cherry, watermelon, wild strawberry, rhubarb and an ultra-clean, citrusy finish that makes your mouth water. There’s a touch of strawberries-and-cream on the end, too that round out this wine’s finesse. A lovely expression of a Grenache Rose- many of the ones I’ve had tend to be in-your-face in the fruit content- maybe it’s the addition of Viura (a white grape) that make this one super-perfect. 2011 was a hot, dry year in Rioja- perfect for Grenache. It really shows. Drink up!
Antonio Sanguineti Vermentino, 2011 Italy, Tuscany. Retails for $14.
Next up: a little gem of a white wine from the Small Vineyards portfolio, an awesome collection of wines, mostly from Italy. Small Vineyards imports wine that meet certain criteria: they must be hand-harvested, from a family-owned estate, and earth-friendly. A pretty high standard in the sea of mass produced wines that we swim in. I was fortunate to attend a tasting this past March in Charleston, SC where they presented many of their wines. Duly impressed, I was. This wine in particular really seemed to “sing”! When you consider the standard of quality, and the fact that this is only an 800-case produced wine, it’s $14 pricetag really seems unreal. But it IS real!
So this is a very classic Tuscan white; Vermentino likes sun, so it has a very lively, up-front personality. It is fresh and light, with a buoyant and fun palate of pineapple, white flowers, honeysuckle, apricots and citrus zest. The finish is crisp and lean. This wine’s true appeal, to me, is that it seems very “alive”- a strange thing to think about, but it’s perkiness and silky texture really stand out, and it seems happy to exist. Call me cray, but it’s true. You’ll just have to come taste it.
Finally, a red: Tortarossa “Red Cake” Super Tuscan, 2010 Italy, Tuscany. Retails for $16.
This is another wine from the Small Vineyards portfolio. This wine stood out to me upon first taste (and still does) because it’s a perfect melding of old and new-world styles. The category of “Super Tuscan” is not officially recognized as a “thing” by Italian wine standards, so it is something of a rebel category. Piero Antinori was the first to fly in the face of DOC regulations, and aimed to make a “Chianti-style” wine that ignored the need for convention, and incorporated Cabernet Sauvignon into the (now famous) Tignanello bottling. The Tortarossa is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet and 10% Syrah. It drinks like a dream- warm, ripe and very precise and focused. Dark black fruits dominate- blackberry, blackcurrant, and subtle integration of vanilla and oak. The punch of the Syrah is nicely pronounced- adding depth, color and body- making it a touch more appealing to the New World palate- yet maintaining it’s Italian roots. A nice balance of acid make it a great food wine- but I’ve found it to be a perfect solo sipper as well. Also, I love the packaging. It’s whimsical and accessible.
Well I do hope you’ve enjoyed being introduced to these three- they’re all currently By-The-Glass at Cellar on Greene, which means they’re open at all times, should you require a taste or two. Cheers!