It’s FRIDAY, and that means it’s high time we chatted about some new juice. Well, technically any day of the week is perfect for that, but today’s the day. These three puppies are really, truly fantastic and individualistic. They truly each deserve a post of their own, but multi-wine posts are a little easier to pull off on a Friday afternoon. So let’s take a peek…
A total of five grapes and three countries! One grape of which you probably have never heard of. One brand-new to SC Pinot Noir. And one freaking excellent Malbec blend from a forgotten place for Malbec- France! Eeek, what fun!
First up is one of my favorite finds of the last few weeks: Cederberg Bukettraube, 2012 South Africa:
When I first met this wine, I knew we would be fast friends. I’m widely known as a weird white wine nerd, so it wasn’t exactly a shock that I took a liking to this one. However, just cause you weird, don’t mean you good- but this one is! To me, when I first smelled it, it reminded me of a really pretty Vouvray. Which, when you consider that South Africa does really well with Chenin Blanc, isn’t too far of a stretch. However, this Bukettraube (buke–rhymes with nuke–uh-traube) is not related to Chenin, as far as I could Google. Apparently it is a grape of German origin. It is a cross of Silvaner and Schiavia. Not much else to be found on this one, but you shouldn’t be phased by that. There’s only so much background info we really need. What we do need to know is how incredibly TASTY it is!
An incredibly aromatic wine, it bursts with smells that are similar to a Muscat; ripe apricot, lychee, rose petals, peaches and prickly pineapple. Nice floral accents set it off, the mouthfeel is soft and plush but not overbearing, and the finish clenches with a nice pop of citrus zest. Truly a gorgeous and unique wine. Who will like it? Well, probably other white wine nerds like me. But if you like Riesling, Chenin Blanc or even a Sauvignon Blanc (minus a little citrus), you will want to give this one a try. It would be to DIE with spicy cuisine. The 2010 vintage of this wine got a little press; 90 Points form Steven Tanzer and 89 points from Wine Enthusiast. I’d not be shocked if this one earned itself a rating, too, so keep your eyes peeled. Or don’t, if you don’t care. This wine is a ridiculous value at $13 retail!
What’s next? A personal fave. Omero Cellars Pinot Noir, 2011 Willamette Valley, Oregon. I actually had this wine prior to my trip to Oregon in June and was quite tickled by it. My appreciation grew after the trip, where I tasted approximately 10,000 (okay, slight exaggeration) Oregon Pinot Noirs. We just picked up this wine as a by-the-glass pour last week (hat tip- only the second account in SC to do such…).
So why do I like this particular one? Well, an Oregon Pinot that is artfully made tends to really stand out. When that wine offers what I perceive to be a great value, they stand out even more. This is the first distribution vintage for this winery; they are very small and only 1500 cases of this 2011 were made. It’s everything Oregon Pinot Noir should be: bright acidity, a nice mix of ripe red fruit on the forefront, followed by some sour cherry, pomegranate, wild strawberry and raspberry. There is a nice softness and a flowery suggestion in the finish, and a touch of mild vanilla. This wine tastes freaking phenomenal the second day after opening! In and of itself, this is an indicator that this wine is a great candidate for a bit of time in the Cellar. For a cooler vintage like 2011, this is a great quality for a wine to have. The winemakers are pretty legit, making it their goal to express the true nature of Willamette’s climate and soil. Their winery is located in the Ribbon Ridge AVA of Willamette, which is where the majority of this fruit is sourced. This wine is currently available for tasting purposes and as a glass pour! It’s retail cost is a modest $24. (Side note: their single Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir is exemplary, too). You will not find this on any other wine list in Columbia- BOO-YAH!
What’s the last thing on my mind today? A little Frenchie! From one of my favorite regions in France, Cahors. Cahors is relatively close to the Bordeaux region. Malbec is a grape that is considered a true Bordeaux varietal, but it is often seen in Cahors as a single varietal, or in this case used in a cool blend of 80% Malbec with a splash of Merlot and Tannat:
Chateau de Gaudou, 2011 retails for a sweet $15. It is as close to a perfect house French red as you could find. In my mind, approach this wine as 1.) a great value French red and then 2.) as a Malbec. It will not taste like the Argentinian Malbec you had last week. Sure, there are some definitive grape characteristics that are similar, but they’re treated much differently in each country. I like both, but I find Cahors Malbecs to have density, color and depth that are quite striking. A deep purple, almost black color, it has a whopper of a nose of blackberry liqueur, blackcurrant, toasty oak, black cherries, violets, and undertones of roasted sage and thyme. Some higher notes of red raspberry are found if you search for them, too. The mouthfeel is smooth with a little bite of tannin that makes it great with food. Grilled or roasted game. Maybe a beef or lamb tartare to make the mineral content pop a bit. It’s quite versatile and great on it’s own. This wine is also currently a glass pour at Cellar, so should you desire a taste, just stop on in! Or have a glass with your next dinner!
Thanks for reading and HAPPY DRINKIN!