new wines for Friday that are Fabulous and Fun!

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:

Buke-what?  Buke-who?

Buke-what? Buke-who?

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…).

serious Oregon juice.

serious Oregon juice.

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!

Reunion Malbec, 2009 Mendoza

Who loves Malbec?  You ALL do.  I know you do, because it’s our best seller at Cellar!  A Cellar-best-seller I call it.  Not my most creative use of words, but it sure it fun to say.  Cellarbestseller.  Argentinian wines, especially Malbec, have definitely boomed over the past several years.  Malbec Mania, you could call it.  The United States imported a whopping 48% of Argentina’s exported Malbec in 2010! (source).  We luuuuvs the stuff.  And while I’ve heard buzz from various wine publications that Chile may be poised to rival Argentina in 2011 in terms of sales, if Columbia is any indicator, Malbec hasn’t lost any ground.  In all honesty, Columbia probably isn’t a good indicator, but that doesn’t serve my point very well.

But onward we move- let’s talk about why this wine rocks!  First of all, I know you want to know how much it costs.  Because you’re not going to keep reading if its outta your price range.  But it’s only $13!  So keep reading!  Malbec consistently over-achieves in this price range, which is a good reason it’s so darn popular.  Malbec is perhaps one of the friendlier grapes I know; it is approachable, easy-going and likeable, and the Reunion is no exception.  A concentrated deep magenta/purple-y color, it is ripe with flavors of plum and cherries, with a truly lip-smacking palate of dark chocolate, black pepper, and light leather.  Its right on the money at 13.5% alcohol, as you are not left with any hotness whatsoever.  It strikes me as a relatively unmanipulated wine, meaning it is a pure expression of what an Argentine Malbec should be, without excessive interference from oak or a meddling winemaker.  It just is.

malbec grapes. they look a lot like... grapes.

I’m trying desperately to come up with a superhero to compare this wine to, but I think that would be a bit of a reach, even for me.  Basically I saw X Men First Class this week and it was amazing, so all I can think about are superheroes.  Allow me to divert into a bit of a rant, if you would.  Up until last week I didn’t think there were people out there that legitimately think it’s okay to make fun of someone for liking the X Men movies.  I was called a loser, I was asked if I was going to get an X Men lunch box, and a slew of other insults were hurled at me by this person (ahem… Trevor).

Personally, I question anyone that cannot appreciate a good escape into fantasy.  I question their inability to enjoy things that are imaginative and fun and allow us a brief respite from our everyday lives.  How is this a bad thing?  It’s FUN to imagine a world where I don’t have to pay bills, return library books on time, vacuum up the never-ending amount of cat hair that coats my floors, or remember to change the air filter in my AC.  It would be much cooler if I could control metal, read people’s minds, fly, create hurricanes, or make myself look like anyone I want.  So go see X Men First Class.  It’s good.  And when you get home you can open a bottle of wine and contemplate what super powers you would want if superheroes were real.  This is a better use of time then watching a lot of the crap that’s on TV, in my opinion.

Okay, let’s change the subject.  Here’s a cute picture of Ricky’s beagle, Reggie:

She’s just chillin’ in the armchair.  She’s a very Zen sort of beagle.  I think she appreciates fantasy life.  And maybe even wine.

Alright that’s all I got for today.  Reunion Malbec is by the glass at Cellar on Greene for the forseeable future, and can of course be purchased to take home for $13 a bottle any old time you want!


Don Tiburcio Malbec- a “God among insects!”

Alright, I’m giving myself away, once again, as a huge Dork with a capital D.  While sipping on this wine, I was reminded of the scene in X2, where Magneto tells Pyro he is a “God among insects.  Never let anyone tell you different.”  You might think I am overstating the case just a TAD, considering that we’re only talking about wine.  You would be wrong.  Although I am, at times, prone to exaggeration when it comes to a wine I really enjoy- not. this. time.  !!!

The reason the “insect” part came to mind is because there really are a lot of “insects” when it comes to this price range in South American Wines, in my opinion.  I am too frequently underwhelmed with your average $12- $14 Malbec or Cabernet from South America.  Stylistically, they may just not be my preference, which is fine- but in general I find them too “hot” as some would say.  They try too hard.  Not all of them- granted, I have had a TON of wonderful wine from South America… but for my money, I’d usually rather drink a $14 Spanish red.  Like the Atteca Grenache, for example.  So, whether you think I’m right or not, allow my aforementioned opinion to illustrate just how GOOD this wine is!!


The Wine Advocate gave Don Tiburcio (2005, Mendoza) a cool 90 points!  Need I say more?  This stuff is good, y’all.  It’s not all Malbec-  it has Cab Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cab in it as well.  Very cool blend.  It’s an extremely expressive wine- it has a lot going on right away, but I also noticed that it became even more expressive after it had been open for an hour or so.  I get a lot of clove and cinnamon on the nose, followed by a nice amount of licorice.  Took me a while to identify the licorice… I kept saying to myself, “It’s something I don’t really like in real life, but I like it right now…”  Licorice.  It has nice freshness, too- black cherries, blueberries, and also a little mocha.  You might think it sounds like a heavy wine, but once in the mouth it has a very pleasant touch of dryness that makes you smack your tounge against the roof of your mouth and say “Damn!”  Or maybe that’s just me… only time will tell. 

We’ll have this wine at the wine sale at Cellar on Greene this Saturday (Sept 12th) for $14.  I know there is a lot going on thie Saturday, especially in the Vista, but please stop in and try this before the Vista thing gets going at 2!  I will plan your perfect Saturday for you- go to the Farmer’s Market at 701 Whaley, then come to the Wine Sale from 12-2, stop in at the Gourmet Shop’s tasting that goes from 2-5, and then make your way to the Vista.  You don’t need to get there right at 2.  It will be a marathon of eating and drinking and fun!  Then you’ll probably need a nap, but I’ll leave that up to you.  Who knew there was SO MUCH fun to be had in Columbia that doesn’t involve FOOTBALL?!  That’s all I am going to say in regards to football this week… I can’t even go there.  See everyone on Saturday!