Bold Red Wines: What America Craves

bold-red-wineEveryday wine drinkers, collectors and self-styled connoisseurs alike all seem to crave bold red wines and gobble them up with glee. And why not? Flavor drives our palate preferences and the wines we buy. This is not to take anything away from a lighter, more delicate red wine such as a juicy Morgon Cru Beaujolais or a complex, racy California Pinot Noir. Every wine has a place and its own appeal. Yet, for many of us, there is something compelling about bold-flavored wines that fill the mouth and, on occasion at least, completely satiate the senses.

Bold red wines, like anything else, exist on a continuum. Consequently, what constitutes a bold red to one person may not please the palate of another. Certainly, the level of alcohol and the tannic structure of a wine contribute to the boldness of wines, but bold does not have to mean brawny or brazen. Bold flavors are born of esters, the combination of acids and alcohols, which impart aroma and flavor to wine. Enjoyable bold red wines provide much more than alcohol and tannins; they display rich, complex flavors, pronounced varietal character, and a sense of place, along with authority and structure. Although some bold red wines may register 14.5%-15% alcohol or more, many others will not; they will rely upon rich fruit flavors, pronounced ripe tannins, well-integrated oak tones from expert barrel ageing, physiological ripeness, and the deft hand of a skilled winemaker to engender their bold delicious flavors.

Full-bodied California Cabernets and Syrahs that brim with varietal character, single vineyard red Zinfandels, sublime Priorats, splendid Tempranillos from Spain’s Ribera del Duero, Châteauneuf-du-Papes and flavor-packed Grenache offerings from Languedoc and the Rhône Valley of France, and highly acclaimed Carmenères, Cabernets and Malbec blends from South America are just some red wines that may qualify as bold reds.

For bold, beautiful, long-lived California Cabernets of exceptional quality look to Caymus, Harlan, Lewis, Krug and Obsidian Ridge, with Obsidian Ridge a contender for the title of the greatest of all values in premium California Cabernet Sauvignon. Beckmen and Stoplman Vineyards fashion bold, hedonistic Syrahs from California’s Ballard Canyon, wines that easily match the quality of California’s top Cabernet Sauvignons. Tempranillo-based Bosconcillos, Condado de Haza, Emilio Moro and Pesquera from Ribera del Duero, and the deep, robust blends from Galena and Pasanau in Priorat also demonstrate Spain’s acumen in fashioning bold red wines. Château Beaucastel and Domaine Grand Tinel fashion equally impressive wines across the border in France from old vine Grenache, as do a host of Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers. And then there is Zinfandel from Cambridge Cellars, Martinelli and Tierra Y Mar, Carmenère from Casa Silva, Casas del Bosque and other Chilean producers, and many more bold reds from expert producers around the globe. Bold is indeed beautiful!

Salud!
Don

The Best Spanish Wines: Rioja and More

Spain12x16_2In spite of the wealth and variety of Spanish wines that lap upon our shores, Rioja remains the name most familiar to Americans. Rioja is a traditional style of wine with longstanding brand recognition that consistently delivers affordable, quality wines in several styles, and its name is easy to pronounce. Names such as Montaña, Martinez Corta, and Valenciso, among others, not only flow easily across the tongue, they connote quality, style and value. Yet, Spain remains a treasure trove of exciting red and white wines from across the Iberian Peninsula that deserve the recognition that Rioja commands.

The refreshing, sprightly Verdejo from Rueda, a historic area south of Rioja, is only now catching on among wine drinkers. An indigenous Spanish white grape, Verdejo was resurrected from near extinction in the 1970s thanks to a couple of erudite wine growers, including Angel Rodriguez who created Martinsancho by grafting Verdejo cuttings from his 300 year old vineyard into a nearby vineyard, and sending those cuttings to nurseries throughout Europe. Pure, natural and unadulterated, Angel Rodriquez’s Martinsancho remains the quintessential Rueda Verdejo.

The full-bodied red wines of Ribera del Duero, Priorat, and Tarragona also deserve better recognition, especially among wine drinkers thirsting for bold red wines with robust frames. Condado de Haza and Pesquera from the flamboyant Alejandro Fernandez, as well as Dominio Basconcillos, Mauro, and the legendary but expensive Vega Sicilia offer unsurpassed quality from Ribera del Duero. Clos Galena and Pasanau from Priorat provide equally compelling bold reds at prices that won’t necessitate a second mortgage. The same can be said for Terrer d’Aubert, a boutique Tarragona winery that crafts exceptional full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and Garnacha/Cabernet blends.

la-rioja-wine-region-by-alex-porta-i-tallant
La Rioja Wine Region

For elegant, somewhat lighter red wines we suggest looking to Spain’s Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra regions for Mencia – a grape that some have likened to Pinot Noir. Mencia from producers such as Altos de Losada and Peza do Rei fashion age worthy red wines that offer haunting aromatics and considerable complexity. Godello, another indigenous Spanish varietal, also hails from Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra where it yields very tasty white wines that are well worth seeking out.’

Salud!
Don

Photos Credit: WineFolly

The Bold Reds Wine Club Is Here!

bold-reds-wine-clubFor quite some time we’ve had members ask us for a club that features bold, red wines and we are happy to announce that it is finally here! Our two-tiered tasting panel will be looking for medium- to full-bodied wines with superb structure, pronounced ripe tannins, deep fruit flavors, and well-integrated oak tones from barrel aging.

Examples of bold red wines members of the club will receive include highly acclaimed Cabernets, Malbec blends and Carmenères from South America, single-vineyard red Zinfandels, full-bodied California Cabernets, Spanish Priorats and Ribera del Dueros, and Châteauneuf-du-Papes from the Rhône Valley.

Don Lahey, Director of Product Development, has selected two outstanding wines for the inaugural selections. “The panel came across the 2012 Terrer d’Aubert D.O. Tarragona Cabernet Sauvignon earlier in the year and we all felt it was a perfect fit and well deserving of its 92-point Wine Spectator review. We found its savory fruit flavors mingled with hints of chocolate, tobacco, and complex earth tones and plenty of ripe toasty tannins. Our second selection, the 2014 Centonze Nero d’Avola Sicilia, is a relative newcomer to the American market and a winery we have had our eye on for some time. We found it clean, fleshy, and full-bodied, offering dark cherry and currant flavors, powerful tannic notes, and appealing spice and fruit flavors. We’re pretty pleased with our first month’s selections.”

To order or to learn more about this exciting new club, visit: The Bold Reds Wine Club page.

Enjoy Huge Savings on Four Highly Rated Wines!

Today we’re very excited to bring you another Special Offer on four limited-production wines which recently blew us away at our tasting panels, including one of the finest Châteauneuf-du-Papes we’ve encountered in recent memory, two impressive Pinot Noirs – from the Old World and the New – and a vivacious, stunning Chardonnay from Napa.

Domaine du Grand Tinel Cuvée Alexis Establet Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012 (France)

Grand Tinel Cuvee Establet 2012Sourced from 100-year-old Grenache vines, the Alexis Establet is regarded as Domaine du Grand Tinel’s best cuvée of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This delicious French wine features crushed flower, menthol, cherry blossom, and white chocolate notes, can be consumed straight away or allowed to age for 10-12 years, and has a 93-point rating from The Wine Advocate. Learn more by visiting domainegrandtinel.com.

Wine Advocate: 93 points. Panel Review: 93 points.

Retail Price: $60.00, Our Price: $35.95. Save 40%!

Jacques Girardin Santenay Clos Rousseau Premier Cru 2012 (France)

jacques-girardin-santenay-clos-rousseau-premier-cru-2012The Jacques Girardin Santenay Clos Rousseau Premier Cru 2012 is a top choice for those who appreciate a quality Pinot Noir from France’s Burgundy region. This rare, limited-production wine was sourced from a 4.75-acre Burgundian vineyard, and is very difficult to find in the U.S. With a 93-point rating from The International Wine of the Month Club’s panel of experts, this wine is recommended for celebrations, parties, and important events. Visit girardin-santenay.com for more information on Jacques Girardin Santenay’s wines.

Panel Review: 93 points. Very limited production: Almost impossible to find outside France.

Retail Price: $40.00, Our Price: $27.95. Save 30%!

Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2012 (California)

Walt-Blue-Jay-Anderson-Valley-Pinot-Noir-2012With 93 points from Wine Enthusiast and 92 points from Pinot Report, the Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinor Noir 2012 is regarded as a delicious, well-rounded selection that wine enthusiasts around the world will enjoy. Sourced from California vineyards in Anderson Valley, the 2012 Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir contains blueberry, lavender, and mineral tones with a rich, fruity flavor and mouthfeel. Visit waltwines.com to learn more about the Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and its other great wines.

Wine Enthusiast: 93 points. Pinot Report: 92 points. Panel Review: 93 points.

Retail Price: $40.00, Our Price: $29.95. Save 25%!

Poseidon Vineyard Estate Grown Carneros Napa Chardonnay 2013 (California)

Poseidon_Vineyard_Estate_Chardonnay_2013Produced by the expert winemakers at Poseidon Vineyard, the 2014 Estate Grown Carneros Chardonnay features lemon oil, apple blossom, and fresh ginger notes, and finishes with green apple, lime, lemon custard, and buttery oak flavors. With a 92-point rating from Wine & Spirits, this Poseidon Vineyard Chardonnay is a good choice for any time throughout the year. Learn more about Poseidon Vineyard by visiting tricyclewine.com.

Wine & Spirits: 92 points. Panel Review: 92 points.

Retail Price: $28.00, Our Price: $23.75. Save 15%!

To order, visit http://www.winemonthclub.com/sale.

Hurry! Sale ends July 1, 2015!

Don’s March Premier Series Top Pick

Artesana-Tannat-2013It’s always hard to choose just one Top Pick, especially when wines like Emile Beyer’s beautiful 2013 Pinot Blanc and Vigneau-Chevreau’s wonderful 2012 Vouvray are part of the monthly line-up. However, with winter still hanging around, my Top Pick has to be one of this month’s reds. El Pajaro Rojo’s youthful 2013 Bierzo Mencia is a classy, splendid red that makes me believe that the little known Mencia varietal truly deserves a lot more recognition. El Pajaro’s Mencia also makes for a wonderful dinner companion. On the other hand, Artesana’s 2013 Tannat provides a hearty mouthful of wine that is sure to fortify the blood and give courage to even the faintest of souls. And like Mencia, Tannat in the hands of an accomplished property like Artesana deserves to be better known. Maybe it’s the weather, but my Top Pick this month goes to Artesana’s beautiful, bold 2013 Tannat.

Don