Jean-Marc Brocard Saint Bris Sauvignon 2010, $13; This is the only AOC Sauvignon
Blanc in Burgundy, just recently graduating from V.D.Q.P. status. Located near
Chablis in the north, it is very much like a "Chablis" Sauvignon; tight and sleak, limey
and minerally. The fantastic price is due the producer changing distributors, and
I don’t know why, as I think Martine’s Wines, their former distributor, is pretty
fantastic. Some winemakers get a little high in their britches and the rest is our gain.
Also in stock, a small amount of this producer’s Premier Cru Chablis, Vaucoupin
2009, $30. It’s showing its primary very ripe fruit right now as is the vintage, but
will reward cellaring to bring back into focus.
Vina Robles Red, 2009, $13.50; This is the Rhone-based blend that always puts the
Rhone Rangers to shame and just plainly shows how good California red blends
can be while tucking under a modest tab. An uptick in Grenache and Mourvedre
this time around to the basic recipe of Syrah and Petite Sirah, has given the wine
more girth and blue fruit tones, without taking away its power to please through its
pure expression of its all estate grown components, sans oak. Lighter, more "green"
friendly bottle this time around as well and the price hasn’t changed an iota. It is a
Robert Parker 90, "Screaming Value," to boot.
Two great new, inexpensive and delicious reds from Spain have impressed us
this week. From the famous Ribera del Duero region, Avaniel 2009, $13, is a great
discovery, whether you’re a dedicated Tempranillo fan or you just love tasty Spanish
reds. Rich dark fruit notes weave around aromas of tobacco, spice box and pepper
with firm acidity holding everything in place. And if you’ve seen the prices of wines
from this region lately, you know what an exceptional value this is. Perfect to take
home and pair with hearty fall fare, especially lamb shank, cioppino or pork loin.
The second fascinating little gem from Spain is the Viernes 2009, $13, from
northeastern Spain’s (adjacent to the Basque country) Bierzo region. Made from
the Mencia grape (rumored to be the same as Cabernet Franc), this is a flashy yet
substantive wine which aromatically seems rustic, yet delivers a mouthful of bright
fruit and lovely texture. This is one of the more food-friendly and versatile Spanish
reds I’ve tasted in recent months, complementing a wide array of cuisines and
styles. Expansive on the palate yet racy and hedonistic, it’s a lot of vino for a very
little chunk of change!