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Staff Favorites - Mahon McGrath
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2012 Georg Albrecht Schneider "vom Rotliegenden" Niersteiner Hipping Riesling Spätlese Trocken (dry)
Review Date: 1-14-2015
The nose on the Schneider Red Slate offers spice, sweet pea blossom, honey, golden apple, and just the faintest whiff of mineral and petrol way in the background. On the palate it is graceful and elegant, sporting a lush mouth-feel and weight, without any heaviness. The flavors keep to the floral, delicate side, and it wears its mineral component lightly. While dry, it finishes more plush and supple than brisk or austere. All in all, this is a complex and charming white wine that’s yours for a pittance!
2013 Domaine des Côtes Blanches Sancerre Rosé (last of vintage)
Review Date: 1-12-2015
I confess a particular weakness for a good Sancerre rose, and Domaine des Cotes Blanches twenty thirteen vintage showcases its virtues handily. I find it holographic. There is beauty and dimensionality here, and yet this is buoyant, almost weightless: there and not there, with delicately floral and fruity flavors dancing along a knife edge of citric vibrancy.
2013 Guy Saget "Marie de Beauregard" Vouvray
Review Date: 11-7-2014
The Marie de Beauregard displays a clean mineral streak, wed to deep aromas of apple, pear, quince, and spice. While the palate begins with a dense texture and broad flavor, on the finish it is a chameleon, turning firm, taut, and bracing, with a slight mineral rasp: this is a lot of Vouvray for the price!
2012 Textbook Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-2-2014
Looking for a well made California Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy right now? Here’s one that needs no more time than it takes to buy a bottle, carry it home, and pull the cork. While round and open, it also shows exquisite balance, and boasts an attractive nose of plum, charcoal, and bitter chocolate, accented by a subtle hint of mint. Modest tannins lead to a dry, focused finish which dovetails down to a slight recurrence of the bitter chocolate note.
2013 Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-20-2014
Round and juicy, this Chardonnay is driven by clean, tropical flavors of sweet citrus and pineapple. Its easy-going style, with a price to match, should make it a hit with those looking for an everyday white that has a little more richness than a Sauvignon Blanc, say, but avoids the oak-and-butter side of the Chardonnay spectrum.
2012 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 9-15-2014
From out of a lineup of domestic Pinot Noirs recently, this one really stole the show for me. Funny thing is, it isn’t a show stopper: it is commendable for the restraint it displays. The fruit is very pure and natural, dialing back the ripeness quotient you often contend with in California Pinot Noirs, the flavors have intensity without heaviness, and the body is trim, taut, and focused; in other words, it shows all the gracefulness you might hope for in a Pinot, but which is often sadly lacking for one reason or another.
2012 Züm Mosel Riesling
Review Date: 9-12-2014
The Zum qba has flavors of lemon, and lime, mineral, and sweet golden apple. Sweet-tart, this has a round mid-palate followed by bracing acidity. All in all, this is a tasty, low-alcohol, balanced bottle of Riesling; and at a price where you can twist the cap off with abandon.
2013 Michel Delhommeau "Harmonie" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
Review Date: 9-3-2014
Dynamite bottle of Muscadet here! Light, lively, and fresh as a spring breeze, the 2013 Harmonie has flavors of lemon, lime, and blossom, with just a suggestion of sweetness to them, and enough body to keep everything from seeming austere when the chalky, wet stone, borderline-saline finish kicks in.
2013 Eric Cottat Sancerre
Review Date: 9-3-2014
Crunchy, not sweet, notes of melon meet up with tarragon, and gravel, in the 2013 Cottat. There is a nice sunny depth to the fruit on the palate, which is not as coolly green as some Sancerres, having more an accent of fresh herb, and with loads of energy underneath it all. Dusty gravel pops up again in the finish, just the way you want it to.
2013 Michel Delhommeau "Symbiose" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
Review Date: 9-3-2014
Broader and deeper than its sibling, the Symbiose is full, round, and juicy, but not at all heavy. The flavors of wet, creek-side cobbles, lemon, and a hint of tomato leaf here have a pleasing transparency, thanks to a mouthwatering level of cleansing acidity. I imagine this will even improve given a little time to settle into itself.
2011 Gessinger Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinet
Review Date: 9-1-2014
Spicy, and stony, with incipient petrol, the fruit is far more reluctant here than in many Mosel Rieslings. The palate is fairly dry, too, but texturally it is quite rich. Those looking for something other than orchard fruit extravagance have come to the right place!
2002 C.H. Berres Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett
Review Date: 8-28-2014
The nose of the fully mature 2002 C.H. Berres Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett offers up scents of petrol, and gravelly minerality, along with resin and dried apple. The spice in the “spicegarden” makes its presence felt on the palate. It is interesting to contrast where an aged wine from this vineyard goes compared to currently released expressions from the site; it also doesn’t hurt that the price of the Berres is less per bottle than some of those currently released versions!
Sherman & Hooker's Shebang! "Cuvee III" Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 8-20-2014
You may already be familiar with the Shebang red, which has been a big hit for a California red blend. Well, it is time to get acquainted another good bargain bottle from the folks at Bedrock: their third Sauvignon Blanc cuvee. Flavors of tangerine, lemon, and cantaloupe, set against a green shiso note, mark this tasty, tart white. This isn’t grassy, feline, or highly herbaceous, and should be a good all-arounder when a fresh, lighter bodied, inexpensive white is what you want.
2012 Viña Robles "Estate" Paso Robles Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 7-21-2014
The Vina Robles Jardine Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc starts off with aromas of lemon, lemon grass, and a dry, wicker-like note, before a subtle honeydew melon aspect reveals itself. While plush and round in texture, only a sliver of aforementioned melon pops up on the palate, and there is plenty of tart acidity sitting behind it, keeping the overall impression light and fresh. Probably the best inexpensive domestic Sauvignon Blancs I’ve crossed paths with recently.
2013 Margerum Wine Company "K&L Blend" Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 5-26-2014
With a nose offering up citrus, lemongrass, and honeydew melon, this is a vital, vivacious Sauvignon Blanc. Svelte on the palate, the flavors run to pomelo and melon, while managing just a suggestion of a mineral dimension in the form of powdery talc notes. Should perform yeoman duty as the summer party season commences!
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