February 26th, 2011
Notes by Yoko
2009 Greenstone Point Sauvignon Blanc $14
Where: Marlborough, New Zealand
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Located on the northeast corner of the South Island, New Zealand, the region of Marlborough enjoys the most sunshine in the country. Since the success of Sauvignon Blanc back in the 80's, the area under vines in this country is expanding rapidly. New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs usually have a very extroverted personality and when you smell the wines, you can almost hear them say, "We are Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand!" with the signature aroma. Combination of sunny yet relatively cool maritime climate of Marlborough region produces a bottle of "Kiwi" that has a touch more color, with richer and riper fruit of grapefruit, gooseberry, and pear, compared to its French counterpart from the Loire Valley. Founded in1997, Greenstone Point's aim is to produce premium wines at value for price point.
Where: Cafayate, Argentina
Originally thought to be a variety brought from Northern Spain, Argentinean Torrontes's true being is most likely a result of a crossing created long ago from Muscat of Alexandria and Criolla China (or Mission grape of California) according to the recent DNA research. "Crios" means offspring as in children and the three hands on the label represent Argentina's famous female winemaker Susana Balbo and her children. After two decades in winemaking, she has a strong sense of what she wants from her wines and compares making great wine to raising a child. This Torrontes displays intriguing aromas of peach, pear with hints of honeysuckle and orange blossom complemented by ruby grapefruit acidity. This bottle of "Crios" would love to put arms around grilled seafood, smoked meat and spicy Mexican and Thai food.
2008 Peter Lehman Semillon $15
Where: Barossa, Australia
Native of southwestern France, Semillon is a grape variety often known as a best supporting actor. In Bordeaux, it is almost always blended with Sauvignon Blanc (and sometimes with Muscadelle) to produce dry white wine. Rich and soft Semillon grape tames down the strong aroma and high acidity of "wild" Sauvignon Blanc. However, the role of this combination flips with Semillon being more dominant when producing luscious sweet wines of Sauternes. On the other side of the world in Australia, Semillon is often blended with Chardonnay to produce full-bodied, buttery and creamy wine. Although rarely produced by itself, Semillon is capable of aging gracefully and older Semillons develop into a rich honeyed-flavored wine with lush texture. Made from 100% Semillon, this Peter Lehman Semillon is a bottle of fresh surprise from a region famous for full-bodied red wines of Shiraz.
2009 Punto Final Malbec $13
Altos Malbec has been a popular item not only here at the Winestone but everywhere these days and we just picked up this Punto Final to expand the Malbec collection. While I was doing a research to write this tasting note, I found out the wine consultant who works on both Altos and Punto Final is the same person. Alberto Antonini was born near Florence, Italy, and he is an internationally recognized wine consultant/oenologist whose education includes, a Doctorate in Agricultural Studies from University of Florence and an Enology degree from University of Bordeaux and University of California Davis. He has worked as a senior wine maker for Antinori and Frescobaldi in Italy as well as Altos Las Homigas in Argentina and Concha y Toro in Chile. His wine making style is to combine modern and traditional techniques to produce high-quality wines which express "terroir" or regional identity. Malbec has been "Red Hot" in recent years and this one is made by "Red Hot" wine consultant.
2007 Bodegas Carrau Tannat de Reserva $14
Where: Las Violetas, Uruguay
Uruguay is a pie-shaped country about a size of Washington State, tucked between Brazil and Argentina in South America, owing its cultural and linguistic heritage to Spain. Named after Pascual Harriague, who was one of Uruguay's winemaking pioneers, Harriague is what the locals call Tannat and it was brought here by French Basque immigrants from Madiran, Southwest France in 1870's. Distinctive, tough, deep-berried Tannat is the leading grape variety in this country and it is used for the production of fortified wines, sweet roses and full-bodied dry reds. Aged in new French oak for 18 months, this wine displays classic cedar on the nose along with raspberry and plum fruit on the palate with structural tannins. Who knew Uruguay is capable of crafting a serious wine like this for $14!
2007 Darling Cellars Shiraz Onyx $18
Where: Darling, South Africa
Darling is an area located on the west coast of the country and it is historically known for dairy production and its wild flowers. Viticulture got a spotlight in a past decade or two and this is the home of the Darling Cellars. Resembling the dark granite soils of the vineyards, the Darling Cellar's flagship range was named after semi-precious stone of onyx. This Shiraz was aged in a combination of new and second used 300 liter French oak barrels for 24 months. Presenting a nice balance of rustic quality along with juicy yet complex fruit of berry fruit, plum, dark chocolate is followed by smooth tannins on the palate partnered with hints of spice and smokiness. Unique combination of ripe fruit and rusticity of this wine style fits right in the middle of the New World and the Old World and this is a crowd-pleaser for those who like Syrah and Shiraz.