Cape Gazette
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Wine

Don’t be a Pinot Noir snob; try Argentine offering

By John McDonald | Jul 22, 2013

Many are trying to sell Chateau Fortia Chateauneuf du Pape Tradition 2010 priced around $28, WS 93, Tanzer 88-90. I found it very woody and tannic. Only if you like that old style look. I doubt the wine can come into balance in your cellar.

Walla Walla sis boom balla. Here is another lovely Cab from Trey Busch’s Sleight of Hand Cellars. At some point the critics will give in that guys like Busch are making great wine. Jeb Dunnock of WA gave a lavish (for him) 93 points to this lovely traditional style Cab. A dark garnet, it opens to a mixed bouquet of dark fruit, herbs, wet gravel, hints of chocolate and smoke. On the palate, good body and a nicely balanced acidity and tannic frame support rich, dark berry, earthen and oak-driven spice flavors through a long, clean finish. Will improve in cellar and should drink well 2015-22.A bit pricey at $45 but worth it. Your wine guy will need to order this for you.

Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2011 is a classic example of chardonnay that needs cellar time.

When I sampled it, the nose was closed. Laurie Hook, the winemaker, would never allow Gamble Ranch Chardonnay to be bottled and shipped under the Beringer Private Reserve label, with no character, so I decanted it, then poured it into another decanter and back in order to aerate it (the oxidation this engenders is similar to the effects of aging in cellar). After Iallowed the wine to stand and the temperature to rise to about 65 degrees, the nose opened beautifully. It is a yellow-golden color with aromas of hazelnut, crème brulee, pineapple and oak-driven vanilla.. On the palate, nice balance, perhaps a bit acidic, but the apple, pear and spice flavors offset the citrus. I think the wine is nearly ready now, and for those who enjoy a complex chard, the price is right under $28 when you buy a case. Expect to pay $30 for singles, 92 points.

WE rated the 2010 Chateau Lilian Ladouys Ste. Estephe 94 points and most others 89-91. When I saw some priced under $25, I decided to have Jean Lafitte smuggle some in from New Jersey, risking all to keep you, my faithful readers, informed. Glad I did. Dark purple color tells me tannins are coming.

Aromas of blackberry, blueberry and toasted oak give way to juicy, rich palate with typical Estephe tanninc grip with mineral chalky tones. Age a few; drink through 2025.

Don’t be a Pinot Noir snob. Here is a beauty you can find priced under $26, but it is not from Burgundy, Oregon or Cali. The Argentine sends us Passionate Wines Montesco Punta Negra Pinot Noir 2011.

This wine stood up to all in its category and in my opinion won the blind tasting. It is no wonder WA rated it 94 points. I’m adding a price point if bought under $28.

The nose is cranberry, cherry and strawberry, and the palate shows balanced acidity and tannin with more berry flavors. The finish is long, clean and full of strawberry flavors. I think it will cellar and improve through 2020.

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