Cape Gazette
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Wine

Moscato rides hip-hop hits to become third-most-popular white in U.S.

By John McDonald | Jul 07, 2014

Best to all for a wonderful 4th. Try to reflect on the underlying principles written in the Declaration of Independence that allowed our great country to flourish. I can’t wait to read of the traffic. I’ll probably be stuck somewhere south of Dewey on my way home from work, like last year. Anyhow, lots to cover so let’s get to it.

One of my favorites, South African Hamilton Russell Hemel En Aarde Chardonnay, is still on top with its lovely 2013. WS has rated HR over 90 points 12 vintages in a row, and Tanzer compares the 2013 to a well-made white burgundy. It reminds me of a well-made Meursault except for its $24 price. Lime, apple and pear bouquet leads to a crisp mouthful of mango, apricot and tangerine flavors balanced by proper acidity, which appears as a false spritz of effervescence. A very clean, long finish repeats the flavors. Russell employs eight months in oak, but it was subdued and well involved. At the same price point, for those who wish to buy American, try Matthiasson Linda Vista Vineyard Chard 2013, made with 100 percent Chard from Oak Knoll in Napa. I found pear, apple, lemon and peaches in a balanced, clean, elegant, food-friendly wine, 91 points.

Beaulieu Vineyard Georges Latour Private Reserve Cab 2010 is flashing on my screen on sale at $80. When Galloni wrote, “Freshly cut flowers, mint, spices, licorice and graphite all burst from the glass … Drop dead gorgeous beauty,” 94; and Laube in WS, “plum, blueberry and blackberry notes, delightfully pure,” 93; followed by the coup de grace, Parker, “cassis, kirsch, cedarwood, foresty, and background vanilla notes, returning to great form,” 93, the price surged big time to $1,450/case or $130/bottle. I could not figure which writer tasted which wine, so I tried it myself. My read: blackberries, dark cherries, bittersweet chocolate and violets run into and repeat as flavors with toasted oak vanillin. The dark color, huge fruit flavors and sufficient firm tannins will come together in 5-8 years and drink well into 2030. I say hold your fire but place on your list, or buy if you can get it under $75 and have a proper cellar and forebearance.

Recently finished an article in Food & Wine on Sauvignon Blanc. The lead was that Moscato had knocked SB out of third place in favorites in the United States.

The reason given was that it was celebrated in hip-hop hits by Drake, Lil’ Kim and Waka Flocka Flame, and became the third-most-popular white wine variety in America (after Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio). This is an ignoble fate for a noble grape or possibly a testimony to the unlikely power that hip-hop stars wield over the U.S. wine market. I really enjoyed the article, and you can access it here: www.foodandwine.com/articles/best-sauvignon-blancs-for-fans-and-skeptics.

One of my best SB recommendations in 2012 and now 2013 is Geyser Peak Winery, 90 points and can often be found under $10. Great QPR. The 2013 are pale green-tinged gold and open to a pleasant bouquet of lemon, yellow apple, grapefruit, jalapeno and fresh-cut lawn. Fruit forward, the flavors follow aromas without the heat of jalapeno, of course. Crisp, clean, it drinks well cold. Serve with salade nicoise, shrimp, grilled white fish and crab cakes or just sip it in a hammock on a hot summer day. Winemaker is Ondine Chattan. For neophytes trying to drink while in a hammock, start with a straw.

Sampled Mionetto Prosecco Brut last week. A lovely spumante, it was chosen by Wall Street Journal as a best wine, best value at a recent tasting.

Best from McD, 91 points, it can be found locally priced under $15. Another summer wine, but sip it while in a chair so you can enjoy the bubbles. Dry but fruity with apple, mineral and vanilla nuances and just a touch of apricot.

This is Brut, which means very, very dry. However, the lovely fruit bouquet implies a touch of sweetness that balances the acidity and dryness.

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