Tim’s Grapevine (print version) is coming soon, but you, lucky web surfer, can check out all the new Classes and Spotlight Wines right now by clicking the links to the left! Plus, below we have a few brand new items just breaking through from the email newsletter…
2005 HIGH ALTITUDE Viognier/Chardonnay — $10 per bottle
The Cabernet/Malbec blend produced by this winery was a huge hit for us last summer so I was excited to learn they make a white wine. Tasting is believing, this is a fantastic value for those looking for a wine with body but also some focus.
The fruit for this wine is grown at an elevation of 3100 feet, so it is aptly named. The high altitude allows for sunny days and cool nights, the perfect conditions for Chardonnay and Viognier. The fruit for this wine is hand harvested and fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve the lively acidity and aromatic qualities of the grapes. The final blend is equal parts of both grapes.
The resulting wine is moderately golden color and extremely aromatic, offering notes of ripe peaches, apples and pears. The feel in the mouth is soft and rich, with a slight frame of acidity that holds the wine together on the finish. Drink over the next year with shrimp, chicken or pasta salads.
2004 Malbec/Cab also in stock, also $10 a bottle.
2004 DOMAINE GIOLIS Moschofilero/Roditis — $12 per bottle
I have this on going fascination with Greek wines, particularly whites, that is an extension of my love for Italian wines. This blend, from local grapes Moschofilero and Roditis, is an aromatic white wine with great precision and full body. Those who find Sauvignon Blanc a little too light but want something more than Chardonnay should try this great value.
The wine comes from an estate near Corinth that is located in the mountains above the Nemea Valley. Like the wine above, the high elevation allows for the grapes to reach perfect ripeness but the cool nights preserve acidity. The wine is fermented in stainless tanks.
The color is medium gold and the nose is an exotic blend of dried, white flowers, rose petals and pink grapefruit. The feel in the mouth is initially quite broad, with a slight waxiness, then it focuses and finishes long in the palate. You can drink this wine with baked shrimp with garlic and olive oil; grilled fish or baked chicken.
2004 CHATEAU THIEULEY Bordeaux Blanc — $15 per bottle
There is a Bordeaux feature in the current newsletter but that is only one of three White Bordeaux in stock at this moment. The feature wine, Chateau Magneau is version fermented in stainless steel. This wine is closer to the classic model of White Bordeaux, partially fermented in oak barrels to slightly round the edges.
Robert Parker has called this one of the best run estates in Bordeaux, high praise for a wine in this price range. The blend is 60% Semillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc but a few vines of Sauvignon Gris also contribute fruit. The nose is an exotic blend of vanilla bean, papaya, pineapple and dried apricots. In the mouth this wine displays a waxy, rich feel with a sudden streak of acidity that gives the wine clean cut and balance. You can serve this wine with chicken cooked with cream sauces, baked salmon or even grilled pork chops.
ISENHOWER CELLARS – Washington State Gems
For every major growing region in the world I have a short list of producers I carry around in my head of wines I want to make sure I carry at some point. For Washington State the list includes Quilceda Creek (one stinking case a year) DeLille Harrison Hill and Isenhower. Between the three wines the total production is less than four thousand cases, and Quilceda Creek represents three thousand.
The wines from Isenhower are profound in that they do not depend on stewed, overripe fruit and overblown oak for their complexity. These are wines that are balanced, polished and constantly evolving, in a way more often seen in Bordeaux than American red. The Merlot (623 cases made) is the best Merlot I have tasted this year. It is deep garnet with aromas of raspberry puree, spiced plums and dark cherries. The feel in the mouth is very smooth and sleek, the fruit balanced by sweet, integrated tannins that carry this wine into a very long finish. Their Cabernet Sauvignon (200 cases made) is the sort of Cabernet you want to drop into the tank and drown. The color is deep and the nose has an exotic, baked brioche, currant, blackberry complexity. When you take a sip you see very full, broad, rich flavors framed by firm but integrated tannins. There is a lot of oak that also peaks out right at the finish to give this wine even longer potential in the cellar. If you click on the picture you can go to the winery spec sheets for the Cab and navigate to the Merlot.
2003 ISENHOWER Merlot Red Paintbrush — $27
2003 ISENHOWER Cabernet Sauvignon Batchelor’s Button — $30