PA Chairman's Selection Highlights from Summer 2013

11 years ago by Tim

I attended the Chairman's Tasting event last week with guest contributor John Wabeck, an Advanced Sommelier and the wine director & GM at Spoon in East Liberty. This tasting focused primarily on the Old World Wines being offered through the program, some of which are currently in stores and some of which are coming.


2012 Ormarine Picpoul de Pinet. Citrus and lemon peel dominate the nose and palate in this thoroughly enjoyable, crisp white wine. It's a great buy for the hot summer months. This wine has been in stores for a few month, but I'm sure it's not selling as well as it should be because it's sort of an obscure varietal - but do yourself a favor and pick one up. $8.99, quoted at $16.99.

2012 Justin Sauvignon Blanc.Justin is usually a solid producer, but I did not enjoy this wine at all. There was a bit of sweetness in the wine, and overall was just not as enjoyable.

2012 Nieto Senetiner Torrontes. Very floral on the nose, with distinct grapefruit and lemon zest notes. An enjoyable Torrontes. $9.99, quoted at $15.00.

2012 Gri/Gio Pinot Grigio. Gimmicky label aside, this was an enjoyable wine. A very clean nose filled with citrus notes, with medium acidity. While not particularly interesting, it's a good buy compared to Santa Margherita and other offerings. $7.99, quoted at $12.00.

2012 Domaine Francois Millet Empreinte Sancerre. This might have been my favorite white wine in the group. Grassy notes on the nose, rich mouth feel, and a nice crisp finish. $16.99, quoted at $28.00.

2010 Domaine Bousquet Grande Reserve Chardonnay. An extremely oaky and toasty Chardonnay. There's a distinct nuttiness to the wine, with lots of vanilla and peach flavors. I am generally not a fan of this style, but if you enjoyed the Dry Creek Foggy Oaks Chardonnay from earlier in the summer you'll be sure to like this too. $14.99, quoted at $25.00.


2005 Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee Brut Reserve. Very yeasty. It's not mind-blowing, but it's a pretty good sparkling wine under $20, which is often hard to find. $17.99, quoted at $32.00.

Mederfil Lambrusco Reggiano NV. A typical Lamrusco. Sweet, but it finishes dry. There's a definite cherry/strawberry soda feel to this wine. If you enjoyed the Terre da Vino Conte di Groppelo Brachetto d'Acqui offered previously, you'll like this - at half the price. $7.99, quoted at $14.00.


2011 Pitault-Landry et Fils Domaine Les Pins Cuvee Rochette Bourgueil. A mouthful to say, this Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley was enjoyable. Gamy and savory notes are more pronounced than the fruit - it's a very rustic wine. I enjoyed it, but I readily admit that it's not for everyone. $11.99, quoted at $20.00.

2011 Henriques Forca Premium Cotes du Roussillon-Villages. The nose is plum with some floral notes. It's not an overly complex wine, but it's a steal at this price. Very approachable and easy to drink, this should be your next party wine. $7.99, quoted at $12.99.

2011 Latitude 44 Malbec. Lots of chocolate and oak. This wine from Cahors is definitely trying to appeal to fans of Argetinean Malbec - the wine drinks (and looks) like a New World bottling. $14.99, quoted at $24.99.

2009 Cousina Macul Finis Terrae. A Cabernet-dominated red blend from Chile, this has loads of cherry and raspberry fruit and a nice finish. It's a round wine with plenty of oak, but still fresh. It should probably improve with a couple of years of age. $17.99, quoted at $28.00.

2007 Dona Paula Seleccion De Bodega Malbec. This is a very rich wine with plum and cassis on the nose. Deep, dark color. This is not the simple, entry-level Malbec many are familiar with. $29.99, quoted at $50.00.

2007 Genium Celler Priorat. Plum and blackberry dominate the nose, with a hint of spiciness as well on the nose and in the mouth. It's a very nice Priorat for the price, though there does seem to be a little bottle variation. $19.99, quoted at $42.00.

2008 X Winery Cabernet Franc. Very ripe cherry and red fruit on the nose along with licorice and a hint of spice. This is a very bright, clean wine - and is definitely not going to be confused for the French Cabernet Franc we tasted previously. Distinctly New World, but also very enjoyable. $13.99, quoted at $27.00.

2009 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon. Those of you who have purchased this in the past know what to expect. It's a pretty typical, if relatively simple, California Cabernet. It is what it is, but in this price range it's a good option. $17.99, quoted at $27.00.

2009 Chateau Gigonan Vigne du Regent Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Black cherry and blue fruit on the nose, with some licorice and spice. It's hard to find a CdP at this price - let alone one of this quality. Definitely in the style. It could probably use some time in the bottle or in a decanter. $24.99, quoted at $42.00.

2009 Falesco Montiano. This Merlot from central Italy is a deep, dark wine. Dark berries and chocolate on the nose, with hints of spice and some floral notes. It probably needs some time to evolve into what it could be, but there's a lot of promise here. This is definitely an elegant wine, and I will be purchasing some for my cellar. $29.99, quoted at $45.00.

2009 Rafael Reverte Cistum. This is the third time I've tasted this wine, and I really want to like it more than I do. A little aromatically challenged, and overall a little unremarkable to me. That is not to say that it's not enjoyable to drink - there's nothing off-putting - it's just a little boring for what I was hoping for. It's possible it's just in an awkward phase. $19.99, quoted at $38.00.

2005 Bodegas Heras Cordon Rioja Reserva. Black cherry, dark red and black fruit on the nose. Some rusticity, but also some bold fruit. I've had a couple of bottles that underwhelmed, but others that I enjoyed a lot. It's a good buy for this price point. $19.99, quoted at $48.00.

2009 Bodega Matarromera Emina Crianza. The first, and cheapest, of three Tempranillos we tasted from this Ribera del Duero producer. Dark red and black fruit with caramel and some tobacco notes. Tannins and oak influence is pronounced. At this price, it's an enjoyable wine and probably the best value of the bunch. $13.49, quoted at $22.

2005 Bodega Matarromera Emina Atio. A rich wine, almost on the verge of being chewy. Cedar and wood is again pronounced, with a bit more spice than the Crianza and similarly pronounced tannins. It's enjoyable, but not sure it's worth twice the price of the Crianza. That said, there did seem to be a lot of bottle variation - which worries me for other reasons. $29.99, quoted at $60.

2001 Bodega Matarromera Gran Riserva Ribera del Duero. The third, and most expensive, of the wines tasted from this producer. This is an excellent wine with big fruit. There are still firm tannins and structure in this wine, and it drank surprisingly fresh for the age. I think this will hold for some time and is a nice addition to the cellar. $48.99, quoted at $110.00.

2010 Chateau Lanbersac Puiusseguin St.-Emilion Cuvee Vielle Vignes. This Right Bank Merlot comes from the lauded 2010 vintage and with a couple of 90 point reviews from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. Lots of fig and chocolate and a finish that is a little short and simple. 2010 was a ripe vintage in Bordeaux as evidenced by the 14.5% alcohol on this wine. $18.99, quoted at $30.

2010 Chateau Ambe Tour Pourret St.-Emilion Grand Cru. Another Right Bank Bordeaux from the 2010 vintage, though this had a little more structure than the Lanbersac. $22.99, quoted at $38.

2009 Chateau de Roquebrune Lalande de Pomerol Cuvee Reine. 100% Merlot, this was probably the most promising of the Bordeaux being offered but definitely needs some time. It's a nice, elegant wine with black and dark red fruit. This is definitely one worth cellaring at this price. $16.99, quoted at $25.

2010 Chateau Leon Cuvee Prestige Cadillac Cote de Bordeaux. Another fruit forward, riper Bordeaux. This one has more ripe fruit than the other 2010s, and for the price it's a very enjoyable, if simple, wine. $14.99, quoted at $20.00.

2011 Secoli Ripasso della Valpolicella. This wine is made by combining Valpolicella with the skins and seeds leftover from fermented Amarone. As a result, it picks up the raisiny, dried cherries typical of Amarone. I'm not generally a fan of this style of wine, but it's certainly easy to drink. $13.99, quoted at $24.

2010 Chateau Laborde Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois. Dark berries and lots of oak on the nose. This was aged 18 to 24 months with staves and oak chips, to enhance the oak influence. It doesn't have great structure and isn't a particularly complex wine but it's a crowd pleaser. $15.99, quoted at $26.99.

2007 Matroberardino Radici Taurasi. The 2003 vintage of this wine was previously offered for $31.99. I highly recommended it then, and I highly recommend it now. The critics agree, with Antonio Galloni (at Wine Advocate) garnishing 94 points and calling it a "flat-out stunner" alongside 91 points from Wine Spectator. Structured but with smooth, integrated tannins. Lots of dark fruit on the nose, along with some spice and sandalwood aromas. It's not particularly cheap, but it's an excellent wine. $39.99, quoted at $60.

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