PA Chairman's Selection Highlights from Spring 2013

11 years ago by Tim

I had the opportunity to attend a tasting for the Spring 2013 Chairman's Selection wines on Thursday. Below are my comments on the thirty wines we tasted - or at least as much as I could get in while trying to keep up with the frenetic pace set by Steve Pollack.


2012 Secoli Pinot Grigio. This has a pretty nose, and is a very delicate wine. I wish it had a little more acidity, but it's an enjoyable, if simple, white as the weather gets warmer and an easy buy at this price. $9.99. TRY

De Martino Estate Sauvignon Blanc. Those of you who enjoy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will also enjoy this very much. Decent acidity, with an overwhelmingly grassy nose. Lots of citrus & herbal notes on the nose. $8.99. BUY

2011 Bertani Sereole Soave. My personal favorite of the non-Chardonnay whites. Peach and melon on the nose with just a hint of sweetness. Again, I wish there was a bit more acidity, but I think it's a nice spring and summer wine. It has a little more weight than the Pinot Grigio. $13.99, quoted at $20.  TRY

Domaine Cordier Pere et Fils Saint-Veran "En Faux".A decent amount of oak coming through on the nose, and the palate matched with prominent creamy vanilla notes. Allen Meadows, a notoriously tough critic, gave it an 89-91 and suggested holding until 2014.  I wanted to like this more than I did, but perhaps it's in an awkward phase or just wasn't what I was looking for. $19.99, quoted at $34.00. TRY

2011 Louis Latour Pouilly-Vinzelles En Paradis. Much less oak on the nose than the Saint-Veran. Lots of citrus notes on the nose and palate, and a ton of acidity up front, almost to the point of feeling effervescent. The finish was a little flat, otherwise this would be in my highly recommended list.  $15.99, quoted at $24.99.

2009 Silver Palm Chardonnay. Pear and lemon on the nose. Weighty fruit but it feels lighter in body, probably because of the lack of oak (100% stainless steel fermented). It's a Jackon Family project. $9.99, quoted at $22.00.

2009 Deep Sea Chardonnay. I wasn't getting too much on the nose initially, but it opened up a little. It's distinctly a California Chardonnay but very crisp. Just a touch of oak, lots of citrus and mineral flavors. A very nice wine for this price. $12.99, quoted at $21.00. BUY

2010 Etude Chardonnay. This was the clear winner for me on the whites. A really wonderful, well balanced Chardonnay. Juicy, rich Caliornia fruit but still very lithe with great acidity. Lots of lemon, citrus and mineral aromas and flavors. Very little oak comes through on nose or palate - 25% stainless steel and 75% neutral French Oak. Similar in style to the Deep Sea Chardonnay, but a step up across the board. I think this one is going to fly out of the stores. $17.99, quoted at $32.00. BUY

2010 Dry Creek Vineyard Foggy Oaks Chardonnay. Super oaky and toasty. Think buttered popcorn, vanilla spice, almost toasted cotton candy. Soft, full and lush in the mouth. It's a nice wine, even if a bit over the top. If you're a fan of this style of California Chardonnay, then you will enjoy this for the price. $12.99, quoted at $20.00. TRY


NV Terre da Vino Conte di Gropello Brachetto d'Acqui. This is a low alcohol (6.5% ABV), red sparkling wine. A crazy, fruity nose and very sweet on the palate - I thought cherry soda. Very easy to drink, so it might be fun for summer parties. $13.99, quoted at $23.99.


2009 Sachet Pinot Noir. It's a decent Pinot Noir for the price, easy to drink and with medium acidity though not particularly complex. There's a little spiciness and some green flavors along with cherry fruit on the palate. Some liked this very much, but there was something a little off for me on the palate. $12.99, quoted at $20.00.

2008 Terlato Family Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Red fruit on the nose and palate, and definitely a good amount of oak.  Overall, I wasn't a huge fan of this wine. $19.99, quoted at $60.00.

2006 Buena Vista Ramal Vineyard Pinot Noir. Distinctly Sonoma Pinot Noir. It has aspirations of greatness but falls a little flat. Still, I enjoyed this much more compared to the Terlato tasted previously. Lush, rich cherry and raspberry fruit, with some vanilla and wood. There's a little funkiness as well, and decent acidity. The finish is just ok. $19.99, quoted at $38.00. TRY

2008 Gordon Brothers Merlot. A crowd pleaser - easy to drink but some lushness, weight and complexity. Aged partly American oak which imparts a very noticeable coconut component to the nose, just like you would get on a Rioja. A great party wine. $10.99, quoted at $20.00. TRY

2007 Columbia Winery Syrah. Another great party wine. A big wine, but not over the top. Lush, dark fruit, very smooth, some oak. Not a great or particularly interesting wine, but it certainly doesn't taste as cheap as it is. $7.99, quoted at $17.00.

2012 Finca Flichman Gestos Malbec. It was a very simple Malbec to me. Not bad, but not really remarkable in any way. $8.99, quoted at $12.99.

2011 Bodega Piedra Negra Reserve Malbec. Slightly more interesting than the previous Malbec. Quite a bit more spice, clove and vanilla. $9.99, quoted at $17.00.

2010 Corolilla Crianza Bobal Vinas Viejas. I thought this was better than both of the Malbecs for the price. Very interesting nose, with some toffee and coconut notes. Simple but very enjoyable. 100% Bobal. $9.99, quoted at $15.99.

2008 Deep Sea Red. Deep, blueberry and blackberry with some herbal notes on the nose. Very big and lush on the palate, but still some complexity. Some commented that it was a meal unto itself. A very nice wine for the price. $13.99, quoted at $24.00. BUY

2010 Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel. A simple, big Zinfandel, but very little spiciness. Steve reported that there's new ownership and a new wine making team, and they're attempted to rebuild Renwood and move away from the "stewed" character of recent vintages. $12.99, quoted at $20.00.

2009 Pear Valley Inspiration. A GSM dominated by Syrah. Very bright, but not sure there's enough fruit for the acidity. $12.99, quoted at $22.00.

2006 Sella & Mosca Tanca Farra. A blend of equal parts Cannonau (also known as Grenache) and Cabernet Sauvignon. I really love the interesting, distinctly Italian nose of mint, herbal notes and pine boards. Reminiscent of building a treehouse in the woods. Drinkable now, but will probably benefit from some age. $15.99, quoted at $29.00. BUY

2009 Enrico Serafino Roero. Definitely very floral and feminine with violets on the nose, but this is a beefy masculine wine in the mouth. Very tannic and dry right now, this demands food and will definitely benefit from some age. $13.99, quoted at $27.99.

2010 Alexander Beck Cabernet Sauvignon. Oaky, with some menthol, mint and cherry on the nose. The palate is very round, with more red and black fruit. I enjoyed this wine very much and I think it's a great buy for the price. $13.99, quoted at $22.00.BUY

2010 Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon. I didn't enjoy this as much at the time, and I thought it was a little disjointed. Similar notes to the Alexander Beck, but I didn't think everything was as well integrated. That said, after being open for awhile it came together. Ripe, dark fruits. $14.99, quoted at $24.00.

2008 Bernardus Marinus. Lots of fruit but also some bitter, chocolate notes on the nose and palate. Those who have had this wine in the past will be pleased to see it come in at only $14.99. Lower in alcohol and  more restrained than both of the previous Cabernets. Very drinkable and enjoyable now, but will also age well - we recently had a 1992 and it was exceptional. $14.99, quoted at $36. TRY

2000 Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. I wrote a more in-depth review here, but in short this is a fantastic wine and a great value. Mint and eucalyptus on the nose, and has a long life ahead of it. I bought a case already. $59.99, quoted at $110.BUY

2007 Tenuta La Fuga Brunello di Montalcino. Very lush, ripe fruit. Typical nose of licorice, salami and white pepper notes, and very lush red and black fruit in the mouth. I found it to very approachable even in its youth, and while there is some bit the tannins are relatively tame. This wine will benefit from some cellar age, but is more approachable than the 2006s. $34.99, quoted at $67. BUY

2009 Terre da Vino La Casa in Collina Barbaresco. A huge, floral nose with some coffee components. One suggestion at the table was "tar and roses". Brace yourself though - the tannins are pretty rough. A very nice wine, but this is another that demands both a little age and some rich food. $19.99, quoted at $35.

2006 Bennett Lane Cabernet Sauvignon. A big, chewy Cali Cab. Very full-bodied, with strong elements of chocolate, cherry and vanilla spice. A little candied fruit. Personally, I think it needs some age but I do think that patience will be rewarded.  $34.99, quoted at $55. TRY


2010 Domain Cazes Muscat de Rivesaltes Vin Doux Naturel. I really enjoyed this wine. Tons of apricot, fig and citrus fruit. Very sweet, but enough acidity to really balance it. BUY

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