PA Chairman's Selection Spring 2017 Preview

7 years ago by Tim

We tasted nearly 40 upcoming wines in the PA Chairman's Selection program. All of these are already in stores with the exception of a few that I've indicated will be released on May 17th in conjunction with the Wine Festival.


2015 Fattori Danieli Soave DOC. Slightly floral nose of citruse fruit, jasmine and white flowers, with the requisite nuttiness on the finish. Fresh, well balanced and a great value. $9.99, quoted at $17.00.

2015 Les Roches Touraine. Fairly classic Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, and a very good vintage. Crisp grapefruit, green apple, lemon and lime. Piercing acidity. $9.99, quoted at $15.00.

2014 Atalon Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. A departure from the lean Touraine tasted previously It's showing a hint of that extra year of age, still fresh but definitely softer and rounder. Typical grapefruit and green apple along with more honeyed notes and gooseberry that you get from NZ and CA versions. $12.99, quoted at $21.00

2015 Bernard Reverdy et Fils Sancerre. A really nice, classic Sancerre. Still very lean and tightly wound as expected, but a bit more complex than the Touraine. Also from the good 2015 vintage. $17.99, quoted at $.

2016 The Coorong Reserve Chardonnay. A crisp, well balanced Chardonnay with a bit of subtle oak. Drinks like an enjoyable Cote Chalonais. I have no doubt this will sell well at the price regardless, but it's a good wine. $9.99, quoted at $14.99.

2015 D'Arenberg The Hermit Crab. A blend of 58% Viognier and 42% Marsanne, this is as aromatic as you'd expect. Stone fruit, apple, pear and pineapple dominate the nose. A well made wine from a very good Aussie producer. $9.99, quoted at $17.00.

2015 Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Wehlener Sonnenur Riesling Kabinett. We tasted this in the last flight of dessert wines, but I refuse to put it in that category just because it has a little sweetness. Very typical German Kabinett Riesling. Super floral, low alchol, slightly sweet but very well balanced. It's a great quality wine at the price. This wine will be released on May 17th at the Wine Festival. $14.99, quoted at $22.99


As a whole, these three roses are all excellent buys and would recommend all of them.

2015 Maison Philippe Viallet Savoie Rose. This might have been one of my favorite wines of the day. Pale orange in color, crisp acidity, fresh strawberry on the nose. $9.99, quoted at $17.00

2015 Chateau Virant Coteaux D'Aix en Provence Rose. Very good. Clean, crisp and very well balanced with cherry and watermelon on the nose and palate. Color is pink salmon. $9.99, quoted at $19.00.

2015 Domaine de Carteresses Tavel Rose. A pretty wine with a bit more fleshiness than the other roses. It's also a little less crisp but makes up for it with complexity and a fuller body. Color is a deeper red. $10.99, quoted at $17.00


Domaine des Ruettes Saumur Champigny. Fairly typical Cabernet Franc from the region. Super dry with noticeable tannis. Lots of lead pencil, stone and red fruit. Good acidity. $10.99, quoted at $18.00.

2013 Toad Hollow Vineyards Pinot Noir Goldie's Vineyard. This is Russian River Valley Pinot all the way. Lots of overripe cherry, cranberry and pomegranate, with some spciy black pepper notes, and a fair bit of toasty oak. It's not a great wine, but it's a decent example of the style at a very reasonable price. If you liked that Montague, this is a pretty good standin. is $17.99, quoted at $.

Caveau Bugiste Pinot Noir. A complete departure from the previous RRV wine, this is cool climate Pinot. Bugey is a cooler French AOC near Savoie (Switzerland) that tends to make high-acid, low-alcohol wines. This was definitely in that style, but I wanted a little more from it. It's a good opportunity to try a new style of something you've probably had before. $17.99, quoted at $.

2013 Zotovich Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. A good wine, balanced Pinot with nice precision. Buy. $19.99, quoted at $42.00.

2015 Buoy Ten Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. A very nice Oregon Pinot. It's a bit greener and spicier than previous wines, with pomegranate, black cherry, cranberry and notes of black tea. A very solid wine for the price. From the same producer as Ace & Able, I would recommend this for $10 cheaper. $19.99, quoted at $41.99.

2013 Carneros Hill Winery Pinot Noir Carneros. Strawberry and pomegranate on the nose. It's a lot softer than some of the cooler climate wines surrounding it. It was not a standout for me, and there are other wines I'd prefer for the price. $24.99, quoted at $35.00.

2015 Ace and Able Dundee Hills Pinot Noir. From the same producers of the Buoy Ten, this is a step up to the Dundee Hills AVA. Many of the same fruit notes, with a bit more body and perhaps a touch more oak. A very good wine, but I am not sure if it's worth $10 more than the Buoy Ten. $29.99, quoted at $54.99.

2014 Agnito Pinot Noir Walala Vineyard. Really nice, very well balanced with great acidity. It's a more delicate, restrained style typical of the true Sonoma Coast. A clear step up in quality compared to the other Pinots tasted. Of course, it was also the most expensive. It's part of the reason I struggle to recommend the Ace & Able - the Buoy Ten is almost as good at $10 less, and this is clearly better at $10 more. $39.99, quoted at $70.00.

2015 Reserve de Bonpas Cotes du Rhone. A pretty typical, meaty Cotes du Rhone. Yes, it's a pretty simple wine but it's well made and it's an excellent price. A great red for your upcoming cookouts at under $10. $8.99, quoted at $13.99

2013 Firriato Altavilla della Corte Syrah. This Sicilian Syrah is very earthy. Typical blueberry, spicy black pepper and a lot of minerality. $11.99, quoted at $19.00.

2013 Bodega Vinaguerena Mazal Barrica Tempranillo. A simple, bold, highly drinkable wine from Toro. If you're looking to venture out of CA but want to stick with that style, this is a good place to start. $10.99, quoted at $17.00.

2015 La Basardia Tempranillo/Syrah. An extremely ripe, juicy wine with raspberry jam, plum and black cherry. Surprisingly restrained alcohol given how jammy it is. Another good, albeit simple wine to venture out of CA. $9.99, quoted at $.

2014 Ego Bodegas Marionette. A blend of equal parts Monastrell (aka Mourvedre) and Syrah. Ripe cherry & blueberry notes on nose and palate. For me this was the of the three Spanish wines, all in the same style. Definitely a good cellar defender. $10.99, quoted at $18.00.

2015 Valtonar Joven Ribera del Duero. Predominantly Tempranillo with 10% Merlot, this was solid but unremarkable wine for me. It may just be that it was a little overshadowed by the super-ripe other wines in the flight. I will probably retaste. $11.99, quoted at $19.99.

2015 Old True Zin Organic Zinfandel. A Puglia "Zinfandel" clearly marketed to a US audience. It was one of my least favorite wines of the day. Avoid this one. $9.99, quoted at $19.99.

2006 Villa Cavallo Red. Fairly typical Sangiovese with medium-plus tannins, dominant red fruit and a long finish. Remarkably fresh for a 2006 - I didn't notice it was 11 years old until after I took notes. A very good wine for the price, and a cheap opportunity to taste an Italian wine with some age on it. $9.99, quoted at $19.99.

2014 Giormany Valpolicella Superiore DOC. Very jammy, lush, syrupy in style and not much in the way of tannins. Notes of cherry liquer, strawberry jam, black pepper and bitter baking chocolate. It's a good, well made wine for the style. $9.99, quoted at $14.99.

2014 Valentin Bianchi Famialia Bianchi Malbec. It's pretty typical Malbec. Not great, but it's not super jammy if you prefer a little more restrained, spicy style. $12.99, quoted at $20.00.

2016 Chacabuco Malbec. Honestly, if it's fairly indistinguishable from the previous Malbec. If you like Malbec, both are fine buys but neither are remarkable in any way. $12.99, quoted at $20.00.

2014 Havens Winery Merlot. It fits the mold of a soft, jammy CA merlot with liberal use of oak. A lot of people, including Wine Advocate, liked this wine more than I did. It was fine, but I can't say I was particularly impressed. It's a quality wine for under $20 though. $17.99, quoted at $45.00.

2011 Castelli del Grevepesa Clemente VII Chianti Classico Riserva. A very nice, typical Chianti Classico Riserva. Tart cherry, tobacco and bitter baking chocolate. Well balanced, good acidity with a nice finish. $17.99, quoted at $30.00.

2014 Chateau Puy-Galland Cuvee Collection Grande Reserve Crancs Cotes de Bordeaux. Not particularly remarkable, but a solid, typical Merlot-driven Bordeaux. $12.99, quoted at $22.99.

2013 Moniker Cabernet Sauvignon. A soft, jammy Cab from Parducci. While I'm not a big fan of the style, it's a crowd pleaser and solid quality for a CA cab under $15. $13.99, quoted at $25.00

2015 Fathom Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills. A little lighter in body with lots of coffee, cassis and cherry notes. Pretty well balanced. Personally I prefer this style to the Moniker at a similar price point. $14.99, quoted at $23.00.

2013 Gordon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. I wasn't a fan of this Columbia Valley cab. Cough syrupy, and something felt off with the wood with lots of pine.$15.99, quoted at $25.00.

2007 Terra Valentine Cabernet Sauvignon Yverdon Vineyard. A nice single vineyard bottling with 10 years of age, it's in a nice drinking window. Fairly classic CA cab on the nose - black currant, cassis, licorice, sage and cigar box. If you want a little step up from some of the previous Cabs tasted, this will do nicely. Only 160 cases across the state, it will be released on May 17th at the Wine Festival. $39.99, quoted at $65.00

Dessert Wines

2008 Feudi di San Gregorio Privilegio IGT 500ml. A really nice dessert wine and a steal at this price. The nose is candied and nutty, sporting lots of fig, apricot, medjool dates, hazelnut and almond skin. This wine will be released on May 17th at the Wine Festival. Only 61 cases across the state and allocation to stores will be very limited. $19.99, quoted at $64.00

Messias 10 Year Old Porto. It's a solid if not mind-blowing tawny port. Smoky with burnt caramel, dates and almonds on the nose and a slightly bitter component on the palate. $18.99, quoted at $40.00.

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