August 2012 Dirty Dozen

Thursday, August 9, 2012 11:30 PM

How fortunate that summer gives us not 1, but 2 months with 31 days in them. Let’s revel in that! That leaves plenty of time for more picnicking and barbecuing, among other fun summer endeavors. Whether you’re on vacation, a staycation, or are enjoying the longer daytime hours that summer gives us, let the Dirty Dozen satisfy all your vinous needs.

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2011 Chardonnay, House Of Independent Producers $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
The House of Independent Producers Chardonnay is an unoaked, terroir-driven quaffer from the Columbia Valley AVA in Washington state. The nose has a solid core of pale yellow fruit wrapped with minerals; the palate is fresh and crisp with hints of apples and citrus. A great food wine, this will pair well with seared scallops, lentils, and corn.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Koura Bay $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Here at TWH, we’re always on the lookout for wines of quality and character. When we taste one that has a very modest price tag, well, that’s when we act. Such was the case when the Koura Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was poured for us. It has a citrus-like profile and an amazing amalgam of herbal notes. Serve it with a cool garden salad.

2011 Vinho Verde, Vera $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Every DD wine is picked for its versatility, and the Vera Vinho Verde from Northern Portugal is exactly that. Meaning “green wine” this Vinho Verde has a citrusy profile reminiscent of grapefruits. Pour it along side a light pasta dish.

2010 Chardonnay/Viognier, Laurent Miquel $10.48 net price, $9.43 reorder
Winemaker Laurent Miquel blends 65% Chardonnay with 35% Viognier sourced from his vineyards in France’s Languedoc region and the result is a winner! The aromas are fruity and rich with hints of peaches, apricots, and lemon-lime. On a hot August night, a chilled glass of Miquel’s Chardonnay/Viognier makes for a terrific by the glass sipper.

2011 Lugana, Ca’Lojera $14.99, $11.99 reorder
In Italy’s Lake Garda region lies the Lugana DOC. Ca’Lojera is run by Ambra and Franco Tiraboschi, and we are happy and proud to resume our relationship with them with the 2011 Lugana. Made from 100% Trebbiano di Garda, or Turbiana (as the locals call it), it’s fruity and crisp with hints of melons and citrus throughout. It’s perfect with grilled chicken.

2011 Touraine Rosé, Domaine des Corbillières $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Nearly every summer, the Touraine Rosé is the most popular Rosé among our staff and customers. What’s not to like? Its pale salmon color gets you straight away. Made from Loire Valley stalwart Pineau d’Aunis, it shows aromatic hints of herbs and lemon blossoms. On the palate, it’s perfectly balanced with hints of light citrus fruit. Bring it on a picnic.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, R8 Wine Company $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Especially chosen for this month’s DD is a fine Cabernet Sauvignon from the R8 Wine Co. Sourcing their fruit from California’s Central Coast, the folks at R8 deliver a sturdy, fuller bodied Cab at a more than reasonable price. It shows spicy cedary aromas combined with lush dark brambly berries. It’s the wine you’re going to want with that grilled filet.

2010 Tempranillo, Tapeña $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Hailing from Tempranillo’s original home, Spain, Tapeña’s take on it is a traditional one. The wine has an overall roundness of medium purple fruit, yet shows an abundance of leathery, earthy, and tobacco like notes. You will certainly have no problem pairing it with any kind of tapas you deem appropriate, though we think meatballs in tomato sauce is best.

2007 Tempranillo, Tempusalba $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Over in Argentina, they’re growing Tempranillo as well. The grape is the same, but the New World’s take on it is unmistakeable. With a little bottle age, some of that youthful up-front fruit has mellowed with the herbal profile resulting in a smooth, balanced red wine. This will be perfect with a veal chop with chimichurri sauce.

2011 Malbec, Alberto Furque $14.99, $12.74 reorder
Unusual for us, but this month’s DD boasts a trio of reds from Argentina. #2 is produced by Alberto Furque. The estate is now run by Alberto’s daughter Carolina, and she makes outstanding Malbec from vineyards planted 3,000 feet above sea level. It’s power packed and is further proof of the grape’s success in Argentina. Pair it with a rib eye steak.

2007 Carmenérè, Inacayal $15.99, $12.79 reorder
Staying in Argentina, here’s another grape that’s found a new home. Carmenere, just like the Malbec above, was once commonly found growing at the various châteaux in Bordeaux’s Médoc. Think of it as the best of both worlds, combining the characteristics of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It’s spicy, full bodied, and delectable. A lamb chop works.

2010 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Le Farnete $13.99, $11.19 reorder
Easing up a bit, we conclude this month’s DD with a medium-bodied blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Enrico Pierazzuoli’s Le Farnete sits just west of Firenze in the Tuscan countryside and his wines speak of the place. His Barco Reale is fresh and clean, it spends 4 months in 1 year old barrel and 4 months in bottle before release. This is a great all-purpose wine that drinks well on its own, yet will shine along side pizza and saucy pasta dishes.

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living in a place where over 80% of the year you are basking in sunshine, and yet, have at your disposal elevations of over 3000 feet, immense diurnal temperature swings, and a river from which to source water (otherwise absent due to lack of rain). What do you do with such extraordinary gifts from Mother Nature? You plant grape vines, that’s what! As it turns out, such a “Grape Utopia” exists in the Uco Valley of Argentina. The Uco Valley is literally an oasis west of Mendoza, situated directly in front of the Andes mountain range and along the northerly course of the Tunuyan River. Argentine winemakers, who have historically based themselves in central Mendoza, are now exploring the Uco Valley, homing in on spots like La Consulta, where amazing, if not previously forgotten, old-vine vineyards can be found.

Moreover, it’s no secret that the world has gone absolutely gaga for Argentine Malbec in recent years, forcing sommeliers and retailers to reorganize their once California and Bordeaux-dominated selections. That said, while Malbec may be king down there, Argentina’s wine industry is not a one-grape show. Apparently, Alberto Furque had a sixth sense about all of this when he purchased the estate called Aconquija (meaning “snow near the moon”) in 1995. Now run by his profoundly dedicated andenergetic daughter, Carolina Furque, the estate boasts 74 hectares of what could be the most attentively-tended Malbec, Syrah, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the area. Carolina harvests much later than many other growers in the area, working with an agronomist to be sure that the grapes have achieved total physiological ripeness. Then, after hand-harvesting the fruit, she ferments her grapes in temperature-controlled tanks, and finally, bottles everything unfilteredin order to preserve the intense color and structure of the wines. Uco Valley wines are famous for their incredible concentration of dark currant, plum, and blueberry flavors (the likes of which aren’t seen in other sub-regions of Mendoza) and Carolina’s wines are the epitome of quality in terms of showcasing these trademark characteristics. No wonder they are well-established on list of TWH’s darlings.

Of course, like everyone else we love the story behind the wines, but at the end of the day, it comes down to what’s in the bottle. These wines not only instantly transport you to the heart of Mendoza wine country upon every sip, but they will transform the way you think about South American wines in general. Salud!

2005 Tempranillo

Typical of this variety, this wine displays a deep red colorin the glass, serving as the perfect sensory precursor to the rich raspberry, blackberry, and currants that inundate your nose upon first whiff. After a moment, the classic leather and fresh tobacco leaf nuances are revealed, letting you know that this is an old world grape with one H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS of a new world makeover. With 5+ years of age in the bottle, its tannins are sweet and sultry in the mouth, but don’t worry, this is one wine that hasn’t lost its backbone.
2009 Malbec

Malbec lovers rejoice for we’ve a contender for your all-time favorites list. Regarding the 2009 harvest in Argentina, Julia Harding MW said “Malbec seems to be the great champion of the vintage” (cue image of Malbec showing off gold medal on Wheaties box). When customers ask about this wine, we tell them it’s like blueberry preserves but with ample acidity, firm tannins, and just the right amount of black pepper to pique your senses. You’ll have to drink it to believe it, but Furque’s Malbec proves that it’s possible for a wine to be densely concentrated without being overly ripe or baked. As far as food pairings go, sky’s the limit, for this is a versatile wine if ever one existed. 

2009 Syrah

If anyone has any doubts about the origin of Furque’s vines, drink this! Only grapes situated 3000+ feet above sea level could reveal such vibrant acidity as those in this Syrah, especially in South America. Which is not to say it is lacking in the fruit and structure departments. Up front the Syrah is lush and full-bodied, but the burst of acid comes through on the back-end, like a little voice whispering (ok, shouting) in your ear that this wine needs to be paired with some grilled flank steak, peppers, onions, and chimichurri sauce. Oh excuse me! I just drooled on my keyboard… – Emily Crichton

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