Wine Reviews

Posted by Keith Wallace

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Wine Reviews

Mitolo Shiraz “Savitar,” Barossa Valley

Finding its center of gravity somewhere between Aussie drama and Rhone-y gravitas, this cold-weather Shiraz is perfect for chasing away the chill. Just make sure to have your decanter on hand: It needs some coaxing–or some serious bottle-age–to really show its potential.

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Sette Ponti Toscana “Crognolo,” Tuscany

The miraculously priced Luce 375s that the state has been selling may have gotten all the attention (and justifiably so–the 2001s are drinking beautifully right now), but that famous Mondavi – Frescobaldi collaboration isn’t the only great Super Tuscan to look out for. This one, a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, is excellent, too. It’s a solid buy as well. Just make sure to pick up two: One for decanting now and one for the wine cellar.

Muga Rioja Reserva, Rioja

Muga is a perennial favorite here at the Wine School, and for a good reason: Its wines, from the value-priced white Rioja to the majestic Torre Muga, are, quite simply, delicious. This one is no different, its ripe fruit balanced by a distinct minerality, and all of it wrapped up in a structure as elegant and polished as you’ve come to expect from this great producer.

Bodega Numanthia-Termes 2005 “Termes,” Toro

Sure, the mortgage-necessitating Termanthia may get all the fame. Its fans (and we count ourselves among them) absolutely adore the Numanthia bottling, but for the price, you’ll have a hard time doing better than the Termes, a coffee-rich beauty that’s as good with a big old steak as it is sipped alone from the glass.

Domaine de Saumarez “Aalenien,” Coteaux du Languedoc

When the weather turns cold, rich reds from warmer climes are often best. And this one, a Syrah-Grenache blend, fits the bill perfectly. It shows exactly why the reds of Languedoc and Roussillon have gained such popularity in recent years: The price-value ratio cannot be beaten, and the flavors, like this Aalenien’s dark, ripe fruit and well-considered new oak, are so easily loved as to be almost dangerous. In a good way, that is.

Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough

Bright, unobtrusive fruit, a light-framed body, and supremely easy drinkability.

Luna Pinot Grigio, Napa County

Surprisingly bold, this Pinot Grigio is a far cry from the stuff in the six-pack. But for all its idiosyncrasy, it works. It is most definitely worth a try.

Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti “Nivole,” Piedmont

Okay, so maybe we’re cheating here recommending a half-bottle that costs $12.99, but sometimes, you really do want to drink something nice all by your lonesome. And this fruity, gulpable wine is perfect for doing exactly that. Code: 10006.

Bodegas Laxas Albariño, Rias Baixas

Sometimes, the best way to fight wintertime weather is to pretend it’s not actually happening. This fragrant, distinctly springy white is the perfect way to do so. So whip up some crab cakes, chill a bottle of this, and pretend it’s June. Your friends and family may think you’re crazy, but your taste buds will thank you.

Heitz Cellar Bella Oaks Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

It has the classic graphite and loamy flavors of a well-aged cab, and that is something everyone should experience at least once. The mellowing black fruit is well counterbalanced with grassy earth tones, which evolve into eucalyptus on the midpalate. Its finish lingers with accents of toasted cedar and blueberries. In other words: It’s damn good.

Make sure to decant it (or just let it breathe for an hour) before drinking. It’s lovely, but it is edging past its peak and will start fading in the next 6 months. Also, keep in mind this is an older Cabernet: all that rough bravado of young wine is long gone.

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