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Category Archives: Wine of the week

Wine of the week: Robert Hall Rose de Robles 2013

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robert hall rose de roblesOne of the best winemakers too many people have not heard of is Robert Hall’s Don Brady. The Wine Curmudgeon has waxed poetic about his work many times, that Brady is able to make interesting, terroir-driven, value-worthy wines in California’s Paso Robles when so many others there go for scores, an excess of fruit, sticker shock, and too much alcohol.

The current version of the rose ($11, purchased, 13%) is a case in point. It’s a blend, including grenache and cinsault, and has a little more strawberry fruit this year than last, so it isn’t as lean or as mouthwatering as in previous vintages. But that’s not a bad thing, for it reflects Paso Robles, which is warmer and produces richer, fruitier wines. And this is a rich, comforting rose that is still low in alcohol. How many others can make that claim?

Highly recommended, not just for summer porch sipping, but as a food wine — hamburgers, smoked chicken, and pulled pork (for the au courant among the blog’s visitors).

Wine of the week: Feudo Zirtari Nero d’Avola-Syrah 2011

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Feudo Zirtari Nero d'Avola-Syrah One more reason that Sicilian wine deserves to enter the mainstream — the Zirtari ($12, purchased, 14%), a funky wine that is delicious yet does not seem especially Sicilian. One knows a wine region has found its niche when you can write that about one of its wines.

First, the Zirtari is almost one-half syrah, hardly a grape indigenous to the island. Second, the syrah gives it an almost Rhone-like character, richer (almost fatty) than similarly-priced Sicilian reds. Plus, there isn’t much earthiness, but there is well-balanced black fruit and the particular character that the Sicilian nero d’avola grape adds to a well-made wine.

In all, a wine that is enjoyable, dark, and almost brooding. It’s intense enough for summer barbecue and red meat, but not so heavy, with its 14 percent alcohol, to be be off-putting in hot weather. It was a most pleasant surprise to find when I was looking for something else.

Wine of the week: Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2013

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Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2009This South African white is one of the world’s great cheap wines. So why did I have to taste it in a restaurant in San Diego, instead of buying it in a store in Dallas?

You know the reason for that: the three tier-system.

But the Wine Curmudgeon will not let that deter him from his life’s work. What’s a constitutionally-protected regulatory system when terrific cheap wine is at stake?

Because the Ken Forrester ($10, purchased, 13%) is terrific — a surprisingly rich mouth feel given this is $10 chenin blanc, plus green apple fruit, a tiny hint of honey in the middle, and even some minerality on the finish. In this, it’s the kind of chenin — not sweet, not syrupy, not a sauvignon blanc knockoff, but with character and interest — that makes me wonder why the grape isn’t more popular. I rarely quote producer websites, but this is spot on: “Perfect everyday drinking wine.”

Especially if you live in the ninth largest city in the country where 100-degree summer days cry out for this kind of wine. Or, as several of my colleagues said when we bought the wine in San Diego, “What do you mean, you can’t buy this in Dallas?” Which, come to think of it, has always been a problem.

Highly recommended, but since it’s not for sale in Dallas, it can’t be in the $10 Hall of Fame. Unless I change the rules, but I don’t run that kind of Hall of Fame.

 

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