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Tag Archives: riesling

Mini-reviews 56: Uncensored, Martin Codax, Jordan, Fess Parker

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Mini-reviews 56: Uncensored, Martin Codax, Jordan, Fess ParkerReviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.

Geyser Peak Uncensored White 2012 ($10, sample, 13%): Disappointing California sweet white blend, featuring some unripe fruit, some ripe fruit, and a mix of banana and lemon pith flavors. Why so many producers insist on selling such poorly made wine is beyond me, other than that they figure anyone who likes sweet wine won’t know the difference.

Martín Códax Albariño 2012 ($15, sample, 12.5%): A professionally made, as always, Spanish white with lemon fruit, though softer and without the almost salty sea air tang of other albarinos. Price, as always, is $3 more than it should be.

Jordan Chardonnay 2011 ($30, sample, 13.5%): The archetype for California Russian River Valley chardonnay, with green apple fruit, oak more or less in balance, and a rich mouth feel. Needs food, and especially classic chardonnay dishes made with cream sauces.

Fess Parker Riesling 2012 ($15, sample, 12.5%): A very pleasant surprise — California off-dry riesling that was more than just sweet. Look for apricot and melon, and even a little honey. Very well done, and highly recommended.

Image courtesy of Talk-A-Vino, using a Creative Commons license

Wine review: Spy Valley Riesling 2011

One of the themes on the blog for the past couple of weeks has been value — does a wine offer more to the consumer than it costs? In this, value is not about price, because not all cheap wine delivers value. Sometimes, it’s just cheap.

It’s also worth noting that a wine doesn’t have to be cheap to offer value. Yes, it’s more difficult for an expensive wine to do this, given that too many expensive wines are expensive because their reason for being is to be expensive. But it is certainly possible, and it happens more often than I acknowledge here.

One producer who consistently does this is New Zealand’s Spy Valley, which as been making $15 and $20 wines that taste like they cost much more for as long as I have been writing about wine. I had one of those sublime, geeky wine experiences with the sauvignon blanc last year, and it’s not even my favorite Spy Valley wine.

That would be the riesling ($18, purchased, 12.5%), which is as enjoyable as it is difficult to find. I only see it in Dallas every couple of years, given the vagaries of the three-tier system, so when I do see it, I buy it, even if it’s a previous vintage. The producer is good enough so that doesn’t matter.

The 2011 didn’t let me down. It’s not riesling like most consumers know it — no sweet tea-like sugar or fruit flavors that taste like they came out of a can. Instead, it’s a dry riesling, complex with layers of flavor that range from petrol on the nose (a classic riesling characteristic) to citrus and tropical in the front and middle. It’s still fresh and almost aggressive after almost two years in bottle, which is a sign that it’s only going to get better with age.

Serve this to someone who doesn’t think they like riesling, and see if they change their mind. Highly recommended, and well worth the money.

Winebits 295: Liquor stores, riesling, Canada

Prepare for a rant: Marketwatch, which usually does a decent job of covering the business world, decided to do one of those “Let’s write a story because it sounds good even though it isn’t much true” pieces – “Could liquor stores go the way of bookstores?” The difference, regardless of anything else, is that wine sales are regulated and books sales aren’t, something that isn’t mentioned until the fourth from the final paragraph of the story. There’s also the cost of shipping, which isn’t mentioned at all. Sometimes, I wonder what assignment editors are thinking of when they do these stories. This piece is so bad that it immediately becomes a finalist for a Curmudgie.

Getting a handle on riesling: Mike Veseth at the Wine Economist has a nice look at the dilemma facing riesling, which is sweet but not popular, made in weird places, and known pretty much only to Germans and wine geeks. He did a panel where they tasted great riesling from Idaho. Ah, go Drink Local.

Love those Canadian liquor laws: Canada, which did not have Prohibition but still ended up with a highly regulated retail liquor system, always offers a good example that makes us feel better about three-tier. Witness this, from a study that says the Ontario provincial store system drives up beer prices by as much as C$9.50 a case. To make the results even more ironic, the study was paid for by a convenience store trade group that wants to sell beer. And we know how cheap beer is at convenience stores, don’t we?

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