Tag Archives: Spanish wine

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


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

Mini-reviews 53: Epicuro, La Granja, Turning Leaf, Line 39


Reviews 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. This month, in honor of the U.S. budget mess, some really cheap wine:

Epicuro Nero d’Avola 2012 ($6, purchased, 12.5%): This Trader Joe’s red tastes almost exactly like California merlot, with lots and lots of black fruit and not much else. This is the international style of winemaking at its best (or worst, depending on your point of view).

La Granja Tempranillo 2012 ($4, purchased, 13%): This Spanish red, also from Trader Joe’s, is a very simple wine that is more tempranillo-like than tempranillo. Lots of cherry fruit and acid, but they aren’t balanced; rather, they cancel each other out. Probably worth $4, but better wine doesn’t cost that much more.

Turning Leaf Chardonnay NV ($8, sample, 12.5%): Offers quality and value, in the way that its pinot noir did during this summer’s cheap pinot tasting, though it’s more varietally correct. Fresh with a little green apple, and very little fake oak. A simple wine does not mean a stupid wine.

Line 39 Chardonnay 2011 ($10, purchased, 13.5%): Fairly typical grocery store chardonnay in the late 20th-century style, with green apple fruit and more fake oak than I like. Nothing really wrong with it if you like this kind of wine.

Labor Day wine 2013

Labor Day means two things: The Wine Curmudgeon’s annual appearance at the Kerrville wine and music festival and a reason to write about rose.

On Saturday, the Kerrville panel will do Texas wine and cheese, and we’ll have an opportunity to see – once again – the tremendous strides the Texas wine industry has made over the past decade. Sometimes, it even surprises me. Say hello if you’re there; there’s a slight chance the ebook version of The Cheap Wine Book will be ready, so I’ll probably natter on about that as well.

So what about wine for Labor Day? These suggestions are a good place to start. The goal is wine that is food friendly and doesn’t get in the way of the holiday:

Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($10, purchased, 13.9%): California-style sauvignon blanc doesn’t get much better than this, and it’s even more stunning at this price. The wine is varietally correct (grassy-ness and citrus), has flavors in the front, middle, and back, and is crisp and refreshing to boot. Highly recommended and a candidate for the 2014 $10 Hall of Fame.

Bodegas Castano Monastrell Yecla ($10, purchased, 13.5%): Nicely done red made with monastrell combines New World-style red fruit with Spanish terroir — acid and tannins to balance the fruit. Tremendous value, and a great barbecue wine.

Cortijo III Rose 2012 ($10, purchased, 13.5%): One of the most interesting and sophisticated roses I’ve tasted in years, which is saying something given my enthusiasm for rose. More fruit (cranberry and watermelon playing off each other) than a traditional Spanish rose, but still not New World-ish and as dusty dry as it should be. An amazing wine that will almost certainly be in the 2014 Hall of Fame.

Finally, don’t overlook regional wine for Labor Day weekend. It’s as good a time as any to try it if you haven’t. If you have, then enjoy one of your favorites, like I will in Kerrville.

For more on Labor Day wine:
Labor Day wine 2012
Labor Day wine 2011
Wine of the week: Domaine de Nizas Rose 2011
Wine of the week: Dibon Brut Reserve NV

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