Tag Archives: wine reviews

Wine of the week: Pinot Patch 2013


pinot patchRegular visitors here know one of the Wine Curmudgeon’s favorite laments: That it’s almost impossible to find $10 pinot noir that tastes remotely like pinot noir (or $20 or $30 or $40 pinot noir that tastes like pinot noir, but that’s another matter). There are several decent $10 wines that say pinot on the label, but they’re more fruity red blends than anything else.

So I was quite pleased to meet Aaron Inman, whose family owns Romililly Wines, which makes Pinot Patch pinot noir ($11, sample, 13.5%) because that’s one of the reasons for being for the wine — to make a quality, affordable pinot that tastes like pinot. This California red has berry fruit, but not so much that it tastes like a fruity red blend, as well as that hint of earthiness in the aroma that pinot should have. Best yet, the tannins are zingy and not harsh, so that the wine doesn’t remind you of cabernet sauvignon.

Yes, it’s a simple wine, but it doesn’t insult you by pretending to be something that it’s not. In $10 pinot, that’s a victory for the good guys. Drink this with any red meat (burgers on the grill?) and be glad that Inman gave up engineering in favor of winemaking. And check out the picture on the Pinot Patch website of the young Inman and his brother Jesse on their bikes. Those are the kind of people I want making my wine.

Expensive wine 78: Raumland Marie-Luise Brut 2008


 Raumland Marie-LuiseGerman sparkling wine made in the traditional Champagne style? How much wine geekier does it get? Not much, but the Raumland Marie-Luise is well worth the trouble to find and the price you will pay.

The amazing thing about the Raumland Marie-Luise ($40, sample, 12%) is not that it’s well made, but that it’s such a value, even at $40. I’ve tasted Champagne (before the boycott) at that price and even $20 more that wasn’t as pleasurable to drink — mass market plonk at high-end prices. The Raumland is made with pinot noir, astonishing in itself given the rarity and inconsistency of German pinot, but even more so given the wine’s subtlety and style. This is not an oaky, yeasty sparkling bomb, but a wine with fine, tight bubbles, hints of berry fruit, an almost spice-like aroma, and bone dry.

Highly recommended, though it may be difficult to find. If you can, serve it on its own (chilled, of course) or with seafood and chicken. We had it with a shrimp boil during the infamous wine samples dinner, and the Raumland was gone in minutes. This is also a fine gift for any open-minded sparkling wine drinker.

Wine of the week: Domaine du Tariquet Classic 2014


Domaine du Tariquet ClassicWhat’s left to say about the Domaine du Tariquet Classic, the Gascon white blend that may be the greatest cheap wine in the world? How about that it tastes even more complex this year?

I know, I know. Hard to believe for a $10 wine made in southwestern France with colombard and ugni blanc (plus sauvignon blanc and gros manseng this year), none of which are on the Winestream Media’s hit parade. But there it is. This vintage of the Domaine du Tariquet Classic ($10, purchased, 10.5%) has the usual white grapiness and a hint of citrus (less than the last couple of years), but it’s also practically savory on the back. This makes the wine more subtle, something it has never really been before. That a $10 wine made with such ordinary grapes can have such a significant vintage difference speaks to how amazing the Tariquet is.

How much do consumers appreciate this wine? There was a huge floor stack at the Dallas retailer where I bought six bottles a couple of weeks ago, and when I went back the next week, the stack was half the size. So, yes, highly recommended and a permanent member of the $10 Hall of Fame.

Chill this and drink on its own or with almost any weeknight dinner (or weekend dinner, because it’s that well made and your guests will be impressed with your good taste). One note: Give it a couple of minutes after you open the screwcap for the wine to breathe and for the flavors to come together.

More about Domaine du Tariquet:
Wine of the week: Domaine Tariquet Classic 2013 (the sonnet review)
Wine of the week: Domaine Tariquet Classic 2011
Wine of the week: Domaine Tariquet Rose

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