Odds 'n Ends
Summer's here (I think!), so time to start sampling some cheapo whites that will be quaffed quickly on those lazy, hot afternoons. K picked up an Indian wine that she saw - not as cheap as I like my white quaffers but she thought it might be interesting to try. Hmmmm... interesting is not the word I would choose to describe this beverage. I call it a beverage because I am not sure what manner of drink it resembles. The Sula Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 comes from Nashik, 180km from Mumbai. It has the MOST green pepper vegetal nose I have ever smelled, although a friend (Ben, you know who you are!) thought it smelled like asparagus piss (that smell that your pee gets after eating asparagus). Drinking it is like drinking a green pepper smoothie, without the bits. K said that it reminded her of an algae clogged water filter from one of her guppy evolution experiments. Very overpriced at $14. Drink this VERY cold if you have to drink it. Or, better still, buy the Citra, Terre di Chieti, Chardonnay. Can't remember the vintage, probably 2010 but could have been 2011...doesn't really matter as this producer makes pretty consistent, very drinkable plonk. Worlds apart from the Sula, this has a pleasant lemon pineapple nose and a snappy grapefruit palate. Nice acid, very refreshing. Drink at about 8 degrees, doesn't need to be mind-numbingly cold to enjoy. If you take it for what it is, it's an absolute bargain at $9 a litre.
Shooo - go away!! The Shoo fly, Shiraz, 2009 is from "somewhere" in southern Australia. They don't exactly say where from, but they tell you their 2007 juice made a Wine Spectator "top 100" list a while back. Almost opaque, bricky purple. Big minty eucalyptus nose - dead giveaway for Aussie shiraz. Jammy, sweet, big black fruit but too minty on the palate. No chewy tannins here - this is alcoholic fruit juice. A struggle to enjoy. Waste of money - this is VERY generic Australian shiraz that could have been made at any of a hundred south Australian wineries.
Instead, go out and get the Malondro, Besllum, 2008, from Montsant in Spain. 50-50 old vine carignan and grenache (garnacha). Moderate colour depth, ruby. Very floral nose with hints of vanilla. Medium-full bodied, some creamy oak but balanced by tart cherries. Stood up very well to rib roast. Quite pleasant and very drinkable - won't knock your socks off but good wine and worth the $20. If you see it on a restaurant wine list for $40 would make a smart buy.
OK, now for the bargain of the day. And this winery up in the lesser known province of San Juan in Argentina (as opposed to Mendoza) bangs out the bargains! And to think that the owner of Southern Cross Lands (a large fly-by-night Wine real estate company in Mendoza) once told me when asked - "San Juan? A wine region? They can't make good wine up there..." Pffft. Either he didn't know what he was talking about or he was trying to foist some crappy Mendoza land off on unsuspecting foreigners (or maybe both!).
Anyway, this is some serious juice. The Las Moras, Tannat, 2010 is dense, chewy, bold, rich and damn good. But if you are not a fan of American oak, maybe stay away. However, I like the fact there is some tannat rusticity to the wine as well. And I really like the price. $15. Wow.