Le Cercle Rive Droite 2010 VINTAGE PREVIEW TASTING 

My favorite presenting "rive droit" winery was Chateau Le Prieure located on the border of St. Emilion and Pomerol: 80% Merlot 20% Cabernet-Franc.

These Grand Cru Classé wines were very pleasant with finesse.  The 2007 ($50) should be ready for prime time in two to three years, while their 2010 ($70), already quite drinkable, should develop wonderfully until maturity in 2117.  All, including their 2008, offer more red fruity flavoring now with a wonderful interplay between minerality and floralness.  They are also certified in sustainable agriculture – “Our philosophy:  Believe in the earth, respect its future… Pleasure to drink young and will also age well - 15-30 years or more.”  D’accord. 

One biodynamic (BD) wine, Clos Puy Arnaud from Cotes de Bordeaux, powerfully expressed terroir with a slight barnyard nose and taste of “dirt”. While I appreciate the naturalness of BD wines, I also desire finesse along with nature.  However, I believe over time, this will happen here.    

            ALTO ADIGE

The Alto Adige region is one of the oldest winemaking regions in Europe.  Picture beautiful storybook vineyard areas against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains. As has been my practice recently, I decided to explore just 2 of the top 20 grapes planted here, out of more of the 200 (700?) Italian grape varieties.  I chose Gewurtztraminer for white and the Lagrein for the reds.  

Gewurtztraminer takes its name from the village of Tramin located in the northeastern Alto region, the German-speaking area in Northern Italy.  Sadly, I was disappointed. They did not hold a candle to the far superior Alsace Gewurtz.  As for the Lagrein - I would drink it locally, but would not buy it in New York. In other words, there are often good reasons why minor grapes are minor! 

Two best presenting wineries were Cantina Bolzano and Franz Haas. Next year I plan to stick to reds and taste the native Schiava and my love, Pinot Noir, here called Pinot Nero.  


Three tastings in a day leaves me rather critical and fussy (or fuzzy?)  Here we tasted the every day wines of Opici.  One exception, and perhaps the best single wine, was Cesari Bosan Amorone della Valpolicella DOC 2003 ($100) but my tasting notes asked “but is it worth it?"  Upon sober reflection, I think not.  Most memorable surprisingly was the Villa Rosa Moscato d’Astri DOCG ($12). Here was stand out soda pop!  If you want to convert someone from drinking soda to wine, this may be THE transition party drink to recommend.  Personally I don’t know any kids who have yet to make the move.  However, if you do, this is a fresh and very refreshing picnic wine for anyone with a sweet tooth.  Speaking of sweet, their Cocoa di Vine Chocolate + Wine ($10) could give Bailey and Godiva a challenging run for the money as a wine for Chocoholics.

BOOK REVIEW: EXPLORING WINE (Revised Third Edition) Culinary Institute of America 


READER: A story to follow? A Bottle from the Past 

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Henry Weingarten


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