Industry Insiders Recommend 3/2014

Top picks from Top Palates


In an effort to broaden the discussion about wine I’ve been pursuing retailers to participate in what I am calling the Industry Insider’s series. It will consist of wine recommendations on great finds as well as series on specific regions or varieties. I started out planning this feature around retailers, primarily because I believe that a good retailer can be the consumer's best friend, but it seems very few retailers want the free publicity.  Call me confused when I ask you as a retailer to contribute because I believe your opinions are important and you decline to participate. 
I guess many retailers just don’t seem to have much to say, or perhaps don’t want to share their ‘discoveries’. I reached out primarily to small operators, seeing as they might be the ones who would appreciate a wider audience, intentionally skipping over the largest retailers to see if I could help level the playing field a bit. The sad truth is that out of over  two dozen small retailers contacted, very few have chosen to participte. 
In light of this I have opened this platform to the broader wine industry. I am still looking for retailers, but also importers, winemakers, and sommeliers to come and contribute their voices to this discussion. There are simply too many great palates out there that either are ignored or struggle to find their audience. I’m going to try and change that. Maybe be a bit disruptive if I can. In the end though it’s all for fun. The whole noble goal of the wine industry is to increase your chances of buying a bottle of wine that you like. To further that effort. Here are some of this month’s best bets according to our industry insiders!

Sec Wines

If there is one wine I buy for my own cellar every vintage it's released, it's this wine. 
Some things never change like Lopez de Heredia's deep commitment to tradition and the highest standards of winemaking.   The newly released 1998 continues an uninterrupted line of great white Riojas from Lopez de Heredia with it's beautiful luminous yellow color, fresh yet developed nose, flavors of dried apricot and Jamon Iberico and a rich texture that is brought into focus with its laser-like acidity.
The 1998 is just now entering its long window of maturity and will likely continue improving for another five to seven years before reaching its apogee.  This wine so complex that it can easily stand on its own, but it really excels at the table where it complements a wide range of seafood like stuffed squid, roasted monkfish, halibut baked with peppers and tomatoes, seafood stews/soups as well as with a host of chicken and pork preparations and yes, countless tapas too.  Enjoy now and over the next 15 years.
$36.89 @ Sec Wines

The Wine Bottega

Last month I fell head over heels for the Fondo Bozzole “Le Mani” This quirky and complex red is actually a still wine made from lambrusco. As these grapes are typically vinified into a sparkling wine, you might have the idea that this would be a juicy, berry fresh wine, but it is actually a brooding, funky, earthy, sneaky little son of a gun. What can I say? I am a sucker for a surprise.
Retail $20/btl Imported by SelectioNaturel, Chelsea, MA

Wijnimport Saffredi

I had high hopes of this wine and, indeed, the Els Escurçons was everything I hoped for.
Sara Pérez is the extremely talented daughter of José Luis Pérez, owner and winemaker of the famous cellar Mas Martinet and one of the winemakers responsible for putting Priorat on the international wine map.
Mas Martinet is best known for its flagship wine ‘Clos Martinet’, mainly made of Garnacha and completed with Cariñena, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
There is also a ‘little brother’, called ‘Martinet Bru’.
However, Sara makes two cuvées in extremely limited numbers (less than 3.660 bottles per vintage): ‘Camí Pesseroles’ and ‘Els Escurçons’.
The first is a blend of mainly Cariñena with Garnacha (roughly 60-40) and is outstanding.
The latter is Dominated by Garnacha with a 10% Syrah … WOW! Mind-blowing!
Located in Eindhoven, in The Netherlands, Europe
Specialist in Italian, Spanish and South African wines


Aligra Wine & Spirits,

What a beautifully balanced Chardonnay!  I love a slightly buttery, gently oaked Chardonnay. This one expresses peaches and apples with a hint of spice. It is soft and voluptuous in the mouth with a long, supple finish.  Pricy, but a Chardonnay lover’s Chardonnay to be sure.

Chambers Street Wines

My favorite bottle of wine consumed in February 2014 was Huet Vouvray 1989 Clos du Bourg Sec. The wine had great mature Chenin Blanc aromatics of pear, tea, honey, and chalk; on the palate it was completely dry with bracing acidity, great depth of flavor and length, rich texture and excellent balance without a hint of heat. It went really well with the Asian-spiced dishes we were eating, and it was good to be reminded that the best dry Loire Chenin Blanc can age very well – we’re used to seeing the sweet wines, so this was a real treat.

Gowanus Wines

Marques de Tomares is a traditional Rioja producer.  We carry their fantastic Entry-level Crianza, but my favorite of all their wines is their Gran Reserva.  We recently had a tasting with the distributor where he poured the lovely Marques Tomares Rioja Gran Reserva 2001.  This was an outstanding vintage in Rioja and the best Gran Reservas can easily age for 40 + years.  We're fortunate to have some '01 now available, as it is just know approaching an optimal drinking window.  It is a classic blend of 80% Tempranillo, 17% Mazuelo and 3% Viura, aged 18 months in a 10,000 Liter cask then moved to new American oak.  It has a graceful elegance and body with a nice balance dusty tannins and acidity, making it the perfect food wine.  There is lovely deep cherry red fruit with a touch of sweet spice.  Tomares only makes Gran Reservas in the best of vintages; prior to '01, Gran Reservas were made in 1994, 1995 and 1996. The next vintage following the '01 is 2005.  This is a beautiful, classy wine.
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  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 5,301

    Good series concept, GDP. Get more 'disruptive', please! Would love to see more of these, even monthly...

    Mar 10, 2014 at 7:44 PM

  • Snooth User: Erokthered
    863297 16

    Top Picks from Top Palates. Nice.

    Mar 10, 2014 at 8:18 PM

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