Wines That Rang our Bell in February 2014

Our Favorite Wine Writers Share Their Picks

 


We’ve reached out to our favorite wine writers to ask them what their favorite wine was last month. With people in all parts of the country, and with all types of palates, we’ve gotten some awesome replies. This is a great way to see what the people in the know are drinking. Each of our contributing writers gets to taste a lot wine each month so this is sort of a best of the best round up.

Each month we’ll be bringing you this selection of recommendations in the hopes that you find writers whose palates align with yours. They can be an invaluable source of information and opinions that will help you to sift through all the wines out there and zero in on the ones that you might enjoy the most. Enjoy these picks from February 2014!

Lenn Thompson

 
Typically I'd recommend steering well clear of Bordeaux varieties from the Finger Lakes, but this bottle flies in the face of that notion. At once concentrated and lithe, it was a standout in a recent tasting table session.
 
Lenn Thompson

Jameson Fink

For "Open That Bottle Night" I went absolutely nuts over a 2004 Giacomo Conterno Cascina Francia Barbera d’Alba. A gorgeous, perfect wine that shows when it comes to the letter "B", there's more to Piedmont than just Barolo and Barbaresco.
 
Jameson Fink

 

Clifford Brown

 
According to the winery, this is produced using grapes from the "coldest Syrah vineyard in the US", and this is reflected in the low 12.8% alcohol.  The wine is a fairly deep garnet color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, plums, tobacco, baking spices, dried herbs, minerals and dried wild flowers.  This wine is barely medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate fruit, spice and smoked meat grab hold initially, slowly allowing plums and black pepper to creep into the picture.  The finish has outstanding length with nice fruit slowly giving way to smoked meat.  This is very young but opened up nicely after an hour in a decanter.  Drink now with some air or preferably leave it in the cellar for another year or two.   (94 pts)
 
Clifford Brown

 

Scott Jones

My favorite wine of the month is Joillot’s Bourgogne Passetoutgrain.  I loved the wine’s refreshing acidity and fruitiness…it actually had a bit more body than I expected.  It’s right up my alley - something I would, frankly, drink every night. This particular Passetoutgrain will likely qualify as my Spring wine too.  Remember, I’m in Alabama, so my fingers are crossed for an al fresco Easter weekend where I’d serve this with everything from bacon-and-pimento cheese naan paninis to our traditional glazed ham on Sunday.
 
Scott Jones

Richard Jennings

I was privileged in February to taste a very old, well stored bottle of one of my favorite traditional Rioja cuvees--the 1942 edition of Bodegas Riojanas Viña Albina Vieja Reserva.
 
Bodegas Riojanas was founded in 1890 and is one of Rioja’s great, traditional houses, still making long lived Tempranillo-based wines much the same way as they’ve done for decades. Like most of the traditional houses, Riojanas produces not one but two top cuvees in good years. The more robust, rich cuvee that is bottled in a Burgundy style bottle is called Monte Real. Viña Albina is the more delicate, elegant cuvee. The grapes for this cuvee are sourced from limestone vineyards. It sees less skin maceration than the Monte Real and is sold in a Bordeaux style, square shouldered bottle.
 
Here’s the tasting note: Bricking, dark red violet color; aromatic, talc, anise, dried violets, baked cherry, raspberry puree nose; delicious, surprisingly youthful, rich yet elegant, rounded, ripe raspberry, tart cherry, talc, cherry syrup palate with a very long finish 98 points
 
 
Richard Jennings

 

Eric Guido

My wine of the month was easily the 2010 Montepeloso Eneo, a Tuscan wine with tremendous character, depth, structure and sex appeal.  This Sangiovese and Montepulciano blend is drinking beautifully now, and will only get better.  With a $45 price tag, it may not be an everyday wine, yet worthy of a Saturday night dinner.
 
2010 Montepeloso Eneo Toscana IGT - This showed a dark and inviting nose of medicinal black cherry, blackberry, leather, animal musk, pipe smoke and a savory, buttery earthiness--like rich winter cuisine. On the palate, it was focused, yet plush and with a perfect balance of acidity. Red and black fruits, black licorice and notes of mineral stone saturated the senses and seemed to stick to every corner of the palate. It finished with dry, dark fruit extract penetrating the senses while it's structural elements flexed their muscle and tugged at my gums. This was an impressive wine with a beautiful future ahead of it. (95 points)
 
Eric Guido

 

Julia Crowley

Favorite Wine of the Month: Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir from Oregon's Umpqua Valley. I remember back when every wine critic on earth (okay, maybe not every wine critic) was surfing the "rave wave" about Oregon's 2008 vintage Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs, I was kind of left behind boogie boarding the blues for the lesser loved 2007 vintage where no one could hear me over the roar of the 2008 tidal wave. But, in that sea of sipping '07s while trying find a '08 that I really loved, I found Reustle Prayer Rock's 2008 Umpqua Valley Pinot Noir - and totally fell in love with it. I wrote about it on WineJulia.com here.
 
Julia Crowley

Jon Thorsen

Montefalco Rosso - The magic of Sagrantino for those of us on a budget! 
 
Our favorite after tasting a number of examples in the last month, is the 2009 Scacciadiavoli Montefalco Rosso a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot and 15% Sagrantino from Montefalco, Umbria, Italy. Available for as low as $17. 
 
This wine features deep aromas of black cherry, spice, cola, licorice and dried herbs - give your glass a good swirl to really enjoy them - and it gets even more expressive the more air it gets. Tasting reveals the perfect balance of tart dark fruit and oak along with a wonderful mouthfeel featuring soft yet grippy tannins. It ends dry with more luscious tart fruit that lingers for a long time. This is a really tasty wine that is super enjoyable to drink!
 
We've got four more of our favorites right here
 
Jon Thorsen
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Comments

  • Snooth User: S McKenna27
    1298564 33

    Great series of articles. Really interesting and informative. Great to know what the experts are drinking.

    Mar 12, 2014 at 10:29 AM


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