“Affordable Vintages That Won’t Dent Your Wallet”
“The first Vintages release of the year on Jan. 10 is a welcome relief from two months of rising holiday-driven prices.
In short, I have not seen so many terrific $13, $14 and $15 wines in one big wave since last January. My top five choices for amazing affordable excellence are depicted with bottle images and full reviews here.
The Wakefield white is from a Down Under value leader whose reds are often $5 less that comparable reds. Yep, this chard also tastes like a $20-plus wine.
Mulderbosch brings Chenin Blanc, a grape variety South Africa wrongly tried to weed out during the global chardonnay revolution, to an artful level. Watch as well for old vine chenins, they can be killer good.
The Bersano Gavi is classic. I prefer Gavi any day to pinot grigios, as Gavi so often brims with personality and stands up to a huge range of cuisine.
Our Rioja of the day is from Ontanon, who have a huge stable of great Spanish reds that trickle into Ontario. I wish the trickle were a gush, they are so delicious.
California provides us with Michael David Incognito, a dance of mainly Syrah but with petite Sirah, carignan, mourvèdre, cinsaut and Grenache in the hopper. Actually, it is a field blend, so the vineyard provides the blending. Very cool and a very European tradition, mainly from the old days.
Missing is an Italian gem I could not obtain a bottle shot for, 12 E Mezzo 2012 Primitivo Del Salento (#395053, $13.95, 90), a red joy from Puglia with black cherry, plum, dates, and mocha-accented cherry vanilla layers. It’s actually my best buy red of the entire release!
Also amazing is Piazzano 2012 Chianti (#393199, $14.95, 90+) with seductive black cherry, blueberry, red plum, anise and mocha. It’s a super smooth red Tuscan charmer.
What, you want a luxury wine? I could only find one worth the price tag, J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (#246918, $49.95, 92+) with lush coconut, violets, black cherry, smoke, anise and plum succulence. This is a single vineyard, small batch from the producer of the ever popular chardonnay. Cheers!”