By Denman Moody author, The Advanced Oenophile
Reds and whites to please the palate, and restaurant recommendations
Cupcake Chardonnay Monterey County 2014 — Winemaker Jessica Tomei knocked it out of the park with this best buy. $10
Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc Steen Of Hout (South Africa) 2014 — This was sent to me as a reasonably-priced, excellent wine that one could find at Randall’s. So true! Invigorating. Peaches and honeysuckle. A great buy. $13.99
Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay Arroyo Seco 2014 — From a perfect vintage, this is a remarkable wine with excellent natural acidity, made with classical Burgundian techniques including 25 percent new oak. $14
Tom Gore Chardonnay California 2014 — One of the best with the California appellation — usually have to step up to Carneros, Russian River Valley or Sonoma Coast to find one this good. Crazy, low price. $15
Mt. Beautiful Pinot Gris North Canterbury (Australia) 2014 — “The opulent palate combines stone fruit, apples, juicy ripe pears, and a touch of floral honey…” What else do you need to know? Stunning new find! $18.99
Santowines Nykteri (Greece) 2014 — A wine of substance — 14 percent alcohol and excellent acidity with a hint of citrus and pear and good minerality. $25
MacRostie Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2014 — From different, well-known vineyard sites, including the Estate Wildcat Mountain, this underpriced gem exhibits fresh pineapple and lemon nuances, along with minerality and a refreshing, long finish. $25
Qupe Syrah Central Coast 2012 — 100 percent Syrah from vineyards in Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo. Weather perfect in 2012 for long, slow ripening. Fruit forward with supple savory and spice flavors along with refreshing acidity. Try with a prime rib! A best buy. $19.99
Carmel Road Pinot Noir Drew’s Blend Monterey County 2013 — This is Drew Barrymore’s certified sustainable Pinot made by winemaker Kris Kato. It exhibits cherry, spice and everything nice. Probably over-qualified, but I enjoyed it with a turkey and Swiss sandwich! $26
Palivou Vineyards Nemea Single Vineyard Selection (Greece) 2012 — 100 percent Agiorgitiko, the oldest and most noble Greek varietal. A full-bodied red, with violets in the bouquet and blackberries with a hint of cocoa on the palate. Concentrated and balanced. A surprise! $26
Keenan Merlot Carneros 2012 — Blackberry jam and spice! A lovely mouthful! Try with anything from a chick-filet to roasted duck! $32
Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Napa Valley 2012 — Vineyard manager Mariano Navarro heads up a labor-intensive, painstaking job each year working on thin, rocky soils and steep slopes at 1,800-foot elevation. Iconic winemaker Chris Carpenter has crafted a gorgeous Cab, loaded with flavors of blueberries and violets, supplemented withtender tannins. $75
Paraduxx Rector Creek Napa Valley 2012 — The best, primarily Zinfandel blend I have encountered. Beautiful, sweet mouthful. Paraduxx is a new stallion in the Duckhorn stable. $80
Duckhorn Merlot Rector Creek Napa Valley 2012 — “Attractive blueberry and allspice aromatics. Velvety structure and refined character highlighting classic notes of spicy plum.” Along with the Duckhorn Merlots from Carneros, Atlas Peak, as well as the Three Palms, Merlot just doesn’t get any better than this. $95
To Brennan’s, for its extremely effective kitchen upgrades, quality and professionalism of the staff, and the innovations from Alex Brennan-Martin and Carl Walker’s world-class memorable meals.
To Helen Restaurant for its wildly successful Greek restaurant on Rice Boulevard, owned by Evan Turner, who is also the sommelier. We enjoyed elevated Greek cuisine joined by specially selected Greek wines from Anathasios Parparoussis’s winery, which went perfectly with our food selections. I recommend all four of the wines we tasted: Les Dons de Dionysos Sideritis 2014; Nemea Reserve 2010 (100 percent Agiorgitiko); Taos 2010 (100 percent Mavrodaphne) and Muscat 2010!
To The Grove Wine Bar and Kitchen in Austin for opening another location. The Lakeway Grove is reputed to have one of the highest grossing bars in the state, sometimes doing what others do in a full day by 4 in the afternoon! The new location at 800 W. 6th pretty much has it all. Matt Behrendt’s wine list is a designer list at decent prices, which he has meticulously put together after hours and hours of tastings each week. There were TEN set of flights of three wines for under $20 — an example being an excellent Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (that I had never heard of), Jenny Wagner’s killer Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc and a top Sancerre!! The food is excellent, and at least three managers and a couple of waiters looked in on us with comments like, “If it’s not right, let me know.”
“NEW YORK, NEW YORK” COMES TO WINE & FOOD WEEK
Enter a New York “state of wine” June 6-12 during Houston’s Wine & Food Week. The 12th annual culinary and wine extravaganza, themed “New York, New York”, will showcase 75 restaurants and more than 500 wines from around the world.
Visit wineandfoodweek.com for details and the full schedule of events.
Denman Moody was the Editor and Publisher of Moody’s Wine Review for six years and Contributing Editor on Rare Wine for International Wine Review in New York for six years. He has published or had published over 400 articles on wine, including The International Wine and Food Society Journal in London, Revue du Vin de France in Paris and The Robb Report in Malibu. He is or has been a member of The International Wine and Food Society, Confrerie Saint-Etienne d’Alsace, The German Wine Society, Commanderie de Bordeaux, Chaine des Rotisseurs, Les Amis d’Escoffier and The Knights of the Vine.
Wines to Enjoy Now
Category: Wine Reviews by Denman Moody