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Gundlach Bundschu, Sonoma Coast (Sonoma County, California) Dry Gewurztraminer Estate Vineyard 2020 ($25)
 One of the last holdouts for Gewurztraminer from this area brings us another argument that the grape deserves wider recognition in the region.  I think what’s happening is that so little acreage is left, area winemakers avail themselves of this and the other couple of bottlings for drinking pleasure so that their own customers won’t request yet another bottling in their own arsenals.  This example is actually fully dry (zero residual sugar) and utilizes a little neutral oak to round off the acidity, leaving impressions of fresh tangerine, roses, lychee and a dash of grapefruit to refresh, finish long and leave us wanting more.  Perfectly balanced, there’s a tension that keeps me coming back sip after sip.  Riveting wine!           
95 Rich Cook


Posted by Miranda Franco on November 26, 2021 at 4:43 PM

Spain's Best Kept Secrets: The Winemakers and Regions of Tomorrow

Rioja is typically at the forefront of Spanish wine understanding and sales.  However, I'd like to cast the net further afield and explore a few regions and producers that are awakening Spain’s wine industry.  I've rounded up a few of my favorite emerging regions, bottles, and winemakers, as the fun is not only selecting the style of wine you like drinking but also the names you like to drink.
Let's get started in Galicia, in northwestern Spain, just north of Portugal.  It includes five wine appellations (Denominacion de Origen, or D.O.): Rias Baixas, Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra, Valdeorras, and Monterrei.  Galicia was long considered the best white wine region in Spain until war and disease contributed to the decline of winemaking traditions in the area.  Fortunately, the last several decades have seen winemakers dedicated to revitalizing the region’s indigenous grapes and organic farming.  And, while Galicia is home to many of Spain's finest white wines, there are a handful of young winemakers like Laura Lorenzo retraining old Mencía vines and have found great success with the red variety.  Lorenzo started Daterra Viticultores in 2014 out of her desire to keep regional traditions and varieties alive. Her wines are a love letter to the distinct terroir of Galicia.

Other winemakers breathing new life into Galicia include dynamic producers Alberto Nanclares and Silvia Prieto.  Nanclares and Prieto make age-worthy, saline-tinged wines, mainly with Albariño from old vines around the village of Cambados.  The pair cultivate all vines organically and are making some of the best examples of Albariño out there.

Two hundred miles south of Galicia, one-hour drive west of Madrid in Sierra de Gredos, similarly enticing winemaking takes place with Garnacha.  Sierra de Gredos is a mountainous wine-growing region gaining attention due to old Garnacha vines planted at elevations ranging between 600 and 1200 meters.  The treasure trove of old vines is drawing in newcomer producers like winemaking duo Fernando Garcia and Daniel Gómez Jiménez-Landi.  The pair founded Comando G in the Gredos mountains in 2008.  The pair make ethereal Garnacha wines with surprising elegance.  These are wines that can provide the foundation for an excellent cellar.

What to Drink:

Nanclares y Prieto, Rias Baixas DO (Galicia, Spain) Albariño “Alberto Nanclares” 2018 ($38, Jose Pastor Selections): Spanish Albariño at its artisanal best.  This saline, citrus-driven Albariño transmits the terroir of Galicia, full of salted lemon, white peach, crushed rocks, and fresh cream flavors.  It celebrates racy acidity and textural complexity, and offers a captivating drinking experience.  93

Laura Lorenzo Daterra Viticultores, Valdeorras (Galicia, Spain) “Casas De Enriba” 2019 ($34, Jose Pastor Selections):  This unique 80/20 blend of Mencía and Godello has captivating aromas of subtle but tremendously expressive floral and red fruit notes.  It has a medium body, with well-integrated tannins and flavors of red cherry, strawberry, rhubarb, and allspice wrapped in a rustic package with mouthwatering acidity.  This wine over-performs for the price.  Stock your cellar to ensure you have a bottle or three on hand!  92

Comando G, “La Bruja de Rozas,” Vinos de Madrid Garnacha 2019 ($35, European Cellars):  The La Bruja de Rozas (The Witch of Rozas) is extraordinarily aromatic and intensely flavorful, with notes of crushed violets, basil, and black pepper that meet a core of densely layered red and black fruits.  The wine is bright and lifted and arguably among the best expressions of the variety.  93

Dr. Michael
This Issue's Reviews
Classic Beverages from the Spirit World: Cognac and Armagnac
Wayne Belding

Although spirits distilled from grains and fruits abound throughout the world, some of the finest spirits of all come from the periphery of Bordeaux. The French regions of Cognac and Armagnac lie north and east, respectively, of the Bordeaux vineyards. These two spirit production regions, separated by only eighty miles, nonetheless produce different and distinctive products that have pleased palates throughout the world for centuries.
Dinner at Le Meurice in Paris with 100% Merlot by Edmond de Rothschild
Panos Kakaviatos

Dinner at the two-star Michelin Alain Ducasse Le Meurice in Paris at the hotel bearing the same name last month not only yielded superb cuisine, but also the best wine I've had from Puisseguin Saint-Émilion. Bordeaux is not just about grands crus or other classified wines. The Right Bank in particular counts many affordable 'satellite' appellations of Saint-Émilion: from Montagne to Fronsac. Some estates from such appellations craft wines from vines grown on excellent soils like cold clay and limestone, albeit often with cooler microclimates than prime Saint-Émilion locations.
Wine With
WINE WITH…Steak on a Bed of Buttered Corn

Most of us have a pretty clear idea of what we consider the perfect steak. In general, Americans tend to like their steak big, and they tend to like it grilled over charcoal. I am usually happy with a smaller steak, and I like it somewhat thinner. My ideal steak is usually seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper, and it is quickly seared in a very hot and heavy cast iron skillet. I'm okay with some of the spices, rubs and other seasonings that many people like to put on their steak but honestly, as long as the beef is of top-notch quality, I'd prefer that you save the dehydrated garlic and onion powders, along with the aggressive dried herbs and hot pepper spices for another occasion and let the steak speak for itself. If the wine you're going to pour with that steak is special that might be even more reason to let the steak's natural flavors shine through. As for cooking the steak, my first choice is to quickly sear it in a smoking hot cast iron pan over a gas or (even better) induction burner. And yes, sometimes this requires dealing with a screeching smoke detector.
On My Table
The Variety of Italy's Indigenous Grapes, as Seen in Two White Wines
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

Exploring Italy's indigenous grape varieties is an ideal pathway to expanding your knowledge of Italian wines. Many native varieties flourish in only one or two Italian regions, and produce wines with a regional signature as well as that of the variety. Both wines are white and unoaked, but they are markedly different in style - as well as being high quality and eminently affordable. The first is a Gavi di Gavi DOCG. Gavi is a wine zone in Piedmont, in northwestern Italy. Although the huge majority of Piedmontese wines are red, Gavi is white, made from the Cortese variety. Cortese produces wines with high acidity and fairly light aromas. The origins of the Gavi zone track back to Cortese's potential for sparkling wine - for which high acidity and neutral aromas and flavors can be desirable. Today, Gavi is a dry, medium-bodied, crisp white with lemony flavors and savory mineral notes. Large grape crops strip any character from Cortese, and the best wines are therefore those from serious producers and from the best sites in the zone. My second recommendation is Garofoli Verdiccio from the DOC Castelli di Jesi Classico area of the coastal Marche region in east central Italy. This particular selection is called 'Serra del Conte.' It is the most basic Verdicchio that Garofoli makes, and it sells for only $12. It's meant for early consumption.