Home | Wine Reviews | Wine Journals | Updates

by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Some Odd Wines - April 19, 2012

Last night (4/19/12), my BacchusBadBoys assembled to taste Odd Stuff:

There is an importer in Richmond/CA by the name of JosePastor. He's been importing wines from (primarily) the CanaryIslands now for several yrs. The some 8-10 I've tried thus far have been most impressive. These are three new ones I've not yet tried. The first two were aged 4 months in oak. The growing conditions on the CanaryIslands are very rugged. The soils are mostly black volcanic. The winds can be very fierce and each grapevine is sheltered in a small/shallow hollow in the ground, surrounded by small stone walls to protect them.

  1. Fronton de Oro Malpais DdO: GranCanaria 4 meses en Barrica (13.5%) 2009: Med.color; very strong peppery/cracked black pepper very spicy light black cherry very interesting/lovely nose; fairly tart intense cracked black pepper very spicy some bright/black cherry bit tannic/tight flavor; long intense cracked black pepper/spicy/peppery some spicy/black cherry finish w/ some tannins; needs several yrs yet; very much like cold-climate/stem-inclusion Calif Syrah; seems very terroir-driven; quite an interesting wine. $25.00 (PMW)
  2. Fronton de Oro Tintilla DdO: GranCanaria 4 meses en Barrica (13.5%) 2009: Dark color; strong blackberry/black cherry very spicy light toasty/oak rather fragrant some Cab/Zin-like slight peppery/dusty quite interesting nose; soft slight peppery spicy/blackberry/black cherry rather tannic/hard flavor; long some tannic/hard slight peppery fairly lush blackberry/black cherry sort of Cab/Zin-like flavor; resembles a bit a WashState Cab; interesting wine. $28.00 (PMW)
  3. Tajinaste Dd'O: Valle de la Orotava/Tenerife TintoTradicional (13%) 2010: Med.dark color; very strong Cab-like/blackcurranty/plummy some earthy/dusty light toasty/oak rather spicy/interesting nose; soft strong blackcurrant/Cab-like quite spicy light toasty/oak some tannic flavor; long blackcurranty/Cab-like/plummy bit licorice/spicy light toasty/oak finish w/ modest tannins; seems a bit like a HowellMtn Cab than anything. $25.00 (PMW)
    This next wine is from the Piedmonte, right in the Barolo area, from an ancient/indigeneous native variety; Pelaverga, of which Piccola is one clone. It has been grown by the Burlotto family since the early 1800's; mainly as a blending and a table grape. It has only recently been bottled as a single varietal. The people of Verduno claim it is an aphrodisiac.

  4. Comm. G.B.Burlotto DOC: VerdunoPelaverga (14%; 100% PelavergaPiccola) 2010: Med.light color; rather earthy/dusty/ Pinotish quite fragrant some Schiava-like slight tobaccoy/smokey slight funky interesting nose; light-bodied some Pinotish-like quite earthy/dusty slight tannic/bitey lean/tart flavor; long quite earthy/dusty some Pinotish-like/light bit tannic/bitey finish; seems some like a Pinot w/o the perfume; very much like an AltoAdige Schiava more than anything; rather interesting light-bodied quite earthy/loamy red. $20.00 (PMW)
    Hungary has long been known for their two wines: Tokaji (Furmint grape, usually sweet, but some dry) and Egri Bikavar, the famed Bull'sBlood wine; traditionally made from the Kadarka grape. Like most Socialist countries behind the IronCurtain, the quality of their wines was erratic, to worse. With freedom in Hungary, there has been a strong flow of capital into the wine-growing effort and the quality of the Hungarian wines has taken a giant leap upward. There has been a large increase in plantings of Kekfrankos (BlauFrankisch or Lemberger), which is felt to make a more finesse wine than the often coarse Kadarka. These are two producers I've not tried.

  5. Eszterbauer Boraszat Tuke Szekszardi Bikaver (26% Kekfrankos/24% Kadarka/22% Merlot/10% CS/10% PinotNoir/ 8% CabFranc; 14.0%) Hungary 2008: Dark color; rather grapey/earthy strong plummy/Mourv-like some toasty/oak slight volatile/alcoholic bit smokey/meaty unusual nose; slight spritz/dissolved CO2 strong plummy/licorice rather tannic/hard light toasty/oak bit smokey/pungent somewhat coarse/earthy flavor; med. strong plummy/licorice bit tannic/hard some earthy/loamy/coarse bit dissolved CO2 finish; somewhat coarse/earthy/plummy like the EgriBikavers of yore, but attractive/classy/modern label. $23.00 (PMW)
  6. J&J Eger Egri Kekfrankas (14%) Hungary 2006: Dark color; strong blackberry/black cherry/plummy bit smokey/pungent some toasty/oak bit Cab-like rather international-style nose; soft rather toasty/oak strong plummy/licorice/ blackcurranty/black cherry bit smokey/pungent flavor w/ modest tannins; med.long somewhat toasty/oak fairly strong plummy/licorice/blackcurranty/black cherry light smokey/ pungent finish w/ light tannins; a bit too polished/boring/ international-style and not much of the earthy/loamy character I usually find in BlauFrankisch. $23.00 (PMW)
    Brachetto is a grape found mostly in the Piedmonte, most famously Brachetto d'Acqui, near the Ligurian border. It is a grape that makes very fragrant/perfumed/highly aromatic wines. Dry/still versions are fairly rare. Most are made as frizzante wines, oftentimes slightly sweet (partial fermentation). The last wine is made from the Grasparossa Lambrusco grape in Emilia-Romagana. It's not your Mom's Riunite. These three should go especially well with the salamis.

  7. Matteo Correggia Anthos VinoRosso (13.5%; dry Brachetto) Canale 2009: Light color; slight licorice/earthy very strong fragrant/perfumed strawberry/Nehi strawberry soda pop/floral/lilacs lovely very aromatic nose; tart quite grapey/Nehi strawberry soda pop/floral/lilacs/perfumed light/lively/zippy lovely flavor w/ slight tannic bite; med.long very strong floral/strawberry/Nehi soda pop/lilacs bright/zippy/tart finish w/ light tannic bite; a really aromatic/bright/lively red that just pirouttes across the palate w/ light feet; lovely wine. $17.00 (PMW)
  8. Bera DOC: Brachetto Piemonte Sweet RW (6%; www.WineBow.com) Neviglie 2010: Light color; frizzante very perfumed/fragrant spicy/floral/strawberry/Nehi soda pop/alpine strawberries very bright/aromatic nose; slightly sweet frizzante beautiful floral/strawberries/Nehi soda pop/alpine strawberries/bright/spicy flavor; very long bright/spicy/alpine strawberry/ Nehi soda pop frizzante slightly sweet finish; an utterly lovely frivolous/fun little wine that goes great w/ the salami; like being grasped into the bosom of a nude JuliaChild and rolling down the hillside in the mountains carpeted with
    alpine strawberries and then, when you reach the bottom, licking off all the strawberry juice.... a sublime/ unforgettable experience $20.00 (K&L)
  9. Cleta Chiarli DOC: Grasparossa di Castelvetro Lambrusco VinoFrizzante Amabile (8%) Modeno NV: Dark color; very strong very grapey/plummy rather simple classic Lambrusco nose; slightly frizzante slightly sweet very strong grapey/plummy simple Lambrusco flavor; med.short strong grapey/plummy frizzante/slightly sweet finish; a rather simple grapey Lambrusco that's a step above Riunite, but not a big one. Much prefer OliverMcCrum's Lambrusco. Works fine w/ the salami. $16.00 (AV)

A wee BloodyPulpit:

1. In addition to a few apps, we tried 5 new salamis I just got in from Fortuna Sausage up in VT. Abruzzese/Genoa/ Cacciatorini/Soppresata/MrSoupy™ Calabrian. The MrSoupy, their rendition I gather of Calabrian Nduja, the very spicy/spreadable salami made from unwanted pig parts (stomach/brains/lungs/kidney/heart/eyeballs/lips...), was the groups favorite. The salamis seemed a little on the bland side to me. They were good..but just that. Not any better than the Fra'Mani. I still think Chad's salamis at Adesso is about the Nation's best.
2. Another interesting bunch from JosePastor/CanaryIsland. I need to try some of his Spanish imports as well. The Malpais had an intense cracked black pepper character that I very much liked. I had this wine a yr ago at BayWolf and it first turned me on to his CanaryIsland wines. The 7-8 I've had thus far have all been quite good. The wines speak (presumably) of CanaryIsland terroir (as if I know what that is!) and are very well-made. Hard to believe these wines are some of Alice's darlings.
3. Hungary: I've been hearing lots of good things about how the Hungarian wine industry has been improving in leaps & bounds from the gloomy days of Socialism. In fact, we've tried a number of new Furmints that have impressed me quite a bit. These are the first "new" Hungarian reds I've tried. I was attracted by their classy-looking modern labels. Though much better than the dreadful industrial EgriBikavers of your, I was not all that impressed. But will keep trying them as I find them. Supposedly, they are replacing more of the Kadarka w/ Kekfrankas/BlauFrankisch
(or Lemberger) because of superior aromatics.
4. Brachetto: I first fell in love w/ this grape variety when DarrellCorti introduced it (and Freisa) to me in the wines of Scarpa in the late-'70's. Wonderful/wunderful aromatics. The Brachetto d' Acequi is, of course, the most famous one. Sottomano makes a dry Brachetto (Mate) that is also quite attractive. But this Matteo is probably the best I've yet had. Brachetto is often made slightly sweet, often frizzante. Would love to try a passito version of Brachetto. This is a variety (like Freisa and Marzemino and Refosco and Schiopettino) they should be planting all up & down the coast of Calif. Alas...none exists at FPS.


[Additional Wine Reviews from Tom Hill]


Home | Wine Reviews | Wine Journals | Updates

Copyright © 1993 - 2012, Tom Hill- All rights reserved
No original material may be reproduced without written consent
Mail & Comments
- Grape-Nutz
Updated 4.01.12