Unusual and affordable featured wines:
Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc - Viognier 2008 ($13.50)
90 points in the Wine Advocate's "Value Issue": Chenin Blanc/Viognier is a beauty, very perfumed (flowers, melons, tropical fruits), medium-bodied, super pure, with no oak and a dry, crisp finish.
Drink it over the next year." (08/08) And, according to Wine Spectator: "Offers pretty jade blossom and peach aromas, with subtle green apple, pebble and lime flavors. Drink now." (07/08) A truly fabulous California blend - combing the best of the Loire and the best of the Rhône to create a wine as light and sun-drenched as the Golden State.
Los Tesoros de Joaquin Touriga Francesca 2006 ($24)
Touriga Nacional is the primary grape used in the production of Port wines. It is increasingly being bottled as a dry red wine and produces a rich, slightly rustic wine that has a deep earthy core of blackberry and mulberry fruit balanced by aromas of flowers, tobacco and rosemary.
Weingut Allram Zweigelt 2006 ($11.99)
This is a new DI property for us producing great wines from some of the top sites in the Kamptal. Michaela Haas is the 4th generation of this family to run the 15 ha domaine.
It hard to beat this full-bodied and fruity red for value and just overall gulpiness. Spicy and rich, it is full of berry fruit and dark chocolate notes.
ForeFront Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 ($24)
Voluptuous aromas of blueberry, red cherry and raspberry are accented by darker notes of coffee bean, spicy bramble and hints of caramel.
The palate is equally intriguing, opening with fresh, sweet dark berry and baked cherry fruit with firm tannins supporting the long and delicious finish.
The blending of multiple varieties and appellations gives this bottling tremendous complexity. Syrah was included in the blend to deliver a modern profile for this wine, lending a luscious fruit-forward character that is a soft counterpoint to the Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa.
Bodegas del Palacio de Fefinanes Albarino 2008 ($24.99)
90 points Wine Spectator: "Very pretty, with perfumed blackberry and mineral aromas. Medium- to full-bodied, with fine tannins and a berry, milk chocolate and cedar aftertaste. A bit lean now, but polished and pretty.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Merlot. Best after 2010."-(10/31/2008). 89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Tenuta di Castiglioni's entry-level 2006 Tenuta di Castiglioni is 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Sangiovese and 21% Merlot that spent 12 months in French oak.
About Brian Freedman:
Brian is the Acting Membership Chair for the Wine Media Guild of New York. Brian Freedman is a food and wine writer, wine educator, and food and wine consultant.
He is Director of Wine Education at The Wine School of Philadelphia, contributing writer for John Mariani's Virtual Gourmet, contributing editor and food and drinks writer for Philadelphia Style Magazine, restaurant writer for ICON Magazine, contributing writer for Where Magazine and the annual GuestBook, wine columnist for Affluent Magazine, contributing writer for Catersource Magazine, and WineChateau.com's resident blogger on uncorklife.com