Gary Hewitt
Banville & Jones Wine Co.
Purchasing, Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier
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Sophisticated Garnacha Blanca with beautifully integrated oak--you might not even notice it! White peach, carnation, apple, cardamon and a hint of almond. Lingering finish. Seems inspired by white Burgundy but not an imitation. Balanced with depth and 2-5 years aging potential. Excellent. Calzadilla, created on virgin viticultural territory, is so good they named an appellation for them:). (2016 tasted 20 Oct 2018)
Spain, Garnacha Blanca/ Grenache blanc
Pure high intensity Malbec with ripe plum, cassis, blueberry and violet notes. Considerable ripe, gripping tannins and warming alcohol. Integrated oak and vanilla. Wants a rare to med-rare steak right off the asado (Argentine BBQ). Drink now for the youthful vitality or over the next 8 years. Broad appeal. (2016 tasted 8 October 2018)
Argentina » Mendoza Province, Malbec
Youthful blend of Roussanne, Viognier and Clairette with no wood influence. Stone fruit, citrus, and lightly floral, it's intended for early drinking but balanced to age easily for 2-3 years. Great foil to the more common rouge CdRhone and poised to pair seamlessly with a wide range of foods. Very good. (2017 tasted 29 Sept 2018)
France » Rhône
Unafraid to be traditional! Pale red, almost rosé in depth, lightly perfumed with fresh cherry/berry fruits, light ripe tannins, round mid-palate (like biting into a grape) and a surprisingly persistent finish. Serve slightly chilled. Impeccable wine-making based on the traditionally light Valpolicella style. Organic grapes and winemaking. No oak. Gulpable. Excellent. (2017 tasted 30 Sept 2018)
Italy » Veneto, with a community rating of 95/100
Supple, un-oaked Sauv Blanc with relatively restrained varietal character including white grapefruit, light herbal notes and lees-aged roundness. Neither Loire nor NZ in style. Bodega Pinuaga, organic for 3 generations, is now led by Ester Pinuaga who also heads up the European trade body Spanish Organic Wines. Excellent value! Broad food options. (2017 tasted 6 Oct 2018)
Spain » Castile-La Mancha, Sauvignon Blanc
I've known Ployez-Jacquemart for more than 15 years--the wines have always been great. The current non-vintage EQ Brut is a classic citrus-apple, brioche and nuts, creamy, tittilating, lingering party in your mouth. Drink this wine. (non-vintage tasted 13 Sept 2018)
France » Champagne, Sparkling, with a community rating of 94/100
Walking the talk--a high production, expensive Napa Cab that delivers. Beautifully proportioned intense fruits, spicy rich oak, polished tannins and a promise of complexity. So easy to drink now but should age easily for another decade. A Napa wine that lives up to the hype. (2015 vintage tasted 13 Sept 2018)
United States, Cabernet Sauvignon
Superb 'Super Tuscan' from the coastal region of Suvereto. 80% Cab Sauv, and 10% each of Cab Franc and Merlot aged 18 months in new and once-used French oak. Elegant and intense with deep black fruit flavours, integrated oak spice, and strong ripe tannins, this wine is beautifully poised for long-term aging--it still has youthful character at 7 years old! Tua Rita plays in the big leagues, and this wine proves they belong. (2011 tasted 13 Sept 2018)
Italy, 2011
Classic Provencal Rose! Pale salmon colour, delicate aromas of strawberry and dried roses, light sage notes on the palate, round mouthfeel on the mid-palate, and a fresh, slightly peppery, lightly gripping finish. The eel is more modestly displayed on the revised label for the 2017 vintage. Ideal for sipping, sashimi/sushi and beyond. Classic. (2017 tasted 14 August 2018)
France » Provence, with a community rating of 91/100
White wine made from wild untrained red Pais grapes (the original S American variety brought by Spanish missionaries), some growing up trees! Low intervention wine-making in clay amphora--wild yeast, no filtration and low sulfites. The faintest rosy tinge; fresh pear, green apple and honeydew; dry, with tonic and citrus pith grip; juicy, lingering finish--great food wine. Feels like time travel! Be sure to check producer's website for details. (2017 tasted 9 Sept 2018)
Chile » Central Valley » Maule Valley, Pais
Absolutely yummy, lively floral spicy 100% Aleatico fermented/aged in cement and stainless steel, with fresh grape/raspberry fruits and a long juicy finish. Unfiltered, it's a bit cloudy but will fall clear with standing the bottle--but no need to do so. Tempting to put a straw into the bottle, but a glass is better. Likely best now and for 1-2 years. (2015 tasted 9 Sept 2018)
Gary Hewitt added notes for Tahbilk Marsanne.
Great to see this Australian icon back--my notes on the 2010 state $20, so it's beating the rate of inflation! Bee's wax, lemon chiffon and honey with high acidity and a saline lick in the juicy finish. Ideal now but will likely fill out and mature with bottle age--drink now and consider putting a few aside in the cellar. Excellent. (2017 tasted 2 Sept 2018)
Australia » Victoria, Marsanne, with a community rating of 91/100
Bright salmon colour, pink grapefruit, dried rose and powdered strawberry flavours on a dry palate with talc powder tannins leading to a juicy finish. Not classic, but true to South France style and excellent value in the 1 litre plastic bottle. (2016 tasted 1 Sept 2018)
France, Grenache Gris
Refreshing, gulpable young wine with crisp raspberry-cranberry-cherry flavours, lively acidity, light tannins, medium body and a fresh, juicy finish. Serve slightly chilled and drink over the next 1-2 years. Delightful. (2017 tasted 1 Sept 2018)
Italy » Tuscany
"Family Reunion White" is a rare wine from a highly regarded idiosyncratic Austrian producer of natural wines. Challenging conditions in 2016 led to a unique blend of Gruner Veltliner, Gewurztraminer, Welschriesling & Weissburgunder. Young, cloudy and vibrant, this impressive young wine shows apple, honey, dried flowers, camomile, spice flavours and finishes long with juicy apple-like acidity. The balance and intensity suggest a long future with cellaring. Excellent. (2016 tasted 13 Aug 2018)
Austria » Burgenland, 2016, Grüner Veltliner, Weisser burgunder
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