Posted by TableConversation.com
Wines: The High and the Low
“It’s so good,” said the man sampling the 2007 Alamos Chardonnay. And I heard that time after time from other tasters.
Alamos is a second label of Bodega Catena Zapata, which is located in Mendoza, Argentina. But that doesn’t mean the wines can’t be first rate. This golden Chardonnay, with hints of apple and lemon, a slight sweet edge and pleasant acidity, is indeed a winner, a double gold medal winner in the 2008 San Francisco International Wine Competition.
What really sets it apart is its price, an amazing $10, which drops to even less on the Internet.
Double gold winners from that contest as well as from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition are now on a nationwide tour sponsored by The Tasting Panel magazine. The Los Angeles tasting took place at Citrus at Social.
At the other extreme of price was Hirsh Malibu Estate Cielo Wineyard Syrah 2006, which sells for $90 on the winery website, www.cielofarms.com. Only 125 cases of this wine were made, and very few are left, according to William Hirsh of Hirsh Malibu Estate Cielo Wineyard Wineyard (yes, the W is correct).
Established in 2002, the vineyard is located at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,000 feet in a hot climate that benefits red wine grapes. The 2006 Syrah spent six months in new French oak. The 2007 Syrah is said to be even better.
Cielo also won two bronze medals in the San Francisco competition. These went to the 2006 Malibu Rouge, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc, and to the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 3 Reserve.
Here is a sampling of other double gold medal winners:
Cambiata Winery 2005 Tannat, from Monterey County, a deeply colored wine with rich berry flavor. ($22). The Cambiata 2007 Albarino also won gold ($25).
Epiphany Cellars 2005 Revelation from Santa Barbara County. Voted best Rhone blend, this fruity, rich, full wine blends 62% Syrah with 30% Grenache and 8% Petite Sirah ($35). Epiphany Cellars Grenache Blanc was voted best in show white ($23).
Filus 2006 Malbec Reserve from Mendoza, Argentina. named best Malbec in the competition. Deeply colored with violet tones, this wine combines fruitiness with good acid and has more character than the average Malbec ($15). Filus also makes the low-priced La Boca wines.
Portalupi Wine Company 2006 Barbera from Nevada County, voted best Barbera in the competition. Lots of character, a wonderful red for $30.
Turning to spirits, the best tequila award went to AsomBroso El Platino silver tequila from Jalisco, Mexico Appropriately, asombroso is Spanish for astonishing, which applies to the bottle as well as the tequila.
This 100 % blue agave tequila has lovely soft flavor components—I had a momentary impression of pandanus, coconut and caramel. These would be overwhelmed in a Margarita, so drink this one straight. ($45).
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