What I'm up to lately:
1. Our tasting on Friday was excellent. Here are the wines with some comments:
Regaleali "IGT Sicilia" Bianco 2007---Good entry level Sicilian white blend.
Principessa Gavia "DOCG" Gavi (Cortese) 2007 -- this is the 3rd vintage of this wine that I've had; I really do like the texture of this wine. Cortese di Gavi (the grape) isn't often seen but the wines make good apertifs.
Di Majo Norante "IGT Terre degli Osci" Sangiovese 2006 --- Another good Italian, this time from the red Sangiovese grape, which is the primary grape in Chianti.
Pio Cesare "DOC" Barbara d'Alba 2006 --- the grape Barbera produces simple, elegant wines that are excellent with light dishes and the meat-based cuisine of Piedmont. They are rarely expensive, and have substantially gained in quality over the last 20 years.
Masi "DOC" Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico 2007 $17 -- Masi is the first producer that I know of to pioneer the Amarone method of production. This wine, a typical Valpolicella blend of Corvina, Rondinello, and Molinara, had a dried cherry/dried fruit aspect with a nice hint of smoke and moderately forward fruit.
Castello di Corbara "DOC" Lago di Corbara 2003 $15 --- This wine is from Umbria, an agricultural province in Central Italy. I found this wine to be a solid value.
Villa Antinori "IGT" Toscana Red 2004 $22 -- From the famed Antinori winery in Tuscany, this Tuscan red has a nice loamy texture and bright acidity.
Tormaresca "IGT Salento" Neprica 2005 $15 --- Another southern Italian wine, this one a red and composed of the familiar cabernet and merlot with 40% Negroamaro. I note that I often find a barky, earthy quality in these wines, along with lots of dark fruit. I was quite impressed with this wine in 2008 when I first tasted it and thought it was a good value.
Layer Cake "IGT Puglia" Primitivo 2006 $15 --- Primitivo is the Italian version of Zinfandel (apparently they're clones, so they're genetically identical). This wine was very Zin-like--lots of blackberry fruit, rich and supple with hints of baking spice.
Montevina "Terra d'Oro-Amador" Zinfandel 2006 $16 --- I really was intrigued by this zinfandel, which was on the herbal, earthy side for zinfandel. I particularly noted a sage flavor/texture to this wine.
2. Some of the 2006 Bordeaux vintage reviewed by Alder Yarrow at Vinography.
3. We should be getting in some Rhone wines later this year; Parker rates the vintage in the Southern Rhone for 2007 a 98 point vintage. If you have any thoughts or are curious about what might be available, leave a comment or send an email. Some producers we have access to: Rayas, Feraud Brunel, Solitude, Clos Des Papes, P Usseglio, Bonneau, Fortia, Vatican, Mas de Boislauzon, Bosquet des Papes, Vieux Donjon, and many more. From the North, Chave, Burgaud, Gaillard, Jamet, Colombo.
4. I was recently introduced to Zack Luye of Bottles, Blends, and Brews; Zack is here in Columbia for MU's Journalism program. We look forward to seeing Zack around the shop at various tastings and I'll add that if you have questions about tea, Zack knows quite a bit. You might also recognize Zack from a couple episodes of WineLibraryTV with Gary Vaynerchuk.
5. We now have a Viddler account (TopTenWines) for creating and posting video. As soon as I get a webcam set up around the shop, we'll be able to add interactive video content to the blog and the website, so that's exciting.
6. Good article in the New York Times on the most excellent qualities of berries. I might write a short post later on wines made from non-grape fruit, though I've only had a few, including: Adam Puchta's Jazz Berry, the Olallieberry wine from Chaucer Cellars, and Chaucer's Raspberry Mead. None have struck me as exceptional, though they were all good.