For those who best like my posts when I recommend a $10 wine for being outstanding, fire up your printers because this week’s wine is a winner! This wine has everything I look for–Character, Uniqueness, Insight–and at a great value.
Las Liebres is from Mendoza, Argentina, the Napa Valley of Argentina. The grape is 100% Bonarda. If you have never heard of it, you’re not alone as I had not either. There are four distinct red grape varieties that use the name Bonarda. Three are from Northern Italy, the oldest being from Piedmont and is now very near extinction, but at one time this grape rivaled Barbera and Nebbiolo in fame. Most of the plantings were wiped out in the 1880’s phylloxera epidemic. The second calls Croatia home and is used in a sparkling wine called Olterpo Pavese. The third is called Uva Rara, and is now key in red wines around Pavia. The majority of Bonarda are grown in Argentina, where it is also called Charbono, and is often blended with the other Argentinian mainstay wine, Malbec.
The color is a red purple hue; the nose is a very nice red and black fruit, which gives the wine an outstanding first impression. On the palate, Las Liebres is fresh and lively, with silky-smooth finish. This wine receives no oak treatment, so it shows the fine taste of Bonarda grape in it’s purest expression. Simply put: this is a great wine.
Las Liebres was a top pick by Wine Spectator in July of 2012 and has been in my cellar for months, so I don’t know how many of the 10,000 cases produced remain, but at $10 a bottle I know I’ll be looking for more.
Just in time for March Madness, here’s your Griffy on Wine salute to the NCAA Basketball Tournament with some wine news near and dear to the hearts of us folks in Connecticut.
Along with his seven NCAA Championships with the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team and a Gold medal win in the 2012 London Olympics, head coach Geno Auriemma is a successful wine entrepreneur. He released his first line of wines in 2009, and Wine Spectator is reporting that Coach Auriemma’s newest line of Italian wines, made in partnership with Wines by Design and by 47 Anno Domini vineyards in Italy’s Veneto region, is set for release.
The new wines will include a Prosecco, a 2012 Pinot Grigio, a 2010 Puglia Rosso and a 2008 Cabernet – Merlot blend. These wines will join Geno’s already established cast of Nero D’Avola, Pinot Noir and a Pinot Grigio.
Along with wine, Mr. Aurienmma also owns a restaurant called “Fastbreak” located at the Mohegan Casino in Uncastville, Connecticuit.
The #1 seeded UConn Lady Huskies kick off their 2013 tournament run today at 1:35 pm against Idaho. Best of luck to Auriemma’s team, restaurant, and wines.
Will you join with me tonight in lifting a toast in Celebration of the life of Jim Barrett. Jim passed away last Thursday March 14th, he was 86.
Jim was an icon in the wine industry and owner of Chateau Montelena in California. Jim shot to fame in 1976 when his 1973 Chardonnay beat the best of the French wines in the Famous Judgment of Paris. You can see his life fictionalized in the Movie “Bottle Shock”, or read the real story in George Taber’s book “Judgment of Paris”. Jim helped put California forever on the world’s wine map, but more importantly he helped open the world to the possibilities of making fine wines.
In Jim’s own words “Not bad for kids from the sticks”.
Mollydooker “The Boxer”
So, I think I can guess your first question: what’s a Mollydooker? Mollydooker is Australian slang for a left handed person. If you know any Australians, then you know they are fun people, both very engaging and vivacious. So are their wines. Vivacious is an excellent word to describe Aussie wines. One of my favorites was “Clancy,” which I reviewed a while ago and, if I can find it, I will repost. But more recently it’s the Mollydooker series of wines have absolutely got my attention.
Mollydooker has a concept that is new to me; they’ve trademarked what is known as the Marquis Fruit Weight. The vineyard prides itself on its WOW factor, they want to gauge the wine’s ability to make people go “Wow, this is amazing!” Fruit Weight is defined as the percentage of your palate from the tip of your tongue to the back of your throat that is covered by the velvety sensation of fruit, before you experience any of the structural components of the wine. I have no idea what that means and there is a 3 minute video that tries to explain it on the Mollydooker website. Whether it’s marketing b.s. or a serious wine term, I have no idea, but the quality of the wine speaks for itself.
“The Boxer” is a big-fisted Shiraz. If you can, buy two bottles, one to drink now, and the other to drink sometime in 2014, because this wine needs time to mellow a little. If you only buy one and plan to drink right away, it would be best to decanter or aerate. The wine is aged for 11 months in American oak. The color is a beautiful, inky-dark purple, and the nose is full of black fruit. Despite the fruity nose, the taste is less of a fruit bomb than I expected, but it’s still a fruit bomb nonetheless. If you like your wine have an understated elegance, better pass on this one. If you like your wine full-bodied and about 16% alcohol, welcome home. The finish is sweet and extremely enjoyable. I was thinking that drinking this wine is like playing rugby in the mud with a bunch of very good friends. Not the most elegant way of describing a wine, but it fits. This wine was a blast, I loved it and I can’t wait for my next bottle!
For fun visit the Mollydooker website at www.MollydookerWines.com. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it.
On a side note, my study of wine has brought a very good book to my attention. Written by Paul Lukacs “Inventing Wine” is a history on how wine has changed from a food source to a source of spiritual significance over the last 8,000 years. If you can give this book a try and enjoy a very fascinating and entertaining tale.