Colonia Las Liebres

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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.

 

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