The theme this month was suggested by Tyler a.k.a. Dr. Vino who didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t suggest a wine grape variety or region, but to buy wines suggested by the staff at wine stores ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthat feel the loveÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚?. This being February, it seems like a great pre-ValentineÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s day theme for WBW.
After this theme was posted, I immediately thought of Solo Vino, my current favorite Twin Cities wine store. The store is located in St. Paul conveniently near the university where I teach part-time, so when I am on campus, I generally stop by to pick up some wines. What I like about the store is the wine selection, which is hand selected by the owners. Many selections are only locally available at Solo Vino and they are always open to bring in new selections based upon customer demand. For example, I asked for Trinitas, Bigalow Vineyard, Zinfandel and it was in the rack a couple of weeks later.
Solo Vino was founded and is run by three wine geeks: Dana, Robert and Chuck who are almost always in the store to speak with. I stopped by yesterday and chatted with Dana who provided me with a list of the top 9 values they have chosen from their current stock. She also suggested the Alsatian Pinot Noir from WBW 14, so I picked DanaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s suggested Rhone wine made from 100% Counoise. This grape is one of several that usually gets blended into the wines of ChÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢teauneuf-du-Pape where it adds a bit of aromatics, fruit, acidity and soft tannins. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s quite rare to see this bottled on its own, so I had to give this one a taste.
Domaine Monpertuis, Cuvee Counoise, Vignoble de la Ramiere, Vin de Pays du Gard 2003 ($13) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Medium ruby in color with aromas of violets, earth, fennel and other spices; plum, earth and spice flavors with a silky mouthfeel and nice acidity to match well with food. A delicious wine that balances the earthy characteristics and fruit perfectly. Also an awesome value. Score: 9/10
The second wine is one of ChuckÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s picks and is a Spanish wine made from Tempranillo, Mazuelo (Carignan) and Garnacha (Grenache) grapes. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s from Bodegas Ostatu, a small family winery from Samaniego, one of the fifteen villages of the Rioja region.
Bodegas Ostatu, Crianza, Rioja 2002 ($18.50) – Deep purple color with ripe raspberry, black cherry and spice on the nose; black cherry fruit flavors with white pepper, minerals, a thick mouthfeel and fine tannins. Nice concentration and great balance make this a delicious wine in the fruit forward model I favor. Score: 9/10
So the best wine and best value go to Domaine Monpertuis, Cuvee Counoise 2003 the most complex wine of the tasting. Thanks again to Dr Vino from a great theme and for Dana and Chuck for picking some killer values this time out.
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