Splendor in the Glass

Arturo Ciompi's blog on wine

Fish or Lamb?

Tag icon Published under Weekly Tastings

Clock icon June 9, 2013

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The popularity of Albariño has grown exponentially in the U.S. in the past decade. Located in northwestern Spain, not far from the northern border of Portugal, the Rias Baixas appelation combines vineyard grace with visual splendor. This wind-swept seaside region makes wines that seem to reflect its locale. Airy and enticing, Albariño is a heaven-sent match for all manner of seafood. Terras Gauda makes numerous wines in this region, their Albariño is always a sure bet.

  • 2012 Albariño, Terras Gauda, Abadia De San Campo, Rias Baixas $20 srp

Perfumed lemon zest, sea grass and wet stone elements make this wine immediately enticing. The palate is clean, with a lemon custard texture and a rich but not heavy mouth feel. Softly sippable and totally refreshing without a bit of weightiness. Perhaps a bit less energized than previous vintages, but charming nonetheless. Drink now-2014.

88/100 points






Some of you may know that there are two properties that carry the “Stags Leap” moniker. One is Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and the other, which is featured today, is called Stags’ Leap Winery. Confusing? Yes. Are neither one happy with this dichotomy? No. But both make superior wine, and today’s entry is one of the “Winery’s” benchmarks – Petite Sirah.

Potentially one of the darkest, forbidding wines in its youth, Petite Sirah has a coterie of fans–especially when finesse and understatement are not on the menu! I relished the imposing wines that former winemaker, Robert Brittan made, but Christophe Paubert is carrying the mantle now to further extend the popularity of this singular estate. One of Napa’s most picturesque sites and with an ancient manor house featuring its attendant ghost!

  • 2010 Petite Sirah, Stags’ Leap Winery, Napa Valley $39 srp

Opaque crimson-purple color. A dark, dense “chewy” nose of briary mulberry and black cherry, with elements of chalk, fecund earth, pepper, animal fat and ridiculously spicy impressions. Chunky, concentrated, powerful flavors of gorgeous super-ripe dark fruits, rawhide and black pepper. The tannins are considerable and this wine is tightly structured so that it needs blackened steak or lamb to accompany it. But it’s redolent with fruit and not forbidding given a few hours aeration time. Still, his wine should age and improve over the next 10-12 years. (77% Petite Sirah with small portions of Syrah, Grenache, Carignane, Mourvedre and Viognier)

93/100 points                                                             stags-Leap-winery_150_144


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