WRITTEN BY PHILLIP SILVERSTONE
As promised, another week of splendid summer quaffers that have impressed my palate over the past month.
Francis Ford Coppola Pitagora — Sonoma County CA (Approximately $24): My column never seems to be complete without a bottle of something brand spanking new from the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. And despite the film director’s “people” repeatedly insisting he is far too busy to be a guest on my global radio show, I still spill ink in my columns telling you about his wines. Pitagora is a red blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petite Sirah. Selected lots were aged in a combination of French and American oak for 15 months, with the blended wine aged for 12 months. The oak shows through in the flavor along with deliciously ripe dark fruits and a sumptuous long lasting aftertaste. Also, this wine’s label is the best label I’ve seen in 2015. A simple white triangle on a black background. It absolutely rocks.
Francis Ford Coppola Gia Frizzante — California (Approximately $17): Gia is FFC’s granddaughter and her own range of wines are made to be unpretentious and fun quaffers. The frizzante is a very-easy-on-the-taste-buds wine. I found a predominance of pear flavors with that beautiful sparkling finish which comes across as fruity and clean. I feel it’s a tad expensive for this type of wine but given that it’s made from 100 percent Chardonnay rather than a B-Lister grape I’ve included it on my recommendations list. But mainly because it’s just so much fun to drink.
Giesen Riesling 2013 — Marlborough, New Zealand (Approximately $15): Giesen has nailed this varietal and won me over. This Riesling is very much New World but did give me memories of the Old one with hints of minerality that I used to enjoy in Rieslings from Mosel, Germany. I never agree with winemaker notes, but in Giesen’s case I’m going to quote them verbatim: “The 2013 Giesen Riesling displays vibrant aromas of lemon grass, lime, ginger, honeysuckle and a touch of lavender. The palate is luscious and succulent with great intensity and purity of flavour balanced by lovely focused acidity.” And, it’s a steal at that price.
Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2014 Rosé — Rhône, France (Approximately: $19): Guigal has always impressed me with their beautifully structured red wines, their delicate and fragrant whites, and, yes, even their pinks. This particular wine began its life with a blend of juices from 3 extraordinary red grape varieties: Grenache (60 percent), Cinsault (30 percent) and Syrah (10 percent). The result is a dry Rosé that many people may say is sweet, but they would be mistaking the incredible summer fruit flavors that are so prominent in this wine as being “sweet.” It’s a common mistake but the end result is a supremely enjoyable summer drink, which you should serve well chilled.
Left Coast Cellars 2014 White Pinot Noir — Willamette Valley, Oregon (Approximately: $24): This region of the wine world has become very adept at removing the red Pinot Noir skins post haste to produce a white wine from this red grape. It’s been done for years when making sparkling wines, especially those produced in Champagne. Those wines are called Blancs De Noirs. And now it’s catching on with still wines. You get a sense of the heavier qualities of the red wine but the taste is delicate yet honeyed with some suggestion of spices and citrus fruits. Being aged in stainless steel tanks keeps the natural fruit flavors fresh and forward. In a word: delish!
Left Coast Cellars 2013 Cali’s Cuvee Pinot Noir — Willamette Valley, Oregon (Approximately: $24): I’m a sucker for well made Pinot Noir and not all of the versions I taste strike me as being food friendly. But this one most definitely will marry well with some yummy lamb chops and mashed potatoes. I think the barrel aging has clearly given this Pinot some solid structure which is often lacking in Pinot Noirs being poured into my glass of late. Some tend to be thinner and less refined. This is a wine that has a full ripeness to its dark fruit flavors and there’s a hint of herbs and some spice. This is another red grape variety I chuck into the fridge for 10 minutes and could enjoy with those chops or with a burger off the barbecue.
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this newspaper. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly two-hour podcast heard exclusively on TuneIn radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online on Tunein at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4. “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining