Finding Fine Wine

The Fine Wine Importers Alliance is, as the name implies, a group of wine importers. I can’t tell you much else about the FWIA since little about it exists online or in the portfolio notes for the tasting FWIA put on last April at the Plaza Hotel in New York. More important, however, is how the wines tasted.

Most of the good wines I sampled came from Prescott Wines (www.prescottwines.com). In fact, I spent so much time at the Prescott table that I wound up with little time left over for other importers. Prescott initially imported wines from Austria. Then it expanded to Argentina and France.

AUSTRIA

  • Anton Bauer Gruner Veltliner Rosenberg 2009 (about $15). My favorite wine of the tasting, this wine had it all—mouth-filling, delicious fruit, lots of good acidic balance, earth and minerality. Remarkable for the price.
  • Anton Bauer Gruner Veltliner Gmork 2009 (about $11). Not quite as impressive as the Rosenberg but still a terrific value. This “entry level” Gruner has a lovely perfume and juicy fruit but isn’t blowsy or fleshy. Finishes crisp and clean.
  • Strauss Samling 88 2008 (about $14). Samling 88 is best known outside of Austria as Scheurebe (or Scheu) because it was created in the early 20th century by George Scheu, who crossed Sylvaner with Riesling. Relatively obscure for most consumers, this wine has the bracing acidity one expects from Riesling along with ripe fruit. I also found herbal notes that reminded me of Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Strauss Zweigelt 2008 (about $15). As with Samling 88 (or Scheurebe), Zweigelt was created in the earlier part of the 20th century, in this case by a Dr. Zweigelt (who else?). though little known among Americans, Scheurebe is Austria’s most planted red grape. Its earthiness with mushroomy overtones reminds me of Pinot Noir. This particular wine also has lots of juicy, ripe fruit.

ARGENTINA

  • Baguala Corte Tinto 2008 (about $9). Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah with lesser amounts of Malbec and Merlot, this wine has bright strawberry and raspberry fruit. Juicy but finishes clean and dry. A great summer quaff.
  • Parados Winemaker’s Selection 2007 (about $9). Another interesting blend, this time of 40% Sangiovese, 40% Tempranillo and 20% Malbec. Juicy and spicy cherry fruit with good acidity.

FRANCE

  • Garaudet-Monthelie Cuvee Paul 2006 (about $25) An affordable Burgundy. Will wonders never cease? I liked the exotically spiced nose on this wine along with its fruit bowl flavors and crisp acidity.
  • Pierre Gaillard-St. Joseph Clos de Cuminaille 2006 (about $29). A meaty nose that is characteristic of Rhone wines with bright, ripe cherry fruit.
  • Domaine de Mourchon Tradition 2007 (about $16). Good value from the Southern Rhone, where many exist. This Cotes du Rhone-Villages, made from Grenache, Syrah and Carignane, shows lots of meat and earth in addition to ripe, fleshy fruit.
  • Domaine des Jougla Ancestrale St. Chinian 2007 (about $18). Primarily made from Mourvedre, this well-structured Languedoc wine shows lots of ripe fruit with earthy undertones.

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