2010 Palmina Dolcetto $20: The Field Mouse has been touting this wine for years. Santa Barbara grapes made by one of the aging newcomers. Are there are any other Dolcetto wines coming out of this region? Is Dolcetto – normally a drier and most humble red out of Piemonte – an ideal varietal for Santa Barbara vineyards? The vineyards are in Santa Ynez. The winemaker is the Steve Clifton half of Clifton-Brewer. This wine is delicious. To call it simple would be inadequate. It has more character than that but it is easy to approach and enjoy. And it does not taste overripe or overblown. Look at the alcohol level? Clifton also makes an Arneis which is ALSO characteristic of Piemonte examples. Hooray for the folks that planted these varietals and sold them to someone who seems to know what to do with them. 13%
2009 Bernhard Ott Grüner Veltliner Am Berg $16: Deliciously severe. So much acid right up front it can stand in for brushing your teeth. The wine is still exotic. The flavors creep around behind the acid bombardment. If the Velvet Underground made a wine this would be in their portfolio. Of course, this ain’t Riesling either. However, it makes a great contrast to the Mösel nectar. Like Lou Reed sings in Venus in Furs “shiny shiny boots of leather…different colors made of tears.” 11.5%
2010 Aquinas Napa Valley Pinot Noir $16: Another big WHY? Easier to answer this question. When you are a mega winery seeking a sweet spot you want to produce an inoffensvie Pinot Noir at this price point. Tastes like Pinot Noir, costs less than a sawbuck, forgotten in less time than it takes to listen to Mingus’ “Take the A Train.” Congratulations. Mission accomplished. Available everywhere plonk is sold. 14%
2009 Bouchard Pere & Files Bourgogne Reserve Pinot Noir $18: What we need is a tasting of 09 Bourgognes. This would be in the mix along with Ann Gros, Guyot and a couple others. Maybe throw in a new world ringer like Aquinas. Price range from $15 to $30. This wine needed a day in the open bottle to open. Came out kind of hard and dry with detectable fruit. Next day the bouquet opened and the flavors emerged. Almost justifies the “reserve” designation. Like a private party in dance club. A good intro Burg for the money. Purchased at local haunt Woodland Hills Wine Co. I think the price to value ratio would be perfectly aligned. 13%
Here is a rare video of the Velvets singing a most severe track> Perfect for New Years.