Just as most of us scramble to get our company expenses in by year-end, so it is that the Swirl Girls have some wines we've tasted recently that we want to squeeze into column space and share with you before year's end. Perhaps you'll find a few for holiday celebrations and gifting.
From "Earthy" Jennifer:
2009 Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris, Les Princes Abbes, Alsace, France ($22.99, wine.com)
The aroma is a swirl of sweet citrus, honeydew, apricot and fragrant white flowers. It's medium-bodied, creamy and a tad oily up front, with a slightly sour and acidic finish. I even got a taste of metal and smoke on the palate. It's not lip-smacking dry, but instead an off-dry to dry feel. After a few sips, the complexity and sophistication of this pinot gris kept me intrigued and interested. (It received a 92-point rating from Wine Spectator, if you're keeping tabs.)
2010 Davis Bynum Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma ($25, davisbynum.com)
Amid the lemon, melon and oak in the aroma, there is also a tropical nuance. It's round and not overly oaky (aged 10 months in 100 percent French oak), and my reaction on my first taste was that it's quite a pleasing wine. There's a light citrus zip, it's not highly acidic, somewhat plump, and actually quite easy on the palate.
2010 Sea Glass Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County ($10 online, Super Target on Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach)
The sweet aroma is packed with cherry and vanilla, and the palate with cherry and fresh and dried cranberries, but it's not a tart-tasting wine. Very fruit-forward, dry, light-medium bodied with fairly low acidity. I would definitely classify it as a simple wine, but I don't count that a negative here. I nibbled on extra sharp, white cheddar cheese and it enhanced the cranberry flavor in the wine -- it turned out to be an enjoyable pairing!
2010 Benziger Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma (2009 vintage available at Crown Wine & Spirits, $26.99)
It has a pleasant aroma of cherry and herbal elements, including mint. In fact, it reminded me of the Cline Cold Climate pinot from Sonoma Coast that I wrote about in our Thanksgiving column. The Benziger has a light-medium body with a soft mouthfeel of cherry, but that's about it. It's a simple palate with a short finish.
From "Dry" Gwen:
2010 Lucien Albrecht Riesling Reserve, Alsace, France ($18 Total Wine)
A light lemon color in the glass with aromas of lemon, white peach, apple and nectarine, white flowers and a hint of rubber. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied and fruity with a nice balance of acidity.
Pierre Sparr Brut Rose, Cremant d'Alsace, France ($15 online)
Bursting with tiny bubbles, this festive sipper has a fresh nose of cherry, raspberry, red apple skin and grapefruit. On the palate the wine is light and fruity with a clean and very dry finish. This would make a great holiday party aperitif.
2009 Hugel Cuvee les Amours Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France ($16 Total Wine)
A very pale straw color in the glass with a light floral and minerally nose. On the palate, the wine is light and very dry with citrus and wet stone flavors. This wine would be a great match for a light seafood appetizer like ceviche.
2010 Trapiche Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($7 Crown, $8 ABC and Total Wine)
A magenta color in the glass with a fragrant nose of red cherry, red roses and hints of fresh herbs. On the palate, the wine is soft and fruity with red cherry and raspberry flavors. A simple but enjoyable wine.
2007 Trapiche Malbec, Vina Adolfo Ahumada, Tupungato, Valle de Uco, Argentina ($43 online)
Made from 100 percent malbec from a high-altitude single vineyard in Tupungato, this wine has a deep magenta color and a nose of ripe red and black cherries with hints of red flowers and grilled herbs. On the palate, the wine is medium/full-bodied and juicy with ripe red cherry and berry flavors and a nice balance of acidity.
2011 Terrazas de los Andes Torrontes Reserva, Mendoza, Argentina ($23 online)
This wine bursts with ripe pineapple, grapefruit, papaya and mango aromas. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, juicy and very smooth with ripe fruit flavors, a fresh acidity and a long, dry finish. The wine is nicely balanced and one of the more enjoyable whites I've tasted recently.
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