The 2011 Bodegas Zerran Tinto, which comes from the heretofore obscure region of Montsant, is the latest discovery of Jorge Ordonez, who has been ferreting out great, undiscovered values from Spain’s incredible diversity of regions for well over a decade. Located in the northeast corner of Spain, Monstant borders the well-known Priorat region, and benefits from same combination of proximity to the Mediterranean s ea, along with an excellent, well-drained soils. A blend of Grenache, Mazuelo and Syrah, Zerran come from gnarly old vine vineyards planted between 1934 and 1942, at an elevation of 1,500-1,800 feet. An excellent value, this wine received an impressive 92 point score from Robert Parker.
Deep ruby-garnet in color, the 2009 Bouchard Beaune du Château opens with discreet aromas of raspberry, violets, and cinnamon/spice. Quick swirls in the glass unlock notes of ripe cherry fruit, well-integrated with subtle hints of oak. On the palate, the fruit is silky, pure, and wonderfully refined, but with a sneaky intensity of flavor that keeps growing as the wine airs. The tannins are well-integrated, supple, and harmonious, but with considerable grip as well. Immensely enjoyable now for its pure, graceful Pinot Noir fruit, this wine offers at least 7 to 10 years of aging potential.
No matter how grand or small, every wine cellar needs a few outright crowd-pleasers, and the 2012 Calandray fills the bill to perfection. When mixed company arrives (aficionados and non-aficionados, that is), this is the wine to bring out, as I have yet to find anybody who can resist this modestly-priced red's supple, fruity charms, myself included. It is produced by the Cave Cooperative of Maury, rated by wine critic Robert Parker as "one of the best cooperative wineries in the South of France." For this wine, the Maury coop, famous for making the sweet Maury doux, has collaborated with Jean-Luc Thunevin, the father of the Bordeaux garagiste movement (devoted to the production of highly distinctive small production red wines). This dry, medium-bodied red offers oodles of bing cherry/strawberry fruit, nuanced by notes of fresh ground pepper, new earth, and smoke, with just the barest suggestion of sweet, ripe plums on the finish. Ready to enjoy now with red meats, grilled poultry, BBQ, and pasta. --Ben Giliberti, CW Director of Wine Education