Wines from Around the World

| November 1, 2015

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By Denman Moody author, The Advanced Oenophile

In 1980, at an International Wine and Food Society Convention, I was able to taste through hundreds of the best wines of Australia and New Zealand, and I published one of the first comprehensive reviews in the U.S about the two in Moody’s Wine Review. In the article, I recommended 72 Australian wines and only 9 from New Zealand!

Fast forward to today. At a New Zealand wine seminar in September, I tasted only 18 wines and herewith highly recommend 10 of them:

  • Villa Maria Taylor’s Pass Sauvignon Blanc Marlboro 2014. $26
  • Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanc Marlboro 2013. $22
  • Mt. Difficulty Pinot Gris Central Otago 2011. $28.99
  • Mondillo Riesling Central Otago 2013. $25
  • Spy Valley Gewurztraminer Marlboro 2013. $19.99
  • Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay Auckland 2013. $33
  • Geisen Waihopo Valley Pinot Noir Marlboro 2011. $70
  • Felton Road Calvert Pinot Noir Central Otago 2011. $60
  • Escarpment Pinot Noir Martinsborough 2011. $40
  • Mission Estate Syrah Hawk’s Bay 2013. $16

Here are this month’s recommended whites and reds from recent tastings, and and a brief restaurant review.


Caridean Gewurztraminer Russian River Valley 2014 — Delightful aromas of kiwi, lime and pineapple, followed by a delicious, juicy, full tasting experience. I have not enjoyed a Gewurztraminer to this degree in several years. Perfect balancing acidity. Only 325 cases produced. $25

J Winery Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2013 — J practices sustainable farming and great care in the winery as well. Its Bubble Room was one of the first to offer a first-class food pairing with four or five of its wines with the winemaker — expensive, but well worth the price! Elegant and expressive, this wine also exhibits rich and complex flavors. A bargain at $27

Presq’uile Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley 2013 — From a SIP Certified Winery, this elegant offering was aged 12 months in mostly neutral oak (15 percent new) with 10 percent in stainless steel. Fermented with natural yeasts, it exhibits a lovely texture and noticeable weight. Try with fish cooked any way you like it, or for me, roasted red snapper topped with crabmeat! $35


Tormaresca Neprica Puglia 2012 — An incredible offering from Antinori (involved with Tormaresca since 1998), this wine has a ruby-red color, loaded with red and black fruits, tender tannins and balance, reminiscent of a $20-$30 wine. This winery and its numerous top-quality offerings, is possibly Italy’s best kept secret — but not for long! $11

Terrazas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 — Garnet to red color with intense blackberry and spice. Full in the mouth, with substance and depth. Lingering finish. $18

Muxagat Tinta Barroca Superior 2013 —These grapes were grown at an elevation of almost 2,000 feet in the Douro in schist and granite soils — two of vines’ favorites. Cherry, raspberry and spice with soft tannins and a memorable finish. An intriguing way to experience the possibilities of Portuguese reds. $20. Also, the Casa Burmester Douro Reserva 2011 is a winner, with a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz. $25

Galerie Latro Knight’s Valley 2012 — It must be a combination of excellent vines, the excellent vintage and winemaker Laura Munoz’s experience of making wine on four continents; but whatever it is, this is one of the most memorable $50 Cabernets I can recall. Starting with a gorgeous nose, it expands into a multi-layered beauty with an incredible taste of almost perfect Cabernet flavors. It actually reminded me of the great 1983 Chateau Margaux tasted in 1987 at Chateau Margaux. Amazing effort with “irresistable appeal.” $50

Patz & Hall Pinot Noir Jenkins Ranch 2013 — The Jenkins Ranch Vineyard, planted in 2001, just gets better and better. Perhaps it’s the 2013 vintage, and of course iconic winemaker James Hall, but this wine is truly deep, dark and voluptuous. It could sell for 30 percent more. $60

Adamvs Teres Howell Mountain 2010 —Denise and Stephan Adams — not Adamvs like the label — are credited with revitalizing Chateau Fonplégade, a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé, in 2004. In 2008, they purchased their “idyllic” California property. Next, they brilliantly hired Philippe Melka as their winemaker. With the structure of a classic left bank Bordeaux, this blue ribbon winner was aged in 80 percent new French oak for 22 months. Almost perfect balance of all components. Only 975 cases produced. Perfect with a beef tenderloin. $90

Wayfarer Pinot Noir Paige’s Ridge 2012 — Owned by Cleo Pahlmeyer, this new wine to me is an eye-opener. Aromas of boysenberry and rich cherry segue into tastes of baking spice, molasses and a hint of brown sugar. Lovely, well integrated oak and supple tannins. Should be perfect with Thanksgiving turkey! $115


Etoile Cuisine et Bar, 1101-11 Uptown Park Blvd., Houston

Wow, had some fabulous dishes there recently. Started with a lovely Sancerre. Then truffle risotto with mushrooms and corn. On to duck with mushrooms and butternut squash mousseline. (Lots of mushrooms — both courses worked well with the Lyric Pinot Noir). Ended with apple tart with vanilla ice cream and caramel syrup. Memorable meal!

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Category: Wine Reviews by Denman Moody

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