G.B. Russo & Son

May 1, 2013

 Outstanding, Versatile Red Priced Under $10

Finding red wines with depth and complexity for under $10 is similar to the quest for the Holy Grail.  Sometimes you can find these high-quality/low-priced reds in the most unlikely of places.  Macedonian wines have not been popular in the world since the time of Alexander the Great, so I don’t usually get people asking for them.  After tasting a terrific Macedonian wine at VinExpo a couple of years ago, I began to look for a source for them.  Last year we were able to obtain a few cases of the 2010 Tikves Vranec ($9.99 – 90 points Wine Advocate) from Macedonia and quickly sold out.  After seeing the high score, people would pick up only one bottle because they were un-sure about Macedonian wine.  After tasting it, they would come back for a case.  The French oenologist Philippe Cambie makes this wine.  He is also the winemaker for our extremely popular, 94 point rated Chateau Puech-Haut Prestige from the Languedoc region of France.  When I saw Mr. Cambie at a wine trade show for importer Eric Solomon a couple of months ago, he told me to be sure to try his Macedonian wines because they were terrific.  He was right, but he did not know I had already had them.  I spoke with our Eric Solomon representative and worked out the logistics to get more of this 2010 Tikves Vranec, and It has just arrived today.  Now since I expect most of you have never tasted the Vranec grape variety, it tastes something like a high quality Zinfandel/Petite Sirah/Syrah blend would.  It has smooth and subtly spicy flavors you would expect in a good Zinfandel, concentrated blackberry and black-current fruit you would get from Petite Sirah, and depth of color, richness and complexity from a good Rhone style Syrah.  You can serve this wine with a wide variety of foods like beef, pasta, pork etc…  Once word gets out about the quality of this wine, low price, and Mr. Parker’s high score, I expect it to sell out again.  If you would like to reserve a case for $110, please contact me at drusso@gbrusso.com.

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Gold Medal Winning 2010 Cru Bourgeois Medoc Best Value

In 1950, Rene Poitevin bought some vineyard land in the northern portion of the Medoc, just to the north of Pauillac and Saint-Estephe, to grow grapes to sell off to the local wine co-op.  In 1991, Rene asked his teenaged son, Guillaume, to join the family vineyard farming business.  Guillaume agreed to join Rene as long as he would let him start making the wine from the grapes they grew rather than selling them off to the co-op.  Rene agreed to do this as long as the wine he made was good.  It was a big gamble, but it eventually paid off.  He started out letting Guillaume make a couple of barrels of wine, but once Chateau Poitevin started gaining respect by achieving Cru Bourgeois status and was placed on the wine lists of Michelin stared restaurants like Alain Ducasse and Les Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, all the grapes went into the making of Chateau Poitevin rather than selling fruit to the co-op.  Despite all this recognition, the pricing for Chateau Poitevin remains quite reasonable.  The 2010 vintage in Bordeaux was the best since the great 1961, which was before Guillaume was born.  I was very impressed when I tasted the 2010 Poitevin at premiere in Bordeaux a couple of years ago.  It is the best Poitevin made yet I thought.  Apparently others agreed with me.  It took the Gold Medal at the Paris Concours General Agricol competition and the Wine Spectator awarded it 90 points and gave it a “Best Value” designation.  This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot has lots of ripe, black-fruit flavors, hints of tobacco and vanilla, and a well-built acid structure.  It needs to be poured through a Vinturi aerator if you want to drink it now, or cellar it for another 6 months first.  It should continue to improve in the cellar for another 7 or 8 years after that.  If you would like to reserve the 2010 Chateau Poitevin for $19.99 each or $220/case, please contact me at drusso@gbrusso.com.

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Classic Wines/Classic Vintages from Tuscany @ Value Prices

Brunello di Montalcino is perhaps Tuscany’s most famous and prestigious wine made.  The low yielding Brunello clone of the Sangiovese grape grown only in the hills surrounding the village of Montalcino are what make this wine so special.  It needs to be aged for 4 years before release, and much of that time is spent in small, expensive oak barrels.  The vines must be fully mature (over 8 years old) to produce fruit that will hold up to all that time in barrel.  That is why most Brunello di Montalcinos start at $50 and go up from there.  The 2007 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino ($34.99 92 points Wine Spectator) is an excellent example of Brunello from a great vintage available for far less than the going rate for most of these noble Tuscan wines.

If you enjoy the complex and unique flavor of Brunello, but you like to remain under the $20 price point, then try Rosso di Montalcino.  Rosso di Montalcino is essentially de-classified Brunello di Montalcino.  By that I mean that Rosso di Montalcino is aged for much less time in barrel than Brunello di Montalcino because it is usually made with fruit from younger vines that will not hold up to all that time on oak.  The 2010 Caparzo Rosso di Montalcino ($15.99 90 points Wine Spectator) is also a great choice in this category from a great vintage.  If you would like to reserve either of these wines, please contact me at drusso@gbrusso.com.

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Cheers!

Dave Russo

G.B. Russo & Son