Every bottle has a story

I am not a wine expert, but with each bottle I try and share with friends, I learn more. Wine is an exceptional social drink; it is the marijuana of alcoholic beverages because it must be shared. I seek to share with you my thoughts and experiences as I drink the wine in my closet, as well as my enthusiasm for the finds that come my way and the excellent values that I find. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences too, so please share!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wow this is different!

If you’ve never asked the folks at your favorite wine store for a recommendation, you ought to. Those guys and gals who are stocking the shelves in most cases are not merely stock people who know little to nothing about the wine on the shelves. They know. You need to ask. And recently as I was searching for a small clutch of whites to test out for my search for the perfect summer white, I asked. One of the recommendations I am drinking right now, and all I can say is “Wow!”

The 2009 Casa Lapostelle Sauvignon Blanc from the Rapel Valley of Chile is the most extraordinary Sauvignon Blanc I have tasted in quite some time. Sometimes Sauvignon Blanc can be so predictable: it’s grapefruit with a hint of grass. But this one, it really opened my eyes and taste buds. And oh yeah, did I tell you it was only $9 a bottle?

Right off, I’m thinking this is going to be a juicy and fruity Sauvignon Blanc like so many others I’ve tasted. The nose is lively with Granny Smith and there’s the expected citrus tang. The color, however, is striking: it reminds me of a very pale vodka gimlet, a hue of Rose’s Lime. But then comes the taste. It wasn’t the expected grapefruit bomb so many Sauvignon Blancs present. Granted, there was the juicy flavor of apple and pear, and even melon, but it was subtle and brilliant (can it be both?) set against an intriguing background of very earthy flavors. I had trouble identifying the flavors at first. It struck me as spicy, like white pepper, but there also seemed to be this level of anise there as well. While the nose held that Granny Smith nicely, there was something else too that was kind of grassy, but not the kind of grassiness I normally associate with Sauvignon Blanc. What was it?

So I had to do a search, and the term I saw made sense: straw. Yes, this wine reminds me of straw; not fresh grass, but wet and aromatic straw. And there was that other flavor that was confounding me, the one I thought might be anise. Other tasting notes say chamomile. Hmm, well, maybe chamomile. I could see that, but chamomile is not the flavor I would come up with. But that’s the wonderful quality of wine. A group of people drinking the same wine can come up with different descriptors for what they taste. They may agree on some flavors, but there will always be a divergence. And that is the sign, in my opinion, of a well-made wine.

At just $9 a bottle, this one is a strong contender for my choice of 2010’s summer white.

I rate this one 8.5. It’s definitely worth seeking out and grabbing some, particularly at this price.

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