Thursday, January 17, 2008

Three Exuberant $12 Reds!

I don't care what Brooklynguy says! I'm going to use exclamation points!! Because these are exuberant wines!!!

No, really — when I consume wines like the ones here, I envision cartoon exclamation points circling my head. To me, "exuberant" wines shower the mouth with spices and herbs. They're joyous rather than serious. Exuberant wines are full of life, carefree and vivacious, but not shallow — rather, they're engaging in ways that many serious wines are not (sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don't). I don't think anyone's confused What's Opera, Doc? with Wagner — but isn't What's Opera, Doc? genius in its own right?

I've tasted the following wines over the last month or so.

Zantho Zweigelt Burgenland 2006
This Austrian red may be the most exuberant-ish-ist of them all, for this is one of the most extroverted, joyful little wines I have tasted. It bursts with pomegranate and raspberry fruit and it sings with strong notes of briar and pepper. Interestingly, I haven't been taken with the other Zantho releases I've tried (a St. Laurent and a Muskat), but this one makes me laugh.

Guilhem Durand Vieilles Vignes Syrah Vin de Pays d'Hauterive 2004
This is a really lovely Syrah from the Languedoc that overdelivers at its price point. Its rocky nose drives cool blueberry, sweet black cherry and a hint of cinnamoned green apple upward while a bit of blackberry and dried cherry join the above in the mouth. The acidity is proud but unobtrusive and the tannins are modest and the finish is long and stony and even a bit spicy; it reminds me of a nice Barbera. Refreshing, balanced and lovely.

Château Tour Boisée Minervois Cuvée Marielle et Frédérique 2004
This is the most profound of the three wines here, and I've consumed three bottles of this in the last 4 months to my total delight. It smells utterly purple: lavender and blueberry and plum. There's underbrush here, too. Briar. Thyme. Marjoram. Solid tannins and sweet blueberry fruit, with refreshing acidity and a nice long finish of herbs and blackberry. Spicy, rich, and balanced. Hurrah! This is, strikingly, dominated by Cinsault — it's 35% Cinsault, 25% Grenache, 15% each Syrah and Carignan, and 10% Mourvèdre. It was aged for 8 months in concrete vat — no oak! I can't recall a better $12 red.


Brooklynguy said...

I was kidding, sort of. This is a different way to use them. I meant when people do this: thanks for posting such an interesting topic!

Wicker Parker said...

Oh yes, I was just having a spot of fun myself!!!