Wines of the Week: Oct. 13-19
Everyday: Sometimes I wonder if many of the vintners in Argentina shouldn’t yank up their malbec vines and plant cabernet. If so, maybe more of them could make a wine as hearty and tasty as the 2011 Catena High Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($16). I certainly haven’t had a malbec with as much structure as this bold red, which boasts dark-berry flavors, a wee bit o’ spice and a delightfully grippy midplalate and finish. Turns out the Catena Zapata family planted these high-altitude vines decades ago, which explains the concentration of this beauty. Make the most of our extended autumn by firing up the grill and plopping on most any cut of beef or lamb to pair with this. Grooving to some early Santana (dig the album cover!) sounds about right.
Occasion: I have seen the future of California wine, and it is … gruner veltliner? Not really, but if the stunning 2013 Habit Santa Ynez Valley Gruner Veltliner ($31) is any indication, the grape has a dandy future in at least some pockets of the Golden State. The purity and focus are off the charts, and the bracing midpalate only somewhat prepares you for the almost explosive finish. Oh, and it’s flat-out delicious, with tropical and lime notes and a touch of gruner’s trademark white pepper. The fruit is dry-farmed, and the juice fermented in stainless steel. Grill some chicken with almost any seasoning or sauce and dig right in with this; or save it for a Thanksgiving mega-treat. The pristine piano compositions of Frederic Chopin, played by the nonpareil Vladimir Horowitz, provide a sublime soundtrack.