Saturday is the 139thrunning of the Kentucky Derby, a horse race known for its upsets and surprises. The favorite often fails and an outsider often comes up to take the roses. To honor the event we have selected some wine that we think will surprise you by showing better than one might expect. Come find a winner.
2011 Mahoney Vineyards, Las Brisas Vermentino $14
From a cooler vineyard site in Carneros Francis and Kathy Mahoney grow this unique Italian varietal. Las Brisas vineyard is named after the winds that drive out morning fog from the vineyard and usher in cooling airflow in the late afternoon. The wine exhibits white peaches and citrus flavors with lovely floral notes and a refreshing and crisp finish.
2012 Tertulia Cellars Rosé $14
49% Mourvèdre, 26% Grenache, 25% Syrah
This local Rosé comes from Tertulia’s Riviera Gallets estate vineyard in Walla Walla planted on a dried up riverbed. Round stones litter the subsoil and surface, absorbing heat during the day and radiating it out during the night. The wine emulates a Provence style. On the nose anise mingles with violets, sweet tarts followed by fruit character, strawberry rhubarb and grape fruit. It’s mouthwatering acidity gives way to a round mouth feel and pleasing finish.
2008 Amalie Robert, Vintage Debut Pinot Noir $30
Amalie Robert 30 acre vineyard is located approximately 15 miles southwest of Salem, Oregon. They make only estate wines, all farmed sustainably. They use all indigenous yeasts, and practice non-interventionist winemaking. The 2008 shows rich aroma of sun drenched blackberries, clove, dark chocolate and dried herbs. A well rounded saturation of black cherry, cola, and Darjeeling tea envelop the palate and seamlessly transition to a rich finish delineated with firm tannins and echoing acidity.
2011 Domaine la Guintrandy Côtes du Rhône $25 — 3ltr box.
70% Granche, 20% Carignan, 10% Syrah
Since 1850 Domaine la Guintrandy has been a family estate winery on the border in Visan. Their Côtes du Rhône is the best red box wine we have recently tasted with lots of black currant and cherry fruit excellent purity, good spicy notes, and a bit of licorice. Pricewise that’s about $6.50 a bottle.
2009 Odisea Wine Company, Veritable Quandary Red $18
25% Syrah, 17% Grenache, 17% Tempranillo, 14% Petite Sirah, 12% Alvarelhao, 3% Carignane, and 12% “Field Blend”
Odisea located in the Napa sources fruit from throughout central California. They use organically grown fruit for the most part and native yeasts for fermentation. They assemble their complex and interesting wines through obsessive blending, paring varietals not typically seen together In the Quandary Red intense black cherry, cassis, blackberry and ripe plum fruit intermingle with white pepper, eucalyptus, wet stone, vanilla and toast. It is an opulent wine with lots of ripe fruit and touches of mineral, spice and earth.