Nov 05 2010

Split-Vote Varietals

This week’s election races for Illinois governor and President Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat were among the closest in recent memory—both were decided by just a few thousand votes. According to the Chicago Tribune, Democrat Pat Quinn won for governor with 46.6% of the vote, while Republican Mark Kirk won the Senate seat with 48.2%.

Elections in this country are generally winner-take-all: Those placing second or third go home frustrated, and so do those that voted for them. In the world of wine though, the highest-percentage grape in a blended bottle doesn’t get all the glory: It relies on the secondary grapes to transform that wine into a complete and unique experience for the person drinking it.

Here at Just Grapes, some of our best “spilt-vote varietals” showcase a single dominant grape—50% or more. But it’s the composition of the remaining percentage that makes a palate-pleasing winner. And by extension, when you drink these wines, your taste buds win too:

2008 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Blanc, Vin de Pays, France [$9.59]
This white wine is 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Grenache Blanc, and 20% Clairette. It has candied citrus, melon, and peach aromas, and surprising length of finish for a delicate and subtle wine. Great value!

2009 Maquis Calcu Rose, Valle de Colchagua, Chile 2009 [$10.79]
The Rivadeniera family always enjoyed drinking quality rosés at home. Now, winemakers Alejandro Jofre and Ricardo Rivadeniera have created their own magical rosé made from 50% Malbec, 40% Syrah, and 10% Carmenère. This vintage’s bouquet is floral with subtle notes of grapefruit and spice. The palate is clean, crisp and well balanced with hints of cherry and wild strawberry. It is a versatile wine that pairs equally well with goat cheese, seafood, grilled chicken and delicately seasoned Asian dishes.

2009 La Cartuja Priorat, Spain [$13.59]
The 2009 Bodegas La Cartuja is 50% Garnacha, 30% Mazuelo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah. It is oak-aged for 8 months in French oak barrels; deep purple; full of red berries with hints of minerals and dried herbs. This wine is medium bodied, with a silky texture, spicy richness, and lots of black cherry on the finish.

2007 Les Clos du Caillou “Les Safres” Chateauneuf du Pape, Southern Rhone, France [$44.79]

90 Pts – Robert Parker
The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Safres is dominated by 95% Grenache and the rest Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault, all from vines over 50 years old from holdings in the northeastern-most sector of the appellation. This wine exhibits tremendous spice box, sweet black cherries, a resiny pine forest note, and abundant pepper. In the mouth it is undeniably seductive, with full-bodied lushness, beautifully pure fruit, a textured mouthfeel, and a terrific finish. The freshness from the good acids give the wine uplift and vibrancy. This wine can be drunk now or cellared for 10-12 years.

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