P-H-I-L-L-Y W-I-N-E!

May 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm

It was a beautiful sunny day in Philly & time to have some fun at the 2013 Philadelphia Wine Festival. Held for the second year at Lincoln Financial Field in their SCA club lounge & hosted by Philadelphia Magazine & Pa Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores.

There was a plethora of cuisine this year by some of Philly’s best restaurants, including big names like Le Bec Fin, Sbraga, & 10 Arts Bistro, plus tasty small plates from Devils Alley, Noir , Smokin Betty’s , Chef Zack & the Restaurant School to name a few.
The wineries represented were just plain outstanding, New World, Old World, usual suspects & obscure varieties. It wasn’t possible to try them all, let alone swallow 🙂 I have to say it is easier each year, as I try not to review any prior events wines. Always hunting for that virgin producer, killer bargain, or new favorite wine. Pretty easy to find all three here, plus a ton of recognized gems.

Seghesio Arneis 2011 $23 Talk about a rarity, best guess three or four producers, if that, in Calif. Bread pudding, lemon, bright, but creamy, defintely a favorite white of the afternoon.
Spring Valley Nina Lee Walla Walla Syrah 2010 $61 A blockbuster of fruit, blueberry, blackberry, spice, a little earth, fantastic!
The Calling, Dutton Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 $30 A partnership between  sportscaster of the year, Jim Nantz and Peter Deutsch, CEO of Deutsch Family W & S. Slightly unripe banana, lemon, oak is ever present as is the buttery signature of Malolactic & lees aging. A California chard. thru & thru.
Trefethen Dragons Tooth 2009 $70 Leather, plum, blackberry, structured tannins hide some of the fruit, a little more rest is needed, but a very nice wine.
Union Wine Co. Alchemist Pinot Noir 2011 $22 Hands down favorite red of the day & at $22 for a Willamette pinot of this quality, highway robbery. Buy, buy, buy! Earthy with a little stinkiness, but the fruit comes thru, tart cherry & blackberry, a little spice and vanilla. This wine packs an awful lot in a bottle.
Hook & Ladder Cabernet Franc 2010 $25 When you really just want to be out working the vineyards, you sell your namesake De Loach Vineyards and get back to your roots, & that’s exactly what Michael De Loach did. Perfume, mint, toast, cherry, with teeth cleaning tannins, defintely a food wine for now, it will soften with a little bottle time.
Ridge East Bench Zinfandel 2011 $30 Most of Ridge’s Zinfandels tend to be field blends, but this one is 100% Zin. Big jammy fruit stands out while underlying vanilla and structured tannins create balance.
Renwood is under new ownership & since 2011 has left no stone unturned to bring this once venerable Zinfandel producer back to the forefront of Amador county’s best wines. For now pricing is aggressive to win back long time Renwood fans like me.
Old Vine Dry Creek 2010 $13 Candy fruit, vanilla, raspberry, awesome wine for the price.
Fiddletown 2010 $15 Once one of my favorite wines, earth & pepper balance the signature fruit, a little Turleyesque & again a steal at this price.
Grandpere 2010 $30 A one-off 6 single vineyard blend, the Margaux of Zin if you will, spice, fruit, earth, everything in balance, with a long fruit filled finish.
Timberline 2010 $44 Single vineyard at 1800ft elevation, you gotta love mountain fruit! Big & jammy, peppery, brambly tannins, finishes long with blackberry in the back of your throat, defintely reminds me of Turley. Perfect example of high-end Calif. Zinfandel.
Walt Wines, you would think producing a range of beautifully made cabernets, the pinnacle being Exzellenz, from the best blocks of the Sacrashe vineyard would be sufficient for Kathryn & Craig Hall, owners at Hall Wines. Luckily for us their passion continued to Pinot Noir & Chardonnay from the Pacific coast.
Blue Jay Pinot Noir 2011 $41 A lovely but unusual pinot from the Anderson Valley , never had so much blueberry in a Pinot Noir but add a little Darjeeling to the mix and it makes a nice combo.
Brisa Pinot Noir 2011 $41 Nice tart cherry, a little earth, nice acidity, more Oregon then Sonoma in my opinion. A well made, balanced Pinot.
Chamisal Stainless 2010 $13 What a neat wine, no oak, no Malolactic, no lees aging, but there was a unexplained creaminess to go along with the crisp clean acidity & a little mineral thrown in for good measure. A perfect example of what the chardonnay grape tastes like without adulteration.
Penner-Ash Viognier 2012 $28 Big aromatic, floral notes abound with a nice anise touch, flavors are just as big, with a gushy mouthwatering finish.
Penner-Ash Wilamette Pinot Noir 2011 $40 Spicy cherry, light but nice & bright.
Penner-Ash Dussin 2011 $60 More fruit, earth, tannin, & acidity for another twenty dollars, still Oregonian but reminds me of some recent burgundies.
D66 2010 $40 Stewed plum, stinky, but what a mouthful of fruit & drying tannins A multi-vintage blend of Grenache, Syrah & Carignan. An Orin Swift creation.
Coppola Eleanor 2009 $48 Making a wine in honor of your wife is a tall order for anyone, when you are Francis Ford Coppola with prime vineyards at your disposal, the bar is higher. A blend of syrah, zinfandel & cabernet from Rutherford, Dry Creek and Alexander Valley designations. Big fruit, some meat, spice, mouthwatering acidity & supple tannins, creates a complex but easy drinking wine.
Fess Parker Viognier 2009 $25 Tons of mineral with peach, apricot, flowers, & bright acidity.
Dr Pauly-Bergweiler Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2011 $25 Beautiful petrol nose, ripe citrus, a hint of residual sugar pops in your mouth.
Cantina di Santadi Cannoneau de Sardegna Nora’s 2009 $24 Stinky, mint, earth, dusty fruit, supple tannins.
St Urbans-Hof Wiltinger Alte Reben Kabinet 2012 $20 Another nice easy drinking Riesling with petrol, pear, wonderful acidity & a hint of sweetness.
Penfolds Grange 2008 $600, no make that $700, I mean $800 🙂 Not often you get to try a 100 point wine, & with the demand, it’s unlikely I’ll ever get another taste of this one. Hidden complexity, the massive concentrated fruit is present but much is hidden behind a veil of spice, bubblegum & tannin.
Ondalan Riserva Rioja 2007 $25 Stinky, plum, prune, cedar aged cigar, nice balance, fun wine.
Cousino- Macul Lota 2008 $90 Wow! A tough call for favorite red along with the Alchemist & Grange. Dark cherry, lots of graphite, eucalyptus, terribly long finish, an absolute monster blend of cabernet & merlot from The Maipo Valley, Chile!
Casa Patronales Carmenere 2010 $17 Big bubblegum nose, lots of fruit, with the spice, earth & tannins moderating all that fruit. A bargain.
Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or 1999 $130 Neato, licorice, cough syrup, mineral, toast, beautiful bubbles, always a treat to drink from the pineapple.
Altesino Alte D’ Altesi 2009 $42 This so Super Tuscan it’s a downright stereotype, all the wonderful leather, earth and subtle fruit of a Brunello combined with the dark cherry, graphite,& bell pepper of a Cabernet / Merlot blend, plus some nice oak notes from barrel aging.
Chateau Telegraphe La Crau Chateauneuf du Pape 2010 $80 An infant with a beautiful smile & long life ahead. Hints of unripe cherry, mineral, spice & ample tannins hide what will be a beautiful wine, decant for 4 hours or more to get a peek.

A big thank you to all the behind the scenes people, distributors, restaurants volunteers, & the event organizers for another wonderful  Philadelphia Wine & Food Festival 🙂

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