Snoop Dogg wine coming to you soon
I have often been told that the wine trade was a fortunate choice as folks will not only have a glass to celebrate good times, but also if they need a little cheering up.
According to a Nielsen survey, the US wine market increased by 27.6 per cent in the second week of March compared with last year. In fact, sales of large-sized bottles such as Barefoot were up 53 per cent. Homes were being stocked up.
As well as having to cope without visiting our favourite restaurant, some of us are also stocking up on a few of what I would call “restaurant wines”.
I would like to share information on four wineries that bridge that gap by being popular in supermarkets as well as restaurants.
Let me set the stage by giving you the results of another survey, and this is how the publication responsible describes themselves: “Established in 1972, Drinks International is the only magazine devoted exclusively to the global spirits, wines and beers market, providing our readership of international drinks buyers with news on all the latest developments and trends within the global drinks industry. In every issue we cover strong editorial features, business news, market reports, news analysis and opinion.”
Each year, this magazine produces a list of what they consider are the world's top 50 wineries. I have seen estimates that vary from 300,000 to 1,000,000 wineries overall, so the odds of making the list are extremely small. Despite this, Torres from Spain was first overall two years ago and last year Penfolds from Australia relegated Torres to second.
The list that has just been published has given the top four spots in this order: Catena, Penfolds, Torres, 19 Crimes.
So Catena of Argentina has the top spot and what a wonderful family owns this spectacular winery. Nicolas, with his PhD in economics, moved to California with his family during the early, tumultuous 1980s in his country and taught at the University of California, Berkeley.
Each weekend, they would visit Napa Valley and he vowed to pursue this standard of excellence when they returned to their land. What an honour it has been for my wife and I to meet him, his wife, Elena, and their daughter, Laura. Although not part of the family business, we also have been in the home of her brother, Ernesto. This is how Wikipedia describes Laura: “Laura Catena was born in Mendoza, Argentina, in 1967. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and has a medical doctor's degree from Stanford University. She is currently general director of Bodega Catena Zapata and her own Luca Winery in Mendoza, Argentina, as well as a practising paediatric medicine physician at University of California San Francisco Medical Centre.”
Through decades of study and exploration within Mendoza's high-altitude mountain terroirs, the Catena family has identified special locations for its estate vineyards. From the marriage of these historic vineyards emerges a wine of unique character that has natural balance, concentration and a distinct varietal identity.
They are the family that put malbec on the map. Although it can be found in the lower $20 range, critic James Suckling gave the Catena 2017 Malbec a highly respectable 93/100 and commented: “This is a dense and refined red with a minerality underneath. Full body, firm and silky with pretty blue fruit and light salt undertones. Shows tension and structure.”
In the well-under $20 range are the various Alamos wines, which are actually from Catena, but use the fruit of younger vines that have not yet reached full maturity and complexity.
Alamos 2018 Malbec garners a 90/100 from Robert Parker with this description: “The telltale round tannins from the grape, nice texture, focused and clean flavours and a dry and serious finish.”
Penfolds Australian wines are legendary, and their Coonunga Hill 2017 Shiraz shows what this most popular grape in Australia has to offer as a multi-regional blend from across South Australia's premium wine growing regions. Coonunga Hill Shiraz is a plumper style with plush red-berried fruits, generosity of flavour and supple ripe tannins.
It has excellent structure and length and is ready for drinking now. Retail $23.40.
Torres has always impressed me with their dedication to climate-friendly business practices and, as our sky and air are clearer than usual, let me share that from 2008 to 2018 Torres have lowered their carbon emissions by more than a quarter.
But they want to do more and have already set new milestones: reduce carbon emissions by 55 per cent in 2030 and 80 per cent in 2045 compared with 2008; to become, one day, a winery neutral of carbon emissions in their development.
If you are in the mood for a lovely cabernet sauvignon that will only set you back about $23.25, then here is what Canadian writer Natalie Maclean has to say about Torres Gran Coronas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014: “Gorgeous complexity and concentration of flavour on this blockbuster Spanish red wine made from the classic cabernet sauvignon grape! The grapes for this lusciously ripe cabernet grow on vines planted on the Mas la Plana estate. Aromas of blackberry jam, dark spice and some pepper. 92/100. Pair with a rare steak.”
I fear that I am running out of space, but we did feature 19 Crimes a few weeks ago, so let me quickly share a little secret: “Snoop Dogg, an entertainment and California icon, is the perfect partner for 19 Crimes Snoop Cali Red. Snoop embodies the spirit of 19 Crimes — rule-breaking, culture creating and overcoming adversity. We are truly excited to partner with Snoop and welcome him to the 19 Crimes family.”
In these confusing times, I cannot say exactly when we will have this new wine. Let's toast to a better and cleaner planet! Be safe dear reader.
• This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409). Visit wineonline.bm