This week’s selections include a chance to compare a Burgundy with a pinot noir from Australia, an outstanding red from Austria, and two delightful whites – all ideal for our fall menus.
Anton Bauer Blaufrankisch Reserve 2012
Wagram, Austria, $37
Zweigelt is Austria’s best-known red, but many winemakers view blaufranckisch as the more serious wine. With this reserve, Anton Bauer has crafted an elegant and lovely wine, with silky texture and an energy that carries its flavors of bing cherry and white pepper soaring. This is an unfamiliar wine made from an unfamiliar grape, and it isn’t inexpensive. It is worth trying. Also worth noting: This is from the area northwest of Vienna known for its outstanding white wines (grüner veltliner and Riesling, especially), while blaufränkisch typically excels further south, in Burgenland. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
Domaine Armelle et Bernard Rion ‘La Croix Blanche’ Vieilles Vignes Bourgogne 2014
Two and a half stars.
Burgundy, France, $27
This is a lovely single-vineyard pinot noir from a noted producer in Vosne-Romanée, a commune in the Côtes de Nuit section of Burgundy. The Croix Blanche vineyard lies between Vosne-Romanée and Nuits-St-Georges to the south and is farmed without insecticides. The wine is fermented in cement vats and aged 12 to 14 months in wood. The result is a lush pinot with deep red-fruit flavors and fine tannins that suggest it will age well for at least a few years. But why wait? This calls out for a nice grilled steak or some strong cheese. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Andrew Rich Roussanne 2013
Two and a half stars.
Columbia Valley, Wash., $24
Roussanne is a white grape common in the Rhône Valley of France. It is known for tropical-fruit flavors; fat, oily mouth feel; and sometimes a lack of acid. Andrew Rich (who is based in Oregon’s Yamhill-Carlton district but sources these grapes from Washington state) achieves a lovely balance of fruit and acidity, not to mention sunshine. Serve it chilled but not too cold, with rich seafood dishes or mild cheeses. ABV: 14.1 percent.
Pike & Joyce Pinot Noir Rapide 2013
Adelaide Hills, Australia, $18
Australia produces some spicy pinot noir, and this charmer from Pike & Joyce in the Adelaide Hills is no exception. It’s bright and juicy with a peppery note, but there is also flair and elegance. Alcohol by volume: 14 percent.
Ferraton Père & Fils Samorëns 2015
Cotes-du-Rhone, France, $11
Here’s a beautiful white wine from the outstanding 2015 vintage. It’s a blend of white grenache, a grape now trendy in California, and clairette. The result in this ripe year was an aromatic, enticing white bursting with the smell of jasmine flowers, wild herbs and a hint of saline minerals. A great deal at the price. (Note that the producer makes a red with the same name; the white is much better.) ABV: 13.5 percent.
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Three stars Exceptional, two stars Excellent, one star Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.