Since I’ve been leaning heavily toward wine news in recent weeks, I thought I would share some exciting new releases that will make for excellent spring and summer drinking. With one exception, all the wines are under $20. Also of note, given my piece earlier this week about alcohol levels, four of the five wines here are under 14 percent, which, no doubt, is part of why I enjoyed them.
Bieler Père et Fils 2010 “Sabine” Coteaux d-Aix-en-Provence Rosé. $12. This appealing and well-priced rosé demands food with its considerable herb notes that punctuate strawberry, raspberry, citrus and subtle vanilla tastes. With its pretty, light-salmon color it shows considerable complexity and came into its own the herb-roasted chicken. The blend is 50 percent syrah, 30 percent grenache and 20 percent cabernet sauvignon. Alcohol is 13.5 percent. Imported by Bieler Père et Fils, Sausalito, California.
Alta Maria Vineyards 2009 Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley, California. $28. This superb chardonnay from Santa Barbara County shows perfect balance, with pear, white peach, orange and lime, plus subtle vanilla and cream notes. Oak is seamlessly integrated. The fruit was sourced from the famed Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Vineyards and the wine bears their unmistakable signature. Alcohol is 14.1 percent.
Carmel Road 2009 Chardonnay, Monterey County, California. $18. A beautifully balanced chardonnay with nuanced oak, pear, vanilla and a hint of orange. Effortless to drink and a real value. Alcohol is 13.5 percent.
Domaine de la Madone 2009 Beaujolais “Le Perreon,” Beaujolais Villages, France. $15. This first-rate Beaujolais from an excellent vintage is distinguished by the unusual concentration of its fruit, mainly blueberry and black cherry, with an appealing note of braised meat that adds to its complexity. From the gamay grape, it’s the kind of red wine I could drink all summer. Alcohol is 13 percent. Imported by Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, New York
Argento 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina. $11. An excellent budget cabernet with classic blackberry tastes joined by plum and red berry notes as the wine opens up, revealing surprising complexity. Smoke, cinnamon and brown sugar round things out, all of it framed by a good tannic structure. Should serve as a wake-up call to California for what’s being produced elsewhere for $10 or so. Alcohol is 13.5 percent. Imported by Lion Nathan USA, Overland Park, Kansas.