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Masseria Li Veli, Salento (Puglia, Italy) Primitivo "Orion" 2016 ($15, Dalla Terra Winery Direct)
 I recently saw a statement by a famous and successful wine critic describing wines from the Primitivo grape as “big, jammy, and rustic, with high alcohol, chewy tannins, and a sweet finish.”   Fortunately for my taste, this Primitvo from the Falvo family in Puglia in southern Italy does not fit that description.  I found it to be a very well-balanced, harmonious wine.  The aromas demanded my attention with a marvelous concoction of black cherry fruit and woody spices like cinnamon and sandalwood.  In the mouth, the wine was medium bodied with a pleasing balance of fruit, spices, surprisingly piquant acidity, smooth ripe tannins and 14 percent alcohol.  The Falvo family acquired the Li Veli property in 1999 and restored the vineyards, replanting head-pruned vines in a settonce pattern, a system developed by the Romans.  The massive winery building houses state of the art equipment.  This lovely wine is a fitting tribute to their efforts.     
93 Rebecca Murphy


Posted by Robert Whitley on September 17, 2019 at 10:33 PM



A Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages will set you back about eleven bucks. The Beaujolais Villages from Maison Louis Jadot can be found for under ten.

Jadot’s more upscale Beaujolais, its Chateau des Jacques lineup of Beaujolais crus, retails in the low $20 range. Ditto the Beaujolais crus from Duboeuf. I found the Duboeuf Beaujolais crus Brouilly for $23.

Those who equate price with quality might surmise Beaujolais, even at the top end, has little to recommend it other than price. I would beg to differ. Beaujolais is the perfect summer wine.

First and foremost, quality runs very high throughout the Beaujolais district, situated at the southern tip of France’s Burgundy region.  The vast difference in price between Beaujolais and the red Burgundies of the Cote d’Or can be attributed to the grapes used in production.

The Cote d’Or Burgundies are made from Pinot Noir, Beaujolais from gamay.  Pinot Noir produces a deeper, more tannic red wine that often improves dramatically with age.  The best can age for decades.

Gamay delivers a lighter, crisper red wine that is delicious from the moment it is bottled.  A few of the crus Beaujolais, particularly from the villages of Moulin-a-Vent and Morgon, improve with age but for the most part Beaujolais is a “now” wine.

Its beauty is its freshness. Beaujolais is exceptionally versatile, as well.  In summer months Burgundians serve it chilled.  It can be served with meat or fish, and it is often served at the end of the meal with cheese. Its innate fruitiness allows it to complement slightly sweet sauces, while its savory side makes it a strong match for earthy dishes, game birds, rabbit and, of course, mushrooms.

Even at the villages level, its lowest, the wines tend to be well balanced and drinkable.

Then there is the price. Delicious wines in the $10 range are a rare commodity. Except in Beaujolais.

Connect with Robert on Twitter where he tweets as @WineGuru

Dr. Michael
This Issue's Reviews
Northern Rhône Sweet Spot: Saint-Joseph
Michael Franz

Fine Syrah from France's Northern Rhône Valley is one of the world's greatest wines, but the sad fact is that not much of it is made. Appellations in the southern Rhône ranging from simple Côtes-du-Rhône up to Châteauneuf-du-Pape crank out fully 10 times as much wine, and though both have their differing strengths, wines from the north are simply more precious. Pricey too, on account of their rarity, and that is a problem that will only get worse as these marvelous wines continue to rise in fame around the world. Top releases from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie are already exceeding $400 per bottle in price, so savvy consumers are turning to other appellations in the north for great quality at lower prices. If this is what you're seeking, the best place to go is Saint-Joseph.
Giving White Bordeaux Its Due
Jim Clarke

At this year's conference of the Society of Wine Educators, I had the opportunity to attend a great tasting of one of my favorite categories, dry white Bordeaux. The tasting seminar was led by Master of Wine Mary Gorman-McAdams, who until last year was the U.S. market advisor for the Bordeaux Wine Council (she's now the Director of the International Wine Center in New York). The tasting re-affirmed my belief that white Bordeaux - the real thing, or Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blends from elsewhere in the world - is one of the most interesting categories out there. Why wine drinkers perpetually overlook it is beyond me.
Wine With
WINE WITH…Linguine with Almonds, Burrata, Mushrooms and Zucchini

In Paris this summer we enjoyed a lovely pasta dish at Les Minimes, a casual little restaurant on the rue de Turenne. What made this an unusually tasty treat was its wealth of different flavors and textures, including crunch from almonds, a velvety creaminess from Burrata cheese, plus earthiness contributed by mushrooms and zucchini. The comforting presence of linguine noodles along with a tangy cascade of Parmesan cheese miraculously linked all the varied components together. We recently did our best to recreate the dish from memory, and while ours was perhaps not quite as extraordinary as the one we remembered, it was nonetheless pretty darn good. Equally good with red or white wines, this pasta dish benefits from a smooth, silky pairing.
On My Table
Masterful Chardonnay
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

Ramey, Russian River Valley, Chardonnnay 2016 ($42): Long before the Ramey name appeared on wine labels as a brand of fine California wines, David Ramey was widely recognized as one of this country's most talented winemakers. I personally encountered him in the late 1980s when he was winemaker at Chalk Hill Winery in Sonoma and I was a Master of Wine student eager to devour the knowledge and experience he so generously shared. Most recently, I encountered him through this 2016 Chardonnay. Searching for the ideal California Chardonnay to use in my most advanced wine class, I tasted through various wines and, no surprise, I zeroed in on David Ramey's Russian River Valley bottling.