Wines that are worth the hunt

Hard to find, but worth looking for

wtopstaff | November 14, 2014 11:48 am

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Scott Greenberg,

WASHINGTON – Some wines are just worth looking for.

There are many wines that I really want to review but am reluctant to write about because they may not be readily available in our metropolitan area. While this is certainly a dilemma, it should not be a deterrent. After all, there are some very good wines that just may be worth the hunt.

Since many states now allow consumers to have wine shipped directly to them – within reason – acquiring a prized wine is easier than it has been in the past. However, shipping costs definitely add to the total price tag of the wine and weather may limit when you can receive the wine.

In addition, many wine shops in the area are fairly accommodating when it comes to hunting down a particular wine, so definitely ask your favorite merchant if they can help you locate something special. Retail prices are approximate.

Jamie Kutch fell in love with wine in a chat room on the internet. It’s not as strange as it seems, since many budding oenophiles often meet and get together for “offline” tastings through internet postings. But Jamie was bit harder than most by the wine bug. He left a good job in New York with his wife, Kristen, in tow to pursue a dream of making high-end pinot noir in California. The 2009 Kutch Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast is sourced from several vineyards throughout the Sonoma Coast and sports a lovely nose of red berry and bramble scents. Pretty flavors of cherry, raspberry and red plum wash over the tongue and finish with notes of toasty oak and minerality, balanced by moderate tannins. $40

The good news is the 2009 Alex Gambal Bourgone Chardonnay from Burgundy, France, is available in a few local wine shops. The bad news is due to its exceptional value, it can sell out rather quickly. In 1993, at the tender young age of 40, D.C. native Alex Gambal moved to France with his family for what was supposed to be a one-year sabbatical. Fortunately for wine lovers, he stayed and is now making world-class wines. His entry-level chardonnay is charming, with delicious flavors of green apples and nectarine on the front of the palate and lemon-lime citrus notes that pop in on the back of the palate and onto the bright, medium finish. $30

When my children were younger, they really wanted a dog. They convinced my wife to go along with the idea by telling her that they would name him in honor of her favorite zinfandel. And that’s how we ended up with Turley. Today, we still enjoy their wines, including the 2010 Turley Old Vines Zinfandel, produced from old, dry farmed vineyards from Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and several other counties in California. This bar-raising red wine is full of character, including flavors of blackberry jam, black licorice and mocha that seduce the palate. Firm tannins support highlights of cracked black pepper and dried sage on the lengthy finish. $26

Legendary winemaker Nils Venge, a six-foot-something, broad-shouldered blonde of Danish decent, fancies himself a modern-day cowboy. His 2007 Saddleback Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, Calif. is worth rounding up. Aromas of blackberry, cassis and cedar dominate the fragrant bouquet. Ripe black fruit – black plums and blackberries – sit on a well-balanced frame, with smooth tannins and pitch-perfect acidity. Notes of cedar, cocoa and roasted coffee linger on the supple finish. $55

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