We had a reception for about 50 people to honor a visiting artist. I bought cases of each of these wines. Rate all three as Great Value. We served an array of fairly assertive cheeses, with various crackers and breads; little sandwiches LL made with prosciutto or salami or smoked salmon, with arugula and roasted red pepper; guacamole and hummus and a fresh tomato salsa with tortilla chips; and taquitos, cigarette-size tortilla roll-ups stuffed with chicken and cheese.
2006_rr_sb_label.jpg The Rock Rabbit Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Central Coast, California, is fresh, clean and sprightly, not overwhelming with grapefruit, but a little softer with lemon-lime and tangerine scents and flavors. There’s a mild herbal element, a snap of celery and gooseberry, a hint of honeysuckle. The wine, made completely in stainless steel, is dry and crisp; the finish allows a bit of grapefruit and limestone to seep in for a bracing conclusion. None of these aspects appear with mark intensity or concentration, but the wine is quite tasty and rates Very Good. About $10.
Wrongo Dongo 2006, is made from 100 percent monastrell (mourvèdre) grapes in the Spanish wine region of Jumilla; the producer is Bodegas Hijos de Juan Gil. This is a boisterous and rustic red wine, well-suited for hearty fare like smoked ribs or pork chops or Gorgonzola burgers. Robust, spicy flavors of black currant and black plum are bolstered by slightly barky tannins and a distinct clean earthy quality. No great complexity here; just full-throttle flavor in a countrified package. Very good. About $10 and often discounted to $8 or $9.
A Jorge Ordoñez import.
Alba Liza 2005, Tierra de Castilla, Spain, is blended of tempranillo (65%) and garnacha or grenache (35%); the producer is Bodegas Tikalo. This too is a rustic and robust wine that displays a bit more character than Wrongo Dongo. Crushed black currants, blackberries and plums are woven with lavender, violets and licorice and hints of baking spice. In the mouth the wine mixes chocolate-covered black raspberries and black cherries with potpourri and minerals, while tannins bring in elements of briers and brambles for a moderately austere finish. This is a really well-made wine for buying by the case. Very good+. About $11, but often discounted to $9 or $10.
An Eric Solomon European Cellars Selection.