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Wine, don’t whine



Fortunately, the wine brokers in Oklahoma are making it easy for you to increase your exposure to wine, as 2012 is beginning with a spate of new (and new again) wines hitting metro shelves and restaurants.

About six years ago, a line of Spanish wines came and went with scant notice. But Oklahoma Gazette noticed. Back in July 2008, we included Castano Solanera, a Cabernet-Monastrell blend, in our “20 Under $20” story. That delicious red blend will be back with some Garnacha added to the mix, accompanied by about three-dozen Spanish wines from Eric Solomon’s European Cellars line.

Thirst Wine Merchants (4100 Will Rogers Parkway), the line’s agent in the state, is bringing European Cellars back to the metro after a short hiatus. Corey Bauer, a representative of Thirst, said Solomon collects some of the best wines available in Spain.

“We’ll have some in the $50 to $70 range,” Bauer said, “but the overwhelming majority of these wines are going to be under $20.”

That includes the Castano Monastrell, which will be under $10, and the Martin Codax Albarino, which comes in at about $15.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Williams Selyem Pinot Noir. In 1981 in a California garage, Williams Selyem became one of the original cult Pinot Noirs in the U.S. It will be available in Oklahoma beginning this month.

The wines are remarkably consistent year to year, and the 2009 vintage scored 90+ from Wine Spectator on nine different Pinot Noirs. Their winemaker, Bob Cabral, was the Wine Enthusiast winemaker of the year for 2011.

right, Corey Bauer of Thrist Wines with Williams Selyem Pinot Noir

Also on the high end is the Alpha Omega line from Napa Valley. The wines from winemaking team Jean Hoefliger and the world-renowned Michel Rolland reflect the pair’s vast experience in French winemaking.

Oklahoma will get Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Proprietary Red (a Bordeaux-style blend), Cabernet, and the winery’s flagship, Era. Era is sourced from five outstanding vineyards in Napa, and only 700 cases are produced.

Janee Delancey, a representative of Alpha Omega, said, “We don’t just buy grapes from those wineries. We lease acres so that we can control the entire process.”

The method leads to maximum control of the finished product, resulting in wines that reflect Hoefliger and Rolland’s vision for Bordeaux in Napa.

Oklahoma finally will see the Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Rouge. The Cotes de Tablas wines have long been in the state, but we’ve been waiting for years for this remarkably affordable, critically acclaimed, Rhone-style red blend from the same winery. Both Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate praised the wine for its quality and price, usually about $20-$25.

Photo by Mark Hancock

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