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Old World/New World

Keeping pace with the hordes of wines from 'round the globe

Mole was moping. As I’ve said, a moping Mole is an awful omen.

“’Zup, pal?” I asked, warily.

“Mebbe we’s made anuder mistake,” he said, sad-faced, referring to last month’s report when we committed to covering “world” wines. “We can’t keep up wid world wines. We can’t even keep up wid Or’gun wines. Dere’s t’ousands a wines, more comin’ from all ovah all da time — new wines from Ukraine, China, Thailand, Hungary. Greece is makin’ sum fine juice agin. In the U.S. of A., ever’ state, even Hawaii, is makin’ wine. When we started, Or’gun had mebbe a dozen serious wineries. Now we gots ovah 400. We’s constantly behin’. All we can reely do is snoop aroun’ — no offense — listen to da pros, pass tips to da peeps, he’p um find good stuff at fair prices from wherevah.”

I kept quiet. Mole was right, as usual. Old World or “New” World, good wines come from all over. The “best” wines? Hordes of wine scribes — and now bloggers — are marking their scorecards and arguing for their taste. Best we leave them — and consumers — to their choices. We look for good wine values, good wines, good prices and offer our picks.

“You got it, pal,” I replied. “Let’s just do our work. Whatta we got this month?”

“’K,” he began, less mopey, “from Chile, drinkable wit’ fresh fishes, LaPlaya 2015 sauvignon blanc, 8 bux, crisp ’n clean, kinda citrusy, li’l bit a herbs, good balance a alcohol ’n acid.”

“Sure,” I said, “but I found a ringer. I was poking in the rosies at Sundance Wines, spotted this label, Love and Squalor picture of a string of ladies’ slips on a clothesline, thought, ‘Well, that’s me,’ grabbed up the bottle, ‘n, wow! Love and Squalor 2015 Rosé of Gewurztraminer ($17.50), very pale, almost transparent but tinted — how? I bought it — too weird not to try it ’n couldn’t get the name outta my head, took it home, yanked the cork, sipped, went online, found the Love and Squalor homepage, called, spoke directly with Matt Berson, owner-winemaker, asked him how he got any color outta green grapes. ‘It was tricky,’ he admitted. “Gewurztraminer, when it’s ripe, has a rosey color.’ So he waited for ripeness, de-stemmed, crushed, cold-soaked the grapes for 14 days, fermented in old barrels, got some color and lots of flavor. No sugar added, bone-dry. ‘I’m pretty happy with it,’ he said. Easy to see why: got some grapefruit, flowers, acute balance, ready for food. Berson suggested pairing with paella, saying the wine brings out the saffron in the dish. Don’t know yet, but it’s sure special, even unique.”

“Nice!” Mole burbled. “’N our pal Jim Dougherty steered us ta a rare Italian white, Saladini Palestri 2015 Falerio ($9), gots sum lime ’n mineral notes, real dry ’n clean, refreshing. It’s a blend of trebbiano, passerine ’n pecorino. ’Talians gots lotsa grapes nobody evah heard of befoah. But dey makes good juice. Been doin’ it a while.” 

“Podna,” I said, “we’re back in the saddle. Cool months comin’ — next month, let’s do reds.”

“Gotcha!” Mole smiled. Mole’s no Trumpie, but his smile — I swear — approached the trademark Trump smirk. Disturbing. I downed some wine, smiled my own self.