Seasonal Picks 2022:
Staff Selections • Drew Fuller
2016 Lopez de Haro Reserva Rioja
I have always loved the wines from the Rioja region in Spain for their complexity and versatility. We recently added López de Haro 2016 Reserva to our Spanish section at Surdyk’s. It is an incredible value, especially given its location in San Vincente de la Sonsierra within the prestigious La Rioja Alta region. This area has grown wine grapes for over 2000 years, and today the vineyards are farmed organically with the utmost respect for the environment, utilizing farming techniques of hand pruning and hand harvesting. This minimal intervention philosophy extends to the winery, where they use only natural yeasts to begin fermentation in open-top concrete fermenters. The wine is aged in used French and American oak barrels for 20-24 months and cellared in bottle for 2 additional years before being released for shipping. The grape varietals for the 2016 vintage are 85% Tempranillo and 15% Graciano. The aromas are a beguiling combination of earth, cedar, ripe black fruits, and tobacco. These notes carry over to the palate, with the dark fruit showing first, followed by the tobacco, cedar, and dried herbs. I find that wines that capture my attention often show this dual nature of combining old world and new world wine characteristics, balanced by acidity and enough tannins to leave a memorable finish. This style will perfectly pair with Easter dinners of roasted leg of lamb, smoked ham, and turkey. Happy Easter and cheers to spring!!
2017/19 Chateau de la Roulerie ‘Coteaux du Layon’
(Loire Valley, France)
The Chateau de la Roulerie winery is in the commune of Saint Aubin de Luigne in the Loire Valley of France, which is a 3-hour drive SW from Paris. The vines on the estate were established in the 18th century and its vineyards have been certified organic and biodynamic since the 2015 vintage. At Surdyk’s, we have been fortunate to have the owner and winemaker Phillippe Germain visit us many times over the years to share his knowledge during tastings at our spring and fall wine sales. The 2017 Coteaux du Layon is 100% Chenin Blanc and is slightly sweet (all wines from this region are required to be sweet). The wine is aged in neutral older large oak barrels for 8 months. The wine shows a rich shimmering gold color, with an intense nose of honeysuckle, peach, and apricot. The lush flavors coat your mouth while bright acidity, chalk, and minerals help to focus the wine. Beautifully balanced, LONG finish and I ended my tasting notes with WOW! As an added bonus, we will have the 2019 vintage in house when the 2017 sells out, with the primary difference being the 2019 has more acidity and is brighter. The 2017 will age for another 10 years, while the 2019 will improve for the next 5 years. Pairs beautifully with spicy Thai and Indian food, blue cheeses, and fruit tarts. Salut!
Landskroon Cabernet Sauvignon
The current owners of Landskroon Winery are brothers Paul and Hugo de Villiers, 5th generation descendants of Jugo de Villiers, who settled in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa in 1692. Their family-owned vineyard and winery are located 40 minutes east of Cape Town on the southwestern slopes of Paarl Mountain. The Landskroon 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is made with 100% of that grape varietal and is aged in predominately 2nd, 3rd, and 4th fill French oak barrels. Aromas of black fruit mingle with cigar box, leather, and dried herbs. The aromas carry over to the palate, which first shows fruit forward character, but transitions into more complex flavors of toasty oak, subtle earth and soft but persistent tannins. Extremely drinkable right now but will evolve nicely for several more years. All these wonderful attributes are rarely associated with such an affordable wine, so don’t hesitate to stock up and make this beautiful South African wine your go to red this spring and summer! Enjoy with grilled meats and aged cheeses. Cheers!