Showing posts with label Richard Maier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Richard Maier. Show all posts

Monday, October 10, 2011


Maier Family Meritage

Richard Maier always shows up at the big tent sale at Wally’s in Los Angeles to personally sell his wine.  He’s there by the stack of cases - pouring, talking, autographing bottles, talking, pouring some more - all in an effort to let another city full of wine buyers know not only how good his wine is, but what a great deal it is.

The Maier Family Meritage produced at St Helena Road Winery is a Bordeaux blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot, “grown high in the Sonoma County mountains,” according to the back label.  This single vineyard beauty was produced in a quantity of only 43 barrels, and is aged for 20 months in that French oak.  Its retail price was $34 earlier this year, and I bought it at Wally’s tent sale for the screaming deal of $23.

After unscrewing the cap and pouring a glassful, the juicy aromas immediately come forward.

Currant, blackberry, a beautiful herbal underlay all jump right into the nostrils and start shifting the olfactory gears.  The aromas are mesmerizing.  The very dark fruit blends seamlessly with that herbal element.

Big tannins and graphite are set off by a strong minerality.  There’s a greenness on the palate,too, which matches that on the nose.

The wine is probably a bit young yet.  The tannins are quite forceful, and don’t really settle down as a couple of hours pass.  Perhaps due to the tightly sealed screw cap, the second night showed much the same aggressiveness.  On the third night I enjoyed this Meritage, I got sneaky and unscrewed the cap the night before.  Now, a note of tar appears on the nose and the tannins are more manageable, but still quite firm.  The green, herbal quality on the palate now takes a back seat to the driving force of the big, juicy, dark fruit.  On the finish, notes of chocolate remain.

Do yourself a favor and decant this wine for quite a while before drinking it.  You’ll be glad you did.

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Monday, March 14, 2011


Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre

The tent sale at one of my local wine shops - Wally's, in Los Angeles - is an event to which I am always drawn as if by magnetic power.  They could have the sale in the store, but it just wouldn't be the same even if the prices were.

Something about the carnival atmosphere produced simply by throwing up a big tent over a parking lot holds large sway over me.  I'm sure others feel attracted to tent sales, too, or there wouldn't be so many of them.  For me, though, it's only the one at Wally's where I find myself under the big top twice a year.

I see some of the same people there on each visit.  It's always nice to stop by Richard Maier's stack of wine cases, on top of which he is always pouring tastes of his rich Maier Family wines from the Sonoma side of Spring Mountain.  A guy named Anthony is usually pouring some Argentine delight or another.  And I swear the shoppers I see cruising the tented aisles - whose names I don't know - are as familiar as my neighbors, maybe more so.

The big thrill of the event is discovering new wines, of course.  One such thrill is the Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre.

Produced in the town of Fumane, near Verona, this big red is the first of my most recent finds I've tried, and it made the trip worthwhile.  This wine utilizes Corvina and Rondinella grapes.  A majority of them are vinified right after harvest, but some are sent to the drying room, Amarone-style, before being vinified in January.  Then the wines are blended and aged in oak barrels.  This estate-bottled wine has 13.5% abv, and lists for $22.  I picked it up for $16.

This Italian beauty is inky black in the glass.  The raisiny character promised on the label certainly comes through on the nose.  A huge element of dried fruit greets the nostrils, not smelling sweet at all, but very fruity nonetheless.  There is also a tar aroma.  The wine is very dry on the palate, with a full, hearty mouthfeel that’s more like a beef stew than a beverage.  That dried fruit plays on the palate, too, with a raspberry angle.  After a bit of breathing time, the tannins are silky smooth and the acidity is bright.

Go ahead and keep your in-store sales and online deals.  Finding wines like this makes me keep my eyes open for tents.