#147-149: Truly International Wine Issue

  • Special Report: Montefalco and Sagrantino di Montefalco
  • Operation Profile: Rockpool
  • Notebook: Wine in 2013
  • 890 Wines Recommended


Below is a summary of Restaurant Wine issue #147-149, published in January-June 2013. This issue is available for purchase online by clicking “Add to Cart” below.

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Featured in This Issue

Special Report: Montefalco and Sagrantino di Montefalco

One of Italy’s least known wine regions is Umbria, home to one of the country’s greatest red wines, Sagrantino di Montefalco. The dry version of this wine only rose to prominence in the 1990s, and today there are more than 80 producers of it, up from less than a dozen three decades ago… Here, we also review dozens of our favorite current releases.

Operation Profile: Rockpool

This Sydney restaurant is one of the top wine destinations in all Australia. It has an extensive cellar of classic wines from around the world, including those from major and emerging regions of Australia. Its sommelier team is nine-deep, and is headed by Master Sommelier Michael Engelmann, who works the floor six shifts a week. Here, we have a close look at what makes Rockpool’s wine program one of the best in the world.

Notebook: Wine in 2013

With the US economy mired in slow growth, we present five wine program reminders or suggestions for operators in order to help improve wine sales and profits in 2013 — and beyond.

Wine Recommendations

An extraordinary range of wines this issue, from California, Washington, and Oregon; as well as from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Chile, France; Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, and Turkey. The 890 wines recommended represent fewer than 40% of the total wines tasted for this issue.

From the USA, we present several excellent sparkling wines; outstanding Chardonnays from 2010 and 2011; fine Sauvignon Blancs from 2012 and 2011; superb Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Francs, and Merlots (and blends) from the 2010 and 2009 vintages, from California and Washington state; wonderful Pinot Noirs from 2011 and 2010; and a range of exceptional Petite Sirahs from 2009 and 2010.

From Argentina, we recommend several great value white wines (Torrontes, Chardonnay, Viognier), and no fewer than seven 5-star reds, from Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. From Australia, we are pleased to highlight many first rate wines, from an exceptional classic method sparkler to a great value Marsanne; and from superb Rieslings to top Shirazs.

From Austria, we were delighted by several Rieslings and Gruner Veltliners from the Wachau; while from Chile, we single out some of the best white, rose, and red wines we’ve yet tasted from this country — including remarkable values in Carmenere (both rose and red) and Cabernet Franc.

From France, we single out top whites from Sancerre and Arbois (this latter the best of its type we’ve ever tasted) and terrific reds from Burgundy, the Rhone Valley, and the Languedoc, while from Germany, we recommend one of greatest dry Rieslings from the excellent 2011 vintage.

From Italy, we detail dozens of recommended Soaves, and our top rated Umbrian white and red wines, including 8 Montefalco Rossos, 18 Sagrantinos, and 3 Sagrantino Passitos. We also reveal some remarkable values in Chianti Classico, Langhe Nebbiolo, Barbera d’Alba, and Rosso Piceno.

From New Zealand, we identify top value Rieslings, Sauvingon Blancs, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noirs, while from Portugal we recommend several splendid Douro whites and reds, as well as two aged Tawny Portos.

A wonderful range of great value wine is available from South Africa. Among white varietals, we recommend Chenin Blanc from De Morgenzon, Ken Forrester, Man Vintners, Raats Family, and Spice Route; Sauvignon Blanc from Beyond, Fairview, and Indaba; and Chardonnay from Buitenverwachting, De Morgenzon, Excelsior, Hamilton Russell, and Sutherland. Among reds, Syrah from Boekenhoutskloof (The Wolftrap), De Morgenzon, Excelsior, and Rudi Schultz; Pinot Noir from Hamilton Russell; Pinotage from Fairview (Primo), Kanonkop (Kadette), Ken Forrester (Petit), and Southern Right; Cabernet Franc from Raats Family; and Cabernet Sauvignon and blends from Ernie Els, Glen Carlou, Glenelly, Kanonkop, Ken Forrester, Neil Ellis, and Thelema.

Lastly, Turkey; a country with exceptional promise, but is even now producing outstanding wines from both international and native varieties. We recommend here several of each.