Kent’s Pick: 2012 Dona Ermelinda Reserva $15.99

Portugal is a great place to find value wines. The 2012 Dona Ermelinda Reserva has 6 years of of age on it, and is in a great place right now. The wine is comprised of four different grape varieties, with majority (70%) of the wine being Castelao.

Castelao is a grape indigenous to Portugal and is the most widely grown grape in the country. It is often used to make powerful, intense reds that are suitable for cellaring. This wine is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels and spends an additional 8 months in bottle before release. The nose is powerful and shows ripe, dark fruits, with a touch of spice and tar. On the palate the wine is rich and continues to show dark fruit, plum, spice, and tar. This is a great winter wine and will pair well with hearty stews and grilled meats.

Barry’s Pick: 2016 Raventos i Blanc de Nit Rosé $28.00

Even though the Raventos i Blanc estate has only been in the same family since 1497 they are still making unique wines that are super focused on expressing the place they come from. In 1872, Josep Raventos Fatjo made the first bottle of fermented wine in Spain using native grapes from his estate. Since then every decision that has been made has been to create quality wines while respecting the land they come from and letting that terroir come through in the glass.

This particular wine is made from 48% Xarel-lo, 32% Parrellada, 15% Macabeu and 5% Monastrell to add complexity and make the wine the light pink color that it is. All of these grapes come from the estate’s 300 biodynamically farmed acres. In 2012, Raventos left the DO Cava and created their own appellation, Conca Del Riu Anoia.

The wine is very dry with a streak of minerality that is maybe more prevalent than any sparkling wine I’ve had. There are also really lovely notes of flowers and citrus fruit to balance out that mineral influence. As it sits in the glass it really evolves and all the hard work that goes in to making such a thoughtful wine comes through in a very complex and pleasing way. Check it out!

Stephen’s Pick: 2017 La Pepie Muscadet Sevre Et Maine Sur Lie, $15.99

New wine drinkers might still be having trouble distinguishing between Muscadet and Moscato; however, our loyal French wine lovers have realized that the two could not possibly be more different!

Moscato is a sweet, Italian dessert wine that has been made extra popular due to it being featured at several local Italian restaurants. Muscadet is a dry, white wine from the part of the Loire region in France nearest the west coast and is many things, but definitely not sweet!

Muscadet originated near Nantes in the Pays de la Loire region and it boasts the status of the most widely produced of all Loire Valley wines. Naturally, since Muscadet has a coastal origin, it is produced and consumed along with great varieties of seafood. Muscadet and seafood (especially shellfish) are a match made in heaven!

Domaine de la Pepière Muscadet is produced from 100% Melon de Bourgogne grapes that are fermented in stainless steel tanks with natural yeasts and aged on the lees in large underground vats until bottled without filtering or fining. Muscadet’s benchmark style is racy, crisp, mineral-driven, and possesses a subtle hint of oceanic salinity – an attribute that compliments shellfish and other seafood beautifully.

I poured La Pépie Muscadet along with 4 other red wines a few weeks ago on a Wednesday tasting and nearly all of the tasters that tried wines that day preferred this dry, elegant, refreshing white over the others. My family enjoys crab, lobster, and other seafood delights every Christmas Eve and this year, La Pépie Muscadet was the perfect, tasteful, and refined compliment to this meal. It can be found in the center of our Wine Shop near the refrigerated wines in our Loire Valley section. Happy 2019!

Kathy’s Pick: 2015 Wildberry Two Passions Chardonnay, $16.99

I am a huge fan of unoaked Chardonnay and typically I am drawn to Oregon or Burgundian wines, but we just brought in this delicious wine from Australia and you really should try it. The palate is medium to fuller bodied, showcasing engaging fruit purity with tangy apple and stone fruit, peach/nectarine flavors nuanced with a light spice note all carried on a stream of embedded acidity that brings this to a juicy, but dry finish. Here is what Vinous wrote about it:

90 pts Vinous

“Light bright yellow. Lively, mineral-accented Meyer lemon, pear and nectarine aromas slowly take on a floral nuance. Sappy and focused on the palate, offering lively citrus and pit fruit flavors that deepen on the back half. In a lively style, finishing with very good energy and mineral cut.” -- Josh Raynolds

Bob’s Pick: 2015 Robert Hall Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, $17.99

Truly I’m not much of one for those big, big Cabs. Seems that in the recent past there has been a contest to see who can make the biggest. Certainly they have their place right next to a New York or a Ribeye Steak, but ‘Man does not live by cholesterol alone,’ so more often I’m looking for a wine with power AND finesse. This is one of them (it is my experience that Paso, in general, vints these kind of reds). Great flavors of dark berry and brier with a delicate finish of violets and a charcoal minerality. Besides the fact that you don’t have to wait a decade for the tannins to resolve, this bottle doesn’t have that N--- Valley price tag. Enjoy it even with a ribeye.

Bruce’s Pick: 2015 Givry “Sous La Roche”, Michael Sarrazin, $28.00

This wine hails from the Côte Chalonnaise, (south of the Côte-d’Or) which includes some of the great value communes in all of Burgundy. Givry is one of them and it lies just 7 kilometers from Mercurey, another such commune that I wrote about in another of my wine picks. The Sarrazin family has been making wine in this narrow valley since the 17th century, and the current owners of this estate, brothers Guy and Jean-Yves, continue this tradition with sustainable farming, hand-harvesting, indigenous yeast, and bottling unfined and unfiltered.

Both red and white wines are made in Givry, but like its sister commune Mercurey, it is perhaps better known for its reds, while the communes of Rully and Montagny, also in the Côte Chalonnaise are known more for their white wines. My Givry pick this month exhibits delicate aromas, fruit driven flavors and a light silky texture. It is this elegance and delicate purity that are the hallmark of the best red wines of this area. And did I mention that 2015 is a fabulous vintage for this region? Do not overlook these fine values....if you do you’ll be missing out on some outstanding under-the-radar Burgundies!

Reggie’s Pick: 2014 Philippe Livera, Fixin, En Olivier, Red Burgundy, $42.00

En Olivier on the label is known as a “Lieu-Dit” (translation; Said Location). This is a vineyard without designation, but still of significant quality. En Olivier is immediately north of the only premier cru vineyards in the appellation of Fixin, and lies directly north of highly regarded Gevrey Chambertin.Winemaker Damien Livera is the fourth generation of this Burgundian winemaking family. He strives to balance fruit with earthiness in showcasing the exceptional terroir of En Olivier. This wine is garnet in color, with an herbal, dried cranberry nose. It is medium light bodied, the mouth is dominated by Morello cherry, plum, nutmeg and refined tannins for a smooth, lingering finish. I enjoyed this wine with our Thanksgiving turkey, but it will also pair well with grilled chicken, pork tenderloin and a nice accompaniment to baked salmon. Enjoy!

Stephen’s Pick: 2016 Château Gigognan Côtes du Rhône Les Vignes du Prieuré, $16.99

Southern Rhones are certainly not uncommon at our Wine Shop.  All of them are good, easy to drink, versatile, and proudly displaying their own, individual expression of garrigue; the word referring to the spicy characteristics shared by many Southern Rhône, red blends. In Chateau Gigognan’s “Les Vignes du Prieuré,” we find a medium-bodied 50/40/10 GSM made from judiciously selected, de-stemmed grapes. Each varietal was initially fermented in heat-regulated tanks along with a long, 15-day maceration.  Blending of the three varietals, malolactic fermentation, and ageing occurred in cement tanks, so for those of you who like to appreciate your red wines to their fullest, unadorned potential; you will greatly enjoy this oak-free, spicy, garnet-colored, flavorful creation – dripping with black cherry kirsch, subtle nutmeg, and extra spices on the finish. At $16.99, this versatile Rhône is a holiday-season compliment to hearty stews, soups, antipasto platters, and just about any combination of charcouterie.  My family enjoyed several bottles of Chateau Gigognan’s Côtes du Rhône during Thanksgiving and it was a hit!