I did not have a definite pick in mind for June, but this time, the wine picked me. I was moving a large cart packed full of cases of wine, and I accidentally cut a corner too close, barely tapped a stack of wine, and one single bottle of Monte Oton Garnacha fell to the hard concrete floor and cracked-open. The result was an immediate rush of aromas flooding the shop—red fruits, and a little spice. I remembered that this particular wine had a history of selling quite well and I’d always wondered what the mystique was surrounding its popularity. The answer to this question was forming a growing, garnet-colored puddle in the middle of the shop’s floor. I tasted this wine officially the next day and immediately vowed to make it my June write-up! It’s $9.99 price is a modest one for such an excellent and immediately drinkable wine. Garnacha grapes are thin-skinned, making the resulting wine low in tannins and acidity. The result is a lovely, fruit-forward table wine that reminds us why some of the more famous Rhône-style Garnacha (Grenache) based wines such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Lirac are so popular.
I picked this wine from our selection of lower priced Bordeaux simply because I enjoy this category, and I think that we should be selling even more than we do. This Bordeaux Supérieur sports a typical cépage of 60 percent Merlot and 20 percent each Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The nose was quiet and subtle of faint plumb and berry notes. What struck me on first taste was, well not a lot, but in a good way! By that I mean no hard edges, no angular components, no heavy, over-the-top fruit or high alcohol burn, just everything in its proper place and balance. On the palate each sip glides effortlessly, with elegance and grace, leading to a silky, virtually weightless finish. This is not meant to be a top tier Bordeaux with layers of complexity (and with a price to match). It is however, a wine that doesn’t tax your intellect or your budget, while providing simple pleasure.
Spring is here! OK maybe it doesn’t feel like it yet, but it should arrive in earnest, soon. Along with arrival of warm weather and sunshine, comes the arrival of rosés at the Wine Shop! Stop in and check them out, we've got a ton. This month I've picked this selection from Spain to review. The wine is produced from 100 percent old vine Garnacha grapes (also known as Grenache) grown just to the northwest of Madrid. The vineyards were planted in the1960's in sandy limestone soil and sit at an elevation of over 2600 feet. I don't feel right if I'm not drinking my rosés outside, so even though the temperature was in the 50's, I put my feet up on my patio and enjoyed this wine. On the nose it shows strawberry and a touch of lime both supported by a light floral note. The wine offers very nice fruit on the palate including strawberry, a touch of tart cherry, while the lime note I picked up on the nose turned a little more towards grapefruit. The fruit is supported by a crisp minerality that comes from the soils where the vineyards are planted. If you're having a get together this spring make sure to include this in your rosé line up—you won't be disappointed!
I love Arianna Occhipinti! There I said it. Now that I got that off my chest I will go ahead with her favorite quote, (now, also my favorite quote): "We do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." These words are credited to St. Exupery, the French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist and pioneering aviator. Arianna obviously takes these words into account in everything she does in the vineyard and in the cellar, and the wines that result are intriguing, with gracious balance and finesse. Nero D' Avola is Sicily's most important grape variety, for good reason, but nowhere does this grape show case such splendor and charm as when in the hands of Arianna Occhipinti. This 2014 vintage is a fine example of that dedication to Mother Nature, and therefore to the character and quality that ooze from the glass. The wine is a beautiful, deep garnet color. The nose is incredibly inviting with bright cherry, eucalyptus and pomegranate notes. The tannins are super-fine and well integrated, and the feeling my palate gets when this wine spills over my taste buds is one of great warmth and comfort. Arianna says it best when she describes Siccagno as wild yet fresh, elegant, and red fruit flavored. Better get this one while it's here, there is not much available. Better yet, don't buy any so I can buy all the rest of it!
What would you do if someone told you that they found a bone-dry, red-wine that tasted like dark-chocolate covered, cordial cherries, and that it was from Castilla y Leon, one of the finest Tempranillo producing regions of Spain, all for less than $50.00? Well, there is a first time for everything! Tempranillo is known for having strong fruit flavors and aromas, and Rejón is up there with the finest I have ever had. It’s full-bodied with great, balanced tannins, and both herbal and fruit qualities on the palate and the nose. Rejón is an ultra-fine quality Tempranillo that I actually tried for the first time over the holidays (thank you, Tastevin!). I got home from work late one night and poured myself a glass and I was immediately taken with the dryness—like a silk tie on the back of my throat. Then, the flavors—the freshest black cherries possible, covered with liquid, dark-chocolate, and a bonus round of fruity, cordial alcohol in the finish—a complete delicacy! I am more than excited to have it on our shelves now, however, there are a limited number of bottles left. I suggest you get on over to the Wine Shop before I buy them all myself!
JUST FOR THE HAL-I—-BUT! That's right—I had purchased a nice filet of wild-caught halibut, and was looking for something to pair with it that was a cut above the daily drinker. Although I had not tried this particular vintage before, I did make a good educated guess. This is an excellent producer, one we have carried in our store for many years. From the iconic village (actually two adjacent villages) in the Maconnais region in southern Burgundy, the Chardonnay based wines from Pouilly and Fuisse are among the best known and best loved wines of the region. Although perhaps not as statuesque in grandeur (and not nearly as expensive) as their cousins in northern Burgundy, still, from the best producers they can deliver a special Burgundian Chardonnay experience. This example has a low-oak profile and a refreshing vein of minerality that make it especially suitable for the table. With superb precision and detail and a wonderful balance on the palate (a hallmark of the 2014 vintage) the resulting finish is mouthwatering and satisfying: the perfect pairing for my delicious yet subtle fish. The antithesis of an oak or butter bomb, this Chardonnay is welcome at my table anytime!
This was one of my go-to, best buys several years ago, and it is back on track with the 2015 vintage. Load of juicy loganberry and lush rich berry fruit in the middle, with perfect acidity to keep it bright. Chill this lightly and try it with your spring barbecue. Superb!
This little Chard from Chile is something of a surprise. To quote the POTUS, it just “gets better and better and better, and it’s gotten really, really good, and a lot of people are liking it a lot.” While he was referencing Trump Care, version 2.0, it works for this wine, as well. Clean, crisp with bright citrus fruit, it reminded me more of a good Chablis than a Chilean Chardonnay. Then I noticed the name in small print at the top of the label: William Fèvre. Could this be the same Fèvre of Chablis fame. The simple answer was yes. Decades back, he was looking for potential Chardonnay vineyards. While in Chile, he wondered why growers planted their fruit in valley flats, when he hit upon some promising land higher up in the Andes near the banks of the Maipo. Fèvre struck up a partnership with owner Victor Pino Torche—La Mision is the result. Today, Filipe Uribe makes the wine, but the unmistakable influence of Chablis is there. It is easily one of the best buys in pure, unoaked Chardonnay.