Adobe White ($10.50)
Paso Robles, California
From the producer:
"FLAVOR: Ripe peach and crisp apple flavors with hints of creamy orange blossom, lemon zest, and a tease of nutmeg spice.
FOOD PAIRING: Pair with simply prepared seafood and poultry, salads and fresh vegetables. Also great with lightly spicy Asian, Indian, and Latin American cuisine.
WINERY: Each varietal was fermented separately. Raised entirely in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks to preserve fruit flavors. Aging on the fermentation lees contributes to a beguiling creaminess. A final blend was determined, and its elements were married a month or two prior to bottling.
36% Viognier 34% Grenache Blanc 24% Sauvignon Blanc 6% Princess"
This is a delicious, wallet-friendly white blend that is great for spring and summer meals. It has just enough fruitiness to appeal to a broad set of tastes, without being sweet. The lees aging gives it smoothness on the palate and a little bit of body.
Paul Jaboulet Aîné Parallele 45 Côtes du Rhône Blanc ($15.99)
Southern Rhone Valley, France
From the producer:
This Côtes du Rhône takes its name from the 45th North parallel which runs two kilometres from our cellars. In the village of Pont de l’Isère, a monument symbolises this line with an inscription: 'The South begins here.' Our wine has had this name since the beginning of the 1950s.
Loess and sandy soils.
50% Grenache blanc ; 20% Marsanne ; 20% Viognier ; 10% Bourboulenc.
Age of the vines:
In stainless steel tanks.
2 to 3 months, 50% in oak casks.
Pale yellow colour with greenish hues.
Aromatic and fresh with white flowers and citrus fruit.
Ample and warm, with an attractive fresh final note.
Matching Food and Wine:
Fricassé of curried mussels
Tressé of brill and salmon with sorrel
Feuilleté de Haddock aux herbettes
Best enjoyed within:
The appellation Côtes du Rhône is usually associated with red wine, so this is a great way to introduce yourself to the area's white blend. It has fresh white fruit flavors with a hint of floral notes and a satisfying underlying minerality. Partial oak aging smoothes out the mouthfeel without making the wine too heavy on the palate. This is the entry-level wine from a well-known and highly regarded vintner, but it's no slouch!
Owen Roe Coop White Rhone Blend ($24.99)
Yakima Valley, Washington
From the producer:
"'You don’t let the fox guard the henhouse.'
Celebrating the endearing thief in this cautionary tale, the Owen Roe employees humbly bring you COOP, a co-operative employee share wine. Through peerless plundering of the Owen Roe henhouse, we share 100% of the success of this wine. Drink up. It’s okay to abet in our banditry.
VIOGNIER 70% | MUSCAT 17% | ROUSSANNE 13%
This dry white blend aged 9 months in 100% Stainless Steel fermenters, sourced from our estate Outlook Vineyard in the Yakima Valley.
TASTING NOTES: Tropical aromas of pineapple and lemon juice are nicely balanced with palate notes of honeydew, fresh cut grass and honeysuckle. Great minerality and bright acidity make this the perfect white wine to pair with grilled fresh-caught seafood topped with a colorful fruit salsa or can be served chilled alongside artisan cheese and charcuterie."
This is what I call a "geeky wine." The grapes are not as well-known to the American palate, and the blend is very unusual. It's not a surprise to me that the winemakers got to choose it. The flavors come together beautifully, with acidity balancing the fruitiness. Stainless aging allows you to really taste the fruit without the softening effect of oak.
Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino ($12.99)
From the distributor:
"Argiolas is the foremost wine estate on the island of Sardinia producing archetypal wines from native varietals. The winery was founded in 1938 by Antonio Argiolas and was the first on the island to pursue quality over quantity. Today, the Argiolas family is recognized as Sardinia’s leading producer of wine.
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean and lies roughly 190 miles west of Italy's mainland. The vineyards of Argiolas are located in Serdiana in the Trexenta hills just north of the capital of Cagliari. Argiolas farms 600 acres of native Sardinian grapes including Nuragus, Monica, and Cannonau.
Costamolino, named for the area, is made from Vermentino, an aromatic white grape variety that thrives in the Mediterranean climate of Sardinia. The grapes are harvested in August and September and vinified in stainless-steel tanks to retain acidity. A small percentage sees malolactic fermentation to give the wine roundness and texture.
Vermentino often shows the fragrance of macchia, the mix of evergreen shrubs and herbs that typifies the Sardinian landscape. Costamolino hints at aromas of pine and mint coupled with ripe stone fruit and sweet citrus. The palate is at once vibrant and textural and finishes with lingering acidity.
Costamolino is produced with the Mediterranean table in mind. The wine’s lemony acidity will accent rock lobster or squid but carries enough weight to work with spaghetti topped with bottarga or a bowl of brothy clams and fregola. Vermentino’s herbal flavor can also highlight vegetables such as fava beans or fennel."
I really love wines from the Mediterranean islands, and Costamolino is one of my very favorites. It's a great alternative to Pinot Grigio, as it has a light body and a bright, refreshing flavor. I enjoy that the citrus is quite prominent, and that the wine's acidity does not overwhelm the palate. If you have never had Sardinian wine, do start with this one.
Pratello Lugana ($14.99)
From the producer:
"Visual analysis is denoted with colours that are golden but not intense, whose pale greenish shades are well-structured; the traces are intact and are reflected in the vinous disk which shows dense and compact glyceride arches. Everything is clean and intact both demonstrable enough when the glass is rotated or stationary.
The nose shows floral and fruity hints, medium bodied whose smoothness is shows clean sensations of juniper berries and then Golden Delicious apple and finishes beautifully with pear William.
In the mouth this wine is very soft, having almost perfect equilibrium, where the bitter, sour, sweet and salty flavours are well distributed in the glass, from sipping the product to swallowing. The taste is dominated by peach, apple and white rose petals that are perceived unmistakably and tasted pleasantly when sipping this nectar.
Wine accompanies a wide gastronomic ranges, with a predilection for both dishes based on fish of the sea and lake, and pasta and rice dishes as well as second courses always of fish, grilled, in casseroles, baked, Mediterranean fried, gratins, soups in various ways, and according to local tradition."
This wine producer aims to make less traditional wines from offbeat grapes, and with this 100% Turbiana white, he has certainly succeeded. The grape is native to the area, so the wine has a true sense of terroir. The farming is organic and the fermentation and aging is in stainless steel, so the result is a product that really shows off the fruit itself. This is a delicious, fresh, and drinkable wine.
San Marzano Primitivo di Manduria ($16.99)
From the producer:
San Marzano, Salento, Puglia. The area is about 100 meters above sea level, with high average temperatures and medium-low rainfall. The soft soil layer is clayey and quite thin, with a good presence of rocks.
In French and American wood barrels for 6 months.
A wine that preserves its organoleptic characteristics for 5 years.
Ruby red colour enriched with violet reflections; generous bouquet, which recalls ripe cherries and plums, with pleasant notes of cocoa and vanilla. This wine has a velvety texture, softened by the warmth of the Primitivo grapes; the finish offers notes of persistent sweetness.
Best served with:
Savoury first courses, lamb and game with rich sauces, hard cheeses."
Primitivo is genetically very similar to Zinfandel (they are both clones of the same Croatian grape), and it produces a round, fruit-forward, and smooth wine. While many Italian reds are noted for their strong tannins, Primitivos are a bit more mellow and approachable. This is a great example of wines from the "heel" of Italy, where the climate and soil lend bold ripeness and light earthiness.
Des Amis ($14.99)
Napa Valley, California
From the producer:
“Des Amis translates as 'friends.' We chose this name because friends are at the core of our philosophy. Our friendship is the reason we wanted to make a wine together, and we've relied on friends to make this wine a reality. Grapes and juice are sourced from fellow winemakers that we have beers with after work and barbeque with on weekends. In addition to the wine itself, they generously offer use of their cellars and labs, share expertise on the winemaking, and let us use their bottling lines. Without these friends, making Des Amis would not be half as good, nor half as fun. We would like to thank everyone involved in our passionate Rosé project, and hope that anyone enjoying a bottle does so with friends.
Appearance: Des Amis Rosé truly catches your eye with a beautiful French Rose color.
Aroma :On the nose, aromas of peach, watermelon, and tart red plum create a delicate and aromatic bouquet.
Palate: Flavors of summer watermelon continues onto the palate where it is joined with ripe mango and a bright citrus finish of tangerine and grapefruit. This dry style rosé reminds us of a picnic after a refreshing April rain. Enjoy this chilled and among friends.
Varietals: 76% CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 14% MERLOT, 4% CABERNET FRANC, 3% SYRAH, 2% PETIT VERDOT, & 1% MALBEC "
I recently enjoyed Des Amis paired with grilled pork chops and roasted spicy carrots. Its juiciness perfectly balanced the meat, and the fuit-forward palate was an excellent complement to the spicy earthiness of the carrots. This is a unique blend for a rosé, and it shows in its gorgeous color. It is a departure from the style of Southern France, as it has a bit more body and less minerality. Des Amis is a riper wine that can be enjoyed with or without food.
Sables d'Azur Côtes de Provence ($12.99)
From the producer:
"Sables d’Azur blends of the best selection of Rosé wines from interior Valley of Provence and Sainte Victoire Terroir. These Côtes de Provence vineyards benefit fully from the Mediterranean climate: mild winters, early spring and moderate summers, when the sun’s continuous and beneficial rays ensure the vines produce fully mature grapes, oozing ripe juice. A dry fresh and clean rosé wine, with crispy acidity, and a wonderful souvenir of Provence!
Grapes are completely de-stemmed before direct pressing and fermentation at low temperature.
Eye: Pale rosé peach colored .
Nose: Elegant nose with delicate hints of small red fruits (red currant) and sweet citrus fruits (clementine,sweet grapefruit).
Palate: Crispy and fresh mouth with a good balance between alcohol and acidity. A finish with sweet hints.
Best served at 8°-10° C as an aperitif, or accompanying grilled “plancha” fish or dishes with provençal vegetables such as “tian de legumes” or Ratatouille. Also a perfect match with Asian and fusion food and Sushi."
This is the more traditional style of dry rosé from Provence. It ticks all the boxes: light minerality, fresh fruit on the palate, and extremely versatile for food pairings. The bottle is traditional, with its beautiful curves, and the color is delicate and warm.
Naveran Brut Vintage Rosado ($15.99)
From the producer:
"Naveran Brut Rosado is an estate-bottled vintage Cava that sells for a song! Proprietor Michel Guilleron Parellada's goal with this Cava is to show the purity, youth and bright flavor characters of the Pinot Noir and Parellada used to make it. The Naveran family legacy began in 1901. Today the Estate has 110 hectares (272 acres) of vines in the town of Torrelavit located in the Alt (high) Penedés sub-region. Despite the fact that Cava is Spain's largest volume of wine exported to the U.S., Cavas are made utilizing the same methods used in Champagne and have remained Spain's best-kept secret for quality and value in wine. Caves Naveran is a premium Cava producer that uses estate-grown grapes. Naveran Brut Rosado is a grower Cava that spends 18 months on its lees after fermentation in the bottle to achieve greater depth, complexity and the fine, delicate and long lasting bubbles, called mousse by the French, and are an indication of a sparking wine's quality.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
This wine is the least expensive vintage bubbly on the planet (taste it blind against a $40 non-vintage 'big brand' Champagne). Made by the Naveran family since 1901. This bodega has a great tradition of crafting Cavas that are superb expressions of clean, bright, citrus-inflected aromas and flavors with the all-important tiny bubbles.
60% Pinot Noir and 40% Parellada. Organically grown vines planted from 1975-1999. Tended in clay and limestone soil at 400 m (1,312 ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.
Cavas are very versatile as an apéritif before the meal, to accompany dessert afterwards and (surprise!) to enjoy during the meal. This Naveran Brut Rosado will pair with soft cheeses, fresh fruit, white meats (pork and chicken) and even richly flavored red meats. This Cava is great for sipping on its own, especially for receptions and other 'standing up' events.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING:
Each grape variety is harvested, crushed and fermented separately in stainless steel tanks at low temperature, with coupage in November, tirage and second fermentation in the bottle typical of the méthode Champenoise. Then, disgorgement (deguelle) is followed by dosage. The wine is aged for 18 months on its lees."
This is a brand new product that I will be tasting for the first time with you on Friday! Judging by the quality of the Naveran Brut Nature, I expect nothing less than a beautiful bubble, with complexity and drinkability. I'm very much looking forward to this one!