Argillae Orvieto ($15.99)
From the producer:
"Orvieto is Umbria’s and one of Italy’s most famous white wines and Argillae wishes to pay homage to its regional tradition creating a fresh dry wine, with intense aromas of flowers, citrus and tropical fruits. Broad to the nose and persistent on the palate, this wine surprises with its elegance, its perfect balance between flower and fruit scents and its extraordinary freshness.
Grechetto, Procanico, Malvasia, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Argillae Orvieto pairs beautifully with a delicate and refined cuisine. Try with grilled and baked fish, cous cous salads and pasta dishes."
This Orvieto is, for lack of a better way of saying it, a savory wine. The fruit is very subtle, and is balanced out by a mild salinity. The mouthfeel is smooth with a little weight, though the minerality keeps it from being too heavy. This is an excellent pairing wine for seafood. I find this much more appealing for its complexity.
Gouguenheim Extra Brut Rose of Malbec ($12.99)
From the producer:
"Our 98 acres vineyard is located over 3.600 feet above sea level. In a region of desert climate, dry and sunny, with 320 days of sun exposure a year and big temperature amplitude (over 16°C). Alluvial and sandy soils. Drip irrigation with water from the melted snow of the Andes Mountains. All these exceptional conditions allow a perfect ripening of the grapes providing our wines with vivid colors, good acidity and a good maturity of the tannins.
Delicate with red fruit aromas, predominantly of cherries and strawberries. Very fresh in the mouth, soft tones with equilibrated acidity. Small and brilliant bubbles."
This is a very unusual find: 100% sparkling Malbec rose. I was intrigued by the concept, and when I tasted it, I fell just a little in love. It is a beautifully delicate pink color, with small bubbles and a refreshing crispness. Malbec lends itself well to this style of wine, as the flavor is fruit-forward and yet very dry. Just a lovely wine.
Benoit Gautier "Argilex" Dry Vouvray ($13.99)
People often assume that Vouvray will be semi-sweet or sweet, but this is not always the case. This is Vouvray Sec, which means that it is dry. The residual sugar is at about .4%, which isn't the driest of white wines, but isn't close to off-dry (1% RS). What you do get is a lot of juicy fruit in this wine: pear, apple, and quince. The acidity keeps the wine bright on the palate. This pairs well with seafood, especially oysters and sushi. It can also be enjoyed as an aperitif.
100% Chenin Blanc
Joseph Burrier Mâcon-Fuissé ($16.99)
From the producer:
"Located in the south of Burgundy,the large Mâcon Blanc Villages Appellation covers more than 300 acres on 41 villages. The village of Fuissé counts more
than 20 ha of Mâcon Villages that can claim the rare appellation of
Mâcon Fuissé. Fuissé is more known for its Pouilly Fuissé production. Joseph Burrier vinifies about 1,5 ha of Mâcon Fuissé grapes coming from the cirque
heights surrounding the village. Here, the altitude situation (350m) of the rocky, clayey and calcareous soils, demand to be patient before harvesting. These ‘Terroirs’ give mineral wines with a lot of character.
Average annual production: 10 000 bottles.
The Mâcon Fuissé evokes the white flowers and fruits. The wine is rich, structured and well balanced in the mouth with a citrus finish. The best moment to drink this wine is within 3 years after bottling."
It is unusual to see a Mâcon-Fuissé, so this wine is novel for that reason, but what is really special about it is the quality for the price. This is 100% Chardonnay from Burgundy, rich on the palate with nice oak and just enough acidity to give it structure. The farming practices are organic, and the winemaking is low-intervention. To get all of those attributes in a wine under $20 is rare, so this is a real find. For those of you who love a California Chard with oak, I urge you to try this instead.
La Griveliere Côtes du Rhône ($8.99)
From the importer:
"Côtes du Rhône is overpopulated with Thrush birds, or Grive in French, that
devour the grapes in the vineyards when ripe.
Tasting Notes: Well-balanced with aromas of red fruits and spices and subtle hints of vanilla and earth. Rich, full-bodied and round in the mouth. The finish is long with mild tannins. Perfectly suited for everyday meals like simple grilled white and red meats or non-complicated pasta dishes.
Aging: 6 months in a combination of cement tanks & large oak casks, followed by 18 months in bottle
80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Carignan, 5% Mourvedre"
This is easily one of the best values in the store, and an excellent choice if you are just starting out with French wines, or if you want and everyday table wine. It is a solid entry-level Côtes du Rhône that drinks above its price, and it's a nice red wine for all seasons.
Montinore "Borealis" ($14.50)
Willamette Valley, Oregon
From the producer:
"Mouthwatering and multi-dimensional, this perennial crowd pleaser is a blend of our favorite cool-climate whites: Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris and Riesling. Intensely aromatic, with a nose of tropical flowers, ripe kiwi and melon, the silky soft palate is brimming with rose petals, pink grapefruit, mango and white nectarine then finishes on a high, clean note of bright key lime."
This is an elegant and unique blend of Gewurztraminer, Muller-Thurgau, Riesling, and Pinot Gris made by Montinore Estate in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The estate is Demeter Certified Biodynamic and Stellar Certified Organic. The wine is unusual and beautiful, waking every part of the palate and finishing very smoothly. The Pinot Gris grounds the blend, keeping it from being too acidic or too sweet. While there is some residual sugar, it doesn't come across the palate as anything other than ripe fruitiness. I highly recommend this wine, especially if you are making the transition from sweeter to drier wines.
Treana Blanc ($24.99)
From the producer:
"The 2014 Treana Blanc is a beautifully complex wine. Pale gold in color, enticing fruit aromas of pineapple, guava and Mandarin orange are accentuated by floral notes of honeysuckle and citrus blossom. An intriguing yet subtle hint of crushed seashells adds to the complexity of the nose. On the palate, the entry is plush with a seductive, silky texture that complements the harmonious blend of tropical, citrus and stone fruit flavors that are softened by creamy vanilla, clove and nutmeg. The acid profile is mouthwatering, impeccably balanced and well integrated, while a kiss of minerality and a long vibrant finish rounds out this unique white blend.
45% Viognier, 45% Marsanne, 10% Roussanne"
Treana is one of the labels produced by Hope Family Wines, a family-owned wine company from the Central Coast of California. All of their wines are made from sustainably grown grapes, following best farming practices to ensure the health of the vines, and only using chemical intervention when absolutely necessary. The Treana Blanc is a Rhone style blend of Viognier, Marsanne, and Rousanne. Fruit forward and full bodied, it is a stunner of a wine. It's well-balanced, is smooth on the palate, and has a deliciously long finish. If you've never had a white blend before, this one is a great introduction.
Pisco Porton ($43.99)
From the producer:
"Like all good things, pisco began as an act of rebellion. In 1641, the King of Spain—Philip IV—imposed heavy taxes on all wine produced in Peru. In response, his new world subjects dodged the onerous tax by distilling the year’s grape harvest. In hand-forged copper vats nearly four centuries ago, a new white spirit was born and christened pisco, a reference to the Port of Pisco from where this new spirit was exported and which means ‘bird’ in the indigenous Quechua language. To this day, Peruvians call it their native spirit.
Pisco can boast what only a handful of other spirits enjoy: a Denomination of Origin. This means, quite simply, that all pisco must be made in a specific region and under the strictest of guidelines. All piscos are made in distilleries along the south western coast of Peru and must be distilled from any of eight specific aromatic and non-aromatic grape varietals: Quebranta, Negra Corriente, Mollar, Italia, Muscat, Albilla, Torontel and Uvina.
In its distillation, pisco must be made in small batches, crafted in traditional copper pot stills and left unaged or unaltered, meaning that not even water is added to the finished product. Pisco is distilled to proof, a rarity in a world where spirit makers distill to high alcohol levels and then add water to dilute to their desired proof.
Appearance: Crystal clear with medium viscosity.
Nose: Fresh and clea. Floral and fruity with hints of grapaes, vanilla, herbs, and pepper.
Palate: Full-bodied, creamy texture that becomes smooth and sweet. Hints of rich flavors, including cinnamon, orange blossom, and citrus.
Finish: Long, luxurious, and smooth."
This is the first Pisco I ever had, and it's by far my favorite. I enjoy sipping it neat, but it's wonderful in a cocktail. It's made in the same way that Grappa is, but I find Pisco much smoother, with a little bit of earthiness. The most famous way to drink it is in a Pisco Sour, but I love it in Next Door Kitchen's "Scarlet Glow." If you don't like Tequila, but want a spirit that is more robust than vodka, I highly recommend Pisco.