Francoise Chauvenet NV Brut

Alright, so it’s high time I included a bubby in my blog.  Especially in time for the wine sale TOMORROW where you can snag this delicious little guy for $9!!  Yes, per bottle!  Plus, as an added bonus, this bottle is French, which means it LOOKS expensive.  Oh, you didn’t know that?  Everything that’s French looks expensive, it’s a widely accepted rule.  That means it’s the perfect bottle to serve at a party for some friends.  You could even learn to say it properly- “Franswaz Show-ven-ay.”  Just picture all the people you can impress.  Or, if you’re like me, you can sit in bed and drink it out of a cheap wine glass from World Market, in your sweatpants, while you download songs on iTunes, and put off cleaning the house- impressing no one.  But that is the great thing about inexpensive wine- you can open it for yourself and not feel obligated to do anything special at all!

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See?  There it is, on my nightstand next to the cheap wine glass.  Moving on, let’s get some descriptors going for this little guy: it’s a nice pale yellow in color, smells light and fresh and fruity.  Has a bit of honey, straw, some toast… it has a nice delicacy that I love in a bubbly.  Goes down soooo easily, so easy to drink!  I got so distracted writing this that I burned my dinner.  I wasn’t planning on going out tonight, but it looks like little Francoise here has forced me to… funny how Champagne can do that, isn’t it?

Well, I don’t feel the need to be overly verbose when it comes to this wine- it’s fantastic, and it’s $9.  What else do you need to know?  And if you’re not convinced, come down to Cellar on Greene tomorrow between 12 and 2 and taste for yourself!  Plus- you can pick up some OPALA Vinho Verde and Atteca Grenache, too!  They’ll be there!  Hope to see everyone then!

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Atteca Old Vines Grenache

Oh, Michael Cramer.  Do you fondly rememeber when I claimed to not like Grenache for the longest time?  And how you used to open bottle after bottle to try to change my mind?  Tres Picos was the turning point- I finally acquiesced and admitted it was pretty rockin’.  Truth it, I liked it long before then, I just thought it was funny to let you keep trying wholeheartedly to change my mind.  Interestingly enough, this Atteca Grenache is imported by the same dude who imports the Tres Picos Grenache.  He certainly knows what he’s doing, because this wine rocks!

Which brings me to the latest installment in my love of reasonably priced Grenache.  Many of the Cellar on Greene/Mr. Friendly’s regulars know about the G3 Grenache and how fantastic it is.  It’s been one of our top selling wines since we opened.  WELL, let me just say… I think the Atteca may have it beat by just a hair.  I know!  It’s a bold statement for those of you who love the G3.  But please, come down to the wine sale on Saturday, try the Atteca for yourself, and let me know what you think!  I’ll be there with bells on, pushing this stuff on you. 

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Deep purple in color, the word “exotic” definitely comes to mind when I first stick my nose in the glass.  I get a little smokiness, plums, black cherries, a little wood and pencil lead (which doesn’t SOUND particularly appetizing, but it’s one of my favorite things to taste in a wine), and a little bit of mocha and maybe cinnamon.  It would be PERFECT with some kind of grilled meat, or maybe a burger. 

Since it’s becoming somewhat of a trademark, I am trying to think of a celebrity to compare my friend Atteca to… spicy, handsome but not flashy or polished… a little wild, maybe with some “bad boy” attitude (yes, please!)… I’m thinking Benicio del Toro.  He’s pretty hot in that untamed way.  And he’s COOL.  This is a cool wine.  You will look cool drinking it.  I know I do. 

WINE SALE.  SATURDAY.  Be there or be square!  Atteca and I will be waiting for you.  We’ll be selling this somewhere in the neighborhood of $14 or $15 dollas.  It just came in, so I’m not definitive on the price yet.  We hope to see you Saturday!

Las Colinas Garnacha Blanca

Alight, alright.. I guess I shouldn’t be writing about another Spanish white.  You’ve barely gotten the taste of that Martin Codax Albarino out of your tastebuds!  But this little guy is perfection in a glass!  I can’t resist!  Plus, time is of the essence, because you fine readers have a FANTASTIC opportunity to enjoy this wine THIS WEEK at Solstice’s Spanish Wine Dinner on Wednesday night, the 15th!  Plus five other 90-point-plus rated wines, and the Ricky-monster’s cookin, plus the fine company of many of our wonderful wine dinner peeps who have already signed up!

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Allow me a momentary plug for our wine dinners at Solstice, if you will… I know you love food.  I know you love wine.  I know you love food and wine together.  Who doesn’t.  But if you’ve never actually sat down and experienced food and wine that has been paired together by someone who knows what they’re doing, it’s really a different breed altogether.  When a food and a wine really “match”, it’s pretty unbelievable.  I’m not trying to sound corny- it’s, like, scientific or something.  It happened to me with an Italian merlot and a really dark chocolate cake a few years ago.  Although, judgements I make while under the influence of chocolate cake are not always to be trusted… With all that being said, we’d love to have you at the wine dinner on Wednesday!

Moving on!  Las Colinas Garnacha Blanca- ohhh, where shall I begin.  You are just fantastic in every way.  I love you in the mid-afternoon… ahem… I mean the early evening when it’s acceptable to begin drinking.  You have such a nice spicy nose, it almost tickles.  You have notes of flowers, melon, white peach, and a little minerality.  Your mouthfeel is a tad on the round side, and you almost remind me of a Viognier, but not quite as full-bodied.  I heart you, Las Colinas.  For-eva.

In case you’re wondering, (not you, Las Colinas, the readers!) Grenache Blanc is it’s own grape, often overshadowed by it’s red older brother, Grenache Noir.  Much like Casey Affleck.  Ben gets all the attention!  But some of us believe Casey to be equally if not more talented, and quite easy on the eyes, to boot.  Ben is no slouch, but in more of a classic, Cary Grant kind of way.  Casey is attractive in an interesting way.  I like that. Anyone agree with me?

Ricky will be serving this on Wednesday with a Cowasee Farms Melon Salad with spiced almonds, crispy serrano ham, and a herb-tarragon-champagne vinaigrette.  YUM!  Check out the full menu by clicking on “Wine Dinner Menus” (I know, that’s a tough one) at www.solsticekitchen.com/blog.  If you can’t make it to the wine dinner, you can grab a glass of Las Colinas at Cellar on Greene for $7, or take a bottle home for $14!  We hope to see ya soon!

Luchador Shir-azz

Sometimes I like to say “Shir-azz,” and pronounce the “azz” like you’re saying “raspberry.”  Just try it- “Shir-aazzz.”  It’s a lot of fun to say.  Now say “Shir-ahhz,” like you’re supposed to.  Not quite as fun.  Now, while we’re still on pronunciations, here’s a quote from the bottle of Luchador Shiraz:

“Luchador (luch-a-door)  Function: noun.  Usage: Spanish word.  1.) fighter.  2.)wrestler.  3.) a wine that will body slam your tounge.” 

True story!  it will, indeed.

Moving on!  Luchador has been a top favorite at Cellar since we opened.  Everyone seems to get a big kick out of the bottle-

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The dude on the front’s name is “El Diamante!”  Once again, the bottle gives us a nice little Bio on our friend El Diamante- “El Diamante rubs spicy peppers in his eyes and has had five wives.  The hammerhead is his favorite shark and he loves spooning.” 

I love this!  It’s quirky.  And sometimes, when there is so much emphasis put on packaging and such, the wine isn’t really all that good- but this wine IS!  It’s big and bold, but not overly oaked or heavy or inky.  I find it really difficult to find a Shiraz that I like in this price point ($17 ) because I usually find that they’re all fruit-oak bombs, without a nice core to hold them up.  Luchador has a spicy, exotic nose- with blackberry, blueberry, licorice, light vanilla, and a bit of smoke.  It is big, but not a monstrosity.  It has a nice touch of elegance that makes it really people-friendly.  And it’s MANLY.  I would say this wine reminds me of Russell Crowe- but ONLY when he was in Gladiator… not the scruffy, long-haired, disheveled look he’s been going for lately.  Not a fan. 

We’re currently pouring this By-the-glass at Cellar & Solstice- or you can pick up a bottle to take home for $17.  Wine Advocate gave it 90 points!  Hot damn!  Another 90-point wine.  Enjoy!