Grochau Cellars RED, 2010 Columbia Valley

WARNING: this juice is seriously delicious.

As you may recall, one of my absolute favorite things to do (and something I suspect I’m pretty good at) is finding wines that represent truly incredible values.  This wine is spectacular because it is just that, and more…

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1.) it is an excellent price point of $17.

2.) $17 for a Columbia Valley Red wine, especially of good quality, is somewhat astonishing.

3.) add 1 and 2 together and THEN add in that this wine is very small-production.  what do you have? a tremendous value.

4.) GROW-shaw.  I had to write that down and say it about 15 times to myself before I remembered.

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So, more about this wine; it is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc.  Like the Guild White (here), it is labeled as being from the Columbia Valley- the fun thing about the Columbia Valley is that most of it is in Washington State, but part of it is in Oregon.  So the grapes in this bottle are from the Columbia Valley, but you don’t get to know what specific percentages are from each individual state.  Kind of a fun way to make wine, in my opinion.  John Grochau has been making this particular bottling for several years, and every year the blend is different.  He also makes some pretty stellar Pinot Noir- check ’em out.

So moving on to more fun descriptive details about this wine and why you’ll like it!  It has a perfect alcohol content at 14.5%, giving it a great balance of fruit that has a little density, but not so fat as to knock you on your ass.  It makes a great sipper.  There are some beautiful ultra-smooth notes of blackberry, cassis, mocha and a subtle hint of brighter red fruits that really lift the palate up.  The most standout characteristic of this wine is definitely its effortless grace, smoothness and length- especially when you (once again) consider it’s pricetag.  It makes a great Summer red, too, as it is not tooooo rich- just a pleasant medium body.  I personally can’t usually fathom Red in the Summer months; but this one I can do.  The other great thing about this wine is its versatility- it is juicy enough to be good with a Wednesday Burger night, but could definitely stand up to a more luxurious Ribeye or other form of pick-your-poison carnivorous indulgence.  You could even lighten it up and do grilled Pork Tenderloin with a variation of a berry vinaigrette over mixed greens.  Or even Tuna the same way.  It covers all the right ground for you to pick up what it’s puttin’ down in all categories!

Here’s another good tidbit: this wine is currently by the glass at Cellar, AND will be at tomorrow’s (June 1st) WINE SALE from 12-2pm.  and I’ll go ahead and tell ya- tomorrow’s sale list is looking impressive.  Lots of new goodies!

a mighty fine week for French!

Let’s talk about France, baby, let’s talk about you and me… let’s talk about all the gooood grapes that. come. from. France. Let’s talk abooouut FRANCE!  Let’s talk about France. (that was for you, Blythe)… 

Anyway, here’s the news from me this week- two things- 1.) I think Colombard is officially my favorite white grape of Spring 2013!  and 2.) Bordeaux is BACK!

frenchie frenchies.

frenchie frenchies.

Let us waste no breath in diving into this post- WINE NUMERO UN: Uby Colombard/Ugni Blanc, 2012 Cotes de Gascogne. This is the second Colombard I’ve written about this Spring. It will also serve as the second installment in what I will call my Summer Crack Juice Series (read first one here for definition).  We need those!  This is the time of year in Columbia where we are all bracing ourselves for Summer to really start.  Spring is bittersweet, as it doesn’t last long and in the back of our minds we’re trying to prepare for the upcoming heat.  So once it starts, we need to ease our pain with lots of refreshing Summer Whites to get us through until September.  Okay, October, really.

So, what’s this wine all about?  It is a blend of 80% Colombard and 20% Ugni Blanc.  Never heard of Ugni Blanc?  Not that shocking.  It is known as Trebbiano in Italy, where it is in plentiful supply.  Actually, Trebbiano is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world.  It makes simple yet refreshing whites, and I think in this case, serves to lighten up this wine overall- the Colombard is very zesty and citrusy, and so the 20% addition of Ugni just mellows it out a tiny bit.

uby

As the label so aptly describes, this wine is fantastically crisp and light; nice tangy notes of tangerine and pink grapefruit are met with exciting flavors of passionfruit, guava, and prickly pineapple.  Maybe a touch of fresh flowers, too.  Clean, alive and vibrant.  Absolutely perfect for Spring, and packs the right amount of acidity to really refresh you once the 90+ degree weather sets in.  Definitely make a spot in your fridge for a permanent bottle of this to be open at all times.  Even better?  It retails for a fantastic $12!  

Next?  Wine NUMERO DEUX: St. Glinglin “Carte Verte”, 2010 Bordeaux.  

glinglin pig

So, because I am a spoiled, lucky little General Manager and wine nerd, a few weeks ago I was invited to have dinner with the fellow who makes this wine, Richard Betts, who is a way cool Master Somm.  Actually the first MS I’ve properly met, aside from the ones who proctored the Intro Class to the Court of Master Sommeliers back in 07 (I think?).  I only remember them as being white haired, wearing suits and not overly memorable.  But Mr. Betts was lots of fun and definitely got my attention with his philosophy and energy.  And the wine is awesome!

So St. Glinglin roughly translates to “when pigs fly”– hence the cute little piggy on the label.  The idea behind this name is that Bordeaux will be accessible and affordable “when pigs fly.”  So here we are, with a flying pig!  Cuz this wine is both of those things!  So accessible, affordable- two attention-grabbing facts about this wine (it retails for $21).  And let’s not forget drinkable.  Because that is crucial.  This wine really grabbed me because it is standing on a very delicate precipice- an old world wine that, while it is attractive to a typical American palate, is also true to it’s roots; it is definitely still a Bordeaux.

glinglin back

This wine is deeply colored and has nice concentration.  Initially, it has a solid amount of that French stank that I love so much.  Yes, I love a good stanky red wine.  A tiny bit funky, a tiny bit musty, a tiny bit dirty.  Those bits give way to some nice powerful notes of black cherries, sweet tobacco, very mellow vanilla bean, plums, some bitter chocolate and no shortage of minerality on the finish.  This wine spends 18 months in cement, which makes the fruit notes pop, and at the same time really enhances the mineral content.  So what is the blend?  Wellll, I am debating not telling you.  This is a great wine to taste without knowing what’s in it!  But, I am not feeling especially cruel today, so I will tell you: it is almost all Merlot with a smidge of Cabernet.  (“Smidge” being a technical term).  But listen here: ain’t nobody got time for anyone out there sipping on a giant glass of haterade and being all “I hate Merlot!”  That time has passed.  There’s no more Merlot hatred.  You need to get over it.

But in all seriousness, I do believe this wine is something of a trend-setter among a younger generation of wine-drinkers. If you want to really geek out, here’s a few articles that tie into this theme- here and here and here.  And here is a piece written by Mr. Betts that will be a fun read for you, too.  Also, it should be noted that this wine is currently being poured by the glass at Cellar, and so if you really need to taste to believe, come by at your convenience and do just that.

That’s all for today, cheers and happy French wine drinkin’!

 

Spring. Whites. Lots of ’em!

Needless to say, I have not been off to a perfect start in 2013 when it comes to blogging.

Truth be told, I have no clue how this year has gone by SO. incredibly. FAST.  There hasn’t been a week where I haven’t tried to sit down and write, but… I just don’t know what happened.  Not going to waste a lot of breath trying to make excuses.  However, one exciting thing that took up most of my energy in March was that I passed the CSW!  I spent a lot of free time cramming for that thing in March.  I’m relieved to have passed, as that sucker was a combination of extremely easy and extremely hard; for example- one question would be: “Which of the following is a red grape?” with four choices (easy), then the next would be: “Put these Chilean wine regions in order from South to North.” (not exactly easy).  But it’s over with and now I get to have CSW next to my name in my gmail signature.  Yahoo!

But I am excited to be back in the saddle, especially because SPRING is one of my favorite times for WINE!  Why?  Well, Spring has that sort of infectious quality where excitement is tangible in the air (along with a healthy dose of pollen).  Although we don’t have particularly long winters here, clearly Columbians are fans of warm weather, and everyone gets happy in the Spring.  This year we had a freezing cold March, and even though we’ve sort of skipped straight to Summer, everyone is still happy.

And we have some absolutely perrrfect Spring whites in right now!  Another reason I love to hunt for Spring whites is that when you find one (or two or ten) that really captures the vitality and aliveness of Spring in a bottle, it is a truly magical event.  So here are three to get us started…

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First up (far left) is the Guild (Lot #6) Pinot Gris/Riesling, 2011 Columbia Valley (retail $16).  This is an effortless, silky little Pacific Northwest white.  There is definitely no mistaking that is is 85% Pinot Gris, and the remaining 15% Riesling is artfully blended and adds just a touch more aromatics to the wine as a whole.  Oregon Pinot Gris has always been a popular category for us, and stylistically this wine offers just a touch more uniqueness than your typical one.  In my mind this makes it a winner.  It’s nose is pure and clean, with aromas of white peaches, apricots, honeysuckle, green apples, pears and a touch of tropical fruit.  The mouthfeel is equal parts soft, textural and tautly acidic.  Finishes with a zip.  I would love to see anyone try to have just one glass of this. This wine is made by a co-operative of well-established Pacific Northwest winemakers who combined forces (Thundercats style) to make the best wine they could at the most reasonable cost.  They succeeded admirably.

Next up is a new installment of what I like to call Crack Juice:

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Crack Juice is a technical term for a white wine that is ideal for warm (and scorchingly hot) weather.  It must meet certain criteria, the top two being 1.) it must be thirst-quenching and 2.) it must be easy on the wallet, since we have such long, hot summers here.  Survey says?  This wine is showing signs of being the number one Crack Juice of Summer 2013.

So what is it?  Montgravet Colombard, 2011 France, Cotes de Gascogne (retails for a ridiculous $10).  What is Colombard?  Well, I’ll tell ya- all you really need to know is that it’s good- BUT, it is a genetic relative of Chenin Blanc, and to me, drinks much like a less-grapefruity Sauvignon Blanc.  It ripens early and is popular in California for inexpensive white blends.  The Cotes de Gascogne region of South West France is considered the place for Colombards of excellent expression, character and VALUE!  This wine is delightfully crisp and clean.  Beautiful fruit leaps out- especially vibrant notes of nectarines, a little pineapple, a nice hint of spring flowers; topped off with a slight bite of citrus zest on the finish.  This wine hits the nail on the head for a value wine- it does one thing, and does it well.  Crisp, pretty, refreshing.  Done!  $10.  Love it.

Finally is a fun little Portugese wine: Serrado Encruzado/Malvasia/Verdelho, 2011 Portugal (retail $12).

serradoThis is a funny little favorite of mine- a blend of Encruzado, Malvasia and Verdelho from the Dao region of Portugal.  Definitely not grapes you’ll see all over the Piggly Wiggly, but they are fairly common for this part of Portugal.  I like this wine because it offers a bit more body while still hanging on to plenty of nice citrus and zestiness.  It will definitely appeal to someone who likes Albarino; the viscosity and fruit content are similar, but this wine conveniently comes in a couple dollars less than your typical Albarino- and it’s fantastic!  Encruzado on it’s own can, to me, be a little oily.  But blended as in this case, that little touch of slickness makes the overall package very appealing.  It has a nice golden color, with a big nose of lemon zest with hints of honeydew melon and cantaloupe to follow.  There’s a nice richness in here- a bit of golden raisin?  I think so, but it’s hard to nail down.  Basically I just think this is a way cool wine, a great value, and I love to see weird grapes being embraced by the general public.  Come try!

Next week will likely be devoted to Rose, as we are supposed to have a Rose arriving that is so good, it will make you melt.  I will speak no more of it until then, but gird your loins, as this one is practically life-altering.  No joke.  No exaggeration.  Happy Spring and happy drinking!!

 

 

 

Tikves Vranec, 2010 Macedonia, Special Selection

Huh?!  This one’s a doozy, folks!  I’m hurlin’ a double-whammy at you today- new grape, new (to some) country!  But it is a new year, after all.  So buckle up!  I love this wine.

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Okay, first things first- what in tarnation is Vranec?  It’s the grape!  And it’s an indigenous Macedonian one.  Vrah-nick is the closest I can reconcile as far as a phonetic pronunciation guide.  And the name of the winery (one of the oldest in Macedonia) is Tikves – Tick-vees.  This wine is imported by Eric Solomon, one of my favorite importers of mostly French and Spanish wines that all focus on a sense of place; he works a lot with indigenous varietals, so it’s no surprise that he has this funky little wine.  It is not listed on their website, so I’m guessing it’s a relatively new acquisition.  It was reviewed by Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate in June 2012 and given a sweet little 90 point rating!  Which is pretty awesome considering its $12 pricetag! 

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So not a ton of information exists on this grape, or even on Macedonia as a wine region.  According to a bit of Googling, Vranec is a genetic relative of Zinfandel.  It grows vigorously, and produces large grapes that are deeply colored with moderate to high tannin.  The wine is a deep garnet/purpleish color and has a fairly big nose, mostly of dark fruits- prunes, plums and blackcurrant- but with a pleasant briary and spicy structure.  It does indeed reminisce of a Zinfandel, stylistically- but not a stone’s throw from a Zin would be a Primitivo (an Italian cousin of Zin) and to me, it drinks this way.  Perhaps due to the oaking and old-world personality.  But still, enough up-front fruit is present to appeal to the average New-world wine drinker.  It may take a little getting used to, but trust me, this is a profile you’re gonna want to embrace!  Eastern European countries are poised to make a real impact on our wine market, and we should definitely take note.

Also, I admit to needing to learn a refresher on where exactly Macedonia is.  So, here it is:

macedonia-map

It is roughly on the same parallel as Southern Italy, so it’s no surprise that there’s good wine to be found here.  I’d like to think of this wine as a true diamond in the rough; it’s accessible, inexpensive, and unique.  And it’s also interesting to note that Macedonia, as a country, has only been a democracy (and its own country) since 1991, but they’ve been making wine for centuries.  Along with several Slovenain wines I’ve tasted, it seems like winemakers from this part of the world don’t make a big fuss about their wines.  Wine is just something they do.  No frills, no fancy marketing or  packaging.  Just good wine.  So as much as ratings can be a double-edged sword, I think it’s great to see this wine earn a good rating and a bit of press.

This wine can be purchased at Cellar on Greene for $12!  It is not currently by the glass, but chances are there will be an open bottle lingering for the rest of the week.. if I have anything to say about it.  Which fortunately for you, I do!

Happy (late) New Year!  I resolve to blog more.

 

TURKEY PACKS!

Here’s some more information about our Turkey Wine Packs, complete with pretty pictures!  see below for ordering instructions!

PACK #1– “Good Friends” $43

got good friends?

Good friends- we’ve all got ’em!  Got a lot of ’em?  This pack is perfect and an unbeatable value if you need to stock it up/pack it up/pack it in for your feast.  This group of four will have you drinkin’ well for less than $50.

Included:

1 Subirats Cava Rose, NV Spain.  bubbly, fruity and fun, this wine has been at the top of our list of Holiday sparklers for years.  bright red fruits and a zippy finish.  drink it while you cook!!  normal retail $12

1 Loosen Brothers “Dr. L” Riesling, 11 Germany, Mosel.  yet another Cellar go-to wine for years past.  Ernst Loosen really knows what he’s doing with the Loosen Brothers line; the Gewurztraminer and the Pinot Blanc are also amazeballs.  This wine is light, racy, and has a perfect marriage of sweetness and dryness.  normal retail $13

1 Georges Duboeuf Gamay, 10 Beaujolais, Morgon.  like Beaujolais?  I do.  Gamay is one of my all time favorite grapes, hands-down.  It’s extremely expressive, perfect with Fall flavors, easy to drink, difficult to dislike, people-friendly.. the list goes on.  this one is very light and pretty, with notes of fresh sour cherry and dried herbs. normal retail $14

1 Pieza “El Coll” Garnacha, 08 Spain, Calatayud.  we’ve been crushing this wine for a few weeks now, and people can’t seem to get enough of it.  I love it because for an inexpensive Garnacha (of which there are plenty), this one offers a ton of dark, brambly fruit, nice oak and spice, and still finishes clean and with nice acid.  Don’t get much better than that.  normal retail $13

PACK #2- “Great Friends”  $69

your friends ROCK.

Okay, it’s the Holidays, we can all pause for a moment and be thankful for awesome friends!!  or family.  or both!  this pack is a perfect treat for all those you truly appreciate, and will spend the day feasting with.  Or, you could save it all for yourself if you’ll need to be “treated” to get through the day.  Hopefully the former…

Included:

1 Gruet Brut Rose, NV New Mexico.  Ohh, this one is slammin’.  And you’d be wise to get up on this particular bottle ASAP- the folks at Gruet are the bomb, but the demand for this wine exceeds the supply, without fail- every single year.  It really is made in New Mexico, and it’s a lean, mean fightin’ machine, with beautiful crisp red fruit and beautiful floral notes. normal retail $16

1 Mar de Frades Albarino, 11 Spain, Rias Baixas. this stuff is TO DIE!  by far the prettiest, silkiest Albarino I’ve had all year.  A nice touch of tropical fruit is met with the characteristic bright citrus Albarino tends to display.  It’s like an Albarino… made by Chuck Norris. normal retail $22

1 Morgan “Twelve Clones” Pinot Noir, 10 California, Santa Lucia.  we got a nice surprise yesterday, when *after* we’d decided to put this wine in this pack, it got named to Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012!  We opened one for this past Saturday’s wine sale, and it went over verrrry well!  it’s everything a Cali Pinot should be; ripe, round and fruit-driven but with fantastic accents of vanilla and spice.  This is one you’ll wanna keep drinking.  normal retail $25.

1 Giant Wine Company “The Ghost of 413” Cab/Merlot/Syrah blend, 09 Washington, Columbia Valley.  a slick little bottle, this wine is very new to South Carolina and packs classic Columbia Valley dark fruit and an uuber-smooth palate.  90% Cab/10% Merlot & Syrah.      very drinkable and not weighed down.  normal retail $19.

PACK #3: Reserve  $175

baller!

Alright, so since we’re big ol’ nerds AND we like to sell wine, we HAD to offer a Reserve level pack.  The cool thing is- these bottles would cost you $220 individually, so truth be told, $175 is a total steal even though it’s no small amount of money.

Included (limited quantity):

1 Ruinart Brut Rose, NV Champagne.  sexiest. Champagne. ever.  don’t have to say much else.  you’re missing out on a crucial delicious element of life if you’ve never had this.  you’ll never be the same.  normal retail $80.

1 St. Urbans-Hof Riesling, 10 Germany, Mosel, Bockstein Vineyard.  so, once again- I’m a hardcore Riesling fan, but this one will really open your eyes as to how much depth a Riesling can have.  the soil really shines here, bringing about a really cool element of smoke and slate, met with creamy peaches, elderflower, roses and violets.  normal retail $24

1 Patricia Green Cellars Pinot Noir, 10 Willamette, Balcombe Vineyard.  a teensy-weensy little 7-acre vineyard site produced just 475 cases of this wine.  Patricia Green Cellars are classic Willamette winemakers; a non-interventionalist approach makes for pure, pristine Oregon fruit with aging potential.  deep flavors of plum and coffee are found amongst feminine red fruits.  normal retail $46.

1 Chateau de St. Cosme Cote Rotie, 10 France, Cotes du Rhone.  100% Syrah from suuuper old vines.  a powerful wine with flavors of bacon, smoke, graphite, black pepper, violets, and smoky ash.  only the Rhone could make this wine!  It’s sibling, the 2010 Gigondas, was just named the #2 Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator!  92 Points Parker, 94 Points International Wine Cellar!  normal retail $70.

**important** if you’d like to order a wine pack, please email cellarongreene@gmail.com with which pack (or individual bottle) you’re interested in.  Include a phone number so we can holler at you for your payment info securely over the phone.  orders can be filled relatively quickly, so act now!!  and Happy Thanksgiving!

A little Fun with the French!

This Tuesday morning has me feeling a bit on the French side. Why?

who’s that in the background? Penelope Garcia!

Well, really because two of my favorite wines of recent have been French.  Actually, there’s a third that I’ll throw in at the end; also French. So three altogether.  But the first two are especially crucial because I absolutely LOVE Frenchies that exhibit tremendous value!  There are still plenty of those in the world, so let’s get started with these guys…

Oooh, lookie here!  A view inside my fridge:

a stunning view! really, I didn’t pre-arrange this. This is it.

Alright, so my fridge isn’t always the prettiest sight, but right now it’s not too bad.  Sadly, that bottle of Rose is way past it’s prime, but it remains in the fridge until the next time I am inspired to edit some items out. Psssshhhtt.  Whatev.

So this wine is the Kimmeridgien Chardonnay, 2010 from Jean Marc Brocard.  It sells for $16, which is a solid deal for a fantastic white Burgundy.  I’ve actually loved this wine for several vintages past, and whenever it’s made it’s way to our retail shelves in the past few years, it’s always sold very well and has been much loved.  It’s truly a perfect expression of this soil type!  “Kimmeridgian” actually is a soil type; or rather a basin of Limestone that runs all the way through Champagne, the Loire, and Burgundy.  Now, I didn’t do so well in Geology class, and really I have only a slightly better than average knowledge of soil types. But based on the best of my understanding, this particular soil makes particularly good wine (Chardonnay, especially) because it is a Limestone-based soil that is nice n’ chalky.  Not to be a total nerd, but it’s actually pretty cool that this soil type and this wine are named for an actual Geological …. um… thing.  That’s about all I can say about that.  Except one more thing- I had a reaalllly hot Geology TA in college named Luke. Fin.

So, this wine is good.  Here’s why: it has a gorgeous golden straw color and a very distinctive Chablis nose of citrus peel, chalk, a hint of gunflint, soap, and fresh tart green apples.  Stainless steel fermentation makes it’s palate very lean and taut, with razor-like focus and searing acidity.  The finish lingers for at least a minute, and shows off a slight touch of hazelnut and a little something floral.  A truly beautiful wine that drinks effortlessly, and might make you think twice about what Chardonnay is capable of.

Next freakout of the week: St. Cosme Cotes du Rhone, 2011!

THE JAM.

Recently given 90 points by Wine Spectator, this guy is set on world-domination!  That is how FREAKING good this wine is.  And, I’m going to go ahead and call that this wine WILL definitely be on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012.  Why??  Well, like I said, it’s freaking delicious, it got 90 Points (a requirement to be on said list) and it sells for a ridiculous $15!!  Which is stone. cold. RIDIC.

It seems this wine is mostly Syrah, but despite a bit of hunting, I can’t be sure.  To me it doesn’t really matter.  Some past vintages of this bottling have been 100% Syrah, and some have had Grenache.  This wine literally explodes!  An extremely vibrant nose of violets, raw meat (if you’ve never smelled that, it actually smells delicious rather than gross), blackberries, licorice, sandalwood, plums, anise, black pepper… I could really keep going, but hopefully you get the gist.  The palate is quenchy, silky, perfectly balanced and juicy.  This is the absolute epitome of an everyday red wine, in my book.  I know I could drink it every day.  Actually, I think I have had it every day since last Wednesday.

The other cool thing is that Chateau de St. Cosme is currently getting an absolute slew of amazing ratings (think high 90’s), and it’s totally awesome that they have an entry-level red that is this great of a price.  I’d still love this wine even if it didn’t have high-rollin’ big sisters, but it’s still a good selling point.

Alright, one more cool French wine that coincidentally started to blow up in my twitter feed right after we got it in- Shatter Grenache, 2010 Maury, France.  Made by rock star winemakers Joel Gott and Dave Phinney, this wine is a cacophony of wild n’ crazy fruits, spices, and oakyness.  I’d go into much more detail, but my wine-blogging doppelganger The Reverse Wine Snob has written an awesome post on it here, which I can’t really improve on.  We’re currently retailing it for $29, and if you like the sounds of it, come grab one!  That’s all for today.

a Princess of Value- Rayun Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Chile

Summer. Crack. Juice.

Yes, I said it!  It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means summer is pretty much here. Actually it was here in April for a minute, but I’m pretty sure it’s here for good now.  Which means- yes, we need to find some Crack Juice. Crack Juice is a technical term used to describe a wine that is equal parts addictive and thirst-quenching.  I feel like I’m repeating myself here, as I’m pretty big on thirst-quenching wine.  But get used to it, for the summer is long, hot and oppressive, and I’ve only just begun to brush the surface of all the wines that are refreshing and thirst-quenching.  And in this one’s case- inexpensive!  therefore she has been deemed a Princess of Value!!

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meet your new summer date.

When I tell you she costs a mere $9, I know it will get your attention.  $9 is a perfect amount of money to spend on a bottle of Crack Juice.  Why?  That’s sort of a no-brainer, but Crack Juice, as it’s name implies, is addictive.  Therefore, it’s extremely convenient when you find one that’s inexpensive.  $20 a bottle Crack Juice wouldn’t be fun for terribly long.  Although I suppose that would be the true definition of crack.  But let’s be serious- we’re really talking about wine.  So $9 is good.

Here’s another reason why it’s awesome that it costs $9- not to sound like a hater, but for my money, this wine kicks the ever-loving-doo-doo out of it’s New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc competitors.  If this wine were from New Zealand, it would easily cost at least $12, but based on my observation, NZ Sauv Blancs are averaging between $14 and $18 nowadays.  I don’t see the point in paying that.  Not that they’re not good.  But at the end of the day, I’d rather have two bottles of this than one bottle of ANY given NZ Sauv Blanc.  I don’t think I’m remiss in thinking that the average person would agree.  If you’re like me, you think about almost every dollar you spend pretty carefully, and this is the kind of wine that really drives home the value pretty swiftly.

Ohh, would you look at that.  My glass seems to be empty now that we’ve gotten to the taste and smell portion of the day.  We can’t have that.  I’ll have to get some more!

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this is what it looks like, all frosty in it’s glass.

So. This wine is super vibrant, fresh and tart.  High acidity make it sharp and racy.  Gooseberry makes you pucker just a bit, but also offering that much needed refreshment.  Lean notes of green apple, honeydew, and a tiny bit of fresh-cut grass and straw make for an interesting and fun palate.  While not the most complex wine I’ve ever had- for it’s price, the one note it does hit is right on time.  That’s all I really ask for in an inexpensive wine- just do the thing you set out to do, and do it well.  Tart, fresh, and fun.  That’s all I need for $9.  And that’s all you should need, too.  There’s always going to be a place for a wine like this on your shelf or in your fridge, that’s fo’ sho’.

And guess what?  this wine is available as part of our $90 Mystery Case this week!  Check out other available selections and ordering instructions here.  A case of wine for under $100?  That’s a bit fat DUH.  Plus, they can usually be ready fairly quickly, which means you can be jetting off to the lake with a case of wine in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.  How d’ya like them apples?  YOU LOVE THEM.  Have a great holiday!

Some New Whites!

Hey there, white wine.  Have I told you lately that I love you?  I do.  I do, I do, I do.  A whole lot.  Especially these two!  They are both unique and interesting blends that excel in versatility and have the added bonus of being extremely delicious!  Well, the delicious part should go without saying, because, really, when was the last time I suggested a wine to you that wasn’t delicious?  Never.

It looks to be another gorgeous Spring day here in SC, the sun’s out and there’s a lovely breeze.  This kind of day was meant for sipping a white wine late in the afternoon!  Especially on a Friday.  Beautiful Fridays have a special vibe to them; where you can feel that people have that itch to go out.  Or maybe an itch to stay in; either scenario calls for wine.  So let’s move on to these two new vinos- Sokol Blosser “Evolution” White blend from Oregon, and Elios Moschofilero/Chardonnay blend from GREECE!

Sokol Blosser Winery is pretty baller.  They occupy some of the most prime real estate in Oregon’s Dundee Hills, and they’ve been there since 1971.  They practice Organic farming and sustainable business practices.  Their philosophy is one of the more “whole-istic” that I’ve come across- meaning that they put a ton of effort into the whole picture; from preventing soil erosion to using natural pest-control.  Right down to the micro-detail.  I met a representative from the winery last week and was particularly struck by how down-to-earth and genuine she, and the winey, came across.  So this is a really feel good wine, not to be cheesy.  And it’s also freaking tasty!

So the fun facts about the Evolution white; it is a blend of up to nine grapes, but you don’t get to know the percentages of each.  I find that exciting.  There will not be a quiz later, but here are the varietals; Pinot Gris, Gewurz, Muscat, Riesling, Muller-Thurgau, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Sylvaner.  Phew!  Try listing that on a wine list.  You can’t!  That’s what makes it fun.  It’s an extremely aromatic wine, with a nose of tropical fruits, white flowers, golden apples, honey and bright tangerine/citrus.  Nice soft viscosity and a beautiful quenchy-acidic finish.  You could literally pair this wine with just about anything.  A salad with a tangy vinaigrette.  Spicy Thai.  Slightly sweet BBQ.  Fish.  Really anything.  It sips perfectly on it’s own, too.  This is also a Non-Vintage wine, and NO that doesn’t mean they throw last years leftovers into a bottle.  There’s a lot of intention here, as it states on the bottle.  And a little luck, it seems.  Try this wine!!  Don’t delay.  (Retail $15).

Next up is a fun and interesting wine called Elios that hails from the Mediterranean!  It also wins the hard-to-pronounce and I’ll-never-remember-the-names-of-these-grapes awards of the week.  Greek grapes have some of the strangest names.  This is a blend of Moschofilero, Chardonnay, Roditis and Savatiano.  Mos-coh-FEE-ler-oh is how you say the first one.  It’s one of the major white grapes in Greece, so it’s worth remembering.  Roditis, to me, sounds like an illness or a skin condition.  But who cares?  the wine is delish!

Incredibly fresh, clean and zesty, this is a perfect wine for a Sauvignon Blanc-lover or maybe an Albarino fan who wishes to branch out and try something new.  I doubt you will be disappointed!  A crisp palate of green apples, peaches, lemon and lime, followed by pretty floral hints and a touch of melon.  A very lively and balanced finish that makes it sublime for hot weather.  The best part?  It retails for $12!  A steal of an everyday wine.

Both of these babies are currently by-the-glass at Cellar, so they’re open for your tasting pleasure at all times.  Also, you could come to the Wine Sale tomorrow (5/12) and try them from 12-2, along with tons of other delicious juice!  Oh, and remember Mom?  She likes wine.  And if you’ve saved your Mother’s Day shopping til last minute, you can snag a quick bottle on Saturday and she’ll be none the wiser.  In fact, she might be quite thrilled!  Happy weekend and happy drinking!

Villa Wolf Rose of Pinot Noir, 2011

First of all, a sincere apology.  I’ve been a very bad blogger of late.  I can’t believe it’s been since March 12th since I’ve written anything.  You may remember I went to Vegas a few days after I wrote that post, and life has been moving at warp speed since then.  First of all, we had a few weeks of summer.  Where did that come from??  Can’t say I was a fan.  And it really threw me off; my Rose obsession kicked in way too early, but I didn’t want to jump the gun and give in to the obsession full-force.  So I felt I was in a holding pattern of sorts.  There have been a ton of wines that I’ve been *this* close to sitting down and writing about, but somehow it just never happened.  Se la vie.

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But here I sit, on my freshly cleaned patio on a gorgeous April day with the doors and windows open, after an extremely productive day off and a feeling of immense satisfaction.  My hands and feet are dirty from planting herbs and a few succulents, I have dinner made and in the fridge and laundry in the dryer.  And this is when it really hits me; ROSE.  RoseRoseRose.  Need it.  Have to have it.  I am owed this pleasure.

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Also, I am listening to Kesha on Pandora.  I’d love to lie and say I’m listening to something cool and amazing like Esperanza Spalding (which I did listen to the other day), but my Kesha Pandora station has been fine-tuned after many trips to the gym, and it just makes me happy.  So judge all you want, Judgey Wudgies.  I’m loving it.  I love that she is unapologetic in her trashiness, and that she literally goes out in public looking a hot mess and, by all appearances, high as a kite.  Honey Badger don’t care.  And neither do I.

So there ya go- a picture of an average Monday evening at my casa.  And this has all been my way of introducing you to this wine.  Oh, this gorgeous wine.  It was built for RIGHT. NOW.  Villa Wolf Rose of Pinot Noir, 2011 vintage hails from the Pfalz region of Germany, a warm, sunny and serendipitous little place where Riesling and various other grapes like to grow.  I believe Pinot Noir to be one of the only reds that does fairly well here, but I may be remiss in making that statement.  In any case, this wine is made from Pinot and it’s stunning.  I absolutely love a very dry Rose, but this one, while not sweet, is not supremely dry.  It’s more flirty, soft, and round.  But with gorgeous acidic balance, and a touch of fizz on first sip.  What I look for in any Rose is quench.  I want it to quench my thirst.  Because Rose is really what I drink when I want to be refreshed and relaxed and rejuvenated.  Which is…. kind of all the time.  So, I suppose we have just narrowed down why I like Rose so much.  Refresh and relax.  Who doesn’t like these things?  And who doesn’t want to do that right NOW, at 6pm on a Monday?  Why delay gratification?

Back to the wine.  Soft, round, flirty- we got that far.  Aromatics are owned by the berries- strawberry, raspberry, and bright cherry.  A juicy yet crisp palate with hints of apple and red plum.  It’s fruit, fruit, fruit and finishes with zing.  That is the most succinct description I can come up with.  Speaking of fruit, look what popped up on my strawberry plant recently?!

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I know, a strawberry!  Shocking, right?!  Well, the shocking thing is that this plant seems to have thrived on neglect.  I haven’t watered it or done anything to it since last summer.  But it has returned.  So I replanted him today and vowed to care more for my plants this summer.  For an awfully responsible person, sometimes I shun plants after my excitement for them has worn off.  Not my best personality characteristic.  Maybe that’s why I’m single.  Huh.  Interesting.  Fascinating, the things that occur to me after a bit of wine and some rambling.

Some quick stats before I big you adieu; Villa Wolf is currently by the glass at Cellar, so you’re cordially invited to swing in and taste it at your convenience.  You can also take a bottle home for $13.  How ’bout dem apples??  Now that’s a Monday wine.  Or you could stop in and see myself and the Cellar girls this Saturday (4/21) at the Wine Sale from 12-2, and have some then!  Oh and PS: LAS LILAS ROSE IS BACK TOO!  Oh, happy day.

Also, be sure to check out Villa Wolf’s parent company, Dr. Loosen Wines- they have an active twitter feed worth a follow, too- @drloosenwines.  They’ve tweeted me a few times and I feel special.

Have a great week, thanks for reading, and I am strengthening my resolve to be a good (ok, better) blogger!

Charmeroy Brut Rose, NV France

“Ain’t nobody dope as me, I taste so fresh and clean…”

"don't you think I'm so sexy, I'm dressed so fresh and clean!"

"I love when you stare at me, I taste so fresh and clean."

A moment of sheer genius struck me two days ago as we revisited this wine with the staff- there is NOBODY as dope as this Brut Rose, it’s just SO fresh and CLEAN!!   I can’t stand it.  What is it about Champagne (actually, this is technically a sparkling wine) that makes it so freaking perfect for SO many occasions?  here’s one occasion that occurred last weekend in Edisto:

this guy is maybe *not* so fresh and clean... but the wine is.

Beach?  Bubbles!  Trying to get a jump start on Christmas shopping online?  Bubbles!  A small or large Holiday get-together?  Bubbles!  Friday afternoon?  Thursday at lunchtime?  Bubbles.  Especially pink ones.   And especially THESE.

What’s so good about this?  Well, it smells like strawberries and cream, raspberries, and sweet tarts.  It has a delicate mousse (or bubbly-ness, in technical terms), a lovely thirst quench, and a hint of tart green apple on finish.  And as it turns out, it’s quite an interesting blend of grapes: Merlot, Pinot Noir and a little bit of Chenin Blanc.  Not your typical sparkler, that’s for sure.  The best part?  It’s affordable!  Like super-affordable!  We’ll be slingin’ it at this Saturday’s (10/29) wine sale from 12-2 for 11 bucks!  

Just to temp you even more, doesn’t it look inviting in this frosty glass?

mmmm... pink n' frothy.

I’m pretty stoked that I got to combine two of my favorite things, Outkast and Pink Bubbly in one blog post!  I would pay a large sum of money to see Andre 3000 and Big Boi together.  A girl can dream.  Until then, at least I have scratched old CD’s and Charmeroy Brut Rose.  Can’t make it to the sale on Saturday?  This little pinky is also By The Glass, and will definitely be making an appearance at our next Champagne Tuesday!