Sometimes I can’t choose just one…

A true story for you, on this Saturday. Most weeks I start out with the intention of picking a wine and writing about it.  Duh.  But if one were to review my blogging history, you’d see that I hardly ever post back-to-back weeks; there’s usually a spell of a week or two where I am silent.  And here’s the reason why: I have too many choices.  I like too many wines.  Many of them, like these three, I like SO much that I spend a chunk of time bound by indecision, struggling to come up with one unifying or decisive factor that will dictate which wine I will write about.

And then all of a sudden it’s Friday, and I have written nothing.  And I feel guilty.  And resolve to do better next week.  And sometimes that is successful, and sometimes it’s not.  Such is the human condition.  Many writers probably know the feeling of wanting to write, but when you sit down to do it, the words don’t come. Words are fickle creatures, and you can’t force them.  Even when they are not incredibly profound, and all you want to do is blather about wine and impart a bit of silliness along the way.

But today the stars seem to be aligned, and once I elected to just narrow it down to three wines, my brain seemed to cooperate and here I sit, ready to rock it out.  These three wines are simply stunning!  They are perfection.  They are three wines that once open, it’s literally impossible not to keep drinking them. So on with the show…

Muga Rose of Garnacha/Viura/Tempranillo, 11 Spain, Rioja.  Retails for $13.

look how frosty and delicious this looks.

Okay, so here’s the thing about Muga Rose: IT’S FAB.  This is such an elegant little wine with a microscopic little pricetag, and it’s almost unfair.  So if you’re new to Rose, and you still think they’re sweet- this wine begs to differ.  It is delightfully dry, with perfect acidity, and yet a soft mouthfeel that caresses the ever-lovin’-shizzle out of your tongue.  The nose is flowery and zesty.  When it first hits your mouth (especially if it’s a touch too cold), you might think it tastes like nothing.  But the mid-palate really explodes with pretty flavors of cherry, watermelon, wild strawberry, rhubarb and an ultra-clean, citrusy finish that makes your mouth water.  There’s a touch of strawberries-and-cream on the end, too that round out this wine’s finesse.  A lovely expression of a Grenache Rose- many of the ones I’ve had tend to be in-your-face in the fruit content- maybe it’s the addition of Viura (a white grape) that make this one super-perfect.  2011 was a hot, dry year in Rioja- perfect for Grenache.  It really shows.  Drink up!

Antonio Sanguineti Vermentino, 2011 Italy, Tuscany.  Retails for $14. 

Next up: a little gem of a white wine from the Small Vineyards portfolio, an awesome collection of wines, mostly from Italy.  Small Vineyards imports wine that meet certain criteria: they must be hand-harvested, from a family-owned estate, and earth-friendly.  A pretty high standard in the sea of mass produced wines that we swim in.  I was fortunate to attend a tasting this past March in Charleston, SC where they presented many of their wines.  Duly impressed, I was.  This wine in particular really seemed to “sing”!  When you consider the standard of quality, and the fact that this is only an 800-case produced wine, it’s $14 pricetag really seems unreal.  But it IS real!

So this is a very classic Tuscan white; Vermentino likes sun, so it has a very lively, up-front personality.  It is fresh and light, with a buoyant and fun palate of pineapple, white flowers, honeysuckle, apricots and citrus zest.  The finish is crisp and lean.  This wine’s true appeal, to me, is that it seems very “alive”- a strange thing to think about, but it’s perkiness and silky texture really stand out, and it seems happy to exist.  Call me cray, but it’s true.  You’ll just have to come taste it.

Finally, a red: Tortarossa “Red Cake” Super Tuscan, 2010 Italy, Tuscany.  Retails for $16.

I lurrrrv this label.

This is another wine from the Small Vineyards portfolio.  This wine stood out to me upon first taste (and still does) because it’s a perfect melding of old and new-world styles.  The category of “Super Tuscan” is not officially recognized as a “thing” by Italian wine standards, so it is something of a rebel category.  Piero Antinori was the first to fly in the face of DOC regulations, and aimed to make a “Chianti-style” wine that ignored the need for convention, and incorporated Cabernet Sauvignon into the (now famous) Tignanello bottling.  The Tortarossa is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet and 10% Syrah.  It drinks like a dream- warm, ripe and very precise and focused. Dark black fruits dominate- blackberry, blackcurrant, and subtle integration of vanilla and oak.  The punch of the Syrah is nicely pronounced- adding depth, color and body- making it a touch more appealing to the New World palate- yet maintaining it’s Italian roots.  A nice balance of acid make it a great food wine- but I’ve found it to be a perfect solo sipper as well.  Also, I love the packaging.  It’s whimsical and accessible.

Well I do hope you’ve enjoyed being introduced to these three- they’re all currently By-The-Glass at Cellar on Greene, which means they’re open at all times, should you require a taste or two.  Cheers!

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!

Gen 5 Chardonnay, 2010 Lodi

It’s been a minute since I had a Cali Chard that I really flipped over.  Introducing… the Gen 5 Chardonnay from Lodi!

Nowadays, I feel that I’ve picked up on a slight stigma against Chardonnay, especially those from California.  Almost like it’s uncool to like it.  It still sells well, but the millenial generation, specifically, tends to perceive it as being lame.  Their Aunts and Grandmas love Chardonnay, and they’ve had one too many poor, manipulated, over-oaked, cheap Chards at an art opening or gathering that chances are came out of a jug.  Truly, if I had to name one grape of which there is entirely *too much* of poor quality in existance, it would be Chardonnay.  I don’t often want to spit wine out… but I’ve had a couple Chards in the past that I’d sooner take a razor blade to my tounge than drink again.

Okay, those were some harsh words.  But much like the Chamisal Stainless Chardonnay that I wrote about back in the wee early days of this blog, I really, really LOVE  a good Chardonnay at a good price point.  So, in comes the Gen 5!  I really think this is one of the cleanest, purest, most poignant Chards I’ve had in a long while.  It is focused and perky, with bright notes of kiwi, guava, pineapple, prickly pear and (now that its warmed up just a bit) a little hint of vanilla bean.  Check out its crystalline, clear coloring  (okay, I was just dying to use the word crystalline):

Well, the picture doesn’t do it a ton of justice, but it really is a beautifully clean and clear wine.  Maybe it’s because Gen 5 is a certified Sustainable winery?  Perhaps.  I would love this wine even if I didn’t know that about it, but it’s always awesome to hear that a winery is committed to planet Earth-friendly farming and policies.  Lodi actually has it’s own set of “Rules” and standards for Sustainability.  Yet another reason I need to visit that part of California- the Lodi area seems like a community with a sense of togetherness.  Pretty cool.

So what’s the best part of this wine?  Well, it only costs $13!  How’s about that.  This speaks volumes about this wines awesomeness, because I find that wines labelled as Sustainable are often over-priced.  They could probably sell it for $15 and no one would question it.  Sustainable?  Sure, I’ll pay $15!  Actaully, it’s definitely worth $15.  But how nice that it’s $13!  You can try it at the Wine Sale, TOMORROW!  Saturday, August 27th from 12-2 at Cellar on Greene.

 

 

Rocca Bastia Pinot Grigio, 2010 Veneto

Rocca Bas-tee-ah.  I was saying Rocca BAS-tee-ah for a while there.  But I don’t think anyone heard me, so it matters not.  It’s been a while since I took on an Italian white, and my extreme fondness for white wine does not generally extend to Pinot Grigio… but THIS is a really pleasant surprise!  An excellent value, and a really stunning level of complexity for its… wait for it… $9 PRICETAG!  Yipeeeee!

So, what’s to like about this lil guy?  Well, I just gave you one reason- it’s $9!  But I’d rather throw $9 out the window than spend $9 on a crappy bottle of wine- so when I share my excitement over it’s price, it’s because I have deemed that it is worthy enough to be hailed as a truly delicious bottle of wine, not just a decent cheap bottle of wine that you won’t want to spit out.  You dig?  Good.

I can hear servers and bartenders all accross America heaving a collective sigh as the ladies at his or her table announce “I’ll take a glass of the Pinot Grigio.”  Heavy hearted, they ring the order in and secretly suspect that these broads are the type who just want something in their hand to sip on, and they couldn’t give a hoot what it tastes like or anything about it.  They fight the desire to pour some water into it and see if they notice.  They prepare themselves for the separate checks that will certainly be forthcoming, even though everyone’s bill comes to exactly the same amount.  Does that sound like your stereotypical Pinot Grigio drinker?  Yup.

Unfortunately, Pinot Grigio in the restaurant world is sort of a sad story.  It can be marked up more than it should be, because the owner knows it will sell regardless.  Wine retailers probably stock Santa Margherita somewhat begrudgingly, knowing that it will sell no matter how hard they try to get people to branch out.  It’s sort of like casting a really smokin’ hot blonde in a summer blockbuster movie.  Even if she’s not particularly charming or even beautiful, the fact that she’s wearing Daisy Dukes and a cut off white t-shirt will ensure that people see the movie.  But that’s the way it goes, I guess.

Before I get too verbose, let’s move on to the actual WINE.  The reason I like it is because it is perfectly balanced between light fruit, citrus, minerality and a nice flowery finish.  And perfect acidity to make it thirst-quenching and sublime for hot weather.   Tart notes of green apple, lime, and a sweet hint of honeysuckle.  The finish is longer than expected, and it’s clean and minerally.  I don’t ask for much more than this.  Don’t be boring and innocuous- show me some liveliness!  Show me some zest!  that’s what this wine has.  A friendly, lively zestiness.  It must have had fun hanging out in the bottle or during fermentation, because it’s really pretty pumped to be alive.  It arrives in your glass with enthusiasm.  You didn’t think that was possible in a simple little bottle of Pinot Grigio, did you?  well, give it a shot, because I ain’t makin’ this up.

TONIGHT, May 25th from 5-7 at Cellar, I will be introduced to this wine’s step-sibling, the Rocca Bastia Soave, as well as a few other Italian whites, which I’m pretty excited about.  If you’d like, you may meet them too!   Also known as a wine tasting, this meet & greet will cost you something like $7 and will definitely cool you off after the thermometer hits a fantastic 99 degrees today.  AWESOME.  Not.  Come to think of it… this would also be perfect to throw in the car with you on your way to the lake or the beach this Memorial Day weekend… why yes, it would.  Just sayin’.

Can’t make the tasting?  We have plenty of the Rocca Bastia in stock at Cellar for $9 a bottle.  It’s also available as part of our $90 Mystery Case.  Whuck??  never heard of a Mystery Case?  Get to it.  Oh, you don’t know what “whuck” means?  You poor thing.  You haven’t discovered Rants from Mommyland yet.  You need to get on that, too.  I don’t even have children and I’ve been staying up late laughing til I cry.  That’s all I got, thanks for reading and happy almost Memorial Day!

A big fat ROSE post!!

Oh, sweet Jesus thank you for Rose!  Warning: if you are under the impression that pink wine sucks, you can stop reading right about now.  Or I should say- if you are firmly resolute in that belief, and have no desire to think otherwise, then you can stop reading.  However, if you are willing to consider (just consider!) that your long clung-to belief that pink wine sucks MIGHT be slightly inaccurate, than READ ON!  Because I just might change your mind.  I’m pretty determined about this.

The kids.

Why do I like pink wine so much?  Hmm.  Let me examine that one.  One of the reasons I like pink wine is because it reminds me of warm sunny days and relaxation.  There is something carefree about a pink bottle of wine, it just screams “forget about all those little annoying things about life and just drink me.”  Does this identify me as a procrastinator?  Well, yes, I am.  It doesn’t take a bottle of pink wine to make me want to procrastinate.  But it’s not just about procrastination or warm sunny days.  It’s more about slowing down to actually just do one.thing.at.a.time.  Which isn’t always easy.  So I’m by no means suggesting that you blow off all your responsibilities and jet off to the nearest pool to drink rose and not give a F*@% about anything.  But a rose to me suggests setting aside a small block of time to just do ONE thing, and that thing is gently sip a glass of rose.  Notice how pretty it’s color is, how frosty and inviting the bottle is, contemplate all the lovely fruits you taste in it.  Call it a meditation if you want.  So maybe that’s why I like pink wine.  It reminds me to slow down and enjoy.

Yesterday was a good day for me, as you can see by all the open bottles pictured above!  This is possibly the first of many posts about Rose in store for you this summer.  First in line we have my personal favorite, the Charles & Charles Rose of Syrah, 2010 Washington State.  As you can tell, it has the lightest, most delicate coloring.  But don’t you dare call it a pansy.  This just released wine is sleek, sexy and polished.  It has pretty femininity, with a masculine edge.  How, you ask?  You’ll taste lovely notes of raspberry, sour cherry and pomegranate.  Then you’ll notice some exciting hints of herbs and leaves.  It’ll hit you with a nice dose of acidity and minerality, and then at the very end?  a touch of strawberries and cream.  Ahhhhh.  I love it.  Crisp, refreshing, and an awesome looking bottle to boot.  Goes on by the glass tonight, and retails for $13.

This one’s a fun one- just look at the name!  Gaga Rose, 2009 California (retail $11).  This was the most fruit-forward of today’s bunch, with a somewhat sweet finish.  Ripe, ripe, ripe red fruits to be found here; watermelon, red cherries, strawberries and a faint aroma of herbal tea.  All fruit all the time once you taste it, too- plus be prepared for some yummy flavors of watermelon Jolly Ranchers!  Now, I can’t tell you what to do, but I think this one in particular would make a great gift for that 20-something year old niece, daughter, sister, friend, whatever-of-yours that’s graduating this weekend!  It will make you seem very hip and in tune with what the “kids” are into these days.  Plus, nothing says “welcome to the real world” like wine!

Next on the list is the Bodegas Tikalo Albaliza Rosado, 2010 Spain.  I like this wine for it’s sturdy simplicity, nice marriage of fruit and dryness, and of course, PRICE (retail $9!).  It has a nice deep color and is made of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet.  It’s fruit offers a little more tartness- think cranberries, with notes of rose petals, spice and a palate-pleasing “quench.”  I’m a big fan of this one as an everyday go-to Rose, and perfect for entertaining given it’s friendly pricetag.  You will most certainly find this one at this Saturday’s Wine Sale at Cellar from 12-2 if you wish to experience it for yourself!

Last but not least, we must include a Rose bubbly!  Life is not complete without pink bubbles.  This one has been a favorite of mine for quite some time, and we also just put it on by the glass.  So, you know how everyone likes Champagne?  Well, it turns out, they make sparkling wine in France that’s NOT just from the Champagne region.  And often, it represents some of the best value out there AND can often be more delicious (in my opinion) than a “true” Champagne.  Such is the case with the Marquis de la Tour Brut Rose, NV Loire Valley.  I especially love sparkling from the Loire, and this little guy is made by Remy Pannier, one of the better known and well-respected Loire valley producers.  It’s a pretty salmon color, and has a delicate, fresh palate of strawberries and peaches, perfect mousse, and a round mouthfeel.  It makes a perfect party guest and will please the masses fo’ sho!  And you can party with it all night long, too- cuz it only costs $11! 

Soooo… what do you say?  you’ll give pink wine a try?  Pretty please?  Here’s one last plea- well, not so much a plea as a statement of fact- and it comes with every case of Charles & Charles Rose (yes, you can have one, but only if you buy a case):

Some white wines for Royal Wedding day!

So, I’ve been up since 4 relishing every detail of the Royal Wedding…

aaaahahahaha!  No I haven’t.  Not at all.  I get the fascination and I’m not a hater, but it’s not my thing.  Although I will admit to browsing Tom & Lorenzo for a few pictures of the dress.  Interestingly, I was enamored of the Maid of Honor’s dress rather than the sea of lace and fabric worn by the bride.  But good choice with McQueen, and it was a pretty amazing piece of craftsmanship.  That’s enough of that!  Let’s move on to things I REALLY like…

WHITE. WINE.  I can’t get enough white wine.  I’ve been trying to write this post for about two weeks.  I started with just picking the Chono Sauvignon Blanc.  Then we got the Anne Amie Muller-Thurgau in and I fell madly in love, so I was going to have it be a dual post.  Then the 2010 Kung Fu Girl came in.  Then just this week, two more favorites arrived.  So, this is a big fat post dedicated to perrenial favorites and new obsessions.

First is my original blog pick, the Chono Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Chile.  Those of you who read me often know I’ve been in a Chile phase for months now, and I think THIS wine might be the root cause of it all.  So deep is my love of this wine.  I love this wine and I love its price ($11).  This is definitely one of those wines that reminds you that is IS possible to drink delicious wine and not pay a lot for it.  It is effortless in its tangy, thirst-quenching, fruity-with-a-hint-of-herbs palate.  Perfect acidity on the finish really make this one refreshing.  There is just enough grapefruit present to make it enjoyable, yet not have the ONLY thing you can think about be the taste of grapefruit, as is the occasional case with New Zealand Sauv Blancs.  Love it.

Next in the procession comes the Anne Amie Muller-Thurgau, 2010 Oregon.  ($16).  I just call it MULL-er for short.  This is one of my favorite weird grapes.  I thought it might have been a fluke when I fell hard for the Colterenzio Muller-Thurgau last year.  But no.  The Anne Amie is representin’ and I’m into it.  There’s lots more wine-nerdy info on Muller in the Colterezio post, so for today we’ll keep it simple and say that Muller is sort of like a cross between an off-dry Riesling and an old world Gewurztraminer.  Aromas of fresh white flowers, melon, yellow apples and light citrus permeate- and then the finish offers a little zing! of spice and minerality.    Yum.  ‘Nuff said.

So to wrap things up for today, here’s a few things that just came in.  The 2010 vintage of the Kung Fu Girl Riesling is here!  and it’s awesome.  The ’10 is probably better than the ’09 by just a hair- read this post of the ’09 and than just take it up a notch on the wow scale.  And it still maintains its nice price of $14.  Lioco Chardonnay, 2009 Sonoma is here, too!  This is a gorgeous Cali Chard that will leave you speechless.  If you’ve EVER uttered the words “I don’t like Chardonnay,” the Lioco will laugh in your face.  And then change your mind.  It’s one of the cool kids.  Lush and fruit-forward with aromas of lemon curd and pears, followed by a really gorgeous, silky mouthfeel.  None of that over-oaked over-buttered Cali Chard business.  Which has its place, but not here.  $19 gets you this bottle.  Last is a literal party-in-a-bottle, the Xarmant Txakolina, 2009 Spain for $15.50.  Never had Chak-oh-lee-na?  It’s awesome.  It’s sort of like Vinho Verde’s step-sibling, as it has a teeny fizz when you open it and it’s lean, tart and focused.  Tons of green apple and notes of lemon thyme and other herbs.  Yet another awesome pool or porch sipping wine.

Hopefully one of these spoke to you!  Actually, ALL of these wines are by the glass at Cellar right now, so you’re welcome to try a taste the next time you’re around to see what you think!  Ciao for today!

Estampa Viognier-Chardonnay, 2009 Chile

Yes, I know.  I just wrote about a Chilean wine.  But I warned you that I’m in a Chile phase, so I’m back at it this week!  And this one is WORLDS different than the last Chilean wine I wrote about.  Most notably that it is white, and the last one was red.  However, it is equally delicious and I am equally obsessed with it!  It’s especially fun to say- es-STAM-pa!  You will start to feel South American just by saying it. 

As you can see, I dipped into this bottle just a wee bit last night- just last night.  Not right now.  Definitely not right now, it’s only 2:30!   I would never do that.  Sure, there’s a glass of it sitting next to me here at the desk, but I’m just using it to remind myself of how it smells.  So let’s get to that, shall we?  Pretty notes of jasmine, fresh flowers and perfume are predominant, as this wine is mostly Viognier (85%).  The Viognier shows off nice hints of apricots and peaches as well- then the Chard kicks in a perfect punch of citrus to give it that pnice acidic quench.   Which is what I always search for in a summer white- you want your thirst to be quenched and to feel refreshed.  While at the same time achieving your optimal level of pleasant afternoon-in-the-sunshine buzz.  When this wine is very cold (which is how you will probably want it once July rolls around) it’s more of a lean-mean-heat-kickin’-machine, but if you let it come to just under room temperature (which is how a lot of hardcore white wine fans like thier wine) it shows off more of it’s round viscosity and hints of nice residual sugar.  It’s a true double personality- but that’s just what makes it more versatile! 

Check out Estampa’s website  for further evidence of why I MUST.GO.TO.CHILE. 

 

Oh, I almost forgot!  You’re going to love me for this one- this wine’s ONLY $11!  No way?  WAY!  If you don’t believe me, stop in to Cellar this Saturday, March 26th from 12-2 for our next Giant Wine Sale & Tasting and give it a try! 

Well that’s all the wine-nerding I have time for this afternoon, but here’s another little fun nugget for you:  my fellow ginger and Columbia wine nerd, James Alford, has just started a wine blog of his own!  He’s got a shite-ton of information crammed in that little brain of his, so be sure to check it out!   Fun reading.  If you don’t understand all the words he uses, you’re not alone.  That’s why Google was invented.  Just don’t dare play him in Words with Friends, or you might not like him anymore.  Just kidding, J.  Good luck in the blogosphere!

Vi d’Agulla Avinyo, 2009 Spain

I just love it when wine makes babies.  No, really- they can!  If you don’t believe me- you must try this Avinyo, and I’m sure you will be convinced that this wine is truly the love child of the Opala Vinho Verde and a Cava Brut.  This was truly a marriage made in heaven if you ask me!  In no way am I taking away from the genius and popularity of the Opala- it still remains my most visited and commented blog post- but kids, if you were looking for a worthy contender to match the Opala in almost every facet- this just may be your lucky day.

First, how to pronounce- it looks like a mouthful, I know-  the winemakers must have seen this coming because they have a handy little phonetic guide on the back of the bottle for us!  “Vee-da-goo-ya” Avinyo.  See- we’re only on the second paragraph of this entry and already you can sound smart when you come in looking for this wine.  Repeat a few times to yourself so it sinks in.  Vee-da-goo-ya-Vee-da-goo-ya.  It’s fun!

Next, on to this wine’s many uses.  This wine is so versatile it’s practically preposterous.  Like the Opala, it’s extremely low in alcohol- 10.5%- which makes it a perfect AFTERNOON wine!  That’s right- as the last 6 weeks of this Columbia summer is prepared to rear it’s ugly head, you know there’s nothing better than a chilly glass of white wine with lunch.  It’s aromas of spring flowers, tropical fruits, green apple and citrus zest are followed up by perfect minerality and a brisk, frothy, fizzy and thirst-quenching finish.  Perfect with any kind of light fare, in my mind- salads, anything involving citrus (ceviche, a citrus marinade or vinaigrette, etc), and I think it also a perfect apertif wine-  a clever fellow wine writer that I discovered this morning calls it a perfect “close the deal” wine.  Kudos to that one- I wish I’d thought of it myself!  Check out his website here.

Wine Advocate gave this wine a cool 88 points!  Not bad considering it’s only 12 bucks a bottle!  Gotta love that.  In case any of you wine nerds were wondering- the grape in this wine is Petit Gran Muscat- that might make it seem like it’s a sweet wine, but trust me, it’s not- it does, however, have some lovely muscat-like aromas- ie honey, flowers, etc.  But it’s allll fizzy-clean-crisp-deliciousness on the inside. 

I’m not trying to start a War of the Wines here, BUT- I do challenge all of you Opala-drinkers out there to give this one a try!  It really is Spain’s answer to a Vinho Verde, and Spain can make some good wine, y’all.  But you already know this, since you read my blog and you know that I’ve written about more Spanish wines than anything else.  What can I say?  I love ’em.  You can snag this bottle at the Wine Sale TOMORROW- August 7th for the aforementioned price of $12.  Yes, it’s two more dollars than the Opala, but still it’s a steal. 

One more thing- if you’re out and about and shopping for a sparkling wine and you see the Vee-da-goo-ya’s sister wine, the Avinyo Cava Brut– definitely give it a try, too.  It’s a consistant go-to sparkler that always scores well.  Basically these people know what they’re doing.  Hope to see lots of faces at the sale tomorrow!  And PS- we’re going to have LOTS of awesome reserve wines open tomorrow!  Paul Hobbs Pinot (94pts), Swanson Chardonnay (winery only) and I am anxiously awating the arrival of a few cases of EL NIDO this afternoon!  That’s CLIO’s big brother!  Serious stuff.  And who’d have thought- it’s Spanish, too!   Gotta come check this one out.  Cheers!