Garnacha Blanca is a drought-resistant, warm-weather grape that is a mutation of the Grenache Noir grape we all know and love, heavily grown in the southern Rhône as well as Spain. This wine from Navarra, Spain, is more precisely from the tiny area of San Martin de Unx, an idyllic town with an alabaster church on a hill. While the region boasts a handful of wineries, Hacienda Uvanis is a boutique winery operating under the larger label of Bodegas San Martin. This Garnacha Blanca is light and fruity, with an abundance of white floral notes on the nose along with stone fruits, green pear, and minerality on the palate. It will be delightful paired with an ahi tuna poke bowl from Po-K Loco.
Some people buy wines just because of the famous wine distributor on the label. We chose this wine because of the name (Bruno LaFon) and the desire to bring an unoaked, clean Chardonnay to the wine club since it’s been a minute! While we know many will choose almost any wine but a Chard, we want you to give one of the most widely planted grapes in the world a shot today, especially with warmer weather ahead. The P’tit Chardo has a playful label, but the wine itself is crisp, tangy, and on the cusp of elegant. It hits you with citrus and tropical notes of pineapple and peach, finishing with some nutty flavors. The next time you head to Shuck Me, try their chilled boiled shrimp with a glass of Le P’tit Chardo.
Winemakers Xander Grier and Nathan Valentine named their label “Salt Rock” to denote the coastal influence of the South Atlantic ocean on Stellenbosch. Pét nats (pétillent naturel) are the “cool kids” of the sparkling world because they are bottled before the first fermentation is complete, and the wine is left to do its thing, unveiling flavors that literally change from day to day (but beware: pét nats should be drunk within a few months). The Salt Rock pét nat is a delightful pink-salmon color, and it a swirl of watermelon, raspberry, strawberry in the glass, with more sophisticated notes of Country Time lemonade and a bit of salinity. It is the perfect picnic wine (you only need a bottlecap opener!) and would be fabulous paired with minty tabbouleh from Layalina Mediterranean Restaurant.
The House of Mommessin just exudes fancy French winemaking from their logo, a crest with a golden key, and their austere website which boasts that “exactitude, respect, [and] transparency are the crucial principles of our philosophy.” This particular wine, made from the “sovereign” Gamay grape, is from a Beaujolais-Villages, a vast area that surrounds that 10 cru of Beaujolais. Mommessin strives for minimal intervention in their winemaking techniques (hence, exactitude, respect, and transparency). Prominent Beaujolais techniques include hand-harvesting the grapes, semi-carbonic maceration, and a devatting during fermentation to gently extract flavors. The wine shines with red and black fruits, alongside subtle spice. While a charcuterie board would be a great pairing, something more substantial like a rotisserie platter from Cowboy Chicken would certainly hold up to the Beaujolais.
Picture it—Sicily…hopefully, you get the reference (or maybe “The Golden Girls” is on my TV too often)! The most widely planted grape in Sicily is Nero d’Avola, locally known as Calebrese. This wine has an interested story as it uses partially withered grapes in its second fermentation. This process contributes some body and flavor to the wine while not adding excess alcohol (this one clocks in at 13.5%). Mulberry is a key descriptor for Nero d’Avola. Also present are notes of dried fig, prune, vanilla, and something close to “fruit roll up.” The next time you are in Aubrey, head to the World Famous Moms, and grab some of their meatloaf to try along side the Torre dei Giganti Nero d’Avola.
Verdant landscapes abound in Tuscany, of course, and the wine producer Avignonesi wants to ensure that the rolling hills stay green. The company boasts multiple certifications that show their dedication to eco-progress, including organic, biodynamic, and vegan production; they were also named a Certified B Corporation (a global movement supporting inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economic systems). The Cantaloro Rosso, a Super Tuscan, is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. While the Sangiovese weighs in at 57%, the Bordeaux varietals amp up the flavors, contributing cherry, blueberry, menthol, and sweet spices. A glass of the Cantaloro Rosso would measure up to the decadent meatballs (or beyond meatballs if you want to go vegan!) from Graffiti Pasta.
The Zolo Signature Red flew off our shelves several months ago, so we wanted to entice you with the Mendoza’s most popular grape variety, a Malbec from Zolo head Patricia Ortiz. A former endocrinologist, Ortiz is also president of Bodegas de Argentina, a sort of wine chamber of commerce. She enlisted big names Fabien Valenzuela and Jean Claude Berreout, of Petrus fame, to work their winemaking alchemy. Dark and rich, the Malbec does not disappoint with its in-your-face black cherry, blueberry, and plum flavors that are harmonized with sweeter notes of violet and mocha. This Reserve Malbec would pair amazingly with spicy and umami-rich food; try it with the California Black Bean Burger from Seven Mile Café (yes, it’s okay to have some wine for lunch!).
The Shannon Family of Wines owns some pretty well-known brands: Ovis, Clay Shannon, Buck Shack, the more restrained Steele, and, of course, Shannon Ridge. The Shannon Ridge ‘High Elevation’ Cabernet utilizes several different appellations to bring ripe, bright fruit together in a mix of phenolic euphoria. The mission of the Shannon Family is to focus on organic and sustainable farming, which is never easy at 2,600 feet above sea level! This Cabernet, with touches of Malbec and Petite Sirah, plays into the decadent nature of the fruit and oak: cranberry, blackberry, black cherry complemented by sweeter allspice, black pepper, and toast. It is time to take out your wet naps because this wine could definitely benefit from a plate of St. Louis style ribs from Juicy Pig Barbecue (or for our vegetarians, try it with the smoked jackfruit sandwich).
If you like richly hued, concentrated wine and really cool label art, you will love this wine! We have had the “I’m the Boss” Chardonnay at the bar in the past, and this cheeky wine is a fun addition to our portfolio. It is technically an “SGM” because there is a predominance of Syrah (60%), along with 30% Grenache, and 10% Mourvèdre. The “double ripasse” from the title—not a common wine term—is in reference to an extended maceration on the pomace (basically the deflated grape skins after the pressing) to get as much color and flavor as possible (it is probably a naughty pun as well, given the title). The wine gratifies with smoke, pepper, chocolate, and dried herbs along with juicy black and red fruits. It will stand up to a bold beef entrée, like brisket burnt ends from Prairie House. This wine is limited in quantities as only 10 cases made it to the United States. We have committed to 5 of those cases and may be able to get our hands on a couple more if we run through our inventory early in the month. For those who have not been around for our Big Dog wines in the past, this is an $80 bottle of wine and you will be able to take one of these as your club wine for the month.