The most popular white grape of Piedmont, Cortese is the foundation of Gavi, which is technically a region (you know how Europe does things!) in the southeast. Cortese, an indigenous variety, is both aromatic and clean, a perfect ‘healthy’ wine with its lower alcohol and crisp flavor. Franco Serra is a five-generation-run winery owned by the Sperone family, who have planted grapes all over Italy. Their facility in Torino was actually destroyed by a bomb in WWII. But persevere with winemaking they have, and now sibling team Francesca and Antonion Sperone are at the helm. They seek to bring “thoughtfully crafted, distinctive wines” to the world, and this Gavi is exceedingly lovely. Evocative of almond blossom, it also offers citrus, gala apple, creamy melon, and a touch of minerality. While it’s perfect as an aperitif, it will go well alongside veggies and fish. Try it with the Chef Salad from Spiral Diner.
It’s been a while since we had a Texas Mourvèdre on the club, and according to the folks at William Chris, “Mourvèdre is a Texas wine grower’s best friend.” It does so well in the warmer climate and thrives despite risk of drought and frost. The variety can be full-bodied, used in blends (as previously seen), and generally boasts higher acidity and tannins. Expressions of the grape differ, of course, whether it originates from the Rhône Valley, Spain, or the United States, and Texas encapsulates the best parts of Mourvèdre: a ripe, jammy plumminess along with blackberry, black tea, cedar, and tobacco. Few Texas wine producers make a more delicious Mourvèdre than William Chris, and pairing it with the Pork Tenderloin from Barley and Board will enthrall you.
In the far southern Rhône, Costières de Nîmes has soil filled with rocky galets that make other Rhône regions like Chateauneuf-du-Pape famous. These sun-soaked stones release heat at night, creating conditions for optimal vine ripeness. Michel Gassier writes that winemaking requires observation, respect for the land, and patience, and thus the “terroir will give its very best for us and for future generations.” With the Mistral, a wind that haunts the Rhône, and the nearby Mediterranean, Costières de Nîmes is a complicated area, but it sure does make gorgeous wines. The Gassier Côtes du Rhône, a blend of 75% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah, is fruit-forward with velvety tannins and approachability. Its violet floral aromas give way to dark cherries, licorice, earth, and black pepper on the palate. An excellent accompaniment would be the Spicy Eggplant dish from Royal Yum Thai Restaurant.
Murcia, in Spain’s southeast, of which Yecla is a part, plants more Monastrell (Mourvèdre) than any other red grape. And the country treats red grapes with immense reverence, resulting in delectable single varietal and blended wines that are usually set in more affordable price structures than neighbors France and Italy. Bodegas Barahonda has crafted a ‘tinto’ of 50% Monastrell, 20% Syrah, and 25% Merlot, and this wine spotlights what happens when three grapes that don’t often end up together end up together! The winery favors organic farming and no oak treatment, and so what you taste is juicy, luscious fruit: blackberry, blueberry, and dark cherry along with some earthy undertones. The label, depicting a Spanish proverb, mentions that navigating the roads of life can be difficult. But with this ‘Carro,’ “el vino va tomanda vida” [“the wine comes to life”]. The Bayou chicken sandwich from Frilly’s Seafood Bayou Kitchen will be an interesting partner for the ‘Carro.’
When Jared Burns was 24, just two years out of college, he founded Revelry Vintners in 2005. He grew up loving Washington wines, and he wanted his peers to be able to afford what he was drinking. Burns was exposed to wine from a young age as his father owned a synthetic cork business in Walla Walla. He achieved his dream of making wine inviting to more than just the Millennial generation; he has expanded his vision by offering more luxurious and higher-end renditions that allow Washington fruit to shine. Now a major player, Revelry showcases what Merlot can do so well. Red and blue fruits entice you while toasty caramel, vanilla, and cocoa linger on the finish. The Cedar Planked Salmon from Hannah’s would take this wine to the next level.
Everyone loves a dog story, and this one is pretty unique. Young adventurers Charlie Brain (yep) and Walker Brown were backpacking through South Africa’s Wild Coast when a dog named Lubanzi followed them for 6 days and over 100 miles and then disappeared into the night. Through this experience, an idea was born for these two who seek to make the planet a better place. With a repertoire of good deeds, like becoming a member of the ‘1 % for the Planet’ business alliance and a Certified B Corporation (while also being carbon neutral and maintaining fair trade practice), the Lubanzi folks believe “in the power of business to change the world.” So, you too are making the world better when you consume this wine! The wine, a blend of 75% Shiraz, 18% Grenache and 7% Mourvedre, is floral and fruity, with an abundance of black currant and black plum rounded out with allspice and black pepper. Enjoy a glass with the Portabella Burger from RG Burgers and Grill.
The country of Georgia is known as the cradle of wine civilization. Researchers have analyzed grapes and grape seeds within winemaking vessels there, and the remains were found to be over 8000 years old. By the way, there is a pretty cool episode of 60 Minutes, from November 2023, on the history of Georgian winemaking if you want to know more! Georgian viticulturalists have revived the ancient method of qvevri, which involves storing the juice, stems, and seeds from wine grapes in a sealed clay vessel and burying the qvevri in the ground for a good six months (or more) before drinking. Generally, there was a beeswax coating on the inside of the vessel and a lime coating on the outside, which contributed to the oxygenation and earthy flavors of the wine inside. Focusing on this particular wine, the artwork of Zurab Tserteli, Georgian painter and sculptor, is featured on the label. Made from the Saperavi grape, the Zurab Tserteli is not just interesting, but it is a taste of history. There are black fruits mixed with clove, licorice, and vanilla. Choose your favorite meat-centric dish from Rooster’s Roadhouse and sip this Saperavi from Georgia!
The emigration story of Italians relocating in Australia is not new, and Vittorio De Bortoli was lucky enough to seize an opportunity when he planted Shiraz grapes there in 1928 (surrounding farmers would have allowed the grapes to rot if he hadn’t taken the Shiraz fruit from them). De Bortoli Wines was born that year, and the brand has innovated over time, purchasing land in various parts of Australia to show how terroir truly can affect the grape-growing process. Heathcote has red Cambrian soils mixed with limestone, and that earthy soil imparts a certain quality to the wines, highlighted in the ‘Woodfired’ line. Made from 100% Shiraz and, in winemaker Steve Webber’s words, the style is “deeply scented, rich, fruit driven, and great with chargrilled cooking.” Aromas of violet, red, blue, and black fruits display when swirled, and more savory notes, like olive, spice, and smoke, emerge on the palate. Cartwright’s Ranch House Ribeye would hold up to this powerful Shiraz.