Once upon a time, there was a solid chance that if you picked up a bottle of ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ from Chile, you were likely drinking a field blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Vert which, despite the name, is a completely different variety. These wines were often intensely ‘green’ and painted an unglamorous picture of Chilean white wine. Fast-forward to today, and now Sauvignon Blanc bottlings are truly varietal and offer incredibly zesty and chuggable wines. The Prisma offers aromas of kaffir lime, lemon, fresh cut herbs and a wet rock. The palate is incredibly refreshing with loads of citrus and mineral notes that make an incredible pairing with simple fish dishes with a squeeze of lemon.
While Albarino can be made in a zippy, austere style, many underestimate the potential for the grape to made into a richer, riper style that will make many a Chardonnay and white Rhone blend drinker happy. The ‘Ka’ offers aromas of banana, pear, and hints of spice. The palate is slightly more zippy with hints of citrus, but still offers juicy apple and quince notes. This is a great alternative to other richer white wines to pair with richer seafood or poultry dishes.
Though we have visited the ‘cool kid’ region of Mt. Etna and its unique varieties in recent club selections, Nero D’Avola still reigns supreme in terms of acreage in Sicily. Sicily accounts for nearly 98% of all Nero D’Avola in the world, and can be made in a wide range of styles including soft fruity blends with Frappato, or spicy dry reds with rich dark fruit and pepper-driven profiles. The Colosi is an example of the latter but showcases Nero’s ability to be an incredible red for the warmer months. The wine opens up with aromas of dried meat, raspberry, and chocolate-covered cherry. The palate is peppery, with moderate tannins and acidity enveloping dark cherry and sweet raspberry. Its an approachable red that works as well with burgers as it does Bolognese.
While Chante Cigale might be best known for their powerful Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Ask about the white we have in stock 😉), they understand the importance of having an awesome entry-level label. The Cicada is sourced from a variety of appellations and terroirs, but is made in a Cotes-du-Rhone-style. The nose offers blue and black fruit, sweet floral notes, and hints of chocolate. The palate is dense with moderate tannin, low acid, and a plethora of crème de cassis and blackberry. This straightforward red would go well with a rich red meat-based meal.
After a few disastrous vintages, Sancerre has bounced back into prime form. This region is generally considered to be the pinnacle for dry, varietal (non-blended) Sauvignon Blanc and has served as the inspiration for countless winemakers in virtually every winemaking region. Though Michel Armand is based in Pay Nantais, their Sancerre is spot on. Aromas of ripe snow pea, finger lime, and tart stone fruit give way to a sleek palate with electric acidity enveloping restrained citrus and stone fruit with hints of river rock. This wine is extremely versatile food-wise, but might go best with simple sushi dishes.
Back to Greek wine we go, with what is likely Greece’s most famous variety: Assyrtiko. Multiple wine scholars point to Assyrtiko as Greece’s first variety to gain an international foothold thanks in part to its unmistakable varietal character. Though it’s most famously from the island of Santorini, the ‘Plano’ is sourced from the Drama PGI, which encompasses the Northeastern corner of Macedonia. Despite the ‘nontraditional’ origin, this is ALL Assyrtiko. The nose offers a pleasant mix of white flowers, spice, and ocean spray. The palate displays the characteristic acidity of Assyrtiko complemented by a creamy texture enveloping green pear, quince, and saline notes. This wines screams uncompromisingly for oysters.
Bordeaux. It’s a word that permeates the minds of novice and experienced wine fans alike. When we think of this region, we likely think of the fantasy wines from Pauillac or Pomerol that would likely involve emptying one or more bank accounts to acquire. However, like many of the ‘luxury’ regions of the world, there are a plethora of affordable wines from Bordeaux that showcase why it’s so highly regarded. This blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced primarily from the Entre-Deux-Mers, which could be viewed as the ‘value’ area of Bordeaux. This wine spent most of its aging period in stainless steel before being transferred to 225-liter neutral barriques. The result is a wine that showcases the approachable fruit characteristics and lovely terroir-driven notes without covering it with harsh oak tannin and flavor. The nose offers deeply perfumed notes of black currant, crunch blue fruit and hints of black pepper. The palate displays moderate acid and tannin, with crème de cassis, some spicy oak, coffee, and hints of bakers chocolate. This might not be QUITE as rich a ribeye wine as you are used to, but we guarantee you will be happy with the pairing.
It’s not often we get a wine that has such an impressive mythos that (almost) overshadows the wine itself. The Three Ladies is the very first ‘Cape Blend’ which is a unique style of red from South Africa that requires at least 33% Pinotage blended among other red varieties. Given the tumultuous history of Pinotage, this was an innovative (and brave) move. Additionally, this wine holds the honor of being among the select James Bond-approved drinks given its presence in the Bond novel Carte Blanche. Beyond being an icon of the country, this wine is an excellent representation of the modern style of South African winemaking. After 27 months in 10% new French oak, the nose offers baked plum, tart fruit, and deep smoky herbs. The palate is RICH with crème de cassis, valnilla, blueberry, mull spice enveloped by high, but resolved, tannins. Though steak is the first thought, I could imagine this being a rich pairing to something savory or sweet that’s chocolate-based.