14 July 2015. Bonne Fête Nationale! Or, Happy Bastille Day! We’re hearing all about parties and celebrations planned for today at local French restaurants, brasseries, and bistros. Our Twitter feed is full of pics of folks in France enjoying their big holiday. We even have a couple of customers visiting St. Emilion as I type! Needless to say, there is festive energy in the air … with a French twist. If your plans include any of these big celebrations, bravo! Enjoy! If not, if something a little low-key is more suitable, one can get by on Bastille Day simply with a delicious bottle of French wine.
|The July 2015 Dirty Dozen
Now that we’re officially into summer, it’s the time for holidays, picnics, and summer’s bounty at local famers’ markets. The backyard grill is getting its share of use, and depending on what you might be tossing on it, we’ve got some lovely vinous suggestions for you. The wines were all chosen for their versatility as well as their suitability to the goings on of July and summertime. Great for any occasion; pick up a July DD today!!
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2014 Les Cimels Rosé, Château d’Or et de Gueules $13.99, $11.19 reorder
Fresh off the boat comes this fresh, Provençal style Rosé from good old Château d’Or et de Gueules. A blend of Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache, this one is light and crisp, its delicate pink robe revealing citrus blossoms and herbs. It’s a great all-purpose Rosé and will pair well with a fresh Provençal salad and the great outdoors.
2013 Bush Vine Chenin Blanc, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder
From the Helderberg area of Stellenbosch, the old bush vines work their magic atop decomposed granite soils while facing the ocean’s cool breezes. It’s pure Chenin Blanc, with its Granny Smith apple character, and a little hint of lime, framed in minerals. It makes for a good aperitif, is great for picnics, and works well with grilled chicken leg quarters.
2013 Pinot Grigio, Inacayal $13.99, $11.19 reorder
Yes, it’s Pinot Grigio, but it’s made more in the style of Alsatian Pinot Gris. It’s rich and concentrated, with a nectar-like mouth feel revealing complexities such as ripe peaches, nuts, and mushrooms. In mid-palate, one gets the sensation that the wine could be a little off-dry, but the acid kicks in just then and the finish is crisp. Try it with fish tacos.
2012 Vermentino, Uvaggio $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
It may sound like it’s an Italian import, but No! – this wine is homegrown from Lodi, CA. Winemaker Jim Moore picks the Vermentino early to insure freshness and uses only free-run juice to ferment in stainless steel tanks. Aromatic and dry, try with Asian noodle dishes, pan-roasted scallops, steamed clams or grilled chicken.
2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Alluviale $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder
This New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has a bounty of lemongrass and honey-lime flavors. It has lots of attack on the palate but with a subtle hint of lanolin on the nose. Chill down on a hot day to slake your thirst while watching the setting sun. Serve with fresh green-leaf salads sprinkled with goat cheese, white-fleshed fish or raw seafood.
2014 Soave, San Rocco $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
San Rocco is a tremendous value from one of Veneto’s best Soave producers, Monte Tondo. Using 100% Garganega from pristine vineyard sites, this wine offers a burst of citrus with elegant perfume. Light in body, it’s a delight for casual sipping or can marry beautifully with summer’s veggie options like zucchini, corn and peppers.
2013 Abril, Azul y Garanza $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
The winery is located in the Navarra region of northern Spain. The winery’s vineyards, which are farmed organically, exist in desert-like conditions with minimal rainfall and extreme temperature fluctuations between day and night. This tobacco-scented Tempranillo has piercing bitter cherry flavors and full tannins. Try with smoky, grilled meats.
2012 Mencias de Dos, de 2 $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder
Another Spanish stunner, this 100% Mencia from Bierzo (aka “Gateway to Galicia”) is a bargain considering it comes from an organic vineyard with vines averaging 55 years of age, grown on slate and quartz soils. Three months in barrel rounds out the natural bright acidity of the wine. Serve with highly seasoned meat on small sticks cooked over fire.
2009 Assisi Rosso, Falesco $19.98 net price, $17.98 reorder
This Umbrian red illustrates the complexity of Sangiovese when blended with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon – dark berry flavors accented by underbrush and licorice notes. Plumy and rich, this red benefits from time in bottle, showing off smooth tannins and restrained fruity flavors. It is complete and ready to drink. Go bold here with food pairings.
2012 Château Couronneau Rouge $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder
Winemaker Christophe Piat’s commitment to biodynamic practices has finally earned him the esteemed Demeter insignia on his labels. What has happened to his wines since he began implementing these procedures has been quite impressive! The fruit and mineral expressions of the 2012 Couronneau are breathtaking. Serve this one with a grilled cowboy steak.
2007 3 Cepas, Furque $15.99, $12.79 reorder
What do you get when you blend 50% Malbec, 30% Syrah, and 20% Merlot? 3 cepas, that’s what. It’s a delectable blend, now with a little bottle age, that will do just fine when the time calls for a sturdy red. Furque’s vines are 3000 feet above sea level, so the cool nights give the fruit the acid they need for balance. Enjoy it with a leg of lamb.
2011 Morgon “Douby”, Château de Raousset $19.39, $15.51 reorder
On the opposite spectrum in the red wine department, a Cru Beaujolais is light in body and well suited for the summer months. It shows cedary, tobacco-like aromas with cherries and berries, and a little forest floor. On the palate, it’s fresh and easy and would accompany a pizza margherita perfectly. Best results if you put a chill on it before serving.
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Happy Independence Day! We hope you’re all having a wonderful long weekend, capped off by a festive 4th. Our staff is taking what is a long weekend ourselves, being closed both days this weekend, but we’ll be back on Monday! In the meantime, what do we do with a long weekend? That’s easy. Several customers asked me on Friday what I was doing. My answer was, rest, relax, get some sun, go on a hike, meet some friends, eat some good food, and drink some good wine. Another customer asked me what I’ve been drinking lately, and without giving it much thought (as I visualized my recycle bin), I said Rosé and Bordeaux. That is true, of course, but then I remembered something. I remembered the 2012 Domaine Sylvain Langoureau Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly I had last week!
As I alluded to yesterday, summer is here, and I can go on and on about more white and rosé wines, but on the heels of the praise of Grüner Veltliner, I thought to change it up a bit. Why not? It’s probably no surprise that my thoughts are on Bordeaux, that’s just natural. The Bordelais just hosted VinExpo this past week, and though we were able to follow the festivities via social media, my inbox was unusually quiet this week. That’s all good, we all need time to catch up on things. As I was doing a little housecleaning this morning, I stumbled upon a fairly recent acquisition, the 2008 Château Gloria. I thought, “Here’s an outstanding bottle of red Bordeaux, with a little age on it, for a very fair price. Hey, people drink red wine during summer too.” Summer barbecues? But of course.