Calling out around the world, are you ready for a brand new Dirty Dozen? Summer’s (almost) here and the time is right for dancing with your cousin. Well not really, but it rhymes. Picked with diversity in mind, each one offers plenty of palate pleasin’ prowess. Heading to a picnic? Grab a dozen!
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2006 Rosé, Château du Basty $10.99, $8.79 reorder
Talk about perfect timing. This wine just screams summer! Made from 100% Gamay, this wine is big on fruit, yet dry and crisp. Amazingly versatile, it goes with salmon or pork chops, but we prefer a nice, crisp salad and a view of the beach.
2004 Pinot Gris Tradition, René Muré $18.49, $14.79 reorder
Speaking of versatility, the wines from Alsace have long been the darlings of the ‘hard to pair with’ section of the menu. This Pinot Gris shows fleshy fruit braced by racy acidity and chalky minerals which all add up to pure pleasure. Stir fried scallops? Fish tacos? Thai chicken salad with peanut sauce? Spicy barbecue pork ribs? This works with all of ‘em.
2003 Muscadet, Clos de la Quilla $12.99, $10.39 reorder
Clean, dry, and crisp. Those are the three words you hear most when describing Muscadet. The appellation lies in the westernmost part of the Loire Valley, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. To say it pairs well with les fruits de mer would not be doing it justice. Sure oysters make for an ideal pairing, but try it with jumbo shrimp marinated in garlic, cilantro, and lime.
2005 Roussanne/Marsanne, Château Grande Cassagne $10.49, $8.39 reorder
We taste a lot of wines from all over, but no matter how hard we try, we can’t get to them all. So inevitably, some wines don’t get the attention they deserve. That is until one of our savvy customers discovers one that packs a wallop for a song. We noticed these flying out by the case lately, and have to say we know why.
2005 Chardonnay, Domaine Gournier $12.39, $9.91 reorder
We just love these wines from Gournier. No fancy labels; what you see is what you get. Take this Chardonnay. Fleshy fruit, plenty of zip, and a hint of spice will have you wondering who’s been pouring out of it while you weren’t looking. This is a great all purpose wine. Have it on its own, with appetizers, with salads, or save it for that rotisserie chicken.
2005 “Les Tours”, Domaine la Hitaire $6.95 sale price, $6.60 reorder
Here’s another dry, crisp white that’s a perfect sipper for this time of year. Made from Ugni Blanc, Colombard, and Petit Manseng (quiz coming later), this could be the one for all you sushi fans out there.
2003 2 Worlds, Quinta do Alqueve $16.99, $13.59 reorder
Every one in a while, a customer walks in and asks for “something big”. Well if that’s you, here’s your wine. Equal parts Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon from low yield vines are hand picked and bottled unfiltered. That adds up to big, big, big! Not for the lighthearted, this is one you pop with some of that gamier grass-fed steak off the grill.
2003 Benjamin Rouge, Graves, Vieux Château Gaubert $19.98 net price, $17.98 reorder
Red Bordeaux in the Dirty Dozen! From the hot and dry 2003 vintage, this juicy, full-bodied red has hit its stride and is providing nothing but pleasure to all who taste it. This would be perfect with a sizzlin’ New York steak au poivre.
2005 Grenache VDP, André Brunel $8.49, $6.79 reorder
Yet another of our “how can they do it” great bargains, Brunel’s Grenache VDP is a brilliant take on the variety without putting too big a dent in your pocket. Round, ripe fruit frame Provençal herbs for an unpretentious breath of fresh air.
2003 Merlot l’Enclos, Montpezat $12.59, $10.07 reorder
Once named the “Le Pin of the Languedoc”, Montpezat’s Merlot l’Enclos are serious business. The vines are planted in gravelly soil, yields are kept low, and the weather is optimal for getting Merlot to its perfect level of ripeness. A little bottle age only adds complexity to this terrific value. The herbaceousness of this wine makes it perfect with a prime rib end cut.
2005 Vin du pays du Vaucluse Les Plans, Domaine Santa Duc $12.79, $10.23 reorder
“Rock solid” is a term we use to describe the wines from Santa Duc. It’s hard to believe this is their entry level red, as it’s beaming with earth, herbs, and pepper. A velvety layer of dark fruit wraps up the package with a well-balanced finish. Recently passed with honors when paired with pizza with sausage, black olives, and green onions.
2005 Grenache/Syrah Tradition, Mas Carlot $11.29, $9.03 reorder
The quality level has ratcheted up significantly at this estate in recent vintages, and this 2005 is proof that their quality now surpasses their price level by a long shot! Medium berry fruit and smoked tea dominate the aromatics and follow through to the finish. Great with red sauced pastas, this would be perfect with spaghetti and meatballs.
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