September is here! What? What? What? No need to worry, summer isn’t over just yet. There’s still plenty of time left to get in a last visit to the beach or the last barbecue of the season. Fall is right around the corner, so we better act quickly! Good thing there’s a Dirty Dozen to take care of the wine department for the month: 12 bottles of wine, all different, all versatile, a little cheat sheet with some notes and pairing ideas, and one low price. Yay!
Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines
2014 Santa Barbara County White, Demure $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder
Owner/winemaker Vailia Esh left chilly Toronto on a lark and set out for sunny Paso Robles. Shortly thereafter Desperada Winery was born. Along with the Desperada wines, Vailia tinkers with different varietals, and here she has blended 88% Riesling with 12% Chardonnay for her Demure label. It’s dry and crisp, so pair it with those pork chops.
2014 Rueda Verdejo, Menade $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Three siblings, Marco, Richard, and Alejandra Sanz have been running Menade since 2005. They can trace their winemaking roots back 5 generations. Rather than rest on that laurel, they are true pioneers in the organic movement, having secured the certification for their vineyards. This Verdejo is stony and herbal – a great partner for raw oysters.
2014 Vinho Branco, Rufo do Vale D.Maria $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
From Portugal’s Douro D.O.C. comes this blend of natives Côdega de Larinho and Rabigato. The former brings floral aromas as well as flavors of peaches and melons while the latter brings a little zippy acidity and backbone to the party. As the summer fades away, treat yourself to a glass of this to sip with a Caprese Salad with fresh heirlooms and burrata.
2013 Hors Saison, Domaine la Hitaire $9.95 sale price, $9.45 reorder
It’s a Côtes de Gascogne made from 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Sémillon. Brothers Rémy and Armin Grassa run this property now after taking over from their father, Yves, of Domaine de Pouy fame. The 2013 Hors Saison is an easy going, medium bodied white, perfect for Tuesday nights. It goes great with goat cheese or a turkey sandwich with the works.
2014 Ventoux Blanc, Domaine Fondrèche $16.99, $13.59 reorder
Our man in Ventoux, Sébastien Vincenti blends Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette, and a little bit of Rolle for his Ventoux Blanc, and the result is smashing. Like their red counterparts, white Rhône blends have to be some of best values on the market. Citrus, stone fruit, and minerals hover around your glass as you toast your Chicken à la King.
NV Vouvray, Domaine d’Orfeuilles $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder
Sparkling wine made from 100% Chenin Blanc, this Vouvray is long on character. It’s not Champagne, but its small bubbles and dusty mineral expression could potentially fool a few people. The palate is marked by crunchy Granny Smith apple and mineral, and the finish is balanced and creamy. Great for a toast, an aperitif, or a bucket of fried chicken.
2012 Vinho Tinto, Rufo do Vale D.Maria $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
We head back to Portugal’s Douro for Vale D.Maria’s red version of Rufo. This one is made from a blend of Touriga Franca and Portugal’s most famous red grape, Touriga Nacional. It’s a medium-bodied wine offering notes of dark red and black fruit with some spice. It’s great with tapas and small bites, or you can pair it with a pizza margherita.
2014 Negroamaro Salento Arcangelo, Palamà $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Originally planted by Romans in the southern region of Salento, Negroamaro is a robust red with sturdy structure and pleasant black cherry aromas. The tannins are well integrated making this a clean, easy sipper which can be appreciated in its youth. It’s a versatile red, so it’s a ringer with pasta dishes; but we’re thinking bread, olives, and salumi.
2014 Merlot, Domaine de Gournier $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Longtime Dirty Dozen fans may remember Gournier, as their wines were once regulars in our monthly sampler. When we discovered several cases that were up for grabs at a ridiculous price, we snagged them. This Merlot is juicy and balanced with brambly fruit and a medium body. It’s a great picnic red (screwcap), or a fine partner for a cheeseburger.
2013 Mountainside Shiraz, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder
Speaking of great picnic wines, Alex Dale’s Mountainside Shiraz sports a screwcap as well, and what’s inside is pure Shiraz magic. The nose is ripe and expressive with notes of red fruits, smoke, and gamey meat. The palate is restrained and medium bodied, and the finish is exquisitely balanced. This one is best suited for a slow-cooked smoky beef brisket.
2014 Les Trois Frères, Domaine des Aspras $17.59, $14.07 reorder
Say bonjour to our new Provençal producer, Domaine des Aspras. Coming from the first all-organic French grape growing village, Correns, Les Trois Frères is 90% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. This Côtes de Provence is a dark, earthy wine. It’s full bodied, so it’s best to pair this with something hearty … maybe a nice, rich bowl of cassoulet.
2013 Costières de Nîmes Les Cimels, Château d’Or et de Gueules $15.79, $12.63 reorder
“Wines with this much complexity don’t sell for $15,” that’s what Anya said after she tasted the 2013 Les Cimels in our employee tasting room. This has been THE go-to house red for over a decade. Dark purple and black olive-like fruit are the core with aromas of forest floor and black tea. One note of caution: this bottle will be empty before you think it will!