The Febuary 2017 Dirty Dozen
Okay, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year, so six more weeks of winter are in store for us; if you believe those kind of things. With the winter weather still present, hearty meals abound in our kitchens … and most likely, your kitchen too! For February this year, we’ve chosen another Dirty Dozen which provides versatility, though this month’s sampler is big on wines that will suit those hearty, comfort foods.
Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines
2015 Pinot Grigio, Riff $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
This is the 9th vintage of Riff that TWH has carried. At Riff, the famed winemaker Alois Lageder pulls together quality growers from the slopes of the Dolomites to produce a top-notch Pinot Grigio for a song. It is crisp and snappy, with bright citrusy flavors. Try this perky Pinot Grigio with a lemony kale Caesar salad or Sole Meunier.
2015 Verdejo Rueda, Viña Oropéndola $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Northwest of the Spanish capitol of Madrid lies the Rueda appellation. Here the white grape, Verdejo, reins queen. Verdejo is known for making dry yet aromatic wine. This one comes from vines that range in age from 40-120 years old. Where else other than Spain can you get old-vine goodness for such a price? Serve with Pollo con Arroz or veggie pasta.
NV Manzanilla Sherry 375ml, Barbiana $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
In our continuing effort to bring exciting new wine experiences to the Dirty Dozen, this month we’ve included Sherry for the first time. Manzanilla is a Fino sherry that is produced and aged within the town of Sanlúcar de Barremeda. It is bone-dry, salty with notes of almond and citrus, and has firm acidity. Try with fried or grilled seafood and cured meats.
2015 Pinot Auxerrois Val St. Gregoire, Domaine Saint-Rémy $18.99, $15.19 reorder
Pinot Auxerrois is a different variety than Pinot Blanc, though in Alsace, it may be bottled and still legally be labeled Pinot Blanc. Confusing? Sure. Important? Maybe to some. What’s it like? Well, it’s dry, it shows aromas of apricots and white peaches, and has a fleshy medium body. It’s a great wine to pop if you feel you may be in a white wine rut.
2015 Ugni Blanc Blend Les Tours, Domaine la Hitaire $10.99, $8.79 reorder
Essentially a typical Gascogne blend of Ugni Blanc (65%), Colombard (30%), and Gros Manseng (5%), the Les Tours has enjoyed a loyal following at TWH for over a decade! What’s not to like? It’s fresh. It’s crisp. It delivers a kiss of honey somewhere on the mid-palate, which disappears as the finish dries out. Extremely versatile, serve with a smile.
2015 Entre-Deux-Mers, Château Ferran $10.99, $8.79 reorder
We continue to hear more and more about wines from Bordeaux’s somewhat overlooked “between two rivers” appellation. Their quality has improved greatly in past decades, and their price tags make many of them screaming bargains. The Château Ferran is a typical white Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. Seafood works great.
2014 Petit Siós, Costers del Sió $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
The appellation Costers del Sió is Catalonia’s most inland region. This region is harsh. It’s semi-arid with extreme temperature variation. And yet it can produce charming wines like this blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon, offering up fresh berry flavors wrapped in smooth, firm tannins. Pair with slow cooked one-pot wonders.
2013 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Tiberio $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Tiberio is run by brother and sister, Antonio and Cristiana. In 2008 they took over the estate from their father and by 2013 were named “one of Italy’s Rising Stars” by Decanter magazine. Their old-vine Montepulciano grapes are vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks, creating a pure expression of the grape. Bold and spicy, serve with roast meats.
2015 Pinot Noir, Underwood $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Underwood Pinot Noir is a staple at TWH because even at this price point they consistently deliver quality. The key is they leave the fruit alone and allow it to shine through. Expect bright flavors of red cherry, subtle notes of dried herbs and soft structured tannins. Nothing complicated here, just darn good wine. Match up with grilled Panini or sloppy joes.
2014 Côtes de Provence Les Trois Frères, Domaine des Aspras $17.59, $14.07 reorder
From the all-organic village of Correns in Provence, this blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon is dark, full-bodied, concentrated, and earthy. Perfectly suited for the month of February, Les Trois Frères is definitely the kind of wine to break out with hearty fare, such as beef stew, cassoulet, leg of lamb, or a juicy T-bone steak.
2012 Bordeaux Supérieur, Château Castenet $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Good, honest Bordeaux here; and it comes from Entre-Deux-Mers too! As noted above, we’ve noticed the quality of some of the region’s smaller producers’ wines to be on the upswing in quality, and this fine quaffer stuck out in a tasting of other inexpensive Bordeaux wines which didn’t exactly make the cut. Drink it on its own, or with grass fed beef sliders.
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Vinum Africa $17.99, $14.39 reorder
English ex-pat, Alex Dale grows his Cabernet Sauvignon in Stellenbosch, where the variety enjoys its role as the appellation’s most important grape. He has witnessed some big money move in recently, buying up Cabernet vines, and making “Icon” (read “Ego”) wines, but he keeps his Cab in the “great value” level. Pop this with some dry Memphis ribs.