We don’t all like the same kind of wine, and that’s okay, in fact it’s one of the things I enjoy most about wine. Gathering friends together over a meal and a collection of wines is always an interesting experience. I look forward to the opinions of others and how they compare to my own impressions. This collection wine, which we received as tasting samples, offers something for every wine drinker and every occasion.
2016 Vila Nova Vinho Verde — light yellow in the glass. A few small bubbles cling to the glass, but I wouldn’t exactly call it effervescent. Delicate aromas of grated citrus peel and petrol are followed by citrus flavors, stony minerality and juicy acidity. Bright and refreshing with aromas that are more complex than the flavor profile. 11.5% abv. SRP $11.99
Vinho Verde (veeng-yo vaird) is Portugal’s most northern wine region. The name, which translates to green wine, refers to the fact these wines are released young — three to six months after harvest. White, rosé and red wines are produced in this coolest and wettest portion of Portugal.
White Vinho Verde may be produced from a single variety, but more commonly is a blend, as with this wine, which is a blend of 50% Loureiro, 30% Arinto, 20% Avesso. These wines are light, refreshing and easy drinking. And they are know to be a great value. This is a summer sipper if ever there was one.
2016 Count Károlyi Grüner Veltliner, Pannon — medium yellow in the glass with generous aromas of ripe peaches and pears. Citrusy flavors with hints of dried herbs and stony minerality are supported by juicy acidity and hints of stone fruit. 12% abv. SRP $11.99
Have you had a wine from Hungary? If not, here’s your chance. And if you’ve not yet tried Grüner Veltliner you could score a new wine region and new grape variety with one wine.
Grüner Veltliner (Gru Vee to some) is a white wine grape more closely associated with Austria than Hungary, but, if you look at the Austrian wine regions best known for Grüner Veltliner (Kremstal, Kamptal) you will see Pannon (Pannonhalma) in western Hungary not too far away, just over the border.
This Hungarian 100% Grüner Veltliner is fermented in stainless steel with four to six weeks spent on the lees. It is another example of a fresh, bright white wine with nice acidity, and a great price, for summer sipping.
2016 Luca Bosio Arneis, Langhe — pale yellow in the glass with aromas of ripe melon and pears along with a hint of baking spices. Flavors of bruised apple, ripe melon, dusty earth finish with citrus pith and nice acidity. 13% abv. SRP $19.99
If you read about Arneis you will discover the white grape variety originated in Roero, located in northwest Italy’s Piedmont region. Langhe is located just across the Tanaro River from Roero and also produces some very fine Arneis.
This stainless-steel fermented white wine with a bit more complexity and is well suited for a summer meal. Pair it with shrimp or chicken salad or pasta primavera.
2015 Georges Duboeuf, Pouilly-Fuissé — medium yellow in the glass with aromas that are primarily flinty and stony. Flavors of pears and ripe yellow apples are supported by juicy acidity. Hints of spice linger on the finish and the wine is a bit round in the mouth. 13.5% abv. SRP $34.99
100% Chardonnay is on delicious display in this vivacious, white wine. It has a delicious combination of minerals and fruit flavors plus nice weight without overt oak influence. It is lovely to sip on its own and will pair nicely with rich pasta dishes or fish.
Pouilly-Fuissé is a village appellation within the most southern Burgundy region of Mâconnais. Just south of the Mâconnais lies Beaujolais, which technically is also part of Burgundy, but is very different. The name Georges Duboeuf is very closely associated with both regions.
2016 Matetic Vineyards EQ Coastal Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley — pale yellow in the glass with generous aromas of gooseberries and cut grass. The flavors follow the aromas with intense grassiness, rocky minerality and juicy acidity. 13.5% abv. SRP $19.99
This is a Sauvignon Blanc for those who love a cool-climate version of the variety. It is verdant and brimming with acidity. Casablanca Valley is Chile’s most coastal wine region and lies west of Santiago. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are the stars of this relatively cool sub-appellation of the Aconcagua Region.
2017 Chateau Ferry Lacombe Haedus Rosé, Côtes de Provence — ballet slipper pink in the glass with generous aromas of stone fruit and blackberries. The flavors follow the aromas with the addition of dusty minerality, juicy acidity and citrus pith on the finish. 13% abv. SRP $21.99
Sometimes rosé teases me with lovely aromas and then doesn’t deliver on the flavors, but this is a rosé with both lovely aromas and flavors.
Côtes du Provence is the largest appellation within Provence and although red, white and rosé wines are made in the region the vast majority is rosé. Blending is the name of the game with rosé production here and this rosé is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 10% Vermentino (also commonly called Rolle in southern France).
2016 Gustav Lorentz Le Rosé, Alsace — delicate salmon color in the glass with aromas of blackberries and dusty earth. Blackberry flavors with hints of cedar and earth with delicate tannins that linger on the finish. 13% abv. SRP $19.99
Not to be outdone by Provence, the Alsace region also makes very nice rosé, though in much smaller quantities. The flavor profile is very different from Provence (hooray for variety). This time the grape variety is Pinot Noir, the only red grape allowed in Alsace-appellation wines.
Although the region is located in northeastern France, along the border with Germany and the Rhine River, the Vosges Mountains provide a rain shadow against storms coming in from the Atlantic. As a result summers are sunny and relatively dry.
2015 Matelic Vineyards Corralillo Pinot Noir, San Antonio Valley — translucent ruby in the glass with aromas of berry bramble, dusty earth, mushrooms, raspberries and blackberries. Blackberry and red berry flavors combine with berry bramble, dusty earth and smooth tannins. Bright acidity gives this wine energy. Medium + finish. 14% abv. SRP $27.99
Pinot Noir again, but this time from Chile and not a rosé. As with the prior Matetic Vineyards wine, this lovely Pinot Noir is also grown in the Aconcagua Region, but this time in the San Antonio Valley. This region is also relatively cool and coastal.
The grapes used in the production of this wine are grown organically in two vineyards sites that include Matetic’s oldest organic vineyards. Organic viticulture is important to me, both for its benefits to the vineyard workers that tend the grapes (safer working conditions) and to Earth (no contamination), but the wine must also be delicious. I can check all the boxes with this wine.
2015 Kay Brothers Amery Basket Pressed Grenache, McLaren Vale — light ruby in the glass, nearly translucent. Generous aromas of red fruit, black pepper and roses. Complex flavors of ripe raspberries, cranberries and black pepper are supported by juicy acidity and drying tannins that are well integrated with the flavors. The finish is relatively long with a bit of heat. 14.5% abv. SRP $39.99
In spite of the delicate color this is no shy red wine, but neither is it a bully. This little Grenache will charm you. There is plenty of fruit flavor and a bit of sweetness. Grilled meat with a barbecue sauce is the food pairing that jumps to mind.
Kay Brothers Winery winemaking history in McLaren Vale dates back to 1890. One vineyard block of Shiraz planted in 1892 is still in production. Traditional winemaking methods including the use of open-top fermenters, the use of barrel presses and large-format oak vessels for aging are still employed today. This wine was fermented in open-top vessels with hand punch-down for 13 days followed by pressing in a basket press. Aging took place for nine months in French oak puncheons. 7% Shiraz and 3% Mataro (aka Mourvèdre) were blended with the Grenache.
2015 Simonsig Estate Redhill Pinotage, Stellenbosch — dense ruby in the glass with intensely earthy aromas with black fruit and hints of smoke. Cedar spice pops at first, then dark berries, dusty earth and dried dill in the background. Grippy, drying tannins linger on the finish in this medium-bodied red wine. 14.5% abv. SRP $37.99
There is a lot going on in this wine. The fruit flavors are ripe and generous. The oak influence is significant, having been aged for 15 months in both French and American oak. All of the 34% American oak used was new. This wine benefits from decanting and food. Don’t just open this wine and expect it to shine. Give it some time. Lamb chops on the grill will do nicely.
Pinotage is South Africa’s wine grape, having been developed there in the 1920s as a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Many dislike this variety intensely based on earlier efforts that were really awful. This is not one of those wines, but it is a ripe style with significant wood influence.
So there you have it. A collection of wines from both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere that vary greatly: light white wines for summer sipping and for pairing with meals, rosé wines that are delicious and versatile and red wines ranging from Pinot Noir to Grenache to Pinotage – itself an offspring of Pinot Noir. How’s that for connecting the dots? And with prices from $11.99 to $39.99 every budget is accommodated as well.
Thanks to Quintessential Wines for sending this interesting collection of wines our way.
Reference: Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide 2017, Society of Wine Educators.