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Blog

Wine Recommendations from a Thrillerchick

Filtering by Category: Whites

Vigneti Del Sole Pinot Grigio 2014

J.T. Ellison

by Amy

They say seasonal eating is best, and I believe them. What I love about the seasons is that they're tied so intricately with the foods we eat throughout the year. I'm certainly not tired of summer's bounty yet, are you? (I love you, tomatoes, even if I have to withstand inferno temps to get to you)

Today's selection, Vigneti Del Sole Pinot Grigio 2014, is summer in a bottle, and it'll go well with so many of your favorite seasonal dishes. Taste and see!

 

Tasting Notes

This one's super light, which you might guess from its palest-straw-gold color. Super bright on the nose, lemon and apple blossom abound, and it tastes about the same going down. Not too sweet but not too tart, this is a dry wine that's got a lovely crisp finish that's longer than you'd think. 

Price point

This one's a super bargain: only $7.97 from this merchant.

Pairings

Serve this with a lighter fish, like mahi mahi, or some shellfish. The wine's crisp citrus will also play nicely with a delicate chicken salad or a German potato salad.

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Melini Orvieto Classico DOC 2012

J.T. Ellison

by Amy

Last week we featured an Italian red.

Fact: if I'm going to go for a red, it's usually going to be an Italian. Like my men. That's how I roll.

Now let's talk about the other side of the coin: Italian whites.

Specifically, Orvieto.

Once upon a time, a little town called Orvieto was founded in the middle of Italy—in a place known today as Umbria—by Etruscans.

Etruscans = before Romans = a very long time ago

Italians have been making the Orvieto blend for a long time, and Umbria's hilly climate, along with cellars cut into stone hills, made a wonderful place to make wine. With a nice, long, cool fermentation, Orvieto was known as a sweet blend for many moons. But just like sock hops and poodle skirts, in the 1960s and 1970s sweet wines went from de rigueur to don't please don't, and dry whites became all the rage. Thus the Orvieto blend got a changeup of grapes, its majority makeup going from the sweet Grechetto grape of yore to Trebbiano Toscano, catapulting the blend onto the dry spectrum, where it has remained ever since.

Wines. Pop music. Hemlines. They all vary with time, don't they?

This week, I got to try the Melini vineyard's Orvieto Classico 2012. 
 

If you like Chardonnay, I think you're going to like this.

Tasting Notes

You can tell by its robust nose and golden straw color that this one's got a bit more body. This white's pretty dry, though gets sweeter the more you put away. Creamy with a touch of alcohol, the wine carries notes cantaloupe and apple blossom, along with a crisp, long finish.

Price Point

This one's super affordable, folks: you can find it here for $7.99.

Pairings

This should go nicely with a rich, creamy pasta (alfredo! carbonara! tortellini!), shellfish, goat cheese, or even prosciutto with melon.

P.S. for the history nerds: this vineyard has been around since 1705. And its founder, Adolpho Laborel Melini, used pasteurization in his winemaking 33 years before Louis Pasteur wrote about the process. What!
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St. Gabriel Riesling 2014

J.T. Ellison

by Amy

As we all know, I am Riesling's #1 fan (as evidenced here and here and here). So when my dear boss found this bottle for me to try, it made me even more thankful that I have the best job in the world. 

One of my favorite things about Riesling is that you really never know what you're going to get. The varietal is so varied, ranging from dry to sweet, that you're in for a surprise every time you open a bottle from a new vineyard. Though I always expect something aromatic and interesting.

And this one didn't disappoint. 


When I tried St. Gabriel's 2014 vintage, after every sip I couldn't stop saying, "Man . . . this is so good!"


Tasting Notes

This one's got a lot going on. Truth be told, I couldn't get much from the nose other than candied lemon. But that first sip packed quite a punch: there's pear and peach and pineapple and green apple, and I swear it's slightly effervescent when it first hits your tongue. There's not much alcohol in this at all (only 9.5% ABV), and its sweetness is balanced so well by the acid—this is going to be a great wine for pairing or drinking on its own (it's 5 o'clock somewhere, y'all). 

It doesn't officially declare it on the bottle, but I'd say this is a Spätlese (shpate-lay-zuh): a German designation for a late-harvest wine. Because these grapes stay on the vine longer, these wines can be run off-dry to a little sweet, depending on when the vinter decided to harvest.

Price Point

Certainly a bargain for what you get: you can find it here (on sale!) for $9.99.

Pairings

This aromatic, off-dry beauty will play nicely with many things: spicy Asian dishes (I'm looking at you, Thai curries), pork, soft cheeses, and apple desserts.

*This is imported by Prestige Wine Group—I can't wait to see what else is in their lineup! Because in case you can't tell, I LOVED this wine.
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Francis Ford Coppola Votre Santé Chardonnay 2013

J.T. Ellison

by Amy

I have to tell you something. And you have to promise that you won't think less of me, ok?

I don't really like Chardonnay that much.


*cue the crickets*

Oh, I know, I know—I like this one. But most of the time, if I see Chardonnay on a wine list, I'm going to skip it. 

I feel like there's something I'm missing, like with truffle oil. Everybody goes ga-ga over truffle oil, practically melting with giddiness anytime it's on a menu. And then there's me:

What's all the fuss about??

I dunno. I wonder if my palate is broken, like the owner of a local eatery told me once. I had inquired if his tarragon chicken salad was actually supposed to taste "that way"—which, I didn't say aloud, "that way" tasted like a rotting corpse (apparently, it was). Oops.

Anyway. After a tasting hosted by the awesome Dan Hutchinson of local wine haven The Wine Shoppe of Green Hills, I had a revelation:
 

💡 I Don't hate all Chardonnays—
I just dislike oaky Chardonnays. 💡
 

That, my friends, was a game-changer. Given my affinity for lighter whites, it all makes sense. So now I can go about my merry way and find some lightly-oaked to non-oaked Chardonnays and be pleased with my purchase.

Like with today's recommendation:
Francis Ford Coppola
Votre Santé Chardonnay 2013
.
 

Tasting Notes

Light, buttery, and slightly oaky with a lovely pale-gold color, this wine's got a little minerality to it, along with lemon and vanilla notes. Medium-high alcohol content will make this a good accompaniment for rich meals—it lingers a bit on the tongue.

Price Point

Coppola wines give you a lot of bang for your buck. This one clocks in at $15.99.

Pairing Suggestions

Something with a bit of richness or creaminess, like curry, carbonara, or salmon with a buttery sauce.

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Casal Garcia Vinho Verde

J.T. Ellison

by Amy

It's fun to be surprised, isn't it?

Usually, we live for routine—and for good reason. We enjoy predictability, keeping pace with the rhythms of the day. But every now and then, it's nice to shake things up.

Such is the case with this week's wine. I wasn't ready to be smacked in the face with so much flavor.

As a somewhat wine no0b, I'd never heard of Vinho Verde before. It's a Portuguese wine, grown in the northwest Minho province. And the "Verde" in its name doesn't dictate the wine is green (as you can see, it's the palest shade of vermillion). The "Verde" here indicates that this wine is intended to be consumed when it's very young—as in, two years after bottling. 

With such a young wine, I expected it to be a little aggressive. What I didn't expect was for it to be the near-liquid equivalent of a Warhead
 

Tasting Notes

Casal Garcia Vinho Verde: my, oh my, how flavorful you are.

On the nose, folks, you're in for a citrusy good time—it's like sniffing straight lime zest. And when you sip? Be prepared: it is tart. If the idea of sucking a lemon is your idea of a good time, then have at this one. It's so crisp, so citrusy, with a light hint of floral pineapple. AND after a few sips, I detected a bit of effervescence; sure enough, tiny bubbles were rising to the surface. Apparently, sometimes vinters inject this blend with carbon dioxide, making this young wine seem a very close cousin to the white wine spritzer. If you wanted to muddle some fruit and mint into your glass to make a white sangria, I bet it would be mighty tasty.

This wine is like Pellegrino and lemonade had an alcoholic baby. It's something else. 


Price Point

Smile, everybody: this one will only set you back about $7.99, though you may get a better deal at your local merchant.


Pairing

When I opened this bottle, I made a pan-seared salmon with a cajun spice rub. I'm going to be honest: the vinho verde was more pleasant to drink on its own than paired with the fish (the flavors of the wine wine and the fatty/oily salmon flavor didn't play well together—too much flavor fighting). I bet vinho verde be better with a super aromatic/spicy dish, like a Thai curry or maybe some zesty fish tacos and guacamole. 

Verdict: this wine has summer written all over it. Take it to the beach or on a picnic for a cheap offering that'll leave your guests speechless—or, at least, cock an eyebrow.
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Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling 2014

J.T. Ellison

by Amy

hi, we're back!

Well, hello there!

Long time no see! 

I promise we're not dead. We've been a wee bit busy with the book part of our world, launching a new book you might've heard us mention one or twice.

Or a million times. 

But we're finally back in the wine saddle, thank goodness! 

A couple things you might wanna know:

1. We're going to be posting new wine every Friday, just in time for you to hop over to your favorite wine shop and stock up for your weekend!

2. We're on Instagram! And by "on Instagram," I mean we'll be posting via J.T.'s account using #thewinevixen on all our wine posts. Use that hashtag to follow the fun.

Alright, back to our regularly scheduled programming!


Ahh, it's springtime!

Longer days, warmer nights, lots of budding trees and the return of the color green.

'Tis the season for white wine!

Today I've brought you a value wine that's got some bang for its buck. You'll want to pair this one with your spring dishes: anything with chicken, asparagus, mild cheeses, or something light and fresh.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling 2014 is a medium-dry Riesling—it's not too sweet, lending itself as a delicious apéritif (but it drinks well by itself, too!). It's lightly floral, tasting of apple blossoms, peach, and lime, and offset by slight minerality, giving the wine a nice balance.

And guess what?

It's only $9.

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Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

J.T. Ellison

by Amy

I'm keeping today's post short and sweet. Because, really, an excellent wine just speaks for itself.

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best whites I've had in a while. 

And I will definitely stock this in my wine fridge. 

Grass and tropical fruit are on the nose. The palate reveals low acid and medium alcohol levels with notes of kiwi, lime zest, and honeydew. This was just delightful to drink, and I plan on pairing this with all kinds of seafood and salads this summer. 

The 2015 vintage is only $18 MSRP, but you can find it here for $14.99. It's so worth it, y'all.


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Sutter Home Pinot Grigio

J.T. Ellison

by Amy

Whether you want to or not, sometimes you have to follow directions.

For those of us who are rock-solid stubborn, this is a hard realization to come to. But the sooner you accept this, the happier you'll be. Because sometimes things aren't built according to your preferences and the way your brain works. Sometimes you have to meet things halfway in order to have an optimal experience.

This phenomenon is why I.T. professionals characterize 90% of the service calls they receive as PICNIC: Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.

In other words you, the human, are responsible for the problems you're having—not the computer. Your real problem is that you've forced a piece of machinery to meet your expectations when that piece of machinery was not built to be your mindreader. Just like a good relationship, you've gotta meet the computer halfway in order for you both to function harmoniously.

The same holds true for wine. 

Serving temperatures are important. The delicate aromas and structural compounds of wine are severely influenced by the temperature. Serving temperature for reds can vary depending on varietal, around 55 degrees F to 72 degrees F, but a good rule of thumb for whites is to chill them around 45 degrees F.

And guess what? Your white wine doesn't care if you've just come home with your takeout and you're ready to start eating sushi and drinking wine and watching Netflix right now—you need to let that sucker chill for a bit.

I bet you can see where this is going.

Such was the case last Saturday night. I'd brought home a bottle of Sutter Home Pinot Grigio and some sushi. But I was ravenously hungry, so I didn't wait to chill my wine—and I was punished. It was not a pleasant drinking experience, one I'm pretty sure I likened to drinking fruit-flavored rubbing alcohol. And I blamed it on the wine.

That's what I get for paying $5 for wine! my brain fumed. (Though, to be fair, I've had some delicious $5 wines, and have known to imbibe Two-Buck-Chuck with great pleasure. But hell hath no fury like a woman scorned by her wine choice, and so I raged on.)

But later that night, I needed some wine to go with my SNL (I mean, right?), and thought, "What the heck?" So I pulled my bottle out of the fridge and poured another glass. And this time, it was a completely different drinking experience—the wine was actually tasty because it was finally the correct temperature.

Duh. Duh, Amy. 

Sutter Home Pinot Grigio, when served at the proper ice-cold temperature, is a pretty solid wine. With notes of honeysuckle and lime, this wine sports medium acid with a high-ish tasting alcohol content, rounded out with flavors of peach and cantaloupe. If I had chilled this properly, I bet it would've gone well with my salmon and tuna nigiri. 

You can find a bottle of this online for $6, but I routinely see it for $5 at my local wine merchant.

Lesson learned. Don't be like me.

 

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Wines for Valentine's Day

J.T. Ellison

Wines for Valentine's Day

by J.T. and Amy

Red Alert: it's almost Valentine's Day, people.

Are you prepared to show your dearly beloved how much you care? It's not like you need candy, flowers, and grand gestures to prove your affection—really, VDay should be no big deal because you're a bundle of love every day of the year, right?

But life is too short not to celebrate.

And when there's celebration and Wine Vixens, you know there's gonna be wine.

Here are a few of our favorites that'll spice up the special day (broken down by budget because, let's be real, that matters:


Under $20

 

Totally-Worth-It Splurges


We hope you enjoy celebrating all the love in your life. And as we say when we toast, ching ching!

Xoxo,
J.T. & Amy


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Clos du Bois Pinot Grigio 2014

J.T. Ellison

by Amy

When it comes to my drink choices, sometimes I'm a broken record. But I don't really mind.
 

Honestly, this isn't a recent phenomenon: I've always been this way. I could quote The Little Mermaid word for word when I was 5 because it was the only movie I'd watch for days on end. Even now, if I like something, even after the 50th time of indulging in it, I'm still gonna love it as much as I did the first time.

This is a great trait to have when you're broke and you don't mind eating beans and rice for days on end. It's not so great when you binge-watch the night away instead of folding the mountain of laundry that you allow to sit in the dryer for an embarrassingly long time. (talking about a "friend" here, guys)

Don't get me wrong: I enjoy trying new things. But some nights, all I want to do is curl up with a nice, comfortable favorite, whether it's a TV show or a drink. And I generally know which varietals are my favorites: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling really turn my crank. So on this blog, I'm going to do my best to try not to be a broken record, but bear with me if I post about these gems a bit more than some other varietals. 

P.S. You have full permission to suggest new varietals for me to try. In fact, I'd rather you speak now than forever hold your piece!

ANYWAY. Onto this lovely Californian Pinot Grigio.

Clos du Bois' 2014 Pinot Grigio was everything I love about this varietal: it's light, crisp, and just delightful to drink. There's lots of candied lemon on the nose, with notes of grapefruit, ginger, and tiny bit of grass on the palate. This isn't too acidic, so I think it'd be phenomenal paired with sushi or some really aromatic Thai food, like Tom Kha Gai or a green curry. I would order it again in a heartbeat. 

And good news: it's only $11.99


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