Wine of the Week: Don Mendo Gran Riserva

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Vintage: 2011

Region: Cariñena

Style: Red Blend—Tempranillo, Carignan, Garnacha

Country: Spain

Winery: Don Mendo

Tasting Notes: Cherry and blueberry, notes of leather and tobacco. I especially appreciate that hint of smoke from the earthy tones.

Rating: 🍷🍷🍷

Thoughts: We found this through our Wall Street Journal Wine Club, and it was a fun surprise. I’m not usually a big fan of blends, but these balanced quite well. A nice, easy bottle for a Tuesday night.

Pairings: We had it with some spicy tacos, but would also do well with carnitas, both pork and chicken. Anything with cumin, actually.

Damilano Levinquevigne 2011 Barolo

by J.T.

Y'all know I'm an Italian girl. I can get on board with all kinds of varietals and blends from my homeland.

But this Barolo?

Be still my heart.

Hubby and I had this phenomenal Damilano Levinquevigne 2011  Barolo at Bice in San Diego. Verdict: this combo platter of five different Nebbiolos is a blend well worth your attention. 
 

Tasting Notes

The nose was almost too easy: lush berries, orange, tobacco, rose and violet, but the finish was heady tannins and rough leather. 

Price Point

You can find it for a very reasonable $17.84.

Pairings

We had this with a cheese pairing, 7 different kinds of Italian cheeses, including a smoked provolone that made the smoke in this Barolo stand up and howl. No doubt it'd be delicious accompanied with gamey meats.

Produttori del Barbaresco Nebbiolo Langhe DOC 2010

by J.T.

Let's talk about Italian reds, shall we?

There are many wine-producing regions in Italy, but one of the most prolific is in the northwest of the country, in an area called Piedmont (Piemonte, in Italian). Nestled at the base of the Alps, Piedmont produces some fine wines, particularly from one of my favorite grapes: Nebbiolo. Since Piedmont is has lots of hills, temperature and terroir vary wildly—and so does the grape. You've heard of Barbaresco and Barolo, right? This is where they come from. Grown in a lower elevation and warmer temperature than their Barolo brethren, Barbarescos tend to be a bit lighter and fruitier; Barolos usually pack a bit more punch.

Wasn't that a fun geography lesson? Context is important; you'll see why in a minute.

Operating in the town of Barbaresco, the Produttori co-op is one of the finest in Piedmont (trust me, I’ve been there), and this Langhe Nebbiolo is hands-down my favorite for the price.

What Chianti is to Tuscany, Nebbiolo is to Peimonte.


Tasting Notes

I’ve had several vintages, and the 2010 is a real standout, perfect for lunch or a light dinner of cheese and antipasti. It’s supposed to be lighter than its Barbaresco cousin, but I find it has more flavor and depth. It’s very leathery, with a touch of earth combined with fresh red fruits and a bit of menthol, which really makes it stand out. A bargain every day table red.


Price Point

You can find this particular vintage for $18.99.


Pairings

A friend to meats and cheeses, this wine would pair beautifully with antipasti, roasted mushrooms, and entrées starring roasted beef or game.

Cavicchioli Lambrusco Dolce

by J.T.

Y'all. It's really, really hot outside.

Thankfully, I've been in Colorado this week visiting family, so I've been spared a bit. But I'm headed back to Tennessee today, and I know what's waiting for me:

Humidity to the nth degree. 

Oh, southern summertime . . .

When it's hot outside and I need a little something boozy, I know just the cold beverage to reach for: 
 

Cavicchioli Lambrusco Dolce


Tasting Notes

Served ice-cold, Lambrusco is the perfect drink to sip in the summer shade. Light-bodied  and bubbly, it's sweet and fruity, tasting of strawberries, raspberries, and cherries.

Price Point

You're going to love me for this: it's only $6.99.

Pairings

Think antipasti and cured meats: salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, cheese. Lambrusco and nibbles—a great party combo!

Belle Ambiance Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

by J.T.

Happy Friday, lovelies. 

Care for a young Red (wine, not head) suggestion today?


Tasting Notes

Belle Ambience made a pretty good Cabernet Sauvignon in 2014. I can't quite place the nose—it's more than earthy, it smells a bit green, like fresh oregano. Oddly enough, it's super plummy palate, like blackberry jam, an intriguing combination. It's got a luscious body, nice and thick, medium-lowish alcohol, and glowing tannins that are long on the finish. It's young and bright, and mellows a bit if you let it open up for about 30 minutes or so.


Price Point

We can all agree with this one. I believe I got mine at my local wine merchant for about $9.99. Check out the vinter's website to see where you can find it.


Pairing Suggestions

Bright, acidic tomato flavors would go nicely with this young red: something along the lines of spaghetti with fresh marinara sauce, a caprese salad with lots of fresh basil, or paella would be scrumptious.