Vigneti Del Sole Pinot Grigio 2014

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.

Melini Orvieto Classico DOC 2012

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!

St. Gabriel Riesling 2014

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.

Francis Ford Coppola Votre Santé Chardonnay 2013

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.

Casal Garcia Vinho Verde

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.