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.

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.