Hello and Happy Friday!
If you haven’t heard of the “six for $60” it is about time you did! It is pretty simple, a monthly sampler featuring six recently tasted and Craig approved wine values.
Together these six individual bottles cost only $60 (excluding tax).
The “six for $60” is highly recommend to those learning about wines, trying to stock their wine rack with affordable and tasty adult beverages, or wanting to bring a gift to someone hosting a party.
So how does this work? To order simply e–mail me back and say “Hey Craig, hook me up.” To join the devoted legions of fans who receive them every month you can just say “and keep ’em coming!” All of the wines are available by the bottle or case, but for total jubilation just do the whole sampler. Some people are challenged by some of the wines that I put in to my sampler. If Grenache makes you tremble, Grechetto causes memory loss, or you just simply hate something I am offering, I will substitute and try to get the sampler as close to $60 as possible.
A suggestion to those folks trying to learn from this as well as get a buzz, print out a copy of the newsletter to keep with your sampler. That way when you are in the mood for a bottle you have your own mini wine lesson on hand. So what are you waiting for? Order yours today!
Have a great weekend,
N.V. CASAL GARCIA VINHO VERDE ROSÉ
There is refreshing wine – and then there is wine that you want to swim in because it is so thirst quenching. This rosé falls into the latter category!
The Vinho Verde region is in the northernmost part of Portugal, straddling the Spanish border. It is well known for the grape varietal Alvarinho that often produces a wine carrying some residual carbonic gas and, thus, a little spritz. It is one of the world’s most thirst–quenching white wines.
Within the last year, Portugal’s largest Vinho Verde producer, Aveleda, stepped it up a notch by introducing a rosé under their brand called Casal Garcia. Never seen a Vinho Verde rosé? Neither had I.
I must admit, I have fallen in love with this thirst–quenching bottle of slightly fizzy pink stuff made from Vinh ão, red Azal and Barraçal. Bright notes of strawberry and cherries on the nose and palate, with fresh vibrant acidity and a hint of the sparkly goodness.
Rosé works with a wide range of foods, don’t over–think it on this one. Have it with fish, chicken, sandwiches, a bag of Doritos – whatever your heart desires!
$8.00 BTL. / $96.00 CASE
2007 NOVAIA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO
As the weather warms up, wine drinkers have a tendency to reach for red wines that are a little lower in alcohol and not so heavy with tannins. For many people, the first varietal they think of is Pinot Noir. While that is definitely a nice choice, it is worth pointing out other wines that meet the warm–weather–red criteria.
In the region of Verona, the appellation of Valpolicella has become synonymous with great table red wines. Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella are varietals that are blended into Valpolicella. As with any region, quality can vary greatly.
It is of great importance to Cesare and Gian Paolo Vaona, owners of Novaia, that their yields are low and that their grapes have good physiological ripeness. Everything starts in the vineyard – and for the Vaona’s, their prime sites in the Alta Valpolicella, coupled with obsessive farming, ensure for high quality wines.
The 2007 Valpolicella Classico is a blend of the classic varietals. It is fermented in temperature–controlled stainless steel tanks and aged there as well. The result, is a fresh, fruit driven style of Valpolicella with hints of flowers, classic cherry, and some baking spices. This will be very easy to drink all by itself, but it can also work with grilled salmon or chicken.
$11.50 BTL. / $138.00 CASE
2009 VALLEY VINEYARDS WINE CO. “THE ROYAL” CHENIN BLANC
If you are a soccer fan, you are probably starting to get very excited for the start of World Cup, hosted by South Africa. As one of the world’s biggest sporting events, the local economy gets a huge boost as people learn more about the hosting countries’ natural goods.
The wines of South Africa still move relatively slowly through retail stores here in the United States. This summer should change that, as it is expected that more people will be trying South African wines than ever before.
For the average wine consumer, the Chenin Blanc of this beautiful country is perhaps the easiest of the wines to fall in love with. A variety of styles are made, but as with this example, most are incredibly vibrant and fresh. “The Royal” is produced by Riebeek Cellars, an old producer located in Riebeek Kasteel, on the western coast of the Cape Province. With rocky soils and a Mediterranean climate, Chenin Blanc grows very well in the area.
A vibrant and easy–to–drink Chenin Blanc, this offers both tropical and citrus aromas and flavors, along with fresh acidity. I’m always suggesting food pairings, and believe me there are plenty that would go with this, but it is also a great aperitif to start out the evening right.
$7.00 BTL. / $84.00 CASE
2006 BAY FOGG CABERNET SAUVIGNON
It’s a miracle – well, not exactly – but it IS rare that I offer wines from California on this sampler, let alone fruit from Napa Valley. Yet, I was able to swing a deal to bring this classic example of Napa Cab on to the sampler for this month.
Am I a magician? How did I get a Napa Cabernet of this quality on the sampler? The credit shouldn’t go to me, rather to X Winery who helps makes different private label wines, as well as their own range of wines from fruit sourced from local, small growers.
This delicious Napa red is made of fruit from three distinct areas in Napa: 41% is from the Spring Mountain District, 41% from Yountville, and 18% from Los Carneros. There also happens to be about 14% of Merlot in the wine, which gives it an extra lift of fruit.
This offers notes of black cherry, pepper and nutmeg on the rich nose. On the palate, it offers a nice balance between dark fruit, tannin, and spice. A really delicious Cabernet that will work great with a grilled steak.
$12.50 BTL. / $150.00 CASE
2008 PALAZZONE “DUBINI BIANCO”
Giovanni Dubini is the man when it comes to producing wines in the appellation of Orvieto. The region takes its name from the city that was famous during the days of the Etruscans. This is primarily white wine territory, although reds do exist in small quantities.
Procanico is the local name for Trebbiano Toscano, and it is often blended with Grechetto to produce fresh and citrusy whites that sometimes can be both simple quaffers and intense, complex bottles.
Dubini Bianco is an IGT , and the entry–level wine in the range of Palazzone. It has for a long time been one of my favorite “cheapie” white wines. The ’08 is a blend of 60% Procanico and 40% Grechetto.
It offers lots of citrus notes like lemon peel and orange, with some mineral and hints at nuts. Very simply prepared white fish like halibut is a great match for this wine, and it also makes an excellent aperitif.
$8.50 BTL. / $102.00 CASE
2008 CHÂTEAU PESQUIÉ CÔTES DU VENTOUX “TERRASSES”
It’s back! I try not to make too many repeats on the sampler, but recently the new and very tasty vintage from Château Pesquié was released and I just had to include it!
If you haven’t heard of Pesquié, this is one of the most dynamic producers in the Ventoux, which takes its name from Mount Ventoux, in the Southern Rhône Valley. It offers an affordable alternative to your average Côtes du Rhône.
The Chaudière family creates this terrific value from 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. “Terrasses” is a reference to the vineyards of Ventoux which find themselves tucked away on the hillsides of the various valleys. Because of the extremity of the slopes, terraces are often built for the vines to avoid constant erosion.
Pesquié does a traditional vinification for Terrasses, with around 15 days of skin maceration, resting the wine and then aging a portion of it in old oak barrels and large oak tanks.
This is always one of my favorite wines for BBQ and grilled meats bcause the spice, ripe red fruits and fresh acidity pair perfectly with intense flavors. One sip of this and you will understand why it needs an encore on the sampler!
$12.50 BTL. / $150.00 CASE