Happy New Year! Yes, it’s January, and it’s time to reset the calendar, tally up last year’s resolutions, and set some resolutions for 2018. Trying more new wines is usually a mindful goal every year, as that is the only true way of knowing for sure whether or not you like a particular wine. Let us make that task a little easier for you. The Dirty Dozen club comes out once per month with 12 bottles, all different, all chosen for their versatility, packed in one box for one super-low price. Get your January 2018 Dirty Dozen today!
2016 Orvieto Vignarco, Palazzone $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder In 1969, the Dubini family purchased their estate in Orvieto, but it was not until the late 1980’s when they began to sell their wine commercially. A classically styled Orvieto with the majority of grapes being Grechetto and Procanico; expect subtle notes of peach and almond blossoms. Try with roasted winter squash dishes or a sauced pan-roasted chicken.
2016 Terre Siciliane Bianco, Colosi $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder Over the past few decades, Sicilian wines have seen a rapid increase in quality as well as interest from wine drinkers looking to expand their repertoire. The Colosi Bianco is a triumvirate of native Sicilian varietals: Inzolia, Cattaratto and Grillo. Crisp, completely unoaked and zippy, this white is a nice way to start off a meal or match up with shellfish risotto.
2016 Falanghina, Cantine Le Grotte $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder Though Falanghina is most often associated with Campania, there is a bit that is grown on the backside of the boot in Puglia. Cantine Le Grotte’s vineyards are in Apricena, just a few kilometers inland from the Adriatic Sea. Straw yellow in color, it has distinct notes of navel orange and cut flowers. Pair with pork scaloppini or any rice based casseroles.
2014 Montagny Les Guignottes, Dom. Les Guignottes $12.95 sale price, $12.30 reorder White Burgundy here, folks. White Burgundy which is on sale, no less! Montagny is an appellation in the Côte Chalonnaise, which is just south of Burgundy’s vaunted Côte d’Or. Only white wines are allowed to adorn the AOC on their bottles, and the grape is Chardonnay, of course. This is an expressive, fruit driven white; pair it with scampi.
2016 Côtes de Provence Rosé, Domaine des Aspras $16.99, $13.59 reorder Over in Provence, specifically in the village of Correns, comes this direct-import Rosé. Correns was the very first village in France to earn official organic designation for all its farms and vineyards. This is grown-up Rosé – it’s bright, precise, has complexity, and finishes crisp and lipsmacking dry. A great wine to sip with your octopus a la plancha appetizer.
2016 Sauvignon Blanc Perigord IGP, Puy-Servain $8.79, $7.03 reorder Last April, while visiting Daniel Hecquet just outside of Bordeaux, he introduced us to a new line that he and some fellow growers have been working on launching: the Puy 170 Perigord IGP. The bottom line is solid wines for a song. This SB is expressive and well-balanced. It’s easy to drink and easy to purchase… great for parties, light salads, or goat cheese.
2014 Merlot, Cousiño-Macul $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder Cousiño-Macul is a historic winery in Chile’s Maipo Valley. It was founded in 1856 and is still operated by the original founding family. This is an honest to goodness Merlot with its soft tannins and ripe berry flavors. Easy going and versatile, it’s enjoyable by the glass or will carry over to the dinner table to accompany your favorite comfort food.
2013 Rouge, Le Cirque $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder Côtes Catalanes, in southern France near the border of Spain, is an exemplary geographical region for viticulture. Hot summer days are tempered by winds coming off the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea. This un-oaked, bold red is a yummy blend of Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Dusty tannins give way to dark berry fruit. This one calls for lamb.
2014 Borgaio, Meleto $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder Castello di Meleto is a grand estate in the heart of Tuscany. The castle dates back to the 11th Century. Today they not only produce wine, but also olive oil and raise heirloom pigs. Their Borgaio red is mostly Sangiovese and fermented in tank. A small portion is aged in neutral barrel to flesh out the wine. Red sauced pasta dishes are the way to go here.
2013 Vinsobres, Tour de l’Isle $17.59, $14.07 reorder One of several Côtes-du-Rhône villages which has the character enough to be given its own village status (not to be taken lightly), Vinsobres wines are usually half Grenache, rounded out with Syrah and Mourvèdre. That’s what we have here – it’s a great, versatile red. You can drink it on its own, or you can pair it with the usual suspects – how about meatballs?
2014 Château Pitray, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder There has been a lot of activity around Castillon throughout the last decade as investors (many of which are Right-Bank châteaux owners) are snapping up any Castillon properties which come on the market. Why? Though further east, it still shares many similarities with St. Emilion, which is next door. This red is medium/full bodied and is great for steak.
2015 Fronton On l’Appelle Negrette, Vignobles Arbeau $12.59, $10.07 reorder Just north of Toulouse in southern France, north of the Pyrenees one finds the appellation of Fronton. The principal grape there is Negrette. What is it? It’s a light-bodied, spicy, fruity grape which yields lighter styled wines similar to Cru Beaujolais. Here it is on its own, bright cherry fruit, spicy forest floor, no harsh tannins, and a silky finish; Ahhh.
And that means that all over the northern hemisphere, in wine country, it's harvest time. The cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours have winemakers at the ready to work their magic as the fruit which will someday become 2017 wine comes in from the vines. While we wait for that magic, how 'bout a smattering of 12 bottles of harvests past, packed in one box, for one crazy, low price? Swing on by and get your October Dirty Dozen today!
2016 Blanco, Armas de Guerra $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder Vinos Guerra is the oldest winery in Spain’s Bierzo region and owns some of its oldest vines. This citrus-laden white is made from local varietals Doña Blanca and Godello which were planted between 1955 and 2008. This wine is focused, chalky and dry, with plenty of fruit. It’s ideal with seafood, be it raw or cooked. Try with a poke bowl or sushi.
2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Old Coach Road $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder This tropical, guava-tinged Sauvignon Blanc comes from Nelson, a wine region at the north end of New Zealand’s South Island. Here, the Tasman Bay provides a moderate climate. Only about 25 wineries exist in this small area just to the west of better known Marlborough. Two vineyards make up the fruit for this wine. Serve with quiche Lorraine.
2015 Chardonnay, Sharecropper’s $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder Sharecropper’s is a sensational value from the innovative Washington State winery, Owen Roe. Their 2015 Chardonnay is sourced from the DuBrul and Outlook Vineyards. This is fancy fruit and it tastes it! Not a shy Chardonnay, but one with lots of rich, creamy notes and lush, toasty oak flavors. Perfect for wild-caught salmon or veal Saltimbocca.
2016 Touraine Blanc, Domaine des Corbillières $16.59, $13.27 reorder We’ve been carrying the wines from Dominique and Véronique Barbou’s Domaine des Corbillières for two decades! Well, if the quality’s there and the price is right, then, why not? This Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc has the perfect balance of lively white fruit, citrus blossoms, and stony mineral. Try it with a caramelized onion tart with goat cheese and thyme.
2015 Côtes de Gascogne Hors Saison, Domaine La Hitaire $14.49, $11.59 reorder Down in Gascogne, just south of Bordeaux, comes this blend of Sauvignon Blanc (70%) and Sémillon (30%). The property is owned by Armin and Rémy Grassa, sons of Domaine de Pouy’s Yves Grassa. It’s all stainless steel tank fermented, so it’s fresh. The Sémillon tames the Sauvignon Blanc with a round middle and gives it a waxy note. Think seafood here.
2016 Bordeaux Clairet, Château Armurey $9.99, $7.99 reorder Is it a red or a rosé? We’ll let you decide. Either way, it is chillable! This Bordeaux Clairet is a throwback to the style of wine shipped from Bordeaux to England in the Middle Ages. This easy going, unpretentious juice pairs with just about anything. So keep your bottle well-chilled and pour it with burgers, mac n cheese, pizza, pasta, or a French Dip sando.
2015 Malbec-Syrah, Tilia $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder Tilia wines are made by Leopoldo Kuschnaroff, winemaker and general manager of Mendoza’s Bodegas Esmeralda. This Argentinian red is a tasty blend of Malbec, which gives off an herbal fruitiness, and Syrah, which adds a dark berry and smoky component. An all-occasion red that can adapt to most cuisines, match it up with stuffed peppers or meatloaf.
2015 Cannonau di Sardegna, Sanguineti $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder This Italian island red hails from Sardinia where the Cannonau grape makes its home. The grape itself is closely related to Grenache and shares a similar taste profile. Antonio Sanguineti, though Tuscan by birth, has a way with Cannonau. Medium-bodied with strawberry fruit and notes of underbrush, this would be delicious with lamb shanks or Osso Bucco.
2013 Merlot, Praxis $13.95 net sale price, $13.25 reorder Bill Arbios has been making wine in northern California for over four decades. The man knows his stuff! This pretty little Merlot comes from a single vineyard located behind Jimtown Store in the heart of the Alexander Valley. Aged in American oak for two years, it is a balanced, round tannin red and is a solid option for the Thanksgiving table.
2014 Fronton, Château Coutinel $8.99, $7.19 reorder Just north of the city of Toulouse lies the appellation of Fronton. The principal grape grown there is Negrette, and all Frontonais wines must consist of at least 50% of it. It makes for a light-bodied wine, much like Gamay (of which 20% is blended here), so it is a good pairing partner for those dishes that benefit from a light red – like roast chicken!
2013 Côtes-du-Rhône La Boissière, Domaine Boudinaud $13.49, $10.79 reorder Thierry Boudinaud is one of our favorite Côtes-du-Rhône producers. He and his wife Véronique have several labels of wines in and around the Rhône, though their La Boissière is one of their best values. The blend is Grenache (55%), Syrah (30%), Mourvèdre (10%), and Cinsault (5%), and all together, it’s a great all-purpose red. Try it with Bragioli.
2014 Chiroubles, Château Raousset $17.99, $14.39 reorder There’s something about Autumn that just beckons the lover of Gamay-based wines. Maybe it’s that forest floor aroma which reminds the taster of leaves changing colors and falling. Maybe it’s that core of bright cherry fruit harmonizing with said forest floor. This Chiroubles is light in body and versatile with food – give it a spin with Veal Milanese.