The December 2016 Dirty Dozen
We’re still scratching our heads here. How exactly did it get to be December already? Time flies, this we know. 2016 is on its way out, and 2017 is right around the corner. There’s plenty to do to get there, so hold on tight! There are holiday parties, corporate and private, and the holidays themselves. We’re making the wine part easy. 12 bottles, all chosen for versatility, in one box for one low price. The December Dirty Dozen.
Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines
2015 Picpoul de Pinet, Chevalier de Novato $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Picpoul refers to both the appellation and the grape. The word itself translates to “lip-stinger” which suggests the zippy acidity of the wine. The appellation covers 3000 acres around the Ètang de Thau, a series of lagoons along the Mediterranean. Expect tonic-like freshness with fragrant, floral flavors. Serve well-chilled with any manner of shellfish.
2013 Verdejo, Atino $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder
The aromatic grape, Verdejo, though planted throughout Spain is most at home in Rueda. Rueda is a region northwest of Madrid smack dab in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula. The climate is continental with hot, dry summers and cold, harsh winters. Crisp and citrusy with hints of flowers and clover on the palate, serve with crab cakes or Risotto Milanese.
2015 Moscato di Pavia, Centorri $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Three generations of women are credited for making this charming, playful Moscato – it tastes just like popping a fresh grape into your mouth. The vines are on average 20 years of age, lending complexity and depth. Low in alcohol and with a slight frizzante, try as an aperitif or as the closer to a meal. Or snuggle up on the couch with a glass and some cookies.
2013 Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc, Domaine Boudinaud $7.95 sale price, $7.55 reorder
We’re just not drinking enough white wine from the Rhône Valley. One can seldom go wrong with a white Côtes-du-Rhône: great blends and very fair prices. This CdR Blanc is made from 60% Grenache Blanc and 40% Roussanne, and it shows fresh, fleshy white and yellow fruit and has a crisp finish. Pair this with some seared scallops wrapped in bacon.
2014 Bush Vine Chenin Blanc, The Winery of Good Hope $9.95 sale price, $9.45 reorder
This is 100% Chenin Blanc is from old bush vines planted in decomposed granite facing the ocean. Those ocean breezes keep the fruit relatively cool and fresh, lending balancing acidity to the tangy, voluptuous, green apple-like fruit. It’s great wine to have by itself or one can try a variety of pairing ideas, including vegetable tempura or Fettuccine Alfredo.
2014 Mâcon Villages Les Tilles, Domaine Sainte Barbe $19.99, $15.99 reorder
White Burgundy. Among the critics, it is consensus that 2014 was a great vintage for Burgundy’s white wines. Domaine Sainte Barbe does not use any fancy new oak for their wines, preferring to showcase terroir and fresh fruit over the aromas new barrels impart. It’s got plenty of class and complexity, and would be great with that Dungeness crab!
2015 Le Loup Dans La Bergerie, Orliac $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
80% Grenache with the remainder Syrah, this juicy little number is the perfect “everyday” red wine. Why perfect? Well, the fruit is bright and lively, the tannins are soft, the acidity is balanced with the fruit, and no intrusive oak to speak of. Drink on its own or with food; it can do it all. Ideally suited for pizza in all its forms, calzone, or a messy meatball sub.
2013 Merlot, Jordanov $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
A value like this would have to come from an under-represented, unknown wine region like land-locked Macedonia. How else could you make a Merlot from mature vines, age it in French oak for 14 months and offer it for well under $20? Notes of plum and blueberries mingle with herb for a classic presentation. Tasty with lamb ragoût or a prime rib roast.
2015 Cilegiolo Maremma, Morellino $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Winemaker Sergio Bucci is a strong believer that obscure Tuscan “field blend” varietals can stand on their own if properly understood and vinified. A case in point is this Cilegiolo – a red varietal typically blended into Chianti. Rarely do you see it bottled solo. Super charged red cherry flavors with aromas of sage and violets dominate. Va bene!
2013 Ventoux Rouge, Domaine Fondrèche $16.99, $13.59 reorder
Winemaker Sébastien Vincenti has done something unusual recently. He has eliminated one of his fancy labels (Nadal), and is now using those grapes in his entry level rouge. The result is an upper class Rhône blend, 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre. It’s as versatile as it is classy. Serve it with pork wrapped, pork sausage-stuffed pork loin.
2015 Malbec, Alberto Furque $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Sourced from vineyards some 3000 feet in elevation, Alberto’s daughter Carolina has some mountain fruit to make her Malbec with. The grapes are fermented in steel tank and raised in concrete prior to bottling. This allows the fruit and terroir to shine. Deep and lush, the structure is bold, yet the nuances are delicate. It’s a good one for a juicy steak.
2013 Syrah/Grenache, Grange des Rouquette $10.99, $8.79 reorder
French country wine – 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvèdre, all tank fermented for optimal freshness here. This is the kind of wine served throughout the southern French countryside in cafés and bistros. It’s easy to quaff, with or without food, and easy on the budget. It’s a given to say this is great with a baguette, bowl of olives, and salumi.