2018 Garganega/Chardonnay, Scaia $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
The Castagnedi family began making wine in the 80’s. Known for their Amarone, they decided to branch out, creating the Scaia label to explore making wine with the other varietals they were growing. This lovely blend incorporates the vivacity of Garganega (think Soave) with the richness of Chardonnay. Beware: the bottle has a glass enclosure. So delish with a hunk of Parmesan cheese.
2018 Chardonnay, Enkidu $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder
Closing in on two decades of winemaking, Phillip Staehle makes a range of wines, working closely with growers. His “E” series offers tremendous value given their fruit sourcing. For the inaugural Chardonnay, he used fruit grown in a remote narrow valley in the hills of the Russian River Valley. Lush and creamy, with plenty of freshness, try matching it with sand dabs or shrimp coconut curry.
2018 Jongiuex, Carrel $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Jongieux is one of the sunniest crus of Savoie. The vineyards are planted on steep, southwest facing slopes of the French Alps, where Jacquere is the most common planted grape. It’s like drinking straight from a mountain stream; mineral-driven and crisp. The flavors are crystalline. Carrel’s Jongieux is emblematic of the region. Excellent with cheese fondue or a ham & leek tarte.
2018 Alvarinho/Loureiro, Quinta Santiago $14.59, $11.67 reorder
Loureiro is a white Portuguese grape known for its fresh acidity and aromas of citrus blossoms and laurel, the inspiration for the grape’s name. Combine that with the fleshy Alvarinho, and you have a delectable, perfectly balanced white wine. A great wine for the anything-but-Chardonnay crowd, this blend is great on its own, and suits anything from shellfish to grilled pork chops.
2018 Sauvignon Blanc IGP Perigord, Puy-Servain $8.79, $7.03 reorder
We’ve been working with Puy-Servain for over 20 years, as vigneron Daniel Hecquet continues to supply us with tasty, well-balanced wines for extremely fair prices. For his IGP Perigord wines, he sources fruit grown by some friends up the Dordogne Valley. This Sauv Blanc is textbook: Crisp, clean, balanced, and expressive. It’s a great accompaniment to a winter salad with chèvre.
2017 Marsannay Rosé, Domaine Bart $22.99, $18.39 reorder
Marsannay has the distinction of being the only village in Bourgogne that is allowed to label their Rosé after their village, rather than the generic “Bourgogne” title. It’s 100% Pinot Noir, and one whiff of Bart’s 2017 Rosé will give that away. It’s Rosé, so it’s best to serve it with a slight chill, but don’t overdo it, as serving it too cold will diminish the aromas. Try this with a spicy stir fry.
2017 Nero d’Avola, Pianetto $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s most widely planted red wine grape variety. The dark-skinned grape has high tannins, medium acid and good structure – all reasons why it was used, historically, as a blending grape for lighter reds. Pianetto makes their Nero d’Avola with organically grown grapes, fermented in tank without oak. The result is a fresh and lively red. Pair up with eggplant-based dishes.
2018 Rouge, Milou $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
A fifty-fifty blend of Grenache and Syrah, this red from the Languedoc region is one of those super values from France that has you saying, “how do they do it?” Old vine Grenache blended with organically grown Syrah aged in barrel is a recipe for pure enjoyment. Dark cherry fruit, spice, a slight hint of black olive – so very tasty! Match up with Foccaccia, Pissaladière, or Sfincione.
NV Shebang! Twelth Cuvée $11.98 sale price, $10.78 reorder
Grab your Dutch oven and braise something long and slow. When it’s done, pair up with this Zinfandel-based, kitchen sink blend from winemaker and Master of Wine, Morgan Twain Peterson. The grapes come from a variety of sources, most of which could have easily been bottled individually and sold for a whole lot more! Thankfully, this unpretentious red remains affordable. So good!
2017 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Madia, Torre Zambra $12.99, $10.39 reorder
The Madia label may represent Torre Zambra’s entry-level of wines, though this Montepulciano Rosso is exceptional! It’s got all the things we look for: delicious, expressive fruit, notes of earth, herb garden, and a hint of tar, and impeccable balance. There’s a lot of wine in this bottle, as its quality punches right through its price-point. If this is your go-to house spaghetti red, you’re doing just fine.
2017 Côtes-du-Rhône Mataró, Vignobles Boudinaud $17.79, $14.23 reorder
Mataró is a town just north of Barcelona along Spain’s Mediterranean Coast. It is also what many people along that coast call the grape Mourvèdre. It’s rare, but Thierry Boudinaud makes a Côtes-du-Rhône that is 100% Mourvèdre. The wine shows healthy ripeness with plump purple/red fruit aromas, and a medium-full body. It’s a great pairing partner for something hearty, like stew.
2015 Côtes de Verenay Syrah, Domaine Pichat $26.99, $21.59 reorder
Stephane Pichat makes fancy wines. His holdings include some special vineyards in both Condrieu and Côte Rôtie. He also makes 2 wines that cause people to queue up at his winery: Côtes de Verenay Viognier and Syrah. The vineyard where the Syrah comes from borders Côte Rôtie. Intense aromas of lush, dark, savory fruit lead to a zippy, crisp palate and finish. A hit with Asian skewered beef.
And off we go, into the 2020’s!
Now that the blur of the holidays is behind us, we can take our feet off the pedals and chill – and it sure has been mighty chilly lately.
This month’s selections come from four different countries, all chosen for their value and versatility. 6 chillables, 6 reds, all different, all packed in one box with this here cheat sheet.
Happy New Year – Pick up your Dozen today!