2015 Juhfark, Tornai $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
The Tornai family has been working vines in Hungary’s Somló region since 1946. Somló’s volcanic, basalt-rich soils are prized for growing wine grapes. Tornai’s Juhfark is the perfect introduction to this high-acid grape. The classic flavors of salt and smoke are present, without any botrytis, and finishes with a tart tang. Versatile, try it with salty, savory foods.
2017 Chenin Blanc, Kiona $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder
Washington State’s Kiona winery is the source for high quality, affordable wines. How do they do it? Their Chenin Blanc is a dead-ringer for Vouvray, expressing stone pit fruit and fresh acidity. The grapes are harvested early to retain freshness, then tank fermented. Ever so slightly off-dry, this wine is a dream for pairing possibilities! No limits here.
2017 Pinot Gris, Chemistry $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Chemistry is a first collaboration between Oregon’s Stoller Family Estates and Chehalem’s winemaking teams. This debut Pinot Gris promises good things to come. Sourcing throughout the Willamette Valley, blending diverse sites and keeping prices low, allows entrée to this special wine region. Lots of citrus with a kiss of papaya, striking a nice balance.
2017 Ventoux Rosé, Domaine Fondrèche $16.99, $13.59 reorder
We are big fans of winemaker Sébastien Vincenti and his wines from arguably the best vineyards of Ventoux. For his Rosé, Vincenti uses 50% Cinsault, 25% Syrah, and 25% Grenache from vines averaging 25+ years of age. Red berry fruit and minerals appear in the aromas and the palate is snappy and fresh with a crisp finish. Spicy Thai prawns? Pop this.
2017 Ortrugo, Cantine Fratelli Bonelli $12.99, $10.39 reorder
Ortrugo, anyone? This white grape, indigenous to the Piacenza region (roughly 65 km southeast of Milano), is one of hundreds of local Italian varieties awaiting discovery by the international market. First off, it’s dry. It shows floral aromas with maybe a hint of white pepper. Its light body makes it incredibly versatile, so pair it with shellfish or poultry.
2017 Montravel Terrement, Château Puy-Servain $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Way out near Bordeaux’s eastern frontier, across the Dordogne River lie the vineyards of Montravel. The area is mostly known for its white wines, though some red grapes grow there also. Château Puy-Servain’s white Terrement cuvée is one of our best bargains in the white wine world. A 50/50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris, pair it with chèvre.
2015 Monica di Sardegna, Argiolas $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder
Always on the hunt to introduce Dirty Dozen devotees to unusual, lesser known varietals (see Juhfark above), welcome to Monica, a grape exclusively found on the island of Sardinia. Its soft tannins and ripe berry flavors make it a popular choice for everyday drinking enjoyment. Great with pasta dishes, fish stews, or pizza while bingeing on Friends.
2015 Pinot Noir, Praxis $22.98 net price, $20.68 reorder
Bill Arbios, a winemaker for over forty years (!), crafts this gorgeous Pinot Noir from a single vineyard at the southern end of the Sonoma Coast appellation, west of the town of Sonoma. Aged in French oak for nine months, of which 1/3 is new, this cherry-laden Pinot Noir is well balanced and elegant. Leg of lamb studded with garlic should match-up nicely!
2017 Fidelity Red, Goldschmidt Vineyards $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder
New Zealand born, globetrotting winemaker Nick Goldschmidt currently makes wine in four countries! His home base is California and he makes this Bordeaux-styled red from a single vineyard in Alexander Valley that he has farmed for over 25 years. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, it exhibits plum, cassis and notes of vanilla. Steak?
2015 Côtes-du-Rhône, Tour de l’Isle $15.99, $12.79 reorder
Made from Grenache, Syrah, and a little Mourvèdre, this C-d-R tips the scales in the quality for price world. It shows aromas of ripe cherry fruit, cracked black pepper, and forest floor. The palate is harmonious with rounded tannins and a lively finish. Rhône-meister Robert Rochhi has blended us another winner that will pair well with a roast or hearty stew.
2015 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colle Maggio, Torre Zambra $18.99, $15.19 reorder
The latest release from our (fairly) new d’Abruzzo producer, Torre Zambra, the 2015 Colle Maggio Montepulciano is teeming with character. Rustic raspberry, spice, cocoa, and coffee notes appear in the aromas, and the palate is medium-bodied and complex. It has a snappy, balanced finish with all components firing together. Pairs well with pizza or pasta.
2015 Château de Rouquette, Bordeaux $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Another wine right off the boat, this bargain Bordeaux turns heads simply by virtue of its expressive fruity aromas and palate and its super-modest price tag. Made from 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s nice and juicy where it needs to be, and has a sturdy backbone. It drinks well on its own, as a cocktail wine, but you can pair it with a steak too!
Brrr!! That chill in the air can only mean one thing, it's winter, February to be specific.
Though the shortest month, there are plenty of reasons to be festive in February.
You've got Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day at the very least.
The February Dirty Dozen consists of 12 bottles, all different, all chosen for their quality and versatility.
Pack in a cheat-sheet with some background and pairing suggestions, and you're looking at the best wine deal in town!