INSIDER'S PICK: 2014 ARGIOLAS VERMENTINO DI SARDEGNA 'COSTAMOLINO' (Vinous 89points) $15.99
Going into Memorial Day it can be hard to find a good 'all purpose' wine that can encompass a broader number of tastes and warm weather dishes. While the option of 'Bring More Wine!' is never a bad one, it may not always be the most prudent. And we ALWAYS want you to put more thought behind the wines you bring than the prettiness of the label or the fact it was on the end of the aisle and on sale somewhere. So we thought about the needs for the holidays, eliminated some of the way too easy options to look a bit deeper, and came up with this favorite. As one of the best modern producers from Sardinia, Argiolas provides many great examples of both reds and whites, and this value version of the workhorse Vermentino grape is consistently looked at as THE introduction to white wines of the island.
From the first pour the aromas of the wine are pure Mediterranean sunshine, all citrus, flowers and white melons, so those that like a prettier wine will have lots of enjoyment just sniffing the glass. The texture on the palate is round and lush but not sugary, thanks to a partial malolactic fermentation that gives the Chardonnay drinkers enough of that smoothness without becoming buttery or detract from the pretty natural flavors of the grape. And even with the warm fruit and roundness through the first part of the wine, there is still plenty of freshness and bright acidity across the finish (especially with a good chill on it) to make all but the most stringent acidity freaks happy. And it's a great value as well, so you won't feel like you are overspending for the crowd. This wine will stun people paired with some light and herby Summertime seafood dishes.
Most people know the Vinho Verde region of Portugal for the light bodied, slightly bubbly and refreshing (if not slightly innocuous) wines that are as big a part of many people's warm weather drinking routine as a dry Rose. But few people know that wines of great quality exist here as well, even red wines! The name refers to the region, not just the wine itself, and there is a lot more focus on quality now than ever before. Many producers are featuring wines made from individual grape varieties that make up the usual Vinho Verde blend, and a recently created sub-region of Monaco e Melgaco focuses just on the Alvarinho grape. This is the same grape, no surprise, as the Albarino featured just across the border in the Spanish region of Rias Baixas, and their international success over the last few decades has more than rubbed off on Portugal.
Rich and a bit modern in style, showing just a bit of barrel on the nose behind the creamy tropical white fruit aromas, but with all the same intensity found in the Spanish versions like we did for the Insider's Pick a few weeks ago. On the palate the round texture will delight many out there that prefer a more Chardonnay-like mouthfeel, but with no buttery side effects to get in the way of the natural melon flavors. Acidity isn't aggressive either, but good skin tannins bring a touch of melon rind zestiness to the finish. A great option to pair with some seafood dishes with bigger flavors and textures, as the body of the wine should hold up to most anything.
Today and tomorrow are a great opportunity to taste the wines of Alessandro Rivetto, a hot new producer from the Piedmont. This afternoon in particular will be a treat as we will have Alessandro himself in the store to present his wines and answer any questions. The winery itself is new, started in 2012 with two lifelong friends, but with a family history extending back several generations, the vineyards farmed coming from longstanding family holdings. With local importation the wines come to us for a terrific price considering the quality, and we are excited to have them for you.
For today and tomorrow we will be pouring the 2013 Langhe Arneis 'Matire' ($19.99), the 2014 Langhe Rosso ($15.99), and the 2012 Langhe Nebbiolo ($21.99), all three of which will take the usual Insider's Pick 10% discount. We anticipate having Alessandro in the store from approximately 2:30-5pm today only. Hope to see you here!
INSIDER'S PICK:2014 ALLOY WINE WORKS CHARDONNAY CENTRAL COAST 2014 ALLOY WINE WORKS PINOT NOIR CENTRAL COAST $10.99/500ml, $41.49/4pack
We can already feel the collective shock and surprise (perhaps even a little bit of judgment) from people as they see the picture of the two wines being featured. Canned wine for many people ranks right up there with deep fried novelty carnival foods and swimming laps in Rio's Guanabara Bay as things they would least like to try. But canned beverages have come an extremely long way over the last decade, thanks largely to the craft beer movement taking the reins in finding alternative packaging. The advantage of having wine like this is not in the high end quality but the portability, easy packing and consumption for trips, festivals, and backpacking.
The two biggest hurdles to get over (aside from personal bias) are that the wines are either a) damaged by the can, or b) mass marketed. we can assure you that neither is true for these wines. Just as with screw caps, these are wines that are built to be consumed in the fairly short term, so while there could be a flavor difference after 4-5 years in comparison to the bottle, it wouldn't matter because they are built to be consumed over the next year or two, maximum. And the craft beer market has shown the can to be one of the best methods for smaller producers to get things packaged thanks to mobile canning companies. The production here is only a few thousand cases from a small artisan producer (we featured their 2013 Field Recordings 'Neverland' Cabernet Sauvignon as an Insider's Pick just a few weeks ago) who just decided to take a risk with some of his juice. The Chardonnay is everything you would want from a $16 range wine in a bottle, which is what these would be for the equal volume; round white fruit and lemon curd with a touch of buttery malolactic texture on the palate, but no heavy oaky presence. For the Pinot, the fruit is plump and juicy, not sweet or candies at all with even a touch of savory on the finish, and no hard edges throughout. Throw these in the cooler (or in the mountain stream), or crack one open for yourself on any occasion, and you will find a place for these in your active lifestyle.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!