(Wine Advocate 92points)
Another vintage, another impossibly tasty value found in this unique Chardonnay from southern France. More often than not, Chardonnay grown in this part of the world is nothing to get excited about, often planted in bulk and end up producing innocuous low acid juice of little character. The Lafage winery brings a little extra magic to their Novellum Chardonnay by aging the juice on Viognier lees, which are the pulp and unfiltered pieces of the grape after pressing, and where a lot of the aromatics are found. Bright flowery and white citrus aromas pop from the glass, a beautiful essence of Spring in a glass. Even better is the palate, which captures the aromas without sweetness, just a round mouth-filling texture of pure fruit. The Viognier lees also provides a much needed tingle of extra acidity on the finish to enhance the vibrant fruits. Fun for a cocktail, but incredibly versatile with a broad array of fish, poultry and even pork dishes.
Regular Price $14.99, $12.74/case
2015 CASTILLO MONJARDIN TEMPRANILLO NAVARRA
A large percentage of Spanish Tempranillo in the value price range are shockingly similar to each other, built to be fruity. one dimensional, and are doing their job if they are just an inoffensive value. Castillo Monjardin has performed a minor miracle by creating a Tempranillo for under $10 that is not just serviceable but downright intriguing (And it isn't random luck either, as we have featured their Garnacha recently as well). Ripe dark fruit on the nose, but not jammy in any way as some can be, and even shows some earthier notes and dark currant tones. There is a nice round texture without hard edges, impressive for a wine not aged in oak at all, and shows nice polish and complexity without a heavy or cloying finish. A quality all-purpose inexpensive wine that doesn't feel 'cheap'.
Regular Price $9.99, $8.49/case
2017 BONNY DOON PICPOUL ARROYO SECO BEESWAX VINEYARD
The Picpoul grape is generally regarded an a humble workman grape that usually makes serviceable everyday drinkers from Southern France. Light, brightly acidic (translates to 'lip-stinger') and low in alcohol, the grape rarely benefits from the effort taken to make 'high end' wines, so the name doesn't get featured that often. This doesn't mean it isn't an important grape, as it provides much needed acidity in many Rhone blends, and on it's own makes lower alcohol wines of surprising life that more and more people are starting to enjoy. From the Beeswax Vineyard where their Cigare Blanc Chateauneuf-style white blend is grown, this stand alone Picpoul has all the sting you could possibly want, full of citrus zest and a tingly saltiness to the finish similar to a French Muscadet. Extended time on the lees gives it more texture that helps take it to a level the grape usually doesn't reach in France, providing even more complexity and lip-smacking action. The perfect seafood wine for warmer weather.
Regular Price $18.99, $16.14/case
2017 DOMAINE DE FONTSAINTE 'GRIS DE GRIS' CORBIERES
Rose wines are versatile this time of year, especially for us when we use them in the Select Six. This month the Rose is being used as one of the red wines, which is appropriate because the winemaking here is more akin to a red than a white. Fontsainte is one of the few estates to make use of the Grenache Gris grape, a lesser known genetic cousin of Grenache Noir and Grenache Blanc which appear in large amounts throughout the Mediterranean. Grenache Gris has a slight tint to the skin when fully ripe, so when Fontsainte makes this wine the pressed juice rests on the skins in the same manner it would when making a red wine. The salmon color in the finished wine is all the pigment the grapes have to offer. The flavor profile is similar to most classic dry Rose, pulling from both white citrus and high toned red fruits, but what often makes this stand out is the added texture from extended time on the skins, a tannin character hinting at a red wine and providing a fuller, more substantial finish. This is a rose that can keep quite well over time and will hold up to more intensive dishes than you would usually throw at a rose in this price point.
Regular Price $17.99, $15.29/case
2016 CASA BELLA MONT'ARQUATO MALVASIA FERMO COLLI PIACENTINI
If people are familiar with the Malvasia grape at all, it is usually from the sweeter late harvest or dried 'passito' wines that are deservedly famous. The normal wines also deserve attention, especially where it is featured in the Emilia-Rogmagna region. Much like a Viognier, the natural aromatics will make most people expect the wine to taste sweet (and some wineries will play down to that level), but great versions like this actually are quite dry which gives them lots of enjoyable food possibilities.The aromas are pure wildflowers, sunny citrus and melon, persistent but not heady. The wine has a low-ish alcohol level, but not because it is keeping residual sugar behind. Instead the wine is harvested at a lower natural ripeness which keeps more acidity in the finished wine and allows it to be fermented completely dry easier. The dry freshness is most evident on the palate as it gives all the flowery fruits a cleaner, almost 'wet' aspect to the finish instead of a sugary stickiness. A great match with light, fruit-driven courses or even brunch omelets.
Regular Price $16.99, $14.44/case
2014 RASA VINEYARDS 'OCCAM'S RAZOR' RED BLEND COLUMBIA VALLEY
(Wine Advocate/Vinous 89points)
Rasa Vineyards is a small producer of nearly cult-level status in Washington State, with a reputation for making fantastic high end wines from a broad selection of grape varieties. As many wineries like this have come to find, however, it is very difficult to be successful doing nothing but expensive small production wines. The winery describes this wine as the 'least expensive but most time consuming wine to make' coming from seven different vineyard sources and using nine different grape varieties. The result is surprisingly successful and gives an impression of the Rasa style. Lush deep plum and black fruit aromas with a touch of toasty oak give an impression of great size to the wine, but the palate is surprisingly agile and polished. Silky, almost bright with fine acidity and a very smooth tannin texture bring out peppery notes and higher toned red fruits than you find on the nose, making for a complex and satisfying red that genuinely delivers value for fans of Washington State wines.
Regular Price $17.99, $15.29/case
These wines regularly sell for $96.94
For Select Six April they are $82.99
You Save $13.95!
Select Six White (2 of each white) is $85.99
Select Six Red (2 of each red) is $79.99
Pick any three different bottles and get 10% off!