2015 ESPELT GARNACHA BLANCA OLD VINES EMPORDA
For quite a few years Grenache/Garnacha from Spain has been one of the great sources of value wines in the world. Fans of the warm, spicy red fruit and juicy soft texture have had literally hundreds of brands to choose from without breaking over the $10-$15 mark. But what about the white wine drinker? Where's their killer value to gt all excited about? Red grapes tend to grow better in these warm dry climates, but there are small pockets where a wine like this can emerge. Formed from parcels of 50 and 100 year old vines, this Garnacha Blanca mirrors a lot of the white Cotes du Rhones that feature the same grape with its fresh white fruit and hints of citrus on the nose. The texture is round and mouthfilling thanks to the lees aging and some time in neutral oak barrels, but the higher altitudes for the vineyards also helps bring in some much needed acidity Spanish whites can often lack, helping to maintain the freshness and a hint of tingle on the finish. A lovely value to enjoy all year round, but especially notable as a cooler weather white that has good body without needing heavy oak or buttery characters.
Regular Price $12.99, $11.04/case
2014 DOMAINE JEAN DAVID COTES DU RHONE
Another new find from one of our many local importers that scour the world to bring great small wineries directly to Virginia. Also another example of just how diverse the wines from the Rhone can be from the blends of grapes and the carious sub-climates. This small-ish producer from the well regarded village of Seguret has been doing it all right since becoming one of the first certified Biodynamic estates in the late 80s. The reds are not Grenache heavy and fruit forward, which is why they may have skirted the hype of big press and 'scores'. Carignan and Counoise are featured prominently in their wines which brings out the more savory herbs and rustic tones, and in the capable hands of this winery the results are impressive. Deep ruby in the glass, with a nose full of dark currant and Provincial herbs. It smells like a farm in all the most positive and natural ways, and the grapes are just a small part of what's taking place. The palate is generous, and the use of stems during fermentation brings out even more of the savory natural flavors behind the dark fruit. This is a wine that definitely has a sense of place about it, and is a terrific value for finding out if you enjoy making that journey.
Regular Price $16.99, $14.44/case
2015 CASALE DEL GIGLIO LAZIO BIANCO 'SATRICO'
With the millennia of cultural history in and around Rome that makes it among the most important cities in the world, the wine production from Latium is surprisingly lackluster by comparison. A history of allowing high yields has resulted in a reputation of diluted, uninspiring wines that are best consumed locally. When Casale del Giglio was launched on a family property in 1985, the region of Aprila near the town of Latina was largely under-explored, more noted for its agriculture and archaeology. Not being bound by the dogma of a well established DOC's regulation, the estate experimented with dozens of varietals and blends to find what worked best in the new era, with quite a few surprising accomplishments. This white starts with the omnipresent Trebbiano grape and adds on equal parts of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to create a new and unique modern wine that still identifies as Italian. Fresh cut grass and dry citrus on the nose from the Sauv Blanc and Trebbiano, equally clean on the palate with the Chardonnay providing some extra body and generous texture to soften the more savory edges of the fruit. A nice match for light salads and seafood dishes when you find yourself thinking about the warmer months.
Regular Price $13.99, $11.89/case
2014 ZORZAL PINOT NOIR TUPUNGATO VALLEY 'TERROIR UNICO'
(Wine Advocate 90points)
New vintage of perhaps the best underground Pinot Noir values in the store, because few people (ourselves included sometimes) think to go to the Argentina section for anything other than a Malbec. The Tupungato Valley is at the highest elevations of the larger Uco Valley in Mendoza, which helps to provide cooler evenings during the growing season than the valley floors. While Malbec is heavily planted here, Chardonnay has performed very well also (see Catena Zapata's newest Tupungato designated bottling) and Pinot Noir is starting to make inroads as well. By learning to moderate the direct sunlight that can get somewhat intense here and can damage the fragile Pinot Noir skins, there is terrific potential. Combining some of the richness found in New World styled Pinots with the raciness of the acidity, the darker fruits have both liveliness and weight on the palate, a trick that's very difficult to achieve in an inexpensive wine. For Pinot fans that rarely wander to this end of the store, this will be a real eye-opener.
Regular Price $14.99, $12.74/case
2015 ELIZABETH SPENCER SAUVIGNON BLANC MENDOCINO
In the 1980s Spencer Graham was an integral part of developing a relationship with many of the early Californias wineries to get distribution in Virginia. Many of the big names and 'cult wineries' of the day made it into our market because of his early efforts exploring Napa and Sonoma for great wine. Eventually that love of wine led to establishing his own label with his wife and moving to Rutherford in Napa, but the attachment to our area still remains as Virginia has always gotten very good representation of the Elizabeth Spencer wines. Sourced from certified organic vineyards in the cooler Mendocino region, this vibrant full-bodied Sauvignon Blanc is loaded with zesty lemon and melon fruit aromas on the nose and palate with a touch of the juicier white fruits coming through on the palate thanks to the richer texture. Only a small portion is aged in neutral oak barrels, allowing the freshness of the varietal and the growing area to shine through.
Regular Price $18.99, $16.14/case
2013 CIACCI PICCOLOMINI TOSCANA ROSSO
As much of the focus is placed on the most famous wines from Montalcino, people sometimes forget that people there need to have some everyday wines on hand to drink, not just the Brunellos. Ciacci Piccolomini has evolved into both a critical and commercial success with their top wines, including several highly regarded more experimental 'Rosso Toscana' bottlings involving Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and even Syrah. The fruit from those projects that aren't quite ready to go in barrel long enough for those wines get blended together along with some ever-present Sangiovese to make this delicious affordable treat. Plump dark fruit with a bit more darkness than you usually get from a Tuscan wine, but the dusty earth character and elegance of the region still shines through. An affordable pasta and red sauce kind of wine with lots of breeding and quality to show.
Regular Price $13.99, $11.89/case
These wines regularly sell for $91.94
For Select Six January they are $78.99
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Select Six White (2 of each white) is $78.99
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Seasonal Picks at a Great Price
Each month we pick six fantastic wines and give them to you at an even better price when purchased together