We continue to be thrilled with the emerging quality and value coming out of the Puglia region of Italy, with new-found producers reaching our shores seemingly every month. This producer from the 'heel' part of the country works primarily with small growers to create simple but regionally distinctive wines featuring native varietals, sometimes with a bit of a modern bump for practicality or effect. You can be certain you will see the accompanying red wine in a future Select Six as well. Most people know the Malvasia grape due to its success making sweeter or late harvest wines, and may expect this to be in that realm. And those 'most people' would be wrong. Beautiful aromas of fresh cut flowers and sunny Mediterranean white fruits, but with lots of clean flavors on the palate and no sighs of residual sugar. The Chardonnay used is unoaked and purely there to provide a bit of body to the palate, give the fruit a bit of pulp and texture. Huge amounts of fun in the bottle, perfect for parties and lightly spicy meals.
Regular Price $10.99, $9.34/case
2015 BODEGAS ITURBIDE 'NOVEM' NAVARRA
The world is chocked full of great value wines these days, unless you are a fan of the more eco-friendly or 'naturally made' wines. Those types of wines tend to be done in smaller batches and can take more labor and oversight to be successful, which always adds to the final costs. But as the style emerges as more than just a fad, more wines with an eye to that style are popping up at better and better prices.This example from Spain shows the warmth and oomph Tempranillo based wines are known for, but still uses the native yeasts that create the more savory tones natural wine drinkers identify with. Fleshy dark fruit and spice on the aromas, like many would expect from their Spanish reds, but also the weight and body on the palate which can be absent in the more natural wines. The Cabernet Sauvignon helps in that respect, as well as providing some needed tannic structure on the finish. The 'natural' wine element that shows throughout is the underlying savory notes that come from the native yeasts, hiding underneath all the flavor components but recognizable, and also cuts back on the overripe jellied fruits that can plague the larger production warm climate reds.
Regular Price $11.99, $10.19/case
2016 LEXICON CHARDONNAY CALIFORNIA
Usually we like to fill the Select Six with unique wines that the majority of people wouldn't gravitate towards, encouraging you to broaden your horizons. Every once in a while though we will go ahead and throw an easy softball pitch right down the middle that everyone can identify with. A classic Californian value Chardonnay with all the bells and whistles (buttery fruit and oak on a smooth full bodied texture) but nothing oversized to the point of being grotesque and obnoxious. No plastic surgery performed on this wine, just a happy Chardonnay the way nature intended. It's a great value for a group get-together or to have around the house, as it shows plenty more underlying character than usual at this price point, which will help keep it interesting bottle after bottle.
Regular Price $11.99, $10.19/case
2014 COLLINE DEL SOLE AGLIANICO IRPINA
As one of Italy's most ancient grape varieties (traced back to the earliest Greek populations), Aglianico is probably the least known of Italy's noble reds. Heavily featured in Campania as well as areas to the South and East of Naples, the grape has a long history producing robust wines both before and after Mount Vesuvius erupted, but has always lacked the tourist recognition like Chianti, Barolo/Barbaresco and others to the North. Taurasi and Vulture are the most famous versions using this grape, and you are seeing more and more importers bringing in the more everyday bottlings from all across Campania and Basilicata. Rugged, dark and chewy, the hearty tannins are somewhat similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, which is why a little extra time in the bottle helps this one soften out some. Some of the black fruits and cassis may appeal to Cab drinkers as well, but the spice and wild Italian herbs bring an untamed character to it as well. A tasty option for heartier cooler weather drinking, perfect for meats and dishes that have a lot of char and grill marks.
Regular Price $13.99, $11.89/case
2016 BENITO SANTOS ALBARINO 'PEQUINO SANTOS' RIAS BAIXAS
As mentioned in the Select Six write-up a few spots above, it's tricky to find wines with both an eco-friendly style that achieves it as a strong value. Here is one in the white wine world from one of the more reputable producers in the Gallician part of Spain. The Benito Santos winery possesses some of the oldest Albarino vines, and are unique to be planted on their own root stock, versus using American root stock like the majority of Europe has had to do since the late 1800s to combat the phylloxera blight. Through their care and attention those old vines have thrived, and that same attention is placed towards the vines in their more 'basic' bottling. Fermented on the native yeasts, the aromatic isn't as floral as some more mainstream Albarino can be, allowing more of the coastal and sea-influenced flavors to show through. Lots of seashells and ocean breezes in the glass here. The palate shows more white fruits than the aromas portray, and the mouthfeel is deliciously filling and satisfying thanks to minimal filtration and a long time on the lees. This can work with the more briny seafood dishes the same way a Muscadet works from France, but also has the body to hold up to even richer dishes, and does show enough generous fruit underneath that it can be featured on its own.
Regular Price $14.99, $12.74/case
2015 DOMAINE DES HOMS "l'AMANDIER" CINSAULT COTEAUX DE PEYRIAC
Some of you may recognize the name Domaine des Homs as we featured their Faugeres in the Select Six a few weeks back. The region in the Languedoc is a wild one, literally and figuratively, in that it is a region of relatively unknown (at the very least under-appreciated) potential in the midst of huge swaths of bulk wine production. The wines here also have a more rustic character to them even though they are using the same grapes as in a Cotes du Rhone, more meaty and untamed. This bottling features 100% Cinsault, usually a supporting grape to Grenache or Syrah and the like, but comes from an older patch of organic/biodynamic certified vines so the winery deemed it worthy to be featured. Bright ruby red color and unassuming looking at first, but the aromas are loaded with wild blueberries, raspberries, and curing meats, very sauvage and funky. The palate is a lot silkier than the funky aromas would have you expect, making the wild juicy fruit even more palatable and approachable. A fun wine many Rhone fans wouldn't think of at first but is well worth trying, especially with a hearty meal.
Regular Price $15.99, $13.59/case
These wines regularly sell for $79.94
For Select Six October they are $67.99
You Save $11.95!
Select Six White (2 of each white) is $64.99
Select Six Red (2 of each red) is $70.99
Pick any three different bottles and get 10% off!