Marie-Pierre Manciat Crémant de Bourgogne ($23): A fine sparkling wine made from 100% Chardonnay in sustainable vineyards. Floral with orange and lemon peel aromas, peachy on the palate, and very lively with persistent bubbles. Killer value.
Weingut Loimer, Grüner Veltliner Langenlois ($19): Grüner Veltliner's peppery character is on display, with green apples, minerals, and soft herbs, along with a creamy texture. Finishes dry and refreshing!
Dog Point Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($20): We have been seeing the price of the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc reach the $18-$19 price point over the last few years. For a buck or two more, it is worth your time and money to try this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, whose passionfruit and grapefruit character gets a boost of
Cave de Lugny, Mâcon-Villages La Côte Blanche ($15): The thing I love about the Mâcon region is how it can be a great way to introduce you to Old World Chardonnay, while retaining riper stone fruit and tropical fruit flavors.
Fairview Cape Granite White Blend ($16): I can't help but be an advocate for South African wine. You tried the Tormentoso Chenin Blanc from the Value Case. For a few dollars more, try a white blend of Chenin Blanc, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc for a full-bodied, wildly aromatic wine experience.
Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir ($25): Fresh red cherry fruit and red plums, with herbs, baking spices, and a touch of smoke. This is a great way to get introduced to an Oregon Pinot Noir if you haven't tried one before. If you have tried one, this has been a consistently good product from vintage to vintage.
Château Lanessan Haut-Medoc ($25, 2014 vintage): Bordeaux feels the impact of vintage variation more than most winemaking regions with its marginal climate. After a string of leaner, more traditional Bordeaux vintages (2011-2013), this 2014 from a solid property located in the upper Medoc peninsula gives you a wine loaded with black cherries and pipe tobacco, thyme, a touch of woody character.
Scavino Langhe Nebbiolo ($20): Nebbiolo's inherent flavors of red cherry fruit and roses are complemented by eucalyptus and tobacco. Nebbiolo can be forceful despite the pale ruby color; it is loaded with tannin and acid meant for long-haul aging, but in this more approachable version, the structural components are as intense thanks to shorter skin contact during fermentation. A great entryway to get to know Nebbiolo from a traditional producer.
Martin Cendoya Rioja Reserva ($21): Dark berry fruit with earthiness and a noticeable oak component, which smooths out some harsh edges you can get from Tempranillo when it is young. Vanilla and a slight toffee note help illustrate the impact of 14 month barrel aging and additional time in bottle before being released to the market, ready to drink now.
Domaine du Terme Gigondas ($28): I picked this up for my birthday back in December. It is my favorite French red wine region. Neighbor of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas is based on Grenache, with small percentages of Syrah and Mourvedre added to the blend. Gigondas has offered more stability to me in terms of quality and price, whereas Chateauneuf-du-Pape can be all over the map. Fresh blackerry fruit, violets, and Herbes de Provence, show up in this wine that I really enjoyed on my big day.
Domaine Bousquet Mendoza Malbec Reserva ($16): You got the introductory Malbec in the value case. Go back and get the Reserva, which spent 12 months in oak barrel and see what's different!
Quinta do Noval Fine Ruby Port ($17): A single estate Port (compared to a blend of estates produced by the larger companies), this is an easy one to carry in the cellar if you are a Port fan. Raspberry and blackberry fruit, but warming and well-balanced.
So total is $245. With a 10% discount and Connecticut sales tax, this is a $234.50 case, roughly twice the cost of our Value Case earlier in the week. If you had these 24 bottles lined up in your wine fridge/cellar, I think you are off to a heck of a start! Stay with me as we keep exploring. Send me feedback...let me know if you tasted ANY of these wines as I would love to know what you think.
Until next time...