Welcome Spring! It’s our last month of more reds than whites, so I included some slightly heavier offerings. Given our interstate issues, I encourage you to buy 2 Wine Clubs this month. It’s the only known cure for commuting-itis. Enjoy!
P.S. - My non-Wine Club selection for the month is Bordeaux Rouge. The heat and humidity will be here soon, so this is your last chance to enjoy a robust red with the appropriate weather. Secondly, and more importantly, it’s a chance to taste the improved ripeness of Bordeaux and how it can favorably compare to west coast Cabernet and Merlot.
2014 R. Stuart Big Fire Pinot Gris (Oregon)
Tasting Notes: I've always been a fan of Loire Valley Chenin Blanc. Good fruit, good acidity and nice complexity - what's not to like. The Bougrier has an aroma of honeyed, Golden Delicious apples with a hint of minerality. It's crisp and clean on the palate with ripe apple fruit. I like the honeyed note found in most Vouvrays that helps boost the flavor. There's also an offsetting hint of slate, as well. The fruit to acidity ratio here is wonderful - neither outshines the other. The finish is bright and juicy with crisp orchard fruit and nice length.
Food Pairing: Loire Valley Vouvray is a versatile food wine. It has enough flavor to serve alone and enough acidity to pair with everything from spicy Asian dishes to pork or chicken. Feel free to experiment with this.
2015 Perimeter Chardonnay (California)
Tasting Notes: This is an EXCELLENT California-styled Chardonnay. Why? Because it has the richer flavors of oak-aged Chardonnay with BALANCE and STRUCTURE! It starts with aromas of ripe tropical fruits and spices. On the palate, I found soft tropical fruits, baking spices and a slightly creamy texture. The two main factors with this white are judicious use of oak and great acidity. These traits are lacking in most $10 California Chardonnays. The finish has pear flavors, spice and decent length. This is a well-made Chardonnay.
Food Pairing: The Perimeter is fuller-bodied and has enough acidity to pair with chicken or lighter pork dishes. It has body and isn’t flabby, so your food pairing options are greater. This would also be a good choice at any holiday meal where you need to serve a white, even though it’s a red wine dish.
2014 Legado del Moncaya Garnacha (Campo de Borja)
Tasting Notes: I'm seeing a positive trend in Spanish Garnacha, or Grenache, balance. Ripe, but not overripe fruit is now the norm instead of the exception. This one from Moncayo is the perfect testimonial. It has an expressive aroma of dark fruits. This is made in a Rhone-style with dark berry fruit, especially raspberry, good acidity and a pleasant hint of dried herb. The finish shows more raspberry fruit, medium tannins and nice length. This Garnacha has it all - great fruit, great balance and a splash of complexity.
Food Pairing: I would almost say to serve this by itself. Since the fruit in this red is so enjoyable, I wouldn’t want to share it with food. If you must, try to pair this with lighter-bodied everyday meals.
2014 Poggio Anima Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC (Italy)
Tasting Notes: The Montepulciano appellation in the Abruzzo region of east-central Italy produces great everyday reds, like this one from Poggio Anima. It starts with aromas of baked black fruits and continues on the palate with pleasantly bright blackberry and dark plum flavors, with notes of earth/cedar and vanilla . This red has a dry backbone, which balances the fruit. The finish shows bright, dark plum fruit, dry-ish tannins and nice length.
Food Pairing: Given the acidity in this red, I’d pair it with richer foods. Try it with sausages off the grill or lighter meat dishes.
2014 Bisquertt La Joya Gran Reserva Syrah (Colchagua Valley, Chile)
Tasting Notes: This is a stellar Syrah, an underappreciated varietal in my humble opinion, from Chile. The Bisquertt La Joya has a beautiful aroma of dark raspberry fruit and a hint of cocoa. It has great ripeness on the palate with pretty red fruits, especially black raspberry, and hints of bell pepper and cocoa. The mid-palate has a silky, round texture and continues with gobs of ripe, red fruits. The finish has well-balanced tannins, ripe cherry/raspberry fruit and nice length. Great example of Syrah.
Food Pairing: This is a fuller-flavored Syrah, so pair with heavier foods. Beef or lamb dishes would work well with the La Joya.
2015 McManis Petite Verdot (California)
Tasting Notes: Petite Verdot, whaaat? Apparently, the Wine Illuminati decided, a few years back, that Petite Verdot would become a thing. Vintners responded, and today, we have single varietal Petite Verdot. It's no longer a mere blending grape and is gaining lead actor status! This one from McManis is a beaut. It has a nice aroma of pretty blue fruits with a hint of toast. There are floral notes (violets) on the palate with blue fruits - blueberry and black raspberry. It has good acidity and brightness and even has a hint of bacon, so often found in west coast Syrah. The finish is dense with dark blue fruits, mocha and nice length. This is a great single varietal Petite Verdot.
Food Pairing: This is a dense red, so you probably can’t overwhelm this wine. Try it with any fuller-bodied food that you cook on the grill.