I hope the selections this month aren’t too ghoulish! Cheap seasonal jokes aside, it’s a heavier-bodied Wine Club this month as we begin to change seasons. I chose an international mix of wines that feature competing Rhone varietals, South Africa’s most popular white and Piedmont’s most widely planted grape. Enjoy!
Save the Date! 2018 Decatur Wine Festival, Sat. November 3rd, 12:30 – 4:30. Over 500 wines! Tickets are available at this link…
P.S. – My non-Wine Club selection for the month is the 2010 Cafaggio Cortaccio Cabernet. The coolness factor is high for this wine and deservedly so. It’s an 8 year old Italian Cabernet that’s the love child of California and Bordeaux. It has elegant, ripe berry fruit with some toast and earth. Great fruit with the perfect level of rusticity make this a “must try”.
2016 Boschendal Chenin Blanc (Coastal Region, South Africa)
Tasting Notes: South Africa produces very good Chenin Blanc. It’s their star white. This example from Boschendal has a tropical fruit/grape aroma that’s typical with the Semillon variety. It’s clean on the palate with medium weight, tropical fruit and good acidity. It like that this white is clean and has a solid fruit component. I didn’t find any of the mineral/asphalt notes found in some South African wines. The finish has floral notes, mango fruit, nice ripeness and good length. Great example from South Africa.
Food Pairing: This is a white to enjoy by itself or as a starter wine for entertaining. Otherwise, I’d pair this with lighter bodied foods or salads.
2016 Charles Krug Chardonnay Carneros (Napa, California)
Tasting Notes: This Chardonnay is from the Napa side of Carneros and 50% of the production is aged in French oak. It has a buttery, tropical fruit aroma – more island tropical fruits – with a hint of white flowers. This white has medium palate weight with tropical fruits, stone fruits and a note of honeysuckle. It started out as fairly light and easy-drinking, but it fleshed out as it opened showing more weight, richness and depth of flavor. The finish is bright with a nice blend of soft peach, nectarine, guava and good length.
Food Pairing: This is a ‘tweener white – not too heavy and not too light. I’d pair this with light to medium bodied foods like chicken or fish.
2015 Honoro Vera Irreverent Red (Jumilla, Spain)
Tasting Notes: This Spanish Grenache-focused red blend (the rest is Syrah and Monastrell) is a solid everyday drinker. It has an aroma of lightly baked, dark red fruit that turns to raspberry as it opens. On the palate, I found darker red fruits, notes of vanilla and decent acidity. Yes, the fruit is slightly baked, but the acidity really gives it good structure and balance. The finish has medium to low tannins, softer berry fruits and nice dryness.
Food Pairing: This is another everyday red that will shine with an everyday meal. Try this one with pizza or burgers.
2017 Cantine Povero Barbera D’Asti (Italy)
Tasting Notes: Barbera D’Asti can be a fabulous everyday red, and a great choice for the Wine Club. This Povero is the perfect example. Let this one aerate for 30 minutes or so and you’ll find a pretty aroma of fresh berry fruits. On the palate, the fruit is pure with a mélange of mixed berry fruits. It has a slightly luxurious texture that’s tempered with just enough acidity on the mid-palate. The lush, natural fruit is the star here. The finish shows dark berry fruit, nice brightness and good length. This is a superb red that’s perfect for everyday drinking.
Food Pairing: This is a red to enjoy by itself, since it has a lot of flavor, or with any typical weekday meal. It’s a solid everyday red that’s perfect for a solid everyday meal.
2016 Chateau L’Ermitage Rouge (Costieres de Nimes, France)
Tasting Notes: I love this Rhone red because it’s a nice foil to the Spanish Garnacha. It’s unique because it’s mostly Mourvedre and Syrah and not Grenache, which is what you typically find. The L’Ermitage Rouge has a lovely aroma of dark red fruits. It has great concentration on the palate with pure, dark red fruit, hints of dried herbs and perfect acidity. The finish has medium tannins, dark berry fruit and a dry backbone. This red has a solid fruit component that’s lush and dense up-front with ripe fruit that’s beautifully complemented with small rustic, dried herb flavors. Well done!
Food Pairing: I’m a big fan of pairing Nimes reds with grilled foods, especially chicken and medium-bodied meats that have a light herb rub. These wines have good fruit, good acidity and some complexity and will pair perfectly with foods off the grill.
2016 Fog Bank Cabernet Sauvignon (California)
Tasting Notes: This is a great Cabernet to transition into the cooler weather of the fall. The Fog Bank has a dark, ripe cherry aroma. On the palate, I found fairly ripe black cherry and dark berry fruit. What separates this one from its peers is a pleasant hint of acidity, which helps tame the inherent ripeness, and a less pronounced spice/clove component. Sometimes these $10-ish reds have a spice component that overwhelms the fruit. Thankfully, that’s not the case with the Fog Bank. If you like a riper styled Cabernet with a bit of structure, then this clean and easy drinker is for you.
Food Pairing: I would pair this red with medium to full-bodied foods. It’s heavier, but not too heavy, so I’d pair it with pork or beef dishes.