Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône 2013

Every year, I pick up at least a case of Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône.  The blend of Rhone grapes vary from year to year (generally Grenache with Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre) but the outcome is always the same…a darn good wine that you can easily score for far less than a $20.  The wine is fermented with natural yeasts in temperature-controlled, cement tanks.  It is then aged in cement tanks and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône 2013

Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône 2013

Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône 2013 definitely fits the mold for the quality I have come to expect from this wine.  The approachable palate is fruit forward with ripe notes of red fruit and spice. There are also hints of earth that help balance out the sweetness of the fruit.  Simple and to the point…but that’s quite alright for $11.  A great midweek find!

Olivier Lemasson Pow Blop Wizz

Beach, pool, porch, hammock, boat…what do these words all have in common?  They are all great places to enjoy a bottle of Olivier Lemasson Pow Blop Wizz.  Pow Blop Wizz is the perfect wine for summertime sipping.  This Pet-Nat is a blend of Grolleau and Cabernet Franc from the Loire region of France.  Naturally made and incredibly light & balanced, it’s the type of wine you most definitely want to have on hand for pool parties and BBQs.

Olivier Lemasson Pow Blop Wizz

Olivier Lemasson Pow Blop Wizz

Pow Blop Wizz is fruit-forward with a touch of residual sugar but it has enough eccentricity to balance the palate.  There are tastes of melon, strawberries, and yeast with delicate bubbles and a bit of a creamy texture.  Incredibly fresh and sooooooooo easy to sip but, be warned, one bottle of this gluttonous wine is not enough!  I would buy a case if I could find more in LA!  (10% alcohol, $20)

Benoît Mulin Crémant du Jura Brut

Life is too short not to have lots of bubbly on hand!  Those are words to live by (at least in my house), and I am constantly in search of great sparkling wine for under $30.  Although sometimes tough, it is not an impossible feat.  Last week, as I was perusing the sparkling wine section at Hi-Time Wine Cellars, I spotted a bottle of sparkling wine from the Jura region of France.  When I saw the price of $18.98, I couldn’t help but grab a bottle.  I mean, I generally love Jura wines and the price…was it too good to be true?  Fortunately, Benoît Mulin Crémant du Jura Brut intrigued my palate from the first sip.  Méthode Traditionelle is used for this blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.  Reminscent of Champagne in style yet a fraction of the cost.

Benoît Mulin Crémant du Jura

Benoît Mulin Crémant du Jura

At first whiff, there are intriguing floral aromas mingled with brioche and apricots.  The palate is rich and complex with delicate bubbles.  Layers of green apple, apricot, and grapefruit are surrounded by dominant notes of yeast.  The wine finishes with more bready notes and hints of pine nuts.  Powerful yet balanced, I will definitely be grabbing a few more bottles! (12.5% alcohol)

2013 Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois

There are some “go-to” wines that you can almost always find in our house and among those wines is Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois.  Marcel Lapierre was a genius winemaker and his legacy still carries on through his family and the wine they produce.  His Raisins Gaulois is 100% Gamay from Beaujolais and is made without any addition of S02.  This natural wine is made with indigenous yeasts and bottled unfiltered.

Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois

Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois

The wine pours a cloudy, ruby color in the glass and opens with aromas of bright, red fruit.  The palate is filled with juicy tastes of red cherries, cranberries, and red currants with hints of earth and minerals.  It displays such purity that each glass is hard to put down.  I seriously love this wine and think it’s incredibly hard to find a better Gamay for under $15.  Best served slightly chilled! (12.5% alcohol, $14)

Roagna Dolcetto d’Alba 2013

Pasta nights are at least a monthly occurrence in our house.  We start from scratch, using flour, water, and a lot of love to create delicious noodles and sauces.  A wine that is often a staple when we make pasta is Roagna Dolcetto d’Alba.  The Roagna family has been making wines in Barbaresco since the mid-1800’s.  Their wines are naturally made and the vines for the Dolcetto are 35 years old.  The grapes are destemmed and then fermented in wood casks.  We love this wine because it is incredibly food friendly and tends to pair well with a lot of the sauces we make.  Plus, a price point under $20 doesn’t hurt!

Roagna Dolcetto d'Alba

Roagna Dolcetto d’Alba

Roagna Dolcetto d’Alba opens with aromas of dark berries and earth.  The palate is soft and approachable.  Tastes of red cherries, dark fruit, earth, and spice are met with gentle tannins and a dry finish.  The wine also has balanced acidity and alcohol.  Truly a gulpable wine perfect with Italian fare! (12.5% alcohol, $18)

Le Telquel – So fresh and pure

I have been on a Gamay kick lately.  I am uncorking bottles that are young and fresh along with bottles that are more serious and Burgundy-like and have been mesmerized by both.  Last weekend, I picked up a bottle of Le Telquel because it caught my eye (yes, it’s Gamay but I am pretty sure the cute dog on the label may have also swayed my decision).  Le Telquel comes from the Loire Valley in France and is imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.  It is made by Thierry Puzelat, who makes his wine with as little intervention as possible.  Something about this Gamay just did it for me…

Le Telquel

Le Telquel

Le Telquel is a simple wine yet the purity is complex.  The aromas are intriguing and the palate is musky, bright, and fresh.  There are tastes of juicy red berries and spice that are entwined with racy acidity.  Pure and unadulterated.  This Gamay is definitely heading to the top of the list of my personal favorite wines for under $20!  Serve slightly chilled and allow time to decant.  (12.5% alcohol, $17)

Domaine Fontsainte “Gris de Gris” Corbières Rosé 2014

Although I don’t believe that Rosé is only for warm weather, I definitely start drinking more of it this time of year.  Last week, I uncorked a new vintage of one of my everyday favorites for the first time; Domaine Fontsainte “Gris de Gris” Corbières Rosé.  It is a blend of Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, Carignan, and Cinsault from the Corbières appellation in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France.

Domaine Fontsainte "Gris de Gris" Corbières Rosé

Domaine Fontsainte “Gris de Gris” Corbières Rosé

The wine pours a bright salmon color in the glass and has soft aromas of strawberries and cherries.  The palate offers fresh flavors of strawberries and cranberries that mingle with traces of minerality.  There is also healthy acidity and a refreshing finish.  When I think of a beautiful yet affordable wine to sip by the pool, I think Domaine Fontsainte “Gris de Gris” Corbières Rosé!  (12.5% alcohol, $14)

Acquiesce Winery Picpoul Blanc 2014

A couple of weeks ago, I joined in on an Earth Day virtual tasting hosted by The Wines of Lodi.  The wines featured were certified as sustainable by the Lodi Rules Program.  The tasting was exceptionally awesome because cheesemonger Cindy Della Monica of Cheese Central in Lodi paired cheeses with each wine in the tasting.  After tasting through 4 very different Lodi wines,  I easily picked Acquiesce Picpoul Blanc as my favorite of the lineup.

Acquiesce Picpoul Blanc

Acquiesce Picpoul Blanc

Acquiesce is a Rhone-centric winery creating small production white and rosé wines.  Their 2014 Picpoul Blanc is whole-cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks.  They only grow 100 vines of Picpoul Blanc so the wine is very low production (98 cases made).

This aromatic wine has a nose of fresh flowers and citrus.  In the mouth, soft notes of pear, citrus, and jasmine are met with crisp acidity and minerality.  Balanced, refreshing, and elegant!  Cheesemonger Cindy paired Cypress Grove Midnight Moon and it perfectly complemented the wine! (12.5% alcohol, $24)

*Media Sample

La Clarine Farm Syrah “Sumu Kaw” 2013

I was looking through some of my recent tasting notes and realized that I rarely sip Syrah from outside the Rhone and Languedoc-Roussillon regions in France.  I think this has a lot to do with value; often I spend $20-$40 for domestic bottle and feel like I don’t get a lot of drinking pleasure for the buck.  However, my palate was awakened when I poured a glass of La Clarine Farm Syrah “Sumu Kaw” last weekend.

La Clarine Farm is located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and they make all of their wines as naturally as possible.  The grapes hail from the Sierra Foothills “Sumu Kaw” Vineyard, which is known for its volcanic loam soils.  100% whole cluster fermentation, foot-stomping, and native yeast fermentation are all part of the process that makes this unfined and unfiltered Syrah.

La Clarine Farm Syrah "Sumu Kaw"

La Clarine Farm Syrah “Sumu Kaw”

We opened it a couple of hours before dinner but the wine was still tight.  We decided to wait until the next evening and it was beautiful!  The nose draws you in with its smoky, herbal aromas.  The palate is complex, balanced, and nicely structured.  Notes of dark fruit, olives, and smoke are woven with abundant minerality.  Savory and delightful…I am absolutely in love with this Syrah! (13.5% alcohol, $26)

Exploring Austrian Wine – Zweigelt

This week, I had the chance to attend a wonderful tasting hosted by Austrian Wine, the national service body for the Austrian wine industry.  The tasting focused on red wines of Austria and we were able to taste four flights of four different grapes.  We started the tasting with a grape that immediately grabbed my attention; Zweigelt.  I have had Zweigelt once or twice before but never really had the chance to dig into the nuances and characteristics of the grape.

Austrian Wine tasting hosted by Willi Klinger, Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, and Patrick Farrell, MW.

Austrian Wine tasting hosted by Willi Klinger, Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, and Patrick Farrell, MW.

Zweigelt is the most widely planted red grape in Austria and is a crossing of Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent.  I found the four Zweigelts we tasted to be fresh, pure, and great values.  Here are my tasting notes:

Getting ready to taste!

Getting ready to taste!

2012 Zantho Zweigelt

This unoaked wine offers tastes of red berries and spice along with balanced acidity.  The wine actually reminds me a bit of a Beaujolais.  Quite simple yet really fresh and enjoyable. (13% alcohol, $15)

2012 Claus Preisinger Zweigelt

Claus Preisinger’s Zweigelt is a bit fuller than the Zantho.  The nose is musty and there are tastes of cherry, plum, brett, and spice.  I would have like a bit more acid but still a very drinkable wine. (13.4% alcohol, $18)

2012 Münzenrieder Classic Zweigelt

The acidity definitely picked back up with the Münzenrieder Classic Zweigelt.  There were also floral notes intertwined with tastes of red berries and spice.  Fresh and a nice value! (13% alcohol, $13)

2012 Glatzer Riedencuvee Zweigelt

This wine opens with a medley of cherry, pomegranate, cinnamon, and floral aromas.  The refreshing palate offers tastes of red fruit and minerals along with a silkier, creamier texture than the other wines in the flight.  The most complex of the four! (13%, $18)

*Hosted tasting