I drink Rosé year round but it is hard not to pop open a bottle even more frequently as the temperature rises. There are so many great bottles of Rosé to choose from however there is one I return to year after year when I am looking for the most bang for my buck…Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé. The wine hails from the Languedoc region of France and is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Carignan. The wine is aged in stainless steel and retails for somewhere in the neighborhood of $11 (a steal!).
Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé is fresh and fruity. There are tastes of strawberries and red raspberries with hints of minerality. There is also plenty of acidity and a crisp, refreshing finish. This is type the wine I want to enjoy on a Tuesday evening in Sonoma Square or on a warm Saturday afternoon at the coast. Buy this wine by the case if you can find it because you will want some to sip all summer! (12% alcohol)
Ever since reading Talia Baiocchi’s book about Sherry, I have made it a point to try every interesting Sherry I come across. A few weeks ago, Brandon and I laid out a spread of olives, Marcona almonds, & Manchego cheese and opened up a bottle of Valdespino Fino Inocente. Innocente is a very interesting Fino as it is fermented in oak instead of the more typical stainless steel fermenting tanks. To me, this adds a depth and complexity that is hard to come by in similar Finos.
Valdespino Fino Inocente pulls you in with smokey and salty aromas. The palate is intense yet refined. Nutty and briny notes come alive as they are intertwined with tangy acidity. So enjoyable and exceptionally complex for the price. This is a benchmark Fino in my book! ($15)
I love Chenin Blanc and you can pretty much guarantee I will buy any geeky bottle I find on the shelf. The minute I came across 2014 Frantz Saumon “la Petite Gaule du Matin”, a Pét-Nat made from 100% Chenin Blanc, I knew it would be coming home with me! The wine hails from the Loire Valley in France and is made with minimal intervention in the winemaking process.
Frantz Saumon “la Petite Gaule du Matin” offers up floral and citrus aromas. The wine has light, refreshing bubbles that easily awakened my tastebuds. At first sip, tastes of grapefruit are dominant. After the wine opens up a bit, tastes of minerals, wildflowers, and stone fruit begin to emerge. This wine is notably dry for a Pét-Nat, vibrant, and incredibly delicious. Grab a bottle if you can find it! ($23)
I am a huge fan of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and there are an increasing number of winemakers producing balanced, beautiful Pinots from the region. Some of the best wines will definitely cost you well over $50 but there are also a number of relatively inexpensive wines that are incredibly delicious. Failla Wines has been a long-time favorite Pinot producer of ours and Failla’s 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot is a great value at around $35.
Failla 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir begins with aromas of bright, red berries, spice, and flowers. On the palate, the medium-bodied wine is fresh and incredibly easy to drink. There are tastes of ripe, red fruit and hints of earth supported with bright acidity. A delicious Pinot Noir that will inevitably disappear too quickly! (13.9% alcohol)
Trepat is a grape that is probably unfamiliar to most people as it seems to just be finding its way into wine shops and onto wine lists across the US. Trepat is native to the Catalonia region of Spain and was predominantly used as a blending grape in Cava until a few wineries began making 100% Trepat around a decade ago. I recently had the chance to taste a few different Trepats and was very impressed with 2014 Succés “La Cuca De Llum” Conca De Barbera. The wine comes from 35 year old vines and is fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel.
Succés “La Cuca De Llum” delivers an incredible value for the price. Tastes of slate, green olives, herbs, and white pepper are interwoven with bright red fruit. Light-bodied with a Beaujolais-like character, this wine really won me over. Grab a bottle, drink slightly chilled, and enjoy! ($17, 12.5% alcohol)
I was incredibly excited about the opportunity to taste MC4 Cabernet Sauvignon for the first time. This ultra-small production winery produces Napa Valley Cabernet from a one-acre vineyard located in St. Helena. The vineyard is farmed organically and sits on a picturesque hillside on the west side of the valley.
MC4 adheres to a minimalist winemaking philosophy. The wine is fermented with native yeasts and made without the use of new oak. These philosophies and techniques are somewhat rare in Napa so the wine really shines among the over-manipulated Cabernets that seem to flood the marketplace.
The 2013 vintage of MC4 Cabernet is just a baby but already showing tons of potential. After decanting, the wine offers beautiful aromatics of blackberry, red cassis, and black pepper. The palate is smooth with lavish tastes of cherry, violets, plum, and black pepper along with nuances of oak. This is a well-balanced Cabernet that truly highlights the beautiful fruit and terroir of the vineyard. A Napa Cabernet worthy of a spot in your cellar! ($68, 14.5% alcohol, 96 cases produced)