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 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)
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 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)
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.
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)
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 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)
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.
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)