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Well, we have made it through the Holidays. Here we are in the middle of January with no real wine driven holiday until Valentine’s Day. The weather has been mild and the overall feeling from the customers and staff in the store is one of well deserved calm. Perhaps it’s because I am a January baby and I use my Birthday as a final send off of all the old bad habits from the previous year, but I always see the New Year as a new beginning. Now is the time to schluff off the Statis Quo and try something new! If all you drink is California Cabernet Sauvignon, try Italian Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo! If you just love Kendal Jackson Chardonnay, try Chemistry white blend from Oregon! Here are my picks for exciting new wines to try in the new year.
Indigenous to Spain, but also found in Argentina, this grape is a Gemini of sorts. Some can be bright and acidic like Sauvignon Blanc, and some can be a little more full but not quite sweet, just more pineapple than grapefruit. Here are two that are good examples of each!
Vevi Rueda Spain 2009 $11.99
Clean and almost clear in color this terrific deck wine is light and refreshing with lemon, peach, and spice. If the dole drums of winter are getting to you, open up a bottle of this with some lemon garlic pasta and it will feel like summer!
Nos Verdejo Rueda Spain $15.99
Light lemon in color with tropical notes, the Nos is a more full bodied Verdejo. Ripe with cooked lemon peel and pineapple, still refreshingly dry with a finish that leaves you wanting more! A no-brainer pairing for scallops.
Some of you may know that I spent some time in Sicily this past summer. The king of red wine in Sicily is Nero D’Avola. It’s everywhere! Every winery makes it, and I drank a ton of it! While there we picked out a few of our favorites to bring back home. Despite being the biggest exporter of wine in the world, Sicilian wines have found only moderate success in the States, with big brands like Cusamano and Colosi. Depending on whether or not the winery chooses to use oak on their Nero D’avola, which many do not since most of the oak is reserved for the making of Marsala, the wines are normally light and fruity with nice acidity that complements the Sicilian mostly pescitarian diet.
Trapini Nero D’Avola Sicily $7.99
Light, elegant, nice cherry and spice, perfect for an aperitif or antipasti.
Cusamano Nero D’Avola Sicily $12.99
This is a bigger and bolder style of Nero, due in part to Malolactic Fermentation and spending some time on the lees, but it is still very easy drinking and fruit forward; terrific for burgers or pasta.
Tannat wines are bold and robust, so much so that you normally see it blended with other varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, to soften it up. The reason behind the strong, dry and concentrated structure of this wine is because it has more pips (seeds) than most other red wines. The average is 3 where as the Tannat grape has 5, which in turn gives it more antioxidants such as polyphenols and resveratrol than any other wine. This is another great reason to try Tannat! Besides the health benefits, when blended correctly, these wines show ripe raspberry, plum and earth.
Brumont Tannant Merlot Blend, Cotes De Gascogne 2009 $11.99
Rustic and full bodied, this blend has loads of plumy fruit and a nice bittersweet chocolate finish.
Montus Madiran 2007 $24.99
Rich and intense, this is a blend of 80% Tannat and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Give this wine to a California Cabernet Sauvignon drinker and without telling them what it is and watch their eyes light up! Oak aging and being left on the lees softens this powerful wine, just as Beauty tamed the Beast. Plum, peppermint and cassis lead into a long soft finish. Drink with lamb, steak or on its own!
I hope this little mid-winter blog has perked your interests into trying some remarkable and unique wines!
– Jennifer Laurie