Tag Archives: Value Wine

Easter Wines

Walk into any of our stores right now and you’re hit with the abundant fragrance of our Easter Lilies.  Our Floral Departments are covering the stores with bright, beautiful, April flowers and, though there is still snow in the forecast, it reminds me that Spring is in full bloom. Easter is less than a week away and everyone is looking forward to sitting down with friends and family to enjoy the traditional Ham or Lamb. In my family we enjoy both, which makes my job a little difficult.  Do I bring a zippy light bodied Gewurztraminer for the ham? Or a fruit forward, robust, red for the Lamb?

Who am I kidding? I’ll bring both…

Here are my picks for whichever meat you choose!

Hamming it up –

I love the salty sweetness of ham; it’s the Kettlecorn of the meat world. Whether you like red or white I would stay on the fruity side when pairing this pink meat.

Alexander Valley Vineyards Gewurz Gewurztraminer California, 2010 $8.99 –

Poor Gewürztraminer, I believe this grape does not get requested as much as it should because of its tongue tying name. However, when it comes to pairing with Ham it is a must! The Gewurz has the customary lychee, pear and spice, but it’s not nearly as sweet as most others.  The fruity front palate and dry, refreshing finish makes this wine unique – and it’s so affordable!

Saint Roch Les Vignes Rosé Cotes De Provence, 2009 $14.99 –

Rose is another option if you like fruity but not too sweet.  This is a light, fruity, Provence with rose petal on the nose and strawberry and red raspberry on the palate. Refreshing and bright, it is the perfect palate cleanser.

Wild Horse Pinot Noir Central Coast California, 2008 $24.99 –

Fresh and fruity, this Pinot Noir is dense and big enough for your “red wine drinkers” but light enough to pair with ham. Black cherry, baking spices, and a hint of toasted oak round out the finish.

Jenny had a little Lamb –

When my folks prepare lamb they use fragrant and bold spices and seasonings like rosemary and garlic. When pairing lamb, I like to play up the rustic taste and texture of the meat.

Juliet Fiero Chardonnay Paso Robles California, 2009 $14.99 –

Only 224 cases of this little gem of a Chardonnay were produced. The Juliet Fiero is complex and medium bodied, with loads of ripe pear and apple.  The acidity is bracing to cut through the sometimes oily quality of lamb, but round enough with its touches of lemon curd and butterscotch, to pair well.

M. Chapoutier Les Vignes De Bila – Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2008 $13.99 –

Lamb and Cotes du Rhone is a classic pair. Both have an earthy, rustic quality.  In the case of the Chapoutier, I like the notes of lilac, black cherry and plum that are elegant yet firm in structure. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan and was one of Wine Spectators Top 100 wines of 2009.

Falesco Merlot Umbria Italy 2009 $14.99 –

Saving the best for last, Nino’s has kept the Falesco Merlot on special down from its original pricing at $18.99 because it is such a great value.  Falesco has produced a concentrated and ripe Merlot, with black plum, blueberry, and blackberry, finishing with herbs and a touch of cinnamon. This is a knock out.

So, whether you’re trying out Chef Pete’s new Crusted Red Skin Potato Bake with Ham and Cheese or having a more traditional fare, these wines will make your Easter meal complete!


– Jennifer Laurie

Value Wines: Cabernet, Riesling, Pinot Grigio

Spring is finally here! At our Nino’s in Troy store we have opened up the garage doors and the fresh air is energizing!    The Easter Bunny will be hopping into town soon and I am hoping for a basket full of great wine deals. This week’s Marketplace Specials are an exciting mix of old and new that will pair well with your Easter meals.

Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Everyday: $16.99

Bright purple in color, this wine really surprised me.  It is a popular item and upon re-tasting it I can see why.  The nose had lovely red and black fruit with a touch oak. Ripe and full bodied with well integrated oak and soft tannins. Lamb or Horseradish slathered prime rib would be my pick for this bold yet elegant cab.

Kallfelz Single Vineyard Kabinett Riesling 2007

Everyday: $14.99       Marketplace Special: $4.99

Three generations of the Kallfelz family have strived to produce quality Riesling from the Mosel area in Germany. The 2007 Kabinett Riesling is no exception. The color is star bright and clear. Bright notes of grapefruit and lime zest on the nose, this wine expresses sweet ripe peach and candied lime with a crisp refreshing finish. Pair this zippy white with your Easter ham!

Albino Armani Pinot Grigio 2007

Everyday: $14.99       Marketplace Special: $9.99

For 400 years the vineyards of Albino Armani have stayed family owned and grown.  Out of the Alto Adige region of Northern Italy they make an outstanding Pinot Grigio.  Silky and rich, this wine shows how complex a white wine can be.  Ripe pear and apple are followed by a palate cleansing finish. This wine a perfect aperitif or compliment to light pasta or chicken dishes.

Great Wines: Joel Gott

Throughout my career I have had the pleasure of meeting many winemakers. One that has always stood out was my first meeting with Joel Gott. Youthful and lively, Joel was excited and passionate about his wines.  At the Nino’s Troy location, the Joel Gott Cabernet Sauvignon became one of my best selling wines for under $20.  We also started to carry his Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel, and his following grew.  In about November of 2008 the distributor lost the rights to the brand and I was faced with a lot of disappointed customers.


Joel Gott and I at Shiraz

Luckily, January 1, I got the news that the brand was picked up by Great Lakes Distribution. I was so excited I put up a huge display of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.  I was also thrilled to when I was invited to a luncheon with Mr. Gott himself.

During the meal, we tasted all of the Joel Gott wines, with the exception of the Riesling. As we did, Joel talked about his impressive heritage in the wine and food industry and his winemaking philosophies.  In the 60’s and 70’ Gott’s Grandfather was the President and winemaker of Inglenook, his Father founded Montevina (one of my personal favorite Zins) and his Wife, Sarah, was the winemaker at Joseph Phelps. With such a pedigree it was no doubt that Joel had wine in his blood.  What makes Joel really outstanding is his intricate blending ability.  As a savvy and economical winemaker, Joel knew that in order to keep his wines affordable and flavorful, he would have to diversify the regions from which he got his grapes.  This is why you don’t see Napa Valley or Sonoma slapped across the front of his labels. He blends the best grapes from his favorite appellations to create bold, complex wines.

Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – Bouquet of white flowers and gooseberry, this refreshing white is 100% stainless steel fermented to bring out bright acidity.  On the palate the gooseberry leads while peach, pear and grassy notes flow into a palate cleansing finish.

Joel Gott Chardonnay 2008 – Bright light straw color, the nose shows cooked citrus peel, with a hint of vanilla and butter.  White peaches and lemon round out this mouthwatering Chardonnay. Again, 100% stainless steel fermentation lends to the vibrant acidity that makes this a very pair able wine.

Joel Gott Cabernet Sauvignon 815 2007 – This is the wine that started it all for me. I stuck nose in the glass and found just what I wanted, rich cooked black and red berries, followed by cedar and spice.  Classic green herb flavors add complexity to the mouth-filling blackberry and cooked black cherry fruit. The finish of spice box lingers lightly making this a great wine for food or on its own.

Joel Gott Zinfandel 2007 – Joel got his start in Zinfandel and really seems to enjoy taming them and exposing the depth of complexity in this grape.  Smoke and spice on the nose, this rich, full bodied Zin is approachable with notes of anis, plums, and lovely cooked fruit.  Joel accomplishes all of this without being overripe and jammy.

Joel Gott Zinfandel Mohr-Fry Ranches Lodi 2007 – The difference between the two Zins was like Night and Day. The California Cuvee had bold spicy notes on the nose where as this had Lilac and Violets.  A much lighter Zin in style, this had more cassis and blackberry.

Joel Gott Zinfandel Dillian Ranch Armador County 2007 – Big, bold, and ripe like the California Cuvee with the volume turned up to 11. More alcohol and more concentration, the Dillian Ranch Zin offers rich notes of cocoa and cooked cherries. The finish is long, dry, and leaves you wanting for more.

Joel Gott Gott 5 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 – Huge herbaceous nose, this rich and luscious Cab imparts Joel’s blending abilities again, only this time from his favorite Napa sub regions. Licorice and black cherries are most predominant, with cocoa and spice. Silky and supple tannins.

So, next time you are in, pick up a bottle of these price savvy wines.


– Jennifer Lauire