Drink with soft, earthy flavors like mild cheeses or lightly flavored leg of lamb.
Quite an unusual wine from this Okanagan Valley winery : a field blend of grenache, viognier and marsanne, pressed together and fermented together in oak barrels, thus creating an unusual, largely blanc de noirs, white wine. Coming from a cool vintage, it has an edgy, vibrant touch, combining the aromatics of Rhône varieties with a blend of lime and tropical flavors. Crisp, it also has good weight and a fairly round mouthfeel. creating a unique profile and balance. It is, at this point, a very young wine. A year or two in bottle will round it out, and it may well have several more years of life in it. Highly Recommended. RC
Combining the pleasantly mineral and grippy character of Carignane with rounder notes from five other grape varieties, this inexpensive offering from Bonny Doon is rather easy-going, despite the contrarian attitude implied in the name (which also refers to Contra Costa County, where most of the grapes come from). That contradictory character may be found in the fact that it is, in fact, so lovely and elegant and pleasant to drink, despite having fairly moderate alcohol (13.5%) and none of the overbearing fruit that so many Californian wines (certainly in that price range) would have you believe is balanced. At $14, there’s a lot of great stuff in there. A great deal—and just a really pleasant wine to drink. Recommended. RC
While South Africa is home to more than 600 wineries in over 90 appellations, a small group of maverick winemakers are stealing the nation's spotlight, working with chenin blanc and Rhône varieties, off the beaten path in the Western Cape's Swartland appellation.
Set in the south of France, Languedoc does not have the name-recognition of Bordeaux or Burgundy. And what reputation it does have is as a producer of inexpensive, rustic reds. So I went expecting a fairly industrial landscape of mass-produced tannic titans.
So pale as to have almost no pink color visible. A beguiling nose of strawberry, peach, and fresh flowers. Very expressive on the palate, with delicate but assertive fresh fruit coming on and the acid kept in check. Finishes with a small flourish, yielding a really lovely wine that is refreshing yet not insipid. Pair with seafood, especially shellfish. Highly recommended.
Another wine, a rosé this time, in Randall Grahm’s own idiosyncratic style. Lovely nose of strawberry, melon, and flowers with a hint of vanilla at the back. Very expressive on the palate, especially for a rosé, with sweet but not cloying fruit notes, with a spine of acid and mineral running through it. Finishes long and clean. Not a wuss rosé and may be just the thing for your summer guests who are rosé-shy (if, like me, they’ve been subjected to too much bad rosé). Try with grilled shrimp. Highly recommended.