BodegasEgo Goru Verde $ 15.95
Like the friend you roust in the middle of the night, the tannins of this purely monastrell bottle of wine are pretty up front about how they feel about you waking them. Given the amount of time it takes to brew and enjoy a proper cuppa, that first pour is ready to sit and talk with you about your day. It’s unassumingly rich and this particular beauty is in that sweet spot of being a medium body glass between friends that flirts with being a head-turning, full figured dinner date.
Deep red cherry and spiced plum in the nose with just ripe blackberries and late harvest orange in the finish that lingers just enough to remind you to keep coming back. Roast a rack of lamb or put a brisket on, low and slow, in preparation for this certified organic Spanish red. I would even dare you to come back and revisit this label when the air starts getting cold and the mulling spices are abundant to brighten up your holiday season (Goodness knows we need that).
Gifford-Hurlinger Stateline Red $17.95
I have the beautiful plight of not only living in a state that produces the best burgundy outside of burgundy, but also within a hard day’s bike ride from an area that has a ridiculously strong Bordeaux grape game that has only proven to be getting stronger with time. This meritage blend does nothing less than show this off. Now, please understand that this isn’t a wine to pull out to impress, but for under $20 a bottle this is a bottle that will not contextually underwhelm. Looking for a bottle to pour with Japanese Wagyu grab a bottle of Trust’s Stone’s Throw or Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon , BUT if you are on date night without the kids, pulling your beef base for your instagram stunt burger challenge off the grill, or just having the girls/boys/all-your-friends-in-between over for drinks around the early fall firepit in the backyard: get this bottle.
With Merlot and Cab Sauv being the backbone (legs and biceps, too) of the blend, there’s enough body in this wine to carry pretty much any load you pair it with (almost any flamekissed land animal, but especially tri-tip). The splash of Petit Verdot the winemakers put in adds enough tannins, acidity, and dark fruit notes that gives enough personality to each glass to let you know this is a grown up’s drink that isn’t afraid to guffaw with its pals.
Chop Shop Cabernet Sauvignon $ 16.95
Being as how I work in a wine shop, and to not be at least moderately versed in california reds is basically a cardinal sin (I live next to the Columbia Valley, so… you know… why?), I wanted to take a crack at our everyday drinkers – bottles under $20. At $16.95 not only is this affordable enough to be a bottle to consistently have on hand, what you pour into the glass should let you know that you SHOULD have on hand. It definitely ticks all the boxes for what you would want in a Cab that should change its name to Work Horse:decent tannins, moderate acids that don’t intrude on the palate, full, big body with a decently lengthy finish. Foodwise: Anything hearty. Anything meat. Smoke some texas style, dry rubbed ribs, or keep a glass on hand while you throw the skirt steak you’ve been marinating overnight on the fire.
When I pop open a cab, I tend to like an earthy, leathery nose and this definitely delivers on that. Accompanying the pronounced leather comes black currants, oak, and petrichor. The attack hits with and pulls deep, rich black cherry and vanilla through the palate. Balanced and bold in all the right ways that calls for a trip to the butcher, whether you’re a pit master, or a weekend warrior, this “value wine” may not have a designated region of california to list on its label, you should definitely designate a region of your (climate controlled) pantry for it.
Domaine de Montfaucon Viognier $ 19.95
This year has been the worst in ways that to describe it properly here would require language unsuitable for a PG-13 rating. Along with the, ahem, experience that has been 2020, proper summertime white wine drinking has been more medicinal than enjoyable. Which, this isn’t TOO bad if you are medicating with good wine, but still not ideal. Here we are, now, officially going into cooler, shorter days with what is being said to be a harsh winter ahead of us, I feel its a good idea to set the Vinho Verde aside for an evening and pick up this heartwarming french white.
It is a great combination of the full body feel that autumn starts calling for in a white and mellow citrus and stone fruit with bright floral notes that can easily remind you of what summer should be and (hopefully) will be again.
In the nose, honeysuckle and crisp apple, with some quieter tones of just-ripe stone fruit and gravel just after a mid summer rain. The first savory sip carries apricot, lemon and mellow citrus, and the accompanying minerality that I love to find in french whites. The body is full and beautiful and the finish covers the palate like duvet. Either get some butter melted for a hearty crustacean heavy meal, or whip up some cream by hand and find some fruit to dip into it, because in that gorgeous finish there is a slight bitterness that is only one half of an equation that will transport you to warmer thoughts in a peace of mind that is familiar and reassuring.