Four Reds We Cant. Stop. Drinking.
It’s Winter, or at least, in California, we pretend like it is. We all know we need more than a couple really hard rainstorms (every day, until the end of next month) to keep the snow pack, which feeds our streams, which feed our crops and vines, not to mention us! In hoping for a cool and wet March, here are some reds we love to drink when its cold to keep us warm! Best of all they’re all around 20 bucks, so you can save while you sip.
2012 Elio Grasso Nebbiolo Gavarini $20
We’re on a Nebbiolo kick and having a blast exploring the huge differences varietal. In Piedmont, Nebbiolo is widely planted but rare to find in the ground elsewhere. Many Pinot Noir fanatics don’t even know they’d love this varietal, plus, you can find a great bottle of Langhe for under $20, a rarity with Pinot Noir. Now if you want to experience something with even more complexity and depth, pick up a Barbaresco or Barolo (starting around $30-$40), but for a Thursday? Elio Grasso’s Nebbiolo will stand out and leave you questioning the mystery of this fascinating grape. To give you an idea of the flavor profile you’re getting yourself into, prepare for red roses, cherry and spice. Forget the wood notes because this wine is all done in stainless. If you like Pinot, but want to venture outside of your comfort zone, pick up a Nebbiolo next time you’re making a seafood dish that’s on the richer side. You’ll be very surprised.
2013 Domaine de l’Hortus 2013 Bergerie de l’Hortus, Pic St Loup
(60% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre) We’ve got to admit, we really weren’t prepared for just how much we’d get for $15. This wine defines value. It sounds like a pretty intimidating, potentially very large and unrestrained wine. The Domaine de l’Hortus was definitely not a delicate wine, but was by no means over the top. Grenache and Mourvedre can pack a big punch, but with the majority being Syrah, the wine is fruity with depths of wild herbs and nicely restrained.The Bergerie goes through a nice long maceration of The estate is owned by a former professor of Agriculture and his wife who started the business, with their first bottling in the 90s. It has passed along to their four children, who now run the property.
2012 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County
A balanced California Pinot Noir as the goal, ABC’s 2013 Pinot Noir is a blend from six different vineyard sites, and just a touch (5%) of Mourvedre. The sites are mostly fermented separately and when the characters are defined, the blending starts. At around $22, this wine is a steal for Pinot Noir, lively and fresh with red fruit and a touch of spice components. Diverse and balanced, this Pinot is ready to go or can be stored away for a couple years to allow it to develop tertiary flavors. As the entry level wine for this estate, this Pinot Noir is wonderfully versatile and will empty the bottle wanting to give the other wines a try.
2007 La Rioja Alta Rioja Reserva Vina Alberdi
There’s no argument that Spanish wines are still a great value, even when they come from one of the leading quality producers in the Rioja region Keeping a traditional Rioja style, including the use of American Oak, these wines are drinkable now but built to age. They undergo fermentation in warm temperatures in stainless, followed by malolactic in very old, large casks, and finally a bit of aging and periodic racking in American barriques. The exposure to air during racking releases some of the flavors and aromas for early drinking, however preserving the tannins character to Tempranillo’s longevity. 07 was a cooler vintage brings about a beautifully floral and pithy citrus fruit framed by barrel complements vanilla and clove and with a little age, this wine is beautiful now