I don’t drink a lot… I drink often.
T. Berkley Wines from Calistoga, CA, makes wine from two grape varieties, Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc. Ophelia is his entry-level Cab Franc retails for about $39.99. Sadly 2019 vintage, as well as the 2020 vintage, are already sold out. But 2021 is hitting shelves now. It has only been “in bottle” since August, so I might be inclined to buy and sit on it for about a year as it will only get better and better.
The T. Berkley 2019 Oak Knoll Cabernet Franc was just released, and I recently had the chance to taste it when Taylor Berkley was in town this past week. This wine spent 18-22 months in barrel – 40% new french oak. Out of the gate, this wine is stunning— beautifully balanced and well-integrated. This wine will set you back about $63.00, but it is worth every penny.
Oh.My.Goddess! I am living for Spanish white wines. And Cullerot from Celler de Roure is one of my current favorites. This white wine is a field blend of 20-something indigenous and a few international grapes varieties. Those known include Pedro Ximénez, Macabeo, Tortosina, Malvasía, Verdil, and Merseguera with a hint of Chardonnay. This wine is medium-bodied with a light creamy texture. There is plenty of acid, a blend of orchard and stone fruit on the nose and palate with a finish that demands another sip. It retails for roughly $20.00, so look for a case to get you through the Spring. If you are Charleston-based, hit me up, and I can make this dream come true.
Another Spanish White Discovery – Godello
My sister travels for work and was recently in León, Spain. She was unfamiliar with the region’s white wines, so she requested a recommendation. The server suggested a local grape variety from the Valdeorras region – Godello. The wine they brought was Maruxa Godello 2021. This grape is typically bone-dry with a light body, medium-high acidity, and a soft mouthfeel. Look for citrus peel, quince, other white fruits, and intense minerality. It is balanced, silky, elegant, fresh, and persistent.
While dining at a restaurant, she took a picture and sent it to me, asking me to find it. I did, but I can’t say where. However, I think I cleaned out the retailer’s inventory because now we are waiting for the new vintage. I love Google. It retails for about $18.00 a bottle, and if you wait for a sale can get free shipping.
Reminiscing Paso Robles
Field Recordings Winery in Paso Robles was one of our favorite visits after WWET 2021, and Hospice du Rhône ended last Spring. They are located in the Tin City industrial complex that houses wineries, breweries, creameries, restaurants, and other shops and markets. We spent an afternoon there and could have spent three days.
Field Recordings finds great fruit from undiscovered vineyards and varieties that are not “leaders of the pack.” They then make wine that soars. Take this 2021 100% Xarel.lo from Nolan Ranch in the Alisos Canyon AVA. Lovely aromatics on the nose, bursting with puckering acidity that can take the heat out of any spicy bite you choose to pair with it. This grape is used to make Cava, but wow, it also makes a great sip without the bubbles.
Many Field Recording wines are in distribution, but this is not one of them. Instead, get it directly from the winery for $39.00 a bottle.
And then there is LXV Wines, also from Paso Robles, with two wines I have been rationing for a year.
Last Spring, our first wine experience in Paso Robles was at LXV wines. This was not part of the official WWET program but an added opportunity for those that wished to come. You can read more about LXV here.
LXV makes two wines that stole my heart -their Rosé of Cabernet Franc and their Blanc de Sangiovese. Gary and I were blown away by the uniqueness of both wines’ styles and flavor profiles. We bought six bottles of each and had it shipped home. I want these wines to be my “go-to” bottles, but that is not in the cards. Wines from Paso Robles are typically very affordable for wine enthusiasts of all income levels, but a few wineries (LXV included) choose to sell their wines at a premium. And let me be clear; some wines deserve their premium status, including the two wines I “live for” here.
However, as much as I would like, my wine budget can not afford to keep these wines on continuous and permanent rotation. Last year, the 2021 Blanc de Sangiovese sold for $55.00 a bottle (2022 is $65.00 a bottle). The 2021 Rosé of Cabernet Franc was $52.00 a bottle (2022 is $55.00).
This is why I ration them. Once I have consumed my supply and my budget allows, I will reorder. They are that spectacular. And if your budget allows… buy these two wines now.
Blast from the Past
Baby Boomers rejoice! Remember when wine could be the subject of a tv commercial? Oh, the days of Soave Bolla! I am unsure if Bolla even makes wine anymore, but Soave is enjoying a renaissance, and I could not be happier. Soave is not a grape but a wine region near the city of Verona. The grape is Gargenaga, but the wine is Soave.
Expect this wine to be medium-bodied and dry with ample acidity. The flavors are a mix of citrus orchard fruit and mineral. I love its brightness. It is refreshing with a slight tang. This is gluggable all summer long. And at roughly $18.99 a bottle, you can always have one ready in your wine cooler. This is Suavia Soave Classico!
Last but not least – Sicily
We are still drinking a ton of Sicilian wine. The wines above I poured at a tasting for one of my clients’ guests. They were wowed, so I decided to do it again. I am hosting two tastings this Saturday in our wine room. The lineup will be slightly different but still feature a broad stoke of the indigenous varieties on this Mediterranean island. Look for Etna Bianco, Etna Rosso, Grillo, Nero d’Avola, Zibibbo, and Cerusoulo di Vittoria to be poured. I just scheduled a fourth tasting of Sicilian wines with friends on Seabrook Island. If you have not tasted Sicily, you are missing out big time!
Most of these wines are available through distribution in Charleston, except the DTC winery-only wines. Our concierge service may be the way to go if you are interested in any of these wines. Of course, you can also ask your local wine shop to make a special order just for you. Send us a note if you are interested in our concierge service.
That is all for now.