Explorers' Seasonal Value Pack: Winter Feels - Fireside Toe Warmers
Great Wines Don't Have to be Expensive!
This sampler is focused on fuller and rounder wines, wines that are generally lower in acidity but still vibrant and definitely interesting. These bottles are certainly not only for winter, but they do lend themselves nicely to stews, braises - hearty and earthy fare. And for the all-season grillers, a few of these will feel right at home with fire-cooked morsels any time of year!
There are two white wines, both made from a different single variety. One is from Spain and made from the Macabeo grape (it is called Viura in Rioja) and is one of the best examples I have come across. The second white is a Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) from Austria. This is rounder than most wines made in Alsace from the same grape. The winemaker uses a low-intervention approach and lets the wine reveal its more wild and funky side.
The four reds are an eclectic bunch. There are two blends and two single variety wines. Regardless of the make-up, these four gems couldn't be more diverse. From Chile, a natural wine made from Pais, the Mission grape, so called because as Spain moved north through South America in the sixteen hundreds, every Catholic mission built included a vineyard for sacramental wine. From the US we have a red blend with Zinfandel as the main attraction. I understand why some folks have come to dislike this grape, but this is not a jammy or one dimensional example. Here we have a fruit-forward wine that finishes dry and offers complexity. The last two reds are both from the 2018 vintage: an Argentine Malbec, and an Umbrian Sangiovese blend that adds that wild and precocious grape Sagrantino to the mix. These two represent how well wines even with a modest price tag can age. The former is in its prime at 5 years old, supple and delicious, and probably won't evolve into something even better; the second shows that even though it drinks very well now with the right food or enough aeration, it will soften and become a different and potentially better wine in a year or two.
This is our 4th Winter pack (oh how the time flies!) and even though it’s skewed toward the red selections, the wines show a wide range of styles and weights to offer diversity for various tastes.
While some folks have had these grapes or wines from these places before, others have not, or maybe these particular bottles are new to you. This is the point of the Explorers' Packs: to try something you haven't had before - whether it is a wine you are completely unfamiliar with or whether the wine is a from a familiar grape or place but perhaps from an unfamiliar wine-maker; these packs aim to offer something different.
This Explorers' Pack is discounted at over 15% off regular prices. No further discounts apply.
Frontonio 2021 Macabeo “Microcósmico”
100% Macabeo. Tangerine, lime, and lightly herbal with a hint of fennel and soft salinity. Macabeo is not always know for bright and energetic wines, but this is both while also maintaining a round, mouth-filling presence. The wine is aged in cement vats underground for six months with light lees contact. Fresh, round, with a nice long finish. Organic.
Beck, J. 2022 Weissburgunder Burgenland
100% Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). Aromas of apples, apple peel, nectarine, blanched almond, lees, and spice. Pronounced aromas and flavors are similar on the nose and palate, the wine's roundness is balanced more by a tactile mouthfeel than by acidity as the whites wines from eastern Austria ripen fast and easily. The wine is fermented spontaneously with a short time on the skins and then aged in old acacia casks for about six months. This Pinot Blanc is a refreshing departure from its more famous cousin Chardonnay. Organic.
Gustavo Riffo (Lomas de LLahuen) 2021 Pipeño
100% Pais (Mission). Red crunchy fruits, floral, savory herbs, and an earthy aroma. Medium-, medium-minus-bodied with focused flavors that repeat the aromas and develop into something even more interesting. Very easy to drink and it will pair with a host of lighter meals such as chicken, pork, and vegetable based entrees. Organic.
Trentadue 2021 Old Patch Red California
55% Zinfandel, 27% Petite Sirah, 17% Carignan, and 1% Sangiovese. Very fruit-forward aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cherry, and plum, with toasty notes, spice, and vanilla. Full-bodied, with intense fruit flavors and smooth texture, the wine has a pretty long finish. Great with simple foods, or for grilling in either cold or warm temperatures.
Furlotti 2018 Malbec Luján de Cuyo (Mendoza)
Perticaia 2018 Montefalco Rosso
70% Sangiovese, 20% Sagrantino, and 10% Merlot. Black cherries, wild mixed berries macerated in balsamic, thyme, turned earth, with an iron core. This is some serious business. Dry, with structual tannins to support all the fruit and concentration. Opens up with time to reveal layers of depth and complexity. Again, this is a serious red. Drink now or cellar.
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