Alternative White Wine Flight with Tercero Wines, Alpha Estate, and Maior de Mendoza

Hello Friends,

Just about every day, as wine o'clock approaches, you can find me uncorking or unscrewing a new wine adventure. Being a wine enthusiast, a wine writer, and someone who appreciates the liquid expression of place, a person’s vision, and Mother Nature’s influence, I find wine to be one of the most intriguing beverages out there. It is an area of interest where you never run out of great people to meet and new things to taste and learn.

When I first got into wine, one of the first things I did was become wholly familiar with the “big six” grape varieties. Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc make up this exclusive club along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. These noble varieties share a commonality: they are widely planted/widely available, have excellent name recognition, and a proven track record of producing world class wines in a wide range of styles. And while the ‘big six’ are near and dear to my heart and wine glass, there’s a myriad of grape varieties that are well worth getting to know. I’ve recommended three in this post: Grenache Blanc, Malagouzia and Albariño. For further information and where you can find these wines, please see my tasting notes below.

Tercero Wines 2013 Santa Ynez Valley Grenache Blanc (SRP $25): This gem comes from winemaker Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines in Los Olivos, California. Mr. Schaffer’s passion and specialty is crafting Rhone-inspired wines. Don’t let the screw cap enclosure on Larry's red and white wines fool you – these wines are built to last. This Grenache Blanc is just coming into its own and has the capability to improve in the cellar over time. Made in an appealing, refreshing style, this wine is inviting and aromatic, with rich flavors redolent of quince, well-ripened yellow fleshed and pithy fruits backed by lemon curd notes and lingering hints of petrol. The acidity is bright and fresh, keeping the wine’s relatively generous mouthfeel in check. The finish is medium-long and textured. Don’t serve this wine too chilled; the aromas and flavors open up nicely somewhere between 55 and 60 degrees. This is a beautiful example of Grenache Blanc for anytime enjoyment that will also shine at the dinner table. Approximately 175 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Santa Ynez Valley, California. Other info: ABV 13.6%, fermented in neutral French oak barrels, matured in neutral French oak barrels for 10 months, screw cap enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Alpha Estate 2015 Turtles Vineyard Malagouzia (SRP $18.99): Malagouzia (or Malagousia) is a white grape native to Greece. Several decades ago, this lesser-known variety was nearly extinct. Today, it is planted throughout the vineyards of Greece. Fruit for this wine comes from a single vineyard block aptly named ‘Turtles,’ which is situated at an elevation of more than 2,000 feet. This site was an ancient nesting area for local turtle species that the good folks at Alpha Estate continue to preserve and protect. Pale yellow in color, this wine is bright and lively, delivering aromas and flavors of citrus fruit and melon, backed by notes of honeysuckle and hints of rose petal and citrus peel. It is crisp and tangy in the mouth, remaining fresh throughout, and ending in a nice, medium-long textured finish. I can see this bottle pairing exceptionally well with Mediterranean fare, summer salads or a cheese, nut and fruit platter. Give it a try! It is an interesting and enjoyable alternative dry white wine to add to your sipping rotation. Region: Macedonia, Greece. Other info: ABV 12.5%, all stainless, two months sur lie, screw cap enclosure, imported by Diamond Importers Inc. Chicago, IL. Click here to find this wine.

Maior de Mendoza 2015 Fulget Albariño (SRP $11): Rías Baixas not only grows deliciously refreshing wines made from the Albariño variety, but women have equal footing in the region’s winemaking industry. I believe at least 50% of the vintners there are female, which is awesome! At Maior de Mendoza, winemaking duties are led by well-respected oenologist and consultant, Cristina Mantilla. The Fulget Albariño is clean, cool, and delightfully crisp with bright citrus and apricot notes. It has a mouthwatering raciness with ample acidity that lifts the fruit from start to finish. This is a very pleasing wine for summer and beyond that won’t break the piggy. Enjoy this bottle on its own or pair it with tapas, fish tacos or chicken kabobs. By the way, Fulget is a Latin word meaning glow, and this wine does have an unending vibrancy to it that I think you will appreciate. Region: Rías Baixas, Spain. Other info: ABV 12%, all stainless, cork enclosure, imported by M Imports, LLC in Fairfield, CT. Click here to find this wine.

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!


Quick Sip: Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County 2015 Rosé

Hello Friends,

Today’s Quick Sip is Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County 2015 Rosé. Angels & Cowboys is a collaborative effort between the co-founders of Cannonball Wine Company, Yoav Gilat and Dennis Hill, and northern California graphic artist, Michael Schwab. The joint business endeavor is clearly headed in the right direction. Everything about the packaging is appealing and on point; and the pale salmon colored wine is drop dead gorgeous. This rosé is made from a blend of Grenache Rouge, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Grenache Blanc; all sourced from distinct sites in Carneros, Alexander Valley, and Dry Creek Valley. The grapes harvested were picked with the sole intention of making rosé, as opposed to saignée -- a by-product of red wine fermentation -- or other methods. Stylistically, Angels & Cowboys looked to the south of France for inspiration; drawing on lightness of color and body, combined with a sense of refinement and a lively, refreshing character.

"There's a lover, a trailblazer and a rule breaker in all of us. Dare to indulge." ~ Angels & Cowboys

Coming off their first vintage in 2013, popularity for the rosé increased; as did production, going from 3K cases in 2014 to doubling that amount the following year. And by overwhelming request, their customer-base influenced a change from cork closure to screw cap for rosé. Currently, there is no tasting room, but don’t let that stop you from getting your hands on this delicious wine. You can find this rosé and Angels & Cowboys’ Proprietary Red blend in select wine shops and restaurants. Gotham Wines in New York City carries this rosé for the pocket-friendly price of $12.99 and can ship directly. I highly recommend adding this wine to your summer rotation and make sure to save a bottle or two for Thanksgiving festivities. It really offers great overall value. Remember: while rosé is largely synonymous with summer, its versatility and food-friendly nature offers year-round satisfaction and pleasure. For further information and where you can find this rosé, please see my tasting notes below.

Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County 2015 Rosé

Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County 2015 Rosé (SRP $14.99): Everything about this rosé is appealing: the packaging, price point and, most importantly, the juice inside the bottle. It pours a lovely light salmon color with a marked delicacy, freshness and nuance. Aromas and subtle flavors of citrus blossom and white flowers lead the way, followed by faint red berries and an understated mineral underpinning. Though sleek & racy, this rosé has brisk acids and carries enough weight and texture to move onto the dinner table with main course entrees such as grilled fish, poultry, and most vegan dishes. It is also a pleasure to sip all on its own and a perfect companion for summer salads, sushi or picnic fare. Approximately 6,000 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Sonoma Country, California. Other info: ABV 12.8%, aged on its yeast lees for a little over 2 months, screw cap enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

I would like to thank Protocol Wine Studio for hosting the month-long ‘Sonoma’s Rosé Revolution!’ program. This was an enjoyable virtual event extending throughout June that also highlighted rosés from Passaggio and Pedroncelli Winery. To join this highly interactive, Twitter-based wine education program use hashtag #winestudio and tune in every Tuesday at 9PM EST. The subject may vary from month-to-month, but it is always wine-themed, informative, and a whole lot of fun. Cheers!

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was a sample provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

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