Framingham Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough (NZ)
This boutique winery has been pushing out classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc since 1994. It’s a standard in our Wine 101 classes for nearly as long. It’s well made and lays on exotic white fruit and cantaloupe. The herbal and fresh grass on the nose is unmistakable.
Firriato “Jasmin” Zibibbo, Terre Siciliane (IT)
I read a review of this wine by a local critic that called this wine “sweet.” I think someone mistook a full-bodied white wine with a high glycerol content for residual sugar.
Zibbio is an exotic grape that tends to veer towards jasmine aromas, hence the name. It’s got a core of green apple with a velvet texture. Its finish is briny, reminiscent of green olives. If you are going to eat hummus or some veggies, this is the wine you should be drinking.
Vignerons de Caractere “Seigneur de Fontimple” Vacqueyras (FR)
A town highly regarded for wine and a close neighbor of Chateauneuf du Pape. Classic aromas of lavender and cracked black pepper: this is a grenache-centered wine. Lush and charming, flavors move from espresso to cherries and anisette cookies. Perfect for roast leg of lamb.
Coup De Grace Red Blend, Lodi (CA)
Wow, is this a crazy big wine? This is dumb and fun; I’ll be stocking this up for my next party. This would be a good bottle for the Sommelier Smackdown, too. Mostly Zinfandel, with a chunk of Petite Sirah, a sprinkling of Petit Verdot, and a dash of Cabernet Franc. This is as close to a chocolate milkshake you can get and still be a big burly dry red. Vanilla, blueberries, and toast wood flavors round out this supple beast.
Gordon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley (WA)
It’s not a particularly well-kept secret that I think Columbia Valley Cabernet is under-appreciated. Here’s another bottle of Washington State red that drinks way about its price point. Lithe and elegant, this wine is a pleasure pit of chocolate fondue, mint, and cedar. Burnt flower, sweet cherry, and lush tannins finish out this bottle.