It’s February, and if your significant other hasn’t already reminded you, this is the month of love, per our favorite saint: St. Valentine. And, of course, we know the language of love is often à la Français, so we’ve got you covered. Your inspired wine club has found wines not only irresistible, but also French! Yes, these are delectable treats that will help set the tone with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day or any other day you seek some romance. Whether you lean toward whites or reds, this month features two amorous wines ready to bring a little passion to the day. In the immortal words of Earth Kitt, c’est si bon!
Schröder & Schÿler 2015 Chartron la Fleur, Bordeaux, France
With 86 points from Wine Enthusiast, you’re bound to enjoy this light and bright Sauvignon Blanc sourced from the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. This wine is light, crisp and fruity, simultaneously citrus and floral. Its lime and grapefruit notes provide a vibrancy. A tang of lemon zest give the wine an even fresher character. Celebrating your Valentine’s Day with a lobster Newburg? An elegant seafood soufflé? Maybe oysters on the half shell? This is the wine to round out that meal. It complements any fish or seafood.
Arnoux & Fils Vacqueyras, Rhone, France
Another award-winner, this wine has been described by the Wine Advocate as “a more modern-styled, less –typique- as the French would say, well-made, dense wine with more pain grille/toast notes intermixed with espresso roast, kirsch, black currants and licorice.” We would probably just say that it’s a gorgeous blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre. Its origin from old vines and 12 months of aging in oak barrels provides an impeccable richness. It is a bold, full-bodied wine, ready to marry up with a creamy steak au poivre, a succulent prime rib or even a garlicky pork roast. The only thing missing is Cupid.
Hmmmmm…kind of reminds us of – well – some of our favorite Italian wines. Italian winemakers do not shy away from greatness. They go all in. They take risks. And their centuries of making some of the most respected wines in the world has earned it a very secure place the world of wine. Sure, there’s Chianti and so many other familiar varietals that come from Italy, full of viticulture in nearly every corner. But, in the U.S., many other interesting wines escape our reach, remaining in small villages or limited regions.
This month, we have a special treat for our Hinsdale Inspired Wine Club members: a taste of Italy—one wine likely familiar, the other less so. This is a month for la dolce vita because as much as the heat gets under our skin at this time of year, the fall chill will be here before you know it! Saluti!
2013 Cantine Cellaro Lumá, Sambuca di Sicilia, Italy
Talk about a fresh wine that can handle the heat! With 60% Inzolia and 40% Chardonnay, this wine sings freshness. Inzolia grapes, known best for their fortified role in Marsala, add a lovely level of complexity when blended with the Chardonnay. The crisp, dry wine brings a minerality and faint spiciness, making it wonderfully quaffable in this stuffy humidity and cleanses the palate with its marvelous acidity. Pair it with a grilled red snapper or a mixed seafood risotto.
2011 Caldora Yume Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Ortona, Italy
Boasting 100% Montepulciano grapes, this wine is quintessential Tuscany. Barrique aging makes it special, offering great structure to a brilliantly fruity wine. Just one sniff of its intense nose and you inhale dry flowers, spices and licorice that beckon a taste. The ruby red coloring, too, has irresistible red highlights. But its earthy fruitiness with smooth tannins wins the day. Enjoy this wine with rich dishes – maybe alongside aged cheeses, a slow-roasted brisket from the grill, or a pepper-crusted, garlicky standing rib roast.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
With humble reverence to the parades, concerts, grill fests and fireworks that will celebrate our nation’s birth this Independence Day, we have taken the idea of all-American to include – you guessed it – all of America. Who says one has to snub a sumptuous, melt-in-your-mouth, velvety accompaniment to a Black Angus filet mignon grilled to perfection on the 4th of July, if it helps make our celebration so – well — festive? In other words, if you can forgive us for bypassing so many great U.S. viticultural offerings this month, we believe just one carefully considered sip and swish will find you just as enchanted with these wines as we were. Yes, July is a month to celebrate our nation and all the freedoms and gifts it affords us – even when they are in the form of mesmerizing Chilean wine. God bless America and in vino veritas…
First Edition 2010 Carmenere, Valle Secreto, Cachapoal Valley, Chile
For those unacquainted with Carmenere, this varietal is one that comes with a lovely story of how it was thought to be decimated in Bordeaux by a nasty epidemic of phylloxera only to be rediscovered in Chile more than a century later, offering those same complex, intense attributes usually reserved for the finest Merlots. Its complex nose with hints of blackberry and black mature fruit will titillate your senses at first sniff. On the palate, intense dark fruits prevail with clove and pepper notes that complement the finish. This is a voluptuous wine that truly is prepared to dance with your hearty celebratory fare, countering the smokiness of grilled beef with its own piquant character. Bring on the garlic. Bring out the mushrooms and enjoy the gastronomic harmony.
First Edition 2011 Syrah, Valle Secreto, Cachapoal Valley, Chile
Another full-bodied varietal to take you down a road less traveled is this lovely, inky Chilean Syrah. Also known as Shiraz, Syrah promises a tannin-rich wine with layers of complexity that make it a quaffable sipper or an inspired accompaniment to a grilled, garlicky stuffed lamb roast. Dark and luscious, this wine introduces with aromas of blackberry and violet and notions of caramel and candy. Valle Secreto has tamed the tannins, making for a creamy experience with flavors of black plum, mint, fennel and smoke. Enjoying the wine slightly chilled adds yet another dimension that is particularly agreeable in July’s newfound heat and humidity.