March is upon us and summer is right around the corne. With the recent weather in the greater Chicago-area, it may be a sooner arrival than expected! With the transition of seasons from cold to warm, your inspired wine club includes two lighter bodied red wines from the emerging wine regions of Oregon! Cabernets and Merlots are for winter fun hanging out at the fireplace; Pinot Noirs are for warm spring nights on the porch and star gazing in the back yard. We are happy to present you with two fantastic Oregon Pinots for the month of March.
Union Wine Company Underwood Pinot Noir, Oregon
Our first of two fantastic Pinot’s comes from the Union Wine Company. The 2015 Underwood Pinot Noir is a blend of fruit from both the Willamette Valley as well as Umpqua Valley of Southern Oregon. This wine is a fresh expression of the Oregon style of a lighter body, with bright fruit flavors of fresh raspberries a plum with an earthy finish. Underwood is a great expression of an Oregon Pinot that won’t break the bank! They have also been an innovative winery and make all of their bottled selections in cans to go!
2015 Averaen (Banshee) Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Oregon
Our second selection is the 2015 Averaen Pinot Noir, and this is a new project from a well-known California Winery. The success of the Banshee wines of Sonoma County and Napa Valley has driven them north to Oregon! This vintage of Averean was awarded 91 points by Antonio Galloni and is a beauty of a project by winemaker Adam Smith. Their affordable price points do not undermine the quality of their wines, and Averaen is the perfect example of that. You will get floral and spicy notes on the nose that transfer to the pallet and have you yearning for another glass. This is a true expression of Oregon wine that will broaden your horizons.
And in case you are wondering about food pairings, these lighter, brighter reds match as wonderfully with a a casual dinner of Monte Cristo sandwiches as they do with an Easter ham or lamb roast– one of the most versatile varietals and perfect for your upcoming celebrations as well.
Photo credit: Zach Dischner Photography, Wikimedia Commons
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.
Enough with those Mediterranean wines made bold and beautiful with their sunny climes, parched soils and hot, dry weather. Good as they may be, April showers bring forth May flowers. So, as the morning air still has a lingering chill, we had cooler thoughts in mind: cooler-climate wines that surprise, delight and would do our Inspired Wine Club proud.
We think we’ve succeeded, bringing two wines that will push your oenophilic experience to new heights. A domestic Riesling recalls all the classic attributes of some of the world’s finest Old World examples. A Cabernet Franc from our northern neighbor, Canada, is sure to steal your heart with this well-crafted bold red. This is a month that will make you rethink your preconceived notions about what makes a wine country great, as your taste buds and other senses take a short, but very delicious and satisfying trip north.
2013 Riesling Ovid Line North, Boundary Breaks Vineyard, Finger Lakes, N.Y.
Here’s the perfect Fruehlingzeit wine, coming from a winery that knows German Riesling, despite its upstate New York location. Bruce Murray purchased the vineyard from a family who had owned the 120-acre farm for 207 years, hoping to replicate the best German and Austrian Riesling with its Cazenova silt loam soil. This east side of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes AVA has soil with optimal pH for producing these complex, aromatic white wines. And Murray’s focus has been unwavering; it’s all about Riesling. The Ovid Line North is a combination of two Geisenheim Riesling clones, vinified and aged in steel tanks, producing a refreshing, unoaked wine. Fresh, fragrant, clean and perfectly balanced – it even has the classic old world “petrol nose!” An off-dry Kabinett-style wine, its poignant acidity keeps it from being cloyingly sweet while holding onto the gorgeous aromatics and making it deliciously drinkable. That bit of sweetness also makes it a wonderful match for a zippy curried chicken salad, deviled eggs, or a roasted, herb-stuffed chicken.
2012 Cabernet Franc, Cave Spring Cellars, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
Though not the first country to come to mind when one talks about wine, Canada has become the place to find interesting, cool-climate wines. And Cave Spring Cellars is one of its most acclaimed wineries, earning its reputation in the heart of Ontario’s wine country. This CabFranc is actually a blend of 86% Cabernet Franc with 14% Merlot. From the Niagara Escarpment, overlooking Lake Ontario, comes a smoky, spicy berry-centric wine with tobacco notes that has benefitted from limestone-clay soils, just-the-right elevation and offshore breezes. Barrel-aged for 16 months in 45% French, 35% older Hungarian and 20% American oak, this Cabernet Franc bursts with ripe red berry fruit, mocha and toast that has only been enriched by the hot Niagara weather of summer 2012. This is a big red that marries well with that a grilled, well-peppered ribeye or that elegant platter of charcuterie and artisanal cheese served at your first garden party of the season.