October '21

When & Where “One More Episode” Shiraz

Riverland, Australia

Australia: More than just critter labels! When we think about wines we wanted to cozy up with as the weather cools off, it’s all too easy to write off Australia as a place dominated by bulk, off-dry wines devoid of any character. Did you know, though, that Australia is rich with winemaking prowess? While much of the good stuff ends up staying behind Down Under (there isn’t nearly as much wine being imported there as there is in the US, for example), some gems manage to make the arduous journey to our shores, and we’re all the more lucky for it. There are even gems to be found places like the Riverland, known for supplying fruit to the mega-export giants like Yellowtail, etc. When & Where is a wine production company with the mission to create eminently drinkable, not too fussy, well-balanced wines that express what makes Australian wine so special. This 100% Shiraz is much more restrained than some intensely bold Australian examples tend to be, but still retains the herbal complexity that makes these wines unique. Pair with fattier cuts of lamb, veal, and a Wallabies match.

When & Where “The Kids Are Finally Asleep” Chardonnay

Riverland, Australia

Another offering from When & Where, defying stereotypes as to what Australian Chardonnay should taste like. Gone are the rich, oaky/buttery and overblown bulk wines. “The Kids Are Finally Asleep” is crisp, light, almost “Chablisienne” in its acid profile, but still maintaining a nice creamy finish. Incredibly great value here, and as implied by its name, perfect for those moments when the little ones are sleeping sound, and you’re free to curl up with a glass or two, a good book, or maybe some late-night reruns of Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo (a very real show).

MWC Pinot Noir

Victoria, Australia

To break the fourth wall a bit, I’m incredibly obsessed with cool climate Australian wines. I was lucky enough to spend a little time there, and was blown-away at how much high quality wine comes from all of these cooler appellations in the country, such as in Victoria (in Southern Australia, east of the bight), Tasmania, and Western Australia. Pinot Noir, in particular, comes in a variety of interesting shapes and sizes in Oz, from richer, new-world stylings, to lean examples that are undoubtably Burgundian. The MWC Pinot Noir falls somewhere in between; the fruit is lean, fresh, and tart, but the oak-aging the wine goes through leads to a roundness on the palate, and some characteristic baking spice notes as well. A perfect fall Pinot Noir for salmon, mushroom dishes, and evening campfires on the shores of St. Kilda.

September '21

Domaine Bassac “La Circulade” Cabernet Sauvignon

Languedoc, France

As fall approaches, and the weather (hopefully) starts to get a bit chillier, we’re ready to start diving back into our favorite richer reds. When we planned this month, we really wanted to focus on Bordeaux and the grapes that make it so special. True-blue Bordeaux, though, can definitely get a bit pricer, especially when it comes to some of the Cabernet-driven blends of the left bank. France is a wonderland of different varieties and regions, and if you know where to look, you get some pretty serious bang for your buck. In the Languedoc, growers are able to ripen Bordeaux grapes readily, thanks to the region’s southerly warmth. These wines have Bordeaux written all over them, and are seriously good value. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, from the rather-small Domaine Bassac, is all organic and sustainably-grown. It’s a fresher style of Cabernet, but retains Bordeaux’s trademark herbal qualities. Dark fruits, blackcurrant, and anisette round out a well-built but not too fussy wine. Drink me with any beef, from filets to burgers.

Domaine Granges des Moines Blanc

Costieres de Nimes, France

For the white, we decided to let the Rhone guide us. Known for richer expressions of grapes like Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne, we felt that these wines were perfect to welcome fall. White Rhone wine can be pretty affordable, but single-appellation expressions (like those from Saint-Joseph, Saint-Perey, and Condrieu) can easily surpass hundreds of dollars in price. We look to Nimes, an appellation working with a lot of these grapes and making wines of extremely high quality for how reasonable they are. The brother-and-sister team that makes up Domaine Granges des Moines work entirely organically, and with minimal sulfuring and minimal fining and filtering. Their white offering is a blend of Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne. Textured and concentrated, but still relatively light on its feet. Begging for chicken, risotto, and roasted cabbage.

Domaine Bassac “La Circulade” Merlot

Languedoc, France

The other major piece of the Bordeaux puzzle, Merlot compliments the structure and robustness of Cabernet by adding a plusher, more elegant side to the wines. Merlot has tanked in value in the US over the last couple of decades—thanks at least in part to Paul Giamatti and Sideways—with many domestic growers going so far as to tear up old Merlot vines in favor of other more marketable varieties (such as Cabernet). France, though, experienced no such wave, and produces some seriously beautiful expressions of the grape. Having this wine side-by-side with Bassac’s Cabernet is a fun look into what makes Bordeaux work. Bassac’s Merlot is extremely pretty, with notes of plums, blackberries, and dried violets. A bit softer than the Cabernet, so more forgiving as far as food pairings go. Richer poultry like duck, or hearty vegetarian fair suit this one perfectly.

August '21

Passionate Wine “Via Revolucionaria” Bonarda Pura

Mendoza, Argentina

When we think Argentinian wine, we tend to think of the rich, soft Malbec that’s made them internationally famous. However, there are tons of other varieties grown in Argentina that are a bit more off-the-beaten-path, that are just as interesting and delicious. The main red this month is Bonarda, from Mendoza. Think of Bonarda like a slightly lighter, more delicate cousin of Malbec, but still with some darker, plush fruit flavors. This one, from Passionate Wine, goes through a full carbonic maceration, which really brings out the fresh, ripe fruit flavors, and further softens the wine. It’s perfect after a few minutes in the fridge, and a great pick as we welcome in the final few weeks of summer.

Passionate Wine “Del Mono” Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon

Mendoza, Argentina

The “Del Mono” red has been a long-standing favorite at the shop since its inclusion in our wine club almost a year ago. Naturally, when doing an Argentinian club, we wanted to include them again, and check out a bit of a different side of their winemaking. Suavignon Blanc and Semillon are a pretty clear paring, made famous from their use in Bordeaux. Sauvignon Blanc brings the ripe fruit, high acid, and herbaceousness, while the Semillon brings a bit more richness and body. The Del Mono white is fresh and playful, but still texturally interesting with a bit more weight than a classic Sauvignon Blanc brings. Another porch pounder!

Finca El Origen “Reserva” Cabernet Sauvignon

Mendoza, Argentina

A stark contrast to the Bonarda, this Cabernet is extremely rich, full, and savory. Thanks in part to Malbec’s popularity, well-made Cabernet from Argentina can be an extremely great value find as it tries to fight its way into the spotlight. The higher-altitude growing areas in Mendoza mitigate some of the often warm climate, and help Cabernet to not overridden and get overly fat and uninspired. This Cabernet has fully-ripened to allow the dark fruit and herbal qualities to express themselves, without any unwanted green flavors sneaking their way in. This one sees some time in oak, so expect a bit of sweet spice, vanilla, and smoke to come through as well. This wine would love some rich, salty proteins.

July '21

Klet Brda “Krasno” Red Blend

Slovenia seemed like a no-brainer for Club Mondo; a country producing really high quality wines at really awesome value. We’re highlighting Klet Brda’s “Krasno” line, located in the Brda wine growing region in western Slovenia. Brda is often called the “Tuscany of Slovenia” thanks to its cypress trees, hilltop villages, and rolling hills. This blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot is surprisingly medium-bodied, fresh, and soft. It spends a fair amount of time in neutral barrels, so expect some roundness, too. Pairs well with hearty fare.

Klet Brda “Krasno” Belo White

Established in 1957, Klet Brda is a co-op, made up of (And owned by) 400 wine growing families pooling their resources in the estate. A white blend from the Krasno line, featuring Ribolla Gialla, Sauvignonasse (AKA Friulano), and Chardonnay. This blend is pretty rich and full-bodied thanks to the time the wine spends on its lees. Featuring fresh white fruit, wildflowers, and a powerful mineral backbone. Definitely drink this with poultry, hearty vegetarian fare, and anything well-spiced.

Klet Brda “Krasno” Pinot Noir

This 100% Pinot Noir offering in the Krasno line is definitely suited to new-world Pinot drinkers. It’s fuller, more structured, and riper than much European Pinot Noir can be. This one spends about twelve months in French barrique, helping to round out the tannin structure and impart some spice character to it. Notes of ripe red berries as well as some dried darker fruits. Versatile, but would love richer proteins.

June '21

Gaia Monograph Agiorgitiko

Agiorgitiko is one of the oldest grape varieties in Greece. Most of the production is centered in the Peloponnese, one of the southernmost territories in the country. It’s an extremely flexible grape variety that can be made into a multitude of styles, ranging from light and fresh to dark, tannic, and intense. Gaia’s falls right in the middle, comingg across as a medium-bodied style, with fresh red fruit flavors and soft tannins. This wine pairs exceptionally well with poultry, pork, or anything spicy.

Gaia Monograph Moschofilero

Moschofilero is another speciality of Greek wine, and is a perfect compliment to warm summer days. It’s typically lighter in body, with racy acidity, with fresh fruit and a touch of spice. Gaia’s is particularly floral, dry, and spicy, making it a perfect compliment for seafood, vegetarian fare, or anything involving tzatziki sauce.

Douloufakis “Dafnios” Liatiko

A true gem, coming to us all the way from Crete. Historically, the grape Liatiko has been used to produce sun-dried dessert wines, with a full-body and pronounced sweetness. However, more and more producers—like Douloufakis— are using it to make dry table wines in a variety of styles. “Dafnios,” named after the village where the winery lies (Dafnés), is light, herbal expression, with hints of spice and leather. Drink me with lighter proteins. 100% Organic!

May '21

La Purisima Consentido Monastrell Barrica

Monastrell is one of Spain’s true gems. Otherwise known as Mourvedre in other parts of the world—particularly the Southern Rhone in France—it is often used as a blending grape, though more and more producers are creating high-quality single varietal expressions. Monastrell is known for its full body, rich texture, and earthiness. This one is no different, with ripe black fruit flavors, a hint of herbaceousness, and rich texture. Pair me with spicy, salty, rich foods like barbecue or other hearty meat dishes.

Txakoli Primo Zarautz

When we saw we could nab a Txakoli for this month’s wine club, we absolutely couldn’t resist. Not only is Txakoli a staff favorite, but it’s cemented a reputation as one of the most exciting, off-the-beaten-path white wines around, particularly for summer. Txakoli is grown in Basque Country, in northern Spain (just a thirty minute drive from the Spanish/French border). The wines are known to have a slight spritz, with an impressive mineral backbone and ripe citrus fruit flavors. It’s customary to pour these wines hard, so as to “break the bubbles,” and release the flavors. Perfect with seafood.

Casa Primicia Rioja Crianza

Rioja. Need we say more?

Though often associated with the vintage, savory Gran Reserva wines, Rioja comes in a multitude of styles and flavor profiles. Legally, different wines from Rioja must undergo different periods of aging in order to be labelled as a specific “level.” This one, a Crianza, is smack in the middle, and enjoys both the young, ripe fruit flavors of Tempranillo, with some of those earthier, more savory notes of the older styles. Blueberries, plums, baking spices, smoke, and a hint of tobacco. Did somebody say pork chops?

April '21

Latium Valpolicella

While wines from Valpolicella can be intense, dark, and austere, this expression from Latium offers up a fresher style more suited to these warm, spring days. A bright ruby in the glass, with vibrant red fruits and a bit of earthiness on the palate. A fuller body and structured tannins lead to a well-balanced, rich and delectable wine. Perfect to serve with heartier pasta dishes and lean proteins.

Piccolo Ernesto Gavi

Gavi is, in our opinion, a criminally underrated region. Made from the Cortese grape, Piccolo Ernesto’s Gavi showcases white pears, lemons, and refreshing acidity. A perfect wine for Pinot Grigio drinkers looking for a bit more depth and complexity, without sacrificing leanness. Very versatile, great with seafood and vegetarian dishes.

Colle Manora Barbera di Asti

Barbera is the perfect wine for those cools spring nights, known for ripe red fruit flavors, high acidity, and a touch of oak influence. This one from Colle Manora is no different, while also dishing out notes of purple flowers, tobacco, and cocoa. Perfect with red sauce, pizza, or on its own.

Club Mondo — March 2021

Red 1 — Chateau de Virecourt Bordeaux

While some Bordeaux blends can be austere and dark, this almost 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon showcases a fresher, more approachable side of the famous French appellation. The wine showcases fresh red fruits and vanilla, with good structure and a round mouthfeel. The vineyard is tended to through sustainable practices.

Red 2 — Domaine Grange des Moines Costiéres de Nîmes

This soft, yet deep expression of Syrah, Grenache, and Marselan shows off what the Costiéres de Nîmes is known for; delicious wine, and a great value. The soils of Grange de Moines are similar to those of the infamous Châteauneuf-du-Pape, littered with large stones, and help produce these wines with deep blackberry and plum notes, and a touch of baking spice. Perfect for cold nights, and luxurious proteins like duck or tender beef.

WHITE — Mary Taylor/Olivier Gessler Cotes de Gascogne

The Cotes de Gascogne is located in the southwest of France, and is known for fresh and approachable reds and whites. One of the prominent grapes, Colombard, is often used in the production of Cognac, but also produces delicious and vibrant still wines.This blend of Colombard, Ugni Blanc (AKA Trebbiano), Gros Manseng, and Sauvignon Blanc is no exception the the rule, with notes of bright lemon, white flowers, minerals, and a rich texture.

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