The Wisdom of the Ancients
What it is: 100% Albariño from Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes, the flagship wine from a centuries old producer in Rías Baixas.
Why you need it: This bottle is so much more than Vino Blanco. The classically produced Albariño de Fefiñanes is consistently rated above 90 points and the 2018 vintage is no exception. It has all the things I search for in a white wine: intense aromatics, richness on the mid-palate, and acidity that is racy but not sharp. This particular iteration has the ability to age a few years (if you can hold on to it that long). And at under $17 per bottle, you can afford to enjoy it over and over again.
Official Red Wine of Summer!
What it is: Ancient Moscatel (Muscat) from the terrifyingly beautifulslate slopes of Malaga on Spain's southern Mediterranean coast, for a mere $16.
Why you need it: If you're stuck in a wine rut, you need this wine. If you love refreshing yet substantive and spicy-floral whites, you need this wine. If you've ever had an excellent Gewurtztraminer or Muscat from Alsace but wished it was under $20 instead of $30-ish, you need this wine. Hell, if you like to be excited by white wine rather than just placated, then you definitely need this wine!
Okay, you can finally stop asking about the Rosés!
What it is: Stupid-cheap Bobal from Spain that is both delicious and complex.
Why you need it: When Ryder first offered out a Bobal a few months ago, I was intrigued. Now, I'm a convert. This grape does magical things and the price (sub-$10) is too sweet to pass up. This needs to be in your house by the caseload for the coming months.
What it is: Oh, just the most iconic rosé duo in Guild history.
Liters and Liters of Riesling
All of which is to say, if you're a fan of Beaune whites like Chassagne-Montrachet, or of moderately-oaked California Chards, you really owe it to yourself to see what $21 can get you in the Macon in 2017. I'm pretty sure you'll be as smitten as we are.
Chianti Classico DOCG
As we enjoy Virginia's two-week-long Spring season, we must remember that it's about to get warm. Very, very warm. So, as you peel yourself off your lawn chair to get something to drink, make it this: A dry, citrusy German Riesling with screaming acidity, in a bottle big enough that you don't have to get up all that often.
Watermelon Juice / We'd Like To Say Hi
Today’s wine needs no theme, no double-entendre, puns, or any other form of metaphorical prose. Simply put: It’s a staple. The kind of wine you keep on-hand for the same reason you keep butter or olive oil. You just need it. There’re many wines I can live without; Chianti is NOT one of them.
La Follette Chardonnay 'Los Primeros' 2016
Rosemont manages to highlight complexities to Chambourcin previously unknown to us while at the same time taming the stereotypical ‘fox’ notes that we still associate with anything that isn’t vinifera. They craft a complex and clean sparkling wine that I’d swap out for a rose prosecco without a second thought.
Domaine les Hautes Cances Cotes du Rhone 'Cuvee Tradition' 2014
We’ve written previously about the glut of Cali Chard in the $10-$15 and $30-$50 ranges. On the lower end, you get a lot of new oak flavor and flab with very few examples proving to be anything close to ‘outstanding’ in quality. On the higher end, you end up paying for the prestige of the label, the real estate, the fancy tasting room experience, etc. To be sure, the wines can be good, even fabulous, but they’re not for the everyday consumer just looking for something delicious to drink on a Tuesday…
Lionello Marchesi Toscano Rosso 'Insieme' 2015
This is far from the first time I've had the wines of Hautes Cances, and some of you might remember it as well. Nearly two years ago, Guild co-founder and wine OG Will Richey recommended the wines of Hautes Cances – and many of us fell in love with these wines.
The Perfect Spring Wine?
The best way I can describe this wine is a baby Brunello without as much barrel, and it's also more approachable due to the Syrah, Merlot, and Cab Sauv. This does see some wood - 15 months in big oak casks - but it's more of a structural move than it is a flavor addition. This is more straightforward, and less of a commitment on a weeknight, than Brunello, and it comes in at a very meagre $18 price tag (good luck finding worthy Brunello at twice that price).
Solid Gold Cadillac
Straight from the glass, a sweet bouquet of strawberry, kiwi, persimmon, and florals. Just so expressive, like spring in a bottle. Similar NZ Sauvignon Blanc in terms of nose tingling intensity, but leans more ripe strawberry and floral than grassiness, pyrazines, or grapefruit. In the mouth, the wine is delicate, but refreshing with a touch of residual sugar. Not enough to throw the wine out of balance or make you think “this is sweet” – the acidity buttresses the sweetness leaving you think it was fermented dry.
Argiolas Cannonau Di Sardegna 'Costera' 2016
as with the best Sauternes, the name of the game here is balance. Yes it's ripe and sticky, unctuous and mouth-coating...but it's also bright, lively, and full of energy. Great acidity, restrained sugar levels, and intense complexity all make this an excellent dessert wine with or without dessert (we had it without dessert, and it was just perfect). The finish is long and glimmering, but clean and proper too. For better or for worse, you will want more, even after the first bottle is gone. Well, of course, the kicker here is the price tag. How's $15 sound? Oh, yeah, that's for a 750mL, not a split. Seriously. This wine has no business being this inexpensive.
Once upon a time (before I could afford Barolo and Brunello) my go-to red for red sauce pastas, pizza, and other southern Italian fare was Cannonau, specifically from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. My friend, Rita, a native Sardinian, introduced me to it back when we worked in the tasting room at King Family Vineyards. I was hooked. It had so many of the characteristics I liked (and still like) in a wine: Juicy ripe fruit, spice, power, and length. It delivered nuance and complexity without having to wait for bottle age, or spending big bucks.