Official Red Wine of Summer!

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. 

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Will Curley
Chardonnay Candy

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.

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Will Curley
Liters and Liters of Riesling

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.

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Will Curley
Chianti Classico DOCG

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.

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Will Curley
Watermelon Juice / We'd Like To Say Hi

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.

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Will Curley
La Follette Chardonnay 'Los Primeros' 2016

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…

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Michael Davis
Lionello Marchesi Toscano Rosso 'Insieme' 2015

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).

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Michael Davis
The Perfect Spring Wine?

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. 

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Michael Davis
Solid Gold Cadillac

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.

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Michael Davis
Argiolas Cannonau Di Sardegna 'Costera' 2016

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.

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Michael Davis