Staff Picks: What to Drink This Week
Things our staff thinks you should drink!
2018 Brown Estates House of Brown Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California - $23.99
Brown Estates Winery is the first and only Black-owned winery in Napa. In 1980, the Brown family purchased and rehabilitated an abandoned ranch in the eastern hills of Napa Valley and began growing and selling grapes to some heavy hitters in Napa. Their three children officially established the Brown Estate label in 1996. Most well-known for their Zinfandel, this Chardonnay is no sleeper! Pineapple, starfruit, and guava with secondary notes of flowering star jasmine, orange blossoms, and traces of honeysuckle, lemon verbena, and meringue. Light, crisp, elegant, and juicy on the palate with a bright, yet round mouthfeel. Made from sustainably grown wine grapes with small amounts of naturally occurring and added sulfites.
2018 Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Chablis - $38.99
This Chardonnay from the Droin brothers (one of the greatest producers in Chablis) always overdelivers for the price. The 2018 is drinking perfectly, showing a little more richness than it usually does due to the ripeness of this epic Chablis vintage. Pretty aromatics of honeysuckle and lemon jump out of the glass. The medium bodied palate shows great minerality with yellow apple notes and a long finish. Great for aperitif and an easy pair with shellfish or a roasted chicken.
2018 Avalanche Rouge, Valais Switzerland - $29.99
This new addition to our shelves is also another installment in our great global Pinot Noir collection. Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes sourced from limestone vineyards high in the Swiss Alps, this wine exhibits bright, cherry flavor and abundant spice. Its overall impression is clean, precise and refreshing. Although initially soft and inviting, the tannic core maintains through the finnish.
2020 Vina Maitia 'Weon' Carignan, Maule Valley - $16.99
When people start insisting Chile is the "best value in wine," I typically zone out and turn my thoughts to red blends of the Loire Valley or Rosso's of the Piedmont. However, the delicious value of this Carignan is undeniable. The secret weapon could well be David Marcel, a French winemaker who moved to South America to be with his Chileño bride. This organic Carignan comes from 60-year-old vines, and the juice is fermented with native yeasts in cement vats — creating the perfect balance of black fruits, peppery spice, and umami notes of earth and mushrooms. This Chilean Carignan made from heritage-old vines is proof that you CAN have it all, on any budget!
2015 Lunaria, Coste di Moro, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Italy - $18.99
This full-bodied red wine is part of the 'Lunaria' series from the progressive co-operative winery, Cantina Orsogna. Dedicated to a true expression of "place" for grapes native to the East Central Italian region of Abruzzo, the Co-op is a collective of local grower/producers and is fully Organic and certified by Demeter as Biodynamic since 2005. This wine, currently being swirled in my glass, is 100% Montepulciano (not to be confused with the Tuscan hilltop village of Montepulciano, which is famous for its proprietary Sangiovese clone known as Vino Nobile) fermentated with native yeasts and aged in a combination of oak and stainless steel for 4 months before bottle aging further in the cellar. The result of this 2015 vintage is an expressive wine wafting with aromas of black cherry, and toasted oak. The palate is rich in black fruit, cocoa, vanilla, and cinnamon. It is all held together by tannins that are grippy yet supple. The finish is long and satisfyingly fruity. This is one of those great finds where you declare while drinking it, "Wow! I can't believe this is under 20 bucks." Highly recommended. Enjoy this wine with cured meats and aged hard cheeses.