2017 Jean Royer “Le Petite Roy”

It’s easy to pick a ‘known’ brand or a wine from a region of distinction like Napa, Bordeaux or Burgundy. But what separates a “wine hunter” and seeker of wines that offer the best QPR (quality to price ratio) is being able to discover wines that outperform and over deliver.

That’s the wines of producer Jean Royer whose holdings are inside and outside of Chateauneuf du Pape. Royer’s CdP’s are in that range where they drink far better than their price, and in blind tastings will stand up to the big boys.

But it’s Royer’s “Le Petite Roy” which captivates and conjures up all that QPR is about. Much like the Chateau de Beaucastel Coudelet de Beaucastel or the La Janesse Terre d’Argile where the vineyards some Cotes du Rhone Villages are just over the AOC line while other grapes come from the younger plantings of CdP, the Le Petite Roy is one of those wines that really delivers the goods.

The wine is a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Grenache, with flavors of spice and fruit that is layer upon layer.  There’s notes of the Garrigue and Provençal herbs, dark black plums, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries with a long and lingering finish.

That’s why the 2017 Jean Royer “Le Petite Roy” is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2016 LaBarge Santa Rita Hills Grenache

The Santa Rita Hill region in Santa Barbara County has become one of the best sources of grapes in the region over the past 20 years. Each year new producers pop up, making wines that really put the kind of mark that defines the area.

The LaBarge winery is one of those producers that is leading the way with their 2016 LaBarge Santa Rita Hills Grenache.

The 2016 LaBarge Santa Rita Hills is one of the richest, ripest, and jammy Grenaches ever to come from the area. Blackberry, red plums, black tea, and fennel notes. It’s a rich wine that is full on the mouth, loaded with black fruit flavors. It’s lush and long with a ripeness that is deep, long, and chewy.

That’s why the 2016 LaBarge Santa Rita Hills Grenache is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day.

2017 Coca i Fito Jaspi Blanc Terra Alta

The more the warmer gets hot and humid, the more I crave a refreshing white wine that has what it takes to satisfy my thirst and make me say “wow!!!” That’s exactly what the white wine from Spanish producer Coca i Fito does. Here’s a winery that is blazing trails in many parts of Spain, and turning out stunning wines at every turn.

Their 2017 Jaspi Blanc Terra Alta is an alluring blend of Grenache Blanc and Macabeo that is a real head turner. The wine which rests on lees for 4 months or so is vinified in steel, so the freshness is preserved, and the fruit stays full forward. 

The 2017 Jaspi Blanc Terra Alta is one of those racy, crisp and fruit forward wines that just screams for Asian food, especially Thai or Vietnamese cooking, where the flavors and spice can be countered by the lovely spice in the wine. Perhaps it’s the Mediterranean climate that brings out a Provencale or Garrigue aroma to the bouquet, or maybe it’s the fresh green apples and pear scents that attract you.

Either way, this wine is as seductive as it is playful. Fresh flowers, lemon-lime, and orange peel citrus flavors hit you from the first sip and continue all the way through.

That’s why the 2017 Jaspi Blanc Terra Alta is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2017 Argiolas Costamolino

Back in the early part of the decade, on a trip to Sardinia, I had the good fortune to be given a private tour and tasting of Sardinian powerhouse wine producer, Argiolas. Their windswept vineyards and ancient chai turn out some of the best wines from the Italian island , which while a part of Italy is yet so much like an independent country. 

Like Sicily, the wines from Sardinia are made from roots that go deep into the volcanic based soil and get a big boost from the surrounding sea and coastal, maritime climate. That means sunny days, misty mornings, and cool nights.

The 2017 Argiolas Cosamolino, made from 100 percent Vermentino grapes, is one of those wines that just thrives there because of the long growing season and excellent work in the cellar. Slightly straw colored, with a tinge of green, the light, lively, dry white wine is a joy in the glass.

The lovely Sardinian white wine shows up with all kinds of subtle nose tingling nuances of white peach, melon, and pears, with just a hint of almond nuttiness. It’s enjoyable by itself or with fresh fish or fish chowder, and for those reasons and more, the 2017 Argiolas Costamolino is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!

2018 Chateau Vignelaure Rose Coteaux d’Aix en Provence

Provence has long been the place that conjures up visions of Rose wines. But for many, those are wines from Cotes de Provence like the ones served on the beach fronts of Saint Tropez and in the cafes of Cannes and Nice.

For those who think it’s only Rose from the coastal region that can bring refreshment to their lips, they’re missing out. Other regions in Provence like the Coteaux Varois and the Coteaux d’Aix en Provence delight as well, and even sometimes surpass the Cotes de Provence for food-friendly enjoyment.

That’s where the wines of Chateau Vignelaure comes in. One of the first Provence producers I ever enjoyed and visited back in the ’80s, Vignelaure is a gorgeous property that brings vines from the region east of the art-filled city of Aix en Provence to lips everywhere.

The 2018 Chateau Vignelaure Rose Coteaux d’Aix en Provence is a stunning example of blending.  Grenache and Syrah make up 70 percent of the blend but it’s the balance of Cabernet Sauvignon and Vermentino in the wine that gives it such a rich, food ready structure and it’s very long finish.

The 2018 Chateau Vignelaure Rose is rich in cherry blossom fruit and that lovely Herb de Provence appeal.  On the mouth bright cherries, soft grapefruit and white peaches hit you first before the strawberry and blueberry from the Grenache and Syrah ends the taste.

That’s why the 2018 Chateau Vignelaure Rose is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2017 Feudo Desisa Lu Bancu

Italian white wines are food friendly, different and very enjoyable, especially when the weather is warm. And, wines from Sicily are rapidly gaining popularity.

One producer, Feudo Desisa, is riding that wave with delightful white wines that are perfect at this time of year. 

The 2017 Feudo Desisa Lu Bancu, made from the Catarratto grape, brings that Mediterranean climate, salt air, freshness to the very fruit forward wine.

The 2017 Feudo Desisa Lu Bancu is juicy and crisply fruity, with a lovely peachy bouquet, with flavors of dried limes, peaches and lime zest.

That’s why the 2017 Feudo Desisa Lu Bancu is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2018 Pierpaolo Pecorari “RosAlba” Rosato Venezia Giulia

When it comes to Rose usually its France, and the wines from the Cotes de Provence, that come to mind. But there’s more to Rose than just what hails from there. Take Italy, where Rose is known as Rosato, and where the blending of grapes make for some very delightful and refreshing Rose wines.

Take the 2018 Pierpaolo Pecorari RosAlba Rosato Venezia Giulia. Here’s a really head turning blend of equal parts Pinot Noir and Refosco that starts off with a bit of spritz and then delivers dazzling flavors of cherry and berry all the way to the end.

Violets and lavender aromas first entice you, and then the cherry and cranberry fruit takes over as you sit back and enjoy this pink wine with or without food. Serve it with thin crust pizza smothered with cheese, or enjoy it with a fried fish sandwich or even a rich and creamy shrimp risotto.  

With only 5,000 cases made, this wine is one that’s worth seeking out, and that’s why the 2018 Pierpaolo Pecorari RosAlba Rosato Venezia Giulia is today’s Winesiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2018 Les Cretes Petite Arvine Valle D’Aosta Italy

Classy white wines that defy the usual are always great finds. The case of the 2018 Les Cretes Petite Arvine Valle d’Aosta is that kind of Italian white wine. Known as the best white wine grape in the Swiss Valais region Petite Arvine can be vinified dry, semi-dry or as a sweet wine.

In the case of the 2018 Les Cretes Petite Arvine Valle d’Aosta, the wine is made in a perfectly dry style. Layer upon layer of lime, lemon, and grapefruit is there from start to finish. This is a lovely, refreshing, and full-bodied wine that is perfect with shellfish, baked clams, or even cheese.

That’s why the 2018 Les Cretes Petite Arvine Valle d’Aosta is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!.

2017 Poggio le Volpi Frascati Superiore

As the weather turns warm, the more there is the desire for wines that are refreshing, juicy, and easy to drink. That also means a need for alternatives to Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, the two usual suspects found in wine glasses the world over.

Take Frascati from the Lazio region just outside of Rome. It’s low in alcohol, almost always clocking in under 13.5%. It has gobs of fruit. It’s made in large quantities and is always very enjoyable when a good winemaker is behind the wine. It’s almost also always a great value buy.

That’s the 2017 Poggio le Volpi Frascati Superiore.  Golden color. Green apples and pears. Some fresh cut grass and voila, you have an everyday wine that has all you need to drink by itself, by the pool or on the patio, while you watch the sunset. The 2017 Poggio le Volpi Frascati Superiore is also an excellent food wine. Have it with fresh fish or a light creamy risotto. Most of all, just kick back and enjoy a refreshing white wine that won’t break the bank.

That’s why the 2017 Poggio le Volpi Frascati Superiore is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day.

2016 Gaillard Collioure Rouge

Long known as one of the Northern Rhone’s top producers, Pierre Gaillard, and his family, have been cranking out rich and lovely wines for decades. In that time they have established themselves as a sure-fire, go to choice, for consumers, on restaurant lists and on the shelves of shopkeepers the world over.

Over time the family has expanded their holdings, being one of the first Rhone producers to venture into the Roussillion, when they expanded South and acquired Domaine Madeloc in Banyuls. There, the well chosen and perfectly aged terraced hillside vineyards, along with those in neighboring Collioure, are seen as some of the most treasured in the region.

While Banyuls grapes produce the delicious open top late harvest sweet grenache reds, it’s the vineyards in the Collioure AOC, overseen by Pierre’s daughter Elise Gaillard, that makes one of the most magical reds from the Roussillon, the 2016 Gaillard Collioure Rouge.

Made from a blend of Grenache Noir,  Mourvèdre and Syrah, the velvety red wine is full of both full throttle power and elegant silky fruit. Much like the wines of La Tour Vieille Spicy black and white pepper from the Mourvedre and Syrah and ripe strawberry, blackberry and blueberry from the trio of grapes are a given.

But it’s the elegant delivery and structure of the well-balanced 2016 Pierre Gaillard Collioure Rouge  that makes this wine a perfect pairing with creamy blue cheese or aromatic Epoisses that makes it such a delight. That and how well it pairs with baby lamb or perfectly cooked duck breast. While the wine is made mostly in large vats, the finishing takes place in large oak barrels, allowing the wine to have just enough oak tannins to go from being a fruit bomb to becoming a well developed and age-worthy wine.

That’s why the 2016 Pierre Gaillard Collioure Rouge is today’s Winesiders’ Wine of The Day.