2017 Esporao Branca Reserva

The wines of Esporao have intrigued me from first sip back in the 00’s after my first trip to Lisbon back in 2006. Since then I’ve never passed up the opportunity to enjoy their wines. 

The 2017 Esporao Branca Reserva is blend of 5 native grapes found in the Alentejo region of Portugal. It is a full bodied white, with many more flavors than Chardonnay, offering much more complexity in a rich, fruit driven style.

That’s why the 2017 Esporao Branca Reserva is today’s WineSiders Wine of The Dayi

2014 Sparkman Wonderland Grenache

Grenache is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world, and while most think of Grenache in the USA coming from California’s Santa Barbara County, Paso Robles or the Sonoma Coast, it also grows very well in Washington State.

One of the best producers in Washington is Sparkman Cellars from Woodinville. Their stunning Wonderland Grenache year after year has turned out nothing buy sheer in the glass enjoyment. 

The Sparkman Wonderland Grenache is loaded with berry fruit, with the red raspberry and wild strawberry flavors being most alluring. With the wine now at age 5 it’s a perfect wine for burgers, pizza or BBQ. More importantly it’s ready to drink now, while the current release of 2017 needs a few years of rest to really come together.

That’s why the 2014 Sparkman Wonderland Grenache is today’s WineSiders’s Wine of The Day.

2016 Artadi Tempranillo

I have long been a fan of the wines from the Spanish producer, Artadi. Their reds across their entire range have never been a disappointment, and have always been the kind of wine you can buy today, drink today or cellar for tomorrow.

The 2016 Tempranillo by Artardi is one of those wines.

Made from an all organic vineyard, the 100 percent Tempranillo red is just about as easy drinking as any serious wine could be. Rich and chewy, but nothing but soft, gentle tannins, the wine gives off a beautiful cherry, black plum, and red berry flavors.

It’s elegant, and fruit forward, and has a soft undercoating of tar and terroir. Drink it now, or drink it in five years, the 2016 Tempranillo by Artadi, also known as the Vinas de Gain red, is one wine that will always deliver.

That’s why the 2016 Tempranillo by Artardi is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2016 Chionetti San Luigi Dogliani

When it comes to early drinking Italian reds my the choice is usually a wine made from the silky Dolcetto grape. The Dolcettos from Chionetti fit that bill to a T, and the 2016 Chionetti San Luigi Dogliani is a stunning example of why Dolcetto is such a fun grape to enjoy.

Loads of violet notes on the nose followed by ripe red cherries, red raspberries and a touch of red plums makes this wine so enjoyable. With cheese, like the soft-ripened La Tur, or with a basic pasta dish, the Chionetti shines.

That’s why the 2016 Chionetti San Luigi Dogliani is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day.

2016 Albert Boxler Pinot Noir Alsace

On my first visit to France in the early 80’s one of my first stops was the storybook area of Alsace. The region, that has been both French and German, was the home to the most Michelin starred restaurants in the world. The melding of Haute Cuisine with Teutonic precision was ethereal. Cooking ranged from the basic sausages and kraut known as choucroute to rich meat, game, and fowl, with lake and river fish, oysters, Breton lobster and more. And the wines from there defied my first trip knowledge level.

Long thought to be sweet wines, Rieslings from the region blew my mind as they were bone dry, crisp, and fruity. But what left me just wanting more was their Pinot Noirs. Sure Burgundy is only to the south, but Alsace was known for white wine. What were these local red versions of Pinot Noir?

Here were red wines in white wine land. They had all the fruit you expect in Burgundy, but the way they were made was so different. Yes, they can age, but do you want to wait? Here are wines with all the Pinot Noir characteristics. Aromatic nose. Fleshy palate fruit. Gobs of it. Light and tickling, but firm to stand up to everything from trout to salmon to even tasty pork, duck and lamb dishes.

That’s the 2016 Albert Boxler Pinot Noir to a T.  It’s one of the hidden gems in the Kermit Lynch portfolio where the attention often goes to the more expensive Boxler  Pinot Noir “S.”  At more than half the price, this lush, berry busting, cherry and red cassis flavored wine is joyous and enjoyable.

That’s why the 2016 Albert Boxler Pinot Noir is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!

2015 Gonzalez Bastias Pais Matorral

I have always been a fan of wines that are rare and obscure. Back in the 80s, it was Santa Barbara, the Rhone Valley, and Bandol. In the 90s, I found my way to the Languedoc and Roussillon and even some British Columbia wines. In the 00’s it was Austria and New Zealand.

Along the way, I dabbled a bit with Argentina and Chile, but never found more than a handful of wines I liked such as the Catena family of Luca and Tikal labeled blends, a stnning Cabernet and Malbec from pal Patrick Campbell of Laurel Glen fame and also some from Paul Hobbs, that also come to mind from Argentina’s Mendoza Valley.

That’s why when I tasted a delightfully refreshing, summer weight red from Chile, I just smiled.

The 2015 Gonzalez Bastias Pais Matorral is made from 200-year-old Pais vines and is light, juicy and fruity all at the same time.

It’s got a sexy, light black raspberry nose and first taste give way to a mouth-filling black cherry wishniak, red licorice, and menthol and herb flavors. 

While some may dismiss this bio-dynamic wine as not quite a serious wine, I disagree. It’s as much of a fine wine as the hipster loved reds like Chinon and grand cru Beaujolais are. So to me, the 2015 Gonzalez Bastias Pais Matorral is a wine to be taken seriously. You should think that too.

That’s why the 2015 Gonzalez Bastias Pais Matorral is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

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!