Which 12 different bottles of wine would you choose to create your own mixed case? I would definitely fill mine with a mix of sparkling, white, red and rosé; a few serious wines and some everyday easygoing sips. If you're looking for inspiration to create your own delicious dozen, keep reading for tasting notes on twelve winning wines that I recently sampled from Italy, France, Argentina, Germany, and the USA. Cheers!
DUBL di Feudi di San Gregorio Sparkling Falanghina Brut ($25)
A very unique sparkling wine that applies the traditional Champagne method to Falanghina, an iconic grape of Campania in the south of Italy. Elegant and exuberant with lively bubbles, DUBL is delightfully dry and crisp with balanced intensity. Superb!
Champagne Henriot Blanc de Blancs ($59)
A classic and captivating Champagne, Henriot Blanc de Blancs is an excellent expression of 100% Chardonnay. A bold but finely textured tapestry of crisp mineral, citrus, and brioche flavors.
Le Marchesine Franciacorta Rosé Millesimato 2013 ($36)
The world of Italian sparkling wines extends beyond Prosecco and Franciacorta is one of the most elegant. Produced exclusively in the traditional Champagne method in the northern Italian territory of Franciacorta, Franciacorta was the first in Italy to receive DOCG status for sparkling wines - Italy's official top tier of quality for wines. A lovely blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Le Marchesine Franciacorta Rosé is a charming introduction to the category. A lovely pale shade of pink, it is precise and pretty with fine bubbles, fresh red berry flavors, and crisp texture.
M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays d'Oc Rosé 2017 ($15)
Season after season, this beauty from the south of France is one of my favorite rosé wines. A fresh and luscious blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault, it is fruit-forward, juicy, and vibrant with superb structure. Plenty of ooh la la at a great price!
Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina 2017 ($22.99)
Feudi di San Gregorio has distinguished themselves as one of the premier wineries in Italy's Campania region and beyond. I've yet to have a Feudi di San Gregorio wine that wasn't impeccably crafted and authentically evocative of the region and its terroir. The proximity of their vineyards to Mount Vesuvius created mineral rich soils which imbue their wines with depth and texture. An ancient grape that thrives in Campania, Falanghina may not be a household name but the variety has broad appeal. Fresh but very textured with crisp minerality, the 2017 Falanghina vintage from Feudi di San Gregorio balances soft fruit with a mineral core. (Fun fact: Feudi di San Gregorio's labels were created by Italian designer Massimo Vignelli - designer of the NYC subway map and Bloomingdale's shopping bags!)
Frescobaldi Massovivo Ammiraglia Vermentino 2016 ($18)
Fresh, subtle and elegant, this charming Vermentino from Tuscany's coastal Maremma region has plenty of Mediterranean flair. Lively flavors of honeysuckle, chamomile, and white nectarine are balanced by crisp minerality.
Nik Weis Mosel Urban Riesling 2017 ($15)
Juicy, crisp, and refreshing, this rocking little Riesling from Germany's renowned Mosel Valley has plenty of personality. Fruity with a hint of sweetness that is balanced out by a tinge of chalky minerality.
Chehalem INOX Unoaked Chardonnay 2016 ($20)
Unoaked but full of flavor, this fresh and vibrant Chardonnay from Oregon's iconic Willamette Valley is a charmer. Very crisp, round, and graceful.
Trivento White Orchid Reserve Torrontes 2017 ($11)
White Orchid is the perfect name for this flirty and aromatic Torrontes from Argentina's famed Mendoza region. Floral and tropical, a kiss of Pinot Grigio adds crispness and nuance.
Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico 2015 ($19.99)
What a sultry, sexy, and savory vino! Aglianico is one of southern Italy's iconic wines and Feudi di San Gregorio's Rubrato is an impressive expression. Crafted from 100% Aglianico grapes from the Irpinia region of Campania, Rubrato is is bold and elegant. Rich berry flavors meld seamlessly with hints of savory herbs and spice.
Concannon Vineyard Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($90)
This is no run-of-the-mill Cabernet Sauvignon, Concannon Clone 7 pays tribute to Concannon’s important role in viticulture - their clones account for 80% of all California Cabernet Sauvignon vines. Bold and rich with dark fruit, spice, and earth flavors; Clone 7 is crafted from vineyards in the Chalk Hill AVA located in the northeast corner of the larger Russian River Valley AVA.
Westwood Estate Pinot Noir 2015 ($44)
An impressive Pinot Noir from Sonoma with finesse and fully developed flavors of ripe red berries, brambly fruits, baking spices, and well-integrated dusty tannins.