Practicing self-isolation during our global coronavirus pandemic does not mean that we will stay away from wine! On the contrary, this is a great opportunity to get INTO some new wines and try out some of the bottles we’ve been holding onto in our wine fridge.
Here we go! Quarantine life one bottle at a time.
My notes on the wines we enjoy during this time (to be updated every few days):
I have to say that I’m really starting to love Gavi wines. Made from the Cortese grapes in the Piedmont region in northern Italy, these wines are typically high acid and super fresh. Light citrus flavors that reveal themselves more and more as the bottle remains open are the central point of Gavi for me.
This wine was part of a pack of four that we tasted during the Florida Wine Academy Italian Wines webinar during our social distancing this week. It was a fabulous & fun webinar with lots of great information from Alessandra Esteves.
We ordered this wine through 305wines.com in Miami (although, for now, it is sold out), and it is perfect for social isolating drinking on the balcony or porch in the warm Miami springtime sun.
Wow, what a fun white wine! Grillo is always an interesting one and a great alternative for regular Sauvignon Blanc drinkers. Because the grapes in this bottle are from Sicily, there is a bit of smokiness to this wine due to the volcanic soil covering much of the island. I called the aroma “smoked pineapple.”
Tropical fruits dominate the flavor profile with a bit of subtle “greenness” that goes back to the Sauvignon Blanc reference. Another fresh, acidic wine but with more concentrated, riper fruit than the previous one. I’d highly recommend this wine for a light pasta with chicken or seafood dish, or any recreational quarantine drinking.
I just love the Sangiovese Grosso grape that goes into Brunello wines, because it’s always so much more luscious and elegant than what you get in most wines out of Tuscany (in my opinion). This bottle is beautiful but could actually use a few more years to age. Typical rusty garnet in color, with dried fruit and spices on the nose and palate. It has medium tannins that mellow as the wine develops in the glass. Brunello Di Montalcino is one of my favorite Italian specialties, and this bottle was certainly in line with what a classic Brunello should be. Bravo! We also purchased this one through 305wines.com.
Back to northern Italy, but this time for the king of the Nebbiolo grape, Barolo! This was a crowd favorite of the webinar, and I definitely agree. Bold, sticky, and full of that signature ripe red fruit of the Nebbiolo grape. This was a big wine that needs more time. It could age a few more years, but we are going to finish the bottle today for that “next day Barolo” development –according to Alessandra, this is the best, like second-day pizza!
Ah, Burgundy. I knew we would get there one of these days. This is a bottle from Elden Selections, which is a site that brings together some smaller producers from throughout the region and makes the wines available to pick and choose and create your own case of quality Burgundian wines. All shipping is included with your order, so if you are stuck in self-isolation and love Burgundy wines, check them out. This bottle retails for $52.
I loved it because it is truly a “terroir-driven” wine. The fruit is secondary to the more savory earthy flavors that make wines from Burgundy so special. The fruit is of the darker variety than your typical Pinot, and the body is full and round. Clos Jus is a complex wine with multiple layers that unravel as the bottle sits open. I enjoyed it over the course of an evening and it was a beautiful wine from the start, but a wonderfully integrated wine by the last glass. It’s truly a wine to be discovered!
Loudoun County, Virginia
At first sniff, this wine seemed to have a slight bit of brett, however, it wasn’t enough to ruin the wine. I always find that Virginia wines taste a bit more rustic than their cousins to the west anyway.
Equation is a smooth, soft Meritage blend with a good balance between the grapes, aging, and tannins. It’s approachable, and overall a nice entry into Virginia wines (if you need one).
Alto Adige, Italy
I love a good Grüner Veltliner. It’s one of the more enticing whites in my book. This one had flavors of apples and melon along with fresh, subtle citrus and very crisp acidity. Always a nice food-pairing wine! I also love the wines coming out of Alto Adige in northern Italy. There’s a larger Austrian/German influence there, and it makes for this wonderful mix of Italian and Germanic styles. I’m a big fan and hope to find some more gems out of that region.
I went with an old favorite for steak night on day xx of quarantine. I love Bodega Colomé Malbecs for their richness and complexity. Salta, Argentina is home to some of the highest vineyards in the world, and the highest of the high are at Colomé. Three years ago, I had the chance to visit this remote winery, which is not a trip for the faint of heart. The winery is located about an hour’s drive up a dirt road from the nearest tiny little town of Molinos. It’s certainly not convenient. (But totally worth a trip!)
The Malbec is intense with flavors of both red and black fruit. I’d also call it complex and elegant. Malbec is a perfect complement to any dinner that includes a big, juicy piece of steak– and if you can match the style, try for a traditional Argentine Lomo a la parrilla with your next bottle of Malbec.
Tri-County, California (63% Monterrey County, 21% Santa Barbara County, 16% Napa County)
I have to admit that when I received this wine as a sample, I was a bit skeptical. Cherry Pie seemed like a cheesy name, and the whole “tri-county” thing made me think it may be a gimmicky wine.
However, I was pleasantly surprised. This 100% Pinot Noir from several different vineyard sites across the state (Stanly Ranch Vineyard in Napa, Alta Loma Vineyard & Arroyo Loma Vineyard in Monterrey, and Los Almos Vineyard in Santa Barbara) was actually a very well balanced, fruit-forward Pinot. I expected watered-down and flabby, but it was anything but that. Silky smooth tannins and a robust fruit character were present, along with a bit of spice from the French oak aging (30% new). For the suggested retail price of $22- $28, this is a beautiful wine to take home (and enjoy in self-isolation). Bravo to Cherry Pie for cutting through all the cheese and making a great value Pinot Noir.