Happy 4th of July! With summer in full swing (try to block out those back to school sales! Yup they're out there!) you may find yourself entertaining outside more. Without dipping into your secret stash of Brunello, there's plenty of crowd pleasing inexpensive wines out there that won't break the bank. I'm not insinuating that your guests don't deserve the finest of vino, but there's a time and place for dusting off the good china and there's a time and place to raid your wine cellar. Playing horseshoes while chomping on a few Hummels covered in mustard, onions and relish may not scream vintage Bordeaux, but may suggest an easy going vino.
"E" Pinot Noir from Pavia, Italy. Earthy on the nose with some dry cranberry coming through on the palate. Light bodied that did very well with a slight chill on it. This is hot summer fun Pinot. Light enough not to weigh you down when the humidity goes up and the burgers go down. Went well with my grilled pizza and steak tacos on the Fourth and was very pleasant as that cool night fell upon us to watch fireworks.
Guenoc Pinot Noir from California was straightforward, affordable dry, medium body, moderate tannins with plenty of red cherry and blackberry flavors. Most of the Pinot is sourced from primarily estate grown fruit from vineyards located in the Guenoc Valley of Lake County. Lake County is an AVA to keep on your radar while the prices are affordable. Cabs in the $20 range far exceed their price tags. If the label had either Napa or Sonoma on them, they would be twice the price. Another good red to pour freely, make people happy and if uncle Joe drops some peaches and ice cubes in it then that's okay too.
Best part of these two wines is the price tag. On the website for $10, but since we appreciate that you took the time to actually read this blog post, we're happy to discount either of theses two Pinots to $8.99 per bottle. Mix & Match a case of 12 bottles for only $107.88!
The next wine, in my opinion, probably represents the very expression of a wine that over delivers and exceeds it's suggested price. While it's still under $10, take advantage of it!!
Meet Laya from Bodegas Atalaya. A blend of Garnacha Tintorera and Monastrell aged four months in French oak. This wine is from the Gil Family famous for Juan Gil, Clio to drop a few familiar names. With that "lineage" you expect something of quality especially when utilizing the varietal Monastrell. You not only get quality, but affordability with Laya. ONLY $8 per bottle!! You didn't misread that. This wine is only $8. My first experience with this wine was probably 6 years ago when I popped it open during one of my 4 hour Sunday sauce cooking sessions. Ratings aside, it was 90+ points by Parker, this wine hit me in all the right spots. After an hour it changed from all dark fruit, pepper to earthy truffles with a slight hint of an aged balsamic reduction. Another hour into sauce prep and the flavors morphed into dark chocolate and mocha covered cherries. It is a crowd pleaser and at this price for the month of July, it's a steal!! A 12 bottle case of great quality wine for only $95.88...tell me of another wine that can do that? From BBQ to grilled veggies to Taco Tuesday, this wine covers all bases. Tell us you saw it on the website or read it on this blog to ensure your discount. This is truly not only a staff favorite, but our customers return again and again for this wine.
Much like art, cinema or literature, wine is subjective to your palate and yours alone. It doesn't matter what the price is, what esteemed vineyard it was produced in, a critic's score, etc. It only comes down to you liking it. Our hope is that you try these wines and that you enjoy them. From there understand what you liked about the wines and possibly what qualities you may want more of from your next selection. This is the endless road we travel on when looking for that perfect wine.