La Maldita Garnacha Rioja 2015

Brand: Produced by one of the “oldest winemaking families in Rioja”, with the intention of inspiring “a resurgence of the Garnacha varietal in the Rioja region of showcasing that world-class Garnacha can still be produced there”. The name ‘La Maldita’ means cursed, and is what many winemakers in Rioja refer to Garnacha as. Thin, sensitive skin and low yields were one of the reasons that most Garnacha vineyards have been replanted with “less temperamental varieties”. Although historically the Garnacha used to represent “roughly half of the entire region under vine, today it accounts for less than 10% of all vineyard plantings in Rioja”.

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from sustainably farmed, estate-owned, high elevation vineyards with gravel and alluvial silt “which help with drainage and contribute a hint of minerality to the wine”. The majority of the wine rested on its lees in stainless steel for a few months, whilst a small percentage was aged in small French and American oak barrels “for a hint of complexity”.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of wild berries, black pepper and brambly shrubs. Flinty mineral driven, with fresh blackberry and tart cherry flavours. Crushed black peppercorn and fresh berries linger on the dry finish. Simple and pleasant, best with food, a cheerful, gluggable Garnacha.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Enjoy with everyday favorites such as pizza, pastas, burgers, and grilled vegetables.

100% Garnacha
Rioja
Spain
Produced and Bottled by Viñeds La Maldita
13.5% Alcohol
$9

Rated 89 points by the Wine Advocate

Produttori di Govone Barbera d’Alba DOC 2015

Winery: Produttori di Govone is a community of grape growers founded in 1957 by Giovanni Dalmasso with a mission to unify and create great wines. Today the cooperative consists of 250 members and 270 hectares. Blending tradition with modernity, they are pursuing organic viticulture; currently they have 5 hectares that are farmed organically.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with engaging aromas of dark berries, pink pepper and a trace of sandalwood. Ripe red berries are given a drizzle of caramel and balanced by bright acidity and soft tannins. Finishing dry and spicy, keeping you reaching for more. Straightforward and a versatile companion at the table.

Pairing Suggestion from Astor Wines: Enjoy this with cured meats, cheeses, briny olives, tomato sauce, sweet Italian sausage and arugula.

100% Barbera
Barbera d’Alba DOC
Italy
Estate Bottled by Produttori di Govone
14% Alcohol
$9
Enjoy now

Domaine De Fontsainte Rouge Corbières 2015

Estate: Located in the heart of the Corbières appellation in the Languedoc region of southern France, the estate’s first vineyards were planted by the ancient Romans. More recently, the Laboucarié family has been making wine there since the 17th century. Today the estate is headed by Bruno Laboucarié who maintains his family’s legacy of innovation. Bruno, along with his father Yves were one of the first grape growers in the region to work with whole cluster fermentation. (A technique that can impart a subtle “green” flavor, spices and additional tannins.) For over 30 years Kermit Lynch has been importing their fantastic wines.

Philosophy: With a belief that ”great wines are made in the vineyard”, focus is on terroir since each vineyard is different in regards to soil type, microclimate and varietal. The family’s motto is “innovation means looking forward and backward”.

Winemaking: Sustainable viticulture has been practiced since 1971. The winery utilizes gravity fed modern thermo regulated stainless steel vats along with traditional cement vats. Grapes are sourced from vineyards with gritty, gravely silica-clay-limestone soil. Aged for 6 months in French oak barrels.

Tasting Notes: Dark red-violet in colour with aromas of smoky, black pepper dusted dark berries. Tasting similar to the aromas, with rich dark berry flavours, black pepper and a hint of earth. Berries return on the clean, fruity finish. Straightforward, easy drinking, versatile and consistently a fantastic value.

60% Carignan, 30% Grenache Noir, 10% Syrah
Corbières
France
Estate Bottled
13.5% Alcohol
$10
Enjoy now

Chais Saint-Laurent ‘La Vigne en Véron’ Chinon 2015

Consistently a fantastic value.

Producer: Founded in 1921 by Paulin Lebrun, Foucher-Lebrun is a “Petit Negociant” specializing in wines from the Loire Valley. Chais Saint-Laurent is their second label. In 2009 fine and rare wine broker Jean Mounard joined the company managing “the selection process for the wines of the company”. His large network of wine growers and winemakers has increased the quality, along with being able to offer wines that “display a real sense of their underlying appellations and are made with a balance and delineation usually found in much more expensive wines”.

Philosophy: “To convey the expression of the appellations in the Loire region by careful selection, vinification and aging of its wines”.

Winemaking: The grapes were sourced from select vineyards with Argilo-Calcaire and gravel soils in the villages of Riviere, Beaumont-en-Veron and Savigny-en-Veron. The average vine age is 45-50 years. Aging of the majority of the cuvee is in used barriques, 1-3 years old, whilst the remainder is aged in tanks.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of ripe berries and garrique. Jammy cherry and berry flavours are complimented by smoky, grilled herbs [juniper, thyme, rosemary] and soft pepper spice. Good acidity and moderate tannins, a hint of chocolate frames the dry, fruity finish.

100% Cabernet Franc
Chinon
France
Produced and Bottled by Chais Saint-Laurent
13% Alcohol
$9
Enjoy now thru 2019

Jeff Carrel ‘Les Darons’ Languedoc AOP 2015

 

Brand: French winemaker Jeff Carrel is famous for crafting super tasty wines that are also excellent values. He has worked for a wide variety of brands, including Robert Mondavi and Stimson Lane. Most recently he has focused his expertise mainly in the Languedoc Roussillon region of southern France, resulting in international accolades for his lush, budget friendly wines. ‘Les Darons’ is derived from an “affectionate expression for “The Parents” in the Parisian suburbs where Carrel was born.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from vineyards in the Laure-Minervois area northwest of the medieval village of Carcassonne in the Languedoc region. The vines are in clay and limestone soil and are sustainably farmed. The Grenache and Carignan vines average 40+ years in age. The 3 varieties were de-stemmed and crushed/vinified together. Fermented and aged in concrete.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of black cherry, blueberry, pink peppercorn and a trace of sour cherry. Tasting quite similar to the inviting aromas with black cherry, blueberry and a pop of sour cherry over a clean, flinty mineral core. Good acidity and silky tannins compliment pink peppercorn on the clean finish. A fantastic companion with a wide variety of everyday dishes.

60% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 15% Syrah
Languedoc AOP
France
Bottle by F.11200 for TOOWO The Way of Wine S.A.R.L Négociant in Narbonne
13.5% Alcohol
$10
Enjoy now

Rated 91-93 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate