Hey wine friends! I’m back with more wine content. June was a pretty heavy month and honestly blogging about what wine to drink just didn’t seem right. With so much happening in the outside world, I’m learning it’s okay to sit still to give yourself time to process things and that’s exactly what I did. Anyways, I tried some new wines during my little hiatus. Now that it’s finally summer, I wanted to share some wines that you can really enjoy during these warm summer days and long summer nights—no matter if you’re at the pool, hanging out your in backyard, or just sheltering within the confines of your own home. These are three really fun, diverse wines that you’ll definitely want to add to your list.
2019 Bonofiglio Vineyard “Unsung Hero” Skin Fermented White Blend
When I was thinking about how to describe Unsung Hero, the first thing that popped into my mind was “perfect melody.” There are so many intricacies to this wine that make it a winner in my book. First, let’s start with the make-up of this blend. It’s 40% Viognier, 30% Marsanne, and 30% Roussanne. Let me provide a little background on these varietals as you’re probably not used to seeing these wines at your local grocery store. All three are white grapes that originated in the northern Rhône region in France.
- Viognier (vee-own-yay) is known to produce full-bodied white wines of depth and profound flavor. It’s a unique grape variety in that it’s surprisingly aromatic despite being a traditionally dry wine. Viognier wines are almost always noted for an oily sensation on the middle of the tongue, which is a characteristic of wines made with this grape. If you like bolder white wines like Chardonnay are your jam, Viognier is definitely something you’ll also enjoy.
- Marsanne (mar-sohn) is also a great alternative to Chardonnay. It is often blended with Roussanne. Marsanne gets less attention than it deserves because the grape mostly ends up stirred into blends, usually with zippier, herbal Roussanne and oilier Viognier, its favorite sidekicks.
- Roussanne (rooh-sahn) is characterized by bright floral aromas with stone fruit, nuts, baked bread, and spices. On the palate, its rich texture opens up notes of chamomile, white peach, pear, and beeswax, with surprising acidity on the finish. As I mentioned above, it’s often blended with Marsanne.
Now that you have a better understanding of these grapes, let’s get back to this “perfect melody.” One of this wine’s unique characteristics is its color. I’d say it’s a pale amber, which may throw some people off since it’s a white wine. Well, the color comes from the fact that whole clusters of Viognier and Marsanne are fermented together on the skins for two weeks before barrel aging for six months. Later-ripening Roussanne spends five days on the skins before barrel aging for six months. Mixed altogether and you get all the goodness of Unsung Hero. On the nose, I got notes of lime and stone fruits like peach and nectarine. On the palate, this blend is very crisp and vibrant. It’s really hard to pinpoint all the flavors, but the one thing that is very evident was the tannin structure (from the skin contact) on the finish. You’d think you were drinking a red wine if you didn’t know any better. I think that’s probably why the producer says its “a gateway drug for the red wine drinker who swears they don’t drink whites.” I believe it…this blend is funky and rich with so many layers that add to its character…indeed the “perfect melody.”
2019 Samuel Robert Pinot Noir Rosé Vintner’s Reserve
I’m not the biggest Rosé drinker, but my friend recently introduced me to this Pinot Noir Rosé from the motherland of Pinots, the Willamette Valley in Oregon. If ever there were a wine anthem for the summer it would be Rosé. Everyone loves to “drink pink” this time a year and trust me this is an affordable ($14) everyday Rosé you can probably find at any grocery store or wine shop. So, where to start? This beautiful deep pink Rosé is medium bodied. On the nose, I got notes of strawberries and plums. On the palate, it’s a little off dry with prominent fruit flavors of again strawberries with watermelon and citrus. While the fruit flavors may give it that touch of sweetness, I love the minerality that balances out this Rosé. This Rosé has made me a believer and I’ve already purchased another bottle for my home selection.
2019 Donkey & Goat Gamay
It’s no secret that Donkey & Goat (D&G) is probably my favorite wine producer. I love all of their wines and also make it a point to visit their tasting room whenever I’m in the bay. I discovered their Gamay (which I had never tasted before) last month during one of my wine runs. The Gamay grape produces a light-bodied red wine that is similar in taste to a Pinot Noir. You can’t go wrong with either if you prefer that style of red. Anyways, anytime I find D&G here in Houston I have to stock up. So, this Gamay is new for D&G. It’s ruby red in color and medium bodied although it does feel very light in your mouth. I got an assortment of red cherries and cranberries on the nose. This Gamay is very smooth. You don’t have to worry about the tannins overpowering the wine. The flavors are rounded out by just the right amount of acidity. To me Gamays are the perfect reds for warmer weather. I personally am not a big fan of drinking heavier reds when its 100 degrees outside. Plus, I like that you can get away with slightly chilling lighter reds.
So, there you have it. Three of my wine finds for July. All of these wines are reasonable in price ($35 and under). You may have to go to a specialty wine shop or directly to the producer for the Unsung Hero blend and Donkey & Goat though. All worth the investment! Let me know what you think. Until next time….glasses up!