‘Twas the morning after the 2020 election, when all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
I don’t know about you, but I woke up scared to look at my phone or even turn on the television this morning. I think I’m more nervous today than I was yesterday. To help take the edge off, I spent the evening trying some new wines for my November finds instead of watching all the election coverage. As much as I am a news junkie, I really had to protect my peace and nothing better to do that with than wine, right?! I’m really excited about the wine that I’m sharing with you this month. They’re all three very different blends. I think you’ll find that there is something here for every palate. This post would’ve went live last night, but WordPress would not upload my photos. **eye roll** But, today is a new day and WordPress decided to act right…sort of. So, without any further delay please check out my November wine finds.
2018 Ridge Grenache Blanc
Ridge Vineyards is known for making single vineyard wines in California—meaning the grapes used to make a wine only come from one vineyard. They have about 18 vineyards listed on their website where they’re currently growing grapes to produce their wines. The 2018 Grenache Blanc that I found is interesting because it’s actually a blend of 75 percent Grenache Blanc, 15 percent Picpoul, and 10 percent Roussanne. I’ve blogged about Picpoul and Roussanne before, but Grenache Blanc may be new. Grenache Blanc is a white grape that is genetically related to the red grape Grenache. Found, most famously, in blended wines in the Rhône Valley (like Roussanne), the grape is now the fifth most widely planted white variety in France.
These grapes were organically grown at the Adelaida Vineyard, which actually isn’t listed on Ridge’s website. But, I googled it and found out it’s a family owned vineyard and winery located in Paso Robles. This region is the epicenter of new Rhoné plantings in California. These particular grapes were hand-harvested in 2018 and a portion were fermented in stainless steel tanks to help the wine maintain greater fruit definition and freshness. The balance was fermented in barrel with twelve percent of the final wine in new oak. The wine was then bottle May 2019. This is actually Ridge’s first Grenache Blanc bottling. One thing that you’ll appreciate about Ridge wines is that they list all their ingredients on the bottle, so you’ll never have to wonder what you’re drinking.
Enough background, let’s get into this wine! This Grenache Blanc is a pale gold. On the nose, I got soft aromas like pear and plum. Upon drinking the wine, I noticed that it was medium-bodied and kind of off dry. You definitely get some of those pear with citrusy fruit flavors. I even picked up on a little of that buttery feel probably from the oak that the wine was fermented in. The wine has a nice touch of acidity that isn’t overwhelming. I’m actually really enjoying this wine. It’s light perfect for these winter months. You don’t even have to chill it for very long. You’d definitely like this if you’re a fan of white wine and even if you’re not—if you’re looking for a more fruit forward white this would be up your ally.
Sidenote: If you’re looking for the 2018 and can’t find it, no worries because they have a 2019 vintage that is slightly different. It consists of 77 percent, Grenache Blanc, 18 percent Picpoul, and five percent Roussanne.
2019 Sete Tropicale
Sete Tropicale (believe it or not) is a natural white wine made from a blend of 70 percent Ottonese, 20 percent Trebbiano, and 10 percent Moscato grapes grown in Lazio, Central Italy. I was drawn to this wine because of its color. This is probably one of thee orangest (is that a word?) wines that I’m encountered. Maybe it’s because of its tropical labeling, but I had a hard time believing this was actually wine.
Now a couple of the varietals in this wine were new to me. I’d never heard of Ottonese before. Ottonese also known as Bombino bianco is a white Italian wine grape variety. Ottonese wines are very high acid, lemony and mineral, Trebbiano is one of the top wine grapes of Italy and France that makes a light-bodied white wine that has minimal aroma with subtle hints of lemon and stone minerality on the palate. It’s generally dry and crisp and has a fruity flavor finishing with a bitter almond note. Surprisingly, Trebbiano is mostly used in brandy and balsamic vinegar production! And of course, you all know about the final grape in the blend…Moscato.
Together, these three varietals are fermented and aged on the lees for eight months in fiberglass vats. Lees are leftover yeast particles from autolysis, which is the self-destruction of yeast cells by enzymes created from fermentation. Lees are used in white and sparkling wines to add beneficial textures and flavors. It’s obvious that this wine has had some skin contact to get its vibrant color. In addition, no chemicals were used in the vineyards and no sulfites were added. This wine is pure unfined and unfiltered goodness! So, let’s dissect what’s in this bottle!
Honestly, it was hard to pinpoint any of the aromas. When I first opened the bottle, it was a little funky on the nose, but that went away once I let the wine aerate. I already mentioned that this wine is orange. You can see from the photo. Because the wine is unfiltered, you can see some of the sediment in the bottle, which is my absolute favorite thing about this type of natural wine. I live for seeing wine in all of its natural being. *insert emoji with heart eyes* This is another medium-bodied, dry wine. There are an array of mango, pineapple, and guava juice flavors with a hint of salinity. Definitely drinkable. Someone described it as an adult Capri Sun. I wouldn’t go that far because it’s definitely not a sweet wine despite the little bit of Moscato it contains. I thought it was solid though. It wasn’t as amazing as the wine store was making it out to be, but It’s worth putting on your list if you’re looking for something fun and different to try. You’ll definitely impress your friends with this Italian white blend.
2019 Storm Point Red Blend
So, I had to round out my November wine finds with a red blend from South Africa. Tis the season for red wine, right?! The name Storm Point comes from the weathered landscape of South Africa, which is the result of years of battering storms. This red blend consists of 56 percent Cinsault, 29 percent Syrah, and 15 percent Carignan from the Swartland region of South Africa. The blend is aged for 10 months in a combination of 75 percent neutral French barrels, and 25 percent stainless steel. Not much background to go over for this wine, I’ve covered all of these varietals on the blog before, so let’s check out this wine. This blend is a ruby red color. The aromas on this red are really nice. You get a little bit of cranberry and pomegranate…very reminiscent of Thanksgiving. This is probably a medium-bodied red although it felt very light in my mouth. You get lots of juicy fruit forward flavors of raspberry, strawberry, and cherry with a little bit of an orange twist at the end. Another very drinkable wine and I love that the tannins take a backseat so that the fruit flavors can shine. This might have to be in rotation for the holidays!
Whew! Trying these three wines really did help me take my focus off of the election. By the time I was done, I was definitely ready for bed. No George Stephanopoulos for me and I love George! *sad face*
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this month’s round-up of my wine finds. If you’re interested in any of these wines, I highly recommend checking online. You’re not going to find these at the grocery store nor a Total Wine. Let me know what you think. Hope you have a great day…until next time, glasses up!