Good morning, wine friends! Gosh, December is already flying by. Before the month gets away from us, I wanted to share a couple of my wine finds for December. I actually selected these two wines for a tasting I hosted for the young professional board that I serve on called Girl Advocacy League (GAL), which supports the nonprofit Girl Empowerment Network. I wanted to introduce the group of ladies to wines that they may not be familiar with and were very affordable. These wines turned out to be great recommendations, so I wanted to make sure that my YGOM community knew about them too! With the holidays approaching, these two wines will be perfect to add to your rotation.
2019 Le Pré Vaujour Sancerre
First up, we have a Sancerre for my white wine selection. I chose a Sancerre because I wanted to choose something different. I know a lot people who may not as be as well-versed in wine or don’t typically drink white wine will typically immediately associate white wine with Chardonnays and Pinot Grigios—which you either love or hate—but there is a whole other world of white wines that I want to help you uncover. With that being said, you may be thinking ‘What is a Sancerre?‘ Well, I’m glad you asked!
Sancerre is not a grape varietal. It’s actual an appellation in the upper Loire Valley of France known for producing mostly white wines from Sauvignon Blanc. In France, wine bottles are labeled by the region and not the varietal. So, in short when you see the word Sancerre, I want you to think French Sauvignon Blanc. Sancerre is known for four things. It’s fruit, body, acidity, and minerality. Some of those fruit flavors can include green apple, gooseberry, white peach, plum, and lemon curd…just to name a few. Also, you can drink Sancerre young (immediately) or let it age for 10-15 years.
I found this Sancerre at Total Wine for $19.99. It’s actually on their top 20 list of wines right now. This Sancerre is a pale gold in color. On the nose it’s very aromatic, which Sauvignon Blancs are known for. I smelled aromas like green apple, pear, and citrus with some herbal and floral undertones. Upon drinking the wine, you’ll see that it is dry and pretty light. You get a lot of the same green and citrus fruits on the palate with some minerality, but what is very noticable is the acidity. It adds a nice crispness that is very refreshing. I recommend chilling this wine at 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit for ultimate enjoyment. Trust you don’t want to drink this wine at room temperature. When it comes to food, you could pair this wine with roasted turkey or chicken and definitely fish since it’s so light. I normally drink New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, but this Sancerre was a nice treat that I look forward to trying more of in the future.
2016 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas
Next, I chose a red blend. This is another Total Wine find for $19.99. I follow Tablas Creek on Instagram, but had never tried their wines. For background, Tablas Creek is a winery located in Paso Robles, California. That region is known for producing Rhône style wines. The Rhône Valley is also located in France as well. This French style of wine works well in Paso Robles because they have similar climates. Most of the regions in the Rhône don’t focus on a single grape. They blend—hence today’s recommendation.
I know a lot of my readers enjoy red over white wine, so I’m excited for you to try this one. I wanted to select a red blend that included varietals that you may not drink on an everyday basis. I know sometimes when we see a grape that we don’t know or can’t pronounce, we may avoid picking up the bottle due to some intimidation. I know I’m guilty of that sometimes, but I want to challenge you to step out of your comfort zone with wine. This particular blend includes four Rhône varietals:
- Syrah (52%)
- Grenache (31%)
- Mourvédre (6%)
- Counoise (11%)
Please note that when looking for the Patelin de Tablas you may not be able to find the 2016 vintage and that’s okay. When I did the GAL tasting, some of the ladies had the 2017 or 2018. Just note that the make-up (percentage) of each grape is going to be different. I think the 2018 even adds a fifth varietal. I love that this blend changes every vintage. You’re not going to get the same mass produced wine, which adds to the awesomeness of this blend.
You may not be familiar with Mourvédre or Counoise. Mourvédre is typically a blending grape, but I have seen it bottled by itself at William Chris Vineyards here in Texas. It tastes of blueberry, blackberry, plum, black pepper, and can be a little gamey. It has high tannins and medium acidity. Counoise on the other hand, tastes of blueberry and strawberry fruit with spice notes of nutmeg and cinnamon. It has fresh acidity and soft tannins.
This Tablas Creek red blend is a deep ruby color. I got aromas of dark black fruits like blackberries, and black cherries with a hint of oak and tobacco. This is dry, full-bodied red. On the palate, you get a lot of those dark fruit notes accompanied by some more savory notes. This blend is very bold and robust. The tannins are very present in this wine. They add for a nice finish to balance out the oaky flavors that you might detect. I think my red wine lovers will be a fan. You could easily pair this wine with more hearty meats like a roast pork loin or beef stew. You could even pair with a pasta with meat sauce.
So, there you have my two wine finds for December. I really think that you’ll enjoy and I love that these are an easy find at Total Wine. I definitely recommend adding these two into your rotation this holiday season—either as a gift or at your dinner table. They won’t disappoint. Until next time…glasses up!