Did ya miss me?! I’m excited to be back with new content. Grab a glass because we have some catching up to do!
I’ve been mentally bookmarking wine after wine to add to my “must try” list over the past month or so. This past Friday, I picked up six bottles from a restaurant called Local Foods here in Houston that I often frequent for lunch. While waiting for my pick-up order one afternoon, I noticed they had a mini wine retail shop setup with some pretty interesting bottles. Payday hit and you can see that your girl went a little crazy. I literally had to stop myself because I could’ve bought the whole rack. I can’t wait for you to read about three of them in this month’s wine finds.
These aren’t your every day wines so I want to give you the heads-up now that you won’t be able to find them at the grocery store. These are what I like to call specialty wines and you may have to order them from the producer or importer. But, let me assure you that these are all affordable (under $30) and worth the extra step. Keep reading to learn more about what wine discoveries are bringing me joy this month.
2020 Christina “Orange” Chardonnay
I’m super excited about this first pick. It’s (claps) an (claps) ORANGE (claps) CHARDONNAY (claps). I know my Chardonnay haters are probably thinking…
Yeah, you read that right! An orange Chardonnay. And that’s not the only cool thing about this wine. It’s a natural wine from Austria…a region I haven’t really explored too much on the blog yet.
Background: The winemaker Christina Netzl began her path towards natural winemaking at the young age of five-years-old, working on her family’s farm and vineyard with her parents and grandparents. Christina studied oenology and wine management in London, getting to know wine styles from all over the world. In 2007, she returned to the winery to work with her parents, and after having two children became passionate about organic viticulture. They began the process of converting everything to organics in 2013 starting with soil treatments and elimination of herbicides, followed by eliminating pesticides and 100% organic vineyard management and then finally organic production in the winery. In 2018 they began the official process of certifying organically. Over the last 10 years working at the winery, Christina has fallen in love with ancient winemaking practices and thus has now launched her own natural line of wines.
The Wine: This wine is made with the Chardonnay grape from the Caruntum region of Burgenland in Austria. How does it get its orange color? The phrase that pays…skin contact. The grapes are hand-harvested, de-stemmed, and fermented in contact with the skins for 18 days, in stainless steel fermenters. Once pressed, the wine spends four months in old vats and stainless steel with full yeast. The wine is unfiltered with light sulfur addition.
Tasting Notes: I know you can’t really tell from the picture, but this Chardonnay is orange. It’s just really pale…lol. It is full-bodied with citrus and stone fruit (like nectarines) notes. Considering it has had skin contact, it isn’t overly tannic, but you do get a little bit of tang on the finish. It’s an acquired tasted. If you don’t like dry white wines then this won’t be for you, but if you do or aren’t afraid to take a walk on the wild side…go ahead and place that order.
2020 SLO Jams Sauvignon Blanc
Producer: SLO Down Wines
Varietals: 95% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% 5% Roussanne
I initially saw this SLO Jams Sauvignon Blanc on my Instagram feed. I think it was sold-out at the time (it’s now available) so I was happy to see it at Local Foods. Being a huge Sauvignon Blanc fan, I was most excited that this one was from the Washington region. That’s another region I haven’t really experienced yet, but no time like the present.
Background: SLO Down Wines is one of the most laid back wine producers I’ve come across…EVER. If “less is more” were a person, SLO Down Wines is clearly about letting its wine speak for itself. I say that because they don’t spend a lot of time talking about their brand on their website. Its founder Brandon started the company back in college with 93 cases and a dream. Almost a decade later and they’re still having fun making wine. I love that their website is short and to the point. Their “Our Story” page begins with “Seriously good wine that doesn’t take itself too seriously.” I mean that’s all that I needed to know, right?!
The Wine: First of all what initially drew me to this wine was its label. I love how it pays homage to the cassette tape—the original way we used to listen to slow jams.
The Wine: The 2020 SLO Jams is 95% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Roussanne from Destiny Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA of Washington. You may be able to find a bottle at Total Wine if you’re lucky.
Tasting Notes: SLO Jams opens with aromas of key lime and lemon grass (and I mean heavy on this citrus flavor) followed by light and fresh flavors of pineapple, ripe grapefruit and stone fruit. On the mid palate, hints of kiwi and honey suckle blend seamlessly into the subtle mineral finish. To be honest it’s an acquired tasted. This Sauv Blanc fell a little flat for me. I may need to stick to my New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (just sayin’), but that shouldn’t keep you from trying it. Remember everyone’s palate is different.
2019 Crunchy Roastie
Producer: Stolpman Vineyards
Region: Los Olivos (CA)
Varietals: 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier
Crazy name, right?! I’ve been eyeing the Crunchy Roastie for a while now, especially when I saw that it was a red and white blend.
Background: Over 20 years ago, founding partner Tom Stolpman discovered one of the greatest viticultural sites on earth. Hidden in the hills of California’s Central Coast, on a rare Limestone outcropping & unobstructed from the Pacific Ocean wind, this unique land was naturally suited to grow Syrah and Roussanne grapes. Stoplman Vineyards was committed to preserving this natural environment for its vines through conscious farming & sustainable winemaking with minimal intervention.
The Wine: The 2019 debut vintage of Crunchy Rôastie represents the latest evolution in Stoplman Vineyard’s pursuit to make fresh and delicate Syrah. Their objective is to pick Syrah early while still “crunchy,” with high acidity and low potential alcohol. Then, they utilize whole-grape, un-crushed carbonic fermentation so as not to extract coarse, under-ripe tannin – leaving the wine feathery and chill-able. To ensure a pure, luscious fruit profile they’ve utilized the age-old Cote Rôtie method of co-fermenting a small percentage of Viognier that heaps on pretty floral aromatics to the darker, brooding Syrah profile.
Tasting Notes: I feel like I can smell the earth from which these grapes were cultivated…lol. There are aromas of deep blackberries on the nose. You also get the classic Syrah notes of olives. I know that sounds weird and I’ve never smelled olives on a wine before but they are front and center on this one. The taste of this red is very interesting. Much of the aroma notes you get on the palate. This could definitely be served chilled. I don’t eat beef, but I imagine this would pair well with it or a very hardy meal…maybe even bbq. And, I appreciate that the tannins are not overwhelming. This red is very smooth and approachable…if you’re not afraid of olives. I’m sorry, but that flavor won’t escape this wine. I dunno…you be the judge.
So, there you have three new wines that I’ve introduced to you. Hopefully, one will catch you eye and you’ll give a try. Let me know what you think. Until next time…glasses up!