By Maggie Walters
I wrote a blog just over a month ago about what a wine geek drinks on a budget, and I received so much positive feedback that I decided to write another one! It was such a pleasure to meet everyone who stopped by Colonial for the "hidden gems" wines, and I'm really excited to share this next list of wines.
Domaine Sainte-Eugenie – Corbieres, France
$12.99 – 13.5% Alcohol • Grapes: Old Vine Carignan, Grenache, Syrah
The Languedoc is one of my favorite areas in France to seek out value wines. They have been making wine for quite some time and really know what they're doing. All of the vines going into this wine have an average age of 50 years (which is an art to maintain on its own). This is a full-bodied wine with heavy, luscious tannins. Red and dark fruits and berries present themselves on the palate, followed by baking spices (star anise, allspice, orange rind) and violets.
I can NOT believe that this wine costs what it does, I would choose to drink this over several higher priced wines out there.
Pairing suggestions: grilled or roasted meats. Also pairs well with fuzzy socks and a good book.
Barkan Classic – Israel
$11.99 – 13% Alcohol • Grape: Pinot Noir
A Pinot Noir from Israel! I know, I know, you had no idea there was a wine region in Israel (kuddos to you if you did). This Pinot Noir definitely took me by surprise when I had a glass with my dinner at the Pantry (they're pouring it by the glass), and it made me go back for more. If I tasted this wine blind I honestly wouldn't have guessed it was a Pinot. It's dark and concentrated in color, and heavier on the palate than I expected. Soft and velvety tannins follow bright acidity and carry flavors like stewed strawberries, sweet black cherries, chocolate, and a touch of mint.
Pairing suggestions: Broiled salmon and roasted chicken dishes. Also pairs well with warm bubble baths.
Charles & Charles – Art Den Hoed Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington
$12.99 – 12% Alcohol • Grape: Riesling
I can NOT say enough positive things about this wine. First of all this winery has so much love for their grapes. This is a high altitude, single vineyard in Washington (which means they don't buy their grapes from anyone, or anywhere else, like a lesser vineyard site) aka this isn't cheap plonk! The grapes are hand harvested at night and transported in a temperature controlled vehicle that doesn't allow fermentation to start until the vintner is ready for the process to begin. This allows the wine to retain pure, clean, and refreshing qualities and show off a bouquet of delicate aromatics. Whew, enough about the practices, lets talk about how tasty this wine is. This wine is technically classified as an off-dry riesling, although if there was a classification between off-dry and dry, this wine would be it, it is full of bright, mouth watering, refreshing acidity, that the kiss of residual sugar present is not in the forefront. On the palate you get zingy lemon, apricot, and honeysuckle with a hint of minerality reminiscent of wet river rocks. The flavor is refreshing and lingering.
Pairing suggestions: Foods with a little kick, like Asian or Indian dishes as well as seafood! Also pairs well with good friends and conversation!
Santi Solane Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore – Veneto, Italy
I think this is the hidden gem I am most proud of! Boy was I shocked when I cracked this bottle open on a random Wednesday night to drink with my pasta. Valpolicella superiore Ripasso is known affectionately as "a poor man's Amarone." This style beefs up simple Valpolicella with some grapes previously used for Amarone. This is a medium bodied wine full of complexity and richness that will make you rejoice with the absolute value that this wine is! This wine showcases dried cherries, spice and earthiness that will accompany heartier dishes.
Pairing suggestions: Steak, mushrooms, earthier flavored dishes, and pastas with red meaty sauce. Pairs well with a leather sofa and a warm, crackling fire.
Marques de Caceres Verdejo – Rueda, Spain
This is for the Sauvignon Blanc lovers out there! Rueda is the region and the grape grown here is Verdejo (commonly blended with Sauvignon Blanc, but not listed on the label). This wine is everything you want in an aromatic, fresh fruity light white wine! This wine expresses vegetal notes like fresh cut grass, lime, peach, and melon.
Pairing suggestions: seafood dishes, greens with vinaigrette dressing, and light proteins with cream sauces. The acidity will cut through the creaminess and the fattiness of the sauces. Also pairs well with front porches and sunshine!
All sizes and vintages are in stock at the time of publication. In the event advertised vintages sell out, substitute vintages may be offered at the same price.