Basic info: Ca N’Estruc, Xarel-lo, Catalunya, Spain – 2017
Price estimate: $17 (Weekly Tasting)
Look: Translucent light yellow
Smell: Apricot – I kept sniffing this to see if I could get more out of it, but I just couldn’t
Taste: Stone fruit, specifically white peach. Subtle citrus notes that are almost lemon, but not quite. Tiny bit of slate towards the back end of this wine with a medium finish.
Conclusions: I was so happy drinking this wine. It had a nice acidity, but it didn’t overpower. It went well with food and just as good as a sipper on the back patio. It was unique – it had a bit of a floral quality but it was subtle. That seemed to be the key word for this wine – subtle. There was a lot going on, but it was all understated and really well done.
Other notes: I had never heard of Xarel-lo before and it isn’t something I expect to find on the shelves of my local wine store, but if I do, I’m picking some up. This was great, and perfect for a warm summer day and it went perfect with our cheese plate.
From the bottle: No bottle notes. 13.5% alcohol by volume
Basic info: Raorao Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand – 2017
Price estimate: $7 (Trader Joe’s)
Look: Very pale straw/hay colored.
Smell: Apple, melon and salt
Taste: Crisp, tart green apple, melon, apricot and white peach initially. More tropical fruits like pineapple and orange at the middle part of the wine and it finishes with lemons and oddly, a hint of banana. (Yes, that sounds weird, but it wasn’t.)
Conclusions: I thought this was a really nice summer wine. It was crisp, tart and had a hint of sweetness without being a sweet wine. Bob was not as enamored with this one as I was as it was too citrus-y for him. This was also really easy to drink and was just enjoyable without being fussy.
Other notes: For a long time I’ve avoided Sauvignon Blanc wines because I associate them with grapefruit flavor and I really don’t like grapefruit. However, ever since the Longboard, I’ve started going back to the varietal and while it still isn’t mu favorite, there are enough different styles of it that I will absolutely try it – I even ordered a glass at dinner recently. In the middle of summer when it is 90+ degree outside, a nice, crisp, unfussy white wine is really nice.
From the bottle: No bottle notes. 12.3% alcohol by volume.
Basic info: Vignobles Lacheteau Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie, Loire Valley, France – 2016
Price estimate: $7 (Trader Joe’s)
Look: Very pale yellow, almost clear in the glass, with a slight green tint
Smell: Apple, melon, salt, jasmine
Taste: Tart green apple, lime, tiny bit of lemon. Round feel in the mouth with a little honeydew, apricot and white grape. Good finish with a little saline and melon notes.
Conclusions: For a sub ten dollar bottle of wine, this was great. Super easy to drink, nice taste and a little complexity – not a lot and it isn’t one that I will seek out all the time, but for the price I think it’s fantastic. I would happily pick up a few bottle of this to have around for the summer.
Other notes: One of the wine podcasts I listen to has mentioned getting wine at Trader Joe’s a few times. The one “near” us is not convenient, easy to get to and the parking lot is always full, so I’ve never been inside despite really liking the store (from my days back in Jersey). But, when we were in Tallahassee we stopped by the Trader Joe’s there and picked up some wine. Definitely worth it and I may have to find a time to go to our local store this summer when I can actually get in the parking lot.
From the bottle: “Issued from the MELON grape variety and vilified in he respect of the Loire Valley traditional methods, this wine is matured “on the lees” at least for a winter to offer richness and complex floral aromas. Best enjoyed with starters, seafood or fish dishes.” 12% alcohol by volume.
Basic info: Janina Wines, “Ceviche” Catch of the Day, Sauvignon Blanc, Central Coast, CA – 2016
Price estimate: $13 (local wine store)
Look: Pale straw in color with almost no legs.
Smell: Faint apple and some orange
Taste: Pineapple, green apple, lie, lemon, orange flower with a bit of saline and white peach at mid palate. Short to medium finish with notes of lime.
Conclusions: It was okay. I liked it as a summer sipper. It isn’t something worth going gaga over, but it is a perfectly nice, summer wine.
Other notes: Bob and I disagreed on this one at about every point. I called the color pale straw and he said it had too much color to be straw. I said it smelled like apples and he said he didn’t get anything on the nose. I said the finish was nice, he said it was short and not really there. We did agree that it was pretty good, but that was about all we could agree on for this one.
From the bottle: No bottle notes. 13% alcohol by volume.
Look: Pale yellow that is almost clear at the edges. No noticeable legs.
Smell: Pineapple and apricot
Taste: Round. good acidity but soft in the mouth with flavors of melon, pineapple, white peach, white cherry and granite. Medium finish with apple and more mineral.
Conclusions: I was really surprised with this wine. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but the description sounded good and I decided to try it. I am really glad I did. It was a great wine to have with dinner and it went well with food (can’t remember what I paired it with) but it was equally as good sitting on the couch watching tv later in the evening. I just wish I had picked up more than one bottle of this.
Other notes: I almost didn’t get this wine. There was an issue with the case of various wines that I ordered (I won’t go into details). I was frustrated and ready to cross Somm Select off my list of places to order wine from. But I was contacted by the company and not only did Connor understand why I was frustrated, he did everything he could to make it right. I can not tell you how much I appreciated the phone call – an actual phone call, not an email or text – to explain what happened and everything he did in the name of customer service. He went well above and beyond what I would have expected so rather than cross Somm Select off my list of places to order wine from, it’s gotten bumped up on the “go to” list. It also helps that the wines are generally fantastic, and this one is no different. This is one of those wines that makes you remember why you drink wine for the pure enjoyment of the experience.
From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Somm Select, ” Alluring aromas of quince, yellow apple skin, white peach, preserved lemon, citrus blossoms, and pineapple core shine through, followed by notes of crushed chalk, wet stone, hazelnut, slight cream, and delicately-woven baking spices. The medium-bodied palate is soft and elegant – near crisp in style – but with rich layers. Nervy stone mineralogy and fresh waves of acid sit in perfect harmony with a delicate core of just-ripe, and finely textured fruits.” 12.5% alcohol by volume.
Basic info: Sutter Homes Winery, Fre Alcohol Removed Chardonnay, California – No Vintage
Price estimate: $8 (grocery store)
Look: Very pale yellow with a tint of green
Smell: Apple juice and white grapes (Bob’s comment was that it was just hard.)
Taste: Soured apple juice, sour grape, maybe a little pear if I’m being generous. Very sweet finish.
Conclusions: I won’t say this was undrinkable, but it was pretty much not wine. If you told me it was apple juice I’d have thought it was bad. Give it to me as a glass of wine and I’m holding on to it all night and not drinking more than a sip every now and then. If you just want something sweet to drink, there are way better options. I’m not even sure I would cook with this and I certainly didn’t finish the glass.
Other notes: Yes, I realize this is not wine and it is almost blasphemous to post it here, but I did. I like wine. I really like wine, but I don’t always like drinking alcohol and I was looking for non-alcoholic options for when I want a glass or two, but don’t want to drink. You know, something to sip on while sitting on the couch watching whatever superhero show Bob has on. I’ve had some sparking non-alcoholic wines before that were actually pretty good – no they won’t pass for Champaign but they were perfectly enjoyable. I was really hoping to find an option in still wine that would be the same, but oh, this just was not.
From the bottle: (Their marketing department did a fantastic job with the bottle notes … just saying.) “The sophisticated alternative. With its deep golden hue, and lively tropical fruit flavors that waft from the glass, our alcohol-removed Chardonnay makes any occasion special. Rich, creamy apple flavors mingle with crisp citrus notes on your palate, concluding with an enjoyable tart finish.” 24% juice, <0.5% alcohol.
Basic info: Longboard Vineyards North Coast Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma, CA – 2017
Price estimate: $24
Look: Very, very pale. Almost no color, but a little green tint in the right light
Smell: Pine, pineapple, thyme, rosemary
Taste: Round wine with tastes of pineapple, coconut, fresh herbs, a touch of vanilla and oak (but not much – really a hint), grapefruit, lemon and orange flower. Very long finish.
Conclusions: This is an Oh My Goodness wine. It is probably the best Sauvignon Blanc I’ve ever had. I don’t tend to drink Sauvignon Blanc but this wine is making me rethink that, especially for summer. Super smooth and totally enjoyable this is a great wine for sipping. I may need to get more of this.
Other notes: Both Bob and I were super excited to try this one after I heard the wine maker on a podcast I listen to and while I expected it to be good, I didn’t expect it to be this good. This was not the sharp, acidic grapefruit-y Sauvignon Blanc that you might expect. It’s soft and flavorful and just so good. We both had a second glass (Bob actually went with the wine instead of beer after he tasted it so that tells you something right there) and lingered over it. I kept smelling and tasting the wine because every time I did I just smiled.
From the bottle: “Wine, Waves and Soul” 13.5% alcohol by volume.