The Wine Guy
As the country gets ready to celebrate another national birthday, better-known to every Marketing Department in the United States as, “the Fourth”, the list of options for celebrating with family and friends is as varied as ever-local cookouts, watching the Pops and road races everywhere, just to mention a few. Since this is an American birthday celebration, I’m going to keep the focus on my wine selections American as well.
Speaking of local, it doesn’t get much more local than Westport Rivers Vineyards, located in Westport, Mass. Among a line of wines that all enjoy the benefits of cool evening mist from the Atlantic, two of them stand out. The Westport Brut, RJR, NV, ($22.99), is perfect for a toast to us. Fine bubbles and a gentle mousse bring notes of brioche, flint, Granny Smith apple peel, and candied lemon to the nose. On the palette, these flavors take on a rich, grippy mouthfeel with youthful acidity. The long, clean finish is tinged with hints of ginger and savory tangerine. Try it with some scallops or a lobster roll!
Don’t forget their Chardonnay, either; close your eyes, have a sip and tell me you’re not drinking a high-quality Napa wine. Like many vineyards on the other coast, Westport’s grapes also get the beneficial evening mist from an ocean and you can really taste it here. The Westport Rivers Chardonnay, 2015, Southeast Massachusetts, ($19.99), is a chard that gives some lemon zest with a little buttery creaminess… without overwhelming you with oak. If you’re grilling chicken or fish, be sure to pair it with this very worthy chardonnay; you (and your guests!) will be glad you did!
Moving a little further to the West, I want re-visit a vineyard that’s worth a mention again when it comes to Sparkling wine that consistently impresses for both its quality and price. Gruet Vineyards, founded by the Gruet family back in the mid-90’s while on their way to California, is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, about 4500 feet above sea level. Like Massachusetts, you wouldn’t think of it as a quality wine-growing location. But think again.
The Gruet Blanc de Blancs, NV, ($17.99), presents aromas of brioche and green apples that follow through on the palate. Flavors of lemon zest, honeysuckle, and tropical fruit lead to a crisp, fresh finish. This is a versatile wine that can be enjoyed with shellfish, cheese or just by itself. The Gruet family observe strict Champagne region wine making techniques that lend a quality and sense of hand-made wine that should cost more, but, luckily for us, doesn’t!
Even though it’s warm, I don’t want to forget those diehard red fans, so, try some Black Stallion 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, ($24.99). Grapes sourced from Rutherford, Oak Knoll, Atlas Peak, Howell Mountain, Oakville, Diamond Mountain, Mount Veeder, Spring Mountain and Stag’s Leap will impress you with their structure, mouthfeel and long, deep finish. This Cab drinks as well as many selling for twice the price and if you’ve got great red meat on the grille, make sure this wine is in a glass right beside it.
Hope everyone has an enjoyable and safe Holiday!
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