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Ken's Picks


Bottega Vinai Muller Thurgau D.O.C. 2022 12% abv.  Trentino, Italy

Tasting Notes: The grape varietal Muller Thurgau, Switzerland born and German raised, has been much maligned because of historical associations with bland, off-dry German white wines, so prevalent in the 1970's under the moniker of Liebfraumilch. However, under the careful watch of Bottega Vinai, and grown in high altitude vineyards on the Brentonico Plateau, this grape takes on verve and character. A very light straw color with green tints, it has aromas of white peach, sage, citrus, and bergamot. The palate is light, with crisp acidity, jicama, lemon zest, and a good mineral line. Quick finish. Drink now. Bring on the raclette, the classic cheese fondue, creamy vegetable soups (cream of celery comes to mind), fish dishes.

Price: $20.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Luis Pato Baga Vinho Espumante Brut N/V 12.5% abv  Bairrada, Portugal

Tasting Notes: Baga is a dark-skinned grape variety used to make red wines in the central coast of Portugal. Notable for the thickness of its grape skin in proportion to the size of the small berries, its name means "berry" or, better, "droplet", although neither of these terms capture the tannic, astringent nature of many wines made from Baga grapes. Because of its nature, it is ideally suited for the production of sparkling wine. Luis Pato, wine maker extraordinaire, has crafted an exceptional spumante from this varietal. A stunning sockeye salmon pink, it expresses cherry, raspberry, and cold cream on the nose. The palate begins with an explosive, dense, and frothy mousse, followed by a persistent and fine bead. Flavors: notes of roasted cherry, orange peel, plum, pear, and brown butter. This is a very elegant alternative to champagne (this wine is fermented in stainless steel before dosage and secondary fermentation in bottle for 9 months). Serve with appies, charcuterie. Drink now.

Price: $22.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Krolo Crljenak 2016 13.5% abv.  Kastela, Croatia

Tasting Notes: Crljenak (chirl-yen-ak): doesn't quite trip off the tongue, but let me translate for you: Zinfandel! This venerable variety spent centuries in its home of Croatia before trekking across first to Italy, where it became Primitivo, and then to California, where it became Zinfandel. If you want to surprise your Zinfandel loving relatives with a Christmas gift, then this wine is exactly what you are looking for. The wine expresses its Croatian terroir beautifully: a deep ox blood red with an impenetrable black center, it shows a complex perfume of plums, prunes, tarragon, cherry compote, and toasted oak. The palate starts with dried fruit: dates, sultanas, and prunes, then migrates to tones of roast beef, with butterscotch and caramel wrapping up. Medium to long finish. The tannins are still very present but they help to delineate the wine and prevent jammy notes. It can still get better but it's extremely tasty right now. Pair with roasted foods, hard cheeses. Drink now-2027 ish.

Price: $51.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Montes Alpha Syrah 2020 14.5% abv.  D.O. Colchagua Valley, Chile

Tasting Notes: Colchagua Valley is a fairly new wine-producing region in Chile, as is Montes Wines, which was created in 1987. Most of the region's modern winemaking facilities have been constructed with wine tourism in mind, and as a result, Colchagua Valley is enjoying a growing reputation as Chile's 'Napa Valley'. The Montes Alpha Syrah is consistently of high quality, with its Rhone-like power and intensity. A deep purple/black ink color, it expresses a dense, concentrated nose of roasted plum, toasted cinnamon, currants and blackberries. The palate has a big, extracted mouthfeel with black currants, tar, dark chocolates, and leather notes. Tannins are still chewy. The wine has a great, long finish. An excellent value; you can drink it now but even a few short years of good cellaring will be amply rewarded! Pair with all sorts of roasted, grilled foods.

Price: $27.49 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Cantina Lunae Mea Rosa IGT Rosé 2021 12.5% abv.  Liguria Di Levante, Italy

Tasting Notes: This wine is made from the ancient Black Vermentino (Vermentino Nero), grown mainly in Tuscany. It usually is used in the production of full bodied, spicy wines with red and black fruit aromas, but It makes a distinctive Rosé, The color is a brilliant, deep, cherry pink, with blood orange/Grand Marnier tints. The nose: cranberry, strawberry, wet stone, herbal notes of thyme/sage, hints of hibiscus. The palate: clear and fresh, with dragon fruit, wild berries, watermelon, menthol notes, and a nice hit of orange bitters on the back. It holds a great line, with light tannin. Clean quick finish. Drink now, and pair with your Thanksgiving turkey dinner, or whatever you're serving for Thanksgiving!

Price: $25.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Monte Creek Hands Up Red 2021 VQA 14% abv.  Thompson Valley, B.C.

Tasting Notes: Open to the public since 2015, Monte Creek hopes to transition to full organic certification by this year. Hands Up Red is a blend: predominant Frontenac Noir ( a hybrid that has good success in Canadian climates), with Cabernet Franc and Merlot to round out the edges. This wine would be in the running for the 'best wine you've never heard of' category! Very expressive aromas of violets, plums, cranberry jam, smoked meats, thyme. The palate is equally dense, with a smooth entry, soft tannins, notes of smoked pastrami, roasted red bell pepper, black currant, blueberry reduction, and a hint of roast walnut bringing up the rear. Pair with pasta dishes with red sauce, burgers, grilled meats. Drink now- 2026.

Price: $21.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Tenuta Montecchiesi Vermentino Chardonnay IGT 2021 13% abv. Vegan Friendly  Toscana, Italy

Tasting Notes: This is a perfect patio sipper for those hot August nights! I could not track down the 2021 recipe, but the 2022 recipe is 60% Vermentino, 40% Chardonnay, so I assume it's going to be close. Fermentation in large French oak barrels for 3 weeks. The wine ages a minimum of three months in steel, with bâttonage of the fine lees once per week, and then at least 45 days in the bottle. Light straw color with green gold tints. Aromas of lime peel, wet stone, Hawthorne, green apple skin, herbs. The clean, bright palate expresses white peach, golden delicious apple, passionfruit, and a mid palate kiwi tone. Good acidity keeps it all in place. Serve chilled, with antipasti, light hors d'oeuvres, vegetable crudites. Drink now. Very refreshing!

Price: $22.49 750 ml

 

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