Category Archives: Staff Picks

A celebration of Australian Wine

AustraliaVineyardsAustralia Day! It’s a great day to do a little education on Australian wines. Not to mention stock up on some of my favorites.

Australia has been in the wine production business for centuries, but only in the last 60 years has it focused on creating dry wines, and only in the last 30 years has it really been internationally recognized in the wine world. Lucky for us, Australian Wine is not a fad –  it’s only growing in quality and popularity.

Australia is one of my favorite wine regions. I once designed an online course for Australia and through all the research and map-drawing and wine tasting, I realized that this may be one of my favorite wine regions. After a visit in 2007, I was not only thrilled with the wines but also the people – seriously, some of the most friendly people we’ve met in the wine industry have been these fantastic people!

wineaustraliaFor our Australia Day celebration at Wine.com, we’re offering 10% off any 6 or more bottles of Australian wine and trust me, it’s not too hard to stock up on a whole 6 bottles. Just depends on your style.

Shiraz? Yes, this is the most popular and most planted grape in Australia, and makes some of the most delicious and diverse wines out there. From value to collectible and from bright and light-bodied to dense and mouth-coating. If you prefer a lighter style, head to Victoria (Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Bendigo and the like). Big and bold you seek? Barossa is the way to go. And if you’re somewhere in the middle we recommend McLaren Vale Shiraz for you.

Cabernet Sauvignon – two places that do it best. Margaret River in Western Australia (think Bordeaux style) and Coonawarra in South Australia. Coonawarra Cab has such a delicious and distinct flavor profile, it’s almost hard to describe. Eucalyptus, sweet mint, floral, brambly, dark berry fruit… all around a wonderful style of wine. And if you want the structured style of Cab, pick up a bottle from Margaret River to pair with a steak. Sure to delight.

Chardonnay lovers can head to a number of regions, like Margaret River (please try the Leeuwin Estate Artist Series if you love good Chardonnay – you will never go back), Yarra Valley and Eden Valley.

Dry Riesling fans should most definitely pick up wines from the Clare Valley – mineral, wet stone and lime characteristics will jump out of the glass and the acidity will have your mouth singing with glee!

aussiecloudsGrenache, especially of the old vine sort, makes some amazing wines, but also excels in the GSM blends- also known as Rhone blends – you’ll find some excellent ones in South Australia around Adelaide, particularly in McLaren Vale.

Pinot Noir continues to rock from Yarra Valley and surrounding regions, and then you have grapes like Vermentino and Sangiovese making an appearance. In all, it’s kind of like California, where you can find a little bit of everything to fit everyone’s tastes.

Now, here are some of our favorite producers you must look for: Peter Lehmann, d’Arenberg, Yalumba, Penley Estate, Leeuwin, Robert Oatley, Clarendon Hills, Penfolds and plenty more.

Make sure to use code AussieDay at checkout to receive 10% off 6 or more bottles on Wine.com. (ends 1/26/14 at midnight).

Cheers!

12 wines to buy on 12-12-12 for the 12 days of Christmas

It’s 12-12-12, the last time the month, day and year will perfectly align until the next century. Since most of us won’t be around then, for those who find luck in numbers, it’s a big day. We like it because we can do fun things like offer 12% off 12 bottles and other 12 combinations.

So I’m pulling out my top 12 bottles for the holidays here. For MY 12 bottles, I’d choose these, each with a purpose for this holiday season.

The white splurge:  Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2009 - this Margaret River wine is like Australia’s Montrachet (I know, don’t you hate it when people compare wine to Burgundy?). Hands down one of my favorite Chardonnay and perfect for a holiday splurge.

The red splurge: Antinori Tignanello 2009 - okay, so if you drink this now, you’d have to decant it for a long time… but everyone should try a “Tig” and the ’09 was a beautiful vintage.

The bubble splurge:Champagne Krug Grande Cuvee - I could drink Krug everyday and twice on Sundays and claim a very happy life. A rich and full-bodied bubbly, this is the wine to buy should you be able to drop the dough on bubbles :)

The perfect dinner whiteChehalem 3 Vineyard Pinot Gris 2011 - It holds up to savory and spice as well as rich and creamy. With a perfect balance of racy acidity, floral notes and sweet fruit, this wine is a great match for the dinner table.

The perfect dinner red: Artesa Carneros Pinot Noir 2010 - Thank goodness it’s easier to find a Pinot Noir under $20 these days. Artesa consistently delivers, with rich fruit and bright acid, a palate-pleaser and food-friendly of course.

The perfect party bubbly: Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava - I could try to be creative, but won’t bother -this bubbly is a go-to for parties. It’s great year after year, always a top-seller and always a great value. Can’t beat it.

The perfect party white: La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Luberon Blanc 2011 – my parents buy this by the case as it’s a perfect everyday or party sipper. It has no fake oak or sweet aftertaste, just clean, crisp and easy-drinking.

The perfect party redd’Arenberg Stump Jump Red 2010 - easy going and easy drinking. That’s what you want in a party wine, and the Stump Jump is perfect for that. It’s an all-season wine (great for summer, winter and all if it in-between).

Date night wine:  Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 - it’s a sexy bottle, a seductive wine and needs nothing to pair with it but a little romance.

Hostess gift wine: Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut - bubbles are perfect for the hostess-with-the-mostest, and Schramsberg Mirabelle is a delicious wine that is perfect to serve at a party or with a meal.

Wine for toasting: Canard-Duchene Authentic Brut Rose - I had to make up a subject to get this bottle of bubbles in – one of my favorites, especially for the price. It’s lovely in the glass, great bubbles and flavors from start to finish.

The wine that goes with everything: Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling 2011 - obviously it has to be a Riesling… and this particular bottle, which marries fruit, acidity and sweet in delicious harmony, can go on any table and in any glass and be well-suited there.

Pick out your 12 for 12-12-12. It’s a day to celebrate and wine is certainly the way to go.

Staff Pick: La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial 2001

Wine: La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial 2001
Reviewer: Rachel
Rating: 4 Stars

Review: What do you get when you have a Rioja that’s sexy, earthy, spicy with a long, lasting finishing for only $30? A killer wine that I personally want to stock up on. This Rioja is a medium bodied wine with well-developed structure creating a silky mouthfeel that is delicious. This wine is loaded with red and black berries, red cherry, vanilla, baking spices but also has an earthy undertone with tobacco and leather notes. An excellent, affordable Rioja outstanding to enjoy now or stock up on and save a few bottles to enjoy in the years to come!

Enjoy this wine with a juicy lamb burger piled high with bacon, empanadas, grilled lamb chops and roasted duck. For a vegetarian option, try a Spanish grilled or smoked eggplant dish. Also pairs well with smoked and cured cheeses.

{80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha}

 

Staff Pick: Firestone Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine: Firestone Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Reviewer: Rachel
Rating: 4 Stars

Review: The Firestone Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 is a beautiful example of a Cabernet coming out of the Central Coast of California. It is smooth, supple and extremely food friendly. This wine is loaded with dark, juicy fruits such as blackberry, black currant and black cherry. The chocolate, mocha and cedar notes also contribute to the richness and depth of this wine.
This is an excellent, affordable Cabernet to enjoy any night of the week. Enjoy this wine with a juicy burger,  grilled steak, meat lovers pizza or lamb chops.

{88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Merlot}

Staff Pick: La Marca Prosecco

Wine: La Marca Prosecco
Reviewer:
 Eileen
Rating:
 4 stars

Review: This Prosecco is an all-around pleasure to drink.  It is one of those slightly sweet-to-dry delights that will please anyone at the dinner table or party.  It’s scarily good, I sipped it a little too fast because I was so taken by the first sip.  How can I explain crisp, yet creamy?  I’m certainly buying this wine again as an every day celebration since it’s so accessible at under $15.  A true value and a-must-have-on-hand-at-all times kinda wine.