It really pains me to advertise for Beverages & More (especially when I’m not getting paid to do it), but alas, being an employee for them means I end up tasting a lot of their wine. That said, there’s some decent stuff on the 2-for-1 Sale (or the 5 Cent Sale, if you live in California or Arizona) if you know what to look for, and with the sale wrapping up in less than a week on July 8, I figured I’d save you all the trouble of trying to figure out whether or not Wilfred Wong’s gratuitous 90+ point ratings are on the level and lend you a copy of my BevMo Cliff’s Notes, which I’ve been compiling over the last few years.
I’m breaking this thing up into two parts, so congratulations white wine drinkers: I’m starting with you.
Anko Torrontes (Argentina): I’m a big fan of Torrontes, and I push the grape pretty frequently on my Pinot Grigio drinkers when the weather gets hot, because if you’re gonna sit around on a porch sipping a light chilled wine, you might as well sip something unique. A friend of mine once described Torrontes as the “Fruit Loop Wine,” and the nose of the Anko certainly lives up to that: big, ripe meyer lemon, key lime, apricot, orange blossom, and a hint of dill. Take a sip, however, and you become privy to this wine’s secret twist ending: it’s not sweet at all, but rather light, delicate, and complex, with the citrus mingling nicely with pleasant floral notes, a hint of minerality, and the tang of unripe stone fruit. The wine’s not terribly acidic, so it’s more of a sipper than a supper, but who cares? When you’re dealing with apocalyptic heat waves the way we have been and will be from here on out, you aren’t thinking about food pairings, you’re thinking about how to cool down without getting arrested for indecent exposure.
BONUS BOTTLE: If twenty bucks is too rich for your blood, the Valentin “V” Torrontes is a decent alternative at $11.99/2. A bit more “7-Up” than “Fruit Loops” on the nose, the wine is still refreshing and tasty on a hot summer day. No need for ice cubes in this one (I’m looking at you, Dad).
Craftwork Chardonnay (Monterey): I know I keep harping on articles I’ve already written (and I’ve only been writing them for two weeks, so there’s not a whole lot to harp on), but on the subject of oaky vs. buttery Chards, the Craftwork Chard is another great example of a crisp, un-or-minimally oaked wine that still has a bit of butter to it. With a nice hit of minerality and dust, this Monterey Chard calls to mind those fine white Burgundies you’ve been reading about in Wine Spectator all this time. Every kind of citrus you can imagine in this one: lemon, lime, tangerine and pink grapefruit, along with the characteristic green apple supported by a slight creaminess with a bit of toast on it. I served this one at a tasting full of people who hated Chardonnay, and by the end of it I’d say most of the people who had initially refused the taste bought the bottle.
Coppola Director’s Cut Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast): This one isn’t something I’d buy myself “per se,” but if you’re a more traditional Chardonnay fan who digs all that butter and oak, the Director’s Cut Chard is probably where you want to be. I haven’t had it recently, but if memory serves, the wine’s got a good amount of La Crema creaminess with lots of spicy oak to boot (though it’s a little more crisp than previous vintages). Even if I had never tasted it before though, the rate at which this bottle sluices off the shelf and into the shopping carts of customers tells me everything I need to know: people like this wine. You probably will too.
Pikorua Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand): Show all those traditionalists who think screw caps are a sign of inferior wine by stuffing the cap of this bottle down their elitist throats. Just make sure not to spill any of the wine in the process, ‘cuz it’s good, and a nice showcase for what makes New Zealand Sauv Blanc so unique. The nose brims with lime and mango, along with a bit of green bell pepper and limestone. Flavor wise, the Pikorua strikes a nice balance, with crisp acidity and tangy grapefruit without being so dry that you have to be French to enjoy it. Tropical fruit notes lace their way through the wine, along with a big of grass. BevMo has a few New Zealand Sauvs on the sale, but out of the all the ones I’ve tried, this is the one I prefer.
Toques et Clochers Cremant: The sparkling wine I never completely figured out how to pronounce, this has been a solid value for as long as I’ve been at BevMo. Basically, if you want a Champagne style wine but don’t want to pay Champagne prices, the Toques et Clocher is your best option. Crisp and dry, with fervent, decently sized bubbles and nice green apple and a hint of breadiness, you could certainly do better, but not without spending at least another ten or twenty bucks. Plus, the bottle just looks classy!
Red drinkers, stay tuned: I’ll be back Friday with my red wine rundown. I promise.