AG Pick: Colliano Peneča Rebula Brut

One taste of the Colliano Peneča Rebula Brut 2012 and you’ll want to enjoy it any night of the week. And with a wallet-friendly price tag, you can.

Colliano Peneca RebulaNewly available in the United States, this sparkling wine comes from Goriška Brda in Slovenia, a hilly region that is just over the border from Italy. It is 100% Ribolla Gialla (Rebula in the Slovene language), a white wine grape that is most commonly grown in Friuli-Venezia Giulia in northeast Italy.

Peneča, pronounced peh-neh-cha, means “sparkling.” This wine was made using the Charmat method, just like Prosecco. The secondary fermentation that forms the bubbles takes place in tanks, rather than in the bottle as with the traditional method. The grapes were harvested by hand, and the wine spent six months aging on the lees.

While Prosecco is typically sweet, the Peneča Rebula Brut is dry. Rounded flavors of Meyer lemon, green apple and orange peel are balanced by crisp acidity. It’s medium bodied and lively with a creamy mouthfeel, and ready to drink now.

A bottle of the Peneča Rebula Brut costs approximately $17 to $19. Enjoy it as an aperitif or with shellfish, fresh cheeses and salads.

12.5% alcohol by volume

If the Peneča Rebula Brut isn’t available at your favorite wine shop in Atlanta, ask for it. Colliano wines are imported by Laureate Imports Company and distributed by Savannah Distributing Company.

Related: Colliano – Wines from Slovenia

More Sparkling Wines | Red Wines | White Wines | More Under $20

Dinner Lab

Dinner Lab Now Cooking in Atlanta

 

A unique social dining experiment has arrived in Atlanta. Dinner Lab, the secret, pop-up supper club that began in New Orleans, is now accepting members.

It’s a mouthwatering concept: up-and-coming chefs get a chance to showcase their talents and creativity with a group of adventurous food fans. The chef and five-course menu are announced when tickets go up for sale, but the location is a secret until the day before. During the dinner guests are encouraged to write comments about each dish and offer constructive feedback for the chef.

Chef Brandon ChavannesThe Amateur Gastronomer got a sneak peek (and taste) last week at the Panta Rei dinner featuring Chef Brandon Chavannes. The Atlanta born and raised chef brings his passion for cooking seafood to Lure in Midtown. For his Dinner Lab menu, Chef Chavannes mixed Spanish and West Indies culinary traditions, and highlighted foods he grew up on.

The location of the dinner was Studio 900, a nondescript space on Dekalb Avenue in Inman Park that would be easy to miss, had there not been a number of cars parked in front. After sipping a welcome cocktail and mingling with the other guests, we took our seats at communal tables.

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Bernardus Sauvignon Blanc

Standout Sauvignon Blanc from California

Made famous by France and today grown all over the world, Sauvignon Blanc is a favorite among white wine drinkers. But you don’t need to go international to find a world class Sauvignon Blanc – just look to California.

Here are the Amateur Gastronomer’s picks for standout Sauvignon Blanc from California.

If the warm weather isn’t reason enough to try these wines, pick up a bottle for International Sauvignon Blanc Day, on Friday May 16th. Share what you’re sipping with us @amgastronomer on Twitter and Instagram with #SauvBlanc.

Arkenstone NVD Sauvignon Blanc 2012

There’s a new Sauvignon Blanc from Arkenstone Vineyards. The Howell Mountain winery has expanded beyond its estate vines on the western shoulder to include grapes in the larger Napa Valley AVA.

Arkenstone NVD Sauvignon BlancWinemaker Sam Kaplan uses similar techniques with the Napa Valley District Sauvignon Blanc as he does with the Estate wine to add complementary rounded and creamy notes to the fruit and floral flavors.

The 2012 Arkenstone NVD is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. After fermentation the wine spent 11 months on the lees in a combination of new and used French oak and concrete.

Enticing aromas of green apple, pineapple, kiwi and white flowers invite you to take a sip. The taste is sophisticated with layered pear, white peach, mango, honeydew and jasmine. It’s soft in the mouth, with good acidity and wet stone minerality adding freshness. The finish is long with lingering apple and peach notes. Look for the official release of the 2012 Arkenstone NVD Sauvignon Blanc in July.

$45, 14.5% alcohol, arkenstone.com
335 West Lane, Angwin, California
707.965.1020

Bernardus Griva Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Just a short drive from the world-famous destinations of Pebble Beach, Monterey Bay Aquarium and picturesque Carmel-by-the-Sea is the Bernardus Lodge and Winery. Owner Bernardus (Ben) Pon selected the location with the dream to make a red wine in the Carmel Valley equal to the finest from Bordeaux.

Bernardus Griva Sauvignon BlancA standout in its own right is the winery’s take on white Bordeaux. As is common in Bordeaux, Bernardus’ Sauvignon Blanc has a small percent of Semillon added to the final blend.

The grapes for this white wine come from Griva Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco AVA, just south of Santa Lucia Highlands in the Salinas Valley. The Sauvignon Blanc was hand picked and fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures using three specially selected yeasts. The finished wine has 5% barrel fermented Semillon, added to enhance its richness and complexity.

Wonderfully aromatic with tropical fruit and citrus, the Bernardus Griva Sauvignon Blanc has flavors of white apricot, passion fruit, grapefruit and lime zest with subtle grassy notes on the crisp finish. Refreshing acidity gives the wine a lively mouthfeel, with gentle minerality adding structure.

$22, 13.7% alcohol, bernardus.com
5 West Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley, California
831.298.8021

Galerie Equitem 2012

The debut vintage of Equitem and the newly launched Galerie series is an exciting introduction to winemaker Laura Díaz Muñoz, who brings together European techniques and traditions with New World fruit. Her education and Galerie Equitemwinemaking career began in Spain, with stops in New Zealand and Chile before arriving in Napa and working alongside acclaimed Cardinale winemaker Chris Carpenter.

Equitem, meaning “knight” in Latin, is made entirely of Sauvignon Blanc from Knights Valley in Sonoma. The wine was aged on the lees, half in neutral French oak barrels and half in stainless steel tanks. It was stirred three times per week in barrel and two times per week in tank to enhance the mouthfeel of the finished wine.

Showcasing an artistry both inside and outside the bottle, the Equitem Sauvignon Blanc is nuanced and elegant with slate minerality and lively acidity. Golden apple, pear, white peach and guava mingle with white flowers, meringue and subtle vanilla, culminating in a crisp citrus finish.

You’ll also want to try sister wine Naissance, Galerie’s Sauvignon Blanc from the Napa Valley.

$30, 14.3% alcohol, galeriewines.com
P.O. Box 328, Oakville, California

866.715.1993

Round Pond Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc 2013

How do you make your Sauvignon Blanc stand out in a region that is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon? You focus on the purity of fruit and make the wine as Round Pond Sauvignon Blancclean as possible to highlight the quality of the vineyard. That’s according to Round Pond managing partner Miles MacDonnell, whose family has owned the farm, winery and olive mill since 1983.

Working with winemaker Muiris Griffin, the MacDonnells aim to produce a more classic expression of Sauvignon Blanc that is stylistically closer to Graves in Bordeaux. After a near perfect growing season in 2013, the grapes were hand harvested, whole-cluster pressed and fermented entirely in stainless steel. No malolactic fermentation was allowed to occur.

Crisp and refreshing are words that immediately come to mind. Aromas of lemon, golden pear and just ripened peach expand on the palate along with bright flavors of white grapefruit, melon, starfruit, lime and a hint of lemongrass.

$24, 14.5% alcohol, roundpond.com
875 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, California
707.302.2575

Séamus Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2013

You can’t beat sipping a chilled Sauvignon Blanc outdoors on a hot afternoon in the South – one of the reasons owner and winemaker James Foley Jr. was inspired to make it. Working with his father James Sr. in Marietta, Georgia, James Jr. divides his time between his home in Savannah and winemaking facility in San Francisco.

Seamus Sauv BlancSéamus (the Gaelic equivalent of “James”) focuses on premium, handcrafted wines from California, sourcing grapes from top appellations. The grapes for the Sauvignon Blanc come from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma.

“I try to stick to the traditional European style but I don’t want to hide the opulence of new world fruit,” says Foley Jr., who used a slow fermentation technique in stainless steel to preserve the tropical fruit characteristics.

Apple and citrus aromas introduce flavors of green apple, honeydew, mango and pineapple. The wine is well balanced with refreshing acidity, and ends with a deliciously crisp and dry finish.

When you pick up a bottle of the Séamus Sauvignon Blanc you’ll notice a tribute to home – the label is an image of the live oaks that line the entrance to Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah.

$29, 14.4% alcohol, seamuswines.com
2455 3rd Street, San Francisco, California
415.939.1735

For information on purchasing the wines visit their websites, and look for the wines at wine shops and restaurants.

More White Wines | Red Wines | Under $20

Cocktails in the Garden is Back

The prettiest cocktail party in Atlanta is back this month. Cocktails in the Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden begins its 2014 season on Thursday, May 8th.

Every Thursday from 6pm to 10pm, May through September, guests will get to stroll around the garden at dusk while sipping beer, wine and mixed drinks.

Cocktails in the GardenThere will be live cooking demonstrations and tastings from chefs in the Edible Garden, DJs spinning live music and surprise cultural performances. The Art & Science Café returns every third Thursday, with lively discussions on plants and human health.

Each month’s theme highlights living sculptures in the Imaginary Worlds exhibit. May’s theme is “Earth Goddess, I’ll Have What She’s Having.” You can toast to the larger than life lady with her signature cocktail, The Goddess, made with Absolut Citron, local honey infused with mint, a splash of grenadine and lime juice.

Admission to Cocktails in the Garden is $18.95 for adults and free for garden members. Guest passes are accepted. Click here for more information.

Cocktails in the Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Every Thursday Night, May through September, 6pm – 10pm. 1345 Piedmont Avenue NE, Atlanta