Tag Archives: Cabernet Franc

Cru Bourgeois

Cru Bourgeois: High Quality Wine from Bordeaux’s Left Bank

With the incredible number of châteaux producing wines in Bordeaux, how do you know how to select a good bottle?

Sure, you can pick one from one of the five growths of the 1855 Classification – a ranking of Bordeaux’s best wines as requested by Emperor Napoleon III for the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris.

However, a lot has changed since 1855. So you may want to opt for something that has kept up with the times (not to mention that is also a lot easier than pulling up the list of classified estates).

When selecting a Bordeaux wine, look for Cru Bourgeois.

Cru Bourgeois logoCru Bourgeois du Médoc wines have met the strict quality selection procedure of the Alliance des Crus Bourgeois. This union was created in 1962 to study, defend and promote the interests of the owners and producers in the Médoc area. The term dates back to the 15th century, when the bourgeois (merchants) of Bordeaux were able to acquire the finest properties in the region.

“We use an external and independent verification body – Bureau Veritas – to supervise every stage of the process to ensure quality standards and impartiality at every stage,” explained Crus Bourgeois du Médoc Director Frederique de Lamothe via email.

“Since 2008, each vintage is tasted blind by external professionals and evaluated before being sold, making the ‘Cru Bourgeois’ quality approach unique and a benchmark for Bordeaux and the rest of France.”

Cru Bourgeois wines are easy to spot, thanks to an authentication sticker affixed to each bottle since the 2010 vintage.

Cru Bourgeois sticker

“This sticker not only guarantees quality, but also that the wine is representative of its specific terroir and appellation,” said Mr. de Lamothe. “The sticker also has a QR code that allows easy and immediate access to that particular château’s technical information on the Crus Bourgeois du Médoc website.”

The wines come from the famous sub-appellations on Bordeaux’s Left Bank: Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac-Medoc, Moulis en Medoc, Margaux, Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe. They’re made mainly from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

The wines in the Crus Bourgeois de Medoc offer variety, both in taste and price. Bottles range from $20 to $50, with the average price of a bottle currently at $25.50.

For more information on Crus Bourgeois du Medoc including member châteaux visit www.crus-bourgeois.com.

Finger Lakes wine

Cabernet Franc and Lemberger: Red Wines of the Finger Lakes

Riesling is the undisputed signature white wine grape of the Finger Lakes. But as for the signature red wine grape of this region in upstate New York, should it be Cabernet Franc or Lemberger? The answer isn’t as clear.

The question was posed to a panel of winemakers and winery representatives during a virtual tasting of Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc and Lemberger, organized by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance.

I joined other wine writers and bloggers in tasting, talking and tweeting about the red wines.

First up was the Cabernet Franc.

Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc

The wines tasted were:

Heron Hill Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc
Vineyards located on the west side of Seneca and Cayuga Lakes.
Aged for 20 months in French, Eastern European and American oak barrels. Aromas of clove and toasted wood with flavors of jammy cherry and plum with a subtle hint of eucalyptus.
heronhill.com

McGregor Vineyard 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Vineyards located on the east side of Cayuga Lake.
Aged for 13 months in oak barrels. Berry aromas and flavors, with notes of sweet oak and black tea and smooth tannins.
mcgregorwinery.com

Damiani Wine Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc
Vineyards located on the west side of Cayuga Lake and east side of Seneca Lake.
Aged for 8 months in French and American oak barrels (16% new American oak). Aromas of stewed berries and wood spice, with flavors of dark plum, blackberry, cocoa and cigarbox.
damianiwinecellars.com

So why should Cabernet Franc be considered for the signature red wine grape of the Finger Lakes?

As the panel explained, Cabernet Franc is well suited to the Finger Lakes climate. Wines produced there have good acidity and are very food friendly. They are more fruit driven, with crisp, clear flavors. In the Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc is also excellent as a rosé.

The panel recommended pairing Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc with grilled steak, anything with mushrooms, or a dish that is earthy and charred. One winemaker suggested enjoying a glass with a beet and goat cheese salad.

Next it was time to taste Lemberger. Also known as Blaufrankisch, this grape is grown across Central Europe. Most wineries in the Finger Lakes have chosen to use Lemberger, not Blaufrankisch, on their labels.

Finger Lakes Lemberger

The wines tasted were:

Lakewood Vineyards 2012 Lemberger
Vineyards located on the west side of Seneca Lake.
Aged for 10 months in 50% New York oak, 40% other American oak and 10% French oak barrels. Aromas of raspberry and blueberry with black pepper, cocoa, toast and a touch of spice.
lakewoodvineyards.com

Fulkerson Winery 2012 Lemberger
Vineyards located on the west side of Seneca Lake.
Aged for one year in French oak barrels. Sweet cherry, plum and smoky oak aromas with flavors of ripe berries and a silky finish.
fulkersonwinery.com

Fox Run Vineyards 2012 Lemberger
Vineyards located on the west side of Seneca Lake.
Aged for 18 months in French and American oak barrels. Aromas of blackberry, raspberry and freshly ground black pepper with flavors of black cherry, plum, sweet vanilla and spice.
foxrunvineyards.com

So why should Lemberger be considered for the signature red wine grape of the Finger Lakes? The first and most obvious reason is that there aren’t a lot of other wine regions in the United States that are focusing on growing Lemberger. In addition to doing well in the Finger Lakes climate, it is an easier grape to grow. It consistently ripens, and neither the deer nor the turkeys like it (apparently turkeys love Pinot Noir).

Wine produced from Lemberger grapes has a rustic and wild character to it, and really benefits from oak. Without oak, the wine lacks a persistence of flavor and length. In the Finger Lakes Lemberger blends the fruit-forward New World style with the food-friendly nature of an Old World wine. The wines are lower in alcohol and have good acidity.

The panel suggested pairing Finger Lakes Lemberger with beef and hearty pasta dishes like lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs.

At the end of the tasting the vote on which should be the signature red wine grape of the Finger Lakes was still split.

The verdict that anyone could agree upon – pick up a bottle of Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc or Lemberger and taste them for yourself!

For more information visit fingerlakeswinealliance.com.

Patel wines

Patel: Small Winery with Big Taste

When Robert Parker awards your first wine a 95, you know you’ve made something special.

But don’t let that number bias you toward Patel Winery. It’s more of a treat if you taste the Napa wines without any preconceived notions. That’s how I came to meet owner Raj Patel, at last year’s High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction. His wines – a Cabernet Sauvignon and the Red Wine, a Bordeaux-style blend – were among my favorite discoveries at the event. When I found out that Raj was returning for this year’s auction, I couldn’t wait to meet with him and taste his current releases.

Patel winesRaj founded Patel Winery in 2006. He secured fruit and a custom crush facility in 2007, and made some wine in 2008. In 2009 he joined the Napa Valley Vintners Association and submitted his Cabernet for review with Robert Parker. More recently he brought on Luc Morlet, one of Napa’s top winemakers. Patel Winery sources its grapes from six vineyards and makes the wine at Luc’s winery.

I could go on for several paragraphs about how the Patel wines are intense yet elegant, with layers of fruit and earth notes that end in a long finish. But here’s all you need to know: Patel wines are really really good.

Over breakfast the morning of the 2015 High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction, Raj and I spoke about Patel Winery, what makes the wines unique and what’s next. Continue reading

Finger Lakes Wine Virtual Tasting

Join @amgastronomer and @FLXwine on Twitter Wednesday, April 29th for a virtual tasting of Finger Lakes Wine.

The tasting will feature Cabernet Franc and Lemberger from this region in upstate New York.

The wines to be tasted are Cabernet Franc from Damiani Wine Cellars, Heron Hill and McGregor Vineyard, and Lemberger from Fox Run Vineyards, Fulkerson Winery and Lakewood Vineyards.

FLX Cab Franc Lemberger

The virtual tasting is from 7pm to 8pm EST. Join us on Twitter with #FLXWineVT and watch the live web stream here.

The Finger Lakes Wine Virtual Tasting Series is organized by the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance.

Faust Cabernet Sauvignon

AG Pick: Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

The Faust of legend sold his soul for knowledge and worldly pleasures. Fortunately for us, there is no need to make a deal with the Devil to enjoy the Faust 2011 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

The man behind the California legend is Agustin Huneeus, best known for Quintessa. With a career in wine that has spanned 50 years and 15 countries, Agustin sought the thrill of a new endeavor – to renew his passion, much like Dr. Faust.

Faust Cabernet SauvignonWhereas Quintessa is a reflection of the vineyard, Faust is a reflection of the grape. It’s a tribute to Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, made with grapes from Agustin’s family vineyards in Rutherford and Coombsville. Small lots from nearby appellations round out the blend.

The 2011 wine is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc. It spent 19 months aging in French oak, of which 30% was new.

Intensely aromatic, the Faust starts off big and bold with notes of juicy red and black fruit, tobacco and spice. Decant it or let it sit in your glass, and the wine will soften into an elegant and complex sip. Blackberry, cassis and ripe red cherry are layered with dark chocolate, black pepper, leather and cigar box. It’s velvety in the mouth, with a lingering spicy finish.

For more information visit www.faustwine.com.

$50, 14.2% alcohol by volume

rose wines

Five Rosé Wines to Enjoy this Summer

The summer of rosé is in full swing! It’s an international love affair, with rosé wine being made around the world from a variety of different grapes.

Try one of these AG picks tonight:

Cune RosadoCune Rosado Rioja 2013
Rioja Alta, Spain

From CVNE (pronounced Coo-nay), a family owned and operated winery founded in 1879 in Haro, Rioja, this dry rosé is 100% Tempranillo. Produced using the saignée or bleeding method, the juice was removed from the grape skins and seeds after around 24 to 48 hours, resulting in a magenta-pink color. Floral aromas introduce flavors of strawberry, tart cherry and red currant.
$14, 14% alcohol by volume

Esporao Defesa RoséEsporão Vinha da Defesa Rosé 2013
Alentejo, Portugal

Established in 1973, Herdade do Esporão is a family-owned estate and winery that takes its name from the tower on the property that is thought to have been built between 1457 and 1490. This rosé is a blend of Aragonez and Syrah. The grapes underwent pneumatic pressing after a short period of skin contact. Bright pink in color with berry aromas, the wine has flavors of raspberry, cherry and Victoria plum, with a hint of mint on the refreshing finish.
$15, 13.5% alcohol by volume

Bridge Lane RoséBridge Lane Rosé 2013
North Fork of Long Island, New York

This wine comes from Lieb Cellars, founded in 1992 on Long Island’s North Fork. Lieb was the first winery on Long Island to plant Pinot Blanc, which has become their signature wine and makes up part of the blend in the Bridge Lane rosé. The 2013 wine is 63% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 8% Pinot Blanc, 5% Riesling and 3% Gewurztraminer. Light and easy to drink with a pretty pale pink color, the wine has flavors of wild strawberry, raspberry and rose petal.
$18, 11.9% alcohol by volume

Cape Bleue RoséJean-Luc Colombo Cape Bleue Rosé 2013
Provence, France

The grapes for this wine from the noted French winemaker come from hilly vineyards near Salon de Provence, an area influenced by the nearby Mediterranean Sea.  It is a blend of 67% Syrah and 33% Mourvedre, and was made using the saignée method. Salmon-pink in color,  the aromatic wine will transport you to the South of France. Flavors of ripe strawberry, red cherry and rose are layered with subtle fennel and white pepper notes.
$14, 12.5% alcohol by volume

Houchart RoséDomaine Houchart Rosé 2013
Provence, France

Bought in 1890 by Aurélien Houchart, the 90 hectare estate near Aix-en-Provence and the foot of Mont Sainte Victoire has been consistently farmed since Roman times. Today it is owned by the Quiot Family and run by Geneviève Quiot, Aurélien’s great granddaughter. This Côtes de Provence rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. This crowd-pleaser is pale peachy-pink in color, with delicate flavors of strawberry, loganberry and watermelon that culminate in a crisp finish.
$11, 12% alcohol by volume

 

It’s Time for Wine: 1949 Cheval Blanc in a 2013 World

By Monty Preiser

If you were asked to design the quintessential retail shop for the true oenophile, you would be hard pressed to do a better job than simply copy Andrew Lampasone’s Wine Watch in Ft. Lauderdale. Not a millimeter of wasted space, scores of vintages and thousands of wines from around the world, a designated area where a loyal clientele gathers to share wines they bring and ones Andy opens from his own stock, and a proprietor (Andy) who is both expert in wines on a global scale, and perfect in his knowledge of where each bottle is in his own place. In fact, such a legend has this establishment become that few vintners or sales people get to south Florida without making a stop.

Yet Andy takes it all a step further by offering almost weekly tastings of rare and/or outstanding wines. Whether it be Cult Cab night, Madeira night, or a simpler dinner featuring the current releases of a top winery, something is always going on. if you live in or visit the Lauderdale area, you should certainly be on his mailing list.

Chateau Cheval BlancI (that’s why the column is in the singular – Sara could not attend), along with 15 other tasters, cozily sidled into Wine Watch’s back room for a vertical of “Miles’ favorite wine,” the Chateau Cheval Blanc St. Emilion. As you probably know, the blend of this wine is close to 2/3 Cabernet Franc and 1/3 Merlot each year, and the winemaker gives credit for its longevity to the Cab Franc. For me, I wanted to see what the fuss was all about as I had never tried it. For everyone else (the majority, interestingly, were doctors) old Bordeaux samplings seemed to be almost passé.

The lineup of wines did indeed seem staggering. Robert Parker’s 100 point (if you put much stock in that sort of thing) 1949; Bordeaux Book’s 95 point 1953 (half bottle); Wine Spectator’s 96 point 1982; Wine Spectator’s 92 point 1985; Bordeaux Book’s 89 point 1986; Parker’s 98+ point 1990; Wine Spectator’s 91 point 1996; and Parker’s 93 point 1999. To give you an example of the value of these wines, the 1990 was released at $250.00/bottle and Andy had it marked at $1,175.00. Winesearcher shows about 8 shops worldwide carrying the 1949, with prices ranging from $1,500.00/bottle in Northamptonshire, U.K. to $3,500.00 per bottle in Centre, France.

Chateau Cheval Blanc[As an aside, there is an interesting story reported by Elin McCoy in her book The Emperor of Wine: the Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr., and the Reign of American Taste. It seems that Jacques Hebrard, the then manager of Cheval Blanc, was less than pleased with Mr. Parker’s 1981 barrel sample rating of his wine. Mr. Hebrard asked for a re-taste. When Parker arrived he was attacked by Hebrard’s dog while the manager simply stood aside. When Parker asked for a bandage to stop his leg from bleeding (Hebrard denies that it was), Parker says Hebrard instead gave him a copy of the offending review. Apparently Parker isn’t one to hold a grudge as he did re-taste the wine, found it markedly different, and updated his evaluation.]

There is no denying that my palate runs toward California style wines. I have, however, tasted most of the great reputation wines from Bordeaux, many of them old vintages as well – and many selling for $500/bottle and above. And of course over the years I have sampled scores of younger wines with more modest prices. Nothing has changed my opinion that (as prize fighters are described) pound for pound and ounce for ounce France can no longer compete with California.

vineyards in St. EmilionThus, the most interesting part of my night was the question of what, if anything, we were really learning by tasting this vertical. Or was this perhaps just a fun exercise? The Francophiles in the room (almost everyone else) were enthralled by this opportunity and, to a person, they agreed the importance of the experience was to see how the Cheval Blanc aged. They concluded that since the 1949 and 1953 were still so beautiful, all the newer wines would age in the same or similar manner.

While I agreed that the 1949 and 1953 were exquisite (in fact, the 49 is on the list of the best wines I have ever tasted), I disagreed with the final opinion expressed above by the vast majority. To me, and I think it is borne out by logic, tasting an older Bordeaux from a particular winery has minimal bearing on how well most younger wines from that same winery will age. In that region of France it is all about vintage. In other words, wines from most Chateaux will age wonderfully in a good vintage year, and, conversely, will age poorly when the year’s weather and/or other conditions have been problematic. Thus, winery x’s great 1979 does not accurately predict how winery x’s 2012 will age.

Contrast that with California, where, except for an aberration like 2011, the weather is consistent and vintages are so similar that it is often hard to distinguish one from another unless they are tasted side by side. It is only under these conditions, I argued, that one can tell how a 2012 wine from winery y is actually going to age by tasting older winery y vintages.

I wish I could say that my position sparked a heated and collegial debate, but most in the room held the prevailing opinion otherwise and apparently saw no advantage to commenting on my observations. Not surprising, really, but this belief was actually and inadvertently contradicted by one of the doctors who had generously supplied the wines for the evening at a low cost. He pointed out the Bordeaux wines he cellared were all excellent because, “I don’t buy bad vintages.” This is really a tacit admission that in Bordeaux, at least, it is in fact all about vintage, which, I hasten to point out here, was, and is, my point exactly.

With that background, I can report that the 1949, 1953, and 1985 vintages were indeed magnificent. In fact, we all chose our two favorites and but for a few hands raised in favor of the 1990, the three named above took all the votes. And while I thought its still aromatic and fragrant nose coupled with spices, wood, and black fruit put the 49 out front, the smooth and aromatically brilliant 1953 was the choice of the group.

As to all the others? I thought they were marginally OK. The 1999 seems to bring $315 – $440/ bottle and the 1986 $330 – $530. You would not find me spending anywhere near that much. Most were too thin for my liking, and, as validated by the entire group, less enticing than the big four (’49, ’53, ’85, and ’90).

We concluded with a gift from one of the docs, a 1992 Chateau d’Yquem. Not bad. In fact, everything about the evening, including the erudite company, was lovely in all respects. Andrew, keep up the good work.

——————————————————————–

It’s Time for Wine is a column published by wine writers and educators Monty and Sara Preiser that is featured on the Amateur Gastronomer.

Monty and Sara Preiser reside full time in Palm Beach County, Florida, and spend their summers visiting wineries and studying wines on the west coast where they have a home in Napa. For many years they were the wine columnists for The Boca Raton News, have served as contributors to the South Florida Business Journal, and are now the principal wine writers for Sallys-Place.com. Monty and Sara also publish The Preiser Key to Napa Valley and Sonoma, the most comprehensive guides to wineries and restaurants in Napa and Sonoma. Click here to read more columns by the Preisers.

Snapshots from Kobrand Tour D’Italia

Earlier this month Kobrand Wine & Spirits brought its Tour d’Italia to the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead. Winery owners and winemakers shared their latest releases with members of the wine trade and media.

Among the many delicious wines there were a number of standouts. Take a look at the AG’s picks in the snapshots below (click to enlarge), and look for them at wine shops and restaurants in the Atlanta area.

Geography Guide:

Piedmont (Northwest Italy) — Michele Chiarlo
Veneto (Northeast Italy) — Masi Agricola
Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Northeast Italy, east of Veneto) — Fernando Pighin & Figli
Tuscany (Central Italy, on western side) — Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Tenute, Tenute Silvio Nardi

photo credit: Cara Isdell Lee

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Chimney Rock: Showcasing Stags Leap

Driving along the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District, you can’t miss Chimney Rock’s bright white Cape Dutch-style estate. Though the building was influenced by architecture in South Africa (where the original owner worked as an executive at Pepsi Cola), the wine has always been true to place.

Chimney Rock“Our wine should paint a picture of the appellation,” said Elizabeth Vianna, Chimney Rock’s winemaker. Elizabeth visited Atlanta in June and shared the winery’s history and a taste of their current releases.

Hack and Stella Wilson purchased what was then the Chimney Rock golf course in 1980. They dug up the first nine holes with the ideal of making small production, high quality estate-grown wine. Today Chimney Rock is owned by the Terlato family who, in partnership with the Wilsons in 2001, dug up the second nine holes to plant more vines. Elizabeth joined as winemaker in 2002.

Chimney Rock’s focus is on red wine, Bordeaux varieties in particular. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and a small amount of Malbec are grown on their Stags Leap District estate. Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris are grown just north in Rutherford. The goal is to grow the best fruit possible. To achieve this Elizabeth is very active in the vineyards, pruning vines and monitoring the grapes’ growth.

Elizabeth’s passion for wine and winemaking is clear when she speaks about Chimney Rock. “I think about this as abstract art,” she said, “because it’s about shape, about texture.”

Chimney Rock winesThe artistry comes in once the grapes have been harvested – blending the grapes, stirring the lees and determining the use of oak – to produce high quality wines that capture the essence of the Stags Leap District.

“I think there’s an honesty to our wines. We want to be truthful to the vintage and place.”

With the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Elizabeth aimed to showcase the purity of the fruit. The wine was fermented in stainless steel, and did not spend time in oak or undergo malolactic fermentation. There was some stirring of the lees to give the wine a more creamy mouthfeel.

You won’t find grassy notes in this wine. The 2012 Chimney Rock Sauvignon Blanc is fresh and lively, with crisp flavors of stone fruit, white peach and golden pear.

Elevage BlancRich, lush and layered are the adjectives that come to mind when describing the 2010 Elevage Blanc. The Bordeaux-style white wine is a blend of 88% Sauvignon Blanc and 12% Sauvignon Gris. New and used French oak as well as lees stirring were used to enhance the flavors and texture.

The Elevage Blanc is wonderfully aromatic and velvety smooth. Mouth-filling flavors of white apricot, nectarine and lemon meringue are layered with white flowers, chamomile and a hint of vanilla. This is a wine that can age for an additional five to fifteen years.

Elizabeth’s objective with the 2009 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon was to show off Stags Leap District fruit. The wine spent 18 to 20 months in French oak barrels, and has a small percentage of Merlot.

The 2009 Chimney Rock Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon is intense yet refined. Aromas of black cherry introduce a palate of ripe dark fruit. Blackberry, cassis and plum mix with sweet cedar and vanilla. It’s smooth and supple in the mouth, and culminates in a satisfying finish with lingering berry notes.

ElevageWhile the Stags Leap District Cabernet is all about the fruit of the AVA, the 2010 Elevage is all about the texture, according to Elizabeth. The proprietary red is a blend of 56% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot (the percentages of grapes vary each year in both the Elevage and Elevage Blanc). The wine was aged in 100% new oak barrels from Burgundy, selected because they impart more elegance to the wine.

The 2010 Elevage is a wine to plan your meal around. Soft, velvety smooth and sophisticated, it’s the most feminine of Chimney Rock’s red wines. The Elevage has delicate flavors of cassis, blackberry and boysenberry, woven together with layers of black pepper, black tea and vanilla. Big tannins are balanced by the wine’s acidity. Ending with a long finish, the Elevage is a pleasure to sip. This wine can age for an additional 8 to 10 years.

For more information on Chimney Rock visit www.chimneyrock.com.

Bottle shots of Elevage and Elevage Blanc from Chimney Rock’s website

Colliano: Wines from Slovenia

A wine tasting starts with the eyes – a look at the bottle label or the name on a restaurant’s wine list. A look at the name and label of a Colliano wine may lead you to incorrectly guess the wines are from Italy.

Colliano winesYou’re right to think that Colliano could be Italian. The grapes are grown a stone’s throw away from the northeastern border, in Slovenia. These neighboring wine regions – Collio in Italy and Goriška Brda in Slovenia – grow the same grape varieties and have a similar Mediterranean climate, as well as the low rounded hills that give the regions their names. “Colli” and “brda” are the Italian and Slovenian words for hills.

Now that the region has been demystified, you’ll find that the wines of Colliano are just as approachable. Made from mostly familiar grape varieties, the two whites and a red are easy to drink and food-friendly.

Colliano Ribolla GiallaThe 2011 Colliano Ribolla Gialla is made entirely from Ribolla Gialla (also called Rebula), a white wine grape that is indigenous to this border region. Its taste and acidity will appeal to fans of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, with flavors similar to a dry Riesling adding complexity. The palate is a mix of lemon, grapefruit, white peach and orange peel, with a hint of vanilla and cedar. The finish is crisp and dry, with lingering notes of unsweetened wildflower honey. Pair the Colliano Ribolla Gialla with salads, white fish or shellfish.

The 2011 Colliano Cuvee White is a blend of 40% Ribolla Gialla, 30% Chardonnay and 30% Sauvignonasse (a white wine grape that despite the name, is not related to Sauvignon Blanc). The flavors of the Ribolla Gialla are balanced out nicely by the round Chardonnay, with Sauvignonasse adding acidity. The wine has notes of Meyer lemon, white apricot, golden apple and white flowers. Malolactic fermentation and oak aging give the wine added finesse and a creamy yet supple mouthfeel. Pair the Colliano Cuvee white with grilled white meats, fish, pastas or cream-based dishes.

Colliano WinesThe 2011 Colliano Cuvee Red is a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. It’s a Bordeaux-style blend with the freshness of a New World wine. Flavors of cherry, plum and red currant are layered with violet and subtle cedar. Acidity from the Cabernet Franc adds texture and structure. This is a wine to enjoy with food – pair the 2011 Colliano Cuvee Red with grilled steaks, roasted chicken, game meat or semi mature cheese.

As an added bonus, these Slovenian wines are wallet-friendly, costing approximately $15 a bottle.

Enjoyable to sip, great with food and a price tag of less than $20, Colliano wines from Slovenia are ready for the spotlight.

All wines are 13% alcohol by volume

Related: Avia Sauvignon Blanc 2011 from Slovenia

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