I know that it comes as no surprise that Will and I really enjoy drinking wine! At one point last year when I was just starting to appear more regularly in front of the camera my mom (and dad) pointed out (separately) that I had a glass of wine in hand perhaps a bit too often 😉 — nerves I say !
Regardless, Will and I are totally casual and relaxed about our wine education; by no means are we wine snobs, and we’re happy hitting our box rosé during the week but, we really enjoy trying new delicious wines and expanding our knowledge and experience. Lucky for us, a lovely little wine shop opened up around the corner this winter and, when I had mouth surgery over the holidays, the owner Justin helped me pick new delicious wines which suited by damaged and very limited palate (which has healed in full BTW — phew!). Through this experience, we formed a friendship, and he gained two very loyal customers (four really because our friends were living with us at the time). Justin is so passionate and knowledgeable without being at remotely pushy or judgmental. You can say to him that you need to find an $11 bottle or that you’re looking for a splurge and have no idea where to begin…. he really doesn’t mind and is there to help. He has introduced us to plenty of new delicious bottles. I can honestly say that there isn’t a wine that he has sold us that I haven’t liked. He remembers his customer’s tastes and preferences and makes helpful recommendations. With that in mind, I have been wanting to share some of his knowledge here and so asked him to help me pick some wines for us, two under $20, two under $40 and a splurge….here we go:
Two Under Twenty:
Cahors Le Pur Fruit du Causse – Justin recommended a Malbec, which is a crowd pleaser (good to know, we aren’t big red wine drinkers so it’s particularly mysterious to us ). This wine references the limestone it takes its name from and is organic, crisp, earthy, and juicy. Pair with good or drink alone!
La Louvetrie – For the white he picked a Muscadet, its the entry bottle from Domaine de La Louvetrie, home of some of the very best in the Loire Valley and a very well-respected wine maker — one of the best. This is the wine maker’s “entry level” bottle and because he is so skilled, is particularly wonderful for the price point.
Two Under Forty:
Taganan – I love the story of the team behind this Canary Island white. They are four who studied together and then went their separate way to study under famous wine makers before coming back together. They bring back parcels of lands and revive old vineyards which have fallen on harder times but still have lots of potential because they feature old vines with real pedigree. Taganan is a wine from Tenerife where the vines sit on volcanic rock directly above the Atlantic.
Barsotti Vineyard – Gamay – The upscale red selection is a Californian Gamay. These vines are grown in granite soil and replicate many of the features of one of the most famous varieties of Beaujolais — Morgon Cote Du Py. Fantastically light, this is a fresh and charming choice.
Pow Blop Wizz – Monarch has a great selection of ‘pet nat’ sparkling wines. These are made using ‘unfinished’ grapes, allowing fermentation to continue in the bottle. It is lo-fi wine making, shunning some of the pretense of champagne. The bottle has to be inverted to release all the “yummy” residue before pouring. The process – described as Russian Roulette with wine making – when successful results can be deliciously lightweight and fizzy. Like this one, with the amazing name, it is delicious, fun and feels just like summer – why not?
Splurge: Justin has a selection of collector’s wines, and this Volnay Caillerets (2002, $250) his first choice for a “splurge” bottle — elegant, sophisticated, lifted, crisp and seductive. The excitement with which he spoke about it had us dying to buy a bottle (there’s only one left). What a fun date night experience to have at home — pair with food that isn’t too dominant, like a roast chicken or hearty fish.