White Wine of the Week | White Wine Reviews

Whites and bubblies you can grab in the Twin Cities for under $15. Expect a new wine to be revealed each Thursday(ish).

Mitolo “Jester” Vermentino


Cost: Average price $14

Where buy now: Zipp’s

Grapes: Vermentino

Region: Australia

Vintage: 2011

Mitolo Jester Vermentino

What’s more depressing than sitting home alone on the most gorgeous evening of the year knowing that all your friends are rockin’ out to your favorite band?


Don’t feel sorry for me (not that you did)- I had every opportunity to join them.  And, make no mistake, I’m not trying to diss on anyone in attendance. I applaud your patience in fighting traffic and parking woes. I applaud your legs and stamina for hours of standing amongst thousands of sweaty drunkies. I even applaud your ability to enjoy a general admission concert. Alas, this is something I cannot get into.  No one act/rock-band/circus act could miraculously change that.

Unless the band was Wilco.

Wilco- now there’s a band that will transcend time. I’ve been a fan for years, watching and listening as the ever-evolving band moved from the “alt-country” (whatever the eff THAT means) of Uncle Tupelo, to the ruggedly dirty sweet A.M. and Being There, to the sullen beauty of Summerteeth and the Billy Bragg/Woody Guthrie collaborations of Mermaid Avenue.  Then, to the major personnel overhaul (RIP Jay Bennett), the experimental Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born; then on to the collaborative orchestra era ushered in with Sky Blue Sky and Wilco (the album), to the latest, perhaps greatest, Whole Love album. I love this band. I love the current line up; Jeff Tweedy (Frontman, song writer) Nels Cline (guitar), John Stirratt (bass), Glenn Kotche (drums) and the ever-so-cute [*sigh*] multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone.

And, contrary to popular belief, they are not just for 40-something white dads.  Having never fathered a child, and being a shade under the 40-year mark, I am proof positive.

How does the Savvy Lush cope with such failure?  Why, I drank myself into a happy place with a bottle of Mitolo “Jester” Vermentino.

As I continued to drink, cursing myself for letting my general admission fears deter me, I took solace in a wine that comforted me in my home-body experience. So, let me be distracted by explaining what I’m drinking. I picked up this Aussie Vermentino because Jeff (#1, not Tweedy) at Zipp’s told me he dug it. Yep, I’m that easy.

Admittedly, I thought Vermentino was solely produced in Italy and Sardinia. But alas, this wine, Mitolo “Jester”, comes from the McLaren Vale of Australia. This region is said to have a climate similar to the Italian Mediterranean area.

All chilled and ready to get up in my glass, the Mitolo “Jester” Vermentino made my eyes, mouth (and *fwee-fwooo*) a-water. I also picked up Cypress Grove’s Truffle Tremor cheese http://bit.ly/11hxlIq/Cypress Grove because Jeff thought a goat cheese would pair well.

This wine has great flavor but is not overly fruity. It’s light, crisp and dry, boasting of minerality. Try it and you’ll understand what minerality is. If you like Sauvignon Blanc, give this wine a try. It has that grassy hint to it the kids love, along with acidity and hints of citrus. This wine is lower in alcohol, so drink it up with grilled seafood or with this incredible truffle cheese. Oh, and for cryin’ in the sink, please pick up Cyprus Grove’s Truffle Tremor at the Seward Co-op! The center is soft ripened goat cheese surrounded by a creamier layer all roaring with truffle goodness. Grab a Rustica baguette and schmear it on. The acidity of the wine pairs quite well with the soft mushroom/goat cheese funk.

I enjoyed the pairing so much that for a moment, I completely forgot I was home alone; listening to “Hate it Here” off Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky album.  Huzzah to the artists that stir something within us, especially whilst I swirl my other inspirations.

Famiglia Meschini Premium Unoaked Chardonnay

Cost: Average price $12

Where buy now: Sorella Wines, Zipp’s Liquors, South Lyndale Wines

Grapes: Chardonnay

Region: Argentina

Vintage: 2011

Famiglia Meschini Unoaked Chardonnay

The sun is shining once again in our neck of the woods. The veil of clouds, snow, snow-rain mix, sleet and other unwanted precipitation seems to have given way to the golden green of Spring.

My once dark, dead eyes have now opened up, and to what? To Unoaked Chardonnay.

For regular readers of The Savvy Lush, it should be no surprise that I’m shouting the praises, once again, for a Famiglia Meschini creation. Read one that gives a little Meschini history: http://bit.ly/15vRaQd/Famiglia Meschini This wine is 100% Chardonnay that doesn’t touch a lick of oak. Therefore, the buttery, syrupy pear tastes Chardonnay is often associated with are not what you’ll find. Instead, you’ll experience a brighter Chardonnay; one that expresses itself with crisper and more tropical fruit notes. It’s not tart but has snappy acidity that balances out the tropical fruit and light citrus tastes.

I couldn’t have chosen a better wine to inaugurate this beautiful weather we’ve so longed for. Unoaked Chardonnay is a must have at any warm weather social occasion. It will have your white wine drinkers happy and it’ll surprise the hell out of those exclaiming, “I don’t care for Chardonnay.” Win-win

If you love Chardonnay, and are willing to try a twist on the theme, pick this up. If you love Sauvignon Blanc, Soave, Pinot Grigio; pick this up. Plus, at around $10 – this could quickly move straight into your weekly wine night rotation. (PS – it’s on sale at Zipp’s right now!)


Poggio Anima Uriel Grillo

Cost: Average price $13-15

Where buy now: Sorella Wines & Spirits, Zipp’s, The Wine Thief, Surdyks

Grapes: Grillo/p>

Region: Sicily, Italy

Vintage: 2010

Poggio Anima Uriel Grillo

This has been the Winter of white wines. Contrary to my usual Winter drinking, in 2013, white wine consumption rivaled the red wine. Expanding pallet? Different diet? Maybe, but it likely has more to do with the fact that I just love discovering new wines to love. I love to love wine.

Oh look- the folks I love at Poggio Anima, makers of delightful reds (see http://bit.ly/OIm8wx/Poggio Anima Belial and http://bit.ly/12oY3jD/Poggio Anima Asmodeus) are making white wine, too! The Poggio Anima Uriel is 100% Grillo. Grillo is a Sicilian grape that is often used to make Marsala, a fortified wine. It’s also used in varietal blends such as my personal favorite, Insolia, in addition to Sicilian Chardonnay & Catarratto. It is not a varietal I have seen in pure form, however.

I’ve bought this bottle a few times already as it’s become my after work go-to “cocktail”. Poggio Anima’s Uriel Grillo smells of tropical fruits, apricots and peaches. It’s aged in stainless steel, so no oaky thickness here. The tropical fruit is light and refreshing yet this wine has a rounded mouthfeel with balanced minerality and acidity, completed with a snappy finish. If you like Pinot Grigio or Soave, give this a try. If you like dry Riesling, give this a try. It doesn’t contain the same amount of sweetness but a similar mouthfeel and tropical fruity goodness.

There are few writers I trust implicitly, and one of them is local fave, Bill Ward. He writes Lifestyle & Wine (rather redundant, really) pieces for the Star Tribune. Even better, check out his website: Decant This, http://www.decant-this.com/Decant This He’s witty, descriptive and I always seem to align with his thought process. Bonus, he’s a hoot with a great sense of humor to match his Tennessee drawl. I noticed on FaceBook he was sampling a Grillo of a different brand. He said it had mineral goodness, lemon flavor and a stark finish. The folks he was sampling it with were all giving it glowing reviews.

This has become a household staple and I know you’ll dig it just the same. Plus, with a sale price tag of under $13, it’s hardly a gamble. Bring this puppy to your Spring/Summer grill outs and impress your white wine drinking friends with this gem. Or, just crank the heat, hunker down, and start practicing for outdoor drinking season.