Tag Archives: White wine

Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio

Cost: Average price $8-9

Where buy now: Most anywhere. Costco has it for $6.49 right now

Grapes: Pinot Grigio

Region: California

Vintage: 2011

Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio

Unsolicited samples can be a double-edge sword. On one hand, hey, free hooch! On the other, if you’re just not into it, then what?

There are two schools of thought: write the God’s honest truth or don’t write anything at all. Remember what momma used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Personally, I prefer Olympia Dukakis’ character, Clairee Belcher, in Steel Magnolias where she says, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come stand by me!”

I was oh so happy to be pleasantly surprised by this Pinot Grigio by Gnarly Head. They make a mean, chewy Zinfandel, one I adore with spicy BBQ. http://bit.ly/VzpPHp /Ravenswood & Gnarly Head Zinfandel But hey, you couldn’t expect the Mack Truck folks to create a cutesy, sporty, two-door Mini Cooper, right? This light, crisp white varietal seemed like such an unlikely departure. Alas, it totally works. This Pinot Grigio is what fans of Pinot Grigio are looking for. This wine is light and lively. It is crisp and tart with flavors of lemon.

Are you making anything with lemon butter? Pair it with this Pinot Grigio. A light, herbed citrus chicken? Pair it with this Pinot Grigio. Hitting up the Chinese take out after work for some Kung Pao Chicken? Do it to it (just add Gnarly PG).

You can find this almost everywhere for around $8-9. [Psst! it’s at Costco right now for $6.49!]

Chateau Haut Rian Bordeaux Blanc

Cost: Average price $14

Where buy now: North Loop Wines & Spirits for $12.99

Grapes: 60% Sémillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc

Region: France

Vintage: 2011

Chateau Haut Rian

You know that point in the evening when you have a great buzz going and you start attacking your liquor cabinet or wine rack for your next fix?

How many times have you been super excited about some top shelf liquor or expensive wine that you love and you insist, your guests must love, too.

Of course, that comes after hours of drinking. It makes complete sense since your inhibitions are down and you “love everybody” to gush on about your favorite libation for all to try.

Then, you awake around Noon to find that bottle is not only empty but so is your soul until you can get that throbbing headache to go away. How could you have done it? Opened that bottle you were saving for some other occasion and now it’s gone. Worse yet, you don’t even remember tasting it. It was just another drop, some more of that drug to keep your buzz high.

Well, I’m happy to report that I didn’t let that happen at a soiree I hosted over Labor Day weekend. Oh – I got to that point of the night where I’m perusing anything and everything to keep us drunk and get us drunker but i didn’t pull out the super-duper expensive stuff.

Instead, I opted for this modest Bordeaux Blanc. I knew if I pulled a white wine out late in the evening, I wouldn’t be as tempted to drink it all. Don’t ask what that logic is or was, I just know it’s good to know yourself, your limits, your boundaries. . .this is one of mine.

I was introduced to this wine at North Loop Wines & Spirits by Brandon. The French wine guru if I ever did meet one. This guy is dangerous. He told me good and bad news at my last visit. Good news, he’s moving to France for a year and half to study for his Masters. Bad news, I’m going to miss his wealth of knowledge. Good news, because it will be better for my pocketbook. Ah – so bittersweet.

I could listen to him talk all day. I was writing copious notes as the French language rolled off his tongue. I was trying to keep up and repeat the French words but sadly, I didn’t sound like a fair French maiden. I sounded like I had a glandular problem choking on my own saliva. That back throated, nasally inflection turns out to sound like shit when you’re stuttering your way through the words.

I digress, I definitely exceeded my budget on this visit. But, he told me about this wine which was a nice Bordeaux Blanc right in my wheel-house at $12.99.This wine is a delightful white that is 60% Sémillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc. It’s golden green hue emotes scents of light citrus, floral notes, a touch of grass and minerals. The taste is fresh and balanced. You taste citrus, melon and mineral concentrations. The Sémillon produces a great balance of flavor and heavier texture to the crisp acidity and grassiness of the Sauvignon Blanc. It’s delicious and mild.

This wine will stand up on it’s own. Perfect for a lazy Sunday or in the evening as you watch the sunset. You can parlay that after work glass into dinner. This pairs well with rotisserie chicken, fish, oysters, salad, goat cheese, grilled vegetables, a bagel and cream cheese (for you breakfast for dinner kinda folk). It’s just so versatile. Pop it and drink it.

I’m glad I brought this out around 1 am, enough for that last sip before passing out. I was so happy to see a ⅔ full bottle in the fridge when I awoke the next day, not that I wanted one lick of wine but I was content knowing when I was ready, that bottle would be there.

Zestos Malvar

Cost: Average price $9.99

Where buy now: Solo Vino, North Loop, Zipp’s, Pairings Food & Wine{jcomments on}

Grapes: Malvar

Region: Madrid, Spain

Vintage: 2010

Zestos Malvar

Pretties, I have a perfect patio palette quencher; a delectable deck dining hooch. I present the wonderful Spanish white wine, Zestos Malvar- yet another discovery from the Rosé Tent Tasting I attended in May (are you seeing why this tasting thing is so damn important?).

I didn’t know what Malvar was.  In fact, I don’t think most folks know much about the Malvar grape as evident by the lack of info I found. Apparently, it is even obscure to Spaniards, though Malvar grapes are indigenous to the Madrid region of Spain. Thankfully, the good people at Zestos realized this, as their back label is one of the most descriptive I’ve ever seen.

Zestos Malvar back label

Their description “the bright flavors of a Sauvignon Blanc and the body of unoaked Chardonnay (aged in stainless steel tanks) is right on the money. It truly embodies the acidity of Sauvignon Blanc and a fuller-body like an unoaked Chardonnay. It’s pale yellow color and smells of citrus/tropical fruit such as pineapple, grapefruit and mango are what you take in first and foremost. This may be a stretch but upon second whiff and taste, I notice hints of tapioca. On the tongue, it’s bright citrus flavors are rounded out with a creamier body.

Wait, “creamy” wine with hints of tapioca?  Sounds, well, gross.  Let’s break this down.

“Creamier” refers to a medium-to-fuller bodied wine. I remember when I first started getting into wine and I read things like “creamy body” and I was perplexed. The wine looked yellow to me, not like yogurt. Think of wine’s viscosity or body in terms of the consistency of milk. Skim milk = light bodied such as Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir, whole milk = medium bodied such as Sauvignon Blanc or Shiraz and cream = heavy bodied, like Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.

At a mere $10 (even less on sale) I can hardly call the Zestos Malvar a gamble. This is a fun, simple slurpin’ wine. No need to age, aerate or do anything but enjoy. I think if you like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, try it. If you like Chardonnay, oaked or unoaked, try it. If you like to try new things, try it. And in these hot Summer days, who wants something heavy? This is a cellar filler that you’ll return to again and again and enjoy.

My only criticism is that it doesn’t stay with you. The finish disappears after about ten seconds. This is really only a “problem” if you plan to drive later. And really, isn’t it the unspoken truth that sometimes, you just want a tasty budget wine to tie one on with?