July Roundup

Short notes on recent bottles we’ve tried.


Domaine des Baluettes Les Coteaux Muscadet Sevre et Maine 2013 ($7.99)
Pale yellow pour with zippy, light citrus profile. Grapefruit and lemon (with corresponding acidity), saline-mineral and dry, with some weight as well. Nothing to overthink here – just a fine representation of a terroir-chock Loire white, made for the dinner table. I wouldn’t hesitate to pour this alongside an icy plate of oysters. Yum. The grape is Melon de Bourgogne, drawn from the Muscadet Sevre et Maine appellation. 12% ABV. On sale for $8.

Chateau Vartely Feteasca Regala 2013
How often do you get to sip a wine from Moldova? Made wholly from the indigenous Feteasca Regala grape, summer sippers will find this spritely, sorta spritzy white quite refreshing. With lasting flavors of citrus, apple, tropical fruit, spice and a touch of, I don’t know, soap, it goes down easily with white-flesh foods or on its own. 13% ABV and screw top. 2011 vintage available in PA for $14.59 by special order. Code 546351.

Old Soul Chardonnay 2013
On the intake, a rich, full and long-lasting mouthful of fruit (pear, apple, melon) and the unquestionable influence of oak. Extremely long finish built on vanilla, spice, caramel and plenty of pear. Yes, a touch of flab but enough charm and structure to rate at the party. 13% ABV. Available in PA for $15.99 by special order – minimum purchase of six bottles required. Code 556179.

Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris 2011 ($19.99)
Upon initial cork pull, dry enough to show its ribs, though well short of austere. The wine emits a kind of stinky perfume, and packs a peck of green apples and pears on the palate. Also taste for pineapple, grassy/vegetal notes and hints of tropical fruit and floral. With decanting and some room temperature (especially on the second day), the oily texture comes out with the flavor, spice and medium acidity. Residual sugar is there in tempting degree, splashing up against stony minerality, making for a lengthy and balanced Alsatian that’s mouth-wateringly bon. Marked down from $21.99.

Ventana Sauvignon Blanc 2013 ($21.99)petite-frog-picpoul-de-pinet
A clean, zippy SB full of aromatics and versatile on the palate. There’s typical grassiness, melon and grapefruit, and it paired well with BBQ shrimp and vegetables. A drawback: At 14.2% ABV, it brings some heat (and a bitter note) on the finish. In sum, a pleasant summer party/cookout white.

La Petite Frog Picpoul de Pinet 2014 (27.99) / 3L
I don’t know that we’ve ever featured a box wine on PAVC, but this is one of more complex, satisfying box whites I’ve tried. There are herbal notes, a saline quality, and a chalky, mineral element on the finish, making it both a good summer sipper and something that can be momentarily pondered, a relative steal for $7 a “bottle”. (review by Mike)


Old Soul Pure Red NVargyle-pinot-noir-willamette
A Lodi (Cali.) blend of Cab, Zin and Petite Syrah, this Old Soul is ready for business from the word go. Like its sibling Chardonnay, it leans into the palate with concentrated fruit and ample influence of its barreling, and teeters along the border between hedonistic and restraint. There’s a good amount happening in this glass, from sweet and spicy to earthy and savory. Cinnamon, dark fruit salad, mocha and herbal components drive the mid palate forward with intensity. This is full-on BBQ red. 13.5% ABV. Available in PA for $15.99 by special order – minimum purchase of six bottles required. Code 556181.

Benton Lane Pinot Noir 2012 ($24.99)
13.8% alcohol and it shows on its bulkier body and richness. Aromatic, earthy palate but fairly plain. Cola-centric, dark cherry, light acid and a scoop of earth. Finish is a little clipped. Screw top.

Argyle Pinot Noir 2013 Willamette ($26.99)
Feather-weighted and faintly aromatic, a classic profile and intensity that defies its sleight of body. Curiously persistent tannins, rich cherry vanilla cola, and a terrifically lengthy finish. Imminently sip-able Pinot that will please all comers.  13% ABV, screw top.

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