Club W delivers tasty wines worth waiting for
Blue Pirate Pinot Gris 2010 ($13): Named for the pair of blue birds that visited the grounds of the Dundee, Oregon-based hazelnut factory where the wines are now produced, this one's a poster child for pinot gris, given its lush palate of crisp apples, juicy pears and warm spices. Medium-bodied and easy drinking, there is a lovely kiss of citrus to contrast the creamy texture of the wine, which we paired to great success with a dinner of takeout coconut chicken curry. A perfect introduction to pinot gris - and a great depiction of how it differs from its vinous cousin, pinot grigio.
Longue-Dog White Blend 2010 ($13): The label is pretty hysterical, actually: a stretched-out dachshund enjoying a jaunty stroll may not exactly conjure up images of fine wines - but then again, that's exactly the point. The winemakers behind this white blend from the Languedoc region of southwestern France purposefully eschew standard wine marketing in favor of promoting the not-so-serious side of wine. Colombard and chardonnay are the primary grapes responsible for the wine's tangy lemon-lime and Granny Smith apple-based flavors that will race across your tongue as a helpful reminder that not all chardonnay wines must be oaky and buttery. While you might tend to think winter is no time for drinking white wine, consider this a refreshing pre-dinner alternative to your usual cocktail, given the lively, palate-tingling acidity present in this gem.
Enanzo Tempranillo 2010 ($13): Hailing from Navarra the region just east of Rioja, what a refreshing little number this was. Riper than other youthful Riojas we've had, we savored the layered spicy, smoky aromas of cigar box and nutmeg that preceded mouthfuls of dried cherry and blackberry fruit. Although there can be no doubt that this is an old world wine, the decidedly juicy flavor profile makes it a bit of a crowd-pleasing party wine (aka, one that doesn't require food to enjoy).
Fattoria Leila Rosso Piceno 'Nero Scuro' 2011 ($13): In spite of its somewhat-daunting name, Club W does Italian wine-phobes a huge favor with this one by introducing them to smooth, berry-driven bottle that's a delight to drink. Rosso piceno is the name given to red wines from the Marche region of Italy; blends of sangiovese, montepulciano and splashes of a couple other grapes indigenous to the region. The phrase 'nero scuro' means dark black, reminiscent of the deeply hued, inky red color of this wine in the glass. With a core of bright, sassy raspberry, cherry and plum fruits, we loved this bottle so much, we re-upped for another in our next month's shipment.