Looking for something new and interesting to pour this weekend? If so, check out the following ideas from our Local Partners Vine Lore. The following wines are all stellar selections from their Utah portfolio, details and notes provided by Vine Lore’s Tracey Thompson:
Elk Cove Pinot Blanc – From vineyard to bottle, Pinot is so delicate it is known as the Heartbreak Grape. It can also be one of the most expressive, which is why Elk Cove has dedicated most of its wine existence to it.
Genetically speaking, all the Pinots are basically the same grape. They are so similar in fact, that Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio are sometimes found growing on the same vine. Pinot Noir is the mother of all Pinots with two layers of dark, bluish skin. Pinot Gris (or Pinot Grigio, depending on where its grown) lacks pigment in one of its two layer of skin. The result is the grayish tint to the grape. It has an even fairer cousin, Pinot Blanc, which lacks pigment in both layers of skin. But here’s the thing, in winemaking, skin changes the whole recipe.
Meet Pinot Blanc. With a touch of spice, a touch of mineral, tropical notes, and citrus, Elk Cove’s 2015 Pinot Blanc is summer’s sophisticated answer to seafood or salad and was awarded 90 Points Wine Enthusiast.
Priced $18.99 (CSC code 914315), we’re fortunate to have a few cases of this beauty here in Utah. It is a small production wine so inventory is limited. Grab some while you can and toast the end of the Summer.
Nik Weis Urban Riesling – Off-dry (meaning only slightly sweet) and earning 90 points from Wine Enthusiast, Nik Weis Urban Riesling is smoky and floral, with hints of lime and green apple and a minerality that finishes crisp.
This food-friendly wine pairs with just about anything (seriously), but make it your go-to for those hard-to-pair dishes with spice–think Thai or Indian (all the sommeliers do). According to Wine Spectator, who awarded 90 points:
Smoky veins of struck flint and slate lend a savory mineral tone to this refreshingly tonic Riesling. Sweet-tart tangerine and grapefruit flavors are juxtaposed by bracing lime acidity, a racy melange that lingers for a long and invigorating finish.
Priced just $10.99 (CSC code: 917831).
Noelia Bebelia Albarino – Albarino is an indigenous grape of Northwestern Spain and neighboring (North East) Portugal. This single-vineyard Albarino hails from the village of Soutomajor in Galica. Soutomajor is the smallest of the five sub-zones that form the appellation D.O. Rias Baixas (pronounced ‘ree-as by-shas’).
Harvested by hand, whole-cluster pressed and aged on lees, Noelia Bebelia is the product of minimalist wine making; husband and wife winemaker due Simon and Noelia noting the “true identity” of their Albarino emerges around two years after harvest. Vine Lore recommend pouring at 55-59 degrees and note the wine is equally versatile with seafood and white meats as it is with spicy dishes.
Of the 6000 bottles produced in the vintage, 400 bottles of Noelia Bebelia were allocated to the U.S. market; exclusively to Utah. Awarded 95 points by top Spanish sommeliers, Noelia Bebelia ranked among Spain’s top 10 whites of the year in the Civas/Akatavino 2016 Wine Challenge; you can pick up the few remaining bottles of this rare treat for $26 (CSC code: 951684).Viamonte Malbec Gran Reserva – With a history going back 40 years, the Cessalo family is passionate about showing just how elegant Argentinian wine can be and right now you can find some of their most-loved wines on Utah shelves.
You might know Argentian Malbec well, but Viamonte’s restrained approach shines in their Malbec Gran Reserva. Playful notes of chocolate and violet on the nose; a beautiful balance of berry, floral, and savory flavors on the palate; and tannins that softly linger. Priced $30.99 (CSC code: 918609).
A more affordable option is Viamonte’s Bonarda. Bonarda is Argentina’s second most popular grape and is gaining fans internationally. Viamonte’s has a deep ruby color but is surprisingly light on the nose and the palate. Balancing the acidity of the grape is 2nd and 3rd year oak – keeping the fruit flavors bright – and just enough structure to keep it interesting. Priced $14.99 (CSC code: 918610).
For more wines carried by Vine Lore check out their complete Utah portfolio online.
Founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review. Former restaurant critic at the Salt Lake Tribune. Stuart is largely fueled by Uinta Cutthroat, alliteration and the use of too many big words he doesn’t understand. Ate all the pies.