Selections for June 2017

A worthy white wine gets to graduate

2016 REGUEIRO – Vinho Minho Regional, Portugal

Last year we put the 2015 version of Regueiro on our shelf, just to see what would happen.  Soon we were putting it back on the shelf.  Then, once again, we had to re-stock.  The test vintage proved Regueiro’s popularity, and the fresh, just-arrived 2016 gets a promotion to your White Wine Club!

Coming from the extreme north of Portugal, Regueiro is designated as “Vinho Minho Regional,” saving it from the stigmatizing de-valuation of “Vinho Verde.”  Nothing against that inexpensive, fruity, and slightly bubbly Portuguese beach wine, but we’ve got something more significant happening here.

Half of this is Traxadura (Treixadura), no stranger to those bargain Vinho Verde blends and great for lemony aromatics and a gentle fullness on the palate.  The other half is Alvarinho, more popularly known as Albariño right over the border.  This grape is saved for the better, more expensive blends of the area.  It contributes more limey, briney length; deceptive in its quiet narrowness, but more expressive when it warms up a little as it has beside my keyboard. 

Do consider that when appreciating the goodness of this wine.  Served freezing cold, Regueiro does what many other just-off-the-boat, no-oak European whites do.  They provide the service of refreshment; nothing more, nothing less.  Warmed up just a little, truly great wines have more to say.  Regueiro is rewarding my patience with a resplendent array of flowers, golden apples, white pepper, and just-rained-on foliage in the nose.  The mouth, while still electrically acidic, now provides a more glyceral texture. 

I’d love some raw oysters right about now!!                

Once a year you get PINK!

2016 VIGNOBLES LASSAGNE ‘Les Caprices d’Anaïs’ –Bordeaux Rosé, France

If you’re among the few remaining dry pink doubters we apologize for this NEARLY white submission, something we tend to do once a year.  We don’t have a dry rosé club, but figure you fans of refreshment would be the most amenable to the aberration. 

We carried ‘Caprices’ last year but aren’t surprised if frequenters of our pink wine display don’t recognize this label.  The 2015 bottle was more whimsically designed.  I kind of miss the old look - shouldn’t everything about this wine type connote evasive capriciousness? 

Here is a departure from the Provence Rosé type we more often sell and drink.  It comes not from the Mediterranean but from Atlantic-influenced Bordeaux, far better known for its sturdy reds.  Considering its use of Bordeaux’s main grapes - 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon – one might expect a darker, weightier rosé experience and that’s what you’d have gotten ten years ago.  - But this place’s winemakers have observed the market’s preference and learned to lighten up.  The delicate color says so, then the sniff of tangerines, sage, ivory, and white pepper confirms it.  The palate is in happy agreement; lush and juicy with white nectarines and barely-ripe strawberries.  While quite soft like satin on the middle of the tongue, the wine ends with a refreshing nip encouraging another taste - and the application of a salade niçoise.

Salade Niçoise – for me and 3 other rosé-loving friends:

Chill a large platter in your freezer while preparing the ingredients. 

Crisp leaves of butter lettuce (and Romaine?) by soaking them for five minutes in lukewarm water then draining (got a salad spinner?) and chilling.

Boil small yellow potatoes until soft.  Chill.

Parboil haricot vert (little string beans).  Chill.

Hard boil and peel some eggs.  Chill.

Chop some tomatoes and olives.  Chill.

Open some quality tuna (we sell it, from Spain & Portugal!).  Chill.

Arrange a big bed of the lettuce on the chilled platter.  Apply quality extra virgin olive oil and arrange all the ingredients atop, either in individual mounds or all mixed up.  Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. 

Take it outside with a bottle of cold rosé.  CHILL!!!    

This wine does not come to California except via The Wine Steward.  I enjoyed and ordered it on my trip to France in January.  We’re lucky to access this 400-case production charmer!