Published on February 14th, 2021 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
20 Interesting Wine-Related Discoveries For February 2021
Winter 2021 is now well underway as Valentine’s Day 2021 is now behind us. While 2021 has already proven to be another difficult year for many, it has produced plenty of interesting new wines and wine-industry developments. In turn, below are 20 product recommendations and/or interesting vineyard-related news items that are keeping things interesting for wine enthusiasts.
The Gary Farrell Winery, as based in the Russian River Valley, is one of California’s most accomplished wineries for high-end, small-lot Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Its Gary Farrell 2017 Pinot Noir, Hallberg Vineyard, Russian River Valley — priced at $55 per bottle — is a lush Pinot which comes from a premier vineyard in the cool-climate Green Valley sub-appellation of Russian River. It has both a beautiful intensity and complexity. Also acclaimed from the Gary Farrell team is its 2017 Chardonnay, Olivet Lane Vineyard, with a retail price of $45, which comes from a famed vineyard that was planted with Chardonnay in 1975.
Those close to the Northern California-based vineyard may be able to visit it directly. Tasting and event information can be found online via www.garyfarrellwinery.com/visit.
Lifewine Wines believes that wine should be free of harmful pesticides and industrial and environmental contaminants alike. In turn, Lifevine Wines are reportedly the only certified Pesticide-Free wines in America. Quality ingredients aside, whether you are keto-friendly, part of the Weight Watchers plan, vegan or just concerned about how much sugar you consume, its wines are created to fit your lifestyle from vine to glass.
Its 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, features zero sugar and an ABV of 14.8 percent. Its nose offers a complex bouquet of cassis, blackberry syrup and blueberry pie. The fruit profile is deep and dense, yet remains fresh and vibrant, not showing any signs of over-ripeness. Following the bold fruit structure, there are pretty notes of fresh red and purple flowers, mint chocolate chips, and dark soil tones. A luscious wave of vanilla bean, toast, and smoke supports the intensity of the rich fruits and adds accent flavors and structure in the way of wood tannin. An absolutely recommended offering from Lifevine Wines.
The Stags’ Leap Winery 2019 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc offers citrus fruit, lemongrass and white floral nuances. Driven by a linear focus of acidity and a steely minerality that adds to the wine’s crispness and complexity, there are layers of flavor featuring white peach, Meyer lemon and grapefruit, alongside hints of white floral jasmine, ginger and white pepper with a round, soft texture on the palate leading to a lengthy mouthwatering finish. Suggested retail price for a bottle of this excellent wine is $32.00.
Irmàna by Corvo is a hand-harvested pair of wines that showcases the careful sorting of bunches of perfectly healthy, ripe, and native grapes. Irmàna Grillo (suggested retail price of $12.99) and Irmàna Frappato (suggested retail price of $12.99) celebrate the bond between the native varietals and the team that work so hard to make them. Irmàna Grillo contains the bright, crisp flavors of a Sauvignon Blanc, with the soft easy body of an unoaked Chardonnay, as featuring tropical fruit notes and stone fruit flavors typical of Sicily. Pair with your favorite zesty dessert. Meanwhile, Irmàna Frappato has the fruit and light body similar to a young Pinot Noir, with notes of sweet berries with a touch of spice that is typical of Sicilian red varietals. Both recommended offerings, to say the least.
Bonterra’s 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon includes a blend of Petite Sirah, Merlot and Syrah. A brilliant dark ruby hue hints at the wine’s powerful aromas and flavors of blueberry, blackcurrant and plum, layered over rich notes of leather, tobacco and graphite. This well-structured, medium-bodied Cabernet delivers elegant tannins, pleasing acidity and a lingering finish. It carries a suggested retail price of $16.00.
Bonterra’s 2019 Merlot is a dazzling deep mahogany red with a glint of purple. This Merlot’s lovely hue sets the stage for a generous palate of rich, ripe fruit. Aromas of blueberry and plum leap from the glass, as layered over a subtle thread of graphite, pencil shaving and a suggestion of dried herbs. This medium-bodied wine has an elegant tannin structure and a long, velvety-smooth finish. Its current suggested retail price is $16.00.
Codorníu reportedly has the oldest winemaking history of Spain, dating back to 1551 with Jaume Codorníu and his family and encompassing 18 generations. A leader for quality Spanish still and sparkling wines, Codorníu captures the rich essence of the winemaking tradition and the innovative spirit that has turned them into a respected world leader in viticulture and oenological knowledge.
The Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé D.O Cava is a pink Cava from Spain’s famous Catalonia region, just outside of Barcelona. This Spanish bubbly is light on the palate and with aromas of red fruit, strawberries, and cherries. Well balanced between acidity and sweetness with a refreshing finish. It makes for an ideal aperitif wine, pairable with creamy cheeses, sharp cheese, and/or a salty charcuterie assortment. The Codorníu Zero Brut Alcohol-Free, priced at a low $11.00 per bottle, is a delicious alcohol-free sparkling wine obtained by dealcoholizing. It delivers a shiny pale yellow coloring with fine bubbles, fresh citrus flavors, and tropical fruit foavirng. Codorníu Zero can not only work for a toast but can also serve as great accompaniment to appetizers, seafood, salads with fruits or flowers, fish and vegetables, crudités, and desserts alike.
Les Dauphins 2019 Rose is a delightful, easy-drinking rosé which is matured for 2 to 6 months to produce a perfectly pink and fabulously light-bodied wine. Its flavors are sophisticated and refreshing, with notes of citrus and summer fruits — think strawberry and red cherry with a hint of green apple — that linger gorgeously on the palate. This wine needs no food pairing to back it up and is delicious on its own. A great rosé offering hailing from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France.
Developed by artisans Cindy Saadeh and Michael Ripper, Wine Nook is a wooden wine and cocktail dispenser designed to hold any 3-liter bag. As featured on The Today Show, it is convenient and colorful, yet it also reduces your carbon footprint. The company has partnered with the National Forest Foundation, with 1 tree planted for every Nook purchased. Thus, you can feel good that you’re helping the environment when you enjoy your boxed wine in a nook. The brand’s products can be ordered both via Amazon and its website.
Launched in 2008, Cupcake Vineyards is reportedly the #1 premium wine brand by volume within the U.S Cupcake’s winemaker Jessica Tomei and her team travel the world to ensure the most desirable grapes are being used in Cupcake wines, always seeing the glass as full of possibilities and striving to make wines worth celebrating. The portfolio now includes varietals from California’s Monterey County and Central Coast and other world-renowned wine-producing regions, including Veneto and Asti, Italy, Limestone Coast, Australia, Pfalz, Germany, Marlborough, New Zealand; and Mendoza, Argentina.
Zenni Optical pioneered the online eyewear industry in 2003 with a mission to make prescription eyewear affordable and accessible to everyone. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zenni offers men, women, and children the freedom to express their personal style and individuality through high-quality prescription and protective eyewear curated with a sense for fashion and incredible selection. With over 35 million frames sold worldwide, a pair of Zennis is owned in every country across the globe. Zenni is proud to be the Official Eyewear of the San Francisco 49ers, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Bulls. The 2 brands recently announced the release of new Cupcake Prosecco Rosé-inspired sunglasses, in celebration of the U.S. debut of Cupcake Prosecco Rosé. I’m looking forward to trying out both the wine and the sunglasses, of course.
Graham Beck is a family-owned estate located in South Africa’s Western Cape. The winery is known for being a leader within the Méthode Cap Classique which is the traditional method sparkling wine category that is exclusive to South Africa. Its Brut Rosé NV carries a suggested retail price of $20.00 and is a nearly-equal blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which each undergo whole bunch pressing to yield the silver pink hue. Graham Beck offerings are now available through Wine.com.
Trentodoc is not only known for its high-quality, versatility and affordability, but also its origins. Trentodoc is a classic method sparkling wine made in the Dolomite Mountains of Trentino, Italy, one of the most unique and breathtaking wine-making regions in the world. After harvesting by hand, its winemaking process begins, one that has been passed down from generations, as guided by passion and led by technology. In turn, it takes time and daily work for months or years before a Trentodoc is ready.
For Trentodoc lovers and travelers, there is indeed a Trentodoc smartphone app worth checking out. It currently includes guided tours to 57 wineries, 177 labels, maps and 200 gastronomical, natural and cultural sites. App aside, Trentodoc has received 52 medals — 20 gold and 32 silver — and counting via the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships.
Veuve du Vernay is reportedly the #1, non-Champagne, French sparkling wine brand in the U.S. This delightfully sweet, sparkling pink wine — which tastes twice as nice on ice — is fresh and light-bodied with hints of fresh raspberry aromas and flavors. This French sparkler is made with the Charmat method from primarily white grapes. You can drink it on its own with a chill, or mix into a cocktail in a variety of ways. In turn, this Ice Rosé is always ready for a fun time. This one carries a suggested retail price of $14.99.
Apothic — a wine brand known for challenging conventions through its innovative blends — recently launched its first-ever red varietal, Apothic Cab. Apothic notably collaborated with American actress Sarah Michelle Gellar last year, and the end-result of that was An Evening of Intrigue: Choose Your Apothic Journey. Narrated by Sarah Michelle Gellar, that event was intended to ignite curiosity and result in discovery of the perfect Apothic wine for those who dare to take the journey.
The Apothic Cab features hints of jammy dark fruit and aromas of vanilla blend with a silky smooth texture that boldly lingers on the palate. This 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is a bold red wine with an impossibly smooth profile. Layers of blackberries and black currant help reveal a dark fruit presence while aromas of vanilla deliver a silky texture that rolls across the palate, smooth as silk.
Meanwhile, the Apothic Merlot reveals depths of black cherry, boysenberry and wild blueberries with subtle hints of vanilla and coconut. To add dimension to the wine, there is a touch of a unique grape called Teroldego, which marries well with the Merlot to create plush tannins and a long, lasting finish. As a contract, the Apothic Pinot Noir reveals layers of bright ripe cherry and crushed raspberries with a dash of red currant. Silky tannins round out the mouthfeel with ribbons of caramel and vanilla, which lead to a delicate, lingering finish.
Celebrating 40 years of producing Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir & Chardonnay, Hahn Family Wines has a robust portfolio that I am quickly becoming familiar with. I had the pleasure of attending a recent Sippin’ N Trippin’ event from the vineyard, as hosted via Zoom late last year. Within that event I learned about the Hahn SLH Pinot Noir (suggested retail price of $30.00), Lucienne Smith Vineyard Pinot Noir (suggested retail price of $50.00), Lucienne Doctor’s Vineyard Pinot Noir (suggested retail price of $50.00), and the Lucienne Lone Oak Pinot Noir (suggested retail price of $50.00). Do believe the hype.
From Chile to California, Senior Production Manager and Winemaker Juan Jo Verdina got his start with Nicky Hahn, the winery’s founder, in the early 2000’s. Juan Jo’s role is integral in producing select wines from the portfolio, including this gem. The 2019 Hahn Rosé is a fresh, approachable style, a nice reprieve in February. Sustainably-grown in California’s Central Coast, this wine is way easy to sip. It is pale salmon in color with soft aromas of red fruits, including grapefruit. After just the first sip, you will experience its vibrant acidity, luscious fruit flavors and undertones of minerality. It has got me thinking of summer. You can find it for about $15.00.
Chloe Wines are beautifully crafted to inspire timeless stories and meaningful moments. A dry, bright Brut crafted from a blend of Glera and Pinot Noir grapes, the Chloe Prosecco Rosé — launched in January 2021 with a suggested retail price of $15.99 — blossoms with fine bubbles and delicate notes of ripe red berries and rose petals. This new varietal is vibrant yet balanced, with elegant acidity and boasts a crisp, refreshing finish. This top-notch offering is available both online and in stores around the States.
The 2019 Biltmore Reserve Rosé is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, with hints of Merlot, Viognier and Semillon. It is a versatile wine that can be served year-round. A perfect balance between sweet and dry, it pairs well with everything from charcuterie to pizza. Priced at a low suggested retail price of $24.00, it is now easy to share in the Vanderbilt legacy of hospitality with a Biltmore wine.
The Balletto Brut Rosé 2014 is a sparkling Brut Rosé hailing from the Balletto Vineyards, one of the few family-owned estate wineries in the Russian River Valley wine region of Sonoma County. It is simultaneously delicate, pretty, and delicious. It carries a soft, coral-hued color and its tiny, persistent bubbles confirm that this is a serious sparkler. Its aromas are integrated and full with a dollop of cherry-strawberry that highlights its core mineral focus. Suggested retail price for a bottle of this beauty is currently $42.00.
Earlier this month, Cavit Wines — reportedly “America’s #1 Italian Wine Brand” — celebrated National Pizza Day withthe Cavit Cares Pizza Challenge. It gave participants the chance to enter for a chance to win a year of free pizza in partnership with Slice, the innovative tech platform powering local pizzerias. The Cavit Cares Pizza Challenge runs through March 31, 2021, and more information on that can be found online at Cavit.com/CavitCares.
On the wine end, Cavit Collection Wines’ Cavit Sweet Red is a new, lusciously sweet red wine cultivated in vineyards in Vallagrina and Veneto with pronounced cherry and raspberry notes. This delectable beverage pairs well with red meat dishes and is excellent with spicy foods, along with grilled meats and vegetables. It carries an ABV of 10.5 percent and is available in 750ml and 1.5 L size offerings. Meanwhile the Cavit Rosé features beautiful aromas of fresh strawberry and cherries and comes from a blend of native Trentino red grapes. This wine is best served with fish dishes and white meat.
Bright Cellars is a data-driven wine subscription experience that helps you discover rare wines from all over the world, based on your personal tastes and preference. It was created by 2 MIT grads with a serious passion for wine, as they created the “Bright Points” algorithm which scores
each wine by comparing 18 attributes to your preferences, matching you with your monthly experience based off of their intricately intuitive palate quiz. Take the quiz, let the MIT vino-loving brainiacs do their thing, and voilà, you are then presented with wines that you ought to love.
In turn, expect to enjoy 4 to 6 new wines curated just for you every month — that is the intended Bright Cellars experience. You can rest assured that the wines aggregated for your particular tastebuds are a cut above the rest. The team focuses on finding unique, hidden gems from small vineyards from all over the world, including Italy, Spain, Portugal, and South America. Pricing varies, although the quality should stay the same.
Caroline Conner, founder of Wine Dine Caroline, is a wine expert and teacher based in Lyon, France. As an American originally from the Bay Area, Ms. Conner is currently studying for the Master of Wine qualification — there are reportedly only 400 in the world — and in the last year, turned her business model upside down to do vitrually-based teaching and tasting, after previously leading Lyon wine tasting tours.
Her goal is to demystify wine for wine lovers, and prove that you don’t have to be an industry expert to know how to be confident in wine tasting and shopping. Her six module online course called “Everything You Need to Know About Wine” walks wine lovers through ten tastings and covers grapes, production, regionality and how to taste wine. For a more bite-sized tasting, her Swirl, Sip, Slay course teaches students how to set up their own wine tasting. Her courses are a helpful complement to wine club subscriptions, as she provides expert commentary on wines from any wine region of the world.
Last but definitely not least is the NV Sunday Funday Sparkling Rosé from Reckless Love. You can initially expect dazzling aromas of ripe red summer fruits, wild strawberries, raspberries and a splash of delicate sweetness on the palate. Perfectly-balanced, this offering is prime sunshine wine, yet carries the low suggested retail price of $11.99.
As stated within this brilliantly-penned words shown on the Drizly product listing hyperlinked above: “There is a fine balance between righteous wine and a good time and we found it here. Be brave. Get weird. Kiss a stranger. Grow a beard. Just go with it. Make every day Sunday.”