by Sandra Crittenden

by Sandra Crittenden

Sunday, March 29, 2020

What I'm Drinking Now - Week of 3/22


Francois Diligent Brut Nature Pinot Blanc Champagne NV - While every wine student knows the three main grapes of Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, many people don't know that there are actually seven approved grapes that could be in your bottle. This 100% Pinot Blanc sparkler was sourced from the Côte des Bar and spent three years on its lees. It is a Brut Nature which means that no sugar was added. It is currently on the list at Backstreet Cafe and is available chilled on the restaurant's take-out menu.
Fresh and dry with a more rounded feel, it had notes of pear and almond with a persistent mousse and clean finish. It was delicious with our takeout dinner of crab-cakes and spicy crab bucatini. Affordably priced at $39, this unique bottle of bubbles is a great choice to upgrade your dining at home experience.

Cantele Chardonnay 2018 - This Italian Chardonnay is sourced from Guagnano and Montemesola in Puglia. Surprisingly aromatic, I had to check to see if it was blended, it is not, it is 100% Chardonnay which has been fermented in stainless steel. 

In the glass, it displayed typical citrus aromas and flavors but it also had abundant floral notes, primarily chamomile with hints of lily. The wine is dry, medium bodied, and has a lingering finish. I served this wine with grilled chicken, sautéed mushrooms, roasted potatoes, and green beans. 
This easy drinking white was purchased at Vinology Bottle Shop & Wine Bar for $18 during a winemaker tasting event, it has since sold out.


Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume 2015 - I am a lover of Chablis wines and this one was no exception. The Fourchaume vineyard area is one of the most well-known Premier Cru vineyards in the region. It is located north of the town of Chablis on the east bank of the Serein river where there are limestone soils. I had opened this bottle to enjoy with some salmon roe on blinis while we waited on my son and his girlfriend. I had already prepared rice pilaf and had some shrimp ready to cook for dinner. 
This white was crisp and dry with a medium body displaying notes of peach, pear, and a hint of white pepper, with citrus blossom and zest in the long mineral-laced finish. It was elegant, it was rich, it was beautifully balanced. 
I decided to open a bottle of rosé for my son and his girlfriend to have with the grilled shrimp just so my husband and I could have the rest of the bottle for ourselves. This bottle was purchased at Spec's over a year ago for about $37.


Matthiasson Limerick Lane Vineyard Zinfandel 2017 - This wine is sourced from a vineyard in the Russian River Valley that Steve Matthiasson helped a friend plant in 2008. It is not your typical California Zin, Steve Matthiasson made the choice to produce a lighter, fresher style that he refers to as a “California Claret”. 
Bursting with mixed berry aromas and flavors, the wine is dry, soft, and zesty with only 14.2% ABV. Fresh and easy drinking, it was delicious with our barbecued brisket and ribs. This wine was purchased directly from the winery which I have been doing yearly ever since I made a visit there in 2015.


Bending Branch Newsom Vineyards Tempranillo 2012 - Sourced from one of the largest vineyards in the state located in the High Texas Plains, this wine is a dry, medium-bodied red that is loaded with black cherry fruit, black pepper spiciness, and a hint of mint. Despite being 8 years old, it still seems quite youthful. It is nicely balanced with good acidity and soft, silky tannins. There is an interesting mix of sweet cherry flavors and a hint of tartness which continues through the lingering finish. Beautiful, elegant, and a delight to drink!
I pulled this bottle from the back of my collection. I had tasted it when it was the current release but the Bending Branch Tannat that year was what had really impressed me and was the one I chose to recommend in Galveston Monthly magazine. This Tempranillo was aged 24 months in American Oak, the same length of time a Spanish Rioja Gran Reserva would be in barrel and I found the oak to not be very integrated at that time. A Rioja Gran Reserva calls for a total of five years of aging including time in the bottle before release. The additional years of bottle aging have done this wine well!  
This was the wine I chose to share on the #TXWine Twitter chat this week which happens every Tuesday night at 7:00pm CST. 

All of these wines are highly recommended.

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