April 28, 2022

Bri's Best Bottles: April Edition

A new month awaits, which means a new batch of wines for me to share with you for my Best Bottles: April Edition. If you miss the IG Live, don’t fret, all the wine details are below and you can re-watch it on my IGTV channel or read the blog post!

Without further ado, I bring to you my best bottles for the month of April!
 

Valdo Floral Brut Rosé NV $15.99 (Italy)

GORG label, not that it truly matters, but it sure does add to the ambiance! I used this Valdo sparkling as the aperitif for an in-person tasting of all women. Look at this bottle! Something beautiful to look at that makes you smile. Nothing wrong with that. This is a Vino Spumante and not Prosecco. You’ll notice on the bottle that no region is listed. That’s because the Nerello Mascalese was sourced from Sicily and the Glera was sourced from the Veneto. Since it is a multi-region blend, labeling laws don’t allow them to list a region. This wine was fresh, fruity, floral, and delicious. If I’m honest, it knocked any of the Prosecco Rosés I’ve tried, out of the park. 

Wine pairing class

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé $23 (Alsace, France)

I have my hands full these days with sparkling rosé as I’m working on a roundup piece of the Best Bottles to suggest for this summer. Stay tuned for that! Back to this bottle. Lucien Albrecht is among the pioneers of grape growing in Alsace, with a history that dates back to 1698 and eight generations of winemaking. This wine is made from Pinot Noir, and showcases freshness and acidity. A delicate red fruit character on the palate, rounded out with a creamy texture. Side note: don’t think of rosé as being sweet! You might still be swayed from the olden days of White Zin and blush. Unless you’ve got a bottle of Stella Rosa in front of you, chances are, you’re sparkling rosé is DRY. 

Wine taster sommelier

Menade Nosso Verdejo Natural 2020 $35 (Rueda, Spain)

This low intervention wine made from the Verdejo grape can be described as “nature in a bottle”. Citrus notes moving to bruised apples, plus aromas and flavors of honey, beeswax, and white flowers. The wine is steel fermented, so even though it’s a bit fuller body, it’s still quite snappy and fresh, which the steel helps accomplish. This really is a spectacular wine, and for a white, it’s worth the few extra bucks. 

Wine consultant sommelier

La Morandiere Melon de Bourgogne 2019 $22 (Loire Valley, France)

This fresh and zesty wine from Muscadet, the westernmost area within the Loire Valley, delivers minerality and brininess, characteristic of this area due to the Atlantic influences. Organically grown grapes give a pithy lemon note and a whisper of floral aromas in the glass. Bring out the salinity in this wine by enjoying it with briny seafood such as oysters, mussels, or clams.

virtual wine tasting

Acquiesce Grenache Rosé 2021 $28 (Lodi, CA)

Acquiesce Winery is one of my favorite wineries in Lodi, California. In a region known for Old Vine Zinfandel, Sue Tipton and her husband, Rodney, went against the grain and started Acquiesce, which only makes Rhône inspired white and rosé wines. People said they were crazy, but alas, they’ve been wildly successful.  This Grenache Rosé 2021 is a fresh, bright, and acid driven rosé. Perfect to cut through spice in any dish. Indian food perhaps? Or tacos? Breakfast sandwiches?

Certified sommelier

RGNY White Merlot 2018 $32 (Long Island, NY)

Does everyone have their seatbelts on? We’re in for a bumpy ride with this wine from RGNY. Yes, this is a White Merlot. And yes, this wine was made/grown in Long Island.  This is a white wine made with red grapes. How do we do that? By fermenting the wine without the skins (in red winemaking the skins are a part of fermentation and the skins are where a wine gets its color). At first this wine can be a bit confusing and you’re not sure where to place it. And that’s ok. That just means this is a wine that you have NO preconceived notions for. But then you quickly realize there’s a wine for every time and place, and all is right in the world. This wine comes from RGNY, which started in 2019. It is a project by Mexican-American Rivero González who comes from a family of Mexican winemakers. 

Wine tasting education

Pollak Vineyards Smuggler 2017 $75 (Monticello, Virginia)

This Pollak Vineyards red is a great example of a domestic Bordeaux blend. Do we need a $75 Virginia wine? I’ll let you decide. There’s a conversation brewing about “slow wine” just like slow food. Drinking closer to home. Do we need to ship heavy, glass bottles around the world so we can all try and enjoy wines from classic wine regions? Or should we start to appreciate what we have that is a bit closer to home? For those on the East Coast who want a premium Bordeaux blend experience, this is it. Also, fun fact, the winemaker is French. So perhaps we only import the people, not the wine! Made of 56% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from their oldest estate vines. 

Wine education online

Kukkula Aatto 2017 $60 (Paso Robles, CA)

Kukkula (kook-koo-luh), is Finnish for ​“the hill, or high place”. Owner and winemaker Kevin Jussila is of Finnish descent and his vineyard sits on a high elevation, hence the name. Aatto is their most unusual, exotic wine, both aromatically and in the flavor profile. It’s made up of mostly Counoise and Mourvedre, with small amounts of Grenache. You might never have heard of Counoise, and it’s a relatively new grape to me. Counoise is one of the supporting character red grapes from the Rhône Valley, far behind Syrah and Grenace in popularity. This is an awesome wine if you like fresh, high acid reds that are Old World in style. Heaps of pepper and herbaceous character. 

wine education

Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon $10 (Lodi, CA)

There’s no romantic story to tell you for this Avalon Cab Sauv. It’s a $10 Cali Cab and it’s delicious. It’s not very often that I tout a $10 domestic wine. The reason being, is that so many of them suck. If I have $10 to spend, I’d much rather test my luck on a Spanish or Portuguese table wine. But for $10, holy hell this is good. It’s fruity, balanced, and quaffable. Two thumbs up.

Virtual wine tasting party

Dow’s 2016 Late Bottled Vintage Port $26 (Duoro, Portugal)

Take a moment out of the hustle and bustle to enjoy a quiet moment to yourself. This is what sipping drinks are for. And for sipping drinks, I think of fortified wines and tea. Tea fills the gaps in life. I digress. Back to the Port! LBV (late bottled vintage) is only bottled in the best years. This LBV shares the same provenance of Dow’s legendary Vintage Ports. The wine is aged and seasoned in oak vats for 4-6 years before bottling and released ready to drink. Once open, the bottle will last a month or so. Personally, I use Private Preserve and I get a longer life out of the open bottle. Dow’s is a Certified B Corp, because stuff like that’s important. Indigenous grapes. This is like a kicked up Ruby Port. Black fruit, floral, and herbal notes. Not cloyingly sweet at all. Tannins and freshness keep that all in balance.

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I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re looking to Up Your Wine Game and Drink Better, consider booking a private in-person or virtual wine tasting experience.
Brianne Cohen Wine Educator
Brianne Cohen is a certified sommelier, wine educator, consultant, and writer based out of Los Angeles.

Since March 2020, Brianne has educated and entertained over 5,000 people through her “Virtual Vino” online wine tastings.

Brianne holds the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Diploma certificate, one of the most coveted wine certifications in the world. When she’s not helping others Up Their Wine Game, she can be found judging at international wine competitions.

Brianne aims to make wine approachable and conversational, to surprise and delight with unexpected, distinctive wine finds, and to give people knowledge (and confidence) about wine in their everyday lives.

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Sample Policy

As a wine writer, I frequently accept samples for review on my  website and on my social media channels. Please contact me at brianne@briannecohen.com to discuss sending samples for review. I promise to always be honorable with the samples. I will evaluate all wines in good tasting settings and with no distractions.

All reviews are my opinions, and mine only. Because of the volume of samples I receive, I cannot promise that all samples received will be reviewed, but I will do my best.

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