July 22, 2021

Bri's Best Bottles: July Edition

A new month awaits, which means a new batch of wines for me to share with you for my Best Bottles: July Edition. This month we’re returning to the IG Live format to present the video portion of this post. I’ll be there tonight at 6pm (Pacific), where in 30 minutes or less I share with you the 10 wines I’m enjoying in the month of July.  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.

Without further ado, I bring to you my best bottles for the month of July. 

Acquiesce Sparkling Grenache Blanc 2018 (Lodi, CA) $55

Y’all know how much I love Lodi. Lodi is a wine region close to Sacramento, for those not familiar. We’re with Acquiesce here, which is a white and rosé only winery focusing on estate-grown Rhône style wines. The dynamic Sue Tipton is at the helm and makes some LOVELY wines, including this traditional method sparkler. As far as she knows, this is the only domestic sparkling Grenache Blanc, so it’s a major treat. A super clean sparkling with bright fresh fruit. Super dry. Could easily be mistaken for a Crémant.

Monteci Pinot Grigio delle Venezie (NE Italy) $15

There is a sea of unremarkable Pinot Grigio in the market. Vapid, uninteresting, and super neutral Pinot Grigio. Most of this comes from IGT Veneto quality level. In 2017 a new DOC was created: DOC Delle Venezie. DOC is a step up from IGT.  The DOC is a tri-region area encompassing: Veneto, Friuli, and Trentino. A Pinot Grigio to jazz things up a bit! Rooty tooty fresh and fruity (one of my favorite tasting notes)….serve me this Monteci Pinot Grigio with steamed clams or mussels, and I’d be a very happy gal!

Ramōn Bilbao Albariño 2019 (Rías Baixas, Spain) $15.99

A fresh and lively white wine from the Rías Baixas region of Spain, also known as “Green Spain”. I always say that if you like Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll like Albariño. Both carry characteristic high acidity, which make the wine feel alive and fresh. Citrus and stone fruit notes on both the nose and the palate for this Ramōn Bilbao, plus a briny salinity that reminds you we’re right at the ocean. Oysters anyone?

Sella & Mosca Terre Bianche Torbato (Sardinia, Italy) $20.99

Sardinia lies south of France near the island of Corsica and off the west coast of Italy. Sella & Mosca lies on the NW corner of the island, just inland from the historic port of Alghero, which was designated a DOC in 1995. Sella & Mosca is the largest winery on the island (550 hectares planted) and almost the oldest. Fun fact: it is the second-largest contiguous vineyard in Italy! 

When it comes to wine, Sardinia is known for Vermentino (on the white side) and Cannonau (or Grenache) on the red side. Today I bring you neither. Torbato originally came to Sardinia by the Spanish and today, Sella & Mosca is the only winery to make a 100% Torbato wine.  This wine gives me pink grapefruit and all the stone fruit (peaches and apricots), and the palate is juicy AF. I DARE YOU to drink this wine while floating in a pool and not enjoy it.

Maison Noir Knock on Wood Chardonnay 2015 (Willamette Valley, WA) $24

Maison Noir founder Andre Hueston Mack was once the sommelier for the French Laundry and Wine Director for Per Se. He was also voted one of the best young sommeliers many years ago! In 2007, he added winemaker to the list of job titles and started Maison Noir Wines. The “Knock on Wood” name is a deceptive play on words. Chardonnay has a bad rap for being too “oaky and buttery” (that’s the  OG way of making it). This wine actually lacks any barrel fermentation or aging and also has no malolactic fermentation. It has notes of melon and tropical fruit with racing minerality. Make this your summer thirst-quencher!

Roaming Dog Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (Columbia Valley, WA) $15

If you think that Cabernet Sauvignon only makes big ‘ol red wines, let this wine prove you wrong. Roaming Dog in the Columbia Valley of Washington actually had a stray dog roaming the fields as they were planting. His name is Blue and he is now a part of the fabric of the property. This wine is slightly sweet (just a tad) and perfect for a very hot summer day or would be fantastic with some spicy tacos. I’m thinking chicken or pork. 

Côte Mas Rosé Aurore 2020 (Languedoc, France) $13.99

Rosé really is summer water, right?  I just can’t get enough of it. Once it cools down though and Fall hits, I definitely chill out on my rosé drinking. This is my cheap and cheerful rosé pick. Also, don’t get it twisted that this is a 1L bottle for $13.99. That’s something worth celebrating! We have a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Vermentino. Cotton candy pink in color and candied fruit notes of strawberries and raspberries plus fresh rose petals. This is your cheese plate wine when you just want to throw out some cheeses and a bottle of wine, no fuss.

Jean-Luc Colombo Terres Brûlées 2018 (Rhône Valley, France) $63.99

We are in Cornas, which is the smallest sub-appellation in the Northern Rhône. Jean-Luc Colombo is a large negociant who is credited with bringing a more modern winemaking style to the Northern Rhône. This wine is contemplative and precise. A true stunner. Deep, dark, and brooding fo sho with hints of dark fruit, spice (cracked black pepper), a velvety chocolate (especially on the finish). This wine is so chewy and dense. Super well-integrated tannins. I could go on. Worth every penny.

Thacher Valdiguié 2020 (Paso Robles, CA) $36

Paso Robles has a certain reputation when it comes to wine. Don’t shoot the messenger! Paso is hot hot hot, and the reputation is that the wines are BIG, high alcohol, and jammy. Yes, some are. This is not that. I received this sample (unsolicited I might add) and had NO idea what to expect. I was not familiar with Thacher Vineyard and Winery and I had never heard of, and certainly didn’t know how to pronounce the gape: Valdiguié. A few tidbits about this winery and this wine. For one, they’re a low-intervention winery, meaning not much is done in terms of winemaking and grapes and terroir are to speak for themselves. The Valdiguié grape used to be called Napa Gamay before grape DNA testing. You’d find it heavily used in “Burgundy”…you know, the big jugs of California red wine back in the day. Now we know it as the Valdiguié grape, originally from the Languedoc-Rousillon region in the south of France. Let’s get to the wine. Bom.com my friends. A total nouveau style…..natty nouveau, dare I say. But not so natty that it tastes like sour beer or kombucha. This natural wine tastes like WINE…hallelujah! Chill this bad boy…..it’s smashable, as the kids say.

Cockburn Port Branco (Porto, Portugal) $14.50

I’m sure most of you have heard of Port, but have you heard of white Port? Port is a fortified wine, which is wine with a spirit added. Essentially, a higher alcohol wine. Port that you know is generally red in color, whereas white Port is made from white grapes. No oak aging with this wine, which is traditional for Port. This white Port is aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve those fresh fruit aromas and flavors. The classic way to enjoy white Port with tonic over ice, as a wine cocktail. Well, I hate tonic. Literally hate it…..the flavor of quinine is so weird to me. I set out to try something different! The drink I found was the Cockatoo (and I’m pretty sure it needs a better name), and it turned out delightful. Refreshing and delicious! Fill a wine glass with 2/3 dry Champagne or Cava (no Prosecco, as it’s generally too sweet) and 1/3 Cockburn’s Porto Branco. Add some peaches and strawberries (like you would in a sangría), and garnish with a fanned peach or strawberry. Cheers!

That's all folks...see you next month!

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you are looking to Drink Better and Up Your Wine Game, check out my latest virtual wine tasting offerings, including both public and private wine tasting events. For virtual events, my tastings feature a small-format wine tasting set sent to each attendee for a shared tasting experience. What can you expect from a Virtual Vino event? Fun, approachable, interactive, and unpretentious wine education as we share smiles and wine!
Brianne Cohen is a certified sommelier based out of Los Angeles, California.
She has been producing events and weddings for over 10 years in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and also offers her services as a wine educator, writer, and consultant to inspire people of all ages.

Brianne completed the entire curriculum with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust and traveled to London in order to receive her Diploma certificate, which is one of the most coveted and difficult wine certifications. Most recently Brianne judged at the International Wine & Spirits Competition and the International Wine Challenge in London.
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Sample Policy

As a wine blogger, I frequently accept samples for review on the blog 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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