A new month awaits, which means a new batch of wines for me to share with you for my Best Bottles: June 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 June. 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 June.
I love playing the “if you drink this, you’ll like this” game. If you drink Champagne, you’ll love Franciacorta. And isn’t it just fun to say?! Franciacorta is a traditional method sparkling wine made in the Lombardy region of Italy. It’s actually made in the same style as Champagne. A cool fact about Franciacorta: about 60% of the vineyard area is organic (that’s good for you and good for the planet). The Satèn style is Blanc de Blancs, meaning that only white grapes can be used and is bottled with slightly lower atmospheres of pressure than a normal Franciacorta (5 atm vs 6 atm). In this Ricci Curbastro bottle we have 100% Chardonnay fermented in oak barrels and then aged for 40 months in bottle. The texture of this wine is seamless, due to the additional lees aging. And this wine is quite a bit fresher than I’d expect with the extensive aging. Beautiful notes of citrus, and stone fruit, plus the signature spice that I expect from a Franciacorta.
Smith-Madrone is a pioneer of Napa Valley, especially Spring Mountain, which can be cooler than the rest of the Valley because of elevation. A Napa Chardonnay for those who don’t dig Napa Chardonnay. Restrained and Old World in style. The fermentation starts in stainless steel tanks and then moves to barrel to complete the fermentation. It is then aged in 85% new French oak for 10 months. How do we get a “not too oaky” Chardonnay with that much new oak? The secret is that they source tightly grained barrels, which impart less oak aromas and flavors than looser grained ones. I learned something new today with that tidbit!
This Bordeaux Blanc hails from the Entre-Deux-Mers sub-region of Bordeaux, which sits between the Left Bank and the Right Bank and between the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers. There are a slew of producers from Bordeaux who are committing to sustainability standards, in an area that is not necessarily known for that historically. Hopefully these producers will help usher the region to more environmentally friendly practices. At Château Roquefort, only 45% of the estate is planted to vines and the grapes are farmed organically. The rest is forest, woods, and fields, which encourages biodiversity. In this bottle, we have a Bordeaux Blanc made from 85% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Sémillon. This is a perfect, high acid daily drinker, and at a fantastic price. Another cool fact: they use lighter weight glass bottles to reduce their carbon footprint.
Another (very different) take on Sauvignon Blanc. From everything I’ve heard, the 250-acre Saracina ranch sounds like a lovely place to visit. In addition to wine, they also make olive oil and honey. They were founded by the Fetzer family in 2001. And it’s still family owned….just a different family ☺ the Taub Family. This is not a California Sauvignon fruit bomb, no ma’am! This is an aromatic yet austere wine, giving me bracing acid plus a really cool note of lemongrass.
If Clif with one “f” looks familiar, it’s because this is the same Clif Family who own the Clif Bars brand. Cabernet Franc is not a grape I regularly see in a rosé, which is why I picked it! At $30 for a rosé, it’s definitely a bit of a splurge, but sometimes you just have to treat yourself. This wine serves up heaps of stone fruit (peaches and apricots) and a touch (just a touch) of sweetness. Plus some tannin influence to give it a bit of structure. An evening rosé, perhaps?
If the previous rosé was an evening rosé, this Rabble rosé is squarely a 12 noon on a Sunday rosé. No pretention and no seriousness. This is made with 100% Paso Robles Syrah. All the red fruit here (mostly strawberries) plus tangerine and kiwi fruit….yes, kiwi fruit! That descriptor was a first for me, but I definitely got it here!
Résonance is the New World side of Louis Jadot, a very famous Burgundy producer. They share the same grape: Pinot Noir. Oregon Pinot Noir is one of my favorite styles of wine. I appreciate the Old World light-handed style (versus the heavy-handed CA style). And I love the restraint and balance I get from so many of the wines, this one included. The grapes come from the Yamhill-Carlton and Dundee Hills sub-regions of the Willamette. I find this wine to be both energetic and elegant. Dark red fruited notes plus solid acid. I’m here for it!
The Charlie Barra was one of the pioneers of Mendocino, along with Barney Fetzer. Charlie first planted vines in 1955, but didn’t start BARRA of Mendocino until 1997. Petite Sirah is their signature grape that launched the brand in 1997, and is now their calling card. The grapes are certified organic. This is a deep, dark, and brooding wine. And yes, I know it’s summer, but I want to make sure to not neglect the "big red" category, because there are plenty of red wine only lovers out there. I got you. Deep purple in color, which is classic of Petite Sirah. Blue and black fruit + load of spice to round it out.
We’re taking it back to the Old World with OG Valpolicella producer Tedeschi who dates back to 1630. Valpolicella is known for a style of wine in which the grapes are dried after harvest in order to concentrate flavors. This is called appassimento. In the case of this wine, the grapes are placed in crates for about month to dry, where they lose 8-10% of their weight. The water loss naturally increases the sugar content of the grapes. A fruity and easy to drink wine that really hits the spot when I want a chill Italian red. Red fruit (lots of plums and cherries) plus pepper/spice on the back palate. And just the amount of old world funk that reminds me we are firmly in Italy.
And for a total change of pace, we’re back to the New World with a juicy AF Dry Creek Zinfandel. So juicy, I can almost hear Cardi B sayin…..wet, wet, wet. This Dry Creek Vineyard Zin swept me off my feet with its almost berry pie notes of boysenberry and blackberry. If you want an unabashed New World Zin, this is the one. Tertiary notes of sweet tobacco and leather round out the rear. Really, really lovely. Now who is braising the short ribs?
That’s all folks….see you next month!