Between the Seasons: Winter Red Wines and Spring White Wines

Just another small article I was asked to write for Jacksonville Magazine’s “Taste” edition…

Winter Reds


PetitePetitPetite Petit, Lodi, California – $14.99

If you’re looking for a “little” something to warm yourself up during the colder months, there could possibly be no wine more fit for the purpose than Petite Petit. Named after its blend of Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot grapes, don’t be mistaken for thinking this is a “small” wine. Since Petite Sirah is known for its high skin-to-juice ratio (the grape makes-up the majority of the blend), the wine is ultra-concentrated and jammy; with blackberry, blueberry and raspberry dominating the palate, all held together with well-integrated oak. A “big” fireside crowd-pleaser!


borgogno-dolcettoBorgogno Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont, Italy – $18.99

Located in the town of Barolo, Borgogno is well-established as one of the premier producers in the Langhe region of Piedmont. It’s a little-known fact that the name Dolcetto translates to English “little sweet one.” Interesting, since the wines made from the grape are certainly never sweet! Very rustic in nature, with an upfront mix of savory and earthy elements. The fruit eventually makes its way through, revealing blackberry, plum, a hint of ripe raspberry and a certain leathery and nutty quality toward the long finish.


domaine-bernard-baudryBernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges, Loire Valley, France – $15.99

Considered to be the most important red grape of France’s Loire Valley, Cabernet Franc is believed to have been brought to the Loire from Bordeaux region. The Baudry is a beautiful example of what the Loire Valley is capable-of, even at the more affordable end of the scale. Sour cherry and ripe raspberry throughout, with a hint of blackberry in the middle and a little forest floor/dried herbs toward the finish. The Baudry would pair perfectly with “peasant French” cuisine of all types.

cremisan-red-wineCremisan “Star of Bethlehem” Red, Bethlehem, Palestine – $15.99

Almost forgotten and very-much “off the beaten path,” Israel’s Cremisan winery is currently being brought out of obscurity by the most unlikely of sources: Jason Bajalia, owner of Jacksonville’s very own Casbah Café.

The wines are produced from vineyards in the Holy Land of Bethlehem, and made by one of the most famous wines consultants in the world: Italian winemaker Riccardo Cotarella. Initial aromas and flavors of stewed raspberry/strawberry and red cherry, quickly turns into bacon fat, tobacco and a mixture of spices.

All wines available from Riverside Liquors and Royal Palm Village Wine and Tapas.
Cremisan wines due for release in March. Jacksonville retailer TBC.


Spring Whites

whitehaven-sauvignon-blancWhitehaven Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand – $13.99

There’s quite possibly no better way to wake your palate from the colder months than with a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. In its relatively short history, Whitehaven has quickly grown to become one of leading producers of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and appears on a great number of Jacksonville’s wine lists. Dominating the palate with zesty grapefruit, lemon, lime and green apple; wet stone and fresh cut grass also feature heavily. Finishes clean and crisp, with the lime zest and mineral flavors really coming-through toward the finish.



Four-gracesFour Graces Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley, Oregon – $21.99

Produced from some of the oldest and well-established Pinot Blanc vines in the Willamette Valley region of Oregon, the Black family founded Four Graces in 2003, naming the winery in honor of their four daughters. The Four Graces Pinot Blanc offers itself as a suitable comprise for white drinkers who’ve grown weary of Chardonnay, but still want a little more body to their wine. Fermented in stainless steel (in order to preserve the true character of the grapes), the wine is fruit-forward with tropical fruit, spice and lychee, with a medium-full body and a long finish.

willamette-valley-vineyards-rieslingWillamette Valley Vineyards Riesling, Willamette Valley, Oregon – $12.99

Offering a rebuttal to Riesling being considered by many wine drinkers to simply be “sugar-water-in-a-glass,” comes the Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling. The wine yields a tempered level of sugar; with rich pineapple, peach sorbet, ripe Granny Smith apple, Honey Dew melon, sherbet and light minerality. A perfect match for Asian/spicier cuisines, since the alcohol is restrained at only 10%. WVV is certainly one of the largest wine producers in Oregon, but their quality-to-price ratio is difficult to beat!


cremisan-wineCremisan “Star of Bethlehem” White, Bethlehem, Palestine – $15.99

The grapes for the Star of Bethlehem are about obscure as you will ever find in a wine: Hamdani and Jandali, native to Palestine. The vines are cultivated without pesticides or chemicals, with all grapes being handpicked from the cool, wooded slopes outside Bethlehem. This temperate climate translates into a beautiful, elegant and well-balanced wine, with acidity and structure similar to that of a white Bordeaux-blend. Apricot, peach, gooseberry and lemon come together to offer a surprising reward for wine drinkers looking to expand their palate.

All wines available from Riverside Liquors and Royal Palm Village Wine and Tapas.
Cremisan wines due for release in March. Jacksonville retailer TBC.




1 Comment

  • March 19, 2014


    yeaaa you did a post finally!!!

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