I’m excited to introduce my first guest blog post – not only is she my best friend, but she’s an expert in wine who likes to travel – what more in a friendship could you want?! I tasked Yana with a simple question – can you recommend wines perfect for a wine night and bottles that your friends will be sure to love? See her post below and follow her on her wine-tasting Instagram journey: @vinesandvoyages.
By: Yana Nemecek
If you’re anything like me, you love wine, and you want to taste, smell, and enjoy it all.
I wasn’t always like that though. I’ve always liked wine, but a couple of years ago, I had a bottle that changed everything. Being from Oregon, I’ve enjoyed light to medium bodied wine for most of life, but the Domaine Léonine Grenache Noir and Syrah blend that I consumed on a random Wednesday with mom, was anything but. It smelled like shit (not joking) but tasted like the warmest, coziest, blanket that you’ve ever wrapped around your body. My eyes were open and I wanted to know more. I wanted to try more.
I started reading everything you could about the process, the grapes, the regions. I wanted to talk about it all the time. I watched every documentary multiple times. I was THAT friend.
I work in a non-wine related job, making it difficult to experience as many different wines as I would like. I don’t have the budget to buy three pinot noirs from different regions just to play tasting room in my kitchen on a Tuesday night. Also, not saying I’ve done it, but I could probably finish off all three bottles before they went bad, but I don’t want to tempt myself… #nowineleftbehind. Some people in my inner would be impressed, or appalled. 50/50 shot.
Girls’ nights became my moment to prove to myself that I could pick out a good bottle of wine that everyone would love. Putting my knowledge to the test. The pressure is always on.
I know you know what I’m talking about, so I thought I would help out and provide some guidance in times like these. Here are just a couple of my recent obsessions. They are unique and discussion-worthy, all while helping you continue being a baller on a budget.
Name: Ameztoi Rubentis Rosé
Region: Getariako Txakolina, Spain
Average Price: $23
I’ve been moving away from the typical Provence style rosés. Maybe it’s because of the weather, but there’s just something about fuller rosés that are hitting the palette. This rosé from the Basque region is delicious and fabulously distinctive. It has terrific strawberry and citrus flavors, brisk acidity, and probably my all-time favorite rosé.
Name: Château de Trinquevedel Rose 2016
Region: Tavel, Region: Côtes de Rhône, France
Average Price: $17
It’s a mishmash of all types of grapes (11% Cinsault, 15% Clairette, 57% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre, 12% Syrah) but it’s complex, and mineral-y (totally a word when talking about wine) but it’s structured and full. I get sharing is caring and all, but it’s easier said than done with this beautiful wine.
Name: Forks and Knives Red 2015 by Milan Nestarec
Region: Moravia, CZ
Average Price: $23
I’ve always felt like Moravian wine has been looked over. This unfiltered and organic Pinot from Moravia, CZ, is so good you’ll be shocked this comes from the same country that consumes the most beer per capita than any other country in the EU. The name “Forks and Knife” refers to how this wine should be drank: alone. As in the meal itself. Which I admit, I’ve done too many times. It’s fresh and fruity, with soft tannins that make it easy and way too drinkable. I also recommend to drink this wine on the cooler side, making it the best late summer wine.
Name: Silice Vitcultores
Region: Ribera Sacra
Average price: $23
If you like smooth wines, this one is for you. It’s a fresh and unstructured wine, but with a velvety side. It’s floral and green on the nose with hints of ripe red fruits. The finesse between all the notes is unlike any other. And holy shit, it’s good.
Name: Iron Horse 2015 Unoaked Chardonnay
Region: Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Average Price: $23
The last thing I need is a glass of water with my chardonnay because of how heavy and rich some chards out there are. But this lovely chardonnay from CA makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about chardonnay. It’s a mix of Asian pear, pineapple and grapefruit. The acidity is bright and balanced acidity, really highlighting the brisk minerality.
Name: Quinta Milu
Region: Ribera del Duero
Average price: $14
No one ever said you have to spend a fortune for good wine. Quinta Milú offers unrivaled quality, value, and just deliciousness among affordably-priced Ribera del Dueros. It’s juicy but full of woodsy, earthy, dried fruit notes. It’s warming and lively. Perfect pairing for casual weeknight meals or weekend cuddles with your best friends.
Name: Molly Dooker Shiraz The Boxer 2015
Region: South Australia
Average Price $27
Stay with me here, this wine is an inky deep ruby, with deliciously mild oak, long length, rich flavors. Dark fruits, melted dark chocolate, sweet licorice, and subtle cedar. Full-bodied, low to medium level of sleek tannins, lively acid and a long finish. Still with me? Or did you run to the store already?
Name: Casa De Mouraz Encruzado
Region: Dāo Portugal
Average Price: $18
Encruzado is something to wonder at. It holds its weight in body but maintains its crisp minerality on the palette. I’m not kidding, it moved like it should be thick and jammy, but tastes like a proper dry Riesling. It is really meant to impress the budding wine geek in your group.
Name: Maitia ‘Aupa Pipeno’,
Region Maule Valley, Chile
Average Price: $13
So you’re looking for something less in the your face and more the player behind the scene? Well, this Carignan & Pais blend is for you. This fruit driven, effortlessly, easy drinking wine has well-balanced acidity and low tannin. I would even recommend enjoying with a slight chill.
Name: Camp 2015 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
Region: Sonoma County, CA
Average Price: $18
Modern Californian Cab. Sweet black cherry and blackberry flavors underlined by earthy undertones. More on the medium side but still quite tannic and nice acidity. It you want something that will just please then this should be your go to.
One piece of advice I can offer and that’s helped me a ton in my wine journey, don’t be afraid to ask. My favorite thing to do is to go in my little wine shop and use the people working there as a resource. I tell them what I’m feeling like, a budget, and see what they can steer me towards. 8/10 times I like what they pick, and once in awhile I get something I don’t love. But you can’t love everything and I’m always happy to have experienced something new.
By now, I’m sure you’re craving a glass of wine, right? Oh go, get some, you beautiful monster you.