2019 Cantina Tombacco, Pecorino Terre di Chieti — Cantina Tombacco dates back to 1919, when Giovanni Battista Tombacco began to focus on winegrowing on his farm in Italy’s northern Veneto region.
His tradition passed down through the generations and the winery is now overseen by Giuliano Tombacco, with holdings in various parts of Italy. This wine comes from the Terre di Chieti IGT, in central Italy’s Abruzzo region. It is 100% Pecorino (the name means “little sheep”), a grape that nearly went extinct in the mid 20th century, but is now experiencing quite a renaissance. The grape produces elegant, complex wines with good acidity. This one is bright, fresh, and nicely textured. Perfect for seafood, especially grilled fish, or with white meats or light pasta dishes. $16.50
2017 Saviah Cellars, The Jack Reserve Red — This wine no doubt looks very familiar. The Jack is a line of delicious and affordable wines made by the talented Rich Funk of Walla Walla’s Saviah Cellars. But this wine takes it up several notches. The Jack Reserve Red is a limited production wine, made from select barrels sourced from top vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley AVA, including Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills, and McClellan. The 2017 vintage is a blend of 56% Cab Sauv, and 22% each Cab Franc and Petit Verdot, aged 23 months in 30% new French oak barrels. Rich made only 269 cases of this one and it is almost gone. It is rich and aromatic, with great structure and depth and notes of dark fruit, cocoa, and spice. He says it’s a perfect wine for gourmet burger night. $21
2018 Creta, Roble, Ribera del Duero — Creta is a custom cuvée from importer Eric Solomon, made in partnership with winemaker Rafael De Haan in the small village of Sotillo de la Ribera, in Spain’s Ribera del Duero region. This wine is 100% Tempranillo, produced from 30- to 50-year-old vines grown on clay loam and chalky soils at about 2,700 feet elevation. The name Creta, or chalk, refers to the soil in this region that gives the wines their signature sense of place. This one is aged six months in 225 and 600 liter French oak barrels, mostly used. It is rich and supple, with savory notes of dark red fruit and cocoa. Enjoy it anytime over the next few years with meat dishes or hearty fare. $18
2020 Domaine de la Briaudière, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie — The Muscadet region lies at the western end of France’s Loire Valley near the Atlantic coast. Its most important sub-appellation is Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine, named for two small rivers that run through it. The wines are made from Melon de Bourgogne, a relatively neutral white grape that thrives in the cool, maritime climate. The best Muscadets are aged on their lees (sur lie), which is noted on their label. This one comes from a third-generation winemaker with 40 hectares of organically farmed vines. It is bright and fresh, with wet stone minerality and a hint of salinity, characteristic of the region. The lees aging adds nice texture and complexity. Perfect for grilled fish, clams with tarragon, or oysters. $16
2019 Château de Mattes-Sabran, Corbières “Le Viala” — Mattes-Sabran is located in the heart of the Corbières region of southern France, on the Mediterranean coast. The estate has vineyards situated on garrigue-covered hillsides with stony soil similar to that of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This wine takes its name, viala, from a word in the local dialect meaning a community of people living and working together. It is 60% Grenache and 20% each Syrah and Mourvèdre, sourced from 30- to 50-year-old vines grown. Juicy and full-bodied, with flavors of blackberry and licorice, a touch of earth, and food-friendly acidity, it is a great wine for grilled red meat or game, or Mediterranean dishes, especially those flavored with black olives. $16
2019 Georges Vigouroux, Pigmentum Cahors — This estate in the Cahors region of southwest France dates back to the Middle Ages, but its vines, along with over six million acres of vineyards in the country, were wiped out by phylloxera in the 1800s. In 1970 Georges Vigouroux bought the property, overgrown and uncultivated for over a century, and spent years bringing the vineyards back from neglect. Today his son Bertrand-Gabriel produces the wines under several sub labels. Cahors is known almost exclusively for its dark, rich red wines made from Malbec, and this is the focus at Vigouroux. Their Pigmentum is juicy and ripe, with notes of red fruit and spice and balanced tannins. Great with meat dishes or other hearty fare, such as roast pork, beef tagine, or cassoulet. $16