2021 Giorgio Colutta, Sauvignon, Friuli Colli Orientale — Colutta is a third-generation, family-run winery in the Colli Orientale (“Eastern Hills”) of Friuli, which is in northeastern Italy, bordering Slovenia.
They produce all of their wines from their own fruit, which they farm as naturally as possible with minimal chemical intervention. Production takes place in a renovated villa that dates back to the 1700s and also houses several charming guesthouses. This wine is produced with a select local clone of Sauvignon, grown on rich clay soil, which gives the wine its characteristic aromatics, while prolonged fermentation on the skins adds further complexity. With bright acidity and notes of citrus and herbs, it’s a good match for fish, vegetables, roasted eggplant, risotto, or red lentil dishes. $21.50
2021 Pago de los Capellanes, Godello, O Luar do Sil — Pago de los Capellanes is based in Spain’s north central Ribera del Duero region, known for its robust red wines. But the owners dreamed of producing great white wines as well and, in 2014, they founded a second winery, O Luar do Sil, in Valdeorras, in Spain’s cool, wet, northwest Galicia region. The indigenous white grape Godello is the star here, producing wonderfully complex and aromatic wines. This one is sourced from older vineyards planted at 450 meters elevation on mineral-rich hillsides of granite, slate, and clay soils. It is rich and aromatic, with great minerality, expressive of the local terroir. Fermentation in stainless steel maintains freshness and purity, making it a great wine for seafood or shellfish. $18
2020 Contini, “Tonaghe,” Cannonau de Sardegna — The island of Sardinia lies about 125 miles off the west coast of Italy. Sunny and dry, with hilly terrain, volcanic soil, and warm Mediterranean breezes, it’s a perfect place for viticulture which research shows dates back nearly 3000 years. The red grape Cannonau (the Sardinian name for Grenache) grows all over the island producing aromatic wines with excellent structure. Founded in 1898, Contini is one of the oldest continuously operating wineries on the island and is now in its fourth generation. Their Cannonau, aged in stainless steel and bottle, is aromatic and inviting, with notes of redcurrant and cherry and a nice touch of spice. A great red for spring, paired with barbecues, veggies, or richer fish dishes. $15
2019 Catena, Cabernet Sauvignon — The Catena family’s history in Argentina dates back to 1902 when Italian immigrant Nicola Catena planted his first vineyard in the Andean foothills of Mendoza. Now in its fourth generation, Catena produces several tiers of wines, including this classic line, first launched in 1992. Made from all estate fruit, grown in the family’s high altitude vineyards, they are an amazing value for wines from such coveted sites and made by some of Argentina’s top winemakers. This Cab is blended from four sites: fruit from La Pirámide provides notes of black currant and cassis; Domingo fruit contributes spicy aromatics and peppery notes; Nicasia fruit produces fine tannins; and the very high-altitude Adrianna Vineyard adds great minerality. Elegant and well structured, give it a bit of time to open up, then enjoy with red meat, steak frites, or simple bistro-style meals. $20.25
2019 Domain de Couron, Côtes du Rhône —Domaine de Couron is a small, family-run estate in France’s Ardèche region, which lies between the northern and southern portions of the Rhône valley. They are based in the tiny hamlet of Saint-Marcel-d’Ardèche, about 45 miles northwest of Avignon, where winemaking dates back to Roman times. In fact, vestiges of an old Roman outpost can still be found throughout their vineyards. This Côtes du Rhône is 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, grown on terraces with a mixture of limestone, granite and clay soils. Its dark fruit flavors are augmented by notes of black pepper, earth, and spice. It’s a great value and a good fit for pork, cured meats, and other savory southern French fare. $12
2016 Château Sicot, Bordeaux Supérior — Château Sicot is based in the small Bordeaux village of Saint-Ciers-d’Abzac, not far from the famous Merlot appellations of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. Strongly committed to natural farming and winemaking, they received organic certification for their vineyards in 2009 and produce their wines with wild yeasts and minimal added sulfites. This wine is a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cab Sauv, 6% Cab Franc, and 4% Malbec, aged one year in partial new oak. Its dark red fruit makes it a good match for roast beef, charcuterie, and other grilled meats, and the earthy notes of the wine suggest a pairing with paté and terrines, as well as creamy cheeses like brie and camembert. With a good bit of mellowing age on it already, it is ready to enjoy anytime! $17