Recap: Four Go-To Wines of the Moment

It's hard to believe that I've been writing in this space for two and a half years now. That's a long time to journal about what I've been drinking and learning. My understanding of and appreciation for wine has grown since I started, and there are quite a few Tasting Notes on this site. Because of this, I thought I'd sum up my top four go-to wine recommendations of the moment. My main goal with this list is value, so you won't necessarily see all four-bunch wines, but this way you'll be introduced (or re-introduced!) to a few of my favorites that you may have missed over the years.

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Honora Vera Garnacha

This Grenache (or Garnacha in Spanish) is food-friendly, fruit-forward, and light to medium body. I think it's a crowd pleaser! I typically purchase it at Total Wine, but I have started to see it pop up other places. This brand also makes a white that I've been curious to try. Now $8.99 a bottle, this wine is still a steal! See my full post here.

Gnarly Head Zinfandel

This wine is my #1 go-to recommendation for anyone that is looking for a good value. It can be found anywhere, which is great because not everyone has access to local wine stores, Total Wine, or even more gourmet grocery stores like Whole Foods or Fresh Market. I have found it even in the smallest of towns when I was traveling for work. Full-bodied with dark fruit and pepper notes, this wine is going to please most red wine drinkers. See the full post here. Note: Gnarly Head has changed their label a bit, so the photo in the full post is not what you will find in store!

Starborough Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a great white to have around. It's crisp, refreshing, and typically works great for cooking, especially if it's a dish with lemon and herbs. I bought this at Harris Teeter, our local grocery chain, so my guess is you can find it at yours. With balanced acidity and grapefruit notes, this classic portrayal of Sauvignon Blanc will be great for the upcoming warmer weather. See the full post here.

Trader Joe's Reserve Brut

You all know I love my bubbly, and this one is a great affordable option! Available for $9.99 at Trader Joe's, this wine will bring fresh acidity with the typical notes of lemon and apple. This is perfect for brunch, festive parties, or just a regular Tuesday night! See the full post here.

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Tasting Notes: Greyrock Sauvignon Blanc

Kevin makes a mean chicken piccata. Like better than any restaurant I've ever been to, especially when we have it with this local, handmade parsley and garlic pasta. Seriously, probably in my top three meals we make at home. The recipe Kevin uses calls for white wine, and I always like to find a good Sauvignon Blanc for it. It's a great wine to have on hand just for this reason... especially with a screw top! When I saw that there was a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from the famous Sauvignon Blanc region of Marlborough on the Total Wine Top 20 for 2017 list, I thought perfect! Into my basket it went.

The Facts

  • Producer: Greyrock
  • Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Vintage: 2016
  • Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine
  • Price: $14.99

When I first poured this wine, I was a little taken aback because it was so clear! It just had the slightest tint of yellow to it. You definitely get a handful of grapefruit on the nose, but also some green pepper. You may even be able to call it jalapeno because it almost smells spicy! These aromas are not a surprise given the Sauvignon Blanc is from the New World. The wine has a short finish, meaning the flavor doesn't stick around on your tastebuds for a long time. I would say it was less acidic or mouth puckering than other Sauvignon Blancs I've had. I'm not sure that it's better than the Sauvignon Blancs you can get at the grocery store (for example, Starborough) that are usually a tad cheaper and don't require a second stop, but if that doesn't bother you, this is a definitely a good option! The mellower flavors and acid will definitely appeal to many.


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Tasting Notes: Starborough Sauvignon Blanc

Guys, it's almost JUNE. Where did the year go?! How is it already (almost) summer time? Some of you may be excited for the new season and others are likely in mild shock like I am. While I can't believe it, the weather outside is forcing me to come to terms. We've been lucky enough to get some beautiful days recently, but I've already felt the heat and the summer storms have been around all week. What's a plus side to the warmer days? Getting to enjoy some chilled white wines! 

The Facts

  • Producer: Starborough
  • Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Vintage: 2016
  • Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
  • Where I purchased: Grocery Store -  Harris Teeter. You can also find it at Total Wine. 
  • Price: $10.99
Starborough Sauv Blanc
  • Eyes: First off, I thought the label was pretty cool. I try not to choose a wine based on the label because I think they can be very deceptive, but I do like this one. Sauvignon Blancs have some of the best labels in my opinion because they're usually bright and fun. Anyway, I digress. You can kind of tell from the picture above, but once I poured a glass, this wine is so pale that it's almost white or clear. 
  • Nose: Smells just like what you would expect from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc! It smells citrusy, and I specifically think it smells like grapefruit. There's a hint of that herbal, grassy smell that often accompany wines from this area. I also got a slight whiff of peach, but citrus was front and center. Bottom line is it smelled good! 
  • Mouth: Crisp, light, refreshing. Exactly what we were looking for! The citrus notes came through, but wasn't overpoweringly acidic. It was super easy to drink and perfect for those who want that zing of an acidic white. I desperately want to say "gooseberry" because everyone always uses that descriptor for Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, but I have no idea what that tastes like. I might as well be this guy. Gooseberries, you elude me for now, but I'll find you some day.
  • Thoughts: If you like Sauvignon Blancs, this one is a great choice because it is a classic example of the wine from Marlborough. It's affordable, tasty, and would be perfect for a drink on the patio during a warm summer's evening or paired with a light afternoon picnic (hello, screwtop!). Kevin and I actually bought it to make this chicken piccata recipe, and it paired very well with the lemon and parsley in the dish (don't judge my amount of pasta). This type of Sauvignon Blanc would go well with any poultry (avoid the cream sauce, though) and would go especially well with veggies. Also, just a random thing to note, 2016 was apparently a very good vintage for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, so keep that in mind while shopping!



Tasting Notes: Governors Bay Sauvignon Blanc

I apologize for the delay in posting. Our housework was delayed due to poor weather and we did not have access to any wine necessities. It was terrible! I'm just kidding about it being terrible because now we have beautiful new floors and a fresh coat of paint in the house, but I am glad to be back to regular programming!

This is the third wine from my Total Wine 2015 Challenge. Not sure I will get to taste them all before 2015 ends (how is it December already?!), but at least it's progress!

The Facts

  • Producer: Governors Bay
  • Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine
  • Price: $11.99
  • Eyes: This sauvignon blanc is very light in color, a very pale yellow. It looked to be very light bodied, or very light in viscosity. 
  • Nose: This wine was VERY fragrant. A strong nose of citrus -- definitely some grapefruit. I also smelled a hint of apple and pear. 
  • Mouth: I knew based off of the smell that this wine would have a strong citrus flavor, and I was not wrong. Others note a big gooseberry flavor, but to be honest, I have no idea what a gooseberry tastes like so I will have to take their word for it (and eventually try a gooseberry so I know). Gooseberry is very characteristic of sauvignon blancs from Marlborough. There was definitely some acidity to this wine... I could tell based on the fact that acidity in wine makes your mouth water after the sip. I would say the acidity almost made the wine tart, but it wasn't overwhelming in my opinion.
  • Thoughts: I'm still learning to really enjoy whites, but this one was easy to drink and is characteristic of whites I have started to like. It was crisp, and in my opinion, refreshing. I tend to like the lighter and fruity (citrus, apple, etc) wines more so than the "heavy", buttery, oaky chardonnays, so this one was a win in my book. At this price point, it is definitely on my list for when summer returns!