Hello friends. When it comes to Team Full Pull’s drinking habits, white wine season runs from January through December. But there’s no denying that – as the calendar flips over from May to June – thoughts turn even more to delicious, refreshing white wines. Each year, to celebrate the beginning of summer, we feature a six-pack of import whites (maybe with some bubbly and/or rosé in the mix as well) offering the best QPR we’ve tasted during the first half of the year.
2015 VRAC Rose (3L BAG IN BOX, Pickup Only)
[Please note: this is a 3-liter bag-in-box, so it’s the equivalent of four 750ml bottles of wine at $7.50/bottle. Please also note: because of our uniform shipping boxes, we will not be able to fulfill any shipping orders for this wine; these will be pickup-only.]
I’ve been wanting a chance to write about these large-format bag-in-box wines for awhile now, and this is the perfect opportunity. There’s a lot to like, especially for a wine like this. Of course the value is great. But this format also keeps the wine fresh for three weeks after opening. And it’s waaaaaay light-weight compared to glass bottles, which makes it more portable and more environmentally-friendly. This packaging faces some of the same challenges screwcaps did a decade ago – perception that the wine inside is cheap and/or awful – and I suspect will eventually overcome that in much the way screwcaps subsequently have. The positives are just way too positive.
This is a Provencal-style rosé (it gets the VdP de Méditerranée designation, which covers Provence, Corsica, and other areas of southeast France) blending Cinsault, Grenache, and Carignan. Raised in stainless steel tank, this is good, honest, unfussy French rosé. It pours very pale pink and offers a nose of watermelon and redcurrant, celery leaf and mineral. The palate is a bone-dry mid-weight, offering bright acidity to balance its melon and berry fruit. The finish is crisp and clean. This wine, in this format, is pretty much the ultimate picnic rosé.
2015 Arca Nova Vinho Verde
This has become a surprising list-member darling over the past few years. Vinho Verde from the Portuguese coast is mostly a grocery store category, offering semi-sparkling, (mostly) unoffensive wines. I remember in my early wine-drinking days, it was a first step up the ladder from the very bottom shelf, and a noticeable step at that. I may or may not have a short history of guzzling Vinho Verde from the bottle, in a hot tub. Who can say? This bottle just looks like summer, all green and refreshing, and the juice inside doesn’t disappoint. Listed alc is just 10.5%, so this is a real glugger, offering spritz and mineral and rippin’ citric acid to complement tree fruits (pears especially) and light floral notes. It’s almost like drinking a low-alc gin-and-tonic. And then it goes and offers a pretty long, mouthwatering finish, and an overall palate-coating character that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for this price point. Give this a hard chill and enjoy it all summer long.
2014 Naveran Cava Brut Reserva
This is a terrific price for estate-bottled, vintage Cava. Perhaps no surprise that it comes from our friends at Olé Imports. The 272-acre Naveran estate was founded in 1901 in the town of Torrelavit in Penedes (location here). The vineyard is on limestone/sand soils with clay subsoils, with vines that look like this. It’s a 50/30/20 blend of Xarello/Macabeo/Parellada, with all vines planted between 1970 and 1995. The wine spends 18 months on lees before disgorgement, and this vintage clocks in at 11.5% listed alc. It opens with a wonderful high-toned nose, with loads of floral and minty top-notes above a core of nectarine and apple fruit. For a $15 Cava, Naveran has achieved impressive texture, with a notably fine mousse, real intensity, and mouthwatering acidity and minerality. This finishes nice and salty, and I think it would be as good on its own (especially with food) as it would be as part of a mimosa or bellini.
2015 Abbazia di Novacella Sauvignon
We’ve offered a handful of wines from this Alto Adige mainstay over the years, and I find myself seduced every time I taste these alpine beauties. Abbazia has been around since 1142, an Abbey founded by the Augustinian Order of Canons Regular, and they’re justifiably famous for a series of piercingly beautiful white wines. We sold their Gruner to great acclaim as part of our Thanksgiving offer, and today we’re back with their Sauvignon. Grown at nearly 1400 feet elevation on gravelly soils over glacial moraine, this is a singular expression of Sauvignon Blanc. It spends just six months in a mix of stainless steel and big neutral oak barrels, the goal being pristine fruit and site expression. The nose mixes grapefruit and mineral with something akin to an alpine field: grasses and flowers alike. And then the palate conveys really impressive depth and body for a white, especially one with 13.5% listed alc. The acidity is really gentle here, nicely framing the citrus fruit and continuing earthy notes. This drinks like a white that will age beautifully.
2014 Domaine Jomain Bourgogne Chardonnay
Generally I like to keep this summer sixer to all wines at $20 or below, but this year, a pair of wines just above the $20 threshold refuse to be ignored. The first is Jomain’s Bourgogne Blanc. Jomain’s holdings are predominantly in Puligny-Montrachet, with some holdings just over the line. If I had to guess, I’d posit that this is a blend of declassified Puligny and some of those just-over-the-border parcels. It drinks like baby Puligny, a haunting mix smoke and earth, good leesy bready notes, and a core of lemon curd and apple fruit. Creamy, supple, and double-take complex, this is as good as Bourgogne Blanc gets, and of course it’s a fraction of the price of juice from just inside Puligny (Jomain’s own Puligny, for example, retails for $60; their single-vineyard Pulignys for closer to $100).
2012 Manni Nossing Kerner
An exception in two ways. First, because this wine is already in stock. We bought out the entire remaining parcel in Seattle, because the price was right for a truly rare bird: a well-aged Kerner (this variety is a Riesling x Schiava cross). And second, because it has some serious press on its side. Vinous (Antonio Galloni): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
I won’t add much here, because that’s a great note. Just two asides, the first to say that Galloni wrote that review in 2014, and the only evolution I’d note is that his “hints of petrol” have become quite a bit more prominent, especially on the nose. It smells like great old Riesling. And the palate drinks like a wine with years of fascinating evolution ahead. Second aside: it’s no mistake that this is our second Alto Adige wine of the day. For my money, this is a region putting out some of the most compelling, ageworthy, well-priced white wines in the world. I’ve noticed more and more of the whites in my cellar tending towards the double-A, and I’d encourage you to do the same.
First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines not already in stock should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.
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