Thirty Wines For Thirty Years
It's my birthday month, fellow winos!
This month is a milestone. Not only are we entering a whole new year after what was (let's be honest) a really challenging past 365 days, but also — I am turning 30!
Thirty turns around the sun, nine of which have been spent dedicatedly studying (*cough* indulging in) all the wine I can get my curiously tiny hands on.
This month we are not studying any certain varietal, winemaking technique or growing region. No geeky wine language for us to learn, no in-depth analysis.
A disclaimer before we proceed: Most of these wines can be found locally. Some are available at larger wine retailers around our area; others will require a trip into New Orleans to find. Normally I would not do this, but it's my birthday and these wines are delicious and you will thank me for it later.
For easy reference, I've starred the ones that might be tricky. Whites come before reds, and the list in each category progresses from sweetest to driest.
- Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling: moderately sweet and beautifully balanced.
- Hogue Columbia Valley Pinot Grigio: brisk and bright with lemon and apple.
- Seaglass Sauvignon Blanc: a crisp California varietal, not overly acidic but bright.
- Côte Mas Rose: you get an extra 250ml in this delicious rose. Big bang for your buck.
- A to Z Oregon Chardonnay: fruity and structural with focused minerality.
- Columbia Crest Two Vines Chardonnay: an everyday wine, oaky but pleasingly mild.
- 19 Crimes Red Blend: delicious, popular and dangerously easy-drinking.
- 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend: an approachable and easy-drinking red, good for beginners.
- Rosemount Shiraz: quality Shiraz at an unbeatable price (also my sister's wedding wine).
- Ravenswood Zinfandel: a simple and straightforward Zin. My go-to for mulled cider spiking.
- Kung Fu Girl Riesling: clean, fruity and mineral-forward with an incredibly long finish.
- Dry Creek Chenin Blanc: this minerally white is so popular that the state frequently runs out.
- Freixenet Cordon Brut Cava: my favorite wine discovery of this year — my ideal bubbly.
- Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc: this has been my go-to white wine for years. Grapefruit-y!
- *Lost River Community Red Blend: a classic made in the valley near my family's home.
- Apothic Red Blend: hearty with good depth, smooth. Good for beginners and fatty meats.
- Plungerhead Old Vine Zinfandel: technically a blend, this wine is just fun. Perfect with BBQ.
- Josh Cellars Pinot Noir: very popular in restaurants, an elegant and well-balanced offering.
- *Barossa Valley Estate GSM Red Blend: a classic blend from the Napa Valley of Australia.
- The Divining Rod Cabernet Sauvignon: mostly Cab but perfected with other grapes. Juicy.
($20 - $40 range)
- MacMurray Ranch Pinot Gris: a big wine that hides its ABV behind a gorgeous flavor profile.
- *Decoy Sauvignon Blanc: rich and crisp with a lusciously long finish.
- Mer Du Soleil Chardonnay: fruit forward with no malolactic fermentation and a cool bottle.
- *Nebbiolo D'Alba Valmaggiore by Bruno Giacosa: a lighter-bodied red that's worth the drive.
- Wild Horse Pinot Noir: widely available and perfect with charred wood-fired pizza.
- *Oyster Bay Merlot: a cut above and two steps sideways from a typical Merlot. Fantastic.
- Family Vineyard GSM Red Blend: a California GSM new to the Mississippi market.
- *Lost River Syrah: my hands-down favorite small winery Syrah. Simply delicious.
- Boom Boom Syrah: produced by one of Washington state's most famous wineries.
- Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon: The only wine I can get my guy to drink with me.
As for our own local vineyards, I would encourage y'all to check out Pontchatrain Vineyards Zinfandel. Our southern clime is not necessarily the best for producing much more than muscadine wine, but this locally-grown-and-bottled Zinfandel is a solid offering, considering our climate and soils.
Welcome to 2017, my fellow bacchanals. Let's do this right. Here's to the next 30 years!