Affordable Luxury: Trade Up to Premium Wine this Holiday Season

As much as we may preach the merits of frugality and value, it does feel nice to indulge a little from time to time. There’s a reason why people pay big bucks for a personal massage, or a great pair of shoes: The difference only becomes evident once you experience it for yourself. There’s no forgetting, once you’ve tried the best.

Such is the case for wine, too. There are just some, that are clearly a notch above. You don’t have to be a trained Sommelier, a collector, or even have visited Napa Valley to recognize this when you taste it. You feel it at a visceral level. You catch yourself smiling, without really knowing why!

This subject is a timely one, as the holidays are upon us; so often we find ourselves searching for a quick, easy gift that manages to still feel, really special. Need something for your boss? Or maybe something to take to a holiday dinner party? Perhaps you’re planning a quiet night in with your loved ones. You can almost never go wrong with a bottle of premium wine.

And before you assume these wines are out of your price range, they’re actually quite reasonable for what they deliver. Everything listed below is under $50, in some cases, below $30.

Great wine starts in the vineyard - Image from Washington Wine Institute

First. What makes a great wine, great?

Grapes, just harvested at Baer Winery

There are many aspects to making a wine, but any wine maker will tell you, it always starts in the vineyards. Some locations just produce better fruit than others: They benefit from better sun exposure, better water drainage, or maybe the grapevines themselves are just naturally superior.

How the wine maker makes his or her wine, is the second-most important factor in the process. Their handling of the wine, from harvesting to bottling, will determine the character and quality of a wine. This includes hand-picking, slow fermenting, oak aging, careful blending of wines, and bottle-aging too. This type of labor doesn’t typically happen in the production of value-oriented wines.

The winemaking process is quite complicated. But to put it more simply, think of wine, as a luxury car. You can feel the quality from top to bottom. From the stitching on the leather seats, to the real-wood trim, you get a sense that a lot of care and time went into making this. It’s all about better quality materials, more care, and more labor.

Featured Winery #1: Baer Cellars

Located in Woodinville, Washington, Baer was founded in 2000 by Lance Baer. After working for some of the area’s best wineries, Lance decided to create his own line of fine wines. The winery gets its grapes from 16 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley, some of the best in the region (Stillwater Vineyard) and produces only 40K bottles of wine a year (that’s small for a winery). There’s a definite emphasis on quality over quantity here. The aim is to make French Bordeaux-style and Burgundy-style wines, often with lots of barrel aging (almost 2 years). The wines consistently collect awards from top experts and magazines (see below).

Baer Winery's Erica Orr, Lisa Baer and Les Baer
Guardian Cellars' Jennifer and Jerry Riener

Featured Winery #2: Guardian Cellars

Another Woodinville-based family operation, Guardian gets its name from owner and winemaker, Jerry Riener, who also happens to be a Seattle cop. While studying at the police academy, he did side jobs at local wineries and fell in love with the craft. Together Jerry and his wife, Jennifer run the operation. Like Baer winery, Guardian sources its grapes from the best growers around Washington state to create big, bold French-style reds with lots of oak aging. Jerry has a personal policy of aging all of his reds in barrel for at least one year, but up to two, before bottling. You can imagine how much power and structure these wines must have! With tongue-in-cheek names like Gun Metal, Alibi and the Informant, the wines are pretty serious stuff, while not taking themselves too seriously: Much like Jerry himself!

The Wines

Baer Arctos Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – $39.99
90 points, Wine Enthusiast

Locate/Buy Arctos at PA Fine Wine, Good Spirits Stores >>

Predominantly made from the “King” of all grapes, 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, with a touch of Petit Verdot (for color and aroma) and Merlot (for smoothness). This is a big wine, with 22 months in French Oak barrels and a whopping 15% alcohol by volume.

Why it’s amazing
From the first sip, the main vibe here is “dark” – black plum, black currant, black olive tapenade, all very classic Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon descriptors. A depth of rich black plum and cherry, lifted by pretty violet. It is punctuated with herbaceous licorice, bay leaf, and savory cigar box. Seamless and silky on the palate, with fine tannins.

How to enjoy Arctos
A wine this dark and brooding would be great with duck confit and blueberry balsamic. All of those dark berry flavors are a perfect parallel to the blueberry, and of course, the oak smokiness partners with the crispy duck skin. Balsamic and rich umami flavors abound in both the wine and the duck confit. Pure heaven!

Baer Star Merlot Columbia Valley 2014 – $34.99
91 Points Wine Spectator

Locate/Buy Star at PA Fine Wine, Good Spirits Stores >>

Merlot is known for its rich, smooth and silky feel, and this wine doesn’t disappoint. There’s a touch of Cabernet Franc in here to add some complexity and a characteristic herbal quality.

Why it’s amazing
The word “savory” comes to mind with the first sip of Star. Fresh cherry and raspberry are tempered with notes of cocoa, cola, and a bite of clove. This wine is medium bodied with plush tannins. Delicate, fresh and firm red fruit character from the Merlot blends nicely with the floral and savory herb notes from the more structured Cabernet Franc.

How to enjoy Star
A wine like this has many layers of flavor, from fruity to savory, to herbal: All of which would go nicely with roasted meat or vegetable dishes. Anything that marries well with herbs like sage, rosemary and thyme, would partner well with this wine. First thought would be a pot roast, but an oven-roasted chicken or turkey wouldn’t be too shabby either.

Baer Ursa 2014 – $42.99
91 points Wine Enthusiast
90 points Wine Spectator

Locate/Buy Ursa at PA Fine Wine, Good Spirits Stores >>

Ursa is the flagship of the winery – Lance Baer founded Baer winery with the Ursa blend, back in 2000. It is equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. And, another big hitter, at 14.5% alcohol.

Why it’s amazing
The aromas of Ursa are brooding, with notes of oak-barrel spice, coffee, blackberry, green pepper and dried herb. The flavors are bright and fresh, light on their feet, showing a fine sense of elegance and detail. (from wine reviewer, Sean Sullivan)

How to enjoy Ursa
Bold reds are typically tannic, and tannic wines are best matched with strong proteins. All of the flavors mentioned above would be a perfect complement to a grilled Angus steak with tangy rosemary butter, but of course, if you’re not into meats, a grilled Portobello with shaved Grana Padana and thyme could do the trick.

Guardian Chalk Line 2016 – $26.99

Locate/Buy Chalk Line at PA Fine Wine, Good Spirits Stores >>

This red blend is 42% Cabernet, 28% Syrah, 28% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. 14.5% alcohol makes this a big, rich and age-worthy wine. Although good now, this vintage can stay in the cellar for years and only get better. 

Why it’s amazing:
Right from the beginning this wine screams out wild blackberry and plum jam. These dark fruit notes are soon joined by the sweet notes of vanilla latte and roasted coffee along with some black pepper spice. The mouth-feel is dense, lengthy and generous.

How to best enjoy Chalk Line:
Because there are so many different layers of complexity in this wine, from berries to vanilla to pepper… you’d want a dish that is also layered in a similar way. The first thing that comes to mind for me, is Greek Moussaka, a lasagna-like casserole that has exotic spices like allspice and cinnamon, often made with a game meat like lamb. A sweet and savory dish like that, would take this wine to another level altogether.

Guardian Gun Metal 2015 – $39.99

Locate/Buy Gun Metal at PA Fine Wine, Good Spirits Stores >>

A blend of 48% Cabernet, 48% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot from Columbia Valley, Gun Metal was aged 20 months on 65% new French oak. With that much time in barrel, you can expect lots of oak, spice and earthy notes in the glass. 14.5% alcohol makes for a heavy wine.

Why it’s amazing:
This wine features notes of black cherry, vanilla bean, cedar, black olive, licorice and a hint of leather. A very unique stack of fruit and spice flavors and sensations in one glass.

How to best enjoy Gun Metal:
With a wine this funky, I’d focus in on the interesting secondary notes of olives, licorice and leather. I’m thinking umami/savory deliciousness, with a dish that features sausages and black olives. I’d make a simple pasta ragu using tomato, sweet Italian sausage and olives, and top with Parmagiano/Reggiano.

Guardian The Informant 2015 – $29.99

Locate/Buy The Informant at PA Fine Wine, Good Spirits Stores >>

This is classic Syrah wine, with a little oomph. It’s a blend of 97% Syrah with 3% Viognier, a white grape often added in for a little floral fragrance. This velvety and lush wine was aged 18 months on French oak. With only 350 cases (4,200 bottles) this is a very limited production wine and worth seeking out.

Why it’s awesome:
This is one serious wine with tons of weight in the mouth. It’s thick and unctuous. Chock full of notes of blueberry, white pepper and tar (yes, tar). Given enough time in the bottle, that tar character will mellow out and start to take shape as wet earth and meaty notes (think lamb or goat meat). That’s one FUNKY wine.

How to best enjoy the Informant:
Another funky wine calls for a funky partner at the table. Think grilled game meats, with a bit more of a powerful flavor: Goat, lamb, venison, duck, organ meats, liver, etc. I’d personally pair this up with some grilled Lamb chops and mint. The mint may seem counterintuitive, but strangely it’s a great flavor with red wines, particularly, Syrah.

Some Luxuries are Within Reach!

Now that you’ve spent some time learning about these premium wines, they’re not so intimidating, now are they? Nor are they as expensive, or out of reach as one would assume. At Deschere’s we try as best as possible to make it easy and fun to everyone to embrace wine. We hope you’ll reach out to us with any questions, and of course, give some of these great wines a try now. 

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Wine Pairing Can Be Cool!

No, like, really cool. Just as much as I love watching the seasons change, I also enjoy the range of moods and flavors that seem to go along with seasonal wine choices, too. Wine doesn’t have to be complicated, it doesn’t have to be expensive, and you certainly don’t have to follow anyone’s rules. Just chill up a bottle or two and follow your instincts.

That being said, I hope these suggestions will bring you tons of pleasure this season, and feel free to reach out to me to share your thoughts and ideas, too!

– Marc Supsic, DWS
The Rebel Sommelier / Wine Living
More great wine & food tips on Marc’s YouTube channel

Headed Back to Port: Many Sweet Returns

If you have a sweet tooth, and you love wine, you simply must try one of the greatest sweet wines in the world: Port.

Since the 17th century, Port has graced the tables of kings and queens, American Robber-Barons, Russian Czars and wealthy wine collectors. You might find it in smoky parlors, the kind with animal heads mounted on the walls, or even at the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

There is a good reason that the world’s elite and wealthy once coveted Port: in a word, it’s decadent. And with 20% alcohol, it will give you a nice buzz. Everybody loves a good buzz…

The days of Downton Abbey are long gone, but the thirst for this great beverage remains. New wine lovers are now, “returning to Port,” to see what it’s all about. Here’s your chance to experience 400 years of sweet decadence, for yourself!

One of the many wonderful things about Port is that it can age for a very long time. Some of the bottles in this collection are over 200 years old!

A Wine is Born

In 1702, Great Britain and France were at war. International trade was halted, and the English suddenly had to find a new source for their fine wine. Enter Portugal.

Although wine from Portugal was great in its own right, shipping it to England proved a new challenge: The long journey by boat was making the fragile wine spoil.

To solve the problem, importers borrowed a trick from Portuguese monks: by adding extra alcohol to the wine, it could be preserved, or “fortified.” A dose of brandy did the trick, rendering a sweet, fiery and complex wine that had an undeniably powerful kick to it.

The Brits loved it. And thus, Port was born.

The Source

The location of the Duoro Valley

All true Port begins life in northern Portugal, in the Douro river valley (seen to the right, in green). The grapes are grown on the steep, terraced hills of the valley, as they have been for centuries. Over 80 different grape varieties can be used to make Port wine, and in some vineyards they grow side-by-side, essentially blended ahead, right there in the field.

In the sweltering heat of late summer, Port grapes are harvested by hand, one bucket at a time, and as musicians play traditional Portuguese music, local volunteers dance barefoot on the grapes, for hours. A wine is made, and then fortified with a brandy called aguardiente (literally, “fire water”).

 The young Port is transported west, down river, to the small city of Oporto on the coast. Oporto means, “Port,” and this is where the wine gets its name. Oporto was once the launching point for the trade route to England.

The stunningly beautiful Douro River Vineyards. Notice the terraces, made from hand-stacked stones.
Cruising on the river Douro.
Touriga Nacional grapes, left after harvest season in October.
"Lagares," are the cement containers where the grapes are tread by foot, to make Port wine.
Port, "lodges," located across the river from the town of Oporto. This is where the barrels of Port are stored before shipping to the rest of the world.
Barrels of Port aging in the, "lodge," of famous Port producer, Offley.

The Flavors and Styles of Port

Some of us have probably tried a, “Port Style Wine.” These can be made anywhere in the world, including California, Australia, and yes, even New York. But remember that real Port is made only in Portugal, from Portuguese grapes, brandy, and nothing more.

Ruby Port

Ruby Port is red, fruity, young, and bold. No surprise, it’s like a mouthful of cherries flambé – while they’re still lit! It’s a blend of wines from several years, and meant to drink right away. For that reason, there is almost never an age mentioned on the bottle.

Ruby Port is a great entry point into the world of Port, as it’s often the most affordable style.

Tawny Port

Tawny Port, often starts life as a Ruby Port, which is aged for longer time periods. True to its name, it is brown, copper or amber in color, and it tastes more of dried fruits: Figs, raisins, prunes and toasted nuts come to mind. There is often an average age mentioned on the bottle, referring to how long it was in the barrel.

Vintage Ports

Vintage Ports are typically the most expensive, because they are only produced in years where winemakers agree the harvest is exceptional. They have a specific date on the bottle and they can only be made from that year’s harvest. Vintage Ports will age for decades, and it’s traditional in some families to buy a barrel or bottle of Vintage port when a child is born and save it for a special milestone later in life.

Late Bottled Vintage (LBV)

LBV Port is similar to Vintage Port in that it’s made in a specific year, from that year’s harvest. But it is often made from in-between years that don’t quite qualify for Vintage Port. It ages for less time and is often more affordable, but can be a great way to get a taste of a Vintage Port without spending a lot of money.

Deschere’s is happy to bring you two brands of Port:

Real Companhia Velha (Royal Oporto) was founded in 1756 by royal charter. It is the oldest, Portuguese family-owned wine company in Portugal. Likewise, the Delaforce family has been associated with excellent Port wine for over 175 years. These two producers have now partnered together to carry on their respective traditions.

If you’d like to learn more about both wineries, and the passion that goes into making their wines, our Sales Rep Zach Carey made a visit to Real Velha last year and gave us a closer look. Or watch this video to learn more about the passion that goes into their craft.

Royal Oporto Ruby Port – $13.99

Purchase this wine through Fine Wine and Good Spirits PA

Composed by a blend of differently dated Ports, which are rigorously selected and aged in oak vats, resulting in an average of 2 years. A beautiful ruby color and notes of violet characterize it for its youth and freshness. Its ripe red fruit aromas stand out, while on the palate shows a notable smoothness and harmony.

Delaforce Late Bottled Vintage Port 2011 – $17.99
91 Points Wine Spectator, 90+ Wine Advocate

Purchase this at Fine Wine and Good Spirits PA

Late Bottled Vintage Ports are only bottled after 4 years aging in oak, which allows the wine time to soften up and makes it ready to drink now. LBV Port is an alternative for vintage port lovers who prefer not to wait for long-term bottle aging.

“Warm fig and blackberry compote flavors lead the way, while licorice, mulling spice and fruitcake notes fill in on the finish. The lingering tarry echo is pleasant.” JM, Wine Spectator

Royal Oporto 10 Year Tawny – $29.99
90 points, Wine Enthusiast

Purchase this Port through Fine Wine and Good Spirits PA

Composed of a blend of harvests which are rigorously selected and aged in premium oak casks for an average age of 10 years. Tawny in color with shades of gold, showing off a magnificent bouquet of dried fruit, spice and a light sweetness. It’s young, yet very complex, the oak aging leaves a woody aftertaste.

Delaforce 20 Year-Old Tawny, ‘Curious & Ancient’ – $47.99
95 Points Decanter, 92 Points Wine Spectator

Purchase this through Fine Wine and Good Spirits PA

“This one has intense aromas of burnt coffee, cherry and caramel that follow through to a full-bodied palate, with a sweet molasses aftertaste. A touch of orange marmalade on the nose and palate, with a sweet and suave finish. Should be delicious with chocolate.” — Richard Mayson, Decanter

Royal Oporto 40 Year Tawny – $154.99
95 Points Wine Spectator

Purchase this Port through Fine Wine and Good Spirits, PA

The wines blended in this port are actually pressed by foot, just like they have been, since the beginning. Royal Oporto 40 Years is a blend of different Ports, rigorously selected for their quality and aged in the best oak barrels.

“Intense and thick, featuring an array of vibrant ripe citrus, dried fig, toffee and wild herb flavors, accented by notes of mocha and cocoa powder, spiced cherry and cream, with a bright finish of orange peel and caramel.” – Kim Marcus Wine Spectator

Wine Can Be Sweet!

Certified wine professional and founder of Wine Living, Marc Supsic, DWS

I love helping people learn about wine. Sometimes, all it takes is a little nudge of confidence and some information. Wine doesn’t have to be complicated, it doesn’t have to be expensive, and you certainly doesn’t have to follow anyone’s rules. Take a chance on a bottle or two, and follow your instincts.

I hope these suggestions will bring you tons of pleasure, and feel free to reach out to me to share your thoughts and ideas, too!

– Marc Supsic, DWS
The Rebel Sommelier / Wine Living
More great wine & food tips on Marc’s YouTube channel

Highway 12 Winery

Highway 12 Winery Captures the Heart of Sonoma

As far as California wine goes, Napa Valley gets a lot of attention, but fewer people know about Sonoma and its rich wine heritage. Located 60 miles north of San Francisco, the two regions may be close in proximity, but not necessarily in spirit.

Sonoma and Napa Valleys

Sonoma is just 45 miles from the California coast.

Situated like a giant horseshoe, the two Valleys are separated only by a small range of foothills and connected at the bottom. This is where Napa’s Route 29 meets Sonoma’s Route 12.

For Sonoma, Highway 12 is the main artery, home to dozens of wineries, but also symbolic as the central lifeline of the region.

The History

Wine has been made here for a long time. Once a part of Mexico, Russian colonists planted the first grapes in 1812. In 1825, Padres of the Sonoma Mission planted the first vineyard in what would later become the Highway 12 Wine Corridor. And in 1857, Sonoma became the location of the first commercial winery (Buena Vista) in the then-new state of California.

Long known as a supplier of wine grapes, Sonoma grows substantially more than its sister to the east, and still supplies them in bulk to many Napa wineries. To this day, it feels more like a rural town, with rustic B&Bs, small restaurants and bars; whereas Napa is a bit more glossy and upscale with its spa retreats and Michelin-Star restaurants. Both places make outstanding wine, but Sonoma seems to have an easygoing spirit that really shows itself in the wines produced here.

The Heritage

Highway 12 owners and winemakers, Michael Sebastiani (left) and Paul Giusto (right).

Many of the original immigrants to this area were Northern Italian or from other wine-growing regions of Europe. Families like the Sebastianis have been making wine here since 1904. Over three generations of family members grew the Sebastiani brand into one of California’s largest and most well-known. With that heritage in mind, fourth-generation Michael Sebastiani and partner Paul Giusto decided to venture out with a new winery, but not wander too far — really, at all — off the road.

“Through legendary Sonoma Valley and the famed Carneros District, California’s Highway 12 is the quintessential Wine Road. Home to dozens of world renowned vineyards and wineries, this region has been the heart of Northern California’s Wine Country since the first plantings in 1825. Recognizing that our winery, and our neighboring wineries, owe much to this corridor, we proudly assumed the name and the responsibility of honoring its historical significance.”

The Land

“If there’s a motivating factor behind the quality of our wines, it’s the name. Assuming the name of California’s premier wine road as our winery name was not without discussion and sincere commitment. There are many wineries and vineyards along this historic route and our commitment to excellence had to be, not only to history, but to our neighbors who share this famed corridor. The wines here listed represent years of winemaking experience and devotion to a lifelong craft. We offer them proudly as the wines of Highway 12.”

Vineyards in the Sonoma Hills, Overlooking the Mayacamas. Napa is in the distance, on the other side.

Vineyards in the Sonoma Hills. Napa is in the middle ground, the Mayacamas in the Background.

To find the perfect grapes, Michael and Paul source their grapes from Sonoma, Napa and the foothills of the Sierras, putting longstanding friendships with neighboring growers to use. “It all Starts in the Vineyard,” is the mantra and the guiding principal at Highway 12. From the vines of those master growers, passing through three generations of wine growing experience in the winery, and into the bottle – you can taste it all, in every sip.

The Wine

Deschere’s is proud to offer Highway 12 wines in the State of PA. These wines deliver so much for the price! See for yourself:

#49121 Highway 12 Chardonnay 2015 – $16.99

The inaugural release for Highway 12, sourced from the Delta-Clarksburg region. A minimalist approach to winemaking makes for a bright and lively wine with a nose of elderflower, citrus and stone fruit. Crisp Asian pear dominates on the palate. It’s a fruity and floral wine, finishing off with a rich toasty vanilla oak warmth. Perfect with BBQ chicken, buttered shellfish and just perfect on its own on a warm day.

Buy it here…

#16806 Highway 12 Sonoma Red Blend 2014 – $18.99

Aptly referred to as SRB, this blend delivers massive quality and structure in a bright and luscious Sonoma style! 63% Merlot, 14% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec, the wine was aged in French oak for 14 months and showcases a full-bodied richness. A bright bouquet on the nose with hints of ‘dust’ give this wine it’s unique character. This wine will stand up to and surpass most Red Blends in it’s price category! Perfect for hearty tomato-based pasta and stews, or maybe just fireside at your favorite ski lodge.

Buy it here…

#49122 Highway 12 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – $17.99

Depth, strength and elegance in one wine! Bright, yet luscious, this Cabernet (with a touch of Cab Franc and Merlot) is full of cedar and oak, cherry, blueberry and a soft, vanilla-oak finish. An easygoing, versatile red that’s great for a variety of settings, from casual apps to grilled BBQ.

Buy it here…

Want to know more about Highway 12? Visit their Website at www.highway12winery.com

Champagne Tastes, Prosecco Prices: Award-Winning Bubbly from Washington’s Treveri Cellars

Here in the US, the term “Champagne” is often used loosely to describe a wine that has bubbles in it. “Are you bringing Champagne to brunch?” More than likely it’s Prosecco, or maybe Spanish Cava, but who cares, right? It’s all Champagne to most of us.

Not All Bubbles Are Created Equal

Champagne only comes from one place: Champagne, France. And it ain’t cheap. The specific production technique, known as Methode Champenoise, is done with painstaking care; manually and slowly. Only the highest standards are allowed here. This is why you’ll pay big bucks (hundreds, for a famous brand) for a bottle of Champagne.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were sparkling wines made to Champagne standards, but at more affordable prices? Well, great news! There are… and they’re made right here in America!

Presenting Washington State’s Treveri Cellars

Located in Wapato, Yakima Valley, Treveri Cellars is a family-owned sparkling wine house that now produces some of the finest handcrafted sparkling wines in the United States. Their wines have been served at White House State Department receptions and the James Beard Foundation in New York, and have scored many awards and high ratings over the years.

 

Winemaker Juergen Grieb was born in the town of Trier, Germany and has a degree in both winemaking and sparkling winemaking. While attending wine school in the early 1980s, Juergen learned his craft with some of the best German Sekt (pronounced, “ZEKT”) producers of the day. After graduating, he scored a job with a German-based winery in Washington, where he worked for decades before setting out on his own.

Juergen opened Treveri (During the times of the Roman Empire, Trier was known as, “Treveris,”) in 2010 with a mission to put Washington sparkling wine on the US map. As one of the State’s first dedicated sparkling wine houses, that meant, figuring out exactly what makes a Washington bubbly unique. He decided, it was about letting the purity of the grapes – more crisp, acidic and bright, in this region of the country – shine through without interference. Each wine is handcrafted in the French Methode Champenoise, using great care and attention, which produces some of the best sparkling wines you’ve ever tasted: All fresh, complex, yeasty and each one, characteristic of their respective grape.

The Wines

Treveri largely focuses on 100% varietal (single-grape) sparkling wines, including non-traditional varieties such as Riesling and Mueller-Thurgau. Deschere’s is proud to offer six top-sellers to PA consumers through the Fine Wine Good Spirits stores. Here’s the topline:

 

#46309 Blanc de Blanc Brut – $13.99

Rated 91 Points Wine Spectator Magazine
Rated 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Best Buy, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Made of 100% Chardonnay from the Yakima Valley this Blanc de Blanc (white wine, made from white grapes) features green apple flavor with a hint of brioche, balanced by bright acid and a touch of yeast on the palate for a cool, crisp finish. Pair this one up with oysters on the half-shell, grilled chicken breast with citrus glaze and white fish, like cod!

Buy it here…

 

#38581 Sparkling Rose Sec – $18.99

Rated 91 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine

A blend of Syrah and Chardonnay with a delightful color and a fruit-forward profile, this rosé is all strawberry, rhubarb, watermelons and spice with a hit of yeast on the nose. It would be great with a Prosciutto panini, salmon cakes with cilantro-ginger aioli and Salade Niçoise. An award-winning Sparkling Rosé that’s been served at the US State Department for 4th of July celebrations in 2012 as well as the Spring Diplomatic Receptions in 2014.

Buy it here…

#20282 Sparkling Syrah – $18.99

Rated 88 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine

A one-of-a-kind red sparkling wine made from 100% Syrah, combining rich flavors of blackberry, pepper, cherries, and a hint of tobacco for a dark and delicious treat that is all its own. This beautiful sparkling wine has not only caught the eye of Treveri’s customers, but it has also garnered national attention as it was served at the US State Department Holiday Receptions. Pair it up with a sweet and tangy smoked brisket, pork chops and grilled lamb chops.

Buy it here…

#73614 Sparkling Blanc de Noirs – $17.99

Rated 88 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine
2016 Top 100 Value, Wine Spectator

“Blanc de Noir” means, “white from black.” 100% Pinot noir adds a subtle touch of color and complexity, with a hint of strawberries and brioche on the nose. The rich acidity and creamy finish are great for pairing with fatty foods like smoked salmon, lamb chops with mint aioli and sea scallops topped with a raspberry compote.

Buy it here…

#47412 Sparkling Riesling Demi Sec (Slightly Sweet) – $18.99

One of the world’s most aromatic varietals, Treveri Cellars’ sparkling Riesling boasts a delightful bouquet of apricot, peach, and a bit of honey, balanced by high acidity and a rich creaminess on the palate. Riesling grapes are on the rise in Washington state, and Treveri Cellars is the only facility to produce a sparkling Riesling, adding another dimension to a full line-up of award-winning sparkling wines.

This wine is refined and semi-dry, rich in minerality and is accompanied by peach, apricot, and yeast on the nose. It would be tasty with a bitter greens salad, Tandoori chicken or poultry, and sweet & sour chicken.

Buy it here…

#47411 Sparkling Gewürz Demi-Sec (Slightly Sweet) – $18.99

Rated 89 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine

Pronounced GUH-VERZ-TRA-MINER, this wine has a storied tradition of a fragrant nose and tropical fruit on the palate. With our winemaker’s German heritage, a sparkling Gewürztraminer makes so much sense! Treveri Gewürztraminer was recently served at the James Beard Foundation in New York City.

Notes of lychee, combined with rich tropical fruit, allspice, nutmeg, and clove are balanced with an underlying acidity for a true expression of the grape. Pairs great with Asian-style flavors, like balsalmic-glazed poultry, Thai curry mussels and Seafood stew with coconut.

Buy it here…

Additional Accolades:

Wine Business Monthly “Hot Brands of 2014”

“Best Value Sparkling Wine, 2 years in a row”
“Four 90+ wines in Four Years”
“New Winery to Watch For in WA”
– Wine Spectator Magazine

Want to Have Some Fun? Watch Our Video about Treveri’s Sparkling Syrah

A Royal Deal in Portugal: Check out Real Companhia Velha

Photos by Zach Carey

Looking for delicious, unique and fantastically affordable wine? Portugal is often overlooked by wine lovers, and that’s a real (or should I say Royal) shame!

An Isolated History

Portugal has largely remained a mystery to the American market, for a few reasons. First, at just 350 miles “tall,” and 130 wide, it’s relatively isolated – at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, with Spain to the east, and the Atlantic ocean to the west. Second, since the 1600s, Portugal has had a strong maritime trade with England, and much of its produce, including the celebrated Port wine, went there. Third, many years of political oppression (36 years under dictator Antonio Salazar) and economic depression set the country back during the 20th century. (click on the map to enlarge)

The Douro (Marked in green on the map)

 

Portugal is best known for its sweet, fortified Port wines, made in the breathtaking Douro region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site named after the river that runs east to west, across the top quadrant of the country.

Most Douro vineyards straddle the river itself, perched on steep, terraced cliffsides that must be managed and harvested by hand. The terrace walls are made of manually-stacked rocks that, in some cases, are centuries old. The climate is extreme, marked by cold, wet winters and hot, dry summers: So hot, that oftentimes grapes need to be harvested at night so they don’t spoil. The grapes are still tread by foot in giant concrete pools, called Lagares, just as they have been since the beginning. By default, and by necessity, sustainable production is a way of life in this environment.

Over eighty different types of indigenous grapes are grown in the Douro, ones with names that will tie your tongue in knots: Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cão, Viosinho, Souzao, and Rabigato, to name a few. Many of them go into the finest port wines. But those same grapes can, and do, make fantastic dry wines too.

Real Companhia Velha

 

For over 250 years, Real (pronounced REY-al, meaning, Royal) Companhia Velha has quietly survived, even thrived, in this challenging region. Founded in 1756 by the Royal Charter of King D. Jose 1, it’s the oldest family-owned wine company in the country.

The winery has quite a history, from shipping its Port wines to Catherine of Russia, to rationing Napolean Bonaparte’s troops in the famous French invasions. In the 1990’s, the Company restructured it operations, bringing its production up to par with the modern wine industry.

Consisting of five separate Quintas, essentially, farms, the winery occupies Over 1,300 acres on the Douro. They make everything from sweet Port wines (under the Royal Oporto label) to olive oils and of course, premium dry wines.

The Wines

You would think, with all of this history, time and care that goes into these wines, you would be paying a premium, but the reality is that because Portuguese wine is still relatively unknown in the world, the prices can often belie the quality inside the bottle. Descheres is proud to bring Pennsylvania residents two exceptional RCV wines, both award-winning reds:

#43463: Porca de Murca Red Blend 2013 – $10.99

Rated 90 Points by Wine Spectator, ranked #39 on their, “Top 100 of 2015” List.

Porca de Murça is the Douro’s leading brand, and with 90 years of history, one of Portugal’s oldest wines. The name originates from a folktale about a mighty female boar (a Porca) that once terrorized the village of Murça.

Porca de Murça is a blend of four Portuguese grapes: Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca. It’s a fresh and intense wine, full of ripe red berry and cherry flavors. Velvety and well-balanced, this wine would be a great partner for roasted poultry and pork.

Buy it here…

#17635: Evel Red Blend 2014 – $13.99

Rated 90 Points by Wine Spectator, ranked #50 on their, “Top 100 of 2016” List. 

Evel is also one of the oldest wine brands in Portugal (104 years old). With no specific meaning, the word Evel is an anagram for the Spanish word, leve (light).

Much like its name, Evel is an elegant, smooth and enjoyable wine. Made from three indigenous grapes – Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca & Tinto Roriz – the wine is fresh and acidic, full of red berry and plum flavors, with a hint of black pepper and mineral on the finish. Although you certainly can (and should) enjoy it now, it could age at least another five years!

This is an easy drinking and juicy red that would be a great compliment to grilled meats, especially beef.

Buy it here…

Want to learn a little more? Check out our video:

 

Gouguenheim Wines

Argentina Delivers Big: Why Gouguenheim Wine is a Best Buy in PA

Ask a wine drinker if they like Malbec, and they’ll say, “I love wine from Argentina!” even though the grape is originally from France. And while, five years ago you could almost count on there being a bottle of something from California on a person’s kitchen counter, these days it’s more likely Argentine.

It is indisputable that Argentina has become a hot spot for wine lovers, and for good reason. So much great wine is being made here now, that you can buy world-class drinks for half the price of more famous regions. The country is the fifth largest wine producer in the world.

Most of this volume comes from one region alone: Mendoza, located west, in the foothills of the Andes mountains, along the border with Chile. This is where you’ll find the Gouguenheim winery.

patricio gouguenheimMeet Patricio

Born in Argentina to French parents, Winemaker Patricio Gouguenheim has been crazy about wine since his childhood. Originally a professional in Mergers and Acquisitions, his work took him to Mendoza during the economic crash of 2002. It was there that he first learned of an old winery in nearby Uco Valley, in disrepair and up for sale. A wild seed was planted, and in a move that his two daughters called, “mad,” Patricio decided to hang up his suit and tie – and start making wine.

The Winery

The winery has 98 acres of vineyards, located at over 3,600 feet above sea level. With a desert climate and 320 days of sun exposure a year, meltwater from the snow of the Andes Mountains must be carried by irrigation channels, through the sandy soils, to the vines. There’s a big temperature difference, called a Diurnal Swing, between day and night, that allows for the perfect ripening of the grapes.

The Wines

Gouguenheim has become one of the best performing/top quality wineries in Argentina. They currently make about 15 different wines and are distributed in 15 countries. Deschere’s is proud to bring Gouguenheim to the state of PA. We really believe these wines deliver so much, for the price! Read on to discover why:

37749 Gouguenheim Malbec
#73177: 2014 Gouguenheim Malbec Reserva – $11.99

Big, dry, fruity, rich and smooth with soft tannins. Dark ruby color, aromas of blackberry, spice, earth, coffee, smoke and toast. Good balance, long and lasting finish. A wine this bold and complex needs a bold and complex food pairing, we suggest French cassoulet, hearty beef stew or Lamb Tagine. More info here…

#73178: 2013 Gouguenheim Cabernet Reserva – $11.99

Beautiful dark red, with juicy black cherry, spice, dried figs and anise flavors. Smooth and rich! A more fruit-driven Cabernet like this is great with grilled red meats, burgers and tomato-based stews. More info here…

73623 Gouguenheim Sparkling Malbec
#72623: Gouguenheim Sparkling Malbec (Rosé) – $10.99

A pale rose color. Delicate, with red fruit aromas, predominantly of cherries and strawberries. Very fresh in the mouth, soft tones with well-balanced acidity. Small, brilliant bubbles. An amazing buy at this price, perfect for light apps, rich cheeses, and shellfish of all kinds! More info here…

Does all of this sound good? Be sure to look for Gouguenheim wines in your local PA Fine Wine & Good Spirits Store. We also import their Merlot, Chardonnay and a Torrontes too… all similarly great buys!

Want to learn more about Patricio and Gouguenheim wines? Check out this YouTube video: