What grabbed me was this white wine's luxuriant richness, reminiscent of an Hermitage Blanc, yet still fresh, and totally unoaked. I thought I needed a Chardonnay to make my 12 bottle case, but with this wine, I can get the best of a northern Rhône style, and the voluptuousness of a California Chardonnay, in one neat package.
This intense, full-bodied red is made by the brilliant Châteauneuf du Pape producer Andre Brunel, from family owned vineyards in the village of Tavaillan. The 2011 Côtes du Rhône Villages Cuvée Sabrine, which is made from 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre, has just what it takes to stand up to the rigors of summer BBQ fare. It is loaded with meaty notes of blueberry, blackberry and smoke/tobacco leaf, interlaced with hints of cherry confit, a telltale component of ripe Grenache. With so much forward fruit, it can also be enjoyed lightly chilled on the deck or patio.
Straw yellow in color, the wine offers intense fruity and floral aromas of green apple, pear, and white flowers. The palate is balanced, soft and fresh in the flavor with a long fruit-driven finish.
The 2009 Villa Antinori is a pretty, mid-weight wine laced with dark red berries, flowers and sweet spices. Nothing in particular stands out, just the wine's lovely depth, balance and overall sense of harmony. This is a fabulous wine for the money. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.