Bill’s Best Bets – May / June 2015

by Bill Zacharkiw

Bill Zacharkiw

Bill Zacharkiw

The latest Cellier releases offer a wide spectrum of wines: from delicate whites to reds that have enough torque to accompany a grilled, medium-rare T-Bone. If there is a common denominator, it’s the price. You will find a number of very solid and interesting wines under $25, as well as a number under the magic $20 barrier that are worthy of your attention. So let’s get right to it.

The May 28 release

Let’s start with a rosé and the 2014 Le Rabault from Joseph Mellot. While at $25, it might strike some as expensive, but this is one of the better rosés I have tasted this year. Great texture and fruit that finishes on a mineral chalky note. Lobster or crab salad? This is your wine.

I was surprised to see the entry-level riesling from Mönchhof in this release as this wine has been a stalwart in the German category for years. So it’s not really new, unless of course you have never tasted it. Like always, for under $20, loads of tropical fruit cut by a solid mineral note. Acid and sugar balance is perfectly done. Serve cool and bring on the spicy fare.

For those of you who want an interesting, lighter styled red, the Cuvee Neri from Domaine Girard is a juicy merlot/cabernet franc blend from the lesser known Languedoc appellation of the Cotes de Malpere. Can easily be drunk on its own or with white meats.

Le Rabault Joseph Mellot Sancerre Rosé 2014 Mönchhof Mosel Qualitätswein Riesling 2013 Domaine Girard Cuvée Néri 2011 Monte Hiniesta Toro 2011 La Rosa Tinto 2011

Fans of bigger styled wines have a couple of options as well. From Spain’s Toro region, the 2011 Monte Hiniesta is just what you would expect from one of Spain’s warmest growing regions – dark fruited and richly textured but what turned me on was no excess of alcohol or over-influence of barrel.

On a slightly more finessed note, but with the same sun-drenched fruit as the Toro, the 2011 Douro from Quinta de la Rosa is full of powerful fruit, but stays elegant due to its refined tannins. These wines age extremely well, so for $21, a very inexpensive Cellar stocker that will repay in the future for 3-4 years of your patience.

The June 11 release

Au Bon Climat Pinot Gris 2013 La Monacesca Verdicchio Di Matelica 2012 La Staffa Rincrocca Verdicchio Dei Castelli Di Jesi Classico 2012There are a few very noteworthy whites in this release. There are two exceptional verdicchios available. Riccardo Baldi’s La Staffa Rincrocca is from the well-known Castelli di Jesi appellation but shows much more texture and minerality than I normally expect. This is lobster wine!

The other is Fattoria la Monacesca di Cifola’s Verdichhio di Matelica. From a lesser known appellation, the wine shows more vibrant fruit than the Jesi, but with less of a mineral component. Excellent and interesting aperitif wine that will easily accompany lighter fish and seafood, and for under $20!

One of the surprises of the tasting was the pinot gris from Au Bon Climat. I prefer the richer Alsatian gris style over the spindly Italian grigio take on the grape, and this wine delivers a sensually rich gris. Just a hint of residual sugar adds texture and amps up the aromatics. This will age a few years as well, but for right now, can be drunk with leaner white meats like veal and pork filet, as well as cheese plates.

Kutch Wine Block 7 Pinot Noir 2012 Affinato In Carati Scavino Barbera d'Alba 2012 Domaine Ruet La Fontenelle Chiroubles 2013I have three reds to suggest and all are on the lighter side of the spectrum which makes them perfect if you want to eat salmon or tuna, or simply pack back a red, served cool (15C), on the terrace. From one of the lesser known Beaujolais Crus, the Chiroubles from Domaine Ruet shows beautiful florals, ripe fruit and a mineral finish.

Paolo Scavino’s Affinato in Carati is a Barbera d’Alba that shows much more power than the norm, but doesn’t sacrifice the thirst quenching acidity that gives the grape its charm. Veal Scallopini would be a perfect match.

And finally, point to the Block 7 Pinot Noir from Kutch Wines. This is very “proper pinot,” with pretty red fruits, an earthy note as well some nice spice on the finish. A complexity I rarely find in California pinot, and at a very fair price!

CELLIER Premium Feature

Cellier New ArrivalsFor Chacun son Vin Premium members, we have added something new to the site to make your CELLIER shopping even easier. Now if you look under the Wine tab in the menu bar, you will see an option for <<CELLIER New Arrivals>>. By clicking here, you will be brought to a new page where we have grouped all of the new release wines and reviews together by date.

So you can check out my tasting notes on all the wines in one place.

We made it folks, it’s summertime!


“There’s enjoyment to be had of a glass of wine without making it a fetish.” – Frank Prial

From CELLIER Arrivals

Bill’s Best Bets May 28
Bill’s Best Bets June 11

Editors Note: You can find Bill’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names or bottle images above. Premium subscribers to Chacun son vin see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 60 days to see newly posted reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!

Wolf Blass Yellow Label