Wines to Go Buy This Week: A Crisp Summer White Blend by Chateau Bonnet and a Complex Napa Cabernet by Clark-Claudon Vineyards
Labor Day weekend is here and people across the US are gathering to toast the end of summer. As Labor Day marks the tipping point between hot summer nights and cool autumn evenings, my wine recommendations this week will focus on both a cool, refreshing summer sauvignon blanc to savor on these last days of summer and a full bodied Napa cabernet for those upcoming autumn evenings by the fireplace. So as we say farewell to summer 2011, here are two wines to go buy this week:
Chateau Bonnett Entre-Deux-Mers Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Muscadelle Andre Lurton, 2010 - Now say that 5 times fast! A quick lesson for those of you who are unfamiliar with French wine: The French label their wines slightly different than we do in the US as they emphasize the place more so than the grape varietal or the producer. In this case, the vineyards and winery are located at Chateau Bonnet, the region is the Entre-Deux-Mers appellation of Bordeaux, the grapes are a blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon, and muscadelle, and the producer is André Lurton, whose family has presided over the vineyards for over 100 years. White Bordeaux is almost always a blend of primarily semillon and sauvignon blanc, with a few other varietals permitted. So why do I like this wine? It's light, crisp, low in alcohol (12%) and at approx $15 a bottle, a fantastic way to introduce yourself to a white bordeaux without breaking the bank. This wine is ideal for a warm end-of-summer picnic that calls for a cool refreshing beverage.
Clark-Claudon Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 - This is a fantastic wine. A Napa cab has to be really good for me to like it and Clark-Claudon hits the mark. This wine was sent to me as part of my California Wine Club Signature Series shipment and kudos to them for including such a fantastic, small-lot producer like Clark-Claudon in their club. This wine runs about $50-$75 and later vintages are in the $80 range so it is not inexpensive by any means. Part of the price is due to the so-called "Napa premium" as wines from Napa tend to garner premium prices because of the region's reputation for superior vineyards and winemaking. But if you want to try a fine Napa cabernet and are willing to splurge a bit, Clark-Claudon is worth checking out.
Have wine suggestions for me? Please email me as I'd love to discover wines I love as much as the wines noted above.
Who is Brad Prescott and why is he recommending these wines?
As the Founder of IntoWine.com, I receive a ton of wine samples. Almost every day I get an email from some wine industry professional offering to send me a sample of this or that. These samples, in combination with all the wine I purchase myself, result in each night becoming a new wine adventure for me (and usually the person with whom I am fortunate to share a bottle). The problem I have -and hope to solve with this "Wines to Go Buy This Week" feature- is that I've never had a good angle on IntoWine for recommending all the great wines I have had the pleasure of discovering. Should I do straight wine reviews? No. I love wine, I run my own wine web site, and I don't really read wine reviews. They are boring and they don't help me one iota in choosing a wine. Should I write a wine column? Maybe someday, but not yet. Too soon. Here is the thing, writing a column puts me in the uncomfortable position of "wine writer", which I am not. I like to describe myself as a "web guy who loves wine" rather than a "wine guy with a web site". So what should I do to share with IntoWine readers all the great wines I stumble on? That's where "Wines to Go Buy This Week" comes in. Each week I am going to recommend a couple of wines I've tried and on which I am willing to stake my name (for whatever that's worth). I'm not going to sell you any BS about points, "hints of gooseberry and charcoal", or how much time the wine spent aging in French oak. I'm just going to recommend wines I have tasted and enjoyed, explain why I like it, and share any interesting or useful tidbits of info I managed to obtain about the wine.
Will I like the wines you recommend?
Maybe, maybe not. Everyone has a different palate. I know I like getting advice on wine to try as opposed to just randomly purchasing wines based on a clever label or the price point.
Are you a wine expert?
Hell no. And who really is? I'm like the vast majority of wine enthusiasts in that I've discovered I love wine and want to learn more. The advantage I have over most people is that, between running IntoWine for 5 years and living in San Francisco, I have access to so many wines from so many different regions and producers, many of which the average wine consumer would never know to try. Couple that with all of the great wine info on IntoWine.com and my wine learning curve is, to say the least, steep.
I work for XYZ Vineyards. Can I send you some wine samples?
Of course. However I only recommend wines I truly like so the only guarantee I can make is that your wines will get fair consideration. If you want to send samples you can find useful info here or email me at MYFIRSTNAME AT IntoWine DOT com (sorry for the code but listing the email in the normal fashion invites spam).