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Many of us purchase our wine at grocery stores; they are an essential place to shop for wine. However, it’s been almost 18 months since I last went over the Whole Foods Market wine selection. My attention was caught recently at a tasting of wine and cheese at Whole Foods, where I was really impressed by the quality of the wines consumed, particularly for the price. Do you want to see my selections for this summer?
Despite the downpour outside, the store appeared bright, airy, and warm; there was also enough signage to assist you in your choice. It might have been the time of day or bad weather, but I nearly had the store to myself.
On this trip to the supermarket, I kept thinking to myself, “There’s something for everyone.” From the huge range of low-cost wines under $10 to some of my favorite high-end Pinot Noirs from California like Cobb Wines and William Seylem in the $75+ price range, and everything in between, I discovered everything.
I was especially conscious of the range of wine available between $12 and $20 during this visit, which appears to be the sweet spot for many customers nowadays, up from the value segment that dominated the market since the recession in 2009.
Moscato and sweet red wines, as well as eco-friendly (which I guess is a catch-all term for their selection of organic, biodynamic, and natural wines), and a new section labeled “no sulfites added” were the most popular categories.
I was pleased to note that the portion labeled “Local” in the wine section, which focused on locally produced wines, has exploded since my last visit. The store provides a broad range of wine from all over the world. Apart from the expected countries and regions such as California, France, Italy, and Spain, I was happy to see a selection of Portuguese, Greek, Austrian, and Slovenian wines.
Best Wine Reviews’ Picks for Summer
So, on to my choice, which was chosen at random because I was interested, liked the bottle, or appreciated the back label and wanted to find out what I could get for under $20. The following day, after tasting all of the wines, I’m pleased to announce that not one of them is a dud. It’s an admirable start for the rest of the wines in the shop as a simple random pick. For this post, in particular, I deliberately avoided choosing any rosé wines since I’ll be reviewing them later this week.
2010 Quinta do Ameal Loureiro Branco Seco, Vinho Verde, Portugal, $14.99 – Portugal has a dry, ‘spritzy’ white. It includes a youthful, delicate scent of green apple, laurel leaf, and lemon citrus with a prickle on the flavor that energizes the citrusy qualities while opening up the palate to reveal more stone and foreign fruit nuances. There’s also a wonderful waxiness to the texture. Razor clams, charred squid or oysters are all great with simply prepared seafood.
2012 Domaine Reine Juliette Terres Rouges Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc, France, $11.99 – This wine is made from the Picpoul grape and has a ripe nose of tropical orange citrus, such as tangerine, navel and blood orange with notes of candied orange peel. The zesty citrus persists on the palate, where it’s spicy. Texture is medium-viscous with a lively tangy finish. seafood or grilled white fish are good dinner companions.
2011 Tramin Pinot Grigio, Alto Adige, Italy, $13.99 – Another lovely white from the Italian mountains. Spicy, floral, and stone fruit aromas with a lightly earthy savoriness on the nose. Flavors are similar to those in the nose, albeit with greater spice and stone fruit pith. The mouthfeel is smooth and full of flavor. It’s delicious on its own or with salty snacks and a nutty cheese like Comté.
2011 Les Greniers du Moulin, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie, Loire valley, France, $13.99 – On the nose, it’s youthful, bright, and delicately citrusy with notes of candied apple and pear. It is lively, zesty, and refreshing on the tongue with a pleasant leesy creaminess in the middle. Oysters are calling my name!
2011 Bastianich Friulano, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Italy – $14.99. This wine, produced from the Friulano grape in northeastern Italy, has a delicate, creamy nose with subtle nutty, flinty notes, and restrained aromas of stone fruit. The flavor hits hard and rich, ripe stone and citrus fruits are intense and long-lasting across the mouth. An intriguing spiciness on the finish adds to its complexity. This wine is strong enough to go with roast chicken stuffed with crabmeat or grilled swordfish during the summer.
2012 Anselmi San Vincenzo, Veneto, Italy – $14.99 – A white wine produced in Sardinia from Garganega, Chardonnay, and a little Trebbiano. This wine is bright, crisp, and lively. The distinctiveness of stone fruit scents and tastes is well-defined and long-lasting. A mild spice adds interest while also giving complexity to the flavor profile. Delicious on its own or with a variety of summer salads, Gouda-style cheese, or simple grilled fish.
2010 Gesellmann ZB, Burgenland, Austria, $16.99 – The term ZB is a reference to the blend. This is a mix of Zweigelt and Blaufranckish, two Austrian red grape varieties. It has a bright fruity scent that includes blackberry, bramble fruit, and black cherry. Vibrant and juicy with zippy fruit tastes that are pleasingly distinct. Tannins are soft and smooth, framing the wine with a lovely pleasant almost cuddly texture. Greek Moussaka or any other dish springs to mind.
2012 L’Ecole No. 41, Columbia Valley, Washington State, $19.99 – This wine is a Merlot/Cabernet blend and has an intensely aromatic nose of black cherry, cassis, and baking spices with a hint of minerality. The palate is concentrated and focused with ripe dark fruits that are well-balanced by firm tannins and juicy acidity. It has a long finish with lingering flavors of chocolate and spice. This would be great with grilled meats or BBQ chicken straight off the grill.
2011 Ludovicus, D.O. Terra Alta, Catalonia, Spain, $13.99. Garnacha, Syrah, Cariñena, Tempranillo, and Merlot are the components of this crimson blend. Deeply colored with a brooding scent that’s heavy on ripe black fruit with aromas of jammy blackberries, plums, and cherries that have notes of kirsch-like licorice and cloves. The flavors on the palate are similar but I was pleasantly surprised by the brightness of the fruit. Powdery tannins provide a good grip. This wine is red in color and has a sweet spice finish that warms you up when you drink it. It goes great with ribs or grilled spicy sausage like Merguez.
2010 Montfaucon Les Gardettes, IGP Gard, France, $11.99 – This is a Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache/Carignan blend from the south of France. It has a gorgeous mineral nose that isn’t overly fruity or muted. Flavors of ripe red fruit, including plum, wild strawberry, and cherry with underbrush notes. Bright with well-defined more clearly cherry tastes on the palate. It offers an attractive vinous texture while the flavors are modest yet persistent. With a selection of hard, aged cheeses and air-dried/cured meats on hand, enjoy it with a plate of stiff cheese and dried meats.
2010 Paul Mas Estate Single Vineyard Collection, “Carignan ‘Vieilles Vignes”, IGP Pays d’Hérault, France $11.99. – This wine is produced from diseased, ancient Carignan vines that are approximately 50 years old. It’s a deep, dark purple with a strong savory scent of wild black fruits crackling and barbecued meats. The juicy fruit flavors of cherry liqueur, black plum jam, and jubilee blueberry come through more strongly on the tongue amid a generous sprinkling of sweet spice, smoke, earthiness, and leather. Definitely worth drinking with smoked barbecue meat.
2009 Chateau Viella Tradition, Madiran, Southwest France, $13.99 – The deep crimson Tannat grape is used to make this wine, which is complemented with a touch of Cabernet Franc. The nose is rich and ripe, almost black in color – offering ripe black fruit aromas with undertones of clove, licorice, and sweet spice. The ripe tannins are juicy and easy to drink, providing the right foundation for the soft jammy fruit. A delicious and easy-drinking red wine that goes great with a simple grilled burger or sweet Italian sausage.
2010 Cave de Rasteau, Rasteau Les Peyères, Southern Rhône Valley, France, $14.99 – A combination of mostly Grenache, with a sprinkling of Syrah and Mourvedre. The color is deep, with aromas of ripe black and red fruits, spicy, gamey, and earthy notes along with a hint of smoke and leather. Tannins are well-grained and give the wine its sense of robustness. It’s flavorful and long-lasting on the tongue, where the savory gaminess shines through. A fantastic all-around wine that goes great with grilled meat dishes like butterflied leg of lamb served with homemade fries.
Have you discovered any excellent bottles lately in your own neighborhood Whole Foods or another grocery shop?