may pick 24

This month’s Pick 24 Selection can be summed up in one sweet little word… P-A-R-T-Y! We chose 24 crowd-pleasing wines perfect for parties and entertaining as you prepare to kick-off your outdoor season with graduations, picnics, concerts, family gatherings, Mother’s Day and, of course, the Indy 500. We paid special attention to finding the best tasting wines at the best price-point for all your festivities, specifically for the beginning of this outdoor season.

The first real sign of spring, and the king of outdoor activities, has got to be the act of firing-up the grill with our favorite beverage in hand, while coming face-to-face once again with friends and neighbors who are just now exiting from their annual hibernation. Our Pick 24 homage to this welcomed ritual is to offer Zinfandel and Rhône wines that have the uncanny ability to make whatever comes off the grill taste that much better.  Carol Shelton Mongo Zin 2009 is an old vine Zinfandel from Cucamonga Valley, California and has bright pomegranate flavors followed with cherry, charred oak, chewy tannins and Asian spice. Yes, pair this with some sweet, Asain-spiced BBQ ribs! Another big wine for the grill is the Xavier Côtes du Rhône 2010, which includes slightly more Grenache in this vintage and flavors of strawberry and black cherry fruit, olives and leather. This Rhône will go with all red meats and complete the experience for the gourmand who ventures to prepare Mediterranean Pizza on the grill. We also have this Wine Enthusiast’s BEST BUY in the bunch – the Mercedes Eguren Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, which is a Spanish Cab at an unbelievable price. You will seriously want to stock up on this powerful wine full of blackberry, woodberry, velvety tannins and a long finish. While grilling your meat, throw a variety of veggies on the barbie, the bitter edge will pair beautifully with this blockbuster Cabernet.

We also have three wines from the southern hemisphere. We’re excited about this New Zealand Mount Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc as it is the perfect patio wine. It is new to the store and we explicitly chose it because although lively, it is a little softer in acidy so is the perfect sipping wine – before we are even thinking about the food. Australia also really delivers on the style of wines we want to drink this season. Tait The Ball Buster 2010 is an all-time favorite for V&T. It’s a monster wine with black currant, black cherry, dark cocoa with a black pepper finish. You just can’t go wrong with it or with the huge Rolf Binder Shiraz Hales 2010 from the western edge of the Barossa Valley with its satisfying jammy fruit, creosote and camphor notes that will pair with anything off the barbecue and dishes spiced with cinnamon, coriander, cumin or anise.

CaleraNo need to “go big, or go home”, this month’s selection also includes several other styles. And you’ll notice they are all from California. Why is that? Well, these wines tend to be more fruit-forward which means you will taste the fruit at the forefront of the palate. The grape drives the experience more than other expressions like terroir or production practices.  Fruit-forward wines are ideal for the summer months because they are cheerful, easy to drink and refreshing, especially ever-so-slightly chilled on a warm summer’s eve. Our selection includes a Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Blends. Belle Glos Pinot Noir 2011 gets its fruit from Meiomi, a portion of the most noteworthy of coastal areas in California. Cherries and wildberry lead in this luxurious 92-pointer from Wine Spectator. The Chardonnay comes from Calera, a brand that is a staple with us. Consistent every year, this wine is a pure expression of ripe apples and melon with a silky clean finish. Not to be missed is Michael-David Vineyards Petite Petit 2010. It is the ideal blend of 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot. We love this blend with smoked cherry notes, tobacco and hints of vanilla… in a word, rich! And finally, always the hit of the party is Lodi, California’s Immortal Zin Old Vine Zinfandel 2011. Everyone has a good time with its crowd-pleasing, opulent flavors of black cherry, toast and cocoa. This is a wine for great food, friends and conversation around the grill or in front of the fire pit… it’s a memorable combination.

There you have it – delicious wines for all your May activities. Consider joining us for our Pick 24 Release Party the first Wednesday of the month, when we’ll crack open all 24 wines and give you the opportunity to ‘Try Before You Buy’ so you can discover which of these great wines are your new favorites.

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 Vine & Table #301