Bardolino may not share the commercial popularity of Prosecco or the prestige of Amarone, but this Veneto red, hailing from the southeastern shores of Lake Garda, undeniably offers value and drinkability that are difficult to top. The Piccoli family has been carrying the flag for Bardolino for decades now, since founder Gianni Piccoli staunchly took a stand against chemical farming and the influx of international grape varieties to his home turf in the early 1970s. Today, Gianni’s three sons carry on the tradition of bottling delicious, refreshing, affordable wines from local grapes—in the case of this red, Corvina and Rondinella. The fruit from their sustainably farmed vines ferments in stainless steel and goes into bottle early to capture maximum freshness. With an aroma that recalls sour cherry and a touch of black pepper, along with a bright, crunchy acidity, this juicy rosso is perfect for anytime quaffing. Just don’t forget to serve it slightly chilled.
Pure, unadulterated sunshine in a bottle, this blend of Favorita (controversially either Vermentino or not, depending on the most recent DNA mapping), Arneis, and Moscato synergistically creates arguably the most easy-drinking white wine we import. It may be all things to all people: dry, yet with a succulent summer orchard fruitiness; smooth and creamy, yet bouncing with a sprightly pétillance; aromatically complex and thought-provoking, yet entirely gulpable. Soak it in!
There’s a lovely drawing of the famous Pont Valentré on the Clos la Coutale label. The medieval stone bridge dates back to the fourteenth century and is one of a number of so-called Devil’s bridges, or ponts du Diable, scattered about Europe. At the time they were built, these ancient bridges were considered so technically advanced that surely only the Devil possessed the skill to build them. And build them he did, for a price. According to local lore, the builder of the Pont Valentré, stymied by the slow pace of construction, agreed to a bargain. The Devil would help the builder finish the bridge and follow his every instruction to the letter; in exchange, he would claim the builder’s soul when the work was done. The builder accepted and construction progressed rapidly, but as the bridge neared completion the builder began to think of a way to trick the Devil and escape their nefarious bargain. Knowing that the Devil had to obey his every instruction, the builder ordered him to fetch water from the river. . .with a sieve. Unable to do so, the Devil slinked away in defeat and the builder remained in the land of the living, probably celebrating with some roast duck and a chalice of ripe, inky Cahors. The Pont Valentré is a symbol of the city of Cahors so it makes sense that it has pride of place on the Clos la Coutale label, but I also think it’s a fitting reminder of the skill and perseverance necessary to consistently produce such a hearty, delicious red year after year. The wine is dark and full without being ponderous, with abundant black cherries and dried herbs. A recently opened 2016 picked up weight and complexity on its second day, and another bottle of 2013, tasted here at the shop, had developed a wonderful, Bordeaux-like note. And all this at a price that’s considerably less than your immortal soul? Maybe sixth-generation vigneron Philippe Bernède has some diabolical assistance after all!
Looking for a stunning Pinot Noir without paying steep Burgundy prices? The search ends here! In Alsace, Pinot Noir not only grows but thrives, and yet it has long flown under the radar. The Pinot Noir from Kuentz-Bas is an accessible, versatile red. Exploding with fresh blackberry and gently peppery, this is a great companion for breezy summer nights.
When it’s just too hot and you simply need a chilled bottle of white wine, stick with this tried-and-true classic. Zesty and refreshing, with enough substance to pair with grilled treats or picnic fare, one bottle won’t last long. Hammock and a good page-turner recommended.
Imagine yourself sitting beside a mountain stream, gazing upon the beauty of the French Alps, with the ultimate picnic wine. As you pour yourself another glass, you are struck by the delicacy and crispness of this refreshing white. Les Abymes is the cru and Jacquère is the grape. You’ve just found a new everyday white—at only 11% alcohol—well within your budget.
Vigneron Jean-Claude Zabalia has a long history of winemaking for the KLWM portfolio. Now he has collaborated with us again and created a red wine of such quality and value, it’s impossible to beat. A blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault, this substantial red is simply delicious—black cherry fruit gives way to a touch of white pepper and rosemary. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a weeknight meal that this wine doesn’t pair with.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa