SPECIAL SAMPLER PRICE $113.00
(a 15% discount)
This item does not take further discounts
One of my favorite exercises with the wines we import is what I’ll call the Long Weekend Fantasy Draft. I narrow the hundreds of wines currently in stock to half a dozen bottles that I can uncork over the course of two or three days. These aren’t necessarily desert island picks—my selections if I had no price limit—but they are my top bottles based on the following criteria. First, the chosen six must be delicious in a crowd-pleasing way and offer some versatility. Take Castagnoli’s Chianti Classico or Brégeon’s Muscadet, for instance. These wines are thoroughly mouthwatering and also well-suited to all kinds of cooking and conversation—from how nearby Nantes is one of France’s up-and-coming cities, to what you’d like to do in Tuscany next time you visit, to how Sangiovese pairs so well with Italy’s glorious tomato-based dishes such as lasagna, pappa al pomodoro, and of course, pizza. Second, they must be easy to explain—and pronounce! Moretto’s Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro might initially appear to break that rule, but we just call this effervescent dry red “Lambrusco.” How do I explain this seemingly exotic wine? Simple: Serve chilled. Preferably alongside pizza or burgers. Third, they are either under-the-radar regions or producers so that I can experience the thrill of introducing my companions to something new or offering them a fresh perspective of a more common grape or region. Everyone knows Sancerre, for example, but who’s heard of Quincy, the Loire Valley appellation an hour to the west that also produces stellar Sauvignon Blanc? You or your guests might even prefer Quincy! Fourth, they represent such good value that everyone at my gathering can buy their favorite bottle again. Clos La Coutale’s Cahors perennially punches way above its weight and your guests will be thrilled to find out it costs less than $20. And Château Fontanès’ Mourvèdre-based rosé from Pic Saint-Loup, which recalls the legendary pink wines of Bandol, is also an absolute steal. With these criteria in mind, here’s my current fantasy team of French and Italian wines for Labor Day weekend or the weekend gathering of your choice!
2018 Pic Saint-Loup Rosé • Château Fontanès $20 2018 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie • Domaine Michel Brégeon $20 2019 Quincy • Domaine Trotereau $24 2020 Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro • Fattoria Moretto $22 2019 Cahors • Clos La Coutale $17 2016 Chianti Classico • Castagnoli $32
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