Friday Sips

Italian White from Lake Garda & Dreamy 12-buck Cotes-du-Rhone

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$19.99 BTL./$119.94 - SIX PACK

Here at the Cellar Door we often like to go on a wine safari that takes us deep into the netherworld of just about any given wine-growing nation. Even though the region around Lake Garda is well known, when it comes to wine, this area of Lombardy often goes unnoticed in lieu of some of its more touted neighbors of the Veneto or Franciacorta.

Around 30 years ago, Cominciole recovered and resurrected two ancient varietals (Trebbiano Valtenesi & Erbamat) that had been abandoned for a long time. Out of this came this gem of a Northern Italian white wine known as Perli. Beautiful aromatics swirl from the glass with notes of mineral, lemon, white flowers and laurel and just for good measure, a bit more diamond-like mineral. There is a deep level of old-vine concentration that is coats the palate yet it is bone dry, with excruciatingly refreshing citrus notes of lemon, lime, tangerine, and flinty earth aspects lingering beneath. Very drawn out indeed, I can see this wine pairing up with a plethora of seafood choices ranging from traditionally prepared salmon to a ceviche with shrimp or rockfish that is bursting with all sorts of spices and exotic flavors.

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$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE

The first shipment of this wine sold out in rapid fashion so the distrbutor brought in another load. Grower Cotes-du-Rhone. If Champagne advocates can promote Grower Champagne, why not exalt the Rhone Valley farmers who lovingly tend their own vines who make lovely wines that are limited only by the land they own. In other words, small production, not a million cases from a lack of quality control done by jagoff negociants and co-ops who care more about quantity than quality.

Located in Suze-la-Rousse, one the northernmost villages of the Southern Rhone Valley, Gravennes is a family operation run by brothers, Luc and Remi Bayon de Noyer who produce the wine utilizing organic techniques. Poised, vinous, ripe, but very suave, smooth and stylish aromas and flavors. Garrigue, lavender white pepper and pronounced creamy plum tones fill the mouth. Layered, persistent and driving, it is a dream 12-dollar Cotes-du-Rhone that is made by real growers from real vineyards and not a co-op or negociant. Drink through 2024.