Great wines have the ability to transport—allow your palate to take flight with these International selections.
If a trip beyond US borders isn’t exactly part of your holiday plan this year, consider the option of satisfying your wanderlust with wines of the world. Great wines have the ability to transport, and each is a reflection of the culture, traditions and history of their place of origin. So why not simulate a visit to France, Italy, or South Africa with the following selections? Choose one, or all, and let your imagination—and your palate—take flight.
A GREAT SPARKLING FROM THE DOLOMITES
Italy’s Endrizzi Trentodoc Piancastello Zero comes from the Trentodoc region; the winery is well-known for its organic, low residual sugar sparklings, and this is one of the Endrizzi winery’s flagship wines. It’s also a flagship of the entire Trentodoc appellation—a region pivotal in embracing sustainability. Starting in the 1980’s, the region was active in promoting widespread use of integrated pest management. Endrizzi has been run by the Endrici family since 1885, and was among the firsts producers to embrace organic farming in the region. Made from Chardonnay and Pinot and aged for 48 months on the lees, Endrizzi Trentodoc Piancastello Zero beautifully reflects the aromatic grape richness of the region.
A WONDERFUL SPARKLING FROM THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE
Established in 1685, Boschendal, located between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch in South Africa’s Western Cape, is one of the oldest wine estates in the region, and has specialized in the South African traditional method Cap Classique for more than 40 years. The Boschendal Brut is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, made in the same style of Champagne. Pale gold with delicate bubbles, the palate is layered with tart lemon creme and biscuit.
SAMPLE THE SAVORINESS OF NEW ZEALAND
Villa Maria, the renowned Marlborough, New Zealand wine producer, shares the legacy of its elegant, approachable wines with the relaunch of its Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, an expressive, fruit-forward wine that showcases the youthful, fresh and vibrant characteristics of Marlborough. Cool climate Awatere aromas jump out of the glass, such as lemongrass, jalapeño peppers, and fresh herbs, while the warmer Wairau Valley influences with ripe citrus and tropical fruit flavors. A perfect aperitif wine, serve chilled on warm summer days, the fresh herbal flavors match well with most salads, whereas the ripe tropical flavors match well with many fish recipes.
ONE OF ITALY’S GREATEST WHITES
Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2020 is Ornellaia estate’s white second vin, produced for the first time in 1987. Made from Sauvignon, Viognier and Vermentino grown on chalky skeletal soils, the production is limited to only 35-40,000 bottles. Olga Fusari, the winemaker, describes the 2020 as follows: “With its classic bright straw-yellow color, Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2020 expresses itself on the nose with a beautiful aromatic intensity: aromas of boxwood and white flowers, accompanied by notes of white peach, sage and aromatic herbs are all released once poured. The wine fills the palate with elegance and determination upon tasting, revealing the proper balance of acidic freshness and density. The finish is lively, persistent and with a nice tanginess.”
AN ORANGE WINE FOR THOSE WILLING TO EXPLORE
Recognized as the birthplace of wine, Georgia boasts a wide range of producers who have perfected the art of crafting unique, dry amber wines produced from native grape varieties that undergo traditional qvevri winemaking. One such winery is Vazisubani Estate, whose inception dates to the 19th century and traces from one of Georgia’s most storied and cherished family lines, Chavchavadze. The Estate has been meticulously restored over the last decade, emerging as a premier wine-tourism destination built around the palace, gardens, winery, marani (wine cellar), and 35 hectares of estate vineyards. Vazisubani Estate Kakhuri Mtsvane 2020 is a dry amber wine produced from the indigenous Kakhuri Mtsvane grape. This qveri wine making technique results in a wine exhibiting tropical overtones coupled with dried fig notes. The wine is lean and long with a lingering finish that is complimented by a tannin-rich body. Kakhuri Mtsvane can be enjoyed alone or with a wide assortment of meats and cheeses.
A JUICY RED FROM VALPOLICELLA
From the province of Verona, Italy, east of Lake Garda Massimago Valpolicella DOC Superiore Profasio is made from 65% Corvina, 20% Corvinone and 15% Rondinella which convey hints of cherries, red berries, violet and a tasty juicy palate. This wine goes well with barbeque, roasted chicken, the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, pasta or lasagna. Massimago’s idea of Valpolicella Superiore is a wine very much similar to its big brother Amarone, but with a higher drinkability and fresher aromas. Valpolicella Superiore Profasio Vineyards are located in Mezzane di Sotto at about 300 m asl on limestone, clay and marly soil. The winery was established back in 1883 and is one of the oldest wineries in its appellation.
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AN ICONIC NEW RED FROM APALTA VALLEY, CHILE
Lapostolle was founded in 1994 by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and her husband Cyril de Bournet upon their discovery of a unique Clos in the Apalta Valley sheltering 100-year-old pre-phylloxera vines. They realized the site’s potential for producing world-class wines, and from that day, the Chilean chapter of Lapostolle was born. 2015 Lapostolle La Parcelle 8, named for the first plot Alexandra and Cyril saw upon arriving in the Valley, is an iconic new expression from Apalta. A 100 percent varietal, single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, La Parcelle is a reflection of the vineyard’s unique terroir resulting from the Tinguiririca river to its south and the Coastal Cordillera hills that surround it in a horseshoe shape. In the glass, it entices with a beautiful deep ruby red color and opens on the nose with intense fruit, herbs, and spice notes. On the palate, the wine showcases a classic structure with elegant tannins, fruit and black spice flavors, and a long-lasting, velvety finish.
A DELICIOUS SOUTHERN RHONE DESSERT WINE
On the edge of the tiny French village of Beaumes de Venise, fifth-generation family-owned Domaine des Bernardins produces Domaine des Bernardins Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise. The 2021 features notes of butterscotch and glazed fruit; the palate is rich and maintains a surprising freshness. There is a note of quince paste on the finish, and also herbes de Provence. Original owner Louis Castaud was concerned about the disappearance of the village’s traditional production methods, and after 10 years of hard work, he achieved appellation status for Muscat de Beaumes de Venise in 1945 (for the 1943 vintage). Today, the previously monk-owned estate is directed by Castaud’s granddaughter Elisabeth, husband Andrew, and their son Romain, yet Castaud’s wife Renée Castaud remains active in day-to-day operations.
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