The Reserve is a little wine store out in Maryville, TN owned by a friend of my mother-in-law, Kellie Calloway. Kellie hosted a free wine tasting; we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try a few new, affordable wines and learn a little about them.
The first wine was actually a sparkling Prosecco from Cupcake Vineyard. She served it with an Elderflower liqueur. The Cupcake Prosecco is delightful on its own, but paired with the St. Elder it was very sweet and flavorful. I recommend only using a small amount of the liqueur or it will be overly sweet. Elderflower in liquor seems to be a big trend in the industry right now as I had an Elderflower infused apple cider not too long ago.
Prosecco is always a great dessert wine. This would be perfect paired with cheese or a light pasta dish. I love the refreshing taste of a sparkling wine in the summer time.
Next we progressed through the white and rose wines she had picked out.
First up was the Superstition Riesling blend from the German vineyard of Schmitt Söhne. Schmitt Sohne is no longer producing this wine, so what is available in stores right now is all that exists. It’s not an expensive wine, so if you like it you will want to stock up before it’s gone for good. Superstition is a blend of riesling and pinot blanc grapes. Unlike your traditional rieslings, it had a mild slightly dry taste. For me, it fell a little flat, but it was still a light, refreshing summery wine.
The Elicio Rosé from the Rhone Valley of France was next. It was a blend of grenache and cinsault grapes. A lovely shade of pink, it hits the nose first with bright red fruit notes. This was a delicious and very drinkable wine. Pair it with a hearty, summer salad for that nice balance against fresh, biting greens or a tangy goat cheese.
Our favorite white of the evening was a Sauvignon Blanc from Lonely Cow in New Zealand. Instantly, the aroma smacks of tangerine, peach and citrus zest. The mouthwatering palate tingles your taste buds with the acidity of lime, juicy pineapple and melon followed by a crisp finish that lingers with a bite of white pepper and grassy notes. Drink this with a rich, creamy soup or pasta dish, fried chicken, a meaty shellfish or mollusk dish.
Moving onto the red wines. The Vina Eguia Crianza 2008 from Rioja, Spain, dark cherry in color, is aged in American oak for 12 months. It boasts a full, yet soft bouquet of ripe berries, earthy tannins, hints of the oak and a spicy, smooth finish. This was a velvety, yet biting, slightly dry red wine crying out for a juicy steak and potato.
Finally, the feather in my cap on the evening – a California Red brought to you by Conundrum. If you drink wine and don’t live in a hole, you are likely familiar with Conundrum for their solid California White. They are now offering the same quality and complexity in a red. I wanted to cuddle up to this wine with a good book. Delicious, rich, ripe, full of body, smooth, round – these words don’t do it justice. Drive, no fly, to the store to buy it. Red fruit up front mingles with bright, bold cherries and soft tannins, finishing with a hint of sweetness. It is lush and velvety on the palate with killer legs. Someone described it as similar to red velvet cake. The Conundrum Red screams chocolate – it needs a rich, bitter dark chocolate to balance the lusciousness of the fruit. I don’t say this often about wine, but Yum!
Now just to throw in some of my own faves – these were not served at the tasting. I love a good Pinot Noir and these are two of the best I’ve had that the Reserve stocks.
I actually have a bottle of the Elk Cove signed by the Vintner that my mother-in-law brought back from Oregon. Yes, I drank it, but I kept the empty bottle.
Adelsheim is another vineyard in Willamette Valley. The good people of Willamette Valley really know what they are doing with the pinot grape. It’s good stuff. If you are ever in the mood for a Pinot Noir and unsure what to buy, something from Willamette in Oregon is always a safe bet.
Don’t forget to check out The Reserve. Their next event is a dinner and wine tasting at RT Lodge on July 11th. They will be featuring Spanish and Portuguese wines.
Thanks for checking out my amateur comments on a few great value wines. What do you look for in a delicious glass wine? Or do you enjoy a good beer? We would love to hear from you!