Bright Wines For Cold Nights
For this week’s tasting, we explore fun and bright selections from Australia and Catalonia on long fall nights.
As the temperatures start to take a dive, we’ve begun stocking up on blankets and heat lamps to continue outdoor dining and drinking well into the winter months. But there’s another way to stay warm with wine and it involves making selections that transport us to that imaginary beach trip or upstate cabin with a sunset charcuterie plate. Conventional wisdom might dictate that heartier wines are better suited for arctic air but there’s something to be said for injecting vibrant, acidic, and fruit forward wines into your daily routine for a little bit of an escape to more carefree times.
Vinyes Tortuga is located in Catalonia and is the project of two Dutch natives who now find themselves living Barcelona. Like many winemakers today, they take a hands off approach to winemaking, without fining, filtering, or use of sulphur.
Their Juicy (2019) vintage blends Grenache and Merlot for an extremely fruit forward wine as the label suggests. Its deep red in color which mirrors the cherry bomb that follows on the palette. It has a light fizz and a good bit of residual sugar but it is functionally more like a rosé than a sparkling wine. A robust acidity and soft tannins really help balance things out as the wine glides forward.
It’s an obvious pairing with a salty cheese and charcuterie plate (think Manchego and Jamón ibérico) but given the touch of sweetness it could pair well with fresh seafood items like oysters.
Jumping Juice, Sunset (NV)
Sometimes we get new wines into the US that really surprise us. The team behind Jumping Juice are showing how co-ferments can the boundaries of rosé and skin contact categories in a way that is broadly approachable and fun. Their Sunset (NV) is blend of Sauvignon Blanc fermented on skins, Gewürztraminer, and Shiraz. It’s not ever a trio of grapes we’d think go together but they do.
On the nose, there is an incredibly aromatic fresh green pepper note. On the palette, fruit juice is the name of the game with watermelon dominating along with some distinct lychee candy notes. As you’d expect, acidity guides the wine forward, but we also appreciated how some subtle vegetal notes showed up into the finish to help soften things a bit. This wine needs no food pairing but we think it’s assertive enough to stand up to Thai food of all types.
We are currently out of the Sunset, but we have three other wines in stock from Jumping Juice that bring effortless fun from Australia. The best part? All bottles clock in under $30, which is a rarity for the US market.
Hailing from South Australia, Borachio is fast becoming one of our favorite Australia winemakers, and not just for their audacious labels, including Pash Rash, a sparkling rosé that is as unfined and unfilitered as it gets, a swirling haze of pink drink that is the most fun and unpretentious party guest you could ever meet. Typically made of Pinot Noir, this vintage also features small amounts of Savagnin and Chardonnay to help mellow things out.
As a result, the bubbles are a little bit more gentle this year but things are fundamentally the same. With notes of strawberry and grapefruit sorbet, pink lemonade to provide an extra pucker, and a blissed out finish that reminds us of that slightly delirious feeling at the end of a long day the beach, it’s hard to find something that we dislike.
If you’re planning a December dinner of roast chicken, duck, or are still trying to plow through leftover turkey, this is the wine for you. Just make sure to get an extra bottle because you won’t want to share.
Until next time, happy drinking and happy holidays as we move into one of the most magical times of the year!