Twelve Tasty Sips
Our Mixed Case series serves up an eclectic mix of recent ‘adult beverage’ discoveries by the dozen.
Whether you’re perusing a bar menu while traveling or stirring up a cocktail at home, let our guide lead to new taste destinations.
By Hope S. Philbrick
There’s something super cool about opening wine for dinner and, when asked where you got that particular bottle, you say, “Martha Stewart sent it.”
Such has been my joy a dozen times, since receiving a sample shipment from Martha Stewart Wine Co. for this column. I like to imagine that she hand-selected the bottles just for me, smiling at the thought that we share exquisite taste and excellent home cooking skills, yet am sane enough to know that’s not quite the situation.
Martha Stewart Wine Co. is an online wine shop featuring a select collection of wines that you can buy by the bottle and in packs, just once or in regular wine club shipments. It’s a great gift resource plus a place to turn when you need a little help with wine suggestions.
With Martha Stewart Wine Co. you can order individual bottles or pre-selected groups of wines that are designed by seasons, occasions, tastes and/or food compatibilities—such as the “Wintery Whites” pack for $80, the “International Candy Cane” pack for $110, and the “Tempranillo” pack for $47. Another option is to join the wine club and receive a six or 12 bottles at a time on a regular basis. The Co. is flexible so you do not have to be a member of the wine club to purchase single bottles or packages.
According to press materials, “lifestyle guru Martha Stewart hand-picks the wines included in the program” with an eye on including wines that taste great and are affordable. The special collection of “Martha’s Favorites” are the wines that she reaches for first when entertaining family and friends.
Of course, Martha is a busy lady who doesn’t work alone. An expert panel, which includes Chris Hoel, the former chef sommelier of The French Laundry, and Martha Stewart Wine Co.’s in-house winemaker, consulted with vintners from around the world to develop the collection, with selections from top wine-producing regions such as Bordeaux, Tuscany, and coastal California. “The result is a diverse selection of wines that have all passed Martha’s personal test for quality, delicious flavor, and the ability to pair well with food,” according to a representative.
I received the “Wintery Whites” and “Wintery Reds” packs; wines included in both half-cases are also available for individual sale. My tasting notes follow. After tasting all 12 of these wines, my interpretation of what makes them “wintery” is that they will pair well with the types of dishes most likely to be prepared during the winter season.
Wintery White – 6-pack $79.95, 12-pack $149.95
Arbos Bianco Italy is an organic wine made from a blend of Riesling and Moscato varietals. Crisp and smooth, it offers notes of chamomile, nectarine, Granny Smith apple, with a hint of minerality. Retails for $14.99.
Bianchi Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay Argentina 2016 is a refreshing combo of pear, apple, grapefruit and fresh laundry notes. Retails for $14.99.
Cannery Row Chardonnay California 2015 wears a crooked label but is straight-on Chardonnay. Layers of apple, peach, honeydew and light toast are balanced, juicy. Pour this viscous wine alongside food or on its own. Retails for $12.49.
Domaine de Menard White Blend France 2015 sniffs of grapefruit, under-ripe melon and lemon curd. It tastes of old-fashioned lemonade, unripe cantaloupe and Granny Smith apple with a hint of butter on the finish. Viscous and tart, it’s food friendly. Retails for $17.99.
Fleur de Roche Sauvignon Blanc France 2016 zips across the nose and palate with notes of lime zest, tropical fruits, Bartlett pear and lemongrass with a hint of yeast. Retails for $14.99.
Starlight Ridge Chardonnay SE Australia 2016 offers whiffs and sips of lemon zest, papaya, avocado, almond and buttered light toast. Retails for $14.99.
Wintery Reds – 6-pack $79.95, 12-pack $149.95
Bianchi Malbec Argentina 2016 is lighter and more acidic than many wines of this varietal. Simple and pleasant, it’s reminiscent of a medium dry Beaujolais Nouveau. Notes of tart cherry, black pepper and radish are met by a bit of raspberry. Pair with roast chicken rather than steak. Retails for $14.99.
El Macho Reserva Tempranillo Spain 2012 offers ripe, juicy notes of Bing cherries, plums, and blackberries with luscious tannins and a hint of vanilla. Retails for $16.99.
El Portal Red Blend California 2015 mixes Zinfandel, Merlot and Syrah. The bold wine pours cherry, vanilla, mocha and kelp notes. This food-friendly wine is also enjoyable on its own. Retails for $12.49.
Hayton Family Syrah California 2016 is pleasant and light with a deft balance of fruit and earthy herbal notes led by red berry jam, bell pepper and summery savory with a hint of violet. Retails for $12.49.
Pretium Malbec Cahors 2015 offers notes of raspberry, blackberry and cranberry with some earthy mushroom qualities. Pair with red meat or spicy chicken. Retails for $17.99.
Starlight Ridge Shiraz SE Australia 2016 is a versatile crowd pleaser with notes of ripe and candied cherries, tart plum, marjoram, Red Delicious apple skin, and earthy herbs with faint layers of roasted poblano pepper, blueberry and violet. Sweet aspects give way to spice on the finish. Retails for $15.99.
Whatever you order, Martha Stewart Wine Club promises…
- Wines hand-picked by Martha Stewart.
- Martha’s exclusive serving, pairing, and entertaining suggestions.
- Six or twelve-bottle selections every six or eight weeks.
- You can choose red wine, white wine, or a mix of both.
- You can easily skip shipments and change preferences.
- If you don’t love the wine, it’s replaced for free.
For more information, visit www.marthastewartwine.com.
Unless otherwise noted, all suggested retail prices are for a 750ml bottle.
Be a responsible grownup: Never drink and drive.
Product samples afford the research opportunity but do not sway opinion.
– Second image courtesy Martha Stewart Wine Co.