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
The holiday weekend offers the perfect excuse to fire up the grill and crack open a bottle of wine or stir up a summery gin cocktail, if you’re the sort that needs an excuse. I’ll settle for “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”
Whether your Independence Day menu includes fresh-caught fish, slow-roasted Southern-style pork barbecue, grass-fed beef and mushroom blended burgers, sausages and hot dogs, or a pot-luck of whatever friends and neighbors bring over, there’s a pick among these reds and whites that will pair nicely—and if you accidentally overcook the meat, at least you’ll have some great sip to raise as a toast to our Founding Fathers. Wear blue and you’ve got the patriotic color scheme covered.
We start packing this Mixed Case with some California wines from the Michael David Winery, which is based in Lodi, owned by brothers Michael and David Phillips, and is one of the fastest-growing wineries in the U.S. (business-wise; fruit on vines can’t be rushed). According to press materials, “the brothers released their first commercial wine in 1984 under the Phillips Vineyards label after years of growing grapes for other wineries. Now celebrating more than 30 years as a bonded winery, Michael and David have over 800 acres of vineyards in Lodi. They pride themselves on their meticulous farming practices and sustainable wine grape-growing, which result in superior quality in the bottle.” We sampled several bottles in the current portfolio and enjoyed every one.
7 Deadly Zins is Michael David Winery’s flagship wine and has been produced for nearly 15 years. The wine is America’s No. 1 selling Zinfandel! Since Zinfandel is a native grape, it’s perfect for a July 4th celebration. The 2014 7 Deadly Zins is juicy yet earthy with notes of cherry, black currants, black olives, pepper and leather. Medium-bodied yet soft, it pairs nicely with burgers, steak, BBQ, and fireworks. Retails for approx. $16.
2015 7 Deadly Red is a new addition to the Michael David Winery’s portfolio. Aged in both French and American oak barrels, it’s billed as “sinfully delicious.” Lush and vibrant, it boasts rich blackberry and ripe cherry notes balanced with black pepper, clove, smoke and vanilla. Retails for approx. $16.
2014 Freakshow Cab pours a mouthwatering combination of blackberry, coffee, caramel and pecan notes. Retails for approx. $20.
2015 Petite Petit offers notes of blueberry, plum, violet, toast, pepper and an almost Oreo cookie-like combo of chocolate and vanilla. The finish on this Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot blend is long and “seductive,” as promised. Oo la la! Retails for approx. $18.
2014 Earthquake Zin rattles the palate with notes of blueberry, cherry, plum, tarragon, pepper and vanilla. Velvety on the tongue, it starts out fruity then lingers on spice in a way that just may rattle your expectations in the best sense. Retails for approx. $26.
2014 Earthquake Cab is rich and juicy with bold flavors of dark cherry, blackberry, plum, black currant, charcoal and spice. Shockingly complex and mouthwateringly dense. Retails for approx. $26.
2014 6th Sense Syrah is full-bodied with big ripe flavors of black cherry, blackberry jam, currants and earthy tannins. Smooth. Retails for approx. $16.
2014 Freakshow Red boasts smooth flavors of cherry, blackberry, coffee, toffee, hickory, toasted walnuts and a hint of cocoa. Retails for approx. $20.
Since the U.S.A. is a melting pot of nationalities, we’re filling the remainder of this Mixed Case with picks from two of our allies. Cheers!
2014 Condes de Albarei, a Rías Baixas Albariño from the Galicia region of northwestern Spain, bursts with a bouquet of apricot, passion fruit, lime, pineapple and lemon blossom flavors and aromas. Fruity with bright acidity, it’s food-friendly, approachable and refreshing. Retails for approx. $16.
2015 Granbazan Etiqueta Ambar is a Spanish Albariño made from the fruit of older vines. Viscous and juicy, it pours notes of melon, tangerine and lemon pith with steady minerality and a faint floral quality. The finish lingers on melon and mineral. This food-friendly wine has the sort of structure that can impress a wine snob. Retails for approx. $24.
Mezza di Mezzacorona is a new Italian bubbly designed to enjoy any time of day, from brunch through late-night snacks. Crisp with soft bubbles, it offers notes of tropical and stone fruits, juicy apple and a hint of rose. It’s an easy crowd pleaser that’s tasty on its own as well as mixed into a cocktail that calls for sparkling wine; try it with fresh-squeezed peach juice. Retails for approx. $15.
Moletto Gin is a “traditional juniper gin spirit” with a “creative Italian flair,” according to press materials. Made in Italy’s Veneto region, this clear spirit—though for this Mixed Case we’re calling it white—uses juniper berries from the Alps and the Mediterranean coast plus an infusion of ripe Italian tomatoes. That’s different! Juniper and tomato aromas leap from the bottle and glass and skip first and loudest across the tongue. A merry herbal mix (rosemary, mint, basil, thyme) and citrus notes follow along behind. This is an unusual gin that can be sipped on its own or mixed into a gin cocktail. We enjoyed it in a gin and tonic, and a negroni, but a Bloody Mary may be this spirit’s most heavenly match. Retails for approx. $40.
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.