Varsity Wine Club Selections
Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay Walker Bay, South Africa
Long before buying Varsity, I dabbled as an importer, and really fell in love with the wines from South Africa. I feel at that time that they represented such a great bang for the buck, and after trying this they still do. This wine was first brought to my attention at a blind tasting, and six of the eight people there, thought it was a Puligny Montrachet, and the other two thought it was an extreme high end California Chardonnay, that is how good this is. The wine is elegant with tastes of quince, apple and Bosc pears and a hint of nuts and spice and a long beautiful finish.
Echelon Syrah California
The Syrah grape has really taken a shining to California, unfortunately America doesn’t feel the same way. In this Country, Cabernet and Merlot first come in to the wine drinkers mind first and Syrah further down the line, we are trying to change that however.
Echelon is a winery that is owned by the Chalone wine group (Chalone, Mouton Rothschild, Acacia to name a few properties), and perhaps their greatest values are at Echelon. A very Syrah with blackberries and licorice tastes and a beautiful spicy and peppery finish with a fair amount of earth (unlike the Australian Shiraz which tend to be all fruit). Syrah is great with everything from beef to pork or even all by itself.
Masciarelli Montepulciano d Abruzzo ItalyMost inexpensive Montepulcianos that we get to try are wines that are made by huge co-ops and have very little to offer; this is the exception. The wine is estate bottled and as I like to say “very tasty”. A big nose of violets, ripe berries and raisins with a slight hint of coffee, the wine is medium to full bodied and still slightly tight, let it breathe a little before serving. Too good to have with Pizza, but will go well with a meatier red sauce.