Springing Into Summer! JvB’s Top Ten Under $25 for 2015

1 May

This article I wrote was published by Snooth.com!


If you don’t want to click the link, the article I submitted is below, along with added links to the winemakers!-JvB

Springing Into Summer

10 Wines under $25 that will help keep you cool

from the beach to the boardroom

-by Jim van Bergen

How brutal was winter? Just forget it. Forget how cold it was, forget how much snow you had. Let your mouth tell you- as your brain convinces you to push past cases of luscious and full-bodied red wines that are aching for you. I’m reaching past them, into the remnants of mixed cases for the delightful wines of summer. Patio wines, front stoop wines, sushi and Thai takeout, pasta and fish wines. BBQ wines. Wines for warm weather. Which is your pleasure? Here is a list of wines you don’t want to miss, all under $25 per bottle.

Anne Amie Vinyards 2014 Cuvée A Amrita, Carlton, OR. $15/bottle, 13.2%ABV.

Winemaker Thomas Houseman’s tribute to vinho verde, this is an under-the-radar Willamette Valley delight! A six-wine blend with (grapes listed from most-to-least) Pinot Blanc, Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Viognier, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer) from four vineyards in the Willamette AVA, this wine shows delightful aromatics of wildflowers, lavender, and honeysuckle along with a pale gold hue. In the mouth, it awakens the palate with an unusual approach of fresh berries, pear, pineapple, starfruit, apricot and quince. Far more fun than my usually desired Bordeaux blends, and unequalled in essence. ‘Amrita’ means ambrosia- as in the nectar of the gods. I think they got this name right. Have a friend that loves white wine? This is the perfect gift bottle. http://anneamie.com

Eyrie Vineyards 2013 Pinot Blanc, Dundee Hills, OR $21/Bottle, 12.5% ABV.

If you think this wine resembles Alsace, you’re right. Aromatic flowers and fruit on the nose while the palate coasts along showing delicate expressions of apricot, passion fruit and young golden delicious apples. With a delightfully long finish that gently reveals the minerals of the Willamette Valley, you might forget where you are while drinking this but you won’t forget to come back for more. http://www.eyrievineyards.com

Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir, 2013. Southern CA. $22/bottle, 13.8%ABV.

Rich garnet, with the hue and scent of dried cranberries was my first impression. A mixture of boysenberry, cherry cola, mature red plum and soft leather followed, with a sense of creaminess and luxurious texture passing the mid and top palate. Notes of potting soil, vanilla spiced toast, and clay were exhibited on the expansive finish. This blend of pinot from Monterey, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara counties may be the best that California has to offer, certainly at this price point.


Brooks 2012 Riesling, Willamette Valley, OR $20/bottle, 11.5% ABV.

A luscious, dry Riesling with subtle aromas for the refined palate. Apple, pear and gentler lime and kiwi round out to a smooth blend. Austere, singular in precision- a beautiful balance of fruit, acidity and minerality, with the citrus and acidity maintaining throughout the finish. http://www.brookswine.com

Clos Du Val 2012 Chardonnay, Napa, CA. Street $19/bottle, 14%ABV.

This classic never fails to please! Green fruit on the nose with bold citrus in the mouth and a finish featuring vanilla and gently toasted oak. The 2011 and 2012 vintages can still be found in stores for $10 below the current 2013 offering, so grab them while you can. Surf’s up! http://www.closduval.com

Red Newt Cellars Circle Riesling, 2012 Finger Lakes, NY/ $14/Bottle, 11%ABV.

A nose like a fruit bowl with honeysuckle, apricot, and white peach. In the mouth, lemon-lime, orange peel, and green apple with a tinge of residual sugar are focused together with good, crisp acidity making you forget the wine is off-dry. An excellent sense of minerals- limestone, schist, granite, and a touch of salinity on the medium finish, leaves your mouth wanting more. This is a decidedly good example of both Seneca Lake and the entire New York Finger Lakes region at a very reasonable price. http://rednewt.com/ww4/

Gazela Vinho Verde, DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal. $6/bottle, 9%ABV.

Greenish yellow tint, with lime and daffodil on the nose. Tart lime, granny smith apple peel, and fleshy white peach undertones round out the palate with tiny bubbles. Delightfully fresh and tasty, and you simply can’t beat the price. http://www.gazelawine.com

Seven White Blend 2014, Airlie Winery, Monmouth, OR. $15/bottle, 11.9%ABV.

I had low expectations but was actually highly impressed tasting winemaker Elizabeth Clark’s refined and delightful Seven White Blend! Clark says that keeping a blend consistent from year to year is challenging, and while there will be subtle variances in fruit profile, that the fruit-to-acid ratio is the key and always stays the same- providing the same wine profile wine with faint differences. It works, but don’t take my word for it- with such a fun, and lovely wine at a low price per bottle, you won’t have enough to compare to next season unless you purchase by the case. A white wine lover’s go-to, you should find some before its gone. http://www.airliewinery.com

Union Wine Company Underwood Rosé, (No Vintage) Sherwood, OR. $7/can, $12/750ml bottle.

Talk about alternate enclosure? The Union Wine Company is selling what I thought initially to be a sales gimmick, but what has turned out to be a game changer. Rosé in a can! Yes, 375 ml cans (about 12.7ounces) are popping up everywhere that glass isn‘t allowed: boats, beaches, golf courses, poolside- you name it! Featuring the summery flavors of strawberry, watermelon and ripe yellow peach, this pale pink wine is making quite a splash in places that glass is frowned upon. Along with their other canned wines, Ryan Harm’s Union Wine Company is trailblazing with some tasty products. http://unionwinecompany.com

Saving the best for last, so where is the sparkling? What is a list of summer fun without sparkling? Choose your favorite poison: Champagne, Crémant, Cava, Prosecco. Get your bubbles on! But I’m going to suggest you try something outside your comfort range. For the summer heat and the grill this summer, instead of breaking out that big bold red, try a big bubbly red! Go Lambrusco!

Cavicchioli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Robanera, Modena, Italy. $17/bottle, 9.5%ABV. Powerful red fruit, effervescent and refreshingly dry. Perfect to complement full flavors such as grilled meats or spicy sauces. http://www.cavicchioli.it

À votre santé!

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