Domaine Rochette 2016 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau ($12.99)

Domaine Rochette Beaujolais Nouveau

Dark reddish-purple with a clear garnet edge. The aroma is exuberantly fruity, as you would expect from a Nouveau, but it’s a fresh, clean fruit – juicy, ripe strawberries and tart black plums – in an aroma and flavor that’s indisputably “grapey,” but we’re talking about European-style Gamay grapes here, not your grandmother’s Concord. Abundant fruit pours over on the palate, too, crisp and freshly acidic, 13% alcohol, with a fresh, ripe and palate-cleansing finish that lasts and lasts. U.S. importer: Wines of France Inc., Mountainside, N.J.; Alain Junguenet Selections.

The production run for Domaine Rochette 2016 Beaujolais Villages Nouveau was apparently limited, with only a couple of U.S. vendors.

Try this link, though, for a broader selection of Beaujolais wines from Domaine Rochette. Also, Alain Junguenet’s portfolio is widely distributed, so it might be worth contacting the importer to ask about retailers near you who handle these wines. Read article.

Caposaldo 2014 Chianti ($8.99)

Caposaldo Chianti

Dark reddish-purple with a clear edge, showing bright ruby glints against the light. Abundant black-cherry aromas, a touch of fresh cherry and more obvious dried fruit. It’s fresh and bright on the palate, tart cherries and a hint of something like cedar wood, all framed with zippy acidity, moderate 12.5% alcohol, and just a hint of soft, fuzzy tannins. Fresh fruit and subtle aromatic cedar persist in a long finish. It’s not the most complex wine in the world, but it would be hard to find a Chianti of better value for well under 10 bucks. A blend of the traditional Sangiovese (75%) with the not-so-traditional Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (10% each), and Malvasia (5%). U.S. importer: Kobrand Corp., NYC.

Check prices and find vendors for Caposaldo Chianti on Read article.

Saint-Hilaire 2014 Blanquette de Limoux Brut ($14.99)


A blend of Mauzac (“Mo-zock,”) the historical regional grape, with Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, this Limoux sparkler foams up briefly, then falls back to a slight but persistent bubble stream. It shows a very light brass color, pale straw with a greenish hue. Its light, fresh-fruit aroma suggests a mix of delicate fruit and scents, hints of tangerine peel and kiwi fruit with a breath of acacia flower, an aroma reminiscent of wool. Creamy carbonation and fresh, brisk acidity come together on the palate, opening to citrus and floral notes that mirror the nose as the wine warms in the glass.

Look for vendors and compare prices for Saint-Hilaire 2014 Blanquette de Limoux Brut at
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Domaine J. Laurens “le Moulin” Blanquette de Limoux Brut ($14.99)

Domaine J. Laurens

A blend of 90% Mauzac with Chardonnay, this is a clear, light straw-color sparkling wine, with a foamy mousse that falls back to leave multiple streams of lasting bubbles. Simple, pleasantly earthy note behind light scents of pears and green apples. Effervescent prickliness and tart acidity dominate a palate impression backed by simple white fruit and a touch of chalky minerality. The label claims a relatively gentle 12 percent alcohol by volume. It seems simple at first, but gains intriguing notes of Champagne-like “cocoa” and “biscuit” as it warms in the glass.

Unfortunately, lists only a few European vendors for Domaine J. Laurens “le Moulin” Blanquette de Limoux Brut.

For a wider selection of Blanquette de Limoux and some information about the region and its wines, see this link. Read article.

Pascal Janvier 2015 Cuvée du Rosier Coteaux du Loir Rouge ($22.99)

Pascal Janvier

This wine of 100 percent Pineau d’Aunis grapes is a very light garnet color, almost bordering on a dark rosé. There’s nothing pale about the flavor, though, which is bright and fresh, cranberries wrapped in a fragrant cloak of aromatic white pepper. Tart cranberries dance with abundant white pepper on the palate, too, with plenty of fresh, food-friendly acidity, firm tannins, gentle 12 percent acidity, and a distinct sense of intriguing “rainwater-over-granite” minerality to lend flavor interest in a subtle but complex Loire red.

Check prices and find vendors for Cuvée du Rosier Coteaux du Loir Rouge on

For more examples of the rare Pineau d’Aunis, page down on this info page about the grape on
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San Pietro 2015 Alto Adige Schiava ($12.99)

San Pietro

This Northern Italian Alpine blend of 95 percent Schiava and 5 percent Lagrein is a pretty, rather light garnet color. Simple but appealing on the nose and palate, it offers a lightly spicy raspberry and cranberry scent and tart red-fruit flavor shaped by crisp, food-friendly acidity. It doesn’t seem tannic at first, but some astringency becomes more apparent with subtle red berries and a hint of stony minerality in the long, clean finish. On the light side at 12.5 percent alcohol, enhancing its versatility at the table.

Here’s a link to vendors and prices for San Pietro Alto Adige Schiava on Read article.