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February Expert Picks

Shayne Hebert

Super Picks: Atanas Nechkov, Central Florida Wine & Spirits Supervisor

Twitter: @abcwineatanas

Meet ABC’s globetrotter, Bulgarian bred Atanas Nechkov. This Court of the Master Sommelier Level 2 certified has been around the world four times mastering appellations, varietals and the art of tasting wine. While his focus remains on French wines, Atanas is extremely knowledgeable in his field. After all, the one thing that unites every destination he’s ever been is wine. Take a look at his suggestions below, chosen for the uniqueness, price and quality.

Dunning Reserve Grenache 2014 | $41.99 $37.99

Dunning Reserve Grenache 2014

Dunning Vineyard is a family owned and operated winery located on the west side of Paso Robles in the Willow Creek AVA District, well known for producing premium quality estate wines. The 2014 Reserve Grenache, grown on mountainside vineyards, exhibits aromas and flavors of red berries, a generous mouthfeel and silky tannins.

It was rated 88 Points by the Wine Advocate:

“Produced from 100% Grenache, the 2014 Grenache Reserve has a medium to deep garnet-purple color and slightly reduced/rubbery nose, opening out to notes of black cherries, mulberries and tar with touches of Indian spices and garrigue. Medium to full-bodied, with a chewy texture, it gives a good amount of earth and spice box flavors with a pepper-laced finish.”

Reviewed by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate, September 2017, 88 Points

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Château Trillol Red | $13.99 $12.99

Chateau Trillol Red

Corbières is the appellation bordering the Roussillon to the north in Southwest France. The Sichels (châteaux Palmer and d’Angludet in Margaux) purchased Trillol in 1990, inspired by the quality of the terroir in this area and are now producing world class wines there. The vineyards of Château Trillol are composed of mostly old vine Grenache and Syrah grown on limestone, clay soil and farmed sustainably (no use of herbicides at all). Currently, Trillol’s vineyard covers two distinct terroirs: The first, the silica-rich Terroir de Termenès is located high up in the hills. The second, Terroir de Qéribus, is in the middle of the valley that surrounds the village of Cucugnan.

The 2012 Château Trillol red, a blend of 24% Syrah, 24% Carignan and 52% Grenache, exhibits a saturated deep ruby color and aromas and flavors of blackberries, currant and spices with a touch of licorice. The palate is generous and smooth with good balance of fruit, tannins and freshness. This wine contains all the flavors and fragrances of the Mediterranean uplands, expressing the generosity and exuberance of this sun-soaked terroir. Serve with roasted red meats, barbecue, stews, mixed salads and aged cheeses.

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Graham Beck Brut Rosé | $18.99 $16.99

Graham Beck Brut Rose

Situated 10km from the charming town of Robertson and only 140km from Cape Town, South Africa, the Graham Beck Robertson Cellar is a testimony to the inspired vision and foresight of the Beck family. The state-of-the-art cellars deliver Méthode Champenoise style wines worthy of their reputation as one of the best values for sparkling wine in the world.

“Disgorged December 2016, the NV Brut Rosé is a blend of 54% Pinot Noir and 46% Chardonnay with 5.7 grams per liter of residual sugar. It offers attractive scents of red cherries and a punnet of strawberries on a summer’s day. Fine delineation and focus here, if not the complexity you might expect in a top-flight rosé. The palate is well balanced with commendable weight and volume in the mouth. This is not a shy retiring flower, but a flavor-packed sparkling rosé that should delight for the next 3-4 years.”

Reviewed by Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate, April 2017, 89 Points.

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Domaine de Verquière Rasteau 2014 | $15.99 $14.49

Trione Henry's Blend

The estate has been handed down from father to son for four generations and is currently managed by the brothers Romain and Thibaut Chamfort who are perpetuating and developing the family’s land according to age-old traditions. Their commitment and passion for winemaking has encouraged them to convert the vineyards to organic growing practices. The organic farming has brought the wines from Domaine de Verquière to the industry’s highest quality levels. Priced at only $15.99 the Domaine de Verquière Rasteau also represents one of the best values in the appellation.

The 2014 Domaine de Verquière Rasteau is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah grown on steep clay-limestone slopes and aged in barrels for 12 months. The wine exhibits deep ruby color, aromas and flavors of red and dark berries, field flowers and touch of spice and earthy notes. The firm, but well-rounded tannins are in perfect balance with the rich fruit. This full-bodied, but smooth and elegant wine, will pair well with multitude of dishes, including grilled and stewed meats, duck, roasted lamb, but also mixed salads and aged cheeses.

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Domaine Roc la Folassière 2016 | $15.99 $14.49

Domaine Roc la Folassiere 2016

Roc Folassière has been under the management and ownership of Michel Chapoutier for two years, with the 2016 being the first vintage entirely produced using biodynamic viticultural practices.

The 2016 Domaine Roc Folassière Côtes du Rhône Villages is blend of Grenache and Syrah planted on loess and sandy gravel soils. The wine exhibits a deep ruby red color and generous aromas and flavors of red berries, cherry, blue flowers, subtle spicy notes, fine tannins and a solid mineral core. Enjoy with grilled meats and vegetables, pasta dishes, and aged cheeses.

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Château de Haute-Serre Malbec 2014 | $22.99 $20.99

Chateau de Haute-Serre Malbec 2014

The vineyard of Château de Haute-Serre is a 70-acre single plot of Malbec planted on south-facing slopes of a hill, the top of which marks the highest elevation of the Cahors appellation at 1,000 feet.

The 2014 Château de Haute-Serre Malbec exhibits deep-purple color and enticing aromas of black currant, blueberries, black truffle and mocha. The palate is generous, balanced and complex, reinforced by rich, spicy oak flavors. Best when enjoyed with grilled red meats and truffle-based dishes.

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