Category Archives: Learn About Wine

Why You Should Care About B. Corp. Wineries

There’s much to love with the A to Z wines. What’s refreshing – besides their very well-crafted, varietally accurate, delicious wine – is that first and foremost they operate as a force for good. Consider these stats:
 
  • 100% of A to Z workers are paid well above the local living wage.
  • Each full-time employee receives full health benefits, paid time off to do volunteer work and tuition assistance to further his/her career.
  • Over 50% of management are women and individuals from under-represented populations.
Because of their dedication to creating a sustainable environment where employees thrive, in 2014 A to Z became the first winery to achieve its B Corporation certification, which puts it in the same company as Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Kleen Kanteen, and many other progressive organizations. Since then, they’ve garnered the B Corp’s “Best For The Word” award, four years running.
 
To attain a B Corp status, an organization must actively and consistently prove that all of its decisions are guided by the goal of operating as a sustainable, healthy business for the good of its workers, the community, all of its suppliers and distributors, and the environment: They must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. In essence, they balance purpose and profit, believing that the more successful their business is, the better they can do for the world.
 
And all of this is on top of the fact that their wine really is consistently terrific, which is no surprise given that A to Z was started in 2002 by Oregon wine industry veterans from several of the USA’s most highly regarded wineries, including Eyrie, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Archery Summit and Chehalem. Their multiple award-winning wines are blends of locally-sourced, Oregon-grown fruit from sustainably managed farms, and we love them.
 
If all of this isn’t enough to get you to try them, we’ve put our line of A to Z wines on sale for the month of September. We want you to put your money where your conscience is, and drink well.
Here’s what’s in store:
 

2016 Chardonnay
They say it’s America’s best-selling unoaked Oregon Chardonnay, and with this flavor, we buy it. It’s full of citrus, honeysuckle and melon flavors, with a rich, ripe and round texture that’s balanced with a crisp freshness. It’s incredibly food-friendly, too. $13.99 compare to $16.99

2017 Riesling
Oh heavens, where to start. Luscious honeysuckle, lime, elderflower and floral aromas lead to mouth-watering honey, limoncello and pear flavors, all richly textured and ready for pretty much whatever food you want to throw at it – we especially like it with spicy dishes. See the bee on that beautiful bottle? That means that a portion from the sale of each bottle will go to support bee health research. $13.99 compare to $16.99

2017 Rosé
Crisp. Juicy. Lip-smacking. Smile inducing. Think ripe strawberries, watermelon, and raspberry mixed with herbal aromas. We’re stocking up on this one for Thanksgiving dinner. $13.99 compare to $16.99.

 

2015 Pinot Noir
What a vintage – it’s widely considered one of Oregon’s best ever. Dark fruit aromas abound out of the glass, leading to red and blue fruit flavors, all balanced with dusty tannins, a juicy acidity and a mineral finish. $17.99 compare to $21.99

2016 Bubbles (Rosé)
A blend of Pinot Noir with a touch of Chardonnay. This lovely sparkler has juicy ripe fruit aromas that lead to raspberry, watermelon and white flower flavors all softened with a hint of creaminess. $13.99 compare to $16.99

2017 Pinot Gris
Mouthwateringly amazing, with peach, apricot, pineapple and lychee aromas meeting citrus flavors, crisp acidity and soft tannins. One of the most versatile food wines in our shop for sure. $13.99 compare to $16.99

Cheers & Enjoy!

Published in September 2018, prices subject to change

7 Rosés For The Remaining 7 Saturdays of Summer

Last week we got a little depressed talking about how the Labor Day countdown is on, how the pumpkin flavored beers are about to hit our shelves, and about the holiday planning we (and all retailers) are doing right now. Talk about a downer. But when looked at another way – meaning through the lens of the actual dates of the equinox – there’s reason to rejoice: There are seven Saturdays remaining in summer. Seven! Though this does include the first day of autumn, Saturday, September 22, the equinox doesn’t officially occur until 9:54 that night – which means there’s plenty of time during the early evening to enjoy a bottle or two.

Consider doing like us, and celebrate the enduring summer by opening a different bottle of rosé each week. Though we do drink the pink year-round, the enormous variety of well-crafted bottles made available to us this year means we can continue to enjoy the style without rosé fatigue.

Herewith, our picks for these remaining 7 summer Saturdays.

Mittelbach Zweigelt Rosé, Kremstal, Austria

One of Melissa’s faves from her trip to Austria earlier this year, the medium-bodied Mittelbach is juicy and dry at the same time, with lovely strawberry and cherry aromas and flavors. It’s a BBQ’s BFF. $17.99

Villa des Anges Cinsault Rosé, France

Oh-so light and delicate this rosé is, with faint aromas of apple, pear and melon, a soft citrusy acidity and a touch of orange peel on the finish. What a delight. $13.99

Domaines Les Rocailles Gamay Rosé, Vin de Savoie, France

Aromas of white peach and green apples open up this lovely, fragrant French rosé. It’s delicate but its persistent minerality means it would be great with oysters or a simple summer salad. $19.99

Arrumaco Garnacha Rosé, Spain

A big, gulpable rosé with juicy, silky raspberry and plum flavors filling the glass. Pairs gorgeously with spicy Spanish food or a Flintstonian-sized grilled ribeye with all the fixins. $10.99

Bodegas Latue Rosé of Tempranillo, Spain

A bright, refreshing, no-make-that thirst-quenching apricot-melon-papaya fruit salad. And it’s certified organic, biodynamic and vegan! $12.99

Zeni Bardolino Chiaretto Rosé, Italy 

Floral, ethereal and as elegant as the sophisticated set that summers along the shore of Italy’s Lake Garda, where this wine was made. $13.99

Hillinger Sparkling Secco Rosé of Pinot Noir, Burgenland, Austria (NOT PICTURED)

This is another of the gems Melissa found when she visited Austria. It’s lightly bubbled, bone dry, loaded with beautiful strawberry fruit flavor, and finishes with a crisp acidity. $19.99

Enjoy!

Prices subject to change

What’s In The Bottle? A Key To The Symbols You’ll Find On Product Tags Storewide.

It’s an exciting time to be in the beverage industry, especially for our team of buyers who are very cognizant about the quality of what they consume, and the care with which it is crafted. More and more delicious and affordable offerings made using methods that are gentle to the earth – and our bodies – are available to us in Lil’ Rhody. So many in fact that we can’t just relegate them to one small area of the store anymore. That’s why you’ll find new symbols on all of our product tags storewide that communicate various characteristics about how each bottle was made. Here’s what to look for as you browse our shelves:

It’s our hope that the new symbols will lead you to new finds and will help you drink better. Cheers to that!

A Fabulous “40 Ounce” French Wine

We were a touch skeptical too – after all, it’s our job to be. Our shelf space and your palate are too precious for us to give in to every pretty label that walks in the door. We need to have solid reasons to bring in bottles: just having great packaging is not one of them.

Which is why we were thrilled that the 40 Ounce Rosé had some serious chops to back up its super clever, ironic packaging. The twist-off-topped large format bottle primarily known for holding the cheap buzz that is malt liquor (mass-produced, highly sweet, high alcohol content, get-drunk-fast swill) contains precisely the opposite: the wine is made from high-quality gamay, merlot, cabernet franc and pineau d’aunis grapes grown sustainably in France’s Muscadet and Touraine regions; it’s light, dry, delicious and fun, and at just 12.5% ABV, it will not numb your brain after a sip or two.

Though it was available last year in only a few large states, it was an immediate internet sensation, selling out before the summer was over.  We’re happy to say it’s now available in our little but mighty region. And we have it at $17.99 for the bottle, while supplies last.

Cheers & Enjoy!

price subject to change

Our Top 9 Rosés, Part II

Last week we shared with you five of our favorite rosés that have arrived thus far in 2018. (We also shared our POV on the so-called “Rosé Season.” If you’re confused about when you should drink rosé, give it a read.)  

This week we present the remaining four of the earliest-arriving bottles that are now atop our list. Some are new to our shelves, others will be easily recognizable to our rosé regulars: They’re the classics that once again with this vintage, proved their worth. Chateau Montaud
Provence, France
Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Tibouren
It’s a year-over-year classic and staff favorite with good reason: the Montaud is a dry rosé-drinker’s dream! It’s light with fruit and spice notes and finishes with hints of peaches and stone fruits. Get a bottle for the night, or a box for the weekend. You’re welcome.
1 Bottle (750ml): $12.99  3L Box (as shown: that’s 4 bottles, folks): $27.99

 

Bodini
Mendoza, Argentina
Malbec
Bright, shiny and clean, the Bodini bursts with cherry and strawberry aromas and subtle notes of spice and pepper. It has a touch more body when compared to super light styles, and finishes with a fresh, balanced acidity. It’s a terrific pick for those just starting to drink the pink.
$10.99

 

Honoro Vera
Jumilla, Spain
Tempranillo, Syrah
This is another year-after-year store best-seller — and not just because of that super-cool label. It’s a beautifully crisp, salmon colored rosé with mild watermelon rind aromas, and bright strawberry and cherry flavors. It’s a juicy sip of the weather we’ve been waiting for all winter, and what one of our regulars calls “a rosé party in my mouth!”
$12.99

 

Peyrassol “#LOU”
Provence, France
Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah
It’s baaaack…this was the runaway hit for us last spring/summer and this year’s bottling is just as tasty. Think white flower blossoms, peach and light berry fruits, with a good though not overpowering acidity, and a spicy minerality on the finish. Then think about how much fun you’ll have drinking it. This was one of the bottles that sold out fast last year – be sure to stock up!
$14.99

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we share more of our favorites as they arrive.

Cheers & enjoy!

Prices subject to change

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Our Top 9 Rosés, Part I

OK, let’s start with a fact: Despite what the mainstream media, your Instagram feed and your Aunt Jenny are putting out there, this is not the start of Rosé Season. There isn’t anything in the official anything anywhere stating that rosé can only be sipped in the warmer, sunny, cheerful season. There’s no “Rosé Rule” that, like the No White After Labor Day silliness, applies to pink wine. Rosé is one of the most versatile styles in the history of wine, and pairs remarkably well with pretty much anything you can throw at it – cold weather and winter fare included.

That said.

What spring does represent is the start of Rosé Arrival Season. It’s when the fresh new batches of rosés made with fruit from the previous year’s harvest are released to us at Bottles, to offer to you. It’s when we get to taste hundreds of new vintages to decide which we think you’ll fall in love with over the coming year, whether enjoyed on your porch on a sweltering July night, or with your family over Thanksgiving dinner.

This year’s feat of selecting was harder than ever, what with the increasing oceans of rosé being produced all over the world. We do our best to bring you the best of the new, while still making available the classics that prove themselves worthy of our precious shelf space — and your wallet — year after year.

A reminder: for many rosés, this Arrival Season is fleeting. Some are made in miniscule batches, meaning once they’re sold out, they’re gone for the year. So if you spark to one bottle in particular, check with our team on its availability so that you can squirrel some away for your November turkey feast.

Here’s a look at five of the rosés that made our short list from the early arrivals:

Domaine Houchart
Provence, France
Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre
This is one of the “now you see it, now you don’t” rosés: It’s one of the first to arrive, and because it’s made in incredibly small quantities and is just delicious, it’ll be one of the first to sell out. It has a spicy acidity, ripe cherry and raspberry flavors, and finishes with a touch of white pepper. Get it now while the getting is good.
$13.99

Radley & Finch
West Cape, South Africa
Cinsault
A super easy-drinking, bright and fresh rosé with undertones of a juicy fruit salad. Its acid level is pretty low, which makes it very crowd friendly and a perfect introduction to rosé for those new to the style.
$10.99

Casa Americo
Dao, Portugal
Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro
We’re calling it: this is going to be the sleeper hit of the season. It’s new to Bottles and not yet on the industry’s radar screen, which is why we’re able to offer it at such a great price. It’s lively and refreshing like a bowl of ripe raspberries. It has lovely wildflower aromas, too.
$8.99 (yep. $8.99)

Barnard Griffin
Columbia Valley, Washington
Rosé of Sangiovese
This new-to-Bottles bottle won a huge rosé award last year on the West Coast (The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition), so we’re thrilled that it’s made its way to us this year. It’s dry, packed with fresh watermelon, pomegranate, cranberry and citrus flavors, and backed by a lip-smacking acidity. It’s made from Italy’s most famous grape — sangiovese, the main grape in Chianti — so it’s no surprise that it pairs beautifully with a bowl of spring pasta, enjoyed on the porch.
$13.99

Massaya
Beqaa Valley, Lebanon
Cinsault, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon
You’ll be hearing lots from us soon about this really amazing Lebanese winery in the Beqaa Valley. For now, though, trust us that this beautiful bottle will charm you to no end. It’s full of ripe summery strawberry fruit with subtle spice notes, and satisfies with a dry, crisp finish.
$18.99

Tune in next week for Part II when we share the remaining four rosés that are among our favorites this year.

Cheers!

All prices subject to change

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Our Top 6 Spring Wines

Channeling our inner Kevin Costner here, and putting out there that If You Drink Them, It Will Come. We’re talking spring wines and spring weather, folks. Who knows if we’re out of the snow  woods yet, but gosh darn it, we’re going to drink like we are. And here’s what we’ll be opening:
Underwood “The Bubbles” Sparkling Wine in a Can, Oregon
Oh where to start with this one. Do we talk about how cool it is to have wine in a can (great for the wine! environmentally friendly!)? Or how cool it is to have sparkling wine in a can (instant party anywhere!)? Or do we talk about just how yummy these bubbles are (oh hello ripe citrus, tropical fruit, and white flower flavors). Or, maybe we should just shut our mouths and drink it, and encourage you to do the same. (The drinking part, not the mouth-shutting part.) 
Underwood “The Bubbles Rosé” Wine in a Can, Oregon
You probably didn’t set out today looking for springtime in a can, but man did you find it. Each of these little aluminum gems are bursting with effervescent wild strawberry and tart cherry flavors that’ll make you look forward to mowing your lawn, weeding your garden, and mulching your beds. We guarantee it.
$6.99 per can (each flavor)
Boya Rosé of Pinot Noir, Chile
And now for a refreshing coastal Chilean rosé with bright raspberry and tangerine notes, and a dry, mineral-y finish. Crack open a bottle, invite friends over for freshly shucked oysters and grilled chicken and vegetables and you win. It’s a food-loving, crowd pleasing blockbuster of a wine for sure!
$15.99
Domaine d’Ourea “Tire Bouchon” Gigondas, Rhone Valley, France
Quench your thirst with this juicy, funky, deep and fascinating Grenache-based wine while you slow roast ribs or slather that chicken in barbecue sauce for the season’s first cookout. It’s all dark fruit, with an undercurrent of dried-herb earthiness and some grippy tannins that whip in at the end. It’s super stuff.
$13.99
Foris Estate Grown Pinot Noir, Rogue Valley, Oregon
We can’t stop thinking about salmon when we think of this wine! It’s an Oregonian Pinot Noir with bright Bing cherry, red plum, and floral aromas, and beautifully assimilated flavors of cherries, currant, cranberry gratin, dried strawberries, and barrel spices. Bring on spring!
$21.99
Lelievre Pinot AuxerroisCotes de Toul, Lorraine, France
No really, you need to try this wine! We are so excited about it! It’s from Lorraine, near Champagne and Chablis. Though different from those two wines, if you like them, you’ll love this, too. It’s incredibly, beautifully aromatic, and round with pear and white-fruit flavors, all brought together with a delicate acidity. It’s pure springtime in a bottle (though would be amazing with Thanksgiving dinner, too!). And did you notice the bunny on the label? Could it be more perfect for this spring and Easter? 
$18.99

Our Top 3 Wines That Just Happen To Be Kosher For Passover

It’s really quite exciting to see the year-over-year increase in the number of excellent wines available to us that just happen to be kosher for Passover. Our 2018 selection is larger than it has ever been, which made our choosing the top three a bit of a challenge. But we did it, and here they are: Our top 3 kosher wines for you this Passover season.

The Butcher’s Daughter Sparkling Muscat
Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Popping open a bottle of this bright, sweet-ish sparkling wine would be a delightful way to kick off or end all spring celebrations. It’s lovely with fresh aromas of honeysuckle, passion fruit, subtle lychee, crisp Fuji apple, and a touch of mango. And its decent acidity assures that the ripe fruit-sweetness never gets cloying. $14.99

La Citadelle de Diamant “Mademoiselle” Rosé
Upper Galilee, Israel

It’s an Israeli rosé done Provencal style and we love it. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot that delivers grapefruit & melon flavors, with a hint of lychee. Try it with fresh goat cheese drizzled with honey while you wait for your perfectly roasted herbed chicken to come out of the oven. $24.99

Guillermo De Mendoza Malbec
Mendoza, Argentina

A luscious, dark purple wine loaded with big soft fruit, and lots of blackberry & blueberry jam notes that make our mouths water for brisket or a fatty steak. There’s a touch of spice and licorice on the finish, just to keep things interesting. $10.99

Drop by the store to peruse our greatly-expanded kosher section, or call for a delivery anywhere in Rhode Island.

We wish you a kosher and joyous Passover!

Why We’re Making Such a Big Deal Over the Cedar + Salmon Wines

So a few months back I got wind that there was a crew of really cool folks up in the Pacific Northwest who were about to launch a line of really cool wines. I sat forward immediately – PacNorth wines are near and dear to my heart. Specifically those that come from responsibility-minded producers, using sustainable methods to produce outstanding wines. Which these wines do.
The line is called “Cedar + Salmon,” in honor of the distinctive character of the Pacific Northwest, its spirit, and its abudant natural resources. In keeping with the region’s authenticity, these wines are made in the most natural, unadulterated ways possible: with gentle handling, hand-harvesting, minimal racking and other small-lot winemaking techniques. Only a few hundred cases of these beauties are made and man am I glad that I was able to bring some to Rhode Island. They’re really unique and exciting – particularly their Cabernet Sauvignon. Wait, Cab Sauv from Washington State, you say? Yes, I say. It’s a style that you don’t hear about often – but this team nailed it. I believe it and the others in this line may be the sleeper hits of 2018. So let’s discuss:
The Cedar + Salmon Pinot Gris was made with 100% Willamette Valley fruit from the 2016 harvest, which produced smaller quantities. Smaller yields typically lead to banner wines with lots of acidity, amazing fruit and balanced profiles. This is no exception. It’s a stunner.
$18.99 compare to $21.99
One of the things I like best about Oregon Pinots is the iron and copper profile they give off, which has everything to do with the region’s distinctive red “Jory” soil. The Cedar + Salmon Pinot Noir has a big nose of blackberries and dark berry fruit, and lots of spice and floral notes. It can lay down and age for a few years with ease.
$24.99 compare to $27.99

You really need to try the Cedar + Salmon Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State’s Horse Heaven Hills. As I alluded to before, these wines are just plain underrated. This one has solid fruit and complex tannins, rounded out with just plain awesomeness. 18 months of aging in new and neutral oak finishies this off with finesse and jam. Why yes, I will have another!

If you’re interested in learning more about these beautiful wines, swing by the store on Saturday March 10th, 2018. We’ll be opening them from 4-7pm. And if you can’t make it, just come by anytime and call out my name. You can purchase the wines exclusively in-store at Bottles through the end of the month, at the special introductory pricing above. 

Give them a try – I’d love to hear what you think!

 -Melissa
(prices subject to change)

Melissa’s Winter Wine Picks

“This winter I want to share with you the wines that I grab when I am looking for comfort. Like the crackers you still buy when you don’t feel great. The crackers your grandmother fed you when you stayed home from school in January, that immediately made you feel better. Each of the wines are from vineyards I know well, having visited nearly all. Several of them I’ve brought into Rhode Island for the first time, and are available exclusively at Bottles. Each has left a mark on me, and I think lots of them will do the same for you. I encourage you find me to learn more about each, and to let me know what you think!” -Melissa Principe, Wine Director

Dei Rosso di Montepulciano, Italy
Dei is one of the very first vineyards I spent time at in Italy. The owners were just in the process of plotting the land for their new tasting room and winery expansion. It was not a huge winery and I can still smell the cellar where they age their wines. They produce one of the best olive oils I have ever had in my life (unfortunately, they don’t sell it outside of the vineyard). This wine is dirt and roses all at the same time. Amazing. $19.99

Villa Giada “Suri” Moscato d’Asti, Italy
I introduced you to this winery and wine last week, though because I love it so much, I’m including it here. It’s made by my friend Andrea Faccio, who owns Villa Giada. His mom happens to make amazing biscotti, and though we can’t get them here, I suggest dunking any well-made version into this wine for an authentic Italian experience. On sale through February 11, 2018: $12.99 (compare to $16.99)

Tikal “Natural” Malbec, Uco Valley, Argentina
I picked this wine because not only is it outstandingly-well made and easy to drink, but because I think a lot of us try to be healthier in the winter – at least the first few resolution-filled months of it. Tikal is hand-harvested and biodynamic. It’s made from 60% organic Malbec, 40% organic Syrah, 100% of which will change your life for the better. I met winemaker Alejandro Kuschnaroff when I visited Tikal in April 2017 – and I’m not the first nor the last to report that this talented man bears a striking resemblance to our most common representations of Jesus. Which may or may not have any bearing on your decision to buy this wine, but there it is. $23.99

Barros Ports, White, Tawny & Ruby, Douro Valley, Portugal
One of the 2018 goals of the Bottles Wine Department is to get more of you turned on to good Port. If you’ve never experienced one, you’re starving yourself and you don’t even know it. The Ports made by Barros are my favorites, and at this excellent price, you can afford to purchase without ever having tasted one before. Grab any Bottles staff member for a quick primer on these different styles, how to store, serve and enjoy. And stay tuned for upcoming Port tastings in store. $13.99 each

White Knight Prosecco, Veneto, Italy
My pick for winter bubbles is this stunner. It’s perfectly crisp and light, with a creamy mouthfeel, and balanced acidity. The bubbles are soft with an aromatic nose of apple and pineapple. I serve it to start all of my cold-weather dinner parties. Also, because it’s so light, I serve it to myself after a long day of studying. I could make some White Knight puns here, but I’ll spare you. Just buy it and enjoy. $14.99

Mayu Carmenere & Syrah Blend, Elqui Valley, Chile  
I was recently asked what my favorite pairing is. This is the wine, and I love it paired with … drumroll please … The Chicago Blend. For those of you not from Chi-Town, the blend is a mix of caramel corn and cheese popcorn. And the wine is a blend of 55% Carmenere and 45% Syrah – two big grapes that can stand up to all that flavor. The pairing is ridiculous. It’s totally goofy and it totally works. Particularly with all of the binge watching we’re all doing to escape the cold. (PS – you all told me winters here wouldn’t be as bad as they are in Chicago. Thanks for nothing.) $14.99

Mayu Pedro Ximenez, Elqui Valley, Chile
Wait..what? A still Pedro Ximenez??? Isn’t that the grape that’s usually used in sparkling Cava! Yes, yes it is, you smart thing you. And it is yummy and delightful and perfect and you should drink it. It has beautiful fruit and floral flavors, all evened out with good minerals and acidity. Branch out and try something new in 2018. Then be sure to find me and let me know what you think – I’d really love to know! $14.99

Dry Creek Heritage Zinfandel, Sonoma County, California
I love Dry Creek Vineyard! It was one of the first vineyards to go completely 100% sustainable! Oh…and the wines are stunning. I could drink their Chenin Blanc all day. But, we are talking Zinfandel here, and their Zin has some serious chops. It has a stunning depth and richness, with a long finish on the palate. There’s a pepper spice to it, too, that is not the norm in California Zinfandel, so if you’ve been a skeptic before, try this one. Scrumptious. $19.99

I truly do hope that you’ll give a few of my go-to wines a try and will let me know what you think of them. Enjoy!

prices subject to change

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