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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