The Best Wines I’ve Drank (Lately)
What has wine done for me lately?
A whole heck of a lot! Since getting my WSET-2 from American Wine School, I’ve started working a few hours a week at Underdog Wine Co. in Kansas City, Mo. (p.s. it was recently named one of the best 50 wine shops in the U.S. by Wine Enthusiast!) and have been doing some freelance writing for SOMM TV Online Magazine (which, if you like wine or food, it’s a must-get streaming service!). It’s been AWESOME.
And, here on FBG, I’ve also been sent some new wines to try — and let me just tell you, that new job duty does not suck.
Read on for some of the bottles I’ve tried that have had me feeling like a heart-eyed smiley face emoji with each and every sip.
Wine Folly Wine Club Through Wine Access
I’ve loved Wine Folly for a long time, so trying a shipment from the Wine Folly Wine Club via Wine Access was a no brainer when we got the offer.
Every other month the wine club will send you four bottles with an educational focus in mind (cost is $120, plus tax and shipping for each shipment). Our focus was on warm climate wines, with super tasty and not-easy-to-get bottles from producers in Spain, South Africa, California, and Australia. In addition to the bottles, it came with detailed tasting notes and basic info on how a warm climate influences a wine and which varietals thrive in higher temps.
How were the wines you ask? SO GOOD. I had some friends over to taste them all (always a good time), and although we each had our favorites, there wasn’t one we didn’t like or wouldn’t drink. And, it’s always fun to taste things side by side to see the differences between the varietals and regions. (Don’t wanna open all four bottles at once? You could totally do these one bottle a night at a time — or consider investing in a Coravin, so that you don’t have to uncork the whole bottle.)
I’m a wine nerd at heart, so I really enjoyed the educational component of the Wine Folly Wine Club, but Wine Access has a number of other interesting clubs at a variety of other price points and themes, too, including the Sunset Mag Wine Club that features wines from the West Coast and the Michelin Guide that is curated in tandem with sommeliers from Michelin-starred restaurants. (See all clubs here.) Wine Access also sells wines by the bottle — with a lovely collection from around the world that aren’t exactly found everyday at your grocery store.
Literally Anything from Unico Zelo
Apparently, there’s not a Unico Zelo wine from Australia that I don’t love.
Because in the last couple of months I’ve had Sea Foam: a deliciously salty and fruity Pet Nat made from Fiano and Vermentino.
The perfectly balanced River Sand (Fiano) that’s a fab mix of lemon, nectarine, and grilled almond:
Esoterico, which is a zippy little skin-contact (orange wine) blend of Fiano, Zibbibo, Moscato Giallo, Gewurtztraminer, and Greco that’s tastes of mango, nectarine, and spice with lots of minerality racing through (don’t mind the kitchen reno in the background):
I can’t forget Fresh A.F. either, which is tastes as fun as its name. A mix of Nero d’Avola and Zibibbo, it’s light, fresh, and juicy as … well, you know.
And, I love them ALL. Truffle Hound is the next one on my list to try, but, let’s be honest: If I see a bottle of Unico Zelo that I haven’t tried yet, I’m buying it. (And, at $25-$35 a bottle, they definitely feel special, but not so special that I horde them for the birth of a child or other major event.)
Adobe Road Winery
Last, but certainly not least, are two wines Adobe Road Winery sent me, which are not playing around.
Started by former professional race car driver Kevin Buckler and his wife Debra Buckler in 2002, Adobe Road Winery sources its grapes from some of the most historic and finest family-owned vineyards in Sonoma and Napa Counties in Cali.
To be honest, I don’t drink a lot of Cali Chard on the reg, but the 2019 Chardonnay Petaluma Gap, Sangiacomo Vineyards, Roberts Road ($31), was just lovely. With ripe peaches and nectarine plus plenty of acid to give it a bright freshness, it is oaked, but not overly so. Think baking spice and a creamy mouthful that’s full-bodied but not too heavy.
Then there’s CARBON, which is, let’s say, not shy. A dark, inky blend of 48 percent Petite Sirah, 26 percent Malbec, 22 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4 percent Petit Verdot, the bottle design itself is as heavy as its mouthfeel (seriously, you could use this bottle as a dumbbell in a pinch). You get aromas of black cherries, licorice, and rich toasted oak that lead to flavors of ripe plum and crushed blackberries with a little violet and plenty of incorporated tannins that give you a crazy long finish. Again, not a timid wine and not something I’d drink every night (especially at $85 a bottle), but it’s definitely delicious for those times when you’re in the mood for something that’s gonna really come after ya.
What wines have you drank lately that are giving you good vibes? Share that love in the comments! —Jenn