Are you hanging out at the Campus Club at the University of Minnesota? Here are the current selections with some quick notes on all the wines. The club staff do a great job working with smaller wholesalers and importers and taste through a ton of wines before making their selections. It’s a well-curated, seasonally-adjusted list!
Updated: April 2022
Dom Diogo Vinho Verde, Portugal
A new wave of higher quality Vinho Verdes has hit the United States, and this is one of the best ones. A rare monovarietal Vinho Verde, this one is 100% Azal. I like to call this a ‘wine margarita’ because of the fresh lime zest and energizing flavors. Light, crisp, bright, sunshine-in-a-glass. Cue the beach vibes.
Chateau Recougne White Bordeaux, France
75% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon, and 5% Sauvignon Gris, farmed on a fantastic 25 acre parcel in Bordeaux. Typical of a top-grade white Bordeaux, it has great acidity but also a roundness on the finish. Medium bodied with loads of apple and tropical fruits meet lemon zest.
Mossback Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Chardonnay is very malleable in the winery, so it’s important to hunt carefully for a great wine that has balance, elegance, and body all wrapped in one. This is that wine. Plenty of richness and body, but framed with good acidity and lift. A touch of oak (not too much!) works like the perfect amount of salt on a dish: just enough to accent without overwhelming.
Domaine Labbé “Abymes,” Sovie, France
100% Jacquère, a grape native to this area at the foot of the Swiss Alps. This is one of my favorite wines of the moment, for this grape has a keen ability to have body and structure while keeping its acidity lively and bright. One of the best food wines on the list and perfect with seafood and salad dishes.
Alabamar Pinot Noir, Casablanca, Chile
Chile is fast becoming well known for its top-quality Pinot Noirs, but the truth is that many of them are consumed there. With the cold breezes off the ocean, this wine has loads of raspberry meets black tea aromas, along with a light body and sharp acids. Just perfect in so many ways.
Cocoricot “Côtes de Lôt,” Southwestern France
A Merlot and Malbec combo grown near the river Lôt in one of the most scenic regions of all of France (southwest France, east of Bordeaux). The grapes are farmed organically, and this wine is made with no added sulfites (though natural sulfites still occur). This is risky winemaking, for sulfites are a stabilizing agent, but these winemakers pull it off! Medium-bodied, dark, spicy.
Caparzo Sangiovese, Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany is the spiritual and cultural home of Sangiovese, where it is best known as the main grape in Chianti. The vineyards of Caparzo are outside of Chianti, on the southern end of Tuscany, south of the city of Siena, where the warm air ripens the grape to a beautiful pitch. Intense and pure black and red cherries in this medium-bodied beauty.
Terra d’Oro Barbera, Amador County, California
The Barbara grape is best known for the wines it produces in Piedmont, in northwestern Italy. It’s one of my favorite grapes, for it has little to no tannin but contains a big wave of acidity, making it one of the best food pairing wines around. In the California sun of Amador County, it achieves ripeness that its Italian cousins could only dream of. Round, soft, rich, and easily crushable (as the cool kids would say).
Penya Rosé, France
A Grenache and Syrah blend from the area of Languedoc, in southern France near the Mediterranean Sea. Dry and firm, with aromas of bright strawberry, spice, and some salty mineral notes. Well-balanced, beautiful rosé wine.
Mas Fi Cava, Spain
Clean, stylish, and easy to like. Mas Fi is an excellent Cava producer, and its wines are very good values. The Brut is round and medium-bodied, with spicy, fruity, lightly herbal character and a lingering finish. 40% Xarello, 35% Macabeo, 25% Parellada. Aged 10 months on the yeast.
Zonin Prosecco, Italy
Just as Prosecco should be: light, frothy, airy, clean, and a touch sweet!