Dean's List: May 2019
Updated: May 23, 2019
The school year is coming to a close for many a student out there, but class is session year-round when it comes to being the Dean of Drinking. While folks in more traditional learning environments enjoy another summer vacation, know that I’m still hard at work, tasting away and making sure you know which wines pass with flying colors. It’s an arduous task, but someone’s got to shoulder the burden – and with that, let’s see who made the grade in May.
Alberto Longo ‘Le Fossette’ Falanghina Puglia, Italy The white wines of Southern Italy don’t get nearly enough love, and this is another wine that punches well above its weight in terms of value. Though perhaps more commonly associated with Campania, this Falanghina comes to us from Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot (I’ll be doing a whole class on Puglia June 26, speaking of). In the glass, this wine offers up a pale lemon color, and its aromas are both floral and fruity – think fresh lemon, golden apple and pear, and almonds. Where the wine elevates itself, for me, is on the palate, with a weighty, firm body framed with just enough acidity to keep this as refreshing as it is delicious. $21.50 at Dreadnought Wines Buy Now
Domaine Pral Beaujolais Blanc
It’s completely understandable if you didn’t realize white wine was made in Beaujolais; quantities are miniscule, and the appellation is virtually synonymous with the (black) Gamay grape. That being said, this Chardonnay is probably one of my favorite sleeper picks in the Dreadnought portfolio, particularly due to its ability to surprise and delight. We used this in a Wine & Grilling event recently, and when I mentioned we’d be tasting a Chardonnay, a woman immediately said she hated Chardonnay and wouldn’t like this one, either. One sip later, she quietly had to change her mind; this, she said, wasn’t like other Chardonnays – it’s full of yellow pear and apple, stone fruit, and some herbaceousness, but it doesn’t see oak treatment, which keeps it fresh and crisp. Know someone who’s said something similar? This might be a wine to see about changing their mind, too.
$16.36 at Dreadnought Wines
Bernard Levet ‘La Chavaroche’ Côte-Rôtie
When I was selecting the wine lineup for my Northern Rhône stop on the Tour de France, I knew this one had to figure in somewhere. This, for me, is an excellent example of why Syrah is among my favorite grapes, and it’s also a great representation of the traditional style of Côte-Rôtie as a whole: the wine is dense and jam-packed with red and dark fruit, animal, and spice aromas, but it magically remains lighter on its feet that you might expect. The delicate balancing act of power and elegance is here, and despite there being some decidedly feral and 'sauvage’ elements in the wine, it all works masterfully as an elegant, age-worthy bottle that will hold up for another decade or two in the bottle if you are patient enough to wait that long. This was a real hit with students, too, so if you missed out on the sold-out class, here’s one way to see what you missed. $74.99 at wine.com