Lake Chalice – NV Cracklin’ Savie

cracklinsavieLooking for something fun and sparkly to open on a Friday night?  You’re gonna love this one!

I was in a great little wine shop in Annapolis, Maryland (Mills Fine Wine & Spirits), and met Patrick Darr, a wine consultant at Mills with an amazing palate and knowledge of wine.  Pat pulled this one out and handed it to me, and I think I jumped back two steps in surprise.  A wine with a soda cap?!  What?!  Are you kidding?!  After I stopped laughing, Pat assured me that this one was truly worth trying.  So with bottle in hand, in a brown paper bag, I marched out of the store, feeling as though I just committed a crime of the highest order against all things wine.

When I got home I put the bottle, still in the bag, on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator and hoped that anyone who might open the door would never inquire about it.  Every day I’d open the door and see that bag, wondering if I’d ever actually try it.  If I did open it, I’d have to try it alone, of course.  After all, what would my friends say?

Fast forward to today.

After a long week that felt more like an aeon, I came home to realize that I only had one sparkling wine chilling.  After the horror movie music stopped playing in my head, I grabbed the bottle, stared at the label for a moment and ran to get the bottle opener.  No fanfare of popping a cork.  Just a the light sound of a little carbonation escaping.  I poured a glass and took a sniff.  It was light and familiar.  Nice.

The aromas of this wine are quintessential Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – grapefruit with maybe a little meyer lemon, and definitely a little tropical with pineapple and passion fruit.  The herbs were there, too.  A little grassy, and eucalyptus.  Really nice.  Then the taste.  Very nice!  Modestly carbonated, and full of flavor.  The flavor perfectly matched the aromas.  The acidity was really nice and lasted throughout the long, mineral finish.

It went really well with a round of pot stickers, and even better with lime cilantro shrimp.  Unexpectedly fabulous!

I learned my lesson on this one.  Don’t judge a wine by its cork, or lack thereof.  It’s a great buy at under $20 (US), and I’m already looking forward to my next bottle!


Starborough – 2012 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc


What would a hot, steamy summer day be without a cold, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc?  Aaahhh….I can almost taste it as I write….

A friend just introduced me to this fabulous wine – and my friend knows wine.  She also knows that I really have grown to enjoy a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and thought I’d find this one to be really interesting and really enjoyable.  Needless to say, it delivered on all counts.

The aromas on this wine started with some of the expected citrus notes – lemon and grapefruit were the first to waft up.  But then my nose was tantalized by a really lovely green aroma – sort of pine, sort of boxwood, and other green herb.  It was magical and delicious that demanded a taste.  The flavors were bright and exciting.  The acidity was so nicely balanced with the citrus and herb flavors, and hints of passionfruit and other tropicals did not go unnoticed.  I am very sure I found a new summer favorite with this wine.  It paired so well with summer crudites of fresh vegetables, hummus, and kale salad.  This wine is also something I would consider a best buy – a very reasonably priced wine that tastes like a splurge.  Enjoy!

Kemblefield – 2012 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Pale and refreshing, this wine gives up aromas of light gooseberry and pineapple, overlaying a citrus background.  The flavors are crisp and bright, with citrus predominating.  The acidity is fairly pronounced, and even though the alcohol is very modest at 13%, there was just a hint of heat on the tongue.  Be sure not to over chill so that the flavors and aromas can fully develop.  This wine has a nice finish, and pairs very nicely with a crisp summer salad of greens and fruit, with grilled chicken.

Brancott Estate – 2011 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

On a hot, humid summer evening, what sounds more pleasant than a cold, crisp, easy-drinking white wine?  I opened this wine to discover a wave of refreshing citrus aroma.  Grapefruit was very predominant, with a hint of gooseberry.  I think I fell in love with this wine before I even took a sip.  My first sip was, in short, delightful.  The balance was magnificent, with acids in check, but still very bright.  The medium body of this wine gives a nice mouth-feel as well.  I enjoyed this wine with some garlic hummus, grilled vegetables and grilled shrimp with a Mediterranean aioli.