You don’t have to break the bank just to have a great bottle of wine. The key to finding great value is all about knowing where to look.

Well, that’s where we come it! We curated a few of our favorites. Most of these are wines that we’ve been enjoying for years, and we think it’s about time you enjoyed them too.

HB Picpoul de Pinet

A great value, this light wine is bursting with citrus flavors and high acidity.

Domaine Laroque Cabernet Franc

Grown in southern France’s Languedoc region, Domaine Laroque’s Cabernet Franc is full of ripe fruit notes.

Tercos Malbec

This big and powerful wine was grown in the foothills of the Andes Mountains and has firm tannins and long-lasting finish.

Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc

One of our favorite New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, notes of ripe orange and grapefruit make it a winner.

Charles & Charles Riesling

This single vineyard Riesling is demanding everyone’s attention with notes of lime zest, white peach, and wet stone.

Feudi Di San Gregorio Falanghina

This bright and crisp wine is perfect for those pinot grigio lovers who are looking to branch out and try something new!

Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon

A stellar cabernet from California’s Central Coast, this wine is full of ripe plum and raspberry aromas.

Calera Central Coast Chardonnay

Celebrating their 50th anniversary, Calera has long been one of the top producers in California’s Central Coast.

Pi Red

Made from the rarely seen Spanish grape Concejon, Pi takes its name from the 3.14 hectares the estate owns and farms organically.

Commuter Cuvée Pinot Noir

Notes of cherry and spice combine for an excellent wine from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.


Shamrock Selections is a monthly subscription service that brings you the best wines from around the world. Each month’s selection is carefully chosen by sommelier Keegan Sparks and his team. He keeps a keen eye out for wines that are unique, rare, and new to our market. Shamrock Selections is ideal for enthusiasts and explorers who delight in finding hidden gems and trying new, exclusive vintages. Each month, you can join us on a journey of sampling and learning about some of the greatest wines in the world. Each selection of wine comes with detailed tasting notes and food pairing suggestions from our team.


 

What did you do for Thanksgiving last year? And what about the year before that? What about Thanksgiving ten years ago? A lot can happen in a year’s time, but ten years? That’s enough time for almost everything to change.
When you drink this month’s wine, I want you to think about time. You don’t have to ponder the mysteries of the universe, but I would like you to think about where you’ve been and how you’ve changed over the lives of these wines.

Sometimes, especially as someone who works with wine on a daily basis, it can be so easy to forget that these bottles are time capsules that show us not only how the land or the grape can change, but also when we drink how we’ve changed.

That’s become one of my favorite things about old wine, not so much the wine itself but my relationship to it. What was I doing when it was made? How much has the world outside the bottle changed since the cork was closed? Asking these questions doesn’t tell us anything new about the wine, per se, but I think it can reveal a lot about the person drinking it.

It’s my hope that you’ll share these wines with your loved ones this holiday season, and that they’ll at least spark a conversation, and just maybe a little bit more.

2007 Domaine de la Voûte des Crozes Côte-de-Brouilly

A lot can happen in ten years. Certainly, I’ve changed a lot from the 19-year-old college sophomore I was in 2007, and so has the wine. Made in 2007, this Beaujolais has been resting in its bottle, just waiting for you to pull the cork.

It was made by Nicole Chanrion who began making wine in 1970, a time when a female winemaker was all but unheard of in France. She took over her family’s estate in 1988 and works the 16-acre property by herself each year.

Nichole has garnered the nickname “La Patronne de la Côte,” or the “Boss of the Cote,” referring to the appellation in which she plays so prominent a role. The Côte-de-Brouilly appellation sits on the hillsides of Mont Brouilly, a prehistoric volcano that left blue schist stones and volcanic rock along its slopes. These stones yield structured wines with pronounced minerality and great aging potential. After her formal training at the viticultural school in Beaune, Nicole had a brief internship in the Napa Valley which allowed her to gain a deeper appreciation of the traditional winemaking techniques of Beaujolais: hand harvesting, whole cluster fermentation, aging the wines in large oak foudres for at least nine months and bottling unfiltered. The resulting wines are powerful, with loads of pure fruit character and floral aromas.

I can only imagine what this wine would have tasted like in its youth*: a supple tannin, coarse acidity, ripe flavors of raspberry and plum. In its present state, the first thing you’ll notice is its rich, garnet color and surprising clarity. In the sun, it looks like a liquid gemstone. A majority of the overt fruitiness has been worn away by time, but what is left – an air of dried strawberry, raspberry, and even cranberry – is balanced by a surprising note of black pepper on the finish. The acidity is still lively, a key to what’s allowed this wine to age so well. I’ll admit that this was my first time trying aged Beaujolais and I was surprised and very happy with the result.

It’s our hope that you’ll open this with your loved one this holiday season, either as part of a meal or even on its own. While the wine pairings here are endless, the only one that matters is that you drink it with someone you care about.

2015 The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris

It’s no secret that Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year for grocery stores and the same is true for wine shops as well. As it turns out, people drink a lot over the holiday and everyone wants to know what will pair best with the turkey and dressing (or stuffing if you’re into that). And while we all have our own takes on what pairs best, the thing they all have in common is a strong backbone of acidity that can cut through the heavy, high-fat foods that we all love so much. It’s that naturally high acidity that makes pinot gris a workhorse wine during the holidays, and this one from Oregon is no different.

The Eyrie Vineyards began on a rented plot of land on the outskirts of Corvallis in February of 1965. Founder Davis Lett planted three grape varietals: Pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot gris. These were the first ever chardonnay and pinot noir vines ever planted in Oregon and the first ever pinot gris plantings in North America. Eventually, David would relocate his winery further north in the heart of the Dundee Hills just south of Portland where his reputation as an Oregon wine pioneer continued to grow. He took the name of his winery, “The Eyrie,” from a pair of hawks that began to nest on the edge of his first vineyard.

2015 was the warmest vintage in Oregon since record-keeping began. This lead to a very early bloom and higher than average grape yields. This picture perfect vintage resulted in a wine that is full of sparkly acidity and a full and fruity palate. There’s a wealth of green and yellow fruit notes here: Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples, bruised pears, and persimmon. There’s also a healthy dose of minerality and an almost fennel-like herbal note that I love.
Made from grapes grown in a certified organic vineyard, the wine was aged on its lees for an astonishing eleven months, almost triple the length of aging most pinot gris receives. The result is a lovely roundness of texture in the mouth, not so much a creaminess like one finds in chardonnay, but a fullness, as if the wine were exerting itself to be as lush as possible.

This is the perfect wine for the Thanksgiving table, pairing well with turkey, cranberry sauce, and the inevitable (and delicious) Friday afternoon turkey sandwiches. Give it a slight chill, but avoid the ice bucket – this is a wine that shows best at just below room temperature.

Want to join Shamrock Selections? There’s still time to subscribe in order to get next month’s selections. Use the link below to subscribe!


Check out this month’s staff picks. See something you like? Add it to your cart, buy it online, and pick it up in store!

2007 Champagne Pierre Morlet Brut Mellésime

This rare vintage Champagne from 2007 is a spectacular example of how dramatic the wine can be as it ages. Ten years after harvest, the wine is now the color of golden wheat with notes of yellow apples, baked pear, and a rich, nutty essence. If the ballroom scene in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast had a flavor, it would taste like this. 

-Seth

Moussé Fils “L’Or d’Eugene” Brut

Though a white wine, this wine is made from two red grapes: pinot meunier and pinot noir in an 80/20 split, a winemaking style called blanc des noirs. The resulting wine is full bodied and rich, with surprising notes of chocolate-covered strawberry and pumpernickel toast. The flavors are dreamlike, the ghosts of raspberries and cherry dancing on your tongue.                                                       

– Mr. Baker

Louis Latour Marsannay Rouge

Lively and robust, this French pinot noir is full of complex notes of blackcurrent, blackberry, and licorice. Hints of Bing cherry and mocha on the finish allow this wine to pair perfectly with cheese and dishes such as roast duck, chicken, and heaty stews and soups. For those looking to understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to Burgundy, look no further than this bottle!

– Kalie

Can Blau Monstant

This full-bodied red blend is cosy company in these cool temperatures. Made up of the grapes carignan, syrah, and grenache, this blend is big and robust, with tannins that are begging to be paired with food. It has a forward, fruity mouthfeel with plum and berry notes. Can Blau will make a lovely pair to hearty winter stews and roast meats.

– Ali

Champagne J. Lassalle Brut Rosé

This pinot noir heavy Champagne is elegant and refined with delicate notes of strawberry, white plum, and raspberry. Full bodied and robust, this is a wine that would work well with many different kinds of cheeses or even heavier foods. J. Lassalle has been made by women for three (and going on four) generations, making it just another example of a women-lead winery that produces world-class wine.

– Keegan

Ruinart Rosé Champagne

The city of Reims in Champagne is dotted by centuries-old chalk mines dug out by the Roman Empire, and the vestiges of these mines are home to Maison Ruinart. They were the first established Champagne house and have been making gorgeous wines for almost 250 years now. That unmatched expertise comes through in this delicately colored rosé. Aromas of wild strawberry, guava, and rose draw are followed by flavors of fresh red berries and grapefruit.

– Sam


If you’re anything like us, you probably find cooking at the holidays to one of the more stressful holiday traditions. And once you’ve finally gotten everything on the table, what are you supposed to drink?

 

Well, that’s where we come it! We curated a few wines that pair best with the dishes we get asked most about at this time of year. Most of these are wines that we’ve been enjoying for years, and we think it’s about time you enjoyed them too.

Turkey

Chateau de Bellevue Bordeaux Rogue

The merlot-based blend is full of ripe berry notes with a hint of leather and cedar wood on this finish. The perfect pairing with a traditional turkey!

Dressing or Stuffing

Pinot Noir

No matter what side of the “stuffing vs. dressing” debate you fall on, one thing is still the same: a rich and velvety pinot noir, especially one from France or Oregon is the perfect pairing.

Green Beans

Lightning CdP Blanc

This Napa Valley white blend is the perfect match for a savory green bean casserole or a simple sauté with its notes of lemon zest, thyme, and pineapple.

Sweet Potatoes

Vietti Barbera d’Asti

Marshmallows or no marshmallows, this fruit wine from northern Italy has notes of cherry and raspberry and high acidity that make it the perfect match for rich sweet potatoes.

Salad

Trimbach Pinot Gris

Let’s face it, we all have that one family member who can’t cook so they always show up to dinner with only a salad. Or maybe you are that family member? No worries! This French pinot gris is here to save the day!

Ham

Alienor Rosé

If your Thanksgiving is anything like ours, there’s more than just turkey on the table. This lush and full-bodied rosé has been aging for six years and is full of ripe berry flavors, perfect for pairing with pork!

Mashed Potatoes

Chappellet Chardonnay

A Thanksgiving staple, nothing pairs better with buttery mashed potatoes than a well balanced, oaked chardonnay with notes of lemon, apple, butter, and vanilla.


Check out this month’s staff picks. See something you like? Add it to your cart, buy it online, and pick it up in store!

Grochau Cellars Bjornson Vineyard Gamay Noir

I know that everyone is going Beaujolais-crazy this time of year, but this Oregon wine made from the same grape has recently put me under its spell. Bursting with red fruit aromas and flavors, it has a strong acidic backbone that makes it the perfect pairing for turkey and dressing (and stuffing too, if you’re into that). Also, if you’re looking for something organic, look here!

-Seth

Screen Door Cellars Chardonnay

We’ve been fans of Screen Door Cellars for a while now. They’re producing some of our favorite small-batch wines coming out of Sonoma. This chardonnay has quickly become a constant presence at our dinner table. A mature oak program lends notes of lemon pound cake and crème fraiche. On the palate, you’ll find yellow apples, pie crust, and vanilla mouse.                                                        

– Mr. Baker

Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais Blanc

Chardon-YAY! This is the perfect “weeknight wine.” This Chardonnay is completely unoaked, allowing for its naturally light flavors of lemon and green apple to shine. The grapes for this wine were hand harvest and were never sprayed with chemicals making this wine as organic as can be! Even better, this is exactly the kind of wine I like pairing with Thanksgiving foods!

– Kalie

Vietti Barbera d'Asti

The barbera grape is quite interesting to me. To the eye, it’s quite dark and suggests a heavy tannic structure, but on the palette, a lighter wine shines through. It’s a juicy, herbaceous wine. Its got good acid and notes of cherry, anise, and perhaps a bit of smoke. It pairs well with root vegetables, just about any kind of greens, pasta dishes, and virtually all meats. It’s gonna be on my Thanksgiving table!

– David

Canard Cabernet Sauvignon

Canard is one of northern Napa Valley’s little hidden gems. Made entirely from estate grown fruit (most of it grown just feet from the owners back porch), this wine is deep and intense with a gorgeous, almost black color. 2010 was a stellar vintage in Napa and this wine is ready to be drunk! Look for strong aromas of cassis and spice that are balanced by just a hint of cocoa powder.

– Keegan

Grochau Cellars Commuter Cuvée Pinot Noir

This wine is anything but pedestrian. Its relatively high acidity makes the wine bright and lively on the palate, with flavors of tart cherry balanced by earthier notes. Its forwardness is anchored by an unexpectedly full body and subtle tannins. This wine is food friendly and would be great with roast duck or grilled mushrooms. Great flavor, great price – this is hands down one of my favorite wines in the shop!

– Sam


DON'T DO IT!

Really. Trust us, we’ve tried to make it work, but most Halloween candy is a terrible match with wine. Don’t worry though, because Halloween candy pairs perfectly with whiskey! 

O'Looney's Knob Creek 2016 Barrel Select

A dominating nose of cinnamon gives way to the delicate aroma of roasting chestnuts. This is followed by confirming notes of cinnamon, apricot, raisin, and pecan on the palate.

O'Looney's Crown Royal 2016 Barrel Select

A touch of sweetness gives way to notes of tropical fruit, including pineapple, date, and dried mango. On the palate, vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar evoke nuances of fruitcake and spiced bread.


Shamrock Selections is a monthly subscription service that brings you the best wines from around the world. Each month’s selection is carefully chosen by sommelier Keegan Sparks and his team. He keeps a keen eye out for wines that are unique, rare, and new to our market. Shamrock Selections is ideal for enthusiasts and explorers who delight in finding hidden gems and trying new, exclusive vintages. Each month, you can join us on a journey of sampling and learning about some of the greatest wines in the world. Each selection of wine comes with detailed tasting notes and food pairing suggestions from our team.


 

As much as I love to wax poetic about the beauty and artistry of wine, there are days like today in which I’m reminded that wine, at its core, is an industry in which hundreds of thousands of people the world over are employed. Today, even as I write this, fires are raging over the mountains that frame Napa and Sonoma valleys. The fires are still largely uncontained, but early reports show that several wineries were destroyed along with several hundred acres of prized vineyards. This is, of course, to say nothing of the 11 deaths that have already occurred and the thousands that have been left homeless.

Earlier today, at a large industry wine tasting hosted by one of our distributors, the mood was somber as we realized that the property whose wines we were drinking was among those that were destroyed.

So, in lieu of grand overtures about art and humanity when you drink this month’s wines, I instead ask that you remember that at every point along these bottles path to your home, they were touched by human hearts and hands and that today those hearts are hurting.

Marietta Cellars Armé Cabernet Sauvignon

When you have this bottle in your hands, I want you to try something. See if you can find the wine’s vintage. The trick, of course, is that there isn’t one. This wine, like most sparkling wines, is what we call a “non-vintage wine” or “NV.”

What does that mean? Well, it can mean a few different things, but in this case, it means that the grapes that were used were picked from different vineyards in different years. The wine is majority Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec to round out the blend. And each of those grapes was picked in different years, made into their own wines and then blended before bottling. Research tells me that the Malbec and some portions of the Cabernet and Petit Verdot were harvested in 2011, while the Merlot was picked in 2012, and the rest of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot was harvested in 2013. While each grape and vintage made a fine wine, blended as a whole, they really begin to shine.

The winery was founded in 1978 by California native Chris Bilbro who handed over the business to his son Scott several years ago. The winery is named after Chris’ aunt Marietta. Their goal has always been to make approachable wine that didn’t carry any of pretension that other, more exclusive bottlings had. For several years, Scott focused his winemaking efforts on non-vintage wines, exploring the best possible blends of Cabernet, Zinfandel, Syrah, and other grapes.

The Armé, named after Marietta’s husband, is Bordeaux in style, with dominating red fruits and savory spice notes. When I first tried this wine, it was freshly opened and quite tight. I know I say this every month, but this wine will greatly benefit from decanting. When trying this wine a second time, three days after opening, it had blossomed into a rich and broad wine. It gave me the feeling of standing on a high cliff and seeing the landscape stretch out below me: it’s a bottling that, when allowed to open, showcases a vastness of flavor.

Pair it with any sort of meat stew, but most importantly, give this wine time. Open it a day or so before you plan to drink it. Not doing so is like going to the Grand Canyon with your eyes closed. Yes, you’re still technically there, but you’re not experiencing it the way you should.

2013 Green and Red Winery Tip Top Vineyard Zinfandel

When I took my first trip to Napa Valley in the early spring of 2015, I had a list of large, well known producers that I wanted to visit. I also wanted to get away from the famous wineries and visit some smaller producers as well. This led me to Green and Red. Many of you may have tried their Syrah before, but their Zinfandel, made from a small vineyard at over 1,700” elevation, is their flagship wine.

Driving to the winery, I was sure I’d get lost. Located deep in the mountains to the east of the valley, cell service was miles away, and I was doing as I had been told: driving until I was to turn right onto a dirt road. When I found my turn, I thought I had missed something – yes, there was a road, but it was a dirt road that went almost straight up a cliff face. I wasn’t sure my little rented Prius could handle it, but knowing there was great wine to be had, I put the car in gear and slowly crept up the mountainside. A few agonizing minutes later, the road leveled out into a small homestead, with a house, barn, and pond, all surrounded by vineyards.

There I met Jay Heminway, who’s owned the property since 1970 and planted the first vines in 1972. After a quick tour of his winery and aging cave, we loaded into his truck to visit the Tip Top vineyard. After a drive up another impossibly steep gravel road, we came out of the forest onto a mountaintop that had been shorn of trees and planted with gently curving arcs of vines.
With 11 acres of Zinfandel in the vineyard, the wine he produces is burly and strong, a far cry from the flabby Zinfandels that ruin the grape for most drinkers. Jay’s wine is pointed in focus, with exacting notes of stony earth, cooked plums, and cocoa nibs.

You can pair Zinfandel with almost anything, but personally, it’s my favorite thing to drink with pizza, especially Hawaiian pizza (sorry if you’re one of those people who think pineapple on a pizza is sinful!)

Want to join Shamrock Selections? There’s still time to subscribe in order to get next month’s selections. Use the link below to subscribe!


Check out this month’s staff picks. See something you like? Add it to your cart, buy it online, and pick it up in store!

Onward Pet-Nat

Most people think that sparkling wine should be reserved for special occasions, but I’m a big proponent of #bubbleseveryday. This Pet Nat (meaning it’s made in an ancient pre-Champagne method) is bright, yeasty, and full of flavor. It’s become one of my go-to’s and I’m yet to meet someone who hasn’t loved it!

-Seth

Doña Paula Estate Malbec

Everyone knows Malbec is a great value wine and this one from Argentina’s Valle de Uco is full of ripe raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry notes. It also has just a hint of spice to it that mingles with the very subtle aroma of freshly picked violets.

-Mrs. Baker

Domaine d’Aupilhac Languedoc Blanc

This little white blend is the perfect wine for all of the back and forth weather we’ve been having – it’s relatively light but it also has a wonderfully viscous texture to it that I love. A blend of Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Clairette, and Vermentino, this wine is full of fruit notes including rip green apple, lime zest, baked lemon, and ripe apricot.

– Mr. Baker

Canvasback Cabernet Sauvignon

Used to, if you would ask me what wines I like, I’d tell you that I liked pretty much anything that was white and sweet, but recently I’ve come around to see how wonderful dry red wines can be. This Cabernet from Washington state is very full-bodied with notes of raspberry, plum, and spice. I love pairing it with steak or even just drinking it on its own.

– Kalie

Produttori del Barbaresco

I’m a huge fan of Nebbiolo, and the Produttori del Barbaresco is no exception! Big red fruit, nice balanced tannins, notes of fennel, tobacco and a hint of spice make this Piedmonte offering one of my favorites. Enjoy now (after a very long decant), or lay it down for several years. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! Enjoy with meat dishes, game, or cheeses with mild or medium firmness. This is truly a great wine at a great price. Cheers!

– David

Catherine & Pierre Breton "Les Perrieres"

This Cabernet Franc from France’s Loire Valley is the perfect wine for transitioning into cooler weather. It has wonderful structure and acidity while showing off wonderful fruit and herbal notes. The Bretons are one of my favorite winemaking families in France, and I’m so glad to finally have one of their best wines in Arkansas.  

– Keegan


The truth is that for most people, wine can be pretty confusing. It’s our job, of course, to change that and to show people just how amazing the world of wine can be.

‘Ask a Somm’ is your chance to ask all of the alcohol related questions that you’ve always wondered about. Have a question? Ask it using the form at the bottom of the page. 

Now that we’re in August and it’s the end of tomato season, I find that I’ve been eating tomatoes every day. I’ll do salads, or make fresh salsa, or a tomato sauce for pizza or pasta. Is there a specific wine that goes best with tomatoes? - S. Davis

I think an easier question would be ‘what doesn’t pair well with tomatoes?’ The key here is all in how you’re preparing your tomatoes. If you’re doing a simple salad, try a Sauvignon Blanc from France or California. For tomato soup, you could stick with the Sauvignon Blanc or do a lighter red like Barbera from Italy. For something a little heartier like lasagna, you can go with a bigger, bolder wines like a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon or any of the wonderful rustic reds from Italy. Tomatoes are such a versatile food with endless preparation possibilities, so whatever you choose to drink, it’s hard to go wrong!

Is wine vegan? - M. Adkinson

This is a more complex question than you might think. When you look at a bottle of wine, you don’t see an ingredients list or a chart of nutrition information. That’s because the federal government classifies wines (and all alcohol) as a “controlled substance” and not as a “food,” which would require those labels, making it hard to know when wines are produced organically or are vegan.

One of the final processes a winemaker undertakes before bottling is called “fining,” which clarifies the wine. Two common fining agents are fish bladders and egg whites. Other fining materials include seaweed, activated charcoal, and even clay. As the fining agent sinks to the bottom of the tank or barrel, the proteins in wine that make it cloudy are attracted to the agent leaving the resulting wine clear.

Unfortunately, most producers do not list what fining agents they use so it can be difficult to tell exactly what went into your wine. We recommend looking for wines from producers who skip the fining process altogether or wineries that specifically market their wines as vegan.

I’m visiting Northern California with my family in September and want to visit Napa Valley. What are the “must see” places that you would recommend? - T. Tollison

I’ve been lucky enough to visit several wine growing regions in multiple countries, yet upon visiting them, none of them seemed to have quite the same air of excitement that Napa has. The first question you should ask yourself when visiting is what do you like to drink? Visiting Napa is a great time to visit the producers whose wines you love or to try wines that you’ve heard of but never purchased.

Some of my favorite producers to visit include Chappellet with their beautiful views from the top of Pritchard Hill and Darioush which is housed in a winery fashioned to look like an ancient Persian temple. I also love stopping by Round Pond Estate, especially if I have time for a meal at their on-site restaurant. With some of the world’s best wineries and restaurants at every turn, it’s hard to go wrong at Napa!

I've always heard that South America was a good place to look for good value wines. Is this actually true or have times changed and should I look for wines from somewhere else? - L. Kaplin

Well, to answer your first question, yes, South America is still a great place to look for some great wines at great prices. Personally, Spain has become my go-to for great value reds, with some great bottles coming from northeastern and southeastern Spain. In all honesty, I think every country produces some great value wines, but the key is knowing where to look to find them. This, of course, is where our staff steps in to help…Some of our favorite values are below to look through.


Shamrock Selections is a monthly subscription service that brings you the best wines from around the world. Each month’s selection is carefully chosen by sommelier Keegan Sparks and his team. He keeps a keen eye out for wines that are unique, rare, and new to our market. Shamrock Selections is ideal for enthusiasts and explorers who delight in finding hidden gems and trying new, exclusive vintages. Each month, you can join us on a journey of sampling and learning about some of the greatest wines in the world. Each selection of wine comes with detailed tasting notes and food pairing suggestions from our team.


I hate to sound like a broken record, but there is just something about the wines of France that have kept me spellbound for years. With almost every new producer, new region, or new grape I encounter, it’s like experiencing a great work of art for the first time. Each bottle is the result of hundreds if not thousands of years of agricultural work and knowledge combined with the labor of a winemaker, or often several generations of winemakers from the same family.

It’s that generational approach to winemaking that we’re celebrating with this month’s wines. As you enjoy them, keep in mind that these aren’t just examples of their respective vintages, but the result of one man’s decision hundreds of years ago to plant a vine and see what happened. In that way, you’re not only drinking history but one man and one family’s legacy.

2016 Daniel Chotard Sancerre

Though his family had been farming grapes and making wine in Sancerre for 200 years, the family profession didn’t always appeal to Daniel Chotard. Daniel worked for several years as a high school teacher before fulfilling his winemaking destiny.

Sancerre is generally considered one of the best places in the world to grow Sauvignon Blanc, and in the hands of Daniel, the grapes show a unique character unlike those grown even just down the road. The uniqueness of Daniel’s wines stems from two key steps in the winemaking process: the harvest date and lees aging.

Daniel chooses to harvest his grapes later than most other growers in the region, an action that results in less acidity than one might expect from typical Sancerres. After fermentation, he ages the wine on its lees until bottling, resulting in a rounder feeling on the palate.

The final wine is a softer, more svelte Sauvignon Blanc than you might be expecting. Aromas of white peach, quince, and gooseberry are obvious upon uncorking; on the palate, the flavors skew towards the savory: thyme, anise, chervil, and lime peel.

Most resources will tell you to pair this with salads and shrimp, but I think a wine like this can handle and even deserves a more substantial pairing. Try herb roasted chicken or some herb crusted fish. This is a wine that wants to play with all of the most rarely used options in your spice rack. If all else fails, just grab some crackers and some goat cheese and live your best life.

2012 Château Coutet St. Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux

It’s hard to find a château with a longer winemaking history than that of Château Coutet, where Roman artifacts are still regularly uncovered during vineyard plowings. The château as we know it today was founded at some point in the 1400’s (even today, no one is quite sure exactly when) by Sir François Coutet. Over the next several centuries, the château changed hands several times before eventually becoming the property of the Beaulieu family for the last 400 years.

Currently, three generations of the family live and work at the château doing everything from managing the vineyards and making the wine to marketing and hosting visitors. The château is also unique in that chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides have never been used on the property at any point in its history, a rarity in Bordeaux where demand for wine has often lead growers to inundate their crops with harmful chemicals. Instead, the Beaulieu fertilize their vineyards the same way they have been for hundreds of years: a team of plow horses that live on the property.

The wine itself, like all red wines from Bordeaux, is a blend. The base of the blend is Merlot (the vines of which are over 100 years old), with Cabernet Franc adding in wonderful floral aromas, Malbec giving the wine its dark color, and a small dose of Cabernet Sauvignon to give the wine its backbone of tannin. The result is classic Bordeaux: red fruits like cherry and raspberry swathed in vanilla, oak, and clove. The wine is soft and almost velvety in texture, yet still broad and soaring on the palate with a tannic structure that obviously has many years left should you choose to age it. Pair this with pork, lamb, or beef. Duck would also be a wonderful option, and if you hunt, I can’t think of anything better to pair with venison.

Want to join Shamrock Selections? There’s still time to subscribe in order to get next month’s selections. Use the link below to subscribe!