Under the Table Wines
We love picking interesting, exciting wines every month for our Under the Table members. If you want more information about this year’s wines or ideas of what foods to pair with them, the details below are here to help.
This month, we feature wines from an organic winery in Cape Town, South Africa. With their dedication to the people in their community and the land itself, Lubanzi sets an example for how to run a business with soul. Particularly during women’s history month, we like to highlight women involved in the life cycle of wine. We first chose Lubanzi because they have a woman winemaker, but we now can’t help but talk about their good vibes, tasty wine, and unusual twist-off cork. If you have a minute, we encourage you to read more about their story & practices.
Red: 2016 Lubanzi red blend
With loads of black fruit notes, this red blend is the best kind of crowdpleaser. It has enough tannins and acidity to keep the fruit in check and just enough weight on the palate to keep it interesting for most red drinkers. The blend is primarily Shiraz with Cinsault, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. The fruitiness in the wine calls out for roasted lamb with a blackberry sauce or mole negro.
White: 2018 Lubanzi Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted grape in South Africa (and one of the grapes we love introducing to people). At Lubanzi, they go for the lean, dry side of Chenin. This crisp wine will make your mouth water with its lemon and salt notes. Let the wine warm up just a touch to fully enjoy the layers of flavors: herbs, citrus, green fruit, minerals. Enjoy the zestiness of this wine with fish tacos (don’t forget the avocado) or sushi. Or, play up the fruitiness with a salad of greens & apples or pears.
Red: 2015 Herdade do Rocim Touriga Nacional, Alentejo, Portugal
Known for its cork trees more than anything else, the Alentejo region in the southern part of Portugal is worth your attention. The wine culture is growing here, and there are lots of stunning values to be found. Herdade do Rocim, like other wineries in the area, wants to show off the fruit and complexity that their grapes can offer. Touriga Nacional is one of many indigenous varietals used to make Port, but here you can taste the purity of this varietal. Bold and silky, the wine has layers of purple & blue fruit flavors. There’s acidity balancing the big flavors and lingering tannins—it’s what you want in a cold weather red. Pair this wine with food that’s equally bold, whether it’s blue cheese or roasted duck with plum sauce. Retail: $16
White: 2016 Vinha de Lage hiatus Alvarinho, Minho, Portugal
Since the 17th century, the Sottomayor family has been making wine in the Minho region of northern Portugal. They created the Hiatus label to expand the reach of their wines throughout the world. Owned by a Madison resident who works in conjunction with her aunt, Hiatus showcases the fresh vibrancy of Portuguese whites. Their Alvarinho (aka Albariño) is just as at home in the cold winter months as it will be in summer. The wine has good weight, bracing acidity, and layers of tree fruit and floral notes. Roast some pork chops with an apricot glaze or drizzle honey over triple crème and call it a night. Retail: $14
Red: 2016 Pico Maccario Lavignone Barbera d’Asti, Piedmont, Italy
South of Asti, the Maccario brothers founded their winery thirty years ago. For generations their family had sold the grapes they grew, but the brothers decided to start making wine from their grapes instead. They’ve become specialists in stunning Barbera. Their Lavignone Barbera d’Asti is perennially one of our favorite Piedmontese reds, and this vintage shows you why. With a bold black cherry note and supple mouthfeel, this lighter-bodied red is easy to like while still being interesting and complex. With a wine this friendly, you can serve just about any food, but we highly recommend pairing this wine with roasted chicken with mushrooms or with a variety of Italian cheeses for a fun wine & cheese night. Retail: $16
White: 2016 Castello ColleMassari Melacce Vermentino, Tuscany, Italy
Owned by a brother and sister duo, Castello ColleMassari produced its first vintage in 2000. They built a four-story winery that uses gravity rather than electricity to do most of the work for them. For their Vermentino & Vermentino blends, they use the Melacce label, which gets its name from the Melacce River that flows through one of their properties. This Vermentino is made from certified organic grapes and shows off the exciting characteristics of the varietal. The wine is aromatic and round with notes of herbs, green apple, and lemon. With more heft than many whites, it’s a good white wine for the colder months. Serve with a whole roasted fish or a salty hard cheese, such as Pecorino Toscano. Retail: $15