Pleasing varied palates

These pics score

The other weekend I was at the liquor store trying to figure out some good wines to entertain with. That night I was having a dinner party with several wine novices and a few more experienced wine drinkers. Because of this range of guests, I didn’t want to get an expensive or complicated wine. My eyes were instantly drawn to two wines on the shelves. One was a boxed wine. I am not opposed to boxed wine; they have come a long way over the past few years. The other was a bottle of a wine that I drink all the time, but a new varietal.

Lets start with the boxed wine, Jewel Box. The store employee told me that it was relatively new to the market. I instantly had to try it. I love trying anything new. Four different varietals sat on the shelf. I told myself that I was only going to buy two (I didn’t want to overindulge.) My choices were Chardonnay, Merlot, Garnet Red Blend and Pinot Grigio. My eyes were instantly taken to the Pinot Grigio, mainly because of the color profile of the box, Tiffany Blue. Any ladies will understand why I was drawn to that color. OK, so Pinot Grigio it is, but what will my second choice be? Decisions, decisions … I’ll go with my gut on this one … Garnet Red Blend. Of course I got home and tried them both instantly because I have no will power. All I can say is “Wow!” The Pinot Grigio had aromas of peach, nectarines and crisp apples. I wanted to wear it as a perfume is how good this wine smelled. When it hit my palate, the white fruit and acidity danced around, and all I could think about it was how much better of a mood I was in after running errands and cooking all day. I couldn’t wait to try the red blend. A delightful blend of Merlot, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, this blend screamed dark cherries, raspberries, blueberries and a mild hint of dark cocoa. I decided to hide these boxes so I wouldn’t have to share my new little presents with my guests. Yes, yes, I know – I’m selfish!

The next jewel I decided to save for my guests. Estancia GSM, GSM stands for Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. This French Rhone-style blend comes to us from the Estancia Estates in Monterey County, California. I opened it and was instantly impressed. The smell has a hefty dark cherry, blueberry and cola combination, with a hint of chocolate. If it smelled that good, the taste couldn’t disappoint, I thought, and it didn’t. With a cool flavor hitting the tip of my palate came an instant rush of fruit. Smoky cherry, blackberry and plum were the most noticeable; however, they were accompanied by a light spice and subtle mineral presence. This wine impressed my experienced wine drinkers and was a hit with the novices as well. Everyone should give this fruity, dry wine a shot. It paired great with my pork chops and the cherry chutney.

Even though these wines were new to me, they will now have a permanent place in my wine racks, except for the box, obviously. I highly recommend picking these gems up this summer. Jewel Box is right around $23.99 for a three-liter box, and Estancia GSM is anywhere from $19.99-$21.99 a bottle. Both are great prices. Try them and thank me later. As always, wine on, Fort Wayne.


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