Sip...Wine Education in Your Living Room

Sip Pick of the Week

January 28th
We are huge fans of Sancerre but not its price tag! So when we discovered this new 90+ Cellars gem of a Sauvignon Blanc from the Couteaux de Giennois AOC in the Loire Valley we were thrilled! Smooth and crisp with a hint of that classic Loire flintiness, the Lot 118 has aromas of citrus and nectarine. So easy to drink, this is a new personal fav! Originally a $25 wine this is a killer 90+ deal at $13-$16.  

January 13th
On this frigid January day you want a hearty wine to sip and warm you up! Today's pick comes from the South of France: The 2012 Tortoise Creek Le Charmel from the Rhone Valley. Rich and smooth with aromas of chocolate and blackberries, this is a versatile wine that goes well with meats, strong cheeses and pasta. $13 at Sea Glass Wine and Beer in Swampscott. 

September 2nd
If the current scorching temps are any indication, summer is definitely still kicking around! We recommend Tasca d'Almerita Regaleali Bianco to cool down with. Chill-fermented in stainless steel, this refreshing white has aromas of green apples and pitted fruits that complement undertones of pears and grapefruits. On the palate, crisp acidity and a rich body make for an easy-to-drink white wine that is particularly refreshing on a hot summer day. $9.99 Busa Salem

July 25th
Yummy new wine alert! We are completely smitten with the Franco Serra Gavi from Italy! Light, crisp and clear with aromas of lime, pineapple and mineral. Dry with a bright lemongrass flavor. Slightly bittersweet finish. Perfect for a hot summer day - sip it at the beach, that's our plan! $11-$13 Sea Glass Wine & Beer in Swampscott and Busa Salem

May 16th

Cava that drinks like Champagne? Yep and we had the pleasure of drinking it this week! Avinyo Brut Reserva from Penedes, Spain is a treat not to be missed! Fresh and vibrant on the palate with loads of fine bubbles, it has notes of citrus, bright white flowers, honey and toast with orchard fruit on the palate. Pear, nectarine and orange aromas. Delicious!! $22 at Sea Glass Wine & Beer in Swampscott.

April 15th
Sure it's a rainy Tuesday but it's spring! We are ignoring the soggy weather and selecting a Rose for our Pick of the Week: Martinez Lacuesta Rosado Rioja. A 100% Garnacha Rosado, this fresh and delectable wine has roses, strawberries and citrus (mandarin) on the nose with a subtle, elegant palate of creamy red fruit. Pick up a bottle at Sea Glass Wine & Beer in Swampscott and pretend it's a warm and sunny day! $13.

March 20
Today's pick is a tried and true fav of ours: the 2013 Indaba Chardonnay from South Africa. Tropical fruit aromas lead to a crisp, fresh palate with flavors of apple, pear, honey and pineapple. A subtle hint of oak adds a creamy butterscotch element. This easy sipper is a terrific match for a wide range of dishes from mac & cheese to spicy Asian.  One of the best deals around, it retails for $7-$10!

February 24
It's still freezing here in New England, perfect weather for a nice, big Cabernet! We are in love with the new Cab from 90+ Cellars Collector Series: Lot 104, from Napa’s prestigious Rutherford AVA, has aromas of black currant, mocha, and savory herbs with notes of tobacco and vanilla. Full and well-rounded with soft edges and a dose of bright cherry fruit that unfolds into a smooth finish. In a word: exquisite. This is originally a $50 but the 90+ price is an amazing $20!! Sea Glass Wine & Beer in Swampscott has this beauty in stock right now!

December 31st!
It's New Year's Eve and the ultimate evening for sipping bubbles. Today's Pick of the Week is a scrumptious bubbly from Burgundy: Charles Duret Cremant de Bourgogne. This fresh, fruity sparkler has a nose of white flowers and citrus with a hint of hazelnut. Delicious served as an aperitif or with food. $19.99 at Sea Glass Wine & Beer in Swampscott. We adore this bubbly!

November 20
The winner at last week's Wine, Cheese & Chocolate tasting was the delectable Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux! A bubbly blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Mauzac, this Cremant has fruity aromas with a hint of biscuits, hazelnuts and flowers. Beautifully balanced, complex and well-structured with a long and crisp mineral finish. Tiny, elegant bubbles and at $13-$14 a GREAT value. Grab a couple of bottles and take this to Thanksgiving! Vinnin Liquors in Swampscott

August 9
Ready for a weekend of sunshine, sand, and sea with this week's pick: La Levraudiere Muscadet Sevre & Maine Sur Lie. Rich in minerality, this crisp Muscadet balances salt and citrus with light floral notes for a refreshing finish. At $12 a bottle, try it with summer classics such as a raw bar, spicy blackened catfish, or chicken salad with grapes.

July 22
Rosé continues to rule with our latest discovery! We love the 2012 Villa des Anges Old Vines from the Languedoc. Made from 100% Cinsault, it's crisp, clean, dry and fresh with aromas of fresh strawberries and watermelon. $9.99 @ Sea Glass Wine & Beer in Swampscott! 

July 16
95+ degrees = Rosé weather! Our "drink pink" pick today is the 2012 Belleruche Cotes du Rhone from M. Chapoutier. A blend of Grenache and Syrah, it is dry and crisp with aromas of raspberry and strawberry. Soooo refreshing! $9.99 @ Busa Salem. Perfect for the pool, beach or back deck.

June 14
Sure we love all kinds of sparkling wine but sometimes you just want true Champagne! Our Pick this week was a huge hit at Wine Riot San Fran: Nicolas Feuillatte, Blue Label Reserve, Brut, NV. Aged for three years, this blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Meunier is has an abundance of delicate bubbles. Floral aromas along with subtle white fruits: pear, apples, almonds, and hazelnuts. On the palate, a fresh opening, smooth pleasant and balanced. Great with lobster and cream sauce, sole with morel mushrooms, and chicken borchettes with citronella. $28-$34.

April 28

Tis the season for Roses! So when Mike Gillen at Busa tells us this Rose is one of his favorites, who are we to argue? We are completely smitten with the Commanderie de la Bargemone from Provence! The palest shade of pink, crisp, bone dry with red berry and floral notes. Sooo drinkable. This will pair with a range of light, summer fare. Dazzling! $15 @ Busa Salem

 We have a delicious new red to introduce you to:  90+ Cellars Lot 86 Grand Vin Bordeaux 2010. We at Sip adore Bordeaux wines so when one this good comes along at this price point, well we just have to feature it! A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab Franc, it has aromas of black cherry, plum, and red currant with some earthiness and traces of black tea and tobacco. Sip alongside seared steak with caramelized shallots, pommes frites, or root vegetables. Perfect for summertime grilling! Approx. $11-$13. 

Check out our Picks for Easter - but these are great wines regardless of ham or lamb!
1.Sparkling Rose: Crisp, dry and utterly delectable with notes of red fruits, this style goes with everything! Our 2 favs are the 90+ Cellars ($10-$12) and the Gruet Sparkling Rose ($17 @ Busa). For a still rose we highly recommend the Muga Rosado from Rioja ($10.99 @ Busa).
2. Bordeaux  - we love Chateau les Grandes Versennes. Loads of black fruit, smooth and rich this will pair beautifully with lamb. $9.99 @ Busa
3. Cotes du Rhone: A Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre blend is the best. Intense, fruity with loads of black and red fruit. A little bit of roasted herbs and smokiness. Our picks are the 90+ Cellars Lot 30 (GSM) ($10) or La Grande Ribe Centenaire (Grenache/Syrah) ($9.99).
4. Pinot Noir: One of our all-time favorite Pinots is the Morgan 12 Clones from the Santa Lucia Highlands. Silky with plum and dark chocolate aromas, flavors of blackberry and cherry with notes of leather and spice. Smooth and subtle oak. $27-$29. Personally, Sip doesn't usually spend more than $20 on a bottle but this is a no-brainer exception.
5. Pinot Gris: A luscious medium bodied wine, this is a lovely complement to sweet and salty ham. We suggest the Nantucket Vineyards from ACK ($12.99 ) or Lone Birch Pinot Gris from Yakima Valley, WA ($10.99). Both @ Busa
6. Gewurtztraminer: Trimbach is sublime with ham. Bright pale gold, it has aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and rose petals. It is rich, intense, luscious and well-balanced, with a dry, spicy finish. $17.99-$19.99.

March 25

A superb Pinot Noir is truly a find worth its weight in gold and this beauty from Carneros doesn't disappoint. Aged for 10 months in new French oak, the 2011 Lot 81 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir has aromas of white cherry and pomegranate with layers of sweet spice and violets. Simple and supple with a soft texture and a silky finish. Sip with cedar plank grilled salmon or roast turkey with fennel and sage.

March 12

We have spring fever! As such, our Sip Pick of the Week is a delightful springtime treat: Santola Vinho Verde from Portugal. Fun, light and uncomplicated, this delectable wine has a slight spritzy quality to it. Subtle notes of lemon and lime combine with crisp Granny Smith apple on the palate to make this a fresh and crisp wine. Its razor sharp acidity and ocean freshness make it an ideal match for raw shellfish.
By their nature, Vinho Verdes are extremely inexpensive - not because they're cheap quality but because Port is the primary export of Portugal and there's not a big budget for marketing these wines. This wine is $5.99 a bottle at Busa Salem and has a crab on the label - we love it! It's also great in white sangria.

March 5

Rose season is in the air! We've discovered a truly delicious treat from Rioja, Spain: the 2011 Muga Rosado. A blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Viura, this exquisite wine has a nose of peach, pear and cherry followed by tart apple and baked pastry. A long finish with some spice and blood orange. A tantalizing summer sipper! $10.99 @ Busa Salem.

February 21
We don't know about you but this has been a long winter break week! Fun but long. More snow in the forecast...So, we are sipping a new delight tonight and it's our Pick of the Week: 2010 Château de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône. A blend of Grenache/Cinsault (80% grenache), it has notes of strawberry, raspberry and black cherry with a little damp earth, herb and pepper. Juicy yet elegant. We think delicious! $10.99 at Busa Salem.
February 14th
If you like bubbly you'll love this delectable sparkling Rose from New Mexico: Gruet Brut Sparkling Rose NVAged 24 months en triage (on the lees), this sparkling rose has a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style. The flavor of berries continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry. We think it goes wonderfully with oysters! This sparkler tastes likeRose Champagne but for a fraction of the cost. The price is $14-$17 depending on the store.
February 7th
For today's red our pick is Rio Madre Rioja 2011 from Spain. A rare 100% Graciano Rioja, this wine has slightly riper blackberry fruit intermixed with bitter cherry, cranberry, licorice, wood smoke and dark chocolate. Aged in French oak prior to bottling. Concentrated and powerful on the palate, with a spicy note. Tannic finish. Goes great with a smoky cheddar, Spanish tapas and roast chicken. $$8.99-$9.99.
January 31st
This is a great wine for a chilly winter's afternoon! Lone Birch Pinot Gris from Yakima Valley, WA is a luscious, medium-bodied white with flavors of pineapple, pear and white peaches. Goes great with BBQ, chili and meatballs. Very smooth! $10.99 a bottle at Busa Salem.
January 20
Southern Rhone reds are HOT right now and Sip recently sampled an outstanding one: 90+ Cellars 2011 Cotes du Rhone. A Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre blend (GSM) this wine has aromas of cherry and blackberry with spice, cocoa and berries on the palate. Pairs well with roasts, stews, meatloaf or enjoy it on a chilly night all by itself. Originally a $16 wine the 90+ price is $8.99-$11.99 depending on the market.
January 14
It's an unseasonably balmy Monday here. Perfect Rose weather! Here's a delicious wine Sip recently discovered: Domaine Magellan "Le Fruit Defendu" Rose from the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Made from 100% Cinsault this Vin de Pays is a wond...erful surprise - crisp, dry, packed with that classic Southern France Rose character. Haley's Wines in Marblehead has an amazing deal on this wine: $6.99 a bottle. Give it a try! Doubters: Remember, Rose is just red wine in a pink dress.
January 9

Sip hopes your New Year is off to a great start! The first 2 Sip Picks of the Week (and year!) are delicious recent discoveries. For the white, we'll go with something light and summery to transport us from the January doldrums:

Domaine Guillemarine 2011 Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc. Sounds like a mouth full but this crisp, clean and acidic delight from the south of France is an easy drinking charmer. Melon and stone fruit on the palate with wonderful minerality. Try something new! Pairs perfectly with oysters, salads and sushi. $16 at the Urban Grape South End.

For the red our pick is Garnacha de Fuego Old Vine from Calatayud, Spain. We love Spanish wines! Super smoky on the nose with cherry and other red berries in the mouth with a hint of chocolate. Silky finish and supremely drinkable. This wine will absolutely seduce you both for its taste and its price point: $9.99 or 2 for $18 at Busa.

December 24
It's Christmas Eve! Happy Holidays to all! You should all be done with your shopping but this Pick is one of Sip's favorite holiday ideas and would be a great New Year's Eve party gift: The 90+ Cellars Holiday Essentials gift pack which includes 6 bottles of wine:    Lot 50 Prosecco, Veneto, Italy, NV • Lot 64 Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County, CA..., 2011 • Lot 66 Riesling, Mosel, Germany, 2011 • Lot 68 Pinot Noir, Central Coast, CA, 2011 • Lot 21 French Fusion Red, Languedoc, France, 2009 • Lot 72 Cabernet, Paso Robles, CA, 2010 6 bottles, 1 box, suggested retail is $59.99 which is a big savings off what these wines retail for usually - this is an amazing deal. Anyone would love to get this!
December 20
This Pick of the week is a unique blend you don't usually find together: the 2010 90+ Cellars Langhe Rosso from Piedmont, Italy. This "Super-Piedmont" blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo and Barbera combines the sweet dark currant fruit of Cabernet with the fresh black cherry aromas of Barbera and the powerful savoriness of Nebbiolo. Aromas of black currants and cherries amidst a cloud of smoke, cedar, tobacco and mint. Full-bodied and forthcoming with lots of ripe, brambly fruit and a velvety finish. Enjoy with braised lamb shanks, roasted root vegetables, and aged cheeses. Normally a $23 bottle, the 90+ price is $13.99 to $15.99 depending on the store.
December 11
Yes it's December but it's pretty balmy out there right now! So today's Sip Pick of the Week is one of our all-time summery favorites: Ferrari Carano 2011 Fume Blanc from Sonoma. Aromas of lime, kiwi, citrus, melon and a touch of grass are... complemented by flavors of grapefruit, lemon, mango, and guava. Stainless steel tank fermentation imparts a crisp freshness while the subtle oak character from barrel aging adds complexity and depth. This is a superb Sauvignon Blanc from CA! Goes nicely with simple seafood, poultry and spicy Asian dishes. And extremely yummy on its own! $13-$16 depending on the store.
December 3
Today's Sip Pick of the Week is an absolutely delicious new find: Bodegas Borsao 2011 Garnacha from the Aragon region in Spain. This supple sipper is packed with flavors of raspberries and cherries, chocolate and baking spice. Seductively smooth with bright acidity it is a steal at $8.99 or 2 for $16 at Busa! You don't find delectable deals like this everyday.
November 28
Today's Sip Pick of the Week is an outstanding white Rioja I discovered in a shop in Portland last weekend: 2010 Cortijo. Sip is totally on a Spanish wines kick right now and this does not disappoint! Made from 100% Vuira grapes it's medium-bodied and dry with aromas of white flowers and white fruits with a bit of spice. Delicious! $9.99 at LeRoux in Portland.
November 21
Tonight Sip sampled a yummy new sparkler: Veuve de Bort from France. A light Blanc de Blancs, it has subtle rose petal notes with mineral, cranberry and apple on the palate. Very clean and dry. $10.99 @ Busa
November 18
Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Here are 2 Sip Picks to keep in mind as you shop for wines:
1) Thorny Rose Red Blend from Columbia Valley, Washington. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Malbec, this easy-drinking, luscious wine has aromas of black cherry, raspberry, and a hint of vanilla. Notes of cherry and graham cracker. Smooth and semi-dry in the finish. This is an extremely tasty, crowd-pleasing red. $9.99 @ Busa Wine & Spirits in Salem
2) Mionetto "Mo" Cuvee Sparkling Rose from Italy Thanskgiving is a day filled with apps, side dishes, turkey and a range of desserts. I like to pick one wine and stick with it and this dry bubbly cuvee is perfect! A blend of 2 red wine grapes it has aromas of pink grapefruit, raspberry and red currant. On the palate it has well-balanced acidity with notes of red raspberry and strawberry. Exquisite. And don't forget, bubbles cleanse the palate! This is also a terrific hostess gift. $18.99 @ Busa
November 7
In honor of Friday night's amazing Wine, Cheese & Chocolate tasting, today's Sip Pick of the Week will be the winner from the evening: Mionetto "Sergio" Prosecco. With the holidays approaching people are always on the lookout for good bubbly that won't break the bank. This gem is a can't miss! A refreshing sparkler, it's made with the Veneto region’s finest Prosecco grapes blended with a small portion of three old grape varieties. Superbly dry, slightly fruity with a hint of acidic crispness. Easy aromas of citrus, peach and mineral. Grab a bottle for yourself and one for Thanksgiving! $13.99 Lynnway Liquors
October 23
In honor of the fantastic Second Glass "Muscadet, Shuck Yeah" event I worked on Saturday, today's Pick of the Week is a 2009 Louis Metaireau Petit Mouton Muscadet. Deliciously crisp and dry with that classic Muscadet minerality, this wine was born to pair with oysters. Fresh, bright and oh so easy to drink! $9.99 @ Busa Wine & Spirits in Salem
October 16
Today's Sip Pick of the Week is a fantastic find: Alamos Red Blend from Argentina. Not to be confused with their Malbec, this combo of Malbec, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon kicks it up a notch with a range of elderberry fruit, mint and crushed black cherries with underlying notes of earth and minerals. Spicy cherry juice, pomegranate pits and other black fruit on the palate. Finishes with a big, earthy fruit kick. Pair it with rustic dishes or a nice hard cheese. $8.99 or 2 for $16 at Busa Wine &Spirits - a real gem!
October 9

Do you love Chardonnay but find that so many of them are over the top with oak? Then it's time to delve into some Petit Chablis! Today's Sip Pick of the Week is a phenomenal find: Chablisienne "Pas si Petit" Petit Chablis from Burgundy. Aged on the lees for several months, this mouthwatering Chablis (which has no oak) offers a wide range of fruity aromas –pear, lemon, plum– is rich on the palate and has a clean finish with a mineral edge. You'll fall in love with Chardonnay all over again!
$13.99 @ Busa Wine & Spirits!!

September 24
For today's Sip Pick of the Week, we'll do another red. This French beauty is one of my recent discoveries: La Grande Ribe 2009 Cotes du Rhone-Villages Centenaire. A Grenache-Syrah blend (primarily Grenache), this is an intense, full-bodied wine with lots of red and black fruit, roasted herbs and some smokiness. Very Provencal. For those who care about ratings, Parker adores this wine and gave it 91-93 points. $10.99-$12.99 - for the quality, that's an amazing price!
September  12
Chilly nights, warm's time for a good red Sip Pick of the Week! This is one of my all-time favorite reds: Marietta Cellars Old Vine Red Lot 57. A Zinfandel blend (I'm a huge fan of blends) from CA, this wine has aromas of raspberry and cherry with earth and spice mixed in. Rich and full in the mouth, it has a well-balanced, clean finish. You will love this wine! Great on its own, it also pairs well with soft cheeses, beef, lasagna and pastas. $12.99 @ Vinnin Liquors
September 5th
Sip has long been smitten with Sancerre, but not its price tag. It's hard to find a decent bottle for less than $25...until now! 90+ Cellars has released an absolutely delectable Sancerre: Lot 69 whic is our Sip Pick of the Week. In-store retail price is $14-$17! Crisp and fresh it has exquisite notes of wildflower, grapefruit, and grass. Quintessential Sancerre mineral quality to the finish. Sip with grilled salmon or all alone. Simply superb. Trust me, this is an amazing wine!
August 18th
I have been particularly enamored with French wines of late and today's Sip Pick of the Week does not deviate! Vin de Savoie “Jongieux” is a delicious white blend from this small French region. Light, crisp and refreshing with subtle aromas of tropical fruit. Green apple on the palate with a slight mineral finish complimented by a bit of effervescence. Pairs very well with seafood, shellfish and firm cheeses. $10.99 @ Busa Wine & Spirits in Salem!
July 21st
Today's Sip Pick of the Week was one of the winners from last week's all French tasting @ Busa: Chat-en-Oeuf blanc from the Rhone. Yes, that's literally translated as Cat on an Egg but don't let the cheesy name fool you. This is a terrific Grenache, Marsanne, Rousanne & Vermentino blend. Bright and refreshing it has lots of zesty citrus and tangerine with a little sweet spice. Serve with fish or white meat or all by itself!! $9.99 @ Busa Wine & Spirits in Salem
July 11th
Today's Sip Pick of the Week is one of my favorite new discoveries and a local one at that: Nantucket Vineyards 2009 Pinot Gris. A superb quality Pinot Gris, this light, dry wine has aromas of honey and plum with vanilla and lemon on the palate. A great summer sipper, it pairs well with seafood, especially oysters, Asian dishes, grilled pork and a crisp salad with grilled salmon on top. Drink locally!
$12.99 @ Busa Wine & Spirits in Salem!
June 26th
Today's Sip Pick of the Week is a long-anticipated release (for Sip anyway!): 90+ Cellars French Fusion Blanc from Languedoc - a sublime blend of Marsanne, Rousanne, Viognier and Vermentino (aka Rolle) that features citrus fruit with subtle peach and herbs. Packed with delectable flavors it has a soft, rich finish. $9.99 at Vinnin Liquors!
June 20th
Today's Sip Pick of the Week was chosen with the brutal summer heat in mind: Domaine Houchart Rose from Provence (the ultimate wine for a scorching summer day!). A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Cab. Sauv. and Cinsault it's crisp, fresh, vibrantly fruity and super dry -- it's everything a summertime Rose should be! Perfect with summer salads, seared tuna, spring rolls or a picnic on the beach! 2 for $20 @ Busa Wine & Spirits!
 June 3rd, 2012
Today's Sip Pick of the Week was selected for the cold, wet and rainy weather we are having: Falernia 2009 Reserva Carmenere/Syrah blend from Chile. Rich and juicy, it has lovely aromas of smoke and mulled blackberry. Flavors of blackberry and black cherry with some pepper spice in there too. Very easy-going wine, perfect for a raw and rainy night! Try something new! $9.99 or 2 for $18 at Busa Wine & Spirits!
 May 27th, 2012
Today's Sip Pick of the Week is a Spanish bubbly: Casteller Cava. A blend of three grapes, this Cava exhibits green apple and citrus aromas. Clean and refreshing, it has fresh flavors with citrus-lime notes and just a touch of sweetness. The finish is crisp and delicate. This is a terrific everyday sipper - no celebration required! Goes well with fried foods and creamy brie! $10-$12 @ Kappy's. Prosecco is getting all the glory these days but Cavas, which are made using the same technique as Champagne, should not be overlooked. More often than not they are tremendous value finds!
May 20th, 2012
Today's Sip Pick of the Week is a recent discovery: Alamos 2011 Torrontes from Argentina. A light and crisp sipper, this wine has floral aromas and citrus and peach flavors. It's really quite delicious! Torrontes is native to Argentina and is a terrific "hidden gem" style of wine as it's almost always budget friendly. Definitely a pick for summer drinking, I often suggest this for someone who likes Pinot Grigio but is looking to move beyond it. Great price: 2 for $16 @ Busa Wine & Spirits in Salem!
May 13th, 2012
This Pick of the Week is our newest fav: Cartlidge & Browne 2010 Lake County Sauvignon Blanc. Clean and crisp with a hint of herbal notes. Aromas of ripe citrus and peach with a little green apple on the palate. Deliciously dry, I highly recommend it! $12.99 @ Busa Wine & Spirits in Salem.