Scott Atkinson, wine manager at the PIGGLY WIGGLY IN CRESTLINE, recommends some great wine finds with a Back to School twist.
Back to School Wines
There are few occasions a year which are poignant in their demonstration of the passage of time. We look forward to spring when pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Summer isn’t really summer until school is out and someone opens their pool. Lastly, we don’t think about fall until back to school shopping causes us to consider an autumnal wardrobe. As the schools and teachers bring back the calmness of routine, so may getting your weekly wine stocks sorted facilitate a routine unto itself. While you might not be as excited about Back to School as Thornton Melon, we did find a few wines that are almost as incredible as a Triple Lindy.
Liberty School Cabernet Savignon
Can't afford Caymus every night? Try quaffing Liberty School Cabernet as a fantastic “Tuesday Night Wine.” The Hopes are the family behind Liberty School. They worked with, learned from, and taught a few things to the Wagner Family famous for Caymus. This stunning deal was named after the original one room schoolhouse, and the center of the community, in Paso Robles. Delicious, consistent, and over-delivers. Can’t ask for more.
---Try this with Kraft Blue Box Macaroni and Cheese. Two American classics.
Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon
Ever get a multiple choice question and can’t quite figure it out? You think you kinda know but aren’t certain. So you make an… Educated Guess. Well, that is the dirty secret behind the art and science of winemaking. This Napa Cabernet, priced under $25, is a great example of knowing enough to make it all come out well. There is definite science in winemaking, but there is also art and nuance. The folks at Educated Guess have nailed all the controlled variables, and they do a great job with the hand Mother Nature deals them.
--- Try this with a handmade, homemade hamburger on the grill. This wine is worth the money and the burger is worth the effort.
As we get older we can appreciate different things. Merlot is not evil. Well made Merlot is delicious. This is well made, and this is delicious. L’Ecole, or “the school” in French, is an incredibly important and well-regarded Washington winery. As only the third winery in Walla Walla they have the experience to weather storms and fads. Another lesson: the longer days and increased sunlight hours in Washington (higher latitude) facilitate more balanced ripeness in the grapes. This is arguably the best place in the USA for Merlot. Lots of sun, warm enough. Mother Nature is kind.
--- Try this with a simple herb-encrusted grill pork tenderloin. Merlot and pork are both wonderful and underappreciated.
One of the best things about learning is discovering something that you’ve never known anything about, at all. This wine from Alberto Orte is one of the most exciting white wines we have come across in the past few years. A mere 186 six-packs were produced, and that ain’t much. Made from Vijiriega, a nearly extinct indigenous variety in Jerez, Atlántida Blanco is a history project, a wine that tells the story of a time in winemaking history that is long past. Intensely expressive of the terroir of Cádiz and completely unique, Atlántida Blanco is a reach back in time.
---Try this with grilled seafood and cry softly when the bottle is gone. Gnash your teeth when you realize you can’t get more.