Four Perfect Wines For Beer Lovers

Like many of you, we are beer drinkers. That probably doesn't surprise you. Though, what might surprise you is that as a beer drinker, is the potential to use your palate to delve into other sorts of beverages is very high. In that spirit, here are a few wines that we think would tickle your beer drinking fancy:

 

1)    Rojac Refosk

 

 

Refosk is a Slovenian red grape varietal, which is characterized by its elegance and acidity. Slovenian, you say? Sure did, and this might not be as unfamiliar as it seems. Here's the deal: Slovenia and Italy share a border. The soil, climate, etc. of Southern Slovenia are not unlike that of Northern Italy. Italian wine has a penchant for sustaining high acidity without compromising its density of earthy flavors. This indigenous Slovenian varietal expresses a similar tendency. Rojac Refosk is spontaneously fermented with natural yeasts and then laid to rest in neutral oak for 10-12 months. The resulting product comes out of the barrel drinking a whole lot like a Flanders Red. I've always felt that the Flanders is the perfect jumping off-point for budding sour beer drinkers, particularly beers like Duchesse or Rodenbach Grand Cru. They are complex, tart and satisfying, but present familiarity with the sweet red malt base and noticeable oak presence. For those of you well-versed in drinking this classic beer style, perhaps you will find a similar starting point into wine with wines like Rojac Refosk. 

 

 

2)   I Tigli Vino Bianco

 

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I Tigli Viano Bianco is an orange wine, and despite how it sounds, is not wine made from oranges. Orange wine is basically white wine that ferments on its skins, which is not something that is typically done with a white wine. Skin contains tannins, or, that chalky, dry sensation that structures the finish of a sip. Sounds pretty simple, right? If I like beer, why should I care about orange wine? Well, I'll tell you why you should care about this one. I Tigli (like many orange wines) spontaneously ferments, much like Lambic; or in its common form, Gueuze. Interested yet? These funky, full-bodied, tart and very dry-finishing wines are just the right kind of weird for the sour beer drinker.

 

 

3)   Branger Muscadet

 

 

Muscadet is a small appellation (a small sub-region, basically) on the western end of the Loire Valley, which grows only one type of grape and produces only one style of wine. Made from a grape called Melon du Bourgogne, this white wine is characterized by its full body, soft, round mouthfeel, and punchy salinity from its proximity to the ocean. Sound familiar? Well, this description is one that would also befit the Gose, a wheat beer that has a full, softness on the palate because of the wheat grain and is punctuated by salt, coriander and the occasional lemony acidity. 

 

Bonus Wine for the Adventurous Drinker:

 

Swick Pet Nat Verdelho

 

 

Pet'Nat, or petillant-naturel, is an old-world fermentation process that pre-dates even the champagne method by several hundred years. Pet'Nat wines are bottled while fermenting without any adjunct sugars, which allows the primary fermentation to unfold in the bottle, leaving a little cake of sediment down in there and then is shipped off to be sold completely undefined and unfiltered. Verdelho is somewhat of an obscure Portuguese varietal, which has found a home in Washington’s Columbia Valley. Swick is one of the only producers that has a Pet'Nat product in the Nashville market, so be sure to check this one out if you like bottle-conditioned Belgian ales such as Trippels or our very own Blackberry Farm line of saisons, particularly those with some acidity as Verdelho tends to sport some tartness.

 

Six Wines with Cool Labels That Actually Taste Good

I think we all have this problem. You walk through the aisles of the wine store and you spot a bottle that catches your attention. Maybe it's charming, petite or oblong. White, red or pink. Either way, it's great-looking and you approach it. But upon first impression you see little-to-no indication of substance. Is it elegant and understated or will it chat your ear off? Is it boring? If you've experienced this, this list is for you.

Red: 

Broc Cellars Valdiguie 2015

Solano County Green Valley, CA

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Valdiguie, while primarily grown in France, is affectionately called "Napa Gamay" in California. If you've ever had wine from Beaujolais, then you should be familiar with Gamay. If not, it is a typically light-to-medium bodied grape with fresh, lively acidity and a little bit of dark, graphite-like minerality and spice. It wouldn't be crazy to liken these qualities to Pinot Noir, either. Broc Cellars has a penchant for producing wines in a classically Old-World style, so this Valdiguie will be right at home for those who prefer the fresher fruit side of Burgundy or Beaujolais, although the 2015 vintage shows a hint of darker fruit and peppery spice for added complexity. This wine is available year-round, but is perfect right now as a Spring-y porch pounder.

 

The Fableist Merlot

Paso Robles, CA

Merlot catches a bad rap. Not all Merlot tastes like pure grape juice as prejudices might suggest. This particular Merlot, in fact, has a velvety body of blueberry, which quickly develops a layered, gravelly, black tea-like character with a respectable grip. The finish comes along with overripe plum and just enough of a punch of baking spice to tie it all together. These complexities make for something more intriguing than what most domestic Merlot haters are used to, but are presented with a casual ease that is expected of the grape.

 

Field Recordings Cab Franc

Paso Robles, CA

Paso's signature fruit component works well with this complex and rustic grape, making it accessible to those who may usually shy away from a wine that traditionally packs a spicy, pickled and peppery nose. That is not the case here. This lush Cabernet Franc is brimming with tingling, brambly acidity backed by a full body of fruit, making it a great introduction to the style. The gentle touch of thyme on the finish ensures a layered and interesting sip without compromising drinkability.

 

White:

Brooks Ara Riesling

Willamette Valley, OR

Riesling is yet another grape that has prejudices stacked against it. It is a white, table/food wine originally grown in Germany, and as such there are sweeter expressions that work well with this grape. However, not all Riesling is sweet. In fact, some of the world's finest Riesling is dry, with a tart intensity unparalleled in other grapes. This Riesling from Oregon is among the finest domestic options available, a full-bodied, highly aromatic white wine with fleshy, textured notes of melon, cantloupe, pear and papaya with delicate honeysuckle florality, backended with a sheer, intense wet slate-like minerality and enough acidity to tackle the oiliest, fattiest foods. A Spring-time essential.

 

Grochau Cellars Pinot Blanc

Willamette Valley, OR

Pinot Blanc is exactly what it sounds like, a white counterpart to Pinot Noir. In fact, this grape was originally formed of a rare mutation in the Pinot Noir vine, which causes a cane of white fruit to grow amid the vines of red fruit. This doesn't mean that it drinks like Pinot Noir, though. This aromatic, full-bodied wine provides a mouthfeel that will be familiar to those who drink Chardonnay, but with a unique stone fruit and zesty minerality on the palate. A great wine with food, or without!

 

Rose:

Gilbert Cellars Rose

Yakima Valley, WA

In the style of the traditional Roses of Bandol, this is a Mourvedre-heavy blend, which lends it a delicate, rose petal-like aroma and bright, fruity acidity. While this leads with hints that might suggest sweetness, the meat of this Rose is actually crisp, mineral and bone dry, like a cool, coastal breeze. If you're having a tough time finding Rose from Bandol, or just finding difficulty shelling out the premium you've got to pay for it, this is a tasty, affordable alternative.