A trio of enticing wines worth trying

Michael Eppan's Lahn Sauvignon Blanc from northern Italy is a winner.
Michael Eppan’s Lahn Sauvignon Blanc from northern Italy is a winner.

From my palate to yours, here are three interesting wines I’ve tasted recently with the Wine Goddess and friends.
• St. Michael Eppan Lahn Sauvignon Blanc, $17.99 — This aromatic white comes from one of Italy’s most modern wineries, located in the country’s northernmost region, Alto Adige-Trentino, along the Austrian border. Sudtirol (translation South Tyrol) is where the small, low-yielding vineyards are located. White-wine production dominates the region. Vines thrive on steep-sloping limestone-infused hillsides that follow along the Adige River. The climate varies wildly. Vintners, however, have adapted well to Mother Nature, using the extremes to their advantage. The result is clean, crisp concentrated wines with fresh acidity that go well with an assortment of foods. Unlike New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs that accentuate grassy aromas and lemon/lime flavors, here’s a truly Italian version with melon and peach expressions and a steely minerality on the finish. A great after-work sipper, this will enhance appetizers of grilled jumbo shrimp and scallops and most seafood dishes. Further testament to its quality is the winemaker’s consistency to produce an average 89-point score over the past three vintages from Wine Enthusiast magazine. It’s available locally at Andover Classic Liquors.

Panther Creek Cellars of Oregon produces a vibrant Pinot Gris.
Panther Creek Cellars of Oregon produces a vibrant Pinot Gris.

• 2013 Panther Creek Cellars Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon, $15.99 — This wine grabs your attention with its sharp taste the moment it hits your tongue. But it went from bright to a notch below rather swiftly, leaving me to wonder if the balance is just not there yet. It’s got a rich apple-pear profile and nice texture. Yet it left me conflicted. The second glass was better than the first — smoother — likely benefiting from simple oxidation. It’s the only white made by this producer, which does well with Pinot Noir. It’s selling at a discount (it’s regularly priced at $20 a bottle) at N.H. State Liquor Outlets. Let me know what you think if you try it.
• 2010 Pine Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley — I waited nearly two years to pop the cork on this lush California red and it was worth the wait. It’s drinking spectacularly now, its dark blackberry fruits just beginning to peak, and will do even better if you hold off for 3-4 more years. I couldn’t. It made our 2015 Memorial Day BBQ a stellar event. I purchased this at a blowout sale at the Wine ConneXtion, paying $25.99 for a wine that is selling at $49.99 today across the U.S. Sam Messina, the store’s co-owner, told me at the time that it pays to buy quality, young wines if you have the patience to hold them a bit. Boy, was he right!

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