This month's top picks

Rioja in July
Rioja en Julio (Rioja in July)
Photo by Jeff Cox

Luglio, Juillet, Julio ... July!

Is there any better time and place than right here, right now? While you could pretty much always answer "no" to that, it's especially so right now. Better still, a trio of our ships just came in, bearing an astounding array of wonderful flavors from the "Mare Nostrum" (Mediterranean). Amazing, affordable, refreshing accomplices to whatever you happen to be doing or dining on this fine seasons. Cheers!

Wine of the Month!

Domaine La Madura "Classic" Blanc Vin de Pays d'Oc$16.50
This is one of my favorite wines. Ever. From one of the Languedoc's loveliest places, grown by some of the nicest, most committed, passionate people in the world, it's pure pleasure. Made entirely of sauvignon, it offers perfectly ripe, tangerine and sweet ripe grapefruit aromas and flavors, kissed by wild herb honey and a hint of exotic spice that must've wafted up from Africa on the Sirocco. Generous, perfectly balanced — and more. (Arriving early July)

Mediterranean magic ... in your glass

Ontañon Rioja Maceracion Carbonico$11
Our quintet of intrepid Cascadians tasted this lively, über refreshing, eclectic take on tempranillo while noshing and drinking our way down Logroño's Calle Laurel. We asked our friends at Ontañon "why not send us a whole bunch?" Following some discussion, here's their answer. Enjoy! (Arriving early July)

Ontañon Rioja Ecologica Blanco$11
Bold citrus and starfruit are the main themes, with supporting hints of kiwi and exotic, savory spice. Bright, bordering on tangy, but generous luscious with amazing depth and as much complexity as you care to think about. Wow!

Barinas Monastrell Tinto Jumilla$11
Think BRIGHT cherry and mulberry fruit — as in zesty, zippy, friendly — add in a note of dust and savory herbs, a dash of crisp acidity and this is just about as lusciously easy to drink as you could ask for. Olé, baby.

Barinas Monastrell Rosado Jumilla$11
Who can resist ripe cherries, wild strawberries, citrus flowers and kiss blueberry juice? Who can say no to the King of Jolly Ranchers in a bottle (complete with still more berries and a whiff of savory herbs on the finish)? Didn't think so, neither could we ...

Château Maylandie "Le Cabanon" Rosé Corbières$11
Dry, dry cherries, plums, a slice of watermelon and perhaps a splash of pink grapefruit. Tangy acidity surfs a wave of lusciously ripe, spicy fruit, with a note terroir lending a stony coolness. (Arriving early July)

Château Maylandie "Le Cabanon" Blanc Corbières$11
A lovely sketch of the south, in tones of white. A nose of citrus blossoms, wafts of wild herbs, fennel flowers and fresh fruit are reprised on the palate where notes of kiwi and white nectarine join the chorus, in an alluring, lush texture, perfectly balanced by bright acidity and cool minerality. (Arriving early July)

Château Maylandie "Le Cabanon" Rouge Corbières$11
An inky, almost electric purple foreshadows a current of garrigue-laced black cherries and wild raspberries. The generous aromas promise, and the palate delivers dry, perfectly ripe flavors that speak the classic local dialect — an alliance of wild, wind-blown herbs, sun-warmed stones and focused fruit. (Arriving early July)

Sainte Marie des Crozes Cabernet Franc IGP Oc$13.75
If you love the edgy brilliance and focused red fruit of cabernet franc, this is right up your alley. This delicious wine has all the energy and verve of its Loire or Bordeaux cousins, delivered with a silky harmony and firm tannins. A note of raw cacao, minerals and a whiff of licorice add a weave of alluring counterpoint, while Corbieres terroir adds an irresistible je ne sais quoi.

Sainte Marie des Crozes "Les Pipelettes" Rose Corbières$12.50
"Le rosé qui fait parler" (the wine that makes you talk) — indeed! That rose petal color is the truth — as revealed in aromas of exotic fruits, citrus and minerals that set the table for the sip: lush, but sturdy and focused that delivers wild strawberries and notes of rhubarb, finishing in sunny, citrus-kissed brilliance. Lovely with salads, spicy dishes, pizzas ...

Sainte Marie des Crozes "Le Clandestin" Sauvignon IGP Oc$12.50
Vigneronne Dominique Alias calls sauvignon blanc an "immigrant" from the "lands of Chateaux" who has found his place in the sunny, dry south. If luscious fruit that vibrates with the energy of white grepefruit and pomelo fruit, weaving dry tanginess with sweet citrus and a kiss of orange blossom honey is the mark of being at home — then evidently so!

Domaine La Vallongue Les Alpilles IGP Rouge$12.50
A savory, satisfying alliance of fruit and terroir, this sturdy red is plenty generous without the merest suggestion of over-the-top ripeness. Rather, it offers focused, firm flavors of bright cherries and blackcap raspberries, seasoned with notes of black pepper and heady garrigues. Organically grown. (Arriving early July)

Domaine La Vallongue Les Baux de Provence Rosé$16.50
There are rosés and there are rosés ... but there's truly nothing quite like Provençal rosé, and this one's a beauty. Wild strawberry (the tiny, achingly delicious kind) fruit is the main theme, with shades of Moroccan spice, dried blood orange peel and garrigues adding tonal color. The texture is generous, firm, focused and dry, dry, dry. Organically grown. (Arriving early July)

Domaine La Vallongue Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Blanc$18.50
A harmony of lovely Mediterranean charms begins with notes of acacia flowers and lemons, adds generous flavors of white peach and then accents with hints of white pepper and savory spice. Bright acidity makes the lush texture shimmer, like diamonds wrapped in folds of fine silk. Organically grown. (Arriving early July)

Cantina Coviolo Lambrusco Biologico (organically grown)$12.75
Why do we love Lambrusco? Because of wines like this. Think black cherries and red fruits, bearing earthy traces of their pits and skins, a wine that kisses the palate with the lusciousness of ripe fruit, than adds intrigue with a savory accent. Add a veil of fine bubbles and you've got every reason to pour another glass to go with another helping of pasta (Bolognese, anyone?).

Casa Contini Brindisi Riserva$12.75
A heady pleasure, right from the get-go, this blend of negroamaro, malvasia nera and sangiovese launches from the glass with exuberant, crazy–red fruits, accompanied by an equally bold dash of exotic spices. On the palate, it's generous, with grippy tannins and firm acidity supporting all array of colorful brilliant flavors. (Arriving early July)

Perazzeta Mercurio$11.50
The Maremma is a crossroads, a place where interior Tuscany meets coastal breeze and they surf each other's wave, trading notes of warmth and cool breezes. Not to mention juicy red fruits, blackberries, sun-warmed earth and a whiff of salt air. A fetching alliance of great things! (Arriving early July)

Antonio Sanguineti Vermentino$15.50
Ciao, sunshine. This sleek, racy wine evokes nothing, if not the brilliance of a sun-splashed Mediterranean day, complete with splashes of lemon, acacia flowers and citrus honey wrapped around a lazer beam of exuberant acidity. Perfect with just about anything from the garden or the sea and born to shine in an al fresco environment. (Arriving early July)

Georg Breuer Riesling "Charm"$13.75
If you don't take a flyer on anything else this summer, do it now, with this wine. If you like riesling, you'll love this gorgeous, tautly balanced whirl of peach and apricot aromas and flavors, woven with notes of honeysuckle and whisper of fennel frond on a foundation of cool stones. A joy to drink. (Arriving early July)

Our daily (liquid) bread

Pike Brewing "Derby" Lager$4.50 22 oz
Inspired by the Dog Days of summer and named after Pike's Mascot, Derby, this instantly likable lager is smooth and light, but packed with plenty of character. A complex blend of malts, accented with Magnum, Ahtanum and Sorachi hops make it hard to have just one. Let's get Sirius! (Arriving early July)

Sierra Nevada "Beer Camp"$25 12–pack, 12-oz bottles
Never content to rest on their laurels, Sierra Nevada hops to it with in a big way with this treasure trove of goodness. Teaming up with 12 of America's most exceptional brewers to create 12 diverse beers in one package of ale-inspired celebration. A dozen good reasons to be hoppy! (Arriving early July)

Anchor Brewing "Zymaster"$7.50 22 oz
The Zymaster series celebrates the art of brewing and unique flavors, using exceptional ingredients and innocation. Number 6 is inspired by the Estonian island of Saarema and is amedium-bitter pale ale with old world hop flavors and some very special flavors from Estonian native yeasts. Amazing! (Arriving early July)


jeff cox

Thirsty for more?

Check out our wine blog — Notes from the Cellar

Get to know PCC Beer and Wine Merchandiser Jeff Cox through Notes from the Cellar, a chronicle of his adventures in and ruminations on wine.


The fine print:
All tasting notes are written by the PCC wine team, except where attributed otherwise — and in those cases, we wholeheartedly agree, and simply couldn't say it any better ourselves.

More about: beer, local wine, wine