As I unashamedly got out my Hawaiian shirts this weekend in jubilant celebration of hot summer days finally arriving, it occurred to me that it was high time to give a refreshing summer white some well deserved attention. (We also have a killer Brunello pre-order to highlight, but that will come in a minute...) As much as many of us love our reds, it’s undeniable that the summer sun begs for a quaffable and refreshing chilled white wine as its partner. So that brings me to the absolute steal that is the M.A.N. Family 2015 Chenin Blanc.
Hailing from the Agter-Paarl region of South Africa, M.A.N. Family produces a full line of reds and whites but specializes in Chenin Blanc (or Steen, as it’s locally known) that thrives in the Mediterranean growing climate. The wine is made from only free run juice from old vines that are producing concentrated grapes of remarkable depth and character. The juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve the freshness of the fruit and spends 3 months on the lees to give it that characteristic Chenin blanc body and depth. The winery’s goal, simply stated, is to make “daily wines for wine geeks”, and that could not be more accurate.
The aromas jump right out of the glass bringing to mind bright citrus, passionfruit, and that tropical vacation you never got to take. I find the wine to be perfectly balanced with a healthy dollop of acidity to complement its juiciness that makes it crisp, refreshing, and long lasting on the palate. Medium-bodied with a rich mouthfeel, the wine is the perfect companion for spicy asian dishes, grilled salmon, or shellfish. Now, for the “steal” factor, M.A.N. Family Chenin Blanc retails for $9.99 a bottle or $107.90 for the case plus tax. Considering this stuff just received 91 points with Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, I would not pass on this as availability has been a bit spotty, though it looks like we are good at least for the next couple of weeks. One bottle will not be enough, as I found out the hard way.
Now, for the collectors out there, we have received a small allocation of the 2011 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino due to be arriving in 2-3 weeks. Though the 2011 Brunello’s are sandwiched between the fantastic 2010’s and 12’s, the wine is still receiving fantastic scores from James Suckling (94 points), Vinous (93 points), and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (93 points.) Here’s what the Advocate had to say about the stuff: “Fuligni’s 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is a delightful wine that excels both in terms of its generosity and its approachability. It’s easy to drink the whole bottle, glass after glass. The warmer vintage has shaped soft and rich fruit flavors that are enduring and enticing. Spice, leather, and tangy tobacco fill in the rear adding dimension and aromatic substance. The mouthfeel shows great textural richness and a sudden spot of bright acidity. This is an honest, upfront and utterly enjoyable Brunello. Drink 2017-2027.”
The 2011 Fuligni retails for $85 a bottle and comes in six packs, making it $459 for the case, which includes your 10% discount. This is an iconic wine from an iconic producer and there are only 9 six packs available, so first come, first serve.
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