It can be disappointing to hear about a wine that you may wish to purchase but is not locally available.
That happens to me frequently when reading magazines like the Wine Spectator or speaking to someone who has a specific recommendation from a boutique or out of state winery.
This summer, I wanted to get back to basics and recently searched the wine department at the Bristol Street Martin’s Super Market in Elkhart.
Mind you, I was not necessarily looking for fine wine but rather good, value-priced wine for everyday drinking. While there is some variability in selection between stores, which I suspect is based on demand and sales, Martin’s has a basic inventory that is generally found at each location.
Summer activities call for quaffable wines to beat the heat and enjoy with grilled foods. Here are six to try from off the supermarket’s shelf and why I suggest them. (Note: additional discounts are available when purchasing at least six bottles.)
Oliver, Soft Rose (Indiana) – A semi-sweet wine that is produced from the Catawba grape. Refreshing and easy drinking chilled. It might be the Midwest’s version of White Zinfandel with panache. This is one of my daughter’s favorites and it has been one of the top three selling wines in our state for many years. Oliver wines are now being distributed to 19 states including Colorado, Virginia and Florida.
- $9.49/bottle, on sale for $5.99
Las Rocas, Garnacha (Spain) – A jammy red with black pepper and raspberry notes and mouth filling texture. Garnacha (a.k.a. Grenache) is my go-to wine when grilling brats or Polish sausage. It also pairs well with seasoned pork chops/tenderloin.
- $11.99/bottle, on sale for $10.99
BlueFish, Riesling (Germany) – Semi-dry apple and hint of peach profile with a balance between tart and sweet. Great on its own, but also goes well with seafood, spicy Asian or Latin dishes and grilled pork or turkey.
- $10.99/bottle, on sale for $9.99
Robert Mondavi, Private Selection Meritage (California) – Nice red blend (primarily Cabernet Sauvignon) with balanced dark fruit and tannins. Ideal for that grilled steak with roasted potatoes.
- $12.99/bottle, on sale for $10.99
Josh, Chardonnay (California) – While I personally am not a big chardonnay drinker, I acknowledge the popularity of the grape. My preference is an unwooded or lightly oaked treatment which highlights subtle fruit profiles. Josh is an example of the latter. I thank my friend Janet for introducing me to this wine. Try it with roasted chicken, vegetarian dishes or grilled vegetables.
- $15.99/bottle, on sale for $10.99
Bogle, “Phantom” (California) – A rich, dense wine with layers of dark fruit and spice that is made primarily from Petit Syrah, Zinfandel and Mouvedre. This wine is awesome with barbecue ribs (whether dry rub or sauced) or pizza.
- $19.99/bottle, on sale for $17.99 ($15.99 at Heritage location)
As an afterthought, if you are a Moscato aficionado, consider Tabor Hill Spumante (Michigan) for a little fizz in your preferred wine style.
- $12.99/bottle, on sale for $8.99.
- I was most impressed with the wine discounting at Martin’s. It suggests how competitive the wine industry is. Ultimately, it is about supply and demand to which bumper grape crops in California for the past three years have led to some surplus inventories. For a more detailed story check out this article from Wine Searcher.
- Edible Michiana is sponsoring a food and wine dinner on June 24 to benefit the Center for Healing and Hope. I will be presenting wines from Chateau Aeronatique. Contact CHH for more information: 574-534-4744 ext. 201, development@CHHclinics.org.
- During next week’s Elkhart Jazz Festival there will be several new “after hours” venues at the south end of Main Street. In addition to the street stage in front of 523 Tap and Grill, both Krav and New Paradigm Brewing Co. will be open late for food, music and drinks.
For more wine appreciation pointers from Frank Piaskowy, subscribe to the Hoosier Wineaux email newsletter.