Our new house white wine is Southern Right Cellars from South Africa, a crisp dry beauty with a complex middle and a very precise finish that sells for $10.99 at Shoppers. This appealing wine is made one mile from the Atlantic Ocean in the stony shale soils of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. On African soil the grape takes on a noticeably complex character. Each sip offers a bouquet of lime, tangerine peel and wild gardenia with a flinty dose of mineral energy. With each bottle sold, a contribution is made by the winery to conservation of the rare Southern Right whale. An enlightened alternative to high alcohol, flabby oak chards.
Our favorite full-bodied, goes-with-everything red wine is the remarkable 2001 Carignane from River Run Vintners. Fueled by grapes grown in Corralitos, this is one appealing varietal — brilliant with cheese, soft enough for salmon and albacore, and intriguing enough to simply sip all by itself. You can find it at Staff of Life for around $10 and at the winery.
Don’t miss the chance to sample hard-to-find wines from the area’s celebrated-but-tiny wineries at the new, one-stop-shopping wine store – VinoCruz. The brainchild of Jeffrey Kongslie and former Barney’s buyer, J-P Correa, the sparkling new enoteca is located in Abbott Square off Cooper Street (in the Museum of Art and History building, just behind Annieglass). Open Mon – Thurs 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fri-Sat, 11 to 8 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.