I’m trying hard to get back into the swing of things after a busy start to our College school year and return to my reviews and the blog.

Tonight I have four wines I’ve recently enjoyed and that are really easy to find. Two Cotes du Rhone – a white and a red. I also enjoyed one of the best Italian whites I’ve ever had along with with a real value Zin from Mendocino Co. in California.

Michel Gassier Cercius White 2009 – I love this French white wine with 70 percent Grenache Blanc and 30 percent Sauvignon Blanc. It is so refreshing on the palate where you’ll find some hints of melon and citrus. I get floral notes and just love the smooth rich feel on the palate. It has an enjoyably long finish for a white wine. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave this wine 90s points. (Highly Recommended, $13-$15. I bought this at Cork + Cracker, Indianapolis)

E. Guigal 2007 Cotes du Rhone – This traditional blend of 50 percent Syrah, 40 percent Grenache, and 10 percent Mourvedre delivers everything you’d expect in a solid Cotes du Rhone red wine. I didn’t find this to be as earthy or as comples a wine as many – but it’s quite enjoyable. It would be a great red for introduction to newbies or introduction to French wines. (Recommended, $14.99, Grapevine Cottage, Zionsville)

Bonterra 2008 Mendocino County Zinfandel – I visited Mendocino early this year and found some of the most approachable, full-flavored Zinfandels I’ve ever tasted. This value bottle had nice pepper and hints of blueberry. I have to note that I’ve read “blueberry” as a flavor characteristic in other wine reviews and never really got it until I drank this wine. If you prefer “dark fruit” – well, that works too! It’s big enough to please most Zin fans but not overpowering. Wine Enthusiast gave this organically grown Zin 90 points. (Recommended, $11, Cork + Cracker, Indianapolis)

Litorale 2009 Vermentino -Vermentino is a grape I’ve tried a handful of times and was just always left unimpressed. That changed in a big way with the 2009 Litorale version. I loved this white wine that definitely has a pleasant but different flavor profile than most wine drinkers might be familiar. Vermentino is farmed along Italy’s coast near Tuscany. It is a crisp white wine with an enjoyable floral richness. It’s not nearly as acidic as some I’ve tasted previously. (Highly recommended, $14.99, Cork + Cracker, Indy)

These wines should all be widely available wherever fine wines are sold in Indiana. I note where I bought them for readers’ convenience.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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