I met Tim Eck at a wine tasting at the Bellaire, Texas Whole Foods Market earlier in the summer and was impressed by his easy-going manner paired with his obvious enthusiasm for wine and joy in helping people find wines they will enjoy. He introduced me to several I hope to share with you soon, but for now, he has some recommendations for you…
“I started with Whole Foods Market in 2008 at the Bellaire location with a lifelong passion for wine. I love my job. Every day I get to introduce our guests to new types of wines and help them find that perfect bottle. Wine departments can be intimidating, especially large departments. At each of our stores, we have a wine specialist that can help make selecting wine a fun and simple experience. I take making recommendations seriously and love when guests ask me questions.”
Tim’s Top 5 Wines to Enjoy:
One white wine under $20 and widely available in the US:
- Domaine Hubert Veneau “Pouilly-Fume” 2011
The Sauvignon Blanc (100%) hails from the Loire Valley in France, and represents a “higher tier” of the grape in the region. This wine certainly respects that pedigree with its aromas and flavors of straw, almond, and grapefruit, finishing with a distinctly chalky minerality.
One red wine under $20 and widely available in the US:
- Cave de Rasteau “Les Peyrieres” 2010 ($14.99)
This French red blend is light to medium bodied, with notes of earth, black cherry, raspberry, and herbs. Prior to 2010, Rasteau was “just” a village in the cotes do rhone. As of the 2010 vintage, the area has been given its own specific classification to represent its high quality and unique terroir aspects.
One splurge (whatever splurge might mean to you):
- Orin Swift “Abstract” 2010 ($29.99)
This is a hot wine from a hot producer and if you don’t know the glory of this wine by now, you’re definitely missing out. A California blend of Syrah, Petite Syrah, and Grenache, this wine is super dense without being heavy. It has medium acid and very gentle tannins, making it agreeable for all, but it’s the nuances of this wine that will grab the wine geeks interest. Flavors of blackberry, blueberry, acai, light spice, herbs, and a bit of smoke on the long finish.
…and two others of his own choosing (these may be either easy or hard to find):
- Vino “Pinot Grigio” by Charles Smith 2011 ($14.99)
Speaking of hip producers, Charles Smith might rate as the “Orin Swift of Washington State.” Mostly known for his expensive single vineyard Syrahs, this is his take on Pinot Grigio. Its round yet dry, refreshing and just acidic enough for seafood pairings. It features notes of cut grass, melon, and citrus.
- Tarantas Sparkling Rose NV ($10.99)
This fun summer sparkler hails from Spain and is made from the little known and underappreciated Bobal grape variety. It’s intensely fruity and just plain FUN.
*** All of these wines are listed at their regular retail price. Tim wanted us to mention that all are on sale for less through the end of July at the Bellaire Whole Foods location, as well as other locations.