Wine of the Day: Esperto Pinot Grigio; Kendall-Jackson Chards; Reader's pick

WINE OF THE DAY

Esperto “Artist Collection” Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2011, $12

Part of the Artist Collection series of wines produced by Livio Felluga, this dry, tart Grigio first catches your eye with its Robert Rauschenberg Pop Art piece on the front label. In the mouth, it’s redolent of bitter orange peel, lime zest, white grapefruit and herbs. It’s tart and dry, palate-cleansing. The finish is stunning; it has length and power — herbs and minerality and flint. It’s another of Felluga’s dry whites that would be so suitable as an aperitif and pairs perfectly with seafood and lighter meats as well.

MICHIGAN WINE MONTH

It’s official: Gov. Rick Snyder has declared April to be Michigan Wine Month. In his official declaration, he cited the 11 new wineries added last year, all using primarily Michigan grapes, to push the number of wineries to 101. The 2013 Michigan Wine Country magazine is free and available at Michiganwines.com.

The Michigan Wine Showcase is coming up April 15, at the Rattlesnake in Detroit. Read previous blog.

TWO CHARDONNAYS FROM K-J

Kendall-Jackson, 2011 Avant Chardonnay California, $15

Avant gives Kendall-Jackson a different expression for Chardonnay. As a departure from its traditionally made Proprietor’s Reserve, the Avant blends small lots of wine from prime California regions and ferments a little more than half in stainless steel and the rest in neutral oak barrels. This method preserves the fruit flavors and adds structure and complexity. The 2011 Avant is crisp and dry, with a river of delicate Chardonnay character — green apple, pear, citrus and pineapple, and the slightest hint of oak in the silky mouthfeel and long finish. It finishes dry and herbal. The grapes are from Monterey, Mendocino, Santa Barbara and Sonoma. It’s fresh, crisp, clean. The name Avant? It takes its name from the French word for “before” to reflect the personality of the fruit before it’s touched by oak.

 Kendall-Jackson, 2011 Proprietor’s Reserve Chardonnay California, $15

Intense tropical fruit flavors, beautifully woven oak and sturdy acidity are trademarks of the country’s top-selling Chardonnay in its price bracket. Inhale the aromas: pineapple, lime, lemon, mango and papaya with a tease of smoky oak off the barrels. The fruit is all from the cooler climes of Monterey, Santa Barbara, Mendocino and Sonoma. Whole-cluster pressed, fermented and aged in French and American oak, and aged sur lie — you would hardly believe they make oceans of this wine using small-batch methods. It’s still a beauty.

READER’S PICK

From Jim Clarke, who grew up in Farmington Hills and lives in Boone, N.C.:

(Image courtesy of Cape Classics)

(Image courtesy of Cape Classics)

I wanted to mention another Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa that you not only need to try but let people know about. It’s called “Beyond.” The smoothest, lightest, non-grassy and non-mineral Sauvignon Blanc you will ever drink.

Thanks, Jim. Google reviewers like it too. It’s imported by Cape Classics.

Contact Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@hotmail.com. Please share your latest great-tasting wine.