What is better than wine? Wine that arrives on your doorstep. The folks at Kendall-Jackson sent me a bottle of each of the wines from their new line, Avant. There are a few cool things about this new line. One thing that struck me is that all Avant wines are bottled using 100% wind energy. After seeing wind turbines installed on the roof of the Fort Lauderdale Hilton recently, I can tell you: this is good stuff.
The three Avant wines are screw cap, which I just love. Why? Well, for one thing, if you have lost your corkscrew, it does not matter. Second of all, there are far fewer instances of cork taint. Yes, it happens that you can have a bad bottle under screw cap, but it has been my experience that it is far less frequent. They are also priced to drink at your next dinner party, or on a random Tuesday night. With prices ranging from $13 – 17/bottle, go ahead and pick up a second one.
OK, so the brand is cool, and they are doing some interesting things, but how is the wine? It is good. I tried all three.
2013 Avant Chardonnay, is whole cluster pressed (which means they don’t take out the stems and whatnot) and then is fermented (to turn the sugars into the stuff that makes dinner party conversation interesting, the alcohol) in half stainless steel tanks and half neutral oak barrels, so there is not that overly oaky, vanilla flavor. Instead it is fruity, with lemon and pineapple flavors and a medium length finish. It is, overall, a nice, crisp, easy-to-drink wine.
2013 Avant Sauvignon Blanc, is also fermented in stainless steel tanks. This is a light bodied wine, with citrus notes, but in my opinion, not quite citrus-y enough. This is a drink-by-the-pool kind of wine, but if I am going to pick one of these two, I preferred the Chardonnay.
2012 Avant Red Blend. I love a good blend. When I saw that this wine is a blend of over 5 grapes, I was a little concerned. It is mostly Merlot, with a hefty dose of Syrah and Malbec, a little Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignane and 4% “other”, whatever that means. Most of the grapes come from Sonoma County, with additions from Mendocino and Napa. I can tell you this about the wine: it is yummy. Full bodied (it is aged for 9 months in oak barrels), smooth and flavors of chocolate covered cherries is hard to beat. It has a medium length finish and a wonderful nose. Grab some for game night, or with dinner, since this wine will go with anything from pizza to pasta or meats.
Overall, the wines have a lot going for them: they are affordable, widely distributed and most importantly, they taste good.