As in all matters of horticulture, the harvest reaped at the end of the season is heavily dependent upon the weather, soil conditions, planting parameters, seedlings/seeds planted, harvest times, and a multitude of other factors. The same pitfalls and obstacles apply when discussing growing grapes.

Like all fruit, grapes are hard when they first form they are high in acidity. Gradually ripening, the acidity is lost and sugar is formed through photosynthesis and other normal vine metabolic processes. The color is proof of ripening; the fruit becomes aromatic, and the grape swells to its proper size, which varies from one type of grape to another.

Not ripened sufficiently, the grapes will be highly acidic and lower in sugar than they should be, thus the flavor will be underdeveloped. The resulting wine will be low in alcohol (due to lack of sufficient sugar); very high in acid; and will present not-so-wonderful under-ripe flavors, reminiscent of biting into a piece of fruit that just isn’t ripe!

That failure to ripen appropriately could be the result of inferior cuttings or poor quality seeds or seedlings planted. Maybe the soil was inappropriate for that type of vine. Perhaps a good variety was planted in the wrong climate; or maybe the weather just didn’t cooperate, and resulted in a very hot, cool, dry or wet growing season not well tolerated by the grape vines planted. Even trying to grow more fruit than the acreage can bear often leads to an inferior crop.

So what happens if your vineyard crop cannot be harvested in time, and the berries become over-ripe? The opposite occurs — wines will be very high in alcohol, very low in acidity. The wine will remind you of fruit that, reaching its pinnacle several days earlier, should have been discarded.

For perfect wines produced from perfect grapes grown under perfect conditions, your favorite Wine of the Month Club brings this month’s selections to your doorstep.


(Vintage 2012, Red)

Country: Italy   Region: Maremma, in Southern Tuscany   Grapes: Sangiovese & Alicante

Scansano is a picturesque village situated on the mountain ridge in the heart of Maremma, a warm coastal area in the southernmost part of Tuscany, and about 20 miles east of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Here, Morellino di Scansano earned a DOC rating in 1978, and in 2007 was raised to a DOCG. The light-hearted label depicting a pig loved for its meat and its ability to find highly treasured truffles belies the sophisticated ruby red (with violet hues) wine in the bottle!

Made of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Alicante grapes from vines more than 25 years old, the long, hot growing season allowed the grapes to fully ripen and develop high sugar, thus producing a solid wine rich in fruit. It offers wonderful aromas of black cherries. The same cherry profile carries through to the palate and combines with hints of violets and licorice.

Enjoy this wine right now, at room temperature or slightly chilled (about 60°). It is easy to drink and enjoyable on its own, or pairs grandly with roast pork loin with cannellini, or spaghetti carbonara (pasta with pancetta and eggs). For an exotic meal adventure, serve with polenta with boar and mushroom ragu.

To Reorder, call 1-800-800-9122   (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Standard time, Monday through Friday)

Item# SN5710  —  2 bottles – $48.68  —   6 bottles – $112.44   —   12 bottles – $191.56


SANGIOVESE GRAPES —  In a pure varietal form it can have a nearly metallic finish with hidden fruit flavors. When yields are high, the resulting wine is light and cherry/fruity with an earthy element. Summers of very hot weather makes for wines of considerable weight, power and finesse.

ALICANTE GRAPES — The Alicante grape is better known as Grenache. Whatever it’s called, it is used to make wines that are rich, warm and alcoholic.


(Vintage 2013, White)

Country: Spain  Region: Valdeorras, “Valley of Gold”  Grape: Godello

DO Valdeorras, a small DO (appellation) of just 1,300 hectares along the stretches of the Sil River, lies between the

border of Galicia and Castilla y Léon. The name Valdeorras refers to ancient Roman mining activity in the area, “Valley of Gold.” Soils in the region are varied, but both black and grey slate are mined there, Europe’s foremost producer of slate.

The family-owned vineyards of Campos de Néboa cover about 30 hectares in and around the village of Córgomo, in the heart of Valdeorras. Godello and Mencia (the leading red grapes of the area) are the major varieties and most of the vines are between 15 and 35 years old. Additionally, vineyard plots used to grow Campos de Néboa grapes sit above the valley floor, away from the morning mists and high humidity, between 500 and 600m above sea level.

A light yellow wine with green tints, it is 100% Godello. It exhibits a floral nose combined with apple aromas and subtle mineral hints. The mouth is surprisingly powerful for a white; rich, well-balanced, with a slight hint of bitterness at the finish. Enjoy it now, or cellar properly to age gracefully through 2015. Your favorite Wine of the Month Club suggests you serve this wine chilled (45°) with rich, creamy soups, Vitello tonnato (cold roast veal in tuna sauce), paella, crab cakes, pan fried perch, or grilled trout. To Reorder, call 1-800-800-9122   (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Standard time, Monday through Friday)

Item# SN5711  —  2 bottles – $47.36   —   6 bottles – $108.96   —   12 bottles – $185.68


GODELLO GRAPES — Many people believe Godello to be Spain’s greatest white wine grape variety. It produces well-balanced wines with floral scents, fruit aromas and hints of minerality. Most Godello wines are surprisingly strong, with a distinct hint of bitterness.


(Vintage 2012, Red)

Country: Australia  Region: South Australia  Grapes: Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon

South Australia is a state of Australia located in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the

aridest parts of the continent and is the fourth largest of the states/territories. The state’s origins were unique

in Australia as a freely-settled, planned British province, with official settlement beginning in December of 1836. The aim

was to establish a province as a center of civilization for free immigrants, promising civil liberties and religious tolerance.

With hot dry summers and cool wet winters, this is an area known for its 13 wine regions and the highest ratio of cafes and restaurants per capita than any other Australian city. Your favorite Wine of the Month Club knows that the wine industry benefits from a variety of terrain, character and climate, and this 9 Mile Road Shiraz is a perfect example.

The name of this wine is derived from 9 Mile Road, an old drover’s path that runs through the Langhorne Creek appellation in South Australia. Their wine selection is 95% Shiraz and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from two separate vineyards, from 55-year-old vines. The resulting deep ruby red wine has notable lifted aromatics, with each vineyard contributing its own component. The result proves to be ripe black fruits with hints of licorice, chocolate and exotic spices. On the palate, there are bright, luscious mulberries, bing cherries and blackberries, keeping the oak in check.  The wine is ready to enjoy now, but will age gracefully for another five years if cellared properly. Serve at room temperature with burgers, pizza, sausages, pasta with meat sauce and medium aged cheese.

To Reorder, call 1-800-800-9122   (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Standard time, Monday through Friday)

Item# SN5712  —  2 bottles – $46.00   —   6 bottles – $105.36   —   12 bottles – $179.56


SHIRAZ — The versatility of this beefy black grape is legendary, used in blends and in solo recipes. Only from Australia and South Africa, it produces full-bodied wines, long-lived and fruity, with some of the most intense, distinct flavors and aromas of any red.

CABERNET SAUVIGNON GRAPES — This grape is rich in depth, aroma and color. In this blend, it firms up the structure and extends the long rich finish as no other grape can.


Country: Italy   Region: Gambellara DOC   Grape: Garganega

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Amy Heydt
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