I’m still digging through my box from FirstLeaf (read my full FirstLeaf Wine Club Review) but wanted to start with a white wine that was an absolute home run.
I’ve already talked about it in this space, but I’m not normally a fan of Chardonnay which being based in California can really, really cut down my white wine choices. I’ll also admit that I was a bit dubious about a Pinot Grigio that’s mostly made from grapes in Lodi.
If you aren’t familiar with the general thinking in the wine trade, since Lodi is hot, it’s generally difficult to keep acidity in the grapes, especially white wine versions that are native to cooler climates (think the oak bombs of Chardonnay made for generations in the state).
There’s been a lot of trial and error in Lodi with different white wines, they’re still working out how to keep that acidity. Some of it comes from watering less, planting at elevation, spacing the vines less…..or really anything else a winemaker might come up with.
My wife and I enjoyed this with a salad, outside under our plum tree, which during the Covid era, is about as good as it gets.
Ok, so generally here’s my quick review of this Beraelia White Wine by Firstleaf Wine Club: 2 stars. Or corkscrews. Or whatever. With our initial shipment discount, we were thrilled with a $6 purchase price here. We would also pay the $17 if shipping were included for it moving forward. Plus, it was a good reminder that Italy is a warm growing climate, so as we look for interesting wines to drink out of Lodi, looking for other Italian white wines could work. I think part of joining a wine club like FirstLeaf is supposed to provide some education as well. So this fit the bill so to speak.
Lastly, if you don’t believe me, check out the Vivino score. As a quick reminder on the ratings there, yes they are crowdsourced and anything approaching 4.0 is a solid wine. Anything other 4.0 is really very, very good.
Lastly, a bit of detective work. The back of then bottle says that it was bottled by Swirl in Healdsburg. If you aren’t familiar with Sonoma County, Healdsburg is really the center of the high end wine and food scene adjacent to the Russian River Valley. It’s also a couple hours drive from Lodi.
Swirl is a name that many in the industry would recognize. It’s a wine brokerage that focuses on high end wines and many of which I’ve worked with previously like Dragonette, Roar, Kamen and Pisoni. Assuming that the back label is being correct a deeper dive could probably figure out exactly who made this, but that’s probably not as helpful for the winery or for FirstLeaf as simply to say, they seem to have found a really, really good wine made by a winery that is a household name and who is absolutely selling some version of this same wine for well over the $17 that FirstLeaf Wine Club is charging for it, let alone the $6 I paid.