Sunday, June 23, 2024

Organic Cameleon, Danaus Wines Delight With Taste And Value

Are you familiar with “critter” wines? Years ago the wine Yellowtail, best known for a hopping kangaroo on the label, took America by storm, becoming the fastest-selling brand in the nation. Maybe you know Gato Negro, an inexpensive wine from Chile that features a black cat on the label. Or maybe your spouse or friend proudly displays their latest wine acquisition by saying, “Just look at that cute horse on the label!”

I tend to shy away from “critter” wines. My focus is on what’s inside the bottle. When we got the chance to review three new wines, however, these “critter” wines changed my mind.

We recently uncorked the Cameleon Signature Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from Argentina and Danaus (named after the scientific name for the Monarch butterfly) Spanish red blend. Each distinguished itself from the zoo of inexpensive wines by combining rewarding taste and value. Each is made with organic grapes.

The Cameleon wines are produced by the Bousquet family, a fourth-generation family that left their native France after a long worldwide search for an idyllic wine-growing region. The chameleon exemplifies their ability to adapt successfully to a new environment.

Their search led them to the Tupungato Valley of Argentina, in the Uco Valley. The vineyards are at the foot of the Andes and benefit from a near-constant breeze from the mountains, sandy soils that provide excellent drainage, and plenty of groundwater from the Andes snowmelt.

The 2021 Cameleon Signature Cabernet has a fruit-laden nose and a palate loaded with cherries and strawberries. There is ample oak and notes of dried herb. The texture is silky and the body is medium. The wine receives malolactic fermentation and six to eight months of oak aging. Fifteen percent of Malbec adds to the pleasing experience. SRP is $20.

Made with over-ripe, partially raisinated grapes, the 2022 Cameleon Signature Chardonnay is golden in the glass and offers pineapple, peach, and apricot notes. It has a touch of sweetness and is whole-cluster pressed, resulting in a deeper, richer flavor than you may expect. This is a Chardonnay that can be paired with desserts, not just seafood.

The Cameleon wines are available at Total Wine in 28 states. The SRP for the Chardonnay is $15.

Danaus hails from the Costers del Segre DOP in Northeast Spain. It is a playful wine that combines 45% Tempranillo, 45% Garnacha, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine gets four months of aging in large French barrels providing a bottle with ripe fruit notes combined with toasty oak. Danaus features threads of cranberry and savory notes as well. This is an enjoyable sipper, suitable for most casual occasions. It’s an appealing value at only $13 SRP. Danaus is available in 17 states.

We suggest you round up these critters for your next party.

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