Friday Feature 2/26/16: The New 6 for $70-Something Sampler

It is the last Friday of the month, and  fans of Perman Wine know that means time to introduce another 6 for $70-Something sampler.  For those of you new to the newsletter, this sampler is something we created to stock your homes with “everyday” wines for not a lot of money.
March’s sampler brings you some fresh, more spring-like picks- a nice Riesling and crisp Chardonnay, plus a myriad of reds. Italy, Spain, France- we got you covered! I saw some nice asparagus at the store yesterday, perhaps a soup with some crème fraîche is in order?
Have a great weekend,
Craig, Sheb and Collin

6 for $70-Something
2013 Ca’ del Baio Barbera “Paolina”-Piemonte, Italy
We are pretty excited to debut a new Barbera to our sampler, from a producer we adore at a fantastic new price.
Ca’ del Baio is located the commune of Treiso, in Barbaresco, and describe themselves as a “…typical family concern in which all the members contribute.”  I know some typical families where all the members do not contribute anything, so I say hats off to them! But truly, this is their passion and life, and everyone contributes, from babies to grandmas.
They farm about 26 hectares of vines, three of which are Barbera. As you might already know, Barbera is often planted in locations not suitable to Nebbiolo; it ripens more easily and can be less difficult to grow. You may have also noticed that we tend to favor Barbera. Why is this?
Very few grapes are able to achieve the kind of balance between ripeness and freshness that Barbera does- especially when it is handled correctly. Its propensity for searing acidities needs to be tamed, but it also shouldn’t be pummeled into submission so much that it loses all its racy charms. Ca’ del Baio manages to tame the beast by a combination of stainless steel and neutral barrel aging, and the result is a tangy yet velvety red wine that is a versatile dinner companion.
What other wine do you have in your arsenal that works so magically with pizza, lamb, salads and cheese? The answer is none. Don’t miss this!
$15.00/BTL.-$180.00/CASE OF 12
2010 Jané Ventura Negre Selecció-Penedés, Spain
You may know the estate of Jané Ventura for their fine Cavas. They are a fourth generation grower located in the southern (Baix) part of the Penedés in the Roman enclave of Tarragona.
What you may not know is that they also make a delicious and very affordable range of still wines, like this Tinto we are featuring here.
The wine is unabashedly Mediterranean, ripe and pleasurable, and composed of a variety of both indigenous and international grapes. The blend includes Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sumoll and Syrah. Both estate and purchased fruit is used, as well as stainless steel and neutral barrels for aging.
This kind of luscious sipper works all by itself, but would also complement roasted chicken thighs, lamb loin or a nice beef stew.
$12.50/BTL.-$150.00 CASE OF 12
2014 Selbach Riesling ‘Incline’- Mosel, Germany
The Germans certainly do not make it easy for us to buy Riesling; fifty syllable vineyard names, overly complex labeling and the eternal question “Is it dry or is it sweet?” are all factors that contribute to the purchasing of other, less difficult wines. Harried wine shoppers certainly don’t want to be wrestling with terms like “Einzellage” and the debate of whether or not the terroir of the Mosel is more transparent at the Spätlese or Kabinett Prädikat level.
Enter Johannes Selbach and his “entry level” Riesling. Incline refers to the steeply terraced slopes from which the Riesling is harvested. Incline is a simple premise: fermented in stainless steel, left with a tiny bit of sweetness, and fresh and bracing as a winter flower. Who doesn’t love a winter flower?
This would be a nice one with which to start a Saturday night. At 11.5% ABV, you won’t get all crunk and go nuts (right away) and you can start with something alive & vibrant that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
$11.00 BTL. -$132.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Cave de Tain Syrah-Northern Rhône Valley, France
High quality, top-tier wines are not always the first association we have with large co-op wineries. Of course, there are many delicious and affordable wines made by co-ops these days. But Cave de Tain in France, and Produttori del Barbaresco in Italy stand out as grand exceptions to the rule.
Cave de Tain lies at the foot of the Hermitage hillside and buys grapes from nearly 1000 hectares of vines. They own 21 hectares outright, and those vineyards are farmed by nine permanent employees. It is safe to say that these guys know how to handle Syrah.
This Syrah, from the hillsides, and flats of the Northern Rhône, carries the egregious appellation of Collines Rhodaniennes, which by the way, even native residents of the Rhône Valley find preposterous and hard to pronounce.
$12.50/BTL.-$150.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Valle dell’Acate Frappato-Sicily, Italy
In far, south Italy the famous Mediterranean island of Sicily is producing increasingly fascinating and consistently well valued wine. Cult winemakers like Arianna Occhipinti and Frank Cornelissen have brought Sicily much attention over the last few years for their work with native varieties like Nero d’Avola and Nerello Mascalese, but there is even more of a revolution happening in this region as it begins to consider quality over producing massive quantity.
Today we are looking at the wines of Valle dell’Acate, located just north of our friend Arianna in the commune of Vittoria. Here the climate is warm and arid, the heat yielding wines that are often ripe and fruity and the dryness meaning it is easier to work organically due to less need for spraying. Here they showcase one of Sicily’s native grapes, Frappato, in a pitch perfect style.
Frappato is all about freshness and Valle dell’Acate nails this perfectly. For me this wine is all raspberry fruit, sage and herbs, soft tannin and delicate aromatics. Very easy drinking and a perfect start to your evening, perhaps with a bit of crusty bread and some cheese and salami.
2015 Domaine Montrose Chardonnay- Languedoc, France
What don’t we love about the Languedoc?  It is a large area of great contrast; Mediterranean, coastal, mountainous, Mediterranean, all depending on where you are. In the spring, the landscape is sun-drenched and covered with with a ubiquitous flowering bush called broom, its yellow flowers bursting with their sweet honeyed scent, perfuming the air. A furious wind called the tramontane whips through this bucolic scene with enough force to jostle a small car in a somewhat  terrifying way as you shuttle from village to village taking it all in.
Domaine Montrose is a family-run winery in the fun to pronounce region of Côtes-de-Thongue. They are not far from the coast, in between the cities of Narbonne and Montpellier. This is normally not a terroir we think about, when we think about Chardonnay, but this proximity to the sea, as well as night harvesting, cold fermentations and stainless steel aging contribute to a fresh and lively Chardonnay, with notes of citrus, peach and fresh apples.
$11.50/BTL.-$138.00/CASE OF 12
Posted in 6 for $70-Something, Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday feature 02/19/16: The New 6 for $120-Something Sampler!

Hello and Happy Friday!
In store news, Craig departs on a 10 day trip to Italy and Portugal on Sunday.  Please note, we will have some amended hours and store closings during that time.
Friday, February 26th – Noon till 6 PM
Saturday, February 27th – CLOSED
It’s the second to last Friday of the month and that means time for a new edition of the Six for $120-Something Sampler.  This month the selections run the gamut from classic to modern, and we are featuring a couple of richer white wines, plus a range of dynamics reds that take you from Spain, to Austria, France & South Africa. You are free to buy any of the bottles à la carte but you know you can easily drink six in one month so do the whole sampler!
Have a Great Weekend,
Craig, Sheb & Collin

6 for $120-Something!
2013 Clos Guirouilh Jurançon Sec “La Peïrine”-Southwestern France
The wine region of Jurançon is one of the southern most outposts of Southwestern France, part of the department of the Pyrenees and close to the Spanish border. This is a dry Mediterranean climate, rustic and rural.
Jurançon is responsible for only two types of white wine; dry or sweet. The allowed grapes here are Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng and Courbu. Grapes here often undergo a natural phenomenon called “passerillage‘” a natural drying while they are still on the vine. This provides a raisin-y sweetness for the sweet wines, and a heady intensity for the dry wines.
The “La Peïrine” that we are offering in our sample pack this month is dry, or Sec but late-harvested. This provides the aforementioned intense headiness, underscored by a steely mineral quality that comes from the stony soils in which the vines grow.
Those of you that are committed to eating seasonally have probably been eating your share of cruciferous vegetables lately,  and this wine would pair perfectly with a creamy, cheesy cauliflower gratin, flecked with nutmeg and a hint of apple cider.
$27.00/BTL.-$324.00/CASE OF 12
2014 José Antonio Garcia Bierzo Tinto “Unculin”-Castilla y León, Spain
Bierzo is a sub-region of Galicia and wines here are made of the cultivar Mencía. The fact that regions such as this and Ribeira Sacra boast many old vineyards, often with vines over 100+ years-old in age, will tell you that this was an important grape variety dating back most likely, to Roman times. Mencía is a quite the chameleon, taking on the nuances of the soil, climate, and producer style.
For a long time Bierzo was going to be the next big thing. This never materialized, in part due to the fact that so many disparate styles of Bierzo were being produced. You never knew if you were going to get a light, reedy, reductive version, or a big ,brooding tooth-blackening clonk-on-the- head version.
This exciting new winery in Bierzo is re-defining what it is to drink good Mencia, and has found a good balance in-between the above two scenarios. The Unculin is medium- bodied, and sports a firm texture all the while retaining fresh flavors. Tannins are present but not obtrusive.
We are very happy to introduce these into the market. Grab yourself a lamb loin and get to pan searing!
$20.00/BTL.-$240.00/CASE OF 12
2010 Domaine Vincent Carême Vouvray “Les Clos”-Loire Valley, France
Of all the Chenin Blanc that is produced in the world, for us, the mother ship is always Vouvray. This wet, cool wine zone in the Touraine sports limestone soils and for centuries has been a happy nest for Chenin to realize all its wondrous glory.
Chenin is a fascinating grape, thick-skinned and capable of producing some of the planet’s most age-worthy wines. It’s propensity for botrytis also makes it a great candidate for dessert wines.
Today’s feature is in the sec-tendre category, meaning that is is just (barely just) off-dry.  This is common in vintages that see botrytis, and also helps tame some of the searing acidities that come with this phenomenon. The young Vincent Carême has already established himself as a world class producer. His vineyards are composed of the prized touffeau  (limestone of the region) and his cellar is a traditional 16th century trogolodytic cave which is hand carved into the rock. In case you were wondering about this, it means a hermit used to live secluded in there and believe us, this just simply adds to the terroir.
Vincent’s vineyards are certified organic and he vinifies his wines in a  traditional manner. This Vouvray is achingly classic, with a myriad of apples (fresh and baked), lanolin, wet stone and a hint of peach. The finish is tremendous and we urge you to drizzle a little orange blossom honey on some fresh goat cheese and go to town!
$24.00/BTL.$288.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Sattler St. Laurent-Burgenland, Austria
Austrian reds, especially those from the Burgenland region, have come a long was in the last 10 years. Once relegated to the dusty and lonesome “other reds” category, we now have customers requesting them on a regular basis. We are always thrilled when we are able to snag a deal on some, as we have here with Erich Sattler’s delicious St. Laurent.
Erich is the fourth generation to take over the helm of this winery. The vineyards here are composed of gravel, and the hot dry summers here produce fruit with great ripeness, but yet that still maintains plenty of finesse. (We would be remiss not to mention here the hot Pannonian winds we so adore, that allow the grapes of this otherwise northerly and cool climate to ripen so well).
St. Laurent (also called Sankt Laurent) comes from unknown origins, but has been a reliable red cultivar in Austria for a few hundred years now. The grapes produce wines that are deeply colored and highly aromatic, often with velvety textures and in the plum/blue fruit camp.
The wine works beautifully with fish like trout, salmon and char, as well as vegetarian dishes and poultry.
2014 Domaine du Joncier Côtes du Rhône “L’O”-Southern Rhône Valley, France
Domaine du Joncier has, for over 50 years now, been a reliable and solid producer of very classic southern Rhône wines. The have vineyards in Lirac (the village across the river from Chateauneuf-du-Pape) and Tavel. It is safe to say they know their way around Grenache.
Marine Roussel took over the vineyards from her father Pierre in 1989, and has firmly embraced organic philosophies. The vineyards maintain very healthy soils and are alive with microbes, just as the hills are alive with the sound of music. Biodynamic certification was obtained in 2011.
The “L’O” is an uncommonly fresh version of Côtes du Rhône, not moody and brooding like some can be. This is a very pure and tender rendering of Grenache, light on its feet with lovely cherry raspberry fruit, hints of white pepper and a soft, round mouthfeel. We could see some Pinot Noir drinkers drifting over here, quite happily.
$15.00/BTL.-$180.00/CASE OF 12
2011 Stony Brook Vineyards “The Max”-Franschhoek, South Africa
This is another one of Craig’s wonderful discoveries from his trip in January. To re-cap, Stony Brook Vineyards is located in the appellation of Franschhoek, and run by Craig McNaught, the winemaker and son of the founders, Nigel and Joy McNaught.
Their estate grows a wide diversity of grapes, and with its complex make-up of different soils and micro-climates, they successfully produce a wide range of wines including two delicious sparkling wines, four different white wines and several reds.
Last month we featured a white blend called “The J” and we are featuring a Bordeaux blend called “The Max”, composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc Petit Verdot and Malbec. Full-bodied, ripe and mineral driven, this is what good Cabernet blends are all about. Classic aromas of dried plum are coupled with cedar and graphite along with cocoa and capsicum. Plenty of baking spices and vanilla extract round out the picture.
$26.00/BTL.-$156.00/SIX PACK CASE
Posted in 6 for $120-Something, Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

The Wine Wire: Trollinger Galore!

If you are suddenly feeling yourself overwhelmed by the rigors of heavy red wine- do not despair. A light, fresh new friend has come on the scene, clear and full of verve. In Bavaria, they roll with the lightest of reds and to make it all extra delicious, Knauss’ come in liters. Trollinger is also called Schaiva when it grows across border in Italy. Fresh starwberries, hints of earth a a tiny floral nuance


2014 Knauss Trollinger- Wüttemberg, Germany


Posted in The Wine Wire

The Wine Wire: New Arrival Mondays. A Spate ( see what I did here) of Rieslings!

The wine industry is nothing if not in constant flux, and this perpetual fluidity often creates the opportunity for better pricing and reductions in inventory. When things shift from one distributor to another, well, we are able to get some nice deals on things.


Such is the case with these three German Riesling Spätleses, all from terrific producers we have loved in the past. Take a look and see if it might be worth your while to add a few of these to your cellar or wine fridge.



2012 Selbach Oster Riesling Spätlese “Zeltinger Sonnenuhr”-Mosel

A great site with a terroir of blue Devonian slate, very steep and difficult to work. Produces a static and crisp beauty, even at this ripeness level.




2012 Weingut Spreitzer Riesling Spätlese “Jesuitengarten”-Rheingau

One of the warmest sites in the Rheingau, this lovely wine bursts with apricot and citrus, with layers of creamy, honeyed textures.




2009 or 2012 Carl Schmitt-Wagner Riesling Spätlese “Maximin Herrenberg”-Mosel

A site with old, un-grafted vines and a red slate terroir. Intense complexity coupled with mineral and the ripest of peaches.



2012- $23./BTL



Posted in The Wine Wire

Friday Feature 02/12/16: 2014 Philippe Chavy Aligoté

2014 Domaine Phillipe Chavy Aligoté-Burgundy, France
We always get excited when faced with the prospect of a well-priced Burgundy, so today we present to you Philippe Chavy’s excellent Aligoté.
Aligoté is a sibling grape to Chardonnay, though a bit less dense and racy than its voluptuous sister. It is often used as the base of a fruity wine cocktail called a kir, where it is mixed with a healthy dose of cassis. This is always served in a tiny goblet, and you can drink a couple in the bar near the
Gare de Beaune, waiting for that old, not-a-T.G.V. train to take you to Dijon, or Lyon.
This is not that kind of Aligoté.
Chavy’s Aligoté grows illogically among his Puligny-Montrachet vines, where they have been happily tended for 60+ years. This poor choice in agrarian economics (a bottle of Chardonnay labeled Puligny-Montrachet could fetch three times the price, at least) only benefits the consumer. Why he does not rip this up and re-plant is beyond us, but we are happy for his folly.
Beautiful citrus notes, a hint at stone fruit and mineral.  This has cut, length and just a sheer delicious factor that makes you come back sip after sip.
Awesome juice!
$24.99/BTL.-$299.88/CASE OF 12
Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

The Wine Wire: New Arrivals for February

Now that the holidays are over, we are going to start to see many new things arrive in the shop. We do not always have enough room on our Friday Features to talk about all the great stuff that comes through the doors- here a small round-up of some delicious things that arrived just last week.


2013 Domaine Petitot Ladoix Rouge Vieille Vigne-Burgundy, France

We are fans of this small estate in Corgoloin, the village that announces the northern parameter of the Côte de Beaune.  Ladoix, which neighbors the great hill of Corton, makes very good, and often underrated red and white wines. We had great success with their Côtes de Nuits Villages last year, and this Ladoix is absolutely lovely.




2014 Kershaw Chardonnay “Clonal Selection”-Elgin South Africa

One of Craig’s biggest takeaways from his two weeks in South Africa was how good the Chardonnay is there- and he was especially enamored with this bottling from Richard Kershaw in cool Elgin Valley. A pronounced citric profile is coupled with orchard fruit and a hint of hazelnut.



2014 José Antonio Garcia Bierzo Tinto “Unculin”-Castilla y León, Spain

This exciting new winery in Bierzo is re-defining what it is to drink good Mencia. The Unculin is medium bodied, and sports a lovely, velvety texture all the while retaining fresh flavors. Tannins are present but not obtrusive.



Posted in The Wine Wire

Friday Feature 02/05/16: Pre-Arrival Offers from Viña Sastre in Ribera del Duero.

Viña Sastre Pre-Offer
Viña Sastre located in the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, is one of the elite producers of not just the region but the country as a whole.
We have  met very few growers as dedicated to the vineyards as Jesus Sastre. He comes from a long line of dedicated growers in the area of La Horra.  This part of Ribera del Duero is well noted for having lots of old vineyards – which you will hear more about in the descriptions of the wines.
Why buy any of the offerings from Viña Sastre?
It can be argued long and hard that this is the best estate in Ribera del Duero.  Yes – better than Pingus, better than Vega Sicilia, whose vineyards coincidentally neighbor Sastre’s.
While these certainly aren’t inexpensive bottles, when comparing them to the aforementioned wineries, they are great values.
These appeal to a wide range of drinkers.  Fans of wine that are Euro-centric will love them.  We have also converted many Cult Cali Cab drinkers to these wines.  When you have wines of this magnitude we think that any wine lover would appreciate them.
2010 Viña Sastre Crianza – Ribera del Duero, Spain
While you wait for your pre-arrival of these other fantastic offerings, you should be drinking what is one of the truly best values in the entire appellation of Ribera del Duero.
The Sastre Crianza comes from 20 – 60 year-old Tempranillo vines grown in chalky clay soil.
This complex wine offers aromas of macerated strawberry, baking spices and cedar.  Medium-plus bodied it has power, but with that classic Sastre finesse.
This will be any carnivores best friend, pairing incredible well with rare lamb chops, dry-aged strip steaks, or venison chops.
We’ve traditionally sold this wine at $32 a bottle, but with the local distributor and importers help, we are featuring this at a new low price for the near future.  This is one to buy by the box!
$28.99/ BTL.-$347.88/ CASE  – IN STOCK TODAY!
2012 Viña Sastre “Pago de Santa Cruz” -Ribera del Duero, Spain
The heart of Viña Sastre is their Pago de Santa Cruz vineyard.  This is their best vineyard site, and sits at 900 meters in elevation.  All Sastre reds are made from 100% Tempranillo, and this wine comes from 65+ year-old vines.  It is aged in new oak for 18 months.
You can enjoy this in its youth for its fruit, but look for a 15+ year evolution in bottle.  And of course, enjoy it with baby lamb!
$76.00/ BTL.- $456.00/ SIX-PACK CASE 
2012 Viña Sastre”Regina Vides”- Ribera del Duero, Spain
Regina Vides comes from various parcels of 100+ year-old Tempranillo vines in the heart of the Pago de Santa Cruz vineyard. Vines of this age bear very little fruit, and as a result produce an ultra-concentrated and dense wine, one worthy of it’s own separate bottling.
Decant a bottle now to try, but ultimately this is a wine for the ages, drinking best from 2020-2036+. Those of you with children born in 2012, this is a great opportunity to pick up some birth year wines to stash away.
$85.00/ BTL.- $510.00/ SIX-PACK CASE 
2012 Viña Sastre “Pesus”-Ribera del Duero, Spain
The family wine, made only in the finest years. Harvested, fermented and bottled by only the family members, this is the crown jewel of the estate. 1200 bottles produced from some of the best parcels of Tempranillo in Pago de Santa Cruz, which are then blended with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.
$700/750ml BTL.
$1400/MAGNUM – exclusive to Perman Wine in US
Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday Feature 01/29/16: The New 6 for $70-Something Sampler

6 for $70-Something
2011 “Les Obriers de la Pèira” Terrasses du Larzac Rouge, Languedoc, France
The Languedoc is among the most exciting growing regions in France today.
It is impossible to overgeneralize about such an enormous geographical district, but I wholeheartedly believe that it is a region with many producers, still relatively undiscovered by trade and consumers alike.
Another exciting aspect of the region lies in its diversity of terroir and climate, which thus lends itself to different styles.
One of the most lauded and hyped appellations of the Côteaux du Languedoc is called Terrasses du Larzac.  It was granted A.O.P. status in 2005, although notoriety by two of its most famous producers, Mas de Daumas Gassac and Mas Jullien began a decade or two earlier.
The appellation sits just to the Northwest of Montpellier, and it is heavily influenced by the cool air coming from the high Larzac plateau, including Mount Baudile which rises to over 2800 feet above sea level.  It is this cool air that gives it the big diurnal temperature changes, almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit between daytime and nighttime temperatures.
We are very excited to be able to include a wine from the Terrasses du Larzac AOC in our sampler this month.  La Péira is an emerging star in the appellation, founded by an Australian-born musician, Rob Dougan, who purchased vineyards in the region in 2004.  Along with his wife and their enologist Jérémie Depierre they produce a handful of wines based on Rhône varieties.
“Les Obriers” is a blend of 65% Cinsault and 35% Carignan.  Showing complex aromatics of dark berry fruit, pepper and smoke, it is full-bodied, silky up front, and finishes with lingering spice.  A grilled dry-aged rib-eye steak would be an excellent companion!
This is a wine that we have sold for $21 at the store in the past, and we were offered a special price to fit it into the sampler.  Rhône varietal fans, do not miss this!
$15.00/BTL. /-$180.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Telmo Rodriguez “Al-Muvedre” Tinto Monastrell-Alicante, Spain 
When most think of Mourvèdre they immediately think of Bandol, where the grape has achieved a wild and rustic expression in the Provençal climate with its own form of gamey elegance. Without degrading the great wines of this region, it must be recognized that this grape is not in fact from southern France, but from Valencia, Spain. The grape likely took its common name as it travelled from the city of Morviedro (now called Sagunto), however in it’s native country, Mourvèdre is known as Monastrell.
Telmo Rodríguez, who works across many regions in Spain as a kind of traveling winemaker, comes to us today with a classic example of Monastrell. It is made from hand picked bush vines, fermented in concrete and stainless steel with indigenous yeast, from a few parcels in Alicante just south of Valencia. It is hard to get more traditional than that!
In Spain’s warmer climate on the Mediterranean coast the grape often takes a fresher style, with more fruit and riper tannins than in Bandol. Telmo emphasizes this character with grapes that have been grown on sandy loam, allowing for a more open wine with big dark fruit, a touch of earthiness and brisk tannins.
This still pairs well with the classic dishes you may think of with Mouvèdre, think hearty cassoulet or game meats like lamb, but the freshness will allow it to be even more versatile.
$13.00/BTL.- $156.00/CASE OF 12
2014 La Cappuccina Soave- Veneto, Italy
No, this is not your momma’s Soave. Like many other wine stories, Soave saw popularity a few decades ago and farming practices followed suit to mass produce an insipid product. However, high quality producers like La Cappuccina have reclaimed the traditional agriculture and winemaking practices that yield high quality wine by moving away from pesticide use and rushed fermentations.
Made in Veneto region of Italy, near Verona, Soave is frequently compared to Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, but distinctly has its own profile with bitter and rich almond notes. La Cappuccina takes the grape Garganega and macerates it slightly on the skins before pressing and aging on the lees for six months. This technique yields a wine that is fresh and round, with pithy orange peel and the classic almond notes that define the style. This is a classic wine for apertif, fulfilling the same purpose as your pre-dinner Negroni, but would be equally suited for a scallop or shrimp pasta with a pan sauce.
$13.00/ BTL. – $156.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Dow’s “Vale do Bomfim” Tinto- Douro, Portugal
Collin recently asked me if there has ever been a sampler without a Portuguese wine on it?  The answer of course is yes, but the other answer is, not recently.
The reason for the explosion of Portuguese wines on the Six for $70-Something sampler is quite simple.  Where else in the world can you find an incredible array of quality wines in the under $15 retail category?  Sure France still has several Rhône blends at that price point.  The same with Spain, good value Garnacha and Monastrell exist.  South America can offer the occasional Cabernet or Malbec at a reasonable price.
Portugal, on the other hand produces values from several different growing regions, climates, and of course the incredibly exciting part is getting a chance to taste a vast array of indigenous varietals.
We are super excited to be the first to offer the 2013 vintage of a perennial best buy from the Symington family, Vale do Bomfim!
Vale do Bomfim is a single Quinta in the Cima Corgo sub-region of the Douro Valley.  The entire vineyard is “A-rated,” the highest grading given by the region’s wine regulatory board.  Emerging from the river, this beautiful, south-facing vineyard is chock full of the stony schist that the Douro is famous for.  Owned by Dow’s, Vale do Bomfim for years has provided the base for many of their fantastic vintage Ports.  As with many vineyards in the Douro, those vineyards are now providing grapes for table wines.
The Vale do Bomfim Tinto is a blend of 40% Tinta Barroca, 30% Touriga Franca, 20% Touriga Nacional, and 10% Tinta Roriz.  The 2013 is truly a spectacular value.  Beautiful aromas of violets, dark plums, and spice.  Medium weight on the palate, with blue / black fruits, mineral and good freshness on the finish.
Pair this with grilled venison or lamb chops.  It is a terrific wine for the table.
This is definitely one to buy by the case.
$11.50 BTL.-$138.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Cara Nord Negre- Conca de Barberà, Spain
Even in a country with a long wine producing history like Spain, “new” wine regions are constantly being rediscovered and renewed.
Wine has been produced in the region of Conca de Barberà since at least the middle ages.  Yet just a decade ago, there was little interest in this region, and very little wine from the region found its way outside of Catalunya.
The region is located just north of the city of Tarragona in the mountains called “Muntanyes de Prades.”  Like nearby appellations such as Priorat and Costers del Segre, Rhône varieties have been cultivated here for many years.
In 2012, three wine professionals came together to create the winery Cara Nord.  The winery itself is located in the historic Monastery of Poblet, and the vineyards are surrounded by two national parks rich in plant life.
This red wine, the second vintage produced by Cara Nord is a blend of 52% Garnatxa, 34% Syrah and 14% of a local variety called Garrut.
This certainly has all the hallmarks of a Mediterranean climate Rhône varietal red, with intense aromatics of wild strawberry jam, pepper and herbs.  The palate really tells the tale of a wine that has full phenolic ripeness, but with the benefit of altitude and a huge swing between day and night temperatures.  It is rich, but fresh, and displays yet another unique interpretation of a Rhône varietal blend from Catalunya.
Normally a wine that retails for around $18, and well worth it, we have a special price for it this month, so take advantage of this delicious value.
$15.00 /BTL.- $180.00 CASE OF 12
2013 Höpler “Pannonica” Red- Austria
Höpler is located in the Austrian provence of Burgenland between the hills of Leithagebirge to the west, and Lake Neusiedl to the south-east. This creates a warm and humid micro-climate despite it’s far northernly latitude. Also at work is the famously hot wind system of the Pannonian Plains. This, coupled with a mixed terroir of clay, limestone and gravel, imparts a balance between grippy tannins and expressive minerality.
Pannonica is a blend of Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and Pinot Noir, all of which share genetic heritage and are generally lighter in body, though still with plenty of structure where it counts. Austrian reds are sadly under appreciated despite their versatility, and this wine in particular is a remarkable value with juicy, spicy and savory qualities all coming together in harmony. This drinks well on its own, but would equally compliment the spice level in your favorite Thai or Indian dishes.
$11.00/BTL. – $132.00/ CASE OF 12
Posted in 6 for $70-Something, Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

The Wine Wire: Pre-Offer for 2011 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo “Monprivato”


Since the 1800s the Mascarello family has been working great terroirs in La Morra. Monprivato is one of their most prized vineyards, a south-west facing jewel that grows upon the classic silt and marl soils, high in active limestone. Only bottled as a cru in outstanding vintages, it remains as one of Barolo’s best offerings.

       ***We are accepting pre-orders until Friday, January 29th, 2016. Please note only 12 bottles are available.***

Email your requests to:

2011 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Barolo “Monprivato”



Posted in The Wine Wire

Friday Feature 01/22/16: The New 6 for $120-Something Sampler

6 for $120-Something!
2014 The Blankbottle Winery “33.333333” Red- Voor-Paardeberg, South Africa
Let us imagine for a minute that you are a young South African with a love of wine and a dream of producing your own.
If you aren’t from a winemaking family, then your first issues revolve around sourcing the grapes, finding a place to make the wine, and of course finding a way to pay for all of it.
On my recent trip to South Africa I had the opportunity to meet winemakers like Pieter Walser from The Blankbottle Winery.  One of the rising stars of the South African winemaking scene, his winery is located about a 15 minute drive outside Stellenbosch and about a 45 minute drive outside of Cape Town.
He is part of the new movement of young winemakers that are sourcing fruit from different vineyards of the Western Cape.  It isn’t an easy task to work with around 50 different vineyards and a multitude of grape varietals.  Yet this is part of the excitement of what Pieter does.  It’s all about the fruit and what it expresses.  It dictates everything about the wine.
To introduce you to his fantastic wines, we decided to include this years vintage of “33.333333” a 100% Syrah from an organically farmed vineyard in the Voor-Paardeberg region.  The name of the wine comes from an inclusion of exactly 33.333333% of whole bunches of the Syrah.  This portion was foot tread and fermented.  The rest was de-stemmed and fermented in an open-top fermentation vessel.  It was blended and aged in an old 700-liter barrel for 15 months.
This displays beautiful red fruit aromas, with hints at red licorice and spice from the whole cluster fermentation.  Mouth coating but at the same time fresh on the palate with a continuum of red fruit and lingering white pepper spice.  We do recommend that you decant this wine for 30 minutes to an hour before service as it really opens up.
Look for more great offerings from this terrific producer in the future.
$24.00 BTL. / $144.00 SIX-PACK CASE
2014 Stony Brook Vineyards “The J” White Blend-Franschhoek Valley, South Africa
Another big take away from my trip to South Africa is how much place matters in determining the quality of the producer, even within the same region.
Case in point is Stony Brook Vineyards, located in the appellation of Franschhoek.  We had a fantastic tasting with Craig McNaught, the winemaker and son of the founders, Nigel and Joy McNaught.
Craig told us the story of how his parents sold their old estate and found their current home and vineyard and the base of Franschhoek Mountains.  There were many advantages to the property that they knew at the time of purchase, and many that they soon found out.
Their estate grows a wide diversity of grapes, and with its complex make up of different soils and even micro-climates they successfully produce a wide range of wines including two delicious sparkling wines, four different white wines, eight different red wines, and a fantastic dessert wines.
One of my favorite wines that I tasted was this wine “The J”, a blend of 45% Viognier, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Chardonnay and 5% Semillon.  Vinification changes depending on the varietal. With the Semillon and Chardonnay, the wine is barrel-fermented and aged in second use French oak for 11 months.  The Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier are aged in steel, giving the blend pure citrus aromas and additional zip.
The sum of their parts equals a wine with great complexity, a combination of citrus, fresh stone-fruit, flowers and spice.  It offers medium weight on the palate, but never gets tired or flabby.  A fantastic wine for food as it is rich enough to handle chicken or pork, but with enough freshness and vibrancy to cut through spicy foods.  A fabulous value.
$18.00 BTL. / $216.00 CASE OF 12
2013 Bonjean Cuvée Gabin- Châteaugay/Côtes D’Auvergne,Loire Valley, France
The Loire Valley is a vast and diverse wine region that sometimes gets synthesized into two products: Sancerre and Chinon. And as delicious as stony Sauvignon Blanc and earthy Cabernet Franc can be from these two villages, there is a whole other world of wine out there waiting to be discovered.
The sub-region called “Central France” is one such place. Not to be confused with the Central Vineyards that include, among others, Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé, the appellations of Central France begin around the perimeters of the Tronçais Forest (famous for the oak it supplies for barrel making), and end just west of Lyon. There are five designated regions here: Châteaumeillant, Saint-Pourçain, Côtes de Forez, Côte Roannaise & the Côtes D’Auvergne. The allowed grapes here are Gamay and Chardonnay, and a little Pinot Noir. Sounds a lot like Burgundy, doesn’t it? Well, these vineyards are much closer to Burgundy that to the rest of the Loire, so in some ways that makes sense.
This region thrived with vines in the 1700 and 1800s, but like many small, agrarian communities, struggled to come back from the devastation of phylloxera. Throw in a couple of World Wars in to boot, and most of these farmers turned to orchards and other more profitable crops.
Stéphane and his son Gaec are now the sixth and seventh generations to work this land. There are not many vignerons left in Auvergne. This bottling, from the cru of Châteaugay, will be a welcome treat for those of you who love cru Beaujolais and simple red Burgundies. Composed of 75% Gamay and 25% Pinot Noir, the vines of Châteaugay come from a terroir of pépérite, a type of soil formed when magma comes into contact with wet sedimentary deposits.
The wine is supple and fresh, with firm acidity and bracing fresh fruit flavors of damson plum and morello cherry.
$21.00/BTL.-$252.00/CASE OF 12
2011 Giacomo e Figli Brezza Barbera d’Alba-Piemonte, Italy
Breeza has quietly been in business for 130 years now, in the village of Barolo. They are die-hard traditionalists, in the same vein as the legendary Bartolo Mascarello. They work in four very historic crus: Bricco Sarmassa. Cannubi, Sarmassa, and Castellero, from which they produce an array of fine Baroli.
Which brings us to today’s Barbera. These grapes grow in the famous cru of Cannubi, in a pocket that was planted to Muscat after phylloxera hit. Nebbiolo and Barbera were then grafted onto the Muscat rootstock. For many years the label for this bottling bore the words “Cannubi Muscatel” but current E.U. restrictions only allow Cannubi to now appear on Barolo labels.
Vilification for this wine is unusual for Barbera: an extended fermentation with a submerged cap, then aging in botti, allowing the wine to develop grace and perfume.
The most stunning things about this wine are it’s ethereal aromatics and silky texture. It’s unlike any other Barbera I have had.
I tasted the bottle throughout an entire day when I got the sample, and kept waiting for it to change into something less pleasurable and cumbersome, but it happily disappointed me.
We are fans of Barbera here at PWS and this is one to try!
$26.00/BTL.-$312.00/CASE OF 12
2014 Tiago Teles “Maria da Graça” Tinto-Bairrada, Portugal
Of all the Portuguese wines we’ve introduced to Chicago, the one with the biggest cult following is clear, Tiago Teles’ “Maria da Graça,”  So much so that what is often considered as the ultimate summer red will most likely be sold out by the time we see sunnier and warmer days.
While we’ve featured this wine before, we are happy to refresh your memory about this fantastic producer in just his 3rd vintage.
Craig met Tiago a couple years ago at a wine tasting on the waterfront in Lisbon.  It was a warm summer day, and Tiago appropriately had his wines chilled to a cooler temperature.  Upon tasting both of Tiago’s red wines, Craig immediately felt a connection to them, and more importantly realized that they were the perfect wines to bring in for diners at Fat Rice, a restaurant that Craig helps with the wine list.  The food of Fat Rice calls out for largely sparkling, white and rosé.  Reds can work, but with spice levels that can climb, the red wine needs to be lower in alcohol, with a good degree of freshness.  Tiago’s reds were the perfect answer.
“Maria da Graça” is an unusual blend of Alfrocheiro with some Alicante Bouschet.  The grapes are grown in a beautiful vineyard in the Atlantic-influenced region of Bairrada.  Portugal is home to many excellent growing regions, but the wines of Bairrada offer incredible freshness.
Craig had the opportunity to taste the 2014 last year when he visited Tiago, and we are so excited to release the new vintage.
While the vintage is slightly different than the 2013, this still has all the excitement of why so many people have fallen in love with this wine.  Aromatically it has high-toned red fruits, such as cherry and strawberry.  It is light-bodied on the palate, with bright acidity, and a long, balanced finish.  Many find it similar to Gamay or even old-world Pinot Noir, but it is so distinctly its own wine at the same time.
Like when Craig first tasted it, we would recommend it be served at a slightly cooler temperature.  It pairs with a wide range of food from fish such as salmon, to roasted chicken, and as mentioned, foods with some spice.
$19.00/BTL.- $228.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Pardi Rosso di Montefalco-Umbria, Italy
Just south of Tuscany is Umbria, one of Italy’s best kept secrets, where soulful interpretations of Sangiovese and the native grape, Sagrantino are made. While certainly more peaceful and humble than it’s well-known, northern cousin, it is no less deserving of attention. Particularly within the city of Montefalco, there is a concentration of serious wine production. Known as the balcony of Umbria, this medieval town rests on a hill overlooking the surrounding valleys, giving a panoramic view of the picturesque landscape.
The Pardi family has been growing grapes within the stone walls of the city since 1919, but only recently began estate bottling, in 2003. Their Montefalco Rosso is a bright and fresh interpretation of the regional style, which they achieve by aging in a combination of a year in cask and a split year of aging between stainless tank and bottle. The combination of mostly Sangiovese with Sagrantino and Cabernet Sauvignon yields a balanced wine with both brambly fruit but also structure and warm spice.
This is worth drinking with mushroom risotto, or even the heartier pasta dishes winter brings, as the freshness here will balance and lighten the meal.
$19.00/BTL.-$228.00/CASE OF 12
Posted in 6 for $120-Something, Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter