Friday Feature 01/23/15: The New 6 for $120 Something Sampler and Tastings!

Hello and Happy Friday!
It’s January, and that means some new arrivals and special deals are hitting our shelves.
Today’s newsletter introduces our newest 6 for $120-Something Sampler.  We have to say, this may be our best one yet!
If your unfamiliar with our sampler, the second to last Friday of the month, we release the new Six for $120-Something Sampler.  Six different bottles of wine, from around the world, tasted and approved by your crack wine staff here at Perman Wine.
We always try to anticipate what you want to drink with these samplers, so during the winter, we are red wine heavy, this month with 4 reds and 2 white wines.
The best part of the sampler is that not only are you getting delicious and unique wines, you also have a mini wine lesson when reading our descriptions alongside.
So what are you waiting for – reserve yours today!
Keep in mind, many of the wines are available in small quantities and when the wine is really limited we reserve them for the sampler first, then selling any remaining quantities at the end of the duration of the sampler.
In other news, we had such a big response to our Old-School Italian tasting, instantly selling out, that we decided to open a second night.
So if you missed it, now we are offering the following:
“Old School Italian” Wine Tasting
Friday, February 20th
7 pm – 9 pm
$50 per person
Space Still Available – All Reservations Confirmed with Credit Card – 72 Hour Strict Cancellation Policy (meaning if you cancel with less than 72 hours notice, no refunds will be given, but you are welcome to send someone in your place.)
Call 312-666-4417 or email with your reservation and phone number and we will call you for payment information.
Come “Cin cin” with us as we explore some of Italy’s most classic names in wine. The Old School is coming back, as we are tasting better wines than ever before from the classic names like Soave, Valpolicella, Chianti Classico, Barbaresco, and much more. We will feature 9 wines and guide you through the exciting world of Old School Italian – hope you can join us!
And now, introducing our newest tasting:
“Je Heart France: A Wine Lover’s Tour”
Thursday, March 12th 
From 7:00-9:00 PM
14 Spaces Available
$55.00 Per Person
Call 312-666-4417 or email with your reservation and phone number and we will call you for payment information.
72 Hour Strict Cancellation Policy (meaning if you cancel with less than 72 hours notice, no refunds will be given, but you are welcome to send someone in your place.)
Have a Great Week-End!
Craig & Sheb


6 for $120-Something
2008 Antoniolo Gattinara-Piemonte Italy

Fans of Nebbiolo should be excited by this entry in our feature; the DOCG of Gattinara produces fragrant and compelling renditions of this beloved variety.


Gattinara is located about 60 miles due north of Asti. The soils and topography are much different here than those found in Barolo and Barbaresco. Gattinara is much closer to Switzerland and the soils are higher in acidity and the climate very much influenced by this village’s proximity to the Alps. Mountainous, and imposing the vineyards are steeply terraced and somewhat difficult to work. There is no “easy button” here. The vines are maintained and harvested by hand, this made even harder by the clamorous rocks on which you must tread to get to the vines, called “osso” in the local dialect, which translates to bone.


The Antoniolo Family has been working these difficult slopes since 1949 and work with 14 hectares. The resulting wines are firm and powerful, yet also have a delicate fresh quality with the kind of beguiling rose petal/dried cherry aromatics that only Nebbiolo can provide. Even though this has a few years on it we would still recommend a vigorous decant. And go ahead and make that beef stew you’ve been waiting to make all winter- here, finally, is the right wine!


$26.00 BTL/$312.00 CASE OF 12





2013 Cruse Wine Co Syrah “Charles Heintz” Sonoma Coast, CA


Michael Cruse is firmly entrenched in the “new California wine” movement; young and innovative and trying to make interesting, drinkable wines that are outside the “100 point Cabernet” box.


Charles Heintz is one of the more celebrated vineyards in the true Sonoma Coast; 900 feet above sea level and famous for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Syrah. This is definitely a cool, coastal climate, and the view from the vineyard are breathtaking- a panoramic expanse of the Pacific Ocean at one of its most feral points.


The fruit for this bottling was partially de-stemmed and left on the skins for 14 days. Punchdowns were all done manually (actually by foot) after which it was lightly pressed and left to age in used french oak barrels.


What’s nice about this Syrah is that, while ripe and fleshy, it still manages to exhibit all the smoke, green olive, purple flowers and other tertiary notes that are often most associated with Syrah from the Northern Rhone Valley.


$29.00/BTL.-$348.00/CASE OF 12




2013 Tiago Teles “Gilda” Vinho Tinto- Bairrada, Portugal


Tiago Teles, the person, and the wines represent something different in the world of Portuguese wines.


Tiago started his winery in 2012.  A passionate wine lover like us, he had previously spent some years as a wine critic.  He realized along his journey that he wanted to produce wine.  Just like a Chef tells a tale of food through his/her palate, the wine would be in a style that he would want to reach for on a daily basis, drinking alongside good food and in the company of family or friends.


What makes Tiago different is that instead of being from a place, growing up there, and dedicating himself to something that was typical of that place, he had an idea of what his wines would taste like and searched for that place and opportunity to make it.


Bairrada was the chosen region, its Atlantic influence and range of grape varietals lent itself perfectly in his quest.  Fortunately for Tiago, he was able to access great fruit, and then have the ability to make the wine in a state of the art wine winery.


He philosophy in the cellar is something we here at Perman Wine greatly believe in.  Explained here by Tiago:


“In the Cellar we opted for techniques and materials that do not distort the wine, vinifications respecting the grape, conducted with indigenous yeasts, no enzymes, acidification, filtering or clarification.


We accept the differences, keeping the curiosity and mind open to new methods. We try to be meticulous in the different actions. We do co-fermentation of the blends up to 6000 litres, with gentle mechanical steps, without pumping, aiming for greater harmony and cohesion of the blend. The wine rests for at least 6 months in used oak barrels.”


“Gilda” is a wine that blends a high proportion of Merlot alongside of Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cão.  If you put this in a blind tasting it would be difficult to not call it Right Bank Bordeaux, although the mid-palate lends itself to a richer style, and the Portuguese varietals add some spice notes unique to Bairrada and Portugal.


We love the aromatics on this wine, with notes of green peppercorn, plum, and mineral.  This is a wine of freshness, and at 12.5% alcohol it glides across your palate.  We even recommend bringing down the temperature of the wine to around 58 degrees.


It is such a versatile wine, perfect to not overpower a beautiful steak or lamb loin.  Yet also good for a chicken fricassée.  It is an excellent value!


$17.00 BTL. / $204.00 SIX-PACK CASE



2012 Lagar de Darei Branco “Private Selection,” Dão, Portugal


Coming home from my last trip to Portugal in July, I couldn’t stop thinking about the wines of Casa de Darei.


Not only were these wines that I personally loved drinking, I knew at the time that they were going to be incredibly well-liked by our customers.


The Dão region is spectacular in both its scenery and its ability to produce world-class wines.  Located in Northern Portugal, in the center part of the country it is notably protected on all sides by mountains.  The Atlantic influence does not reach the Dão, nor does the continental climate.  Although not a huge region, there are dramatic differences in terroir.


Darei is a place, a tiny village, where Carlos Ruivo, proprietor of Casa de Darei lives and works the vines.  There goal of authentic, handmade wines is realized in the four different wines they produce.


We have decided to feature first an incredible white wine, one that I could drink virtually every day, the 2012 “Private Selection” White.  While it has become somewhat trendy in the Dão to produce wines solely of Encruzado, Darei still does what has almost always has occurred, blend white varietals.  This wine is a blend of Encruzado, Malvasia Fina, Cerceal, Bical, Verdelho, and Arinto.  These are native grapes, each playing a role in the complexity of this wine.


After grape selection and crushing, the fermentation takes place in both wood and concrete.  It also sees just 2 months of aging in oak casks.


This is a wine I could smell all day!  Notes of orange, pineapple and lemon peel leap from the glass.  Texturally similar to a White Burgundy, it coats the palate with dried citrus, tropical and spice notes.  It has richness, while at the same time great freshness and length.


It is a wonderful accompaniment to many types of seafood, but I would recommend cooking something very simple, such as a simple prepared piece of sea bass or prawns cooked on the plancha.


If this was a White Burgundy it would be $50, but instead, it’s an incredible Portuguese value!  Do not miss this!


$19.00 BTL. / $114.00 SIX-PACK CASE



2012 Graci Etna Rosso-Sicily, Italy


We have written before, with great admiration about Alberto Graci. He is a dynamic and talented winemaker, who focuses on native grapes and traditional winemaking. His mantra? “The land decides, not us”.


Consequently, when we start thinking of Graci, we are perpetually astounded that viticulture is even possible on Mount Etna,  and that it is possible for grapes to find the nutrients they need in the steep lava beds of this still active volcano. Nerello Mascalese is the name of the variety that flourishes here, a thin-skinned relative of Sangiovese and Gaglioppo that takes on a unique identity in the pumice-y soils here.


Graci’s Nerello is provocative wine; heady with the sweet fragrance of macerated pie cherries that contrasts with a backbone of earth, mushroom and mineral. It’s a fascinating wine, complex, delicious, and meditative.
This wine pairs well with a variety of foods. Sicilian cuisine is informed by many years of conquest and colonization, and as a result there are many influences uncommon to the mainland. Vegetarian and middle eastern dishes are enhanced greatly by a bottle or two of this at the table.


$20.00/BTL.-$240.00/CASE OF 12




2013 Rabasse-Charavin Côtes du Rhône Blanc “Laure”-Southern Rhône Valley, France


We’ve written with great regularity about this producer on past newsletters, so we are not going to bore you again with all the details. But ask yourself this: When is the last time you had a great bottle of white wine made from Rhône varietals? We find that this category is often clogged with awkward wines that seem to dissipate much too quickly, into a vaporous cloud of disappointment. Not this one.


The “Laure” bottling is composed of Clairette & Roussanne, keenly textured and imbued with lovely orchard fruit to accompany its savory herb, tinged edges. The winery recommends drinking with all manner of seafood, but the wine is firm and structured enough to work with white fleshed meat as well. To us, that sounds like the opposite of a vaporous cloud of disappointment, more like a rainbow of happiness to grace your dinner table.


$15.00/BTL-$180.00/CASE OF 12


Posted in 6 for $120-Something, Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters

The Wine Wire: Manzanilla the way its meant to be drunk!

Bodegas Hildago “La Gitana ‘En Rama'”

Manzanilla, a type of Fino Sherry from Sanlúcar de Barrameda is one of Spain’s national treasures.

The key to Manzanilla is drinking it fresh.  It is typically meant to be drunk within a year in bottle.

Many Manzanilla are filtered and fined in order to help it last for that year in bottle.

We are now starting to see some “En Rama” bottlings from producers, a style that highlights freshness, with only a gentle filtration.

This is Manzanilla in the purest form, and it is critical that it is drunk young, within 4 months of bottling.

We had special ordered a six-pack since it isn’t normal for the distributor to “carry this” – after all they must sell it fresh.

Don’t miss your chance to try this.  It is special stuff!

Any good dinner party should start with some tapas and a bottle of En Rama from Hidalgo!

$26.99 per bottle – only six available, so claim yours today!

Posted in The Wine Wire

The Wine Wire: Chartogne -Taillet 2008, À Merfy


This is the kind of delicious heartbreaker that seems like it should much more expensive than  it is. All culled from one vineyard called “Les Couarres” and a 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. It’s thrilling Champagne, sleek and generous, complex and imbued with both levity and gravity. We have about 7 bottles left, and it kills me to report about this here, as I would just as soon buy them all, but I am a sharer, so here you are.


2008 Chartogne-Taillet Champagne-Merfy $67.99/ BTL


Posted in The Wine Wire

Friday Feature 01/16/15: Old School Italian.

Hello and Happy Friday!

In the West Loop it seems like a new restaurant opens every day.

This time we wanted to send a special welcome to one of our newest neighbors, Formento’s. We had a chance to preview the restaurant last week, and we were most impressed with their take on “old school” Italian.

We also wanted to take the opportunity to highlight this restaurant because they are one of the few restaurants in Chicago that took the opportunity to invest in an incredibly talented wine person, our friend Steve Morgan. He has put together an epic wine list, something that Chicago can be proud of. So thanks to B. Hospitality for realizing that Chicagoans want and deserve a wine list that appeals to both the masses and the wine nerds. Oh, and they have real wine glasses (not a juice glass or IKEA stemless) – special thanks for that!

Everyone go check them out!


To further celebrate their opening, we here at Perman Wine have to decided to fully embrace the “old school” Italian thing and announce our first tasting of the year on Thursday, February 19th.

The theme?

Why old-school Italian of course! Here are the details:

“Old School Italian” Wine Tasting
Thursday, February 19th
7 pm – 9 pm
$50 per person
14 Spaces Available – All Reservations Confirmed with Credit Card – 72 Hour Strict Cancellation Policy (meaning if you cancel with less than 72 hours notice, no refunds will be given, but you are welcome to send someone in your place.)
Call 312-666-4417 or email with your reservation and phone number and we will call you for payment information.

Come “Cin cin” with us as we explore some of Italy’s most classic names in wine. The Old School is coming back, as we are tasting better wines than ever before from the classic names like Soave, Valpolicella, Chianti Classico, Barbaresco, and much more. We will feature 9 wines and guide you through the exciting world of Old School Italian – hope you can join us!


Last but certainly not least, we are excited to bring some Old School Italian to you on today’s newsletter!

We just received arrivals from two top Barbaresco producers that you must know about. We are also highlighting a Chianti Classico producer that we tasted with yesterday, and feel is making some of the top Sangiovese in all of Tuscany.

Don’t miss these, something for everyone on today’s newsletter!

Have a great weekend,
Craig & Sheb


Friday Feature



Everyone knows that we are a little Piedmont obsessed here at Perman Wine Selections.  Yet we have to apologize as we have often neglected the region of Barbaresco, in favor of promoting its more famous “neighbor”, Barolo.


Barbaresco, like Barolo, focuses on the Nebbiolo grape, and, many of its producers also make great wines from Dolcetto and Barbera.  For years, Barbaresco has been cast in the shadow of Barolo.


This past June, in order to devote more attention to Barbaresco, Craig traveled to visit a couple of small estates in the region.  Those estates are featured on today’s newsletter.


As a quick primer on the region of Barbaresco, it is important to note that the designation of the region didn’t happen until 1894, when the co-operative Cantina Sociale di Barbaresco was started by Domizio Cavazza.  Previous to that, much of the Nebbiolo from the region was put into Barolo.


The Barbaresco region is made up of 4 villages: Barbaresco, Neive, Treiso and San Rocco Seno d’Elvio.  There is quite a bit of diversity in the vineyards of each respective commune, and knowing the names of the top vineyards is important when seeking out the best wines.


The region of Barbaresco is in a great place right now.  Quality is higher than ever before, and I will wholeheartedly say that the top Crus (vineyards) in the hands of the best producers (a couple featured today) make Nebbiolo of equal quality to the top Crus of Barolo.


Luckily for the consumer, there is incredible value in Barbaresco.  Top Barolo costs at least $70 – $300 per bottle today.  While Barbaresco does have some of those icon wines, names like Gaja and Bruno Giacosa, the wines featured today are as good, and at a fraction of the price.


These are limited in quantity, so act today!



Fratelli Cigliuti


These are benchmark Barbarescos from the commune of Neive.  Claudia and Silvia Cigliuti are farmers first, absolutely love working in the vineyards, and their careful farming shows in the purity of the fruit.


The property is historic, having been in the family for four generations.  Since I can’t say it any better than Renato Cigliuti, I’ll quote his philosophy on wine:


“Good wines are fruits of good earth. In our vineyards we have always striven for quality and excellence in every aspect of the production process. From the training of the vines to the harvesting of the grapes, from vinification to bottling, for us producing wine means telling the story of our family and our local area. Our inspiration is our family’s old-fashioned approach, which we carry on with all our passion, using only the grapes we grow ourselves in accordance with methods and principles of the highest quality. Treatments are reduced to a minimum, grapes are picked exclusively by hand and vinified immediately after the harvest, and wines are aged and bottled separately in the cellar.”


Buy these because they are great wines and full of soul.  They are really a must for fans of Piedmont!




2013 Cigliuti Dolcetto d’Alba


Dolcetto is such an important grape in Piedmont and yet many skip over it in favor of Barbera.  It is true that Dolcetto is not for everyone, its got acidity, it has tannin, it has a freshness and almost a “grape-y” quality.  Yet when you go to Piedmont, sit down for a meal that starts with a wide range of foods, and whether a carne cruda, a soup, a salad with tuna- it all works with Dolcetto.  Even with pasta, even with meats, it truly is the table wine of Piedmont.


This Dolcetto is a great example, fermented and rested exclusively in stainless steel tank.  It is a Dolcetto lovers Dolcetto, and should be served at a slightly cool temperature.  A great value.


$15.99 BTL. / $191.88 CASE



2013 Cigluti Langhe Nebbiolo


You do not need a special occasion to drink Nebbiolo!  Yes, the great examples from the top vineyards are going to cost $40 – $100, but you should know that most top producers make an excellent value Langhe Nebbiolo.


This is high-class stuff from Cigliuti.


It is 100% Nebbiolo, 15 year-old vines from the Bricco di Neive vineyard in the commune of Neive.  It is fermented in stainless steel and see aging for 5 months partially in steel and partially in Slavonian oak.


A wine for food, in particular meat-based pasta sauces, and grilled meats.  It’s somewhere in that medium to full-bodied range, with beautiful cherry, fennel and spice notes.  A beautiful Nebbiolo at a great price.


$23.99 BTL. / $287.88 CASE



2010 Cigliuti Barbaresco “Vie Erte”


Now we are getting serious! I tasted this when I was there in June, and really loved this wine.


“Vie Erte” comes from the Bricco di Neive vineyard in Neive.  The vineyard sits on the southwest slope of the hill near Serraboella and Canova, but is higher in altitude.


It always yields a really elegant and fresh style of Barbaresco, and I find the 2010 to be very accessible in its youth, yet of course it will age.


So buy this if you are drinking relatively soon.  Such a great wine for the money!


$46.99 BTL. / $563.88 CASE



2011 Cigliuti Barbaresco “Serraboella”


Here is where I call out all my true Piedmont fans,  those with the patience to lay down some bottles and enjoy the spoils of your efforts and the incredible efforts of the Cigliuti family.


Serraboella is amongst the greatest terroirs in the Barbaresco region.  In my opinion, the Cigliuti family produces the best example from this great terroir.


The parcel that they own is southwest facing, with vines in the 25-55 year range.  Like everything at this property, it is fermented in stainless steel and then this is aged for 26 months in Slavonian oak casks and larger French oak.


Serraboella produces firm, dense and tannic Nebbiolo.  Please cellar this wine.  Give it till at least 2020 and it will continue to develop through 2030+.


Collectors – this is a steal for this price! Also, please note, 48 bottles of the excellent 2009 are available at the same price.


$60.99 BTL. / $731.88 CASE



Ca’ del Baio


I had a fantastic visit with Paolo and Valentina Grasso of Ca’ del Baio last June.  Along with their father Giulio, they make tremendous wines, ones that I personally have been drinking and enjoying for over 15 years.


Based in the village of Treiso, they work with only their own vineyards, some in Treiso and some in Barbaresco.  They actually work with a wide range of grapes, mainly Nebbiolo, but also Dolcetto, Barbera, Riesling, Chardonnay and Moscato.


They are incredible farmers, their fruit is impeccable largely due to a focus on pruning.  The Grasso family also is very adamant about allowing vintage to show through, and celebrate the differences between them.


It also should be noted that these are some of the most fairly priced, great values in all of Barbaresco.  Part of this is due to a new direct relationship with a local distributor, and also an insistence from the family that their prices be fair.


I can’t recommend these enough!




2013 Ca’ del Baio Barbera d’Alba “Paolina”


You like Barbera?  You must buy this!  Easily one of the most enjoyable bottles of Barbera I have tried over the last year.


The Barbera is grown in several vineyards throughout Neive.  It is fermented in stainless steel and aged in oak for 1 year.


Such a juicy and fresh style of Barbera with beautiful red berry notes, a silky yet rich texture and a surprisingly long, balanced finish.


A great wine with a a variety of food, whether that be the classic pairing with bagna cauda or with braised short ribs.


An incredible value!


$16.99 BTL. / $203.88 CASE



2012 Ca’ del Baio Langhe Nebbiolo “Bric del Baio”


This bottling employs young-vine fruit from their top vineyards in Treiso and Barbaresco, undergoes a short skin maceration and fermentation in stainless steel.  Malolactic fermentation and aging are in oak.


If you are learning about Nebbiolo and don’t want to drop the cash on a Barbaresco or Barolo, please try this great value.


It is accessible in its youth, although we recommend decanting it.  It shows beautiful black and red fruits, has great richness on the palate with a dusting of tannins on the finish.


A good wine for a pasta with meat sauce, or even a steak on the grill.


This will develop in bottle, so don’t be afraid to lay down a few bottles through 2022.


$19.99 BTL. / $239.88 CASE



2011 Ca’ del Baio Barbaresco “Marcarini”


Collectors are going to have a choice of two excellent Barbarescos from Ca’ del Baio.  It is difficult in situations like this to say one is better than the other, they are just different.


Marcarini is a vineyard in Treiso. It is located to the south of the Pajoré vineyard.  It is their newest vineyard site in their range and was planted in 1998.  The soil is a bluish clayey-limestone marl.


Tasting it yesterday, I was impressed with how open it was, and I wouldn’t hesitate to decant and open a bottle today.  It showed a lot of red and blue fruit, a multitude of flowers and a wild spice quality that was so enjoyable to simply sit and smell.  It is broad and structured on the palate, although the tannins are more manageable on this as opposed to the Asili.


So go ahead and crack some bottles now, and drink through 2026+.


$39.99 BTL. / $239.94 SIX-PACK CASE



2011 Ca’ del Baio Barbaresco “Asili”  


Like Serraboella is to Cigluti, the Asili vineyard is clearly the most prized in the range of Ca’ del Baio.  The vineyard is in the village of Barbaresco.


The Ca’ del Baio vines have been planted between 1967 and 2000.  The soil is quite similar to that of Marcarini, although the altitude of Asili is lower.


This is the wine to hold onto and lay down in your cellar.  Tasting it earlier this week, it did show the trademark Asili elegance, with beautiful cherry, violet and licorice notes.  Yet, its firm tannins did take hold on the lengthy finish, and as someone that has had older bottles of this as well as other examples of Asili, it is well worth the reward of holding on to.


A great wine, and really a steal for a wine of this quality.  Buy the six-pack.


$44.99 BTL. / $269.94 SIX-PACK CASE



Fattoria Poggerino


Yesterday we had the absolute pleasure of meeting with Piero Lanza, owner and winemaker for Fattoria Poggerino.  This has emerged as one of the top estates in Chianti Classico and specifically in Radda.


While we feel strongly that there is better wine than ever in the Chianti Classico district of Tuscany, most of you have lukewarm feelings for the subject because of the absolutely insipid versions that you are drinking by the glass at many restaurants.


The fact is, Sangiovese when it is handled properly, makes the most delicate, beautiful, ethereal wine in all of Italy.  It is a great variety, it just has an image problem and poor handlers at times.


We are here to change it, and change it we will when you taste the wines of Poggerino, so please read on!




2011 Fattoria Poggerino Chianti Classico


We are asking nicely – please buy this! It is for your own good.


Seriously though, Poggerino is a great property.


The soil is unique with a high proportion of “galestro,” a friable rock that gives great drainage to the vineyard.  The vineyards are located between 400 – 500 meters above sea level, which helps produce that finesse , a style that Poggerino is known for.


The farm employs organic and biodynamic practices, which makes the pricing of these seem an even more insane value.


The 2011 Chianti Classico is really a beautiful wine.  It is made from 100% Sangiovese, and because Piero didn’t make a Riserva in 2011, some of the fruit from that single vineyard made its way into this wine.


Tasting it again yesterday, it just simply glides across the palate, with beautiful cherry and currant notes, red licorice, flowers and mineral.  Delicate yet impactful, it has a long nuanced finish.


Drink this alongside a roasted rack of pork with herbs.  It may change your life.


$23.99 BTL. / $287.88 CASE



2009 Fattoria Poggerino Chianti Classico Riserva “Bugialla”


This special vineyard within the property offers and even greater amount of rock, giving competition to the vines and make the roots grow deeper.


The yields on this wine are quite low, and the wine has great concentration, but not in a jammy or overbearing way.  The wine is aged in tonneaux, larger French oak for 2 years, although we find it to be incredibly well integrated.


This is an extremely well regarded wine in Italy, garnering the Tre Bicchiere Award from the Italian wine bible, Gambero Rosso.  It is counted among the great wines of Tuscany.


When it comes to Sangiovese we know there is incredible collector focus on the wines of Brunello di Montalcino.  There are of course great wines there.


Unfortunately this has meant that wines like this get largely unnoticed here in the United States.


That is a bad, bad decision, because this is every bit as good as any of the top Brunello, and actually will be appreciated more for those that also appreciate wines like great Red Burgundy and aged Barolo and Barbaresco.


Piero only makes this wine is top vintages, he has skipped 2010 and 2011 for instance.  The mere 36 bottles that remain of the 2009 will soon be gone, until the 2012 is released.


Buy some of this fans of Tuscany.  It is a bargain, compared to its peers, and more importantly it is an incredible wine.


You can decant and drink now, but this will age through 2025+.




Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

The Wine Wire: Some Barolos We Found While Hanging Around On The Floor

Last week we performed a physical inventory which involved a lot of crawling around on the floor to get to the lower shelves. This particular task, while unpleasant and somewhat tedious, did remind us that we have a few great Barolos in this place. These are very limited in quantity. But perhaps you want a bottle or two for around the house or cellar.


2009 Cappellano Barolo “Pié Franco-Michet”



2006 Massolino Barolo “Margheria”



2004 Cavallotto Baraolo Bricco Boschis “Vigna San Giuseppe”



2010 Paolo Scavino Barolo Monvigliero



Posted in The Wine Wire

Friday Feature 01/09/15: The 2012 Releases from Quinta Vale D. Maria

Hello and Happy Friday!
The New Year always brings new arrivals, and we will have lots of fun new selections for you in the coming weeks.
One set of new arrivals that just came in at the end of December are the new vintages from superstar Portuguese producer, Quinta Vale D. Maria.
Whether it is their inexpensive “Rufo,” which we sell by the bucketload, to their flagship offerings from the Quinta Vale D. Maria estate, these are some of the most beloved wines that we sell in the store.
In fact, everyone that had a chance to try these when Francisca Van Zeller was in town last year, came back for more.
We are proud to currently be the exclusive retailer of these wines in Illinois.
The Douro region of Portugal, from where these hail has garnered much attention in the last year.  While we don’t often quote press, we believe that a country with as great of wines as Portugal, we must share the consensus so that consumers who are wary realize it has arrived as one of the great wine producing countries.
In last year’s Wine Spectator Top 100, the Douro logged three of the top five spots.  Pretty impressive.
Now we will begin to see the new vintage 2012 arrive to our shores, a vintage that I had the chance to taste when I visited Portugal last July.  Generalizations about the vintage don’t paint the whole picture.  If you have ever been to the Douro you know it offers many different expositions, elevations, and even slight changes to the soils.  Different Douro estates, within a few kilometers, all experienced variations which impacted their wines.
What I can tell you from my visit to Quinta Vale D. Maria is that they produced really outstanding wines in 2012.  There were some wines I may have slightly preferred in 2011, but then others I preferred in 2012.  That’s wine – the differences in the vintages are what makes it interesting and fun to debate.  Nobody, not even Robert Parker knows exactly how these will turn out exactly.
So without further ado, let us introduce you to some world-class wines, that we think any of our collector / drinker clients need to try!
Have a great weekend,
Craig & Sheb



Friday Feature
Quinta Vale D. Maria
The history of Quinta Vale D. Maria starts in 1996, when it was acquired by Cristiano Van Zeller and his wife Joana.  The property had been in Joana’s family for many years.   A huge restoration of the property needed to take place, as well as increasing of vineyards through new plantings and long-term leases.
Today, Quinta Vale D. Maria has 31 hectares of vineyards. 16 hectares, which are fully-owned are 60-80 years-old.  10 hectares which have a long lease are between 25 and 80 years, and new plantings of 5 hectares occurred in 2004 and 2007.
The team behind Quinta Vale D. Maria is an impressive one.  The Van Zeller’s have been involved in the Douro and Port trade since the late 1700’s.  They owned Quinta do Noval, till it was sold in 1993.  Cristiano Van Zeller was the manager of Noval till that point.  His other team members include famed consulting winemaker Sandra Tavares da Silva (owner of Pintas), and full-time winemaker Joana Pinhão.
I’m excited to introduce the line-up of red wines from Quinta Vale D. Maria!
2011 “Rufo” Tinto
It all starts with the “Rufo.”
“Rufo” is the everyday drinking wine from Quinta Vale D. Maria. They use the fruit from younger vines on the estate, as well as some purchased fruit from various cousins in the same region. The wine is a blend of Touriga Franca & Touriga Nacional.
Complex and full-bodied this has enough fruit to make it a glass you can just sip on all by itself.
This is an outstanding value, and the 2011 is dangerously close to selling out!  Insert sad Emoji here.
$15.00 BTL. / $90.00 SIX-PACK CASE – ONLY 60 BOTTLES LEFT!
2012 Quinta Vale D. Maria Douro Tinto
Each person that bought the 2011 Tinto from us commented on how much they loved it, and usually purchased more.  Wait till you have the 2012!
This is the flagship wine of Quinta Vale D. Maria.
There are over 40 different traditional grape varieties blended in this wine, with an average vine age of 60-years-old.  The vineyards are co-planted with these indigenous varietals and harvested together.  Some of the names include Tinta Amarela, Rufete, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Francisca, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Sousão.
When the grapes are harvested they are foot trodden in traditional lagares, or open top stone tanks, with this process typically lasting 1 to 3 days.  There is temperature controlled lining in the lagares to ensure a fermentation range in the 22 to 27 degree Celsius.  Malolactic fermentation takes place in oak casks, two different sizes, and then aged for 21 months in barriques (75% new, 25% 1 year).
The 2012 Tinto is outstanding.  It has the concentration you would expect from a Quinta Vale D. Maria wine, but finishes with more freshness and great length.  I had a chance to taste a 2004 vintage with Cristiano, which was a cooler vintage, and it was in great shape.
The best part about this wine is that it can be opened now (give it a little time in a decanter) and will age nicely over a decade.
A world-class wine – do not miss this!
2012 CV – Curriculum Vitae, Douro
Before Cristiano decided to make his two single vineyard wines, Curriculum Vitae was considered the top wine of the house.  Today, it is one of the top three, but still one of the most impressive wines made in Portugal.
The grapes are grown in one of their vineyards along the river Torto.  It is a North facing vineyard, very old vines, with more than 80 years of age.
The grapes are foot trodden at Quinta Vale D. Maria for 2 days at a cool temperature between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius.  50% of that juice is fermented in the same lagares, and the other 50% in stainless steel vats.  Aging is done in barrique, 75% new and 25% one-year barrels.  Production was down in 2012 to 5,036 bottles.
The 2012 offers some of the same fruit tendencies as 2011 with notes of black cherry and plum, and also is showing some of its baking spices from the oak, yet the finish is very different.  The tannins are a tad softer, and the length and freshness seem to go on and on!
I have no problem with someone opening and decanting a bottle right now.  In fact I would ask that next time you need a gift bottle for someone that is over immersed in wines like Napa Cabernet or even Châteauneuf-du-Pape, that you bring a bottle of this to try!
This of course will age nicely in one’s cellar, so drink now – 2030.
Truly fantastic!
2012 Quinta Vale D. Maria “Vinha da Francisca,” Douro
A single plot on the Quinta Vale D. Maria estate, the vines for Vinha da Francisca were planted in 2004.  The 4.5 hectare vineyard is planted with Tinta Francisca (an old varietal introduced in the Douro in 1756), Touriga Franca, Sousão, Rufete and Touriga Nacional.
Like the others, the grapes are foot trodden in lagares, but also fermented in those lagares.  The wine was racked into Allier oak, undergoing malolactic fermentation in those barrels and aging.
I thought it was going to be difficult to outdo the 2011 Vinha da Francisca, but in my estimation the 2012 does so.  The hallmark of this wine is its aromatic exuberance, always teeming with beautiful red fruits, mineral and spice.  It has a very seductive, silky texture that firms up a bit at the end.  Again, that freshness of 2012 really adds to the length.
Only 7,800 bottles produced, and this will be very rarely seen in the United States.
For those that want to drink sooner than later, this is special!
2012 Quinta Vale D. Maria “Vinha do Rio,” Douro
The amazing thing about the Quinta Vale D. Maria estate is that every plot is identified and many vinified on their own.
It was this knowledge of their different terroir within the property that led Cristiano Van Zeller to decide to make a special wine from his oldest parcel on the property.  Called Vinha do Rio (River Vineyard) it sits at lower altitude, very close to the river.  The vines were planted 100 years ago.
The wine is fermented and aged in the same manner as Vinha da Francisca, but the flavors and identity are completely different.
Compared alongside the Vinha da Francisca, the aromas introduce a dark cherry, red currant note alongside darker berries, notes of mineral and cocoa.  Texturally, this is much richer and full-bodied than Vinha da Francisca, but again with that hallmark balance and complexity.
The 2012 was recently reviewed by Mark Squires of The Wine Advocate and given 94 points, one of the highest rated Douro wines of the vintage.
With only 2696 bottles produced, this is very rare stuff indeed. This is always the wine that sells out the quickest from the winery and will do so from my store as well.
A perfect gift to yourself, or someone else!
Cellar and drink from 2018-2035.
Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday feature 1/2/15: One Wine From The Marche

Hello and Happy Friday!
We hope you all had an amazing celebration to commemorate 2014.
We are already excited about all the great wines that 2015 is going to bring!
So to begin the New Year off right, this Friday Feature focuses on one of Craig’s favorite discoveries of 2014, the wines (and olive oil) of Vini Mida in the Marche region in Italy.
We also wanted to remind you that we are open our normal hours of business today (Jan. 2) and tomorrow (Jan. 3).  Reload on your depleted resources from the holidays!
Finally Craig just wanted to also say “Go Ducks!”
Have a great weekend,
Craig & Sheb


Vini Mida Offida

2011 Vini Mida Offida Rosso-Marche, Italy
Italy is an amazing wine country.  Even for us in the business there are always new discoveries.
Last June, Craig spent a week in the Marche region of Italy.  Don’t know where that is?  In 2015 you will know, because we have several great finds on their way.
The Marche region is located on the eastern seaboard of the Adriatic, in Central Italy, South of Emilia Romagna and North of Abruzzo.
It offers a beautiful coastline, and in the interior, descending from the Apennine mountain chain, beautiful hills, forming valleys, gorges and rivers.
It is perhaps Italy’s best kept secret, a region that has seen some upswing in tourism, but with still a laid back, non-touristy feel.
The region is essentially split into five administrative districts, each with its own character.
Today’s winery comes from the Southern most administrative district which takes its name from the biggest town, Ascoli Piceno.
Vini Mida is a 3 hectare estate located in Castorano.  Winemaker Roberto Corradetti produces between 7,000 – 8,000 bottles of wine per year.  The history of Vini Mida began with Roberto’s father, who was passionate about wine and made small quantities for home use.  After the birth of Roberto’s son in 2000, they decided to take a more full-time approach and 2004 marks the start of the company.
Roberto is very connected to his vineyards, and has strong beliefs on farming and the health of the farm.  His vineyards are organically farmed, even certified as Agricoltura Biologica.
This hard work in the vineyard pays off in the wines.
This red hails from the Offida DOCG, which by law is a wine made predominantly of the Montepulciano variety.  While technically the same grape that you find in Abruzzo, Montepulciano from Offida is less productive, and also the bunches are slightly different.
Montepulciano can be a tricky grape to grow, as the farmer has to carefully manage its ripeness and the time to pick it.  This is something Roberto Corradetti does very well.  Coupled with his dedicated organic farming, there is the typical richness and fruit of the grape, but with excellent balance.
The 2011 Offida Rosso was produced entirely from Montepulciano from a 2 hectare parcel on the estate.  Harvested in October, it was fermented in stainless steel tank, and aged in barrel for 24 months.
Intense dark cherry aromatics combine with hints of fennel and cocoa.  This really glides across the palate with rich dark and red berry fruit, spice and a long finish that keeps you salivating.
It is a great food wine.  Try pairing it with pasta with a rich bolognese sauce, or with a steak seared in cast-iron.
For those that don’t polish off a whole bottle in a night, this shows well for at least a couple days with the cork stuck back in.
It is a fantastic value, and best part of all when you buy this, you are supporting a true small farmer who is living his dream with a great deal of passion.
$21.99 BTL. / $131.94 SIX-PACK CASE
Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday Feature 12/26/14: The New 6 for $70 Something Sampler!

Hello and Happy Friday!
Hope your holidays were merry and bright!
We have had a great year here at Perman Wine Selections, and want to thank you, our customers, for your loyal support and referrals. It really means a lot whenever a new customer comes in and tells us that we have come highly recommended. We are nothing without all of you.
New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. If you are planning a soirée or fancy cocktail party, we are happy to look at your menus and make pairing suggestions. Just email us your ideas.
We will be observing regular hours except Wednesday December, 31st (New Year’s Eve) when we will be open from 12-5pm and Thursday, January 1st, 2015 (New year’s Day) we will be CLOSED.
After that, we are back to business as usual.
In other news, we are excited to announce the newest version of your 6 for $70-Something sampler!

The 6 for $70-Something is Chicago’s (and the planet’s) best monthly value wine sampler!


This month’s sampler is our Friday Feature of 2014. There are some fantastic wines here that represent some of the “work” we did while traveling this year and we are excited to hear your thoughts about these prodders we have grown so fond of.


If interested, simply stop by the store, or send us an email and we can coordinate delivery or shipping.


Craig & Sheb




6 for $70-Something Sampler

2013 Vale D. Marie “Rufo” Branco-Douro, Portugal


Our affection for Quinta Vale D. Mari and the family that makes these great wines is no secret; we honestly feel that Quinta Vale D. Maria is one of the greatest estates in the Douro. Last summer, we featured the “Rufo” red and you people drank us dry. “Rufo” is the everyday drinking wine from Quinta Vale D. Maria. They use the fruit from younger vines on the estate, as well as some purchased fruit from various cousins in the same region. The first time around, we did not order the white but we have rectified this situation now.


Like the red, this wine is a blend of many indigenous varieties that grow happily together in the beautiful terraced vineyards that line the majestic Douro River. Rabigato & Viosinho lead the charge.


The Rufo white is surprisingly fresh and delicate given the power of the red that comes from these valleys; a Sauvignon Blanc fan or those who have a penchant for vibrant, light, refreshing whites done without oak will be great fans of this.


$15.00/ BTL.-$90.00/ CASE OF 6



2012 Domaine Rabasse-Charavin Côtes Du Rhône Rouge- Southern Rhône Valley, France


Rabbase-Charavin is another estate we hold dear to our hearts and always get excited when our yearly shipment arrives. To re-cap, Domaine Rabasse-Charavin is a fantastic, small estate located in the appellation of Cairanne. Corinne Couturier and her daughter, Laure are the fourth and fifth generation to make wine at Rabasse-Charavin.  Their wines have a great reputation in France, classically structured, and traditionally styled.


2012 in the Souther Rhône is a vintage with nice ripeness but also great finesse. Corrine and Laure work with smaller yields than most, and as a result their wines are always concentrated, and the 212 Côtes du Rhône is no exception, although it does exhibit a nice freshness, a result of the vintage.


The blend here is 80% Grenache, 20% Syrah & 5% Mourvédre. Aromatic, fruity and spicy, this is a wonderful wine to accompany simply roasted meats.


$14.00/BTL.-$168.00/ CASE OF 12



Domaine de Majas Syrah “Ravin Des Sieurs”-Côtes de Catalanes, France


About 20 miles north of the Spanish border, in the Rousillon, the IGP zone of Côtes des Catlanes is located. Life here, like in all border regions, melds a certain French industriousness with a Mediterranean calm that harkens to the Catalan influences. Domaine de Majas is located in Caudies de Fenouilledes, at the foothills of the Pyrénees Mountains, exposed to a particularly stunning view of this geological wonder. Majas works organically with respect to the animals, humans, flowers and beauty that surrounds them.


“Ravin Des Sieurs” is a single, hillside vineyard with an average vine age of 35 years. The soils are composed of limestone, clay and schist. Harvesting is done manually and fermentation and aging are done in stainless steel.


The result is a lovely Syrah that while ripe and redolent of blue and black fruit, still maintains a lively structure that hints at a jammy quality. We love this with stew, but also could be very nice with a simple dinner of sausages onion & salad.


This wine normally retails for $16 per bottle, and well worth it at that price. We have a very special price on this right now, so take advantage of this exceptional value.


$12.00/BTL.-$144.00/ CASE OF 12



2013 Failoni Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico- Marche, Italy


This is one of the properties Craig fell in love with during his summer trip to the Marche. The small winery, run by the meticulous Antonio Failoni, was impressive in its quality, cleanliness and professionalism.


Failoni is located in the central Marche, 20 km from the east coast of Italy and he produces 6,000 bottle of this marvelous white annually. The DOC of Cstelli dei Jesi encompasses about 5000 acres and produces only white wine made from Verdicchio.


Let it be known, Verdicchio is not always something to write home about. We have had many a dilute, forgettable version. Not with this winery though. Failoni’s version is impressively concentrated, with great minerality and a spirited citric quality that is oh so quaffable.


The wine will pair nicely with salads (and face it, we can all use some more salad this time of year) steamed crab legs, or sautéed sole.


$12.00/BTL.-$144.00/CASE OF 12



2013 Pandolfi Orsini Pergola Rosso “Montalfojo”- Marche, Italy


This property is another gem from Craig’s very productive trip to the Marche region of Italy.


Pandolfi Orsini was founded in 1894, and today brothers Andrea and Luca are the six generation in charge of the estate.  They make 5 wines in total, including this Pergola Rosso.


What the heck is Pergola Rosso? Don’t worry, I was flummoxed as well. Not many of the wines from the Marche make it to the states and that is too bad. This is a tiny wine zone dedicated to making red wine from the Aleatico grape. The villages of Pergola, Fratte Rosa, Frontone, Serra Sant’Abbondio and San Lorenzo in Campo encompass the zone. There are only a handful of producers left making Pergola. And there are only about 1200 acres of Aleatico left in Italy.


Those who love fragrant, soft red with floral qualities and soft berry fruit with adore the Montalfojo. It reminded me a bit of Frappatto mixed with Sangiovese, you know, Frangiovese!





2013 Alberto Furque Malbec- Valle de Uco, Argentina 


Alberto Furque and his family established their eponymous winery in the town of La Consulta, in the Uco Valley just south of Mendoza. The vineyards are at high elevation (3000 feet above sea level) and this elevation creates an extreme diurnal shift; hot days coupled with cool nights.


Carolina Furque is now at the helm, and her philosophy is to harvest very ripe grapes for maximum fruity pleasure. The grapes are fermented in stainless steel and aged in concrete tanks.


This is the kind of jammy, late night wine you wouldn’t mind opening if dinner ended up being just a few potato chips. It happens sometimes, don’t give us that look!


$10.50/BTL.-$126.00/CASE OF 12

Posted in 6 for $70-Something, Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday Feature 12/19/14: The New 6 for $120 Something Sampler- Your Holiday Meal, Mapped Out.

Hello and Happy Friday!


We hope you are having a wonderful Holiday Season!


In the spirit of the Holidays, our latest edition of the Six for $120-Something features six wines intended for that perfect Holiday meal.


We take you through the evening, starting with sparkling, moving into white, red, and even a dessert wine.


This is one of the best samplers we have offered to date.


It would make a great last minute gift idea for a client, co-worker or a family member.  We are happy to include gift descriptions with the sampler.




We are maintaining normal store hours for most of the Holiday season.  Our normal hours are M-F, noon till 8 pm, and Saturday, 11 am – 7 pm.


Please note the following exceptions:


Christmas Eve – Wednesday, Dec. 24th – Noon – 5 PM

Christmas Day – Thursday, Dec. 25th – Closed


New Year’s Eve – Wednesday, Dec. 31st – Noon – 5 PM

New Year’s Day – Thursday, Jan. 1st – Closed


We hope to see you soon!



Craig & Sheb



6 for $120-Something


Domaine Champs Fleuris Crémant de Loire NV

The Loire Valley is known for its crisp Sauvignon Blancs and earthy Cabernet Francs, but here’s a fact you might not know: it also produces over two million gallons of champagne method sparkling wine under the appellation “Crémant de Loire”.


Are you as excited about this as we are?


Most of this Crémant production comes out of the Saumur appellation, which is where our producer, Domaine des Champs Fleuris is located. Many of you have tried their delicious Cabernet Francs, which we have been offering over the last several months.


Champs Fleuris make their fines bulles (aka bubbles) at the estate which is a relatively rare practice in the region. Many producers send their base wine to another winery who then completes the secondary fermentation, sending the finished Crémant back to the producer. Champs Fleruis is able to over see all steps of their Crémant process which insures a great product.


The wines is fresh and racy, a perfect foible for a favorite holiday snack of buckwheat blini, smoked salmon and crème fraîche garnished with caviar.







2013 Matello Pinot Gris-Willamette Valley, OR


The history of Oregon Pinot Gris is fascinating. With some of Oregon’s original Pinot Gris vines sturdily anchored in its lush hillsides for more than 35 years – the longest of any in the New World – this wine growing region is now offering the world the opportunity to enjoy the fruit of its labor. Today, Oregon proudly lays claim to the oldest vines and vintages outside of Europe.


Marcus Goodfellow of Matello started production in 2002.  He sources his fruit from family-owned vineyards in the Dundee Hills, Yamhill-Carlton, and the Ribbon Ridge AVAs of the Willamette Valley.


His Pinot Gris always is named among the top. This style of Pinot Gris is both fresh and textured. Never more than a few hundred cases, this micro-production showcases the beautiful mineral nature of the shallow sedimentary soils of the Whistling Ridge and Bishop Creek Vineyards.


Bright, fresh, pear, lime blossom, hints of hazelnut, and a saline note.


Still snacking? It is great with a cheese and charcuterie board.  Moved to the first course? Great with everything from shellfish to turbot.


$19.00/BTL-$228.00/CASE OF 12




2013 Domaine des Terres Vivantes ” La Lutine” Beaujolais-Villages-Burgundy, France


The Beaujolais-Villages are a cluster of vineyards intertwined to the west, and directly south of  the ten crus of Beaujolais.


Terres Vivantes is located near the village of Charpenay, whose soils are informed by the silt and alluvial leavings of the melting of glaciers that formed what is now the Rhône Valley. This produces a fruity, light and fragrant version of Gamay, with fresh aromatics and  an underpinning of nervy acidity.


This is a perfect companion for an afternoon of baking or with your Roasted Chicken course.


Serve slightly chilled.


$25.00/BTL-$300.00/ CASE OF 12




2013 Field Recordings Tempranillo “Dead End Ranch” Paso Robles, CA


Once in a while, we step off our old world horses and get our hands dirty in the new world dirt. There are some cool, exciting things happening in California right now, beyond the pricey Napa Cabernet, especially down in the Central Coast.


The Dead End Ranch is another hit bottling from boutique producer Andrew Jones of Field Recordings. This is earthy, meaty, delicious stuff comprised mostly of Tempranillo with a touch of Petite Sirah, Graciano and Monastrell (aka Mourvédre) blended in.


We are recommending this wine because we know there might be an occasion, especially at the holidays, where you just need a drink! This is the kind of wine you can drink on its own, wrapping presents, say at 2 am on Christmas Day, or watching nervously for the UPS driver to come to your house with a certain set of important boxes at 4 pm Christmas Eve.


Don’t worry, Field recordings Tempranillo has your back!


$18.00/ BTL.-$216.00/CASE OF 12




2001 Domaine Rabasse-Charavin Côtes du Rhône Villages “Cuvée Pigée – Les Amandiers”


In our perfect world, any special Christmas dinner or New Year’s Eve menu typically concludes on the savory side with the presentation of a perfectly executed duck, squab, or even dry-aged beef dish.  Very few wines are going to work better in their pairing than this special offering.


We can’t say enough good things about the wines of Corinne and her daughter Laure Couturier of Domaine Rabasse Charavin.  The word traditional is so often over used in our business, and its meaning has become so skewed, it almost seems wrong to call something so.  So, we will replace that word traditional, and instead proclaim the wines of Rabasse-Charavin as classic, in all the right ways!


The appellation of Cairanne, where Corinne and Laure produce their wine, is a treasure trove of incredible producers.  I know Southern Rhône enthusiasts seek out wines from places like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueryas, as they are storied and reputed names.  The wines of Rabasse-Charavin and some of those other producers of Cairanne make wines on the same level as those other appellations.  The only difference is, you pay less for this quality!


Corinne and Laure make an incredibly wide range of wines from various appellations and villages in the Southern Rhône.  One additional bonus of working with them, aside from the great quality, is that they often re-release older wines, such as this.


“Cuvée Pigée – Les Amandiers” is composed of 100% Grenache from 50 year-old vines that give a mere 30 hl/ha of yields.  It comes from a single plot in Violès, which is a mixture of gravel and clay/limestone soil.


The grapes are crushed by foot, 2 to 3 times a day over a 10-day period before being fermented and put to rest in concrete tanks.  It, along with all Rabasse-Charavin wines, is made with indigenous yeast and it is not fined or filtered.


We were lucky to be able to source a small amount of the 2001 vintage for this sampler.  It is a texturally rich, deep, dark and spicy red, with notes of chocolate-covered cherries, plum, black pepper, iron and mineral.  It will be the perfect compliment to those dishes mentioned in the introduction.


This is truly a great wine, and a flat out steal at this price point.






2012 Pandolfi Orsini “Rosilde” Vino & Visciole


Dessert wines have sadly started to go by the wayside.  As we all get busier and busier with our daily lives, it seems that conversation at the end of dinner over a nice glass of sweet wine has gone away.


Well if JT could bring Sexy back, we certainly can bring dessert wine back.


What better way to do it than with a bottle of Vino & Visciole!


When Craig came back from his trip to Italy this year, one wine he couldn’t stop talking about was this “Visciolata.” Sure he was excited about the new releases of 2010 Barolo from producers like Vietti and Scavino, but what he kept babbling about was this cherry wine from the Marche.


His Marche adventure was put together by his friend, Alberto Taddei of Selvagrossa in Pesaro.  He asked Alberto to put together an itinerary of small producers in the region that represented the best of the best of their obscure appellation.  In his visits, he got to taste for the first time a Visciolata, a sweet wine which he is now the foremost expert on in the City of Chicago!


An ancient variety of wild cherry called Prunus Cerasus are scattered throughout the Marche region.  Wine producers will often harvest the cherries in late summer and macerate them whole with sugar, creating a fermentation.  That fermented cherry juice is then typically mixed with red wine creating a Vino & Visciole a.k.a. Visciolata.


After tasting several examples of this, Craig has proclaimed Pandolfi Orsini the top producer of Visciolata in the Marche.  While in no way is Visciolata a serious wine, after delving into the topic, it became readily apparent that there is an art form to this, and the Orsini brothers, relying on their ancient family recipe have it down to a science.


Two family secrets that we reluctantly divulge, help us understand why theirs is different.  The Orsini’s typically leave the cherries slightly crushed and whole with the pits, which adds to the aromatic complexity.  Most importantly this Vino & Visciole is produced with white wine, not the typical red wine. Producing a balanced sweet wine always involves having balanced acidity.  This addition of white wine gives it such, and is a genius move in our estimation.


Now to the good part – enjoy this beautifully crafted Visciolata at the end of dinner on its own, with some cookies, alongside vanilla ice cream, or with your favorite intense chocolate dessert.


This is special stuff, and we are the only ones in the United States that carry it!


$17.00/ 500ml.



Posted in 6 for $120-Something, Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday Feature 12/12/14: 2012 Releases from Cameron Winery & Goodfellow Family Cellars

Hello and Happy Friday!

We hope your holiday preparations are going well. We have a lot of new wines in the store, and just want to remind you that any out of state shipping you want done in time for holiday arrival should be submitted to us no later than Monday, December 15th.
Local gifts can always be sent via courier or messenger weekdays up until Christmas Eve.

Have a great weekend,

Craig & Sheb



We are excited about today’s Friday Feature. These are the long anticipated 2012 releases from two very small, very exceptional wineries in Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley. Both are exclusive to our store (actually the entire state of Illinois) and we have them as a result of Craig’s personal friendships with these two winemakers: Marcus Goodfellow of Goodfellow Family Cellars (and Matello) and John Paul of Cameron Winery.


If you have missed any of the hype regarding the 2012 vintage in Oregon, click here or here. As with most great vintages, production levels were reduced as quality was elevated. We have very few of these wines and we expect that they will sell out quite quickly.


Now on to the feature.



Friday Feature: 2012 Offerings from Cameron Winery and Goodfellow Family Cellars.

Cameron Winery


In the new world, style is an important word to talk about, because while most producers in Oregon talk about the concept of terroir, their methods can erase their original intention.


John Paul, owner and winemaker of Cameron Winery is a farmer first.  And the Cameron ecosystem is the driving force. We offered these for the first time last year and they sold out almost immediately. This year, there is even less wine, and we expect that 2012 will go down in the history books as one of Oregon’s greatest vintages.


These wines are for you if:


1.Cool-climate Pinot Noir is your thing, whether that be from Burgundy, Oregon, or other magical locations around the world.


2.Light color doesn’t bother you.  These wines aren’t about color extraction, rather aromatics and elegance.


3.You yearn for the days of lower alcohol, realizing that a truly balanced wine often times doesn’t come in a 15% package.


4.You have patience.  Let’s just say none of these wines taste bad today – heck, we have popped open each and enjoyed them immensely.  But given due time, those who cellar will be greatly rewarded with incredibly aromatics and great complexity of flavors.


Pinot Noir fans – please do yourself a favor and buy these, you won’t be disappointed!



2012 Cameron “Arley’s Leap” Pinot Noir


This block of grapes is located right next to the 30 year-old vines that go into the Abbey Ridge designate. It was a favorite haunt of dear, old departed Arley, a beloved dog of the Cameron Winery.


This is the most accessible Pinot of the three offered on today’s newsletter.  This packs a lot of aroma and flavor – notes of bright cherry and flowers on the nose, lead into a mineral, earthy, red-fruit dominated palate.  It is really high-toned and refreshing. 2012 lent a bit more concentration than usual to this old dog’s napping grounds!






2012 Cameron “Clos Electrique” Rouge (Pinot Noir)


The estate vineyard consists of 10 different clones of Pinot noir on a mere 2 acres (less than 1 hectare) of land. The yields are always extremely small averaging between 0.5 and 1.5 tons per acre (that is less than 20 hl/ha).


This is one of the top two wines of Cameron, with Abbey Ridge being the other.  The site is a earlier ripening, warmer site compared with Abbey Ridge.


This is a really impressive vintage for Clos Electrique!  Of the three Pinots you can really feel a richer texture, yet without overripe notes.  This still has the trade mark high-toned red berry notes on the nose and palate, with a pepper note and herbs adding to the complexity.  This is going to be fun to taste its evolution.







2012 Cameron “Clos Electrique” Blanc (Chardonnay)


This is a rare sighting of a truly gorgeous Chardonnay. This unique vineyard in Dundee Hills was planted in 1987. The resulting wine is vibrant yet concentrated with long length an d complex flavors. Chardonnay lovers will freak out.


This is one of America’s greatest Chardonnays!






2012 Cameron “Abbey Ridge” Pinot Noir


Year after year Abbey Ridge produces some of the best Pinot noir in Oregon. It is not the richest or the ripest but it is clearly one of the most elegant sites in the state. Most vintages cast forth an initial fragrance of rose petals followed by lavender and rosemary


The aromatics on this are incredible, and beautiful even at this early stage.  Notes of wild strawberry, lavender and spice lead into a palate that has a good mineral core, with sour cherry, earth and spice flavors.  This really lingers on the palate, and has great balance.


This is truly exceptional Pinot Noir!






Goodfellow Family Cellars


Marcus Goodfellow’s first vintage was in 2002, under the Matello label. 2012 marks the debuts of his eponymous label, Goodfellow Family Cellars. Marcus has worked carefully over the years to build relationships with small farmers who share his particular philosophy; meticulously managed and well-exposed vineyards that are dry-farmed. . The Matello label remains for vineyard blended wines (and we have Matello Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in the shop now, $24.99 & $18.99 respectively) and Goodfellow Cellars is a single vineyard designate label.


Marcus’ wine exhibit great restraint coupled with beautifully ripe fruit, and are a true pleasure to drink. We are featuring Pinot Noirs from Whistling Ridge Vineyard and Durant, as well as a rare appearance of Chardonnay, also from Whistling Ridge.


The wines have a little baby fat to shed, which is why they are great candidates for the cellar. However, once a little air gets to them, they do shed  their jammy outer skins quite quickly to reveal their deliciously true natures.


All three of these are insane values, really some of the best value single vineyard Pinot Noirs we’ve tasted!




2012 Goodfellow Family Cellars “Whistling Ridge” Pinot Noir


Sitting atop classic Willakenzie soils, Whistling Ridge vineyard sits atop the ridge line of the tiny AVA of Ribbon Ridge. The vines really struggle to obtain moisture and the yields are quite low here resulting in complex, concentrated wine.


$36.99/ BTL





2012 Goodfellow Family Cellars “Whistling Ridge” Chardonnay


This is simply stunning. Clean, clear and brimming with apples (of all hues and flavors, golden to granny smith), brioche, asian pear and minerality. A mere 80 cases of this were produced.


$36.99/ BTL





2012 Goodfellow Family Cellars “Durant Vineyard” Pinot Noir


It took 4 years for Marcus to convince the Durant family to sell him fruit, finally in 2010 they offered him two blocks, plus a little bit of fruit from their oldest plot, planted in 1973. This vineyard is located in Dundee Hills AVA, and is composed of Jory volcanic soils.


Durant Vineyard wines are firmly structured and suitable for long-term aging. Those of you with impulse control issues do not fret; even in their infancies these wines are delectable.




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