Friday Feature 03/18/2016: The New 6 for $120-Something Sampler

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 is a truly fantastic sampler.  As always we travel around the globe, with great wines from Spain, Italy, South Africa, and of course France.  We’ve seen an increase in people asking for white wine, and so this month we have equal parts red to white wine.
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!
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2014 La Zorra “Teso” Blanco, Salamanca, Spain
I’m super excited to introduce a wine to you that is relatively new to me!
I can’t give you a long, storied history of the Sierra de Salamanca appellation because it is one of the newest appellations in Spain, gaining PDO status in 2010.  It is located in the Sierra de Francia mountains, on the Eastern edge of Portugal, where for centuries terraced vineyards above the Alagón river have been farmed.
Agustin Maillo and his family own a small restaurant in the town of Mogarraz.  For years they have been making wine for the restaurant and his family.  Today, he has dedicated himself to the wines and produces three excellent wines, two red and the one we are featuring today, a white wine called “Teso Blanco.”
All the wines feature the Rufete grape, and there is both a red version and white version of it.  The only other time I’ve had Rufete is when I’ve been in Portugal, and it is used there as a blending grape.
The 2014 Teso Blanco is produced from 59% Palomino (the grape of Jerez), 29% Rufete Blanca and 12% Moscatel from over 60 year-old vines planted on granite and slate.  The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and aged in old French barriques under a think layer of Flor for 5 months.
For those not familiar with Flor, it is a term we typically talk about with Sherry, a type of yeast allowed to develop on the surface of Fino Sherry.  There are only a handful of wine regions in the world that practice this, and it leaves a distinct impression on the wine.
This is truly a special white wine, among the most unique and delicious that I’ve tasted all year.  The aromatics are fantastic with notes of a concentrated grapefruit peel, spiced pear and flowers.  This has medium weight to it, with a really pure, crystalline quality in the mid-palate.  It is fresh, complex, and outrageously delicious. A whole roasted sea bream with olives, fennel and olive oil would be a great match.
I’m going to do a little begging here, even if you aren’t getting the sampler, please give this wine a try.  It’s like nothing else, and is such a great value given its complexity.
$24.00/BTL.-$288.00/CASE OF 12
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2012 Elio Grasso Barbera d’Alba “Vigna Martina,” Piedmont, Italy
You know we adore the wines of Piedmont around these parts?  That’s because its home to some of the greatest wines in the world, and at the same time the place to find wines you will want to drink on an everyday basis.
I’ve been known to say that a “glass of Barbera a day, keeps the doctor away.”  I’ve heard that its supposed to be an apple, but I’m pretty sure that its Barbera.
This noble grape varietal is at its best in the hills of the Alba and Asti regions of Piedmont.  We know you’ve tried it, but we ask that you keep doing so because there are so many great examples with such diversity of style.
For a long time one of my favorite Barbera has been from famed Barolo producer Elio Grasso, located in the heart of the Barolo region in Monforte d’Alba.  I’ve had the pleasure of visiting this estate many times, and each time I get a chance to walk through the cellars with Gianluca, you see for yourself one consistent trend, they are sold out of wine! That’s because as one of the best producers (if not the best) in Monforte d’Alba, the global demand for these wines is insane.
This Barbera comes from 3.5 hectares of south-facing vines in the village of Monforte d’Alba. Vine age is averaged at healthy 30 years-old.  The alcoholic and malolactic fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks, and the wine is aged in a combination of new and 1-year French barrique. Gianluca produces about 20,000 bottles of the Barbera per year.
Now for some really good news.  Normally this wine would never be able to make our Six for $120-Something sampler, because it typically retails for $33, and is well worth it at that price.  The other day, the distributor decided to reduce the price to help make room for the new vintage and I jumped at the chance to offer this to you at the amazing price of $26.
The 2012 is a fantastic wine, inviting from the first pour, with aromas of black cherry, wild strawberry, fennel and spice. This is a fresh vintage for this wine, and while it has medium weight on the palate, its got great snap, finishing with juicy acidity, and lots of complexity.
Please everyone out there in email land, take advantage of this great deal from this great producer!  Its such a killer food wine, and you can pair it with so many different foods, from steak, to poultry, mushroom based dishes, pasta, and more.
$26.00/BTL.-$312.00/CASE OF 12 – Normally $33 a bottle, take advantage of this special price, while it lasts!
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2013 Domaine Lupin Roussette de Savoie “Cuvée du Pépé – Vieilles Vignes,” France
It’s an exciting time in the world of French wine.  Yes, appellations like Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne still get the majority of chatter in wine circles.  Yet, it’s also important to note that the US now has a better selection than ever of regions that often tended to never make it here.
Case in point, the Savoie.  Over my years in the wine business there was maybe 3 or 4 wines that you would routinely see from this region which sits on the Eastern edge of France, bordering Switzerland and Italy.  With an estimated 50% of the regional economy derived from tourism, much of the local production was, and still is consumed in Savoie.
To navigate the world of Savoie wine, you need to know that it isn’t a huge region in terms of hectares planted, but it does stretch for over 100 kilometers from North to South. Because of that there is a good bit of diversity of style, terroir, and even grapes.  The majority of what we’ve seen in the US up to this point comes from Chambéry which includes the crus of Apremont, Chignon and Chignin-Bergeron.  This is Jacquère-land, a fresh, and relatively straightforward varietal.
Today we focus on what I feel is the more complex variety, the exciting grape, Altesse.  Frangy is a Cru of A.O.C. Roulette de Savoie, located in the Vallée des Usses. Winemaker Bruno Lupin is one of the best producers of this small region.  He owns 5 hectares of vineyards in Frangy, located on the South-facing hillside of Les Aricoques.
Two wines from Domaine Lupin are sold in the Chicago market, and I’ve featured the “regular” Frangy before.  This year, I was able to get my hands on some of the “Cuvée du Pépé”  This very special, small production wine comes from 60 year-old vines, all Altesse from his hillside vineyard.
Such pretty aromatics, combining apple and pear notes along with white flowers and mineral.  Good examples of Altesse such as this show the grape to have a textural element, and this has medium weight on the palate, but finishes with great length, freshness and mineral notes.
A great wine for the table as it can handle seafood such as scallops and lobster, and also pairs nicely with mushrooms.
A special wine.
$29.00/BTL.$348.00/CASE OF 12
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2011 Leone de Castris Salice Salentino Riserva, Puglia, Italy
Wine people don’t drink full-bodied, intense red wine.  Maybe its all the drinking we do, but for most of us, bubbles, white wine, Pinot Noir, those are the kind of things you will find us drinking at home.
Yet there is something comforting and crave-able about wines like this from Leone de Castris that make us reach out for a glass from time to time.
This historic producer, having been founded in 1665 by the Spanish Duke Oronzo is located in the heel of the boot – Puglia, Italy.  This winery has been commercially exporting since the 19th century, and they own a massive 990 acres of vines, producing 2.5 million bottles a year.
This wine comes from the Salice Salentino appellation, just north of the village of Lecce.  The main grape varietal of the area is Negroamaro, typically planted on the clay-loam soil of the area. This Riserva is made from 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera.  It is fermented at a warm temperature in stainless steel tanks, undergoes malolactic fermentation in tank and is aged in 5 year-old French barriques for 1 year.
It has everything you want from a good Salice Salentino, intense, baked red fruit aromas, with hints and spice, vanilla and anise.  It is medium weight, super silky, with the perfect amount of ripe fruit and a subtle, round finish.  This is the kind of wine you want to just sit around and drink, or have at a barbecue with grilled steaks and sausages.
$17.00/BTL.-$204.00/CASE OF 12
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2013 Domaine du Moulin Gaillac “Cuvée Réserve,” France
To say we are Francophiles around here at Perman Wine is a bit of an understatement.  After all Sheb is currently on her annual trip to France, eating great food, visiting local CrossFit “boxes” (I still don’t know what that means), and of course drinking the local wine.
Ah, the local wine, that is what makes France so endearing to us.  Everywhere you go in France there is a local wine, and it is often delicious, matching particularly well to the local cuisine.
We love rustic French countryside wines, and very few typify what we are talking about better than the wines of Gaillac.
Both the name of a village and the wine appellation, Gaillac resides in Southwest France along the river Tarn.  The village was founded in 972, but wine has been produced there by the Romans in the first century BC.
As a wine region it offers different types of soil, clay, limestone, sand and silex.  The region sees more sunshine than Bordeaux, but has a cool maritime climate to match with the sunshine.  The main red grape varieties of the region are Duras and Braucol, and there is white made from Mauzac and Muscadelle.  Syrah is also planted in the region and used in blending.
Domaine du Moulin is a six-generation wine estate that owns 38 hectares of vineyards.  Due to their vineyards located on both sides of the river, they work with two distinctive types of soil, gravel and then clay-limestone.
We had the chance to welcome current winemaker Nicolas Hirissou to the shop a few months back and were really impressed by the wines, particularly by this great value the “Cuvée Réserve.”  A blend of 50% Duras and 50% Syrah, fermented and aged in old barrel, it offers everything you want out of a rustic French countryside red.  Notes of plum, cherry, tobacco leaf and herbs on the nose, lead into a medium-bodied palate with just the right amount of fruit and earthiness complementing each other.
This is clearly a wine for the table, and it conjures up the imagination of a table set with great paté, crusty bread, leafy salads, rich stews, and at the end of it all, several empty bottles of Gaillac.
$15.00/BTL.-$180.00/CASE OF 12
 
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2015 Iona Sauvignon Blanc, Elgin, South Africa 
We hear it all the time.  “Do you have any New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.” “I love Sancerre.” “My favorite is Napa Sauvignon Blanc.”
It’s a fact, consumers order Sauvignon Blanc by appellation or country. While this is a good sign that there is an understanding of how appellation and place effects style, it also can oversimplify the concept of style.
A perfect example is this wine from Iona, a winery based in the Elgin region of South Africa.  South Africa is well known for their Sauvignon Blanc production. Although there is almost twice the amount of Chenin Blanc planted in comparison to Sauvignon Blanc, when I visited the country in January, it seemed equally as present on wine lists in restaurants.
Yet just ordering a South African Sauvignon Blanc can lead to a very different experience.  Stellenbosch is perhaps the most well known region for Sauvignon, but due to the dry and warm climate, many times the life cycle of the grape is too short to get totally ripe.  You often fine Sauvignon with the “green meanies” or what are know as pyrazines, or quite simply put, lots of green, bell pepper and herb notes.
So I want you to keep that in mind when you taste this fantastic Sauvignon Blanc from the cool-climate Elgin region. Iona is often harvesting their fruit two months after many producers in Stellenbosch.  Their long and slow life cycle, allows the fruit to outmuscle any effects of pyrazine.  In fact the really fantastic 2015 Iona Sauvignon Blanc has more notes hinting at tropical fruit, than the typical citrus that you might find in other Sauvignon Blanc.  It is everything you want in a Sauvignon Blanc, a wine that can be sipped on its own or paired with simple preparation of fish.
This is an excellent value.
$17.00/BTL.-$204.00/CASE
Posted in 6 for $120-Something, Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday Feature 03/11/16: Good Cru Beaujolais from Domaine des Billiards

2013 Domaine des Billards Saint-Amour Beaujolais-
Burgundy, France

 

There are a few ways to think about France. There is the romantic way, where wine is drunk, crunchy baguettes slathered with cultured butter are consumed, people are allowed to sit down and eat lunch, the work week is capped at 35 hours and leisure time is valued. But anyone who has done business in France knows that a tangled bureaucratic nightmare slinks behind this idyllic stereotype. 96 administrative departments exist, all with a bevy of fonctionnaires whose sole mission in life is to insure total cessation of forward progress.
Beaujolais, the wine region, actually sits in two different departments. #71, the Saône et Loire and #69, the Rhône. Its ten crus lie mainly in the Rhône, with the exception of Moulin-à-Vent, Chénas & Juliénas whose vineyards lie in both departments. Saint-Amour is the sole cru that lies in the Saône et Loire, where you will also find the Mâconnais and Côte Chalonnaise.
Why are you telling us this? Can’t you just get to the wine?
Yes. We are just trying to make sure you understand how unique Saint-Amour is, that’s all. And this one, made at Domaine des Billards by Xavier & Gregory Barbet, is one of the nicest versions we have had in a long while. The Barbets make Beaujolais across several different appellations, including Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie & Beaujolais-Villages. They use time-honored traditions in their winemaking; semi-carbonic fermentations in vat utilizing only indigenous yeasts, and aging in a combination of used foudre and cement tanks. This is a silky and seamless expression of Gamay, not without acidity, yet tempered by a rich velvet-y texture, and imbued with a trove of morello and rainier cherries. Chill a bottle slightly, turn on your oven and truss a chicken, but not before you have stuffed the cavity with copious amounts of fresh thyme. Liberally season with salt and pepper, and perhaps even a little piment d’esplette and make yourself a fresh salad of crunchy butter lettuce leaves.

 

$25.00/BTL.-$300.00/CASE OF 12
Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

The Wine Wire: Fresh As A Daisy, That’s Right! Freisa….

 

The Brovia Family works in Castiglione Falletto, in the heart of Barolo. While famous for their Baroli, we do see, from time to time, this delicate and fresh Freisa.

 

This not often seen grape is a distant cousin of Nebbiolo, and often made in a frothy, drink-me -in-the-afternoon-before-a-nap kind of style. The Brovias make a more serious style of Freisa, with pretty aromatics and a cut, fresh style that would serve richer foods well. This is the kind of thing you wants around when you are eating a plate of raw beef (as you might) or even a curried chicken salad, which is something not found in Castiglione Falletto, but may be found in your home kitchen.

 

2012 Brovia Langhe Freisa “La Villerina Secca”-Piemonte, Italy

$28.99/BTL

20 Bottles Available

Posted in The Wine Wire

The Wine Wire: American Cab Franc-a-Thon.

The List!

 

AMERICAN CABERNET FRANC

2014 Halcyon Cabernet Franc “Velo Vineyard”, Templeton Gap, Paso Robles, CA

Beautiful cool-climate Cab Franc.  Nice core of fruit, not at all leafy, just under 13%. 125 cases made on their inaugural vintage.

$36.99 BTL. 

ONLY 8 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2014 Halcyon Sparkling Rosé of Cabernet Franc “Velo Vineyard”, Templeton Gap, Paso Robles, CA

Méthode Ancestral, pure Cabernet Franc, slightly cloudy, refreshing and delicious.  A unique sparkler, only 25 cases produced!

$35.99 BTL. 

ONLY 5 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2014 Broc Cellars Cabernet Franc “Santa Barbara County”, Berkeley, CA

Whole cluster Cabernet Franc, very fresh style with lovely delicate aromatics from our favorite “low wattage” winery in Berkeley. This is a delicious option for all you Gamay and Pinot Noir lovers.

$32.99 BTL. 

ONLY 9 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2013 Lieu Dit “Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Franc”, Santa Barbara, CA

A partnership from two wine professionals based around Santa Barbara devoted to only Loire Valley varietals. Their Cab Franc says Loire-style from the outset with a good mix of earth balanced with fruit.

$26.99 BTL. 

ONLY 9 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2013 Ravines “Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc” Finger Lakes, NY

Top notch Cabernet Franc from one of the foremost Finger Lakes wineries. A cool climate here gives a freshness and acidity that cries for food. A blend of their various vineyards gives a varied minerality and complexity.

$26.99 BTL. 

ONLY 9 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

Posted in The Wine Wire

Friday Feature 03/04/16: Pre-Buy Offer, The Wines of Jochen Beurer

We are offering three wines today on pre-buy, meaning that you need simply email us your requests by next Friday (March 11th), and we will order the wine from the distributor. The wines will arrive the week of March 14th, and we will email you when they are in.

Jochen Beurer Riesling Pre-Buy Offer:
 
We are delighted to offer the laser-focused, bone-dry Rieslings from this most talented young producer in the appellation of Baden-Württemberg, in southwest Germany, an area known as Swabia.
Yes, this is Germany, but before you start thinking of the Mosel and it’s slate soils, remember that this is primarily a sub-Alpine region with hills created by the slow shifting movements of the Alps. This region is best understood on its own, not compared to other parts of Germany. Unfortunately, this uniqueness is also what has made it such a marginal region. Though some think it might be Europe’s next great wine region, it is often easier to forget about it than try and understand it. Württemberg hosts high altitude with limestone and marl hills reminiscent of the Jura, and Baden is warm enough to be Germany’s primary red wine region.
Jochen farms a hillside in Stetten (between Stuttgart and Munich) that is broken down into steps with different soil types at each ridge. Riesling ripens easily here now thanks to global warming and the wines are almost always made completely dry with a long fermentation. Jochen himself is a former BMX champion who returned to his family’s vines in 1997. In 2003 he began experiments with native yeast, then shortly after he began to think about preserving the indigenous yeast and local microflora with biodynamics in the vineyard with herbal treatments instead of spraying with chemicals.
All of this hard work yields wines that are extremely clear in their character and philosophy. The Beurer wines are instead lean, mean, mineral-packed machines that are all about the terroir of the different plots. Definitely worth watching evolve over a couple days with the bottle open or over time in your cellar.
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2014 Riesling “Gipskeuper”
 
1000 ft. in altitude with a terroir of red mudstones with deposits of gypsum, and chalky topsoil. The most open and round of the bunch with trademark salinity.
$23.00/BTL-$276.00/CASE OF 12
36 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
 
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2014 Riesling “Schilfsandstein”
 
1100 ft. in altitude with a terroir of yellow green sandstone and quartz, 35 year old vines. Lean (we mean it!), powerfully intense, and great minerality. Lovers of Muscadet and Chablis, take note.
$25.00/BTL.-$300.00/ CASE OF 12
36 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
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2014 Riesling “Kieselsandstein”
1200 ft. in altitude with a terroir of red chalky sandstone soil, pebbles of basalt, quartz and broken rocks from the Alps. Partially fermented and aged in foudre. Full- bodied with more spice and structure, but with the trademark electric acid and minerality.
$29.00/BTL.-$348.00/CASE OF 12
36 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

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

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
$14.00/BTL.
ONLY AVAILABLE ON SAMPLER PURCHASES
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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
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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!
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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
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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
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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
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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.
$15.00/BTL
48 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
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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
 
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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

$19./LITER

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.

$29./BTL

24 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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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.

$29./BTL

9 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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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.

2009-$23./BTL

5 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

2012- $23./BTL

4 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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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
67 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter