Friday feature 2/21/14: The New 6 for $120-Something Sampler

Hello and Happy Friday!

 

Thanks for tolerating our sending you TWO email newsletters, in that many days.

 

In the spirit of hastily sent missives, there was an error regarding the day of the week for the Sepia Austrian Winemaker Dinner.

 

It is Thursday, February 27th, 2014 at 6:30 pm (not Friday as previously stated). Hope that did not trip anyone up.

 

Again, the number to call to reserve your spot is 312-441-1920.

 

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Thanks for everyone’s interest in the Portuguese Winemaker Dinner at Fat Rice.

 

The event sold out in just a few minutes.

 

You will all eventually be able to taste the wines for yourselves as we will be selling them all at the shop in the near future.

 

Craig & Sheb

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6 for $120-Something 

 Clua

2012 Xavier Clua “El Sola D’En Pol”-Terra Alta, Spain

Xavier Clua is a young winemaker who farms 10 hectares of vines around the village of Vilalba dels Arcs in Catalonia, just south of Montsant.  This is the heart of the up and coming Terra Alta region where there are some impressive wines being made.

Terra Alta forms the southern tip of Catalonia. It is an extremely mountainous zone whose valleys enjoy a mild, Mediterranean climate. Modern winemaking has been slow to come to Terra Alta, and it is people like Clua who are leading the charge.

This wine is composed of 85% Grenache Blanc & 15% Viognier, aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve a marked floral quality and freshness. It is a wine wine made to evoke the pleasures of a Mediterranean landscape; a slow procession of white-sailed boats in an azure sea, their triangular canvases gleaming in the sparkling afternoon sun.

You know, that kind of nonsense we all need a lot more of right now as we steel ourselves for the next chapter of what seems to be an unendingly cruel winter.

$15.00/BTL.- $180.00/CASE OF 12

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dei

2008 Dei “Sancta Catharina” IGT-Tuscany, Italy

Cantine Dei has been around since the 1970s, a beautiful Mediterranean farm just outside the village of Montepulciano, whose main exploits have been wine grapes and olive oil. Catherina Dei grew up on this sublime property and in 1992 took over the winemaking. She is a brilliant and gifted winemaker, and the Vino Nobile de Montepulciano’s produced here are benchmark wines for the region.

Catherina makes three classic wines (Vino Nobile, Vino Nobile Reserva & Rosso di Montepulicano) all based, of course, on Sangiovese, called Prugnolo Gentile locally.

However, she also makes two wines that could technically fall in the “Super Tuscan” category, a white called “Martiena” and a red called “Sancta Catherina”, which we are featuring today.

The 2008 is a blend of 30% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah & 10% Petit Verdot. The wines spend a year in new French oak and a year mellowing out in bottle before being released. This wine is a true powerhouse wine, and something you could put away for 10+ years. But there is a copious amount of pleasure in popping a cork on this wine right now, decanting for a few minutes and exploring the darker side of Montepulciano.

$32.00/BTL.

7 BOTTLES AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OUTSIDE OF THE SAMPLER

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Forlorn

2012 Forlorn Hope Tinto Cāo “Dewitt Vineyard”-Amador County, CA

Jancis Robinson, in her epic tome “Wine Grapes” describesTinto Cāo as a, “high quality port variety that occasionally shines in Dão”. That seems like a “meh” description, but one man’s “meh” is another man’s treasure and so here we are faced with yet another one of winemaker Matthew Rorick’s brilliant and rare creatures.

Tinto Cāo is normally part of the blend on his “Mil Amores” bottling. In 2012, Matthew decided to take some of these grapes and ferment them separately. Happy with the results, he was able to produce 45 cases. As with all of Rorick’s wines, traditional techniques were employed; whole-cluster, open-top ferementation, very little racking and elevage in 10+ year old barrels.

Wildly aromatic, this is an unusual wine. It is difficult to find an apt comparison, as even in Portugal this grape is rarely bottled alone. It is medium-bodied, and displays briar-y, high-toned fruits of the early-spring-forest type. As with most of his wines, the natural acids are highly pronounced and intentionally feral.

$28.00/BTL.- $336.00/ CASE OF 12

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dehesa

2006 Alejandro Fernández “Dehesa La Granja”- Castilla y León, Spain

The Dehesa winery has been in existence for hundreds of years, in the town of Zamora. Although this now technically exists outside any of the designated DO zones of today, this was ground zero for Spanish wine production back then. The complex, underground labyrinth where the wine was cellared was carved out in the 1700s using nothing but pick axes.

“La Granja” is the name of the vineyard; a 250 hectare expanse of own-rooted Tempranillo vines planted on the banks of the Guareña River. It is the sand in these soils that allowed these vines to escape the scourge of phylloxera and allowed Alejandro Fernández, the property’s current owner, to continue to propagate this excellent selection massale.

This is traditional Spanish winemaking at it’s best; American Oak is employed and wines are produced in an old-world style with pronounced notes of dill from the cooperage. Dried cherry fruit abounds with firm, ultra-present tannins, courtesy of that old-vine Tempranillo.

$19.00/ BTL.-$228.00/ CASE OF 12

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reisling

2012 Chateau Grand Traverse Riesling “Whole Cluster” -Old Mission Peninsula, MI.

Although the whole idea of drinking “local” has been appealing to us over the years, we have found much more success in the beer category than in wine. But in recent years, it seems that winemakers in Michigan have been getting their act together, and we are pleased to feature a Riesling that more than exceeds our exacting standards.

I furrowed my brow to the point of needing botox when Craig presented this bottle to me, but upon tasting was pleasantly surprised by its clarity and freshness. And in reading the techniques employed by winemaker Sean O’Keefe, they seem to be doing all the right things.

They leave a bit of residual sugar in order to emulate the palate of a German Kabinett. However, the wine is neither cloying nor sweet. This is a perfect aperitif wine, a Saturdayafternoon kind of thing, to go with light appetizers or salad.

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

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meinklang

2011 Meinklang Pinot Noir-Burgenland, Austria

In our unending quest to slake the world’s rabid thirst for affordable Pinot Noir, we bring to you another delicious cherry-filled wonder- this time from eastern Austria.

There may be few advantages to the crisis of global climate change. This winter we are experiencing definitely belongs in the disadvantage column; however one small concession is that winemakers in regions once too cold to support certain fickle varieties are now able to add cultivars to their vineyards that would have been unable to ripen 40 years ago. Pinot Noir is one such variety and we are beginning to see great examples come out of Austria & Germany these days.

Meinklang is a large, bio-dynamically farmed property in Burgenland, right on the Hungarian border. A herd of 300 cattle resides on the property, and ancient wheats such as emmer and einkorn are cultivated, as well as apples, maize & sunflowers. If this sounds like some kind of wacked-out, Bavarian hippie utopia feel-good story, well that’s about right. But we are down with it if it means we get to drink this kind of silky, fruit-laden Pinot Noir, supported by zippy acidity. Even if underneath it all, we are really more in line with more dystopian happy endings.

$19.00/BTL.-$228.00/ CASE OF 12

 

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

Friday Feature 02/07/14: Special Pricing on 4-Perman Approved Reds For Mid-Winter Drinking

Hello and Happy Friday! Friday

Thanks to all that came out to our “French 75″ tasting last night.  It was fun to share some of France’s greatest wines with you!
Speaking of tastings, we still have good availability for ourMarch 6th tasting, “The Other Piemonte.”  The tasting will begin at 7:00PM and will cost $60 per person.  Reservations are required.
This tasting will give us a chance to go beyond the great red wine appellations of Barolo and Barbaresco, and look at two white wines, some reds made from Barbera and Grignolino, and finally taste some of the other great age-worthy Nebbiolos from the NW regions like Carema, Gattinara, Ghemme and Boca.  The line-up will be second to none.
So email us today to reserve your spot!
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On another note, we enjoyed a successful first month of our referral contest.  One lucky winner took home a bottle of Lallement Champagne Rosé, a  $66 value.  All for just telling a friend, who then came in and purchased.
This month, the winner of the referral contest will be taking home a magnum of 2001 Rabasse-Charavin Cairanne – a fantastic, Southern Rhône red that has been carefully cellared at the domaine for over 10 years.  Retail value is $65 for the magnum.
For those of you unfamiliar with our referral program, we ask that you tell all your wine loving friends about our shop.  If they come in and purchase, and mention that you sent them, you will be automatically entered into our month give away.
Help make the world a better wine drinking place!
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We have a great Friday Feature for you today!  It is that time of year again where we see some wheeling and dealing on some fantastic wines.  There are many reasons why wines are discounted.
Sometimes it is because they are bad and they need to be moved.  You will never find those here.
Sometimes because a wholesaler is clearing room for a new vintage.  Not in this case.
Finally, one major reason is that an importer and distributor part ways.
It is in that circumstance that we find ourselves with some excellent deals on wines from wine importer Neal Rosenthal.
We have highlighted four new arrivals below.  These deals won’t be around for long as most restaurants and retail stores have already snapped them up.  We hope you don’t miss these – they are first come, first serve.
Have a great weekend,
Craig & Sheb

2012 Yves Cuilleron Syrah “Les Vignes d’à Côte”- Northern Rhône Valley, France

 

Yves Cuilleron is a third generation winemaker in Chavannay, a small village that straddles the border between Condrieu and St.-Joseph. He took over the reins in 1987 after an aborted career as a car mechanic, and quickly became famous for his stunning Condrieu, white wines composed of Viognier.

 

The family also owns vines in St.-Joseph, however and vineyards that lay outside the delimitations of the two appellations, which is where this wine comes from. “Les Vignes d’à Côte” roughly translates to “hillside vines” and these vines grow in the steep hillsides that flank the western side of the village. The soils here are granite and alluvium (sand and gravel).

 

With the prices of St.-Joseph, Côte-Rôtie and Cornas on the rise, it is nice to find Syrah from this historic region that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. This is a lovely wine that is ready to drink now, yet still exhibits the varietal characteristics of cool-climate Syrah: dried and fresh damson plums, dried blueberries, charred wood, and wet stones.

 

 

$18.99/BTL. (Normally $22/ Bottle)

44 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

 

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2011 De Forville Barbera D’Alba-Piemonte, Italy

 

De Forville is a Barbaresco producer whose origins go back to 1860. If the name seems rather un-Italian to you, it is because there is some Belgian extraction in the lineage.

 

Barbera is a chameleon of a grape and responds dramatically to process. There are fresh, nervy tank aged versions of the variety, and then there are more extracted, concentrated ones. This wine falls in the latter camp; a brooding, full-throttle version of Barbera. The vineyards are scattered throughout Barbaresco’s three communes (Nieve, San Rocco Senodelvio & Barbaresco). The primary source of grapes for this bottling come from a cru called “Ga’ Grosso”. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks and then the wine is aged in large casks (botti) and used barrique.

 

The result is an uncommonly rich and plush wine that is not only appropriate for the expected pasta and polenta pairings, but can extend into the realm of roasted and braised meat, game and other heady fare.

 

$14.99/ BTL. (Normally $19/ Bottle)

60 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

 

 

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2004 Ferrando Carema “Etichetta Nera”-Piemonte, Italy

 

It is a testament to human fortitude that Carema exists at all as a wine zone; steeply graded vineyards in the foothills of the Swiss Alps with a panoramic view of snow-capped peaks, this kind of terrain demands that all viticultural tasks are performed by hand. A long, high-altitude hike through treacherous terrains makes tasks like pruning and harvesting acts of great endurance and determination.

 

Canavese, where Ferrando is located, announces the border between Piemonte and the Italian/Swiss enclave of Vallée D’Aosta. Carema wines are produced from Nebbiolo, which takes on a perfumed and fresh aromatic character due to this extreme alpine environment. Don’t let the pale color and seductive nose fool you; these wines can be formidable in the structure and tannin department as well.

 

The “Etichetta Nera” (or black label bottling) from Ferrando is an exceptional wine.

 

It is made in only great vintages, and is a selection of grapes from two single vineyard parcels (Silanc & Siei), then spends three years aging in small barrels before bottling. This is a prime opportunity to buy and taste Nebbiolo that has 10 years of age on it.

 

$58.99/BTL. (Normally $73/ Bottle)

24 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

 

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Cappellano Barolo Chinato

 

If you are an Amaro fan, Barolo Chinato is not to be missed. Chinato is made with Nebbiolo wine that is then fortified, and infused with bark from the chinchona tree (aka quinine), as well as various herbs, flowers and roots. It may have been used to thwart malaria at some point.

 

There seems to be an on-going feud to who really made the first Barolo Chinato, but Cappellano is definitely in the running for the title. Rather than take sides, we will just say that their family recipe has been a guarded secret for over 100 years, and their Chinato is lush, perfumed, slightly bitter and wonderful.

 

We think its prudent to have a bottle of this around for several reasons:

 

1) For those evenings when you eat too much, and need a disgestif. A small glass of this and a brisk walk will bring you down from the throes of gourmand discomfort and back into the world again.

 

2) An exciting addition to your own personal mixology lab. Many of those bearded, suspender-wearing bartenders making delicious drinks around town love to experiment with Amari, and Chinato can offer a dynamic element to your home bar.

 

3) If you are worried about mosquitoes and you have seen the re-emergence of crows.

 

(We are kidding about #3. If crows re-emerge and you suspect you have malaria, please see a licensed physician).

 

$65.00/BTL. (Normally $85/ Bottle)

12 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

 

Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday Feature 01/31/14: The New 6 For $60 Something Sampler

Hello and Happy Friday!
We don’t know about you, but with all this extra time indoors, we have been running through wine at our homes like there is no tomorrow!

We’ve got good news for you – the latest edition of our 6 for $60-Something is now available!

 

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But first, just a reminder about our referral program. We ardently believe that the driving force behind a small business like ours is your word of mouth referral. When you tell your friends and colleagues to come on over, we are always thrilled and very appreciative. We want to thank you for that.

 

So each month, we will be doing a drawing. If you send someone in, please let them know that they should mention your name as they are checking out- we will immediately put your name in a fancy Champagne bucket, and at the end of each month we will pull one of the names. That person will win a free bottle (sometimes bottles) or great wine. January’s prize is a bottle of Jean Lallement Rosé Champagne!! ( We will be contacting the winner tomorrow)

 

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It is the last Friday of the month, and that means time to unveil another Six for $60-Something sampler!

 

The 6 for $60-Something is Chicago (and the world’s) best monthly value wine sampler!

 

We take great pride in sorting through all the terrible $10-ish dollar bottles of wine, to find you the good stuff.  It’s hard work but someone has to do it!

 

We think seasonally around these parts – and so during these cold winter months you will find mainly red wine samplers.

 

All of these selections are available by the bottle and the case, but there is no better way to learn wine than by trying a variety of new wines.

 

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

 

 

 

Craig & Sheb

 

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6 for $60-Something Sampler
2009 Pascal Granger Chénas- Beaujolais, FranceThis may be one of the best wines we have ever had in our 6for $60 something sampler. And although I am the first to admit a penchant for hyperbole, this is a rational and calm statement, I swear.

Beaujolais is finally getting the attention it deserves. A beautiful, hilly appendage of Burgundy, this region announces politically and geologically, the end of Burgundy and the beginning of the Rhône. And so you see the influences of those soils (limestone, clay & granite), and subtle difference of altitude and exposition, in each of the ten “cru” designations. Terroir is alive and well in these parts, now that the vignerons of Beaujolais have been able to unearth themselves from the marketing nightmare of Beaujolais Nouveau (which the French don’t really drink) and bottles with flowers on them.

So let’s talk about Chénas, 2009 and Pascal Granger. Chénas is one of the 3 crus that is in both the Rhône department and the Saône-sur-Loire (southern Burgundy). Chénas is the smallest of these crus and the Gamay grown there produces aromatic, floral wines with a lovely, velvety texture.

The Domaine of Pascal Granger is located in Juliénas, but they produce a tiny bit of Chénas. In the family there is  200+ year history of winemaking in this region. Harvesting is manual and organic when humanly possible.

Finally, 2009 was a terrific vintage for Burgundy in general, and the sunny September that was the hallmark of the vintage suited Beaujolais, in particular, very well. The wine is open, lovely and generous. The pricing on this is the result of a stealth negotiation between Craig and one of our various distributors. We suspect it will not be around for very long.

$15.00/ BTL.-$180.00 CASE OF 12

36 Bottles available for purchase outside the sampler.

 

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2010 Príncipe de Viana Crianza, Navarra, Spain
When was the last time you had a wine from the Navarra region in Spain?
For us at Perman Wine it has been quite some time.
There are reasons of course behind this, namely that Navarra doesn’t produce grapes at the capacity of a larger region like Rioja.  17,5000 ha for Navarra under vine vs. 63,298 ha for Rioja.
Secondly, Navarra for many years was really only known for their Rosé, often produced with the Grenache varietal.
In the  ’80′s and ’90′s things started to change, as we saw more varieties being planted, and producers emerged that made high quality white, red and rosé.  It is an area that I believe we will start seeing more out of in the near future.
So what better way to reintroduce it than by giving you an excellent value from Bodegas Príncipe de Viana, a winery founded in 1983.  This winery was founded as a project of an agricultural lending institution that was looking to promote sustainable viticulture in the region.
This Crianza is a blend of 40% Tempranillo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot.  It was aged in a mixture of French and American oak barrels for 1 year.
Very aromatic with notes of brambly red and dark berry, black and red pepper, and tobacco notes.  A very silky entry on the palate sees a continuation of red fruits, spice, with nice, balanced freshness.  It is a very easy drinking style, and we can see this going nicely with a wide range of food.
We were thinking BYOB Indian would be a nice match.
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE

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2010 Primus “The Blend”- Colchagua Valley, Chile

We are going to admit here, that for years, we wrote off Chile. Sappy and forgettable were two adjectives that often came to mind when the subject was broached. And yes, there are plenty of cheap-o, sappy and forgettable wines produced in Chile. But the same can be said for every country.

The trick to finding good Chilean wines (and there are some very good examples out there) is to figure out where the vineyards are located. Colchagua is a large sub-region in the Rapel Valley, sometimes referred to as the “next Napa Valley”. In the hills, and higher elevation areas (we are in the Andes Mountain Range) there are some great examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals to be found.

Primus carries an impressive pedigree; Alvaro Espinoza, indisputably  one of the greatest winemakers in Chile (Antiyal & Kuyen) and The Huneeus Family (Quintessa, Flowers) collaborate on the project.

The Blend is simply that- a blend of Cabernet, Carmenere, Syrah & Merlot, aged for 12 months in french oak before release. There is a nice harmony between ripeness and structure, and a wine that doesn’t “need” food to taste great.

$13.00/BTL.- $156.00 CASE OF 12

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2012 Fattoria Laila Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi- Marche, Italy

The variety Verdicchio is responsible for fresh, everyday drinking whites that arrive without pretense or fuss. It is widely planted in the sub-region of Marche, in Central Italy on the eastern coast of the Adriatic.

 

It has taken years of research and genetic testing, but finally it hs been determined that Verdicchio is another clone of Trebbiano, a.k.a. Ugni Blanc. We are relieved this deep mystery has finally been solved.

Fattoria Laila (the Laila farm) is located in Corinaldo, in the gently undulating hills of the Marche not far from the sea. The people of this solidly Mediterranean enclave probably will never have to deal with endlessly accumulating snow,  or getting stuck behind a salt truck (and therefore pelted relentlessly) on The Kennedy for seven miles, or the polar vortex.

Verdicchio is light and savory, with hints of meyer lemon, orange and wildflowers. There are nuances of honey and bitter almond and it’s levity and freshness remains pure, unencumbered by oak aging.

It is certainly fine for drinking alone, or with a small snack, perhaps some nuts & cheese. You can drinking it while you are cooking dinner, and you won’t be felled by heaviness or extraction.

 

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

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2010 Magnolia Court Cabernet Sauvignon-Paso Robles, CA

We think this is a dumb name for a wine, because it harkens to some kind of movie re-run on the Lifetime Channel starring Julia Roberts, Kathy Bates and a host of other funny, irrefutable lady characters. But don’t judge a book by it’s cover, unless the cover is a picture of a nice, jammy Cabernet Sauvignon, in that case judge away!

Sometimes, wine experts/writers/bloggers forget that while sure, there is an intellectual component to the subject of wine, a lot of us are just looking forward to a nice glass of something satisfying and tasty after a long day at work, wrestling the kids to bed,  and walking the dog who might or might not have had a dog shaming incident while we were away. Sometimes, the discord of modern  life itself is blunt enough that we really just need to feel something when we drink. We need to feel our wine, darn it!

This is where Paso Robles Cabernet comes in. Magnolia Court will not force you to ponder the nuances of terroir nor force you to cook some outlandishly complex food for it to make sense.

$11.00/BTL.-$132.00/CASE OF 12

 

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2011 Acentor Garnacha -Calatayud, Spain

The province of Calatayud is fascinating and rich with history; from beginning as a Celt-Iberian settlement to a Moorish enclave. It has also been host to a variety of ethnic groups. As part of the Kingdom of Aragón, bloody wars were fought here too; all in all a pretty typical Spanish history.

Aragón remains to this day, one of the least populated areas of Spain. The Pyrenees Mountain ranges here form some especially difficult terrain; deep, arid valleys, dense forestation, snowy mountain peaks- rather dangerous and impassable terrains.

Amidst all its history and topographical challenges, Catalayud grows acre after acre after acre of delicious Garnacha. if there is one grape that comes to mind when thinking of old-world, Mediterranean wine zones, it is definitely Garnacha (or Grenache if you are in France). And we are talking old vines here, plants that have felt the grace and warmth of the mediterranean sunshine on their trunks for 40, 50 and 60+ years.

And doesn’t that sound nice, right about now?

$9.00/BTL.- $108.00 CASE OF 12

Posted in 6 for $60-Something, Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters

Friday Feature 1/24/17: The New 6 For $120 Something Sampler

Hello and Happy Friday!

 

Brrrrrrr….it’s cold outside!

 

Our advice – just stay hunkered down and drink wine. Lots of it!

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In other news, it is the second to last Friday of the month, and that is when we release our new edition of the Six for $120-Something.

 

If you are unfamiliar with this monthly sampler, let us explain. Craig and Sheb sacrifice their livers month in and month out, tasting new wine arrivals, searching for the best of the best.

 

Each month we put together a mixed six-pack featuring our six favorites, in that $15-$30  per bottle range.  Together the sampler costs between $120-$129 for the six bottles.

 

This is a great way to learn about wine and expand your wine horizons.

 

This month’s sampler is a lovely selection of wintry choices from Italy, Spain, France and even the USA.

 

The wine is in stock, so pick up yours today!

 

Have a great weekend,

 

Craig & Sheb

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6 for $120-Something 
2009 Querciabella “Mongrana”-Tuscany, Italy

Querciabella has established itself as one of the finest producers of Chianti since 1974. In 1998, they became part of the vanguard of organic/biodynamic producers in Tuscany. This seemed a bit like heresy at the time; now the practice is accepted as mainstream. Recently, the purchases of two farms, in Radda and Maremma added to the production.

Mongrana is the name for the wine produced in Maremma. The Maremma is located on the western coast of Tuscany, and for years went unnoticed; acres of bucolic, sleepy farms, until the 1980s, when  a few guys with a lot of money realized that the region had great potential for Bordeaux varietals. Soon the area was brimming with vineyards and wineries. The Italian government actually had to step in to squash the rabid development and preserve the natural beauty of the area.

Querciabella brings its ecologically conscious farming to three vineyards: Banditella, Podere Marras and Sugherettaia. The blend from year to year varies, but for 2009 the wine is comprised of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot & 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Agin takes place in cement vats and neutral barriques.

Mongrana always shows supple and rounded fruit, but is in possession of firm structure courtesy of the Bordeaux varieties. Elegant, this wine’s pedigree is obvious the minute you open it.

$19.00/BTL.

47 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2011 Viña Mein “Barrica”- Galicia, Spain

In the last 10 years, oak has become a dirty word.

It’s weird to think that this traditional aging vessel, used for centuries in wine production, has become a pariah. But its understandable. There was definitely a time in history when oak abuse occurred, especially in the 1980s and 1990s (yeah California- we are talking about you!), and wine that probably shouldn’t have been aged in oak barrels was, and everything ended up tasting like a burnt toothpick until, inevitably, wine drinkers started revolting against the practice of oak aging.

We’ve taken it too far though, because sometimes oak can make a wine more delicious, intensify its structure, and contribute to its age-worthiness. Do you love Burgundy? Yeah, you love oak? Brunello?, Yeah, oak. Rioja. Um, yes oak oak oak.

The point is, used judiciously, oak can provide a nice character to a wine,a hint of vanilla and warm baking spices, a hint of grilled bread, that is quite simply, very pleasurable.

And this is certainly the case with the “oaked” version of Viña Mein, a property in the sub-zone of Galicia, called Ribeiro, that we love. The blend here is 80% Treixadura, Godello, Loureira, Albariño, Torrontés, Albilla and Lad. These vines are 30+ years old and planted in granitic soils. The base wine in concentrated enough that it can handle 6 months of oak aging.  The result is a concentrated, creamy, spicy, full-bodied white that will complement your most wintery of dishes.

 

$24.00/BTL.-$288.00/CASE OF 12

 

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2008 Domaine des Croix Beaune- Burgundy, France

Beaune, for some of us at least, represents ground zero for Burgundy production. The city itself has 20.000 inhabitants, most of whom make their livelihoods from the wine trade. It is a beautiful, historic city, seemingly untouched by modernity.

The appellation of Beaune is quite large: 139 hectares of village vineyards are planted along with 338 hectares of premier cru vineyards. This is nearly 1200 acres of vineyards! For Burgundy, this is quite large, yet here is the states we see very little Burgundy labeled Beaune, and the stuff we do see is largely negociant: Latour, Bouchard et al.

Domaine des Croix is actually (gasp!!!) American owned, and the winemaker is the superbly gifted David Croix (everyone relax, he is French), who worked successfully to resurrect the great Domaine of Camille Giroud (also American owned). We carried this wine for a bit a year ago, and in remembering how much we enjoyed it then, reached out to the distributor to see if there was any left. There was, we re-tasted it, and the wine was even better than we had remembered. Dreamy even, some might say.

With the bad news regarding low production numbers in ’10, ’11’12 & ’13, and the international demand for Burgundy on the rise, we have been struggling to find “affordable” Burgundy. The definition for affordable has certainly seen a paradigm shift.

 

And in this new, crazy universe, an offering like the one we have on the Domaine des Croix most likely will not be seen in the near future.

For cool-climate Pinot Noir lovers who relish minerality and a perfumed earthiness, this is as affordable as it is going to get. Buy now or forever hold your peace!

$28.00/BTL.

24 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2010 Domaine Rabasse-Charavin Côtes Du Rhône “Cuvée Abel Charavin”- Southern Rhône Valley, France

Over the past 5 months or so, we have been featuring various wines from this wonderful producer. Corinne Couturier and her daughter Laure are third and fourth generation winemakers located in the village of Cairanne.

Cuvée Abel is a very special Côtes du Rhône, and is a good deal richer, and more tannic than your average CDR. This is a hillside parcel of 100 year old Grenache vines planted in limestone and clay soils. 100 years old!!! Totally Grandpa vines.

 

There is 20% Mourvedre & 20% Syrah added to the blend. The yields are extremely low for this bottling, so you get a sort of super-sized Côtes du Rhône, beasty and spicy, and suitable for long-term aging (10-12 years).

Or, conversely, you can decided to rip your mouth up a little and have it young. Not that we are advocating hurting yourself or anything. It is a big old baby, though, with a palate described as “voluminous” by the winemaker, loaded with black cherries, jammy fruit and imbued with an opaque, almost bluish color.

$24.00/BOTLLE
24 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
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2012 J. Wilkes Pinot Blanc- Santa Maria Valley, CA

Pinot Blanc is a delightful, yet perpetually underrated grape, a light-skinned mutation of everybody’s favorite variety Pinot Noir.

Most of us probably were introduced to the grape by way of Alsace, where it makes fresh yet concentrated quaffers. For years it was often confused with Chardonnay, espeically in burgundy, where pockets of Blanc still remain. Lauren Ponsot makes one in Morey-St.-Denis and so does Henri Gouges in Nuits-St-Georges.

 

Most new world Pinot Blanc, however, is planted in the cool recesses of Santa Barbera’s Santa Maria Valley.

J. Wilkes produces three wines in very small quantities, all Burgundian varieties. The wine made here are clean and varietally correct. The Pinot Blanc, which we chose to feature this months, has a lovely flavor profile brimming with apples and pears, and a slightly taffy-d texture. While it does not blind with acidity, it does have a perceivable freshness.

A roasted butternut squash soup and some garlic croutons would be a nice meal to accompany this bottle.

$17.00/BTL.- $204.00/CASE OF 12

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Ratti
2011 Renato Ratti Barbera D’Alba-Piemonte, Italy

 

Long-time customers of Perman Wines may be aware of Craig’s affection for Piemonte and Alba. His love for this area, its wines and people, borders nearly on the obsessive, but it’s ok. There are worse things to get caught up in, in this world.

Renato Ratti is a historic property in La Morra. It was here that the idea of labeling Baroli by single “cru” was born; and the Ratti family were vocal proponents of modernizing winemaking in Piemonte by cleaning up the barrels, shortening the maceration times and harvesting later in the season. Nebbiolo was often harvested before phenolic ripeness and then left to macerate for extended periods of time. Harvesting riper grapes meant one could shorten the maceration time. This sticking point, along with a few others, has become the crux of the modernists vs. traditionalists war that still rages on regarding Barolo.

Whatever side of the modern vs. traditional production argument you end up taking, there is no argument that Ratii’s single vineyard Barbera from Torriglione is not a delicious wine, vintage after vintage. The 2011 is a bit of a whopper in the body department and exhibits purple as well as the red fruit one would expect from Barbera.

$15.00/BTL.-$180.00/CASE OF 12
Posted in 6 for $120-Something, Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

The Wine Wire: Oui, Oui, Irancy!

Irancy is the ultimate wine for lovers of cool climate Pint Noir- a northerly hamlet outside of Chablis. This is racy and perfumed, with crystalline acidity and a lovely pale ruby color. Clotilde only bottles her Irancy in magnums but everyone knows bigger is better.

 

2011 Clotilde Davenne Irancy- $69.99/ Magnum

Limited Quantities.

Posted in The Wine Wire

Friday Feature 1/17/14: The 2011 Releases of Passopisciaro.

Hello & Happy Friday!

 

We figure most of you are done starving yourselves with juice cleanses, so get off your detoxed derrieres  and get ready for some alcohol induced euphoria once again. We are here to tempt you with wonderful wines from Sicily.

 

But first, we want to again remind you of our referral program. Each referral that makes a purchase at Perman Wine Selections in 2014 will get the referee’s name entered in a monthly drawing.  The winner will take home a great bottle or bottles of wine chosen by Sheb and Craig.

 

All you need to do is introduce a friend or colleague to us, and tell them to mention your name when they make their first purchase, and on the last day of the month we will draw a name out of a Champagne bucket!

 

This month’s referral prize is a bottle of Lallement Rosé Champagne! We’re not fooling around here when we say we appreciate your word of mouth endorsements.

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Now back to our feature.

 

Today we are happy to announce the arrivals of the new releases from Passopisciaro, Andrea Franchetti’s incredible estate on Mount Etna. His work on Mount Etna, and with the noble grape of the region, Nerello Mascalese, has really changed the world view of what this area, along with Nerello, is capable of.

 

His work began on the Northern slopes of this still active volcano in 2000. The first vintage was produced in 2005, called simply Passopisciaro. As he became more intimate with the area and his holdings increased, he began bottling single vineyards, which the Sicilians call Contradas.

 

Much like the cru systems in Barolo & Burgundy, contradas are identified by their unique expositions and strata packages. On Etna, many of the Contradas are based upon geological formations and natural divisions formed by ancient and recent lava flows. Although some of these contradas have been culturally recognized for many many years, it is a recent and somewhat modern practice to have their names listed on the bottle.

 

As you can imagine, it is very difficult to farm on the steep and craggy slopes of Mount Etna. Much of the work is done painstakingly by hand, a true labor of love. The highest of Franchetti’s vineyards sites is over 3000 feet above sea level! The pumice-y, volcanic soils impart a rich, intense minerality to the wines; and lest we forget, Nerello Mascalese, a thin-skinned beauty, is adapted solely and uniquely to these extreme growing conditions. Those of you that collect and enjoy Burgundy and Barolo are sure to fall in love with Nerello and all its terroir-driven charms.

 

Of course, as is with many wines like these, quantities are very small, especially on the contradas. Many of Passopisciaro’s Contrada designated wines come from plots that are 2 acres or less. Because Craig has been an ardent supporter of the wines from day one, we get about 25% of all the allocation for Illinois. But this still is not a lot. They sell out quickly, year after year.

 

Italian wine fanatics – do not miss these!

 

Have a great weekend,
Craig & Sheb

 

2011 Passopisciaro Etna Rosso

Passopisciaro’s flagship wine, a stunning expression of Nerello Mascalese and a great entry into this producer.

$38.99/BTL-GOOD AVAILABILITY

DUE TO ARRIVE AT THE SHOP TUESDAY, JANUARY 21ST, 2014.

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2011 Contrada Chiappemacine

A small Contrada, 1800 feet above sea level, between cliffs of sandstone and lava. This is a windswept area,  and some of the roots reach deeply underneath the lava, to a small pocket of embedded limestone, giving this wine a lush, full mouth, yet retaining a nervy and aromatic precision. The vines here are 80 years old.

$65.99/ BTL. 

12 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2011 Contrada Sciaranuova

Sciaranuova sits at 2800 feet above sea level and is considered of three “grand” crus of Mount Etna (the others being Guardiola and Porcaria). The lava here is clumpy and wet, and comes apart like soaked coal. The wines are deep, large-fleshed, and have a rich, extremely earthy flavor. The vines are 80 years old.

$74.99/BTL.

12 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2011 Contrada Rampante

This is one of the highest Contradas still cultivated on Etna. Steep walled terraces here climb the wall of lava above the town of Solicchiata. Dying old vineyards have been saved; soils are sandy, paler than in other places, because of a very old, oxidized lava spill. Wines from here can be very pure and delicate, lithe, lifted, long-lived and very aromatic. This is the conrada that is harvested last. The vines are 80+ years old.

$65.99/BTL.

12 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2011 Contrada Porcaria

A large, old vineyard that sits at 2100 feet above sea level, this is Mount Etna’s most famous and sought-after contrada because of the full bodied, lush and robust wines it produces. The soil is made of a frail lava sheet that splinters under one’s feet. The wines here are lush and aromatically complex. Dark and full- bodied in the mouth, reaching into notes of burnt sugar. The plants are 80+ years old.

 

$86.99/BTL.

12 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2011 Contrada Guardiola

The Contrada Guardiola is an ancient vineyard that sits at 3000 feet above sea level, at the tip of a relatively recent lava flow whose eruption was in 1947. Passopisciaro made a careful selection of the older vines, many of which are pre-phylloxera. The vines produce deep wines with a rich taste of red fruit, and Nerello’s hallmark earth tones.  Production of 2011 Guardiola was 3200 bottles.

$79.99/BTL.

12 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

 

Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday Feature: 1/03/14-Lallement Rosé and our Client Referral Program.

Hello and Happy New Year!

 

Sheb and I hope you had a fantastic holiday season!

 

We want to reiterate our thanks to each and every one of our customers for making 2013 such a successful year!

 

This is a true small business – your patronage affects our lives directly.

 

Over the 6+ years that Perman Wine Selections has been open, our growth has come purely from word of mouth.

 

We’ve relied on you to share your positive experiences with your friends and family.

 

Whether that be telling them directly, forwarding the email, liking us on Facebook, writing a review on Yelp, retweeting our Tweets, or simply dragging them into the store with you -  these all have been valuable ways to spur our growth.

 

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This year we will be talking about and asking for a lot more help with referrals.

 

Did you know that on the right hand side of every email, just under the store hours there are four ways to spread the word about Perman Wine Selections?

 

While not everyone wants to be active on Twitter, Facebook or Yelp- if you are, then please follow, like us, or write a review.  We promise to update more frequently and add interesting content.

 

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Finally, in 2014 we would like to introduce our Perman Wine Customer Referral Program.

 

Each referral that makes a purchase at Perman Wine Selections in 2014 will get your name entered in a monthly drawing.  The winner will take home a great bottle or bottles of wine chosen by Sheb and I.

 

All you need to do is introduce a friend or colleague to us, tell them to mention your name when they make their first purchase, and on the last day of the month we will draw a name out of a Champagne bucket!

 

January’s referral prize?  The focus of today’s Friday Featurewritten by Sheb – a bottle of Jean Lallement Champagne Reserve Rosé!

 

Let the world know about Perman Wine Selections in 2014!  It could bring about world peace?

 

Thank you so much from our families to yours!

 

Craig, Tara, Ellis & Rosie

 

Sheb & Zach

 

L1 

Jean Lallement Champagne Brut Reserve Rosé NV

 

Today is my one year employment anniversary here at Perman Wine Selections. And while it has been a wonderful year for many reasons, the one thing I did not count upon was how deeply addicted to Champagne I have become. I always have enjoyed a glass or two, but after being here, and having tasted the small, wonderful growers that Craig chooses to champion, I have developed a sustained and abiding need that is only fed by more of the stuff.

 

I feel very adamantly that we should not be saving this stuff for special occasions. Good Champagne should be drunk on the stormiest of winter mornings, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon to feel that you once again are alive, or just an evening at home with that ubiquitous roast chicken that seems to get mentioned in every write up about wine.

 

Jean-Luc Lallement is a small grower/producer (RM) in the northern sector of the Montagne de Reims. He has under 5 hecatres of vines, 2 parcels, in Verzenay & Verzy.

He only started producing Rosé in 2003, and only makes 1800 bottles a year.This is made from 100% Grand Cru Pinot Noir, vinified in  barrel, and not obtained via the saignée method.

 

There is breadth and complexity to this Champagne, and certainly you will perceive lovely, lean berries and cherries, there is also a lovely biscuit quality and nuances of orange peel and flowers.

 

$65.99 BTL. / ONLY 20 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

The Wine Wire: Domaine du Colombier

Damped out campfire, thick-skinned Italian plums, wet stone, and  nice balance of austerity and generosity. Elegant beautiful Syrahs, from the Motherland (France, Northern Rhône Valley))

2010 Domaine du Colombier Hermitage $71.99

2011 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage “Cuvée Gaby” $34.99

 

Posted in The Wine Wire

The Wine Wire: “Affordable” Burgundy? Yes.

Somewhere in my very own mind, there exists a time when one could afford to drink Burgundy on a daily basis. Maybe it was the 1980s though, and maybe I wasn’t really paying for it, but rather drinking the dregs of my parents’ bottles on top of the garage rooftops behind the Roger’s Park 6 flat where I was raised. However it was, I wish it were like that a little bit more now.


So it was a lovely surprise when Craig decided to bring in this lovely Côte De Nuits-Villages from Domaine Petitot, a small producer in Corgoloin, one of five villages allowed to produce Côte De Nuits-Villages (the other four are Brochon, Fixin, Premeaux-Prissey & Comblanchien). Corgoloin is the last village of Cote de Nuits, before Ladoix-Serrigny announces the start of the Côte de Beaune, and a significant geological shift.

And imagine my delight when an accessible, perfumed wine tumbled into my glass, delicate loam, alpine strawberries and button mushrooms co-mingling together. A shimmering, ruby-tinged sea of hope.

 

2010 Domaine Petitot Côte de Nuits-Villages “Terres Burgondes” $26.99/ BTL.

Posted in The Wine Wire

Our Upcoming Tastings!

Hello and Happy Friday!

 

Instead of doing a wine feature this Friday, we are announcing our tastings for the next few months.

 

For those of you who have joined us in the past, there are a few small changes. We have switched to Thursday nights at7pm for now. Other than that, you can expect the same delicious, high quality picks and fun (hopefully) that we have had in the past. These tastings are capped at 14 people and sell out very quickly.

 

To insure your spot, please call the store. We will then take your name and a credit card to hold your spot(s). We hope you will join us for one of these events.

 

 

Cheers,

Craig & Sheb

PS: Aren’t you glad we got through this announcement without one mention of the “Polar Vortex”?

 

Wine Tastings At Perman Wine Selections

Thursday, February 6th, 2014. 7-9PM

  

French 75

It’s no secret that we are a bunch of unabashed Francophiles here, so join us for a night of fabulous wines from the motherland!

Class size is limited to 14 people.

$75.00/ Person -Advance registration required. Please phone the shop. 312-666-4417

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Thursday March 6th, 7- 9PM

 

The Other Piemonte 

Some of you might have joined us on Barolo night last year, when we drank enough Nebbiolo to kill a small pony. But Piemonte is home to an array of wonderful, lesser known varieties and wine zones.

Class size is limited to 14 people.

$60.00/Person- Advance registration required. Please phone the shop. 312-666-4417

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Thursday April 10th, 2014, 7-9pm

Buen Camino

There is a famous pilgrimage called the “Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James)” that begins in Southern France and ends in Basque, Spain. This is a 35 day long walk that started in Medieval times and continues to this day.

 

Our tasting will explore this route via the wine zones along the way, and guarantees less blisters and worn out socks!

 

Class size is limited to 14 people.

$55.00/ Person- Advance registration required. Please phone the shop. 312-666-4417

Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Tastings & Events