2014 Ameztoi Txakolina “Rubentis”- País Vasco, Spain
Hold onto your hats- the new vintage from the undisputed champ of Txakolina has arrived!!!
If you have been a longtime customer of Perman Wine Selections, you know that a fresh arrival of Txakolina is akin to getting a basket of housebroken puppies left on your doorstep. For those of you unsure what all the fuss is about, the ultimate summer wine has arrived and you must, yes MUST rush in to get some.
To recap, Txakolina (chock-oh-leena) is a spritz-y fresh wine from the Basque region of Spain. The production area spans the northern border, some vineyards so close to the jagged cliffs of the Bay of Biscay that they seem in danger of crashing into the roiling waters. This area includes the industrial epicenter of Bilbao and the gastronomic heavy-hitter of San Sebastián.
The Basque are a fierce, intense lot, and it seems like a strange contrast that the wines of the region are light, fresh and slightly effervescent, but it is these kind of incongruities that make the world a more interesting place.
Production of Txakolina is still small, and only 800 hectares of vines exist. Ameztoi is a legend in the region, and their vineyards just a short drive away from San Sebastián breathe in the sea air as the vines peer down on the Bay of Biscay.
The Rubentis bottling is the Rosé version of Txakolina, produced with equal parts of the red grape Hondarrabi Beltza and the white grape Hondarrabi Zuri.
The prices of Ameztoi have taken a slight increase this year, but for the duration of this sampler, I am offering it at the same price as in the past.
At the end of April, this will go to its regular price of $20 per bottle
This wine always sells out quickly, and demand far outstrips supply, so fans of this wine, buy by the trunk load or forever hold your peace.
$19.00/BTL-$228.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Tinel-Blondelet Pouilly-Fumé “L’Arret Buffate”-Loire Valley, France
When one thinks of the Loire Valley and Sauvignon Blanc, the gold standard is always Sancerre. Sancerre is sunny, crisp, citrusy and evocative of summer, an eternally delicious thing to drink as you while away the warmest of days.
This is in direct contrast to the village itself, which can be eerily inhospitable, and quite chilly, especially in the early spring, a season that introduces a constantly howling wind. The cellars are small and often carved out underneath the famous stony soils, with disconcertingly low hanging ceilings and always brutally chilly.
Now I am unsure why I am spending so much time talking about Sancerre because today we are offering a Pouilly-Fumé, which is another Loire Valley wine zone very close to Sancerre. Sancerre occupies the eastern edge of the Cher department, and Pouilly-Fumé the western edge of the Nièvre. The villages are separated by a river and about a 24 minute drive. Pouilly-Fumé production is limited to Sauvignon Blanc only, while red and rosé production is allowed in Sancerre (these wines employ Pinot Noir). The Fumé (smoke) part of its name is in direct reference to the flinty soils, which can impart a smokey quality to the Sauvignon Blanc here.
We were impressed with both the smoke and mineral here, as well as the grapefruit and lemon curd qualities of the fruit, as well as the creamy texture of the wine. This is really a stellar Sauvignon Blanc!
$22.00/BTL – $264.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Ravines Cabernet Franc- Finger Lakes, New York
Morten & Lisa Hallgren of Ravines have been quietly making delicious wines in the Finger lakes region of New York State for over 15 years now. The Cabernet Franc that comes from this winery is consistently wonderful, varietally typical and always a delight. The grapes are planted in four different vineyards, each offering a slightly different soil type and trellising system.
If you are a fan of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, this wine is right up your alley. Bell peppers,dried and fresh plum along with zippy acidity make up a classic flavor profile. The Hallgrens use a bit of new French Oak as well as some barrels made with oak from Minnesota (!). It clocks in at a very modest 12.5%, which is happy news for all of us cool climate wine drinkers.
$19.00/BTL- $228.00/CASE OF 12
2013 Ovum Riesling “Off The Grid” Illinois Valley, Oregon
We are the first to admit, when it comes to new world Riesling, we are often skeptical. The slate soils of the Mosel often quench our Riesling thirsts more than adequately, and many of the offerings we taste from elsewhere seem flabby and pallid in comparison. So, the bar was not set too high when we were presented with the wines from Ovum. But after tasting these, they are truly some of the most exciting wines we have sampled in a long while.
“Off The Grid” is a dry Riesling produced with minimal intervention (indigenous yeasts, long, slow ferments on gross less, concrete eggs and all that jazz) with Riesling harvested from an obscure vineyard in the middle of nowhere, from a place called the Illinois Valley that is right at the southern border of Oregon where it meets California. The valley is part of the Illinois River system, a tributary of the Rogue River. This is no gentle stream though, but by all accounts a wild swirling rapid can be very dangerous to navigate and is the cause of many water craft fatalities annually.
So we are wondering why the heck anyone planted Riesling anywhere near this thing. But we are glad they did, because despite all the water craft fatalities, this is one of the most complex and satisfying white wines we have had all year.
Dry Riesling fans – do not miss this! Only 7 cases were allocated to Illinois.
$28.00/BTL.-$336.00/CASE OF 12 – LIMITED AVAILABILITY
2014 Antoine Luyt “Pipeño” Coronel del Maule- Central Valley, Chile
Antoine Luyt is a very unusual winemaker, bucking the commercialized winemaking pursuits that have so entrenched themselves within the Chilean landscape.
A native of Burgundy, Luyt left France under the guise of improving his Spanish and ended up making wine in Chile’s Central Valley DO, in the sub-region of Maule. He took a particular interest in País (aka the Black Mission grape), a grape planted for hundreds of years by missionaries stationed in South America. País has never been responsible for premium wines, and historically its production was mainly slated for bulk and jug wines.
Luyt however, found vineyards in Maule that were hundreds of years old and this piqued his interest. His idea was to apply premium wine production ideas to the País vineyards, while maintaining a non-interventionist stance and working within a natural framework. He works with the farmers who for generations have tended their País, gently dissuading them from high yields and farming through the lens of bulk production techniques.
The resulting wine is an untamed glory- feral, rich, earthy and complex. Luyt uses production methods similar to those employed in Beaujolais- indeed at one time his mentor was the late Marcel Lapierre in Morgon. This tames the intense nature of the País.
This is a grand opportunity to try something new and perhaps find a variety that you absolutely adore.
$18.00/BTL-$216.00/CASE OF 12
2012 Ostatu Rioja Crianza-La Rioja, Spain
There are days when you want something fresh and light and ethereal, and then there are days when you want something toothsome, lavishly structured and dense.
If scenario #2 is your jam, this is your wine.
Ostatu is located in the village of Samaniego, in a mountainous and somewhat remote part of the sub-region of Alavesa. Historically, the wines made by the family were made in a fresh, fruity style for local consumption only, similar to Beaujolais Nouveau.
A famous Bordeaux producer on holiday, who saw the estate, noticed the exposition and knew immediately how great the site was. He convinced the family that their vineyards could be capable producing world-class Rioja.
The wine is made mainly with older vines of Tempranillo as well as a little Garnacha, Mazuela & Graciano, then aged in French oak barrels, 1/3 of which were new. These elements are what gives this wine its gravity. A serious Rioja waiting for a serious steak!
$20.00/BTL-$240.00/CASE OF 12