Friday Feature 3/20/15: The New 6 for $120-Something Sampler

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

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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

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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

 

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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
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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

 

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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

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

Friday Feature 03/13/2015: Tiago Teles Maria de Graça

Friday Feature:

2013 Tiago Teles “Maria da Graça” Vinho de Portugal

 

The region of Bairrada is one of Portugal’s greatest regions.  It’s proximity to the ocean, roughly 20 kilometers away, brings freshness to the grapes.  This Atlantic influence is the perfect match for both white and red grapes, and here in Bairrada you find excellent sparkling wines, white wines and red wines.

 

Tiago is a relative newcomer to the wine scene in Portugal, with his first vintages in 2012.  He is a passionate and dedicated wine person, whose vision of fresh, naturally made wines that express their terroir shines bright in his two red wines, Gilda and Maria da Graça.

 

I introduced many of you to Gilda in a recent Six for $120-Something sampler, but felt it important to introduce Maria da Graça alone and when the weather started to warm up.

 

Us in the wine world are always looking for wines with lower alcohol and good freshness during the Spring and the Summer.  Often times our default is Pinot Noir or Gamay Noir.  Barbera and Loire Cabernet Franc, also find their way into the conversation.  Here, we have a totally different type of wine, that deserves to be part of your warm weather drinking rotation.

 

Maria da Graça is a blend of Alfrocheiro and Alicante Bouschet.  The grapes come from a beautiful hillside vineyard in Bairrada.  They were co-fermented with indigenous yeasts, and produced as naturally as possible.

 

You are going to love the aromatics on this wine.  Vibrant aromatics that include bright dark cherry notes, with a suggestion of violets and spice.  Seamless and very silky on the palate, with a continuation of red fruits, mineral and a long, balanced finish.  This wine clocks in at only 11% alcohol, thus proving to be very flexible at the table.  Whether it be fish, chicken, or pork, I can seeing this melding seamlessly with many dishes.

 

Best of all, it is incredibly delicious and I for one, can just sip on it even without a meal.

 

Tiago recommends drinking this at a cooler temperature, between 54-57 degrees fahrenheit.

 

Please don’t miss this delicious wine, it is going to be the hit of your Spring/Summer drinking parties!

 

$18.99 BTL. / $113.94 SIX-PACK CASE

Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday Feature 03/06/2015: Meaner, Mâconnais & Fourrier

Meunier, Mâconnais & Fourrier
 2012 Weingut Darting Pinot Meunier Tröcken- Pfalz, Germany

 

This is the odd, geeky kind of wine that will not only pique curiosity, but is also really delicious.

 

The Pfalz is sometimes referred to as the “Tuscany” of Germany, warm and balmy, by Bavarian standards anyway. The Darting family has been producing wine here since the 1700s. Not only do they make wine, they operate a highly regarded vine nursery, which is probably how this Pinot Meunier ended up planted on the property.

 

For those of you new to the variety, Meunier is a close relative of Pinot Noir. Meaner refers to miller (as in one who would have worked at a grist mill), and indeed the underside of Meunier’s leaves are coated by a powdery white film, a distinguishing feature that helps the farmer tell the difference between it and sibling Pinot Noir. It is a little heartier and less difficult to maintain than Pinot Noir, and that’s why it is sometimes referred to as the “worker grape” of Champagne.

 

Its savory, earthy and wild alpine strawberry qualities will appeal to those who like cool climate Pinot Noir. This is also good bet for those who like Oregon Pinot produced in a restrained style.

 

$21.99/ BTL

36 BOTTLES AVAILABLE


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2013 Cedric and Alice Saint-Veran “Champ Rond”-Burgundy, France

 

This is a somewhat personal choice for the newsletter, as Saint-Veran was the favorite wine of my late Mother. She used to drink a lot of it.

 

Without diving too far into sentiment, I can say that lately I have found much frustration in sourcing affordable white Burgundy. With world-wide demand going up, and a string of vintages in which production has been severely lowered, we find ourselves in a pretty terrible place, Burgundy-wise anyway.

 

Saint-Veran is in the Mâconnais, a neighbor to the more famous Pouilly-Fuissé. Its appellation status has been firmly in place since 1971 and only Chardonnay is made here.

 

Patrice & Cedric are brothers who inherited their plots in 2012. Located in Chânes, they also produce red wine from Gamay. Champ Rond is a single vineyard within Saint-Veran. The 2013 saw a little bit of botrytis (common for the region) which lends the wine a creamy richness, although still within a dry context. The wine is elegant, well made and shows beautiful mineral along with the apple/pear nuances expected of French Chardonnay.

-Sheb

 

$22.99/BTL- 275.88/CASE OF 12

 

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Domaine Fourrier


When Jean-Marie Fourrier took over his father’s Gevrey-Chambertin estate in 1994, he took over some incredible vineyard holdings. An extremely talented winemaker, in 20 years he has taken the reputation of the Domaine from “solid wines” to exceptional. It took a few years for people to realize what had happened at Domaine Fourrier, and I fear now that word is out.

 

When I started buying Jean-Marie’s wines in 2009, I was able to purchase cases upon cases. I was stunned at the quality and ephemeral beauty of his winemaking and was rather shocked that no-one had really heard of him.

 

Oh how times have changed.

 

Our allocation for 2012 is a measly 12 bottles. Fournier is in such high demand that no cases are really being sold anymore, to anyone.

 

You can listen here to a very excellent interview with Jean-Marie on Levi Dalton’s “I’ll Drink To That” podcast. In the meantime, consider treating yourself to one of these rare birds.
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2012 Morey-Saint-Denis, “Clos Solon” 

Just a half a hectare of this lieux-dit in Morey belongs to Fourrier, and he harvests from vines planted in 1961.

$99.00/BTL

2 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2012 Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes

Fourrier only has .39 hectares of village Chambolle and the vines here (are you sensing a theme?) were planted in 1936. The finesse of this wine is truly other-wordly.

$105.00/BTL

2 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2012 Gevrey-Chambertin, Vieilles Vignes

Fourrier’s village holdings are in the north, closer to Brochon and again, the platings here are 60-87 years old. This is the flagship wine for the Domaine and we received a whopping 6 bottles this year.

$99.00/BTL

6 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2012 Chambolle-Musigny “Les Gruenchers 1er Cru”

Les Gruenchers is a criminally underrated premier Cru in Chambolle that houses vines planted in 1921. It is a great old plot with exceptional millerandage and produces intense, compact Pinots made for the long haul.
$200.00/BTL

 

2 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday Feature 2/27/15: The New 6 for $70 Something Sampler

6 for $70-Something
cembra
2013 Cantina di Montagna Cembra Schiava -Vigneti Delle Dolomiti, Italy

If you love light, perfumed, elegant red wines, this one is for you.

Schiava is a delightful variety that grows mainly in the porphyric sand and silt soils that are so prevalent in the viticultural regions of the Dolomite Mountains in northeastern Italy. Some of you may have had Elena Walch’s version of Schiava, a great producer and one we have used in our sampler pack before.

 

Cantina di Montagna’s version is so light, many of us will argue that it treads into rosé territory. Pale and transluscent, it is absolutely bereft of the tiniest inkling of tannin, and appears to have simply been kissed by the skins for a fleeting moment.

 

Further investigation into the subject has revealed that Schiava comes in many different hues, white, pink and red, and that this particular cooperative is utilizing all the different colors of Schiava that grow in their various vineyards. In this context its blush of color makes perfect sense. So please don’t be disconcerted.

 

For Sheb and her unquenchable thirst for all things light and alpine, it was love at first sip (ok ,maybe glug). This  is fantastic fish wine and is incredible with sushi.

 

$12.00 /BTL. $144.00/CASE OF 12

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2013 Vina Mida Offida Pecorino-Marche, Italy

 

Vini Mida is a 3 hectare estate located in Castorano.  Winemaker Roberto Corradetti produces between 7,000 – 8,000 bottles of wine per year.  The history of Vini Mida began with Roberto’s father, who was passionate about wine and made small quantities for home use.  After the birth of Roberto’s son in 2000, they decided to take a more full-time approach and 2004 marked the start of the company.

 

Roberto is very connected to his vineyards, and has strong beliefs on farming and the health of the farm.  His vineyards are organically farmed, even certified as Agricoltura Biologica.

 

This hard work in the vineyard pays off in the wines.

 

A few months ago we did a successful campaign with their red wine made with Montepulciano. We had put the white out in our “value section” but you thirsty people started downing it with abandon, and we knew we wanted to have it in this sampler, so we hid it in the back until now.

 

When most of us think of Pecorino, we think of a spicy, firm cheese made from sheep’s milk. Pecorino does indeed refer to sheep, but in the grape’s case it is due to the shape of the bunches, which resemble the head of a sheep. This is a variety we really only see coming out of the Marche.

 

Mida’s rendition is quite full-bodied, even without the aid of oak, and there is an herbal quality as well as ripe peach and apple flavors to the wine.

 

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

 

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2011 Calcu Cabernet Franc-Colhagua Valley, Chile

 

We are thrilled to see that wine drinkers are beginning to pick up on the charms of good old Cabernet Franc, an ancient grape with a long and storied history.

 

Cabernet Franc got its start in the Basque Country, an offspring of Hondarribi Beltza, one of the Txakolina grapes. From there is made it’s way up the Atlantic coast, into Bordeaux and then the Loire Valley, where it was referred to for years as Breton.

 

In 1830, a Frenchman named Claudio Gay set up a Chilean repository of pre-phylloxera vines at the University of Chile’s Quinta Normal department. These vine specimens served Chile well; its geographic isolation, due to the Andes, prevented phylloxera from entering the country. Today, Chile is the only major winemaking country to remain totally phylloxera-free; in the late 1800s the country was able to capitalize on Europe’s vineyard devastation and a large domestic consumption to advance its own industry.

 

Think of Cabernet Franc as a more herbaceous, plummier version of it’s more famous son, Cabernet Franc. Calcu, a label from the reputed Viña Maquis and much of the fruit does come from their estate in the heart of the Colchagua Valley. Aging is in stainless steel tanks for freshness, and neutral french oak for complexity.

 

$11.00/BTL-$132.00/CASE OF 12

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2012 Domaine de L’Hortus “Le Loup Dans La Bergerie” Rouge- Vin de Pays du Val de Montferrand, Languedoc, France

 

One of France’s greatest treasures is the vast stretch of land called the Languedoc and all the delicious wine that comes from there. This region has more acres planted to vines than anywhere else on the planet and is responsible for 30% of all wine made in France!

 

Admittedly, a large percentage of this output is regular old wine (it used to be called “vin ordinaire” in France). But times have changed and as a younger, more quality-focused generation takes the helm, the conversation is more about specific terroirs and more vigorous vine management, which has resulted in a large shift. We are seeing some great wine coming out of these beautiful little villages, and less ordinary stuff.

 

Domaine de L’Hortus produces quality wines in the zone of Pic-Saint-Loup, and this bottling is a blend of Grenache, Syrah & Merlot. However, these particular vineyards lay outside the boundaries of the appellation. So the family makes a value driven red for everyday drinking that is tasty and expressive. It’s a soft, supple wine with a bit of black pepper and cheery purple fruit.

 

 

$11.00/BTL-$132.00/CASE OF 12

 

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2013 Lagar de Darei Branco-Dão, Portugal

 

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

 

While it has become somewhat trendy in the Dão to produce wines solely of Encruzado, Darei still does what has almost always has occurred, and that is to blend white varieties.  This wine is a blend of Encruzado, Malvasia Fina, Cerceal, Bical and Gouveio.  These are native grapes, each playing a role in the complexity of this wine. And yes, there will be a quiz. At the end of the newsletter.

 

Some of you may have tried the “Private Label” white on our last 6 for $120- Something Sampler, an oak aged version. Our selection for the 6 for $70-Something Sampler is a steel aged version, fresh with a nice texture and plenty of clementine and peach fruit, as well as mineral and freshness.

 

$13.00/BTL-$156.00/CASE OF 12

 

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2011 Bodegas Vinae Mureri “Xiloca” Garnacha- Vino de la Tierra Ribera del Jiloca, Spain

 

The Ribera del Jiloca is a growing region located in the province of Zaragoza, in the  mountain geographic center of the ancient kingdom of Aragón. What rich history once existed in this region has since been replaced by a remote, bucolic landscape, sparsely populated and shielded from modernity by its treacherously graded terrain.

 

 

Ok, that’s nice but what about the wine?

 

When we reach out to our vendors for great values we can place in the samplers, there always seems to be a Garnacha in the mix. And not  flabby or dilute ones either, but high-quality, delicious wines like this Xiloca, that comes from high-altitude, older vines, perched happily on sunny mountain sides in beautiful, exposed slate that is peppered with trilobite fossils from the Cambrian era.

 

So, it is with happiness that we present to you another lovely, silky Garnacha, laden with raspberries and white pepper, aged in tank and bottled for the sole purpose of your nightly enjoyment.

 

$10.00/BTL.-$120.00/CASE OF 12

 

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

Friday Feature 2/20/15: The New 6 for $120- Something Sampler

2013 Weninger Blaufränkisch “Horitschoner”-Burgenland, Austria

 

As unlikely as it seems, whenever we happen upon a nice Blaufränkisch to feature in our samplers, it sells like hotcakes. This is probably because Blaufränkisch is often referred to as the Pinot Noir of the east. Unlike Pinot Noir though, it is deeply colored and often produces wines with a noticeable tannic profile. There is an ample richness to its fruit and fragrant aromatics.

 

Weingut Weninger is located in Mittelburgenland where Blaufränkisch has a long viticultural history. They work biodynamically, in harmony with nature. The grapes are grown in Horitschon, ground zero for this variety, and aged in concrete and wooden tanks.

 

Very versatile and food friendly, this Blaufränkisch is welcomed to the winter table, especially friendly with vegetarian stews, chili and braises.

 

In case you have not noticed, the umlaut count is at 4 right now.
$19.00/BTL.-$228.00/CASE OF 12

 

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2013 Vincent Paris Crozes-Hermitage- Nothern Rhône Valley, France

 

We have had our eyes on the young Vincent Paris for awhile now; a native of Cornas his first vintage was in 1997 after having purchased, from his uncle, a very coveted plot in the famous climate of Reynard. We have been impressed with Mr. Paris’ Cornas for several vintages now; he works with a lovely parity that balances the region’s propensity for overly rustic wines with a clean but not overtly polished sheen.

 

As his name has grown in reputation, so has his ability to forge relationships outside the tiny hamlet of Cornas. The Crozes-Hermitage we bring to you today is born of one of these.

 

Crozes-Hermitage is across the Rhône river from Cornas, and also focuses on Syrah based red wine. Crozes has always provided great value, but never achieved the cult status of its famous neighbors, Ermiatge or the aforementioned Cornas. Paris continues his traditional of a light touch here, so even though this wine is very young, it does not present a monolithic, undrinkable wall, but rather an approachable correct and tasty Northern Rhone Syrah.

 

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

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2012 Matello Chardonnay “Durant”- Dundee Hills, Oregon

 

We are of the opinion that there there is no better salve to soothe one’s wounds than Chardonnay. It is a variety that can be magical, full of mystery and promise. Too bad so many versions are so uninspiring.

 

Why is this?

 

How can one grape run a gamut of such extremes? From the sublime, immeasurably pleasurable wines of Chablis, to the oaked, alcoholic drink of choice by the maxi-dress wearing Orange County Cougar set, there are  a million different versions of this most neutral grape, one whose personality is dictated by winemakers, often more than it should be.

 

To add to this morass, Oregon, famous for its Burgundian-like climate and success with Pinot Noir, has historically failed, on a grand scale, to produce note-worthy Chardonnays.

 

Enter Marcus Goodfellow of Matello: agent of change.

 

With his Durant offering, we finally have an Oregon Chardonnay that is luscious, crisp and compelling. He employs a light touch and the resulting is inspiring.

 

$27.00/BTL.-$324.00/CASE OF 12

 

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2012 Owen Roe Syrah “Ex Umbris”-Columbia Valley, WA

 

As much as we tout cool climate red wines with their zippy acidities and fresh flavors, we know that at this time of year sometimes you just want to feel your wine, deep inside.

 

So we present this bold and jammy Syrah from the established house of Owen Roe.

 

The grapes come from four different single vineyards in the Columbia and Yakima Valleys, and after fermentation spend 16 months in mostly used French barrels. It’s smoky and chock full of purple and blue fruit, a drink-me-alone whopper that will warm you up as you try to survive this grim and frigid winter.

 

$26.00/BTL-$312.00/CASE OF 12

 

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2013 Emilio Moro Finca Finca Resalso-Ribera Del Duero, Spain

 

Those of you familiar with the Moro name and reputation will be thrilled by this most affordable offering.

 

Finca Resalso is made from young vines in the Moro Estate, from vines that range in age from 5-15 years old. New oak is not a bad word in Ribera, and the Resalso sees four months in 100% French oak.

 

It is tempting to lump Rioja and Ribera del Duero together but they really could not be more different. The wines of Ribera, due to climate, tend to be more luscious and jammy and structured than those of Rioja. For such a small region, the quality level is outstanding. This is truly one of Spain’s greatest wine regions, planted almost exclusively to Tempranillo.

 

This is fantastic lamb and steak wine. It is full-bodied, with loads of black fruit and spice.

 

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

 

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2013 João Portugal Ramos Alvarinho-Vinho Verde, Portugal

 

At Perman Wines, we have always championed the smaller estates of Portugal.  In large part that is due to our focus on terroir, and our desire to not only bring you delicious wine, but tell you about the story of the place and the people involved in making it.

 

The question is, can large producers deliver terroir?  The short answer is yes, and while the human and historical side of larger producers is usually less interesting, we would be remiss if we didn’t show you the whole story of Portugal.

 

João Portugal Ramos is one of the big names in the wine business of Portugal.  They own property and have various projects in Alentejo, Douro, Tejo, Beiras, Vinho Verde and more.  This impressive range allows them to share with their customers the diverse terroirs that make up Portuguese wines.

 

Their entry into Vinho Verde is the most recent project started by João Portugal Ramos.  Vinho Verde is well-known for being a region, as well as the name of a wine, often thought of as a light, low-alcohol, slightly spritzy white.  As we have shown you, there are many world-class wines of the region that have nothing to do with the aforementioned style of wine.

 

Many of you know the grape varietal Loureiro from purchasing the wines of Quinta do Ameal at the store.  That is the most important grape of Lima sub-region.  Just to the north lies the sub-region of Monção and Melgaço.

 

A neighbor to Galicia and the Spanish appellation of Rías Baixas, it is no wonder then that Monção and Melgaço is known for Alvarinho (known as Albariño in Spain).  The grape varietal is one of the most noble white grapes of the Iberian Peninsula, and shows wonderful when fresh and young, but also has the potential to age.

 

2013 marks the first vintage of Alvarinho from João Portugal Ramos, and their interpretation has its own distinctive character.  Harvested from various vineyard sources with its distinctive granite soil, the grapes are harvested by hand in the morning for freshness.

 

Part of the fermentation takes place in new French oak barrels (20%) and the rest in stainless steel tanks.

 

Very expressive nose, combining peach pit, orange peel, and a hint of sweet baking spices.  Texturally this has both richness and freshness to keep it very well balanced.  Above all it is delicious.

 

Try this with simply prepared Langoustines, they are a match made in heaven.

 

$21.00/BTL.- $126.00/ SIX-PACK CASE

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

Friday Feature 02/13/15: Left Bank/Right Bank! A Couple of Bordeaux.

Left Bank/Right Bank! Two Bordeaux For You!
 

2009 Château Fonréaud Listrac-Médoc

The greatest names in Bordeaux are mostly concentrated within the Médoc, a 60km long region that contains the historic communes of St. Estèphe, St. Julian, Margaux and Paulliac. These are the great gravel beds that produce some of the world’s most sought after wines, yet there are two tiny communes nestled within this area, just north and to the west of Margaux that barely get mentioned: Moulis and Listrac.

We plan to rectify this oversight today.

Château Fonréaud is one of those impossibly preserved ancient castles with a famous spring that purportedly once quenched the thirst of King Henry II Plantagenet, the husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine, in the 12th century. Henry was thirsty and needed a drink!

Today, you can still take a drink from this spring that is now surrounded by vineyards.

Although we are seeing more and more ecologically minded vineyard practices in Bordeaux, it is still the exception rather than the rule. At Fonréaud, there is a system employed called Méthode Cousinié, a service which uses biological and organic compounds to solve problems in the vineyard, with an eye on the implementation of environmentally sound systems.

Their Listrac comes from a single 32 hectare block planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Petit Verdot. A traditional harvest and fermentation take place, after which the wine spends 12 months in oak barrels, a third of which are new.

The wine displays a classic left bank sensibility with plums, and a minerality reminiscent of a #2 pencil. If you recall, 2009 was a ripe vintage in Bordeaux, producing pleasurable, juicy wines. This is a great candidate for medium-term cellaring, or better yet, decant and do your steak a favor and drink this Listrac alongside it tonight!

 

$24.99/BTL-$299.88/CASE OF 12

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2011 Château Montviel “La Rose Montviel” Pomerol
With many wine consumers turning up their noses when they hear the word Merlot, its always a wonder when we hear about the popularity of Pomerol, an appellation on the right bank of Bordeaux that specializes in Merlot.  It’s pretty much the equivalent of consumers who state their dislike for Chardonnay then buy a nice bottle of Chablis.
The European appellation system certainly doesn’t make it easy, but then again that is why you have us, your trusty wine companions to help educate and dispel wine myths.
The truth is Merlot is one of the most noble grapes on earth, and the appellation of Pomerol gives us some legendary wines that can age for decades, as well as some good drinkers for early appeal.
Château Montviel is a 10 hectare property located on the north-eastern mid-hillside of the Pomerol plateau near Château Clinet.  Merlot makes up 80% of the plantings, which are composed of clayey gravel with some iron deposits in the subsoil.
“La Rose Montviel” is the winery’s second label, and the 2011 is blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.  It was aged for 16 months in oak, 50% of which was 1 year-old barrels, and the other half in 2 year-old barrels.
The aromatics on this wine are really stunning with beautiful cherry, wild strawberry and irony/earthy notes emerging.  This is a medium-bodied wine, with well-integrated tannins and a long, balanced finish.  It will be a great wine for the table, preferably with roasted lamb loin.  It drinks beautifully now, and will continue to evolve through 2020.
Pomerol = Delicious Merlot!
$35.99 BTL. / $431.88 CASE OF 12
Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

The Wine Wire: 2013 Do Ferreiro “Rebisaca”

Because the wine zone of Rias Baixas is synonymous with Albariño,  we often forget there are a host of accessory grapes allowed, Iberian charmers such as as Loureira, Treixadura, Caiña Blanca, Torrontés & Godello.

Do Ferreiro’s Rebisaca is a blend of Albariño, Treixadura & Loureira, grown in the sub-zone of Salnes. This wine is a perfect friend for fish baked in parchment with good butter and fresh thyme.

2013 Do Ferreiro “Rebisaca”-Rias Baixas, Spain

$21.99/ BTL.

Posted in The Wine Wire

Friday Feature 02/06/15: Current Releases From R. López de Heredia

R. López de Heredia 

 

I’ll never forget the first time I met María José López de Heredia.  It was around 2002, and I had been eager to meet María José as I had been selling her incredible wines for a couple years, already had a love affair with Spain, and could just tell by drinking the wines that there was so much passion put into them.

 

We greeted her with some sparkling wine, and set for an hour discussing the wines, Rioja, Spain, and the history and tradition of her family winery.

 

It was soon after that I took my first of a few trips to the winery.  Visiting the cellar in Haro, touring the Tondonia vineyard, it blew my mind.  There is something magical about what they do, much of it I still can’t explain.

 

Now that I’ve been entrenched in selling Rioja for over a decade and a half, I realized that there are certain struggles.  Typical Rioja doesn’t have much to do with terroir, more house style.  And with a multitude of producers, the challenge for Rioja has been identity.

 

The reason I bring this up is that for a long time R. López de Heredia has been ahead of their time.  These are wines of terroir.  You can go walk through the Tondonia, El Bosque, Zaconia and Viña Cubillas vineyards.  All located in Rioja Alta, they each produce a wine specific to the identity of their soil and microclimate.

 

So here we are 13 years after that first meeting, and things have changed.  The wines of R. López de Heredia are cult wines.  The worldwide demand now outstrips supply, and the wines are allocated to accounts.  They should be. World-class wines deserve this.

 

Yet if you talk to María José, her sister Mercedes, or brother Julio César the passion is unbridled, the respect for tradition and refusal to change still unwavering.

 

These are exciting wines, those that test your preconceived notion what Rioja tastes like.

 

They have an excellent website, that I encourage you to read about here.

 

 

We believe here at Perman Wines that they are wines that you must try once in your life.  Supply is limited, so email us today!

 

~Craig

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1999 R. López de Heredia “Viña Tondonia Rioja Blanco Reserva

 

This white wine is produced from grapes from the famed Viña Tondonia.  It is one of two vineyards that supply the Viura and Malvasia grapes that make up their whites and one of the most beautiful vineyards I have visited, nestled along the Ebro river, a dividing line between Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa.  The soil is alluvial clay with a high proportion of limestone.  Spanning 100 hectares, there is great diversity within the vineyard, which lends itself to producing both white and red grape varietals.

 

The 1999 is made from predominantly Viura (90%) and the rest Malvasia.  Fermentation and aging occurs in old oak barrels.  It was aged for a total of six years before bottling, and then aged further in bottle.

 

The 1999 is the current Reserva Blanco vintage.  This may not be a wine suited to everyone’s palate.  Some refer to it as having an almost fino-like, oxidative character.  While that is true, it also reminds me, in a way, of an old Graves Blanc from Bordeaux. The primary fruit characteristics have definitely evolved and this is a mature white wine.

 

Aromatics of lemon, fresh cut mushroom, flowers and mineral.  On the palate it is amazingly vibrant for its age, with lots of fresh citrus and citrus peel along with a intense mineral component.

 

The length and overall complexity is truly outstanding.

 

A wine to be paired with very simply prepared seafood, in particular shellfish.

 

Only 4 cases of this was allocated for Illinois.

 

$39.99 BTL. / ONLY 24 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

 

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2004 R. López de Heredia “Viña Bosconia” Rioja Reserva

 

The El Bosque vineyard that produces the grapes for “Viña Bosconia” is a much smaller vineyard than Tondonia. Spanning only 15 hectares, it is a south-facing vineyard on the foothills of the Sierra Cantabrian mountain range.  The average age of the vines are 40 years-old.  The soil is a mixture of clay and limestone.

 

We love everything that López de Heredia does, but really have a particular fondness for Bosconia.  It has wonderful finesse, typically high-toned red fruits with an underlying “sous bois” (just read as earthy) note.

 

The 2004 Bosconia Reserva is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha with the remainder composed of Mazuelo and Graciano.  It was aged for 5 years in wood and then rested in the cellars until its release this year.

 

Put this in a Burgundy shaped glass, and enjoy the incredible aromatics of wild strawberry, iron, mushroom and spice.  On the palate it toes the line, showing great finesse but with impact of flavor.

 

A wine for the table, to be matched with grilled rack of lamb, squab or duck.

 

Very rarely do you have a winery age the wine for you until it is in great condition to drink.  R. López de Heredia does that for you!

 

Don’t miss the excellent 2004 vintage.

 

$35.99 BTL. / ONLY 60 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

The Wine Wire: 2006 Fratelli Alessandria Barolo Monvigliero

Barolo is easy to love, but any fan of Nebbiolo knows that the patience and time required to get a Barolo to a place where it begins to let go of its terse, infant qualities often requires years, if not decades. This is a wine whose phlegmatic evolution seems out of step with our rapidly changing world.

That’s why it is always exciting when one of our vendors finds a case or two of a mature Barolo that they may have forgotten about (this often happens around inventory time, in January).

Fratelli Alessandria is a family-run winery in Verduno, and produce about 6,000 bottles from the cru of Monvigliero annually. The wine is aged in tonneau and traditional botti.

 

2006 Alessandria Barolo “Monvigliero”

$69.99/BTL.

11 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

Posted in The Wine Wire

Friday Feature 01/30/15: The New 6 for $70-Something Sampler

2011 Château du Cros Bordeaux-France
The history of Château du Cros is long and storied one, involving Richard the Lion Heart and other famous figures. The property is located in Loupiac, in between the Landes forest and the city of Bordeaux. The actual castle here still stands and is a stunning relic from the 12th century, a gentle reminder that these wines and this land existed long before any of us.
Many of the simple, pleasurably everyday Bordeaux we drink come from a large swath of clay soils that make up what has become known as the “right bank”. The terroirs here in Loupiac are a bit different however; a little more limestone suited to a variety of grapes including, and most importantly, for Loupiac, Semillon.
But this is red Bordeaux we are talking about, a nervy little blend of Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon.
It differs from some of the others we have offered before in that the aromatics are a bit heightened and the body a bit lighter. It boasts lovely red fruit, both dried and fresh as well as a touch of cinnamon and vanilla.
All in all a lovely little bottle to compliment more than the obligatory New York strip that always seems to be the for pairing for a bottle of claret like this.
$12.00/BTL-$144.00/CASE OF 12
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Ameal
2013 Quinta do Ameal Loureiro – Ponte de Lima, Portugal
There are wines we are excited about, and then wines we love. This falls into the latter category.
Take a look at the label and try to find the appellation. First you find the name of the producer, quickly followed by the grape – Loureiro, and its sub-region Ponte de Lima. You finally stumble upon the appellation, Vinho Verde, which unfortunately is more synonymous with light, very low alcohol, carbon dioxide injected white wine.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the typical celebrated Vinho Verde, but it has little to do with the quality wines that are happening in various sub-regions of Vinho Verde such as Ponte de Lima where producers like Quinta do Ameal and Aphros are making some seriously great wines.
Pedro Araújo is the man behind these fantastic wines. His dedication to his historic property, which dates back to 1710, and the varietal Loureiro is infectious when you hear him talk and explain the wines. It all revolves around the belief that Loureiro is a noble variety, that has beauty and freshness in its youth, but can also develop, put on weight, and increase in complexity like a great dry Riesling.
Having visited Ameal, having had the pleasure of tasting older wines, and now drinking them as much as I possibly can, I can attest to the work that they are doing.
We want you to experience this wine. The 2013 is outstanding, showing a combination of citrus, lemon and orange, all in a linear, fresh package. It is light on its feet, but the finish goes on and on.
Fantastic with simply prepared seafood such as hake and octopus, as it develops in bottle it can be paired with richer foods, even meats.
This is a wine you should – no – must buy by the case. Stick a few bottles away too, trust me, its worth it. And all of this for $15! We are selling this for a stupidly cheap price so that everyone can experience it, and like us, get hooked on it.
$15.00/BTL.-$180.00/CASE OF 12
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Failoni
2010 Failoni Esino Rosso
There is no doubt that Perman Wine customers are some of the most authoritative experts on the Marche region of Italy.
Craig’s summer adventure in the Marche forged relationships with several authentic, small-production wineries scattered throughout this gorgeous region.
On last month’s sampler we introduced you to Antonio Failoni and his fantastic wines from the village of Staffolo. Verdicchio is one of the most famous wines of the region. Yet his red wine from the Esino Rosso appellation was a highlight for Craig.
A blend of Sangiovese (60%) and Montepulciano (40%), drinking this wine brings us closer to our memories of sitting in a small village at the local trattoria, drinking a versatile red that seemingly works with everything at the table. It truly is the perfect Italian table wine.
Classic cherry aromas, with some brooding dark berry and licorice notes lying underneath. Soft and plush up front, with structure coming in the mid palate, and a long, juicy finish.
We can’t recommend this wine enough – it is really the type of table wine you need to match with a wide range of foods from fish, to poultry, to meat.
$13.00/BTL.-$156.00/CASE OF 12
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AlbinoRocca
2012 Albino Rocca Dolcetto D’Alba “Vignalunga”-Piemonte, Italy
The Rocca family has been producing in the commune of Barbaresco since 1960. They have 18 hectares, and their main focus is Nebbiolo of course, but have a couple of hectares of Dolcetto.
We sometimes despair a bit that we cannot convert as many Pinot Noir drinkers to Dolcetto as we would like; after all the two grapes share many characteristics Lovely, cherry fruit, low tannins, and earthy undertones.
Despair, however, is not the catalyst for change! It’s on you if you remain resistant to Dolcetto’s infinite charms and its silky, fruity nature. I think Eric Asimov put it best, when nearly a year ago today he wrote in the New York Times, “Yet with wine, we sometimes overlook a mountain of potential pleasures for the peak experience.”,
The mountain of pleasure to which he was referring?
Dolcetto.
$12.00/BTL-$144.00/CASE OF 12
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DareiTinto
2011 Lagar de Darei Tinto, Dão, Portugal
On the most recent Six for $120-Something we waxed poetic about the wines of Carlos Ruivo from Casa de Darei in the Dão region of Portugal.
So now it is time to continue your master class on Portugal and the Dão and try this incredible red wine value from Casa de Darei.
The 2011 Tinto is a blend of Touriga Nacional (44%), Jaen (41%), Tinta Roriz (7%) and Alfrocheiro (8%). While none of those grapes may sound familiar to you, you may have tried Jaen which is called Mencía in Spain. We are pretty sure that you’ve had Tinta Roriz, which is a synonym for Tempranillo.
Carlos Ruivo and his family believe in blends. Through their experience they realize that each grapes adds complexity to the wine. So while there is a mono-varietal trend in Portugal, Darei stays true to their philosophy.
So how does it taste? Spice driven nose, with notes of fennel, dark red fruit and allspice. Medium-bodied, with structure in the mid-palate, it offers a combination of richness, fruit, earth and freshness. We recommend decanting this to let it open up for at least 15-30 minutes.
This was quite the compliment to Cabrito (roasted baby goat), and would work with many heartier meat dishes, particularly stews.
Amazing to still be able to find a value like this in today’s wine world!
$13.00/BTL.-$156.00/CASE OF 12
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Palazzone
2012 Palazzone Orvieto Classico Superiore “Terre Vineate” -Umbria, Italy
Orvieto, situated in Central Italy, has been historically significant since the times of the Etruscans. It sits on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tufa about an hour and a half drive north of Rome.
It is a quintessential Mediterranean stone village, cobbled together by the ancients and left suspended in time. Magnificent churches dot the landscape and throughout the village a serious of intricate labyrinths have been carved out of the tufa underneath the city; escape routes in times when escaping was necessary and inevitable.
The wine zone of Orvieto is responsible only for white wine, made mainly from a variety named Grechetto, although Procanico, Verdello, Drupeggio and Malvasia can play an important role.
As with most of the whites of Central Italy, producer is key; and Palazzone has long been known as one of the best producers of the appellation. When managed properly, an Orvieto Classico can deliver both the thirst quenching freshness characteristic of the appellation along with richness and complexity.
“Terre Vineate” is the flagship wine of Palazzone, a blend of 50% Procanico, 30% Grechetto and the remainder from Verdello, Drupeggio and Malvasia. The 2012 has beautiful aromas of citrus peel, mineral and flowers. It offers medium weight, with more mineral than fruity flavors, and finishes with good structure and length.
This really can stand up to meat dishes such as veal or pork, along with fish such as grilled mackerel. Serve at around 53 degrees, as it needn’t be overly cold.
$13.00/BTL.-$156.00/CASE OF 12
Posted in 6 for $70-Something, Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter