2011 Maison Faiveley Bourgogne Blanc-Burgundy, France
It is a complete rarity for us to work with the larger négociants in Burgundy, although the big names like Drouhin, Latour and Bouchard all make some very serviceable, sometimes very good wines. The term négociant can conjure up some unpleasant connotations: big and soulless, a more “corporate” side to Burgundy, a place that we tend to romanticize for its farmers, bucolic hills, blue-footed chickens, and idyllic lifestyle complete with beret, baguette and stinky cheeses (Époisses anyone?).
Faiveley is a fair-sized négociant, with most of their holdings in Mercurey, in the Côte Chalonnaise. We tasted through a range of their 2011s and 2010s a few weeks and were struck by how clean and proper everything seemed to be. But we were especially drawn to their Bourgogne Blanc bottling, which was fresh, mineral driven, toasty and like drinking a liquid apple orchard. And although we have inured ourselves to the sticker shock which inevitably accompanies every bottle of Burgundy these days, imagine our delight to have found AFFORDABLE BURGUNDY!!!!!
At this price you can afford to drink Burgundy again on the regular.
$19.00/BTL.-$228.00/CASE OF 12
2007 Quinta da Bica “Vinhas Velhas” Tinto, Dão, Portugal
Portuguese wines have become part of our regular rotation in our monthly samplers here at Perman Wine Selections.
With such diversity in terroir within a relatively small country, there is really something for every palate in Portugal.
One region that really speaks to us is that of the Dão. There is a combination of finesse and power that one can find in both the white and the reds of the region.
We are very happy to support the wines of Quinta da Bica, a fantastic and very small property in the shadows of the Serra da Estrela, the tallest mountain range in Portugal. Protected by the mountains, the vineyards enjoy good warmth during the summer, but also a dramatic temperature drop at night.
These are good climatic conditions for grapes such as Touriga Nacional, Jaen, Rufete, Baga, Alvarelhão, and Bastardo, grapes that all make their way into the 2007 Bica “Vinhas Velhas.” Those last words denote “Old Vines,” 50+ year-old vines that give depth and flavor to the grapes.
Fermentation at Quinta da Bica happens in stainless steel tanks, and the 2007 “Vinhas Velhas” was aged for five year in used French oak barrels.
Decant this wine an hour before consuming if possible. It’s aromas really open, with notes of dried cherry, blackberry, menthol and loam. A silky texture up front finishes with notes of plums and long, gentle, baking spices.
It’s classic with roasted partridge, but if left your hunting cap and rifle back at the lodge, you can always go buy a nice aged steak to enjoy alongside.
Please open up a bottle to taste now, and know that it can age over another decade easily. A killer value.
$27.00 BTL. / $162.00 SIX-PACK CASE
2006 Can Ràfols dels Caus “Gran Caus” Tinto Reserva, Penedès, Spain
The red wines of the Penedés region, lying just south of Barcelona, are some of the most often overlooked wines of Spain.
One producer that does give some notoriety to the region, and deservedly so is that of Can Ràfols dels Caus. Craig has had a chance to visit the estate and meet with its charismatic owner, Carlos Esteva.
For a long time Esteva has pushed for the Pènedes to be sub-divided further than how it is today, the Alt Penedès and the Baix Penedès. The reason why is that the territory that his winery sits in, called the Garraf Massif is a very particular microclimate, having its own unique terroir that differentiates it from the rest of the Alt Penedès.
The Garraf Masif is a Mediterranean climate, with cooling breezes from the Sea, all at high altitude. There is a mixture of soil types on the estate, with the red grapes typically sitting in a clay and chalk mixture, with very shallow soil. The soil, the climate and the environment are well suited to Bordeaux varietals, and so with Gran Caus red you have a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
This is very Bordeaux in style, but yet distinctly a wine from the Garraf Masif. Amazing to have an aged wine like this available, and it really shows its aromatic complexity with a mixture of delicate fruit, mineral, and herbal notes that one would definitely understand after walking through the vineyards of Can Ràfols dels Caus. The tannins are well integrated, and its earthy elements call out to be served with a grilled duck breast, or hangar steak.
A name to know in the world of Spanish wine.
$24.00 BTL. / $288.00 CASE OF12
2013 Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Del Fondatore-Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Lambrusco still suffers from the permanent scars left upon the region from the frightful product called Riunite that was so popular in the 1970s. You may remember this tag line: “Riunite on ice- so nice”.
We have thankfully moved on from this era, and we have access to more artisan versions of Lambrusco.
Cleto Chiarli is one such producer. They own vineyards outside the town of Modena, which is the epicenter for the production zone. The bottle we offer today is made from a clone of Lambrusco called Sorbara, which differs from the more well-known variety of Grasparossa. Grasparossa is often responsible for dark, somewhat tannic Lambruscos, and Sorbara for light, frothy, quality sparklers. Chiarli’s Fondatore bottling is precisely that: lightly colored and brimming with fresh strawberries and raspberries, in possession of fragrant earthiness. Fondatore is made via champagne method, and is the perfect partner for an afternoon snack of salumi and cheese.
$18.00/BTL.-$108.00 CASE OF 6
2013 Rainer Wess Gruner Veltliner “Wauchauer”-Wachau Austria
This of you who like mineral driven, higher-than-high acid wines will find yourselves right at home with this selection from Rainer Wess.
The vines of the Wachau are planted in steeply terraced hills that make up the walls of the Danube Valley, a cold and difficult place to make wine, but the wines are rewarding and delicious. There is a range of styles here: crisp, fresh and vibrant to dense, concentrated and unctuous.
The Wachauer bottling comes from some of the less treacherously graded vineyard sites, in the towns of Unterloiben and Dürnstein, and are the first of Wess’ grapes to be harvested, producing a lean, aromatic style of Gruner, racy and thirst-quenching.
Despite this rather “summery” description, this is the kind of wine that works really well with an autumnal pork braise, grilled sausages or root vegetables simmered with cream and scented with nutmeg.
$18.00/BTL.-$216.00/PER CASE OF 12
2012 Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon-Paso Robles, California
Broadside brings a balanced and unique approach to Cabernet production in Paso Robles, which, at times, can be a bit bombastic and overwrought.
The grapes for this wine come from a single, high-altitude plot called Margarita, which at 1000 feet above sea level, is cool at night and enjoys a breezy, coastal influence courtesy of the Pacific Ocean. Clocking in at 13.7% (very low for Paso), they work with vines that average 15 years, and that produce very small berries. This insures a cabernet that is structured and complex, rather than one that unknits upon opening the bottle. No commercial yeast is employed (again quite rare in cabernet production) and new oak is kept to a minimum (3% at most).
Despite all this language that implies a certain restraint, it does still remain true to it’s region, offering a juicy panache of black and blue fruit, and is definitely a dense little tooth stainer, because we are coming to the kind of nights when that’s just what you will want.
Toothbrush not included.
$21.00/BTL.-$252.00/CASE OF 12