Friday Feature August 8th, 2014: Quinta Vale D. Maria

Hello and Happy Friday!


In Perman news this week, on Wednesday we released our schedule of tastings an events through the remainder of 2014.


In typical fashion, we have sold out three tastings, France Vs. The Rest Of The World (Oct. 23), Piedmont (Nov. 6), and Champagne (Dec. 5).  We just have one spot remaining for the Annual Champagne Extravaganza on Thursday, December 4th.  Despite this, we ask that you still request to be on the wait list, as spots often open up.


Speaking of events, one event that we have plenty of availability, is our Iberia tasting on Friday, September 26th.  We are really excited about this tasting and will have an outstanding and diverse selection of wines to taste.  This is an informal tasting, and we designed it so that you could stop in anytime between 6 and 8 pm, and still leave plenty of time to grab dinner afterwards.  We hope to see you there!




As many of you know, Craig travels to different wine regions throughout the world, researching and tasting, so that we can offer you only the best.


Today’s newsletter is a long time in the making.  Almost 2 years ago, when Craig’s friends Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo opened the acclaimed restaurant Fat Rice, they asked him to help build a great wine list.  With the restaurant’s connection to Portugal, they wanted to build a mainly Portuguese wine list.


Craig accepted but with one caveat – get on a plane to Portugal to research and find the small artisan producers.  The type of producers that rarely existed in the current import portfolios of American importers.  In June of 2013, Craig, Abraham and Adrienne took off for a two week wine and food adventure.


The result was finding some outstanding, world-class wines.  It took a year to do, but now some of these wines are available in limited quantities at Perman Wine and at Fat Rice.


While we received many of these wines a couple months ago, we didn’t want to bombard you with tons of Portuguese information.  That brings us to our newsletter today.




Many of our competitors write newsletters with the sole information being scores and tasting notes from publications. We try and educate and provide a source of information from someone that you know, have met, and can ask questions to.


So you will have to excuse us on this occasion because we are going to tell you a little bit about the current issue of Wine Spectator that has an article entitled “Douro Masterpiece.”  While the focus is on the 2011 vintage of the Douro region of Portugal, it is a significant piece because it shows that there is more of an interest now than ever in the wines of Portugal, and it puts the great wines of the Douro on a world stage.


One of the producers featured in the article, Quinta Vale D. Maria is one that we visited last June (and Craig visited again just a few weeks ago) and proudly are the only retailer of these wines in the State of Illinois.  Of the top 17 wines recommended by Kim Marcus of The Wine Spectator, 4 came from Quinta Vale D. Maria.  An impressive showing.


The wines of Quinta Vale D. Maria are world class wines, and as such these wines don’t fall into the “value category.” But given their stature, and our belief that they are some of the best wines in the Iberian Peninsula, they are well worth the price tag.


We hope you enjoy the newsletter.



Craig & Sheb


Friday Feature
Quinta Vale D. Maria


Having visited the estate twice, I can tell you that Quinta Vale D. Maria ranks as one of the most beautiful vineyards I have ever visited, as well as one of the most torturous to farm and work in.  The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site for a reason, the twists and turns of the valley, the incredible steep, terraced hillside, all along the Douro river are a sight to be seen.

Beauty unfortunately doesn’t make great wine.   The terroir and those that carefully farm, harvest, and make the wine are responsible.

Located on the opposite side of the Douro river, and just a quick drive away from the village of Pinhão, the current history of the property starts in 1996, when it was acquired by Cristiano Van Zeller and his wife Joana.  The property had been in Joana’s family for many years.   A huge restoration of the property needed to take place, as well as increasing of vineyards through new plantings and long-term leases.

Today, Quinta Vale D. Maria has 31 hectares of vineyards. 16 hectares, which are fully-owned are 60-80 years-old.  10 hectares which have a long lease are between 25 and 80 years, and new plantings of 5 hectares occurred in 2004 and 2007.

The team behind Quinta Vale D. Maria is an impressive one.  The Van Zeller’s have been involved in the Douro and Port trade since the late 1700’s.  They owned Quinta do Noval, till it was sold in 1993.  Cristiano Van Zeller was the manager of Noval till that point.  His other team members include famed consulting winemaker Sandra Tavares da Silva (owner of Pintas), and full-time winemaker Joana Pinhão.

A range of wines is made at Quinta Vale D. Maria, from their value range called “Rufo” to the estate red, Curriculum Vitae, two single vineyards, and of course Port.

These are very limited wines, and to my knowledge I’m the only one in the US currently offering the three top wines of the estate, of which 24 bottles of each were imported.

We urge you not to miss these!



2011 Quinta Vale D. Maria Tinto, Douro

This is the flagship wine of the house, and the wine that you will see in the finest restaurants of Portugal.

There are over 40 different traditional grape varieties blended in this wine, with an average vine age of 60-years-old.  The vineyards are co-planted with these indigenous varietals and harvested together.  Some of the names include Tinta Amarela, Rufete, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Francisca, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Sousão.

When the grapes are harvested they are foot trodden in traditional lagares, or open top stone tanks, with this process typically lasting 1 to 3 days.  There is temperature controlled lining in the lagares to ensure a fermentation range in the 22 to 27 degree Celsius.  Malolactic fermentation takes place in oak casks, two different sizes, and then aged for 21 months in barriques (75% new, 25% 1 year).

There is no doubt that these are full-bodied reds, but there is a particular balance to the wines that doesn’t exist in very many wines of the region.  The 2011 is really special, combining lots of richness, without being jammy, lots of red and black fruit, spice, mineral and an incredibly long finish.  A rare combination of power and balance.

Fans of fuller-bodied reds, wherever they are from, must not miss this!




2011 CV – Curriculum Vitae, Douro

Before Cristiano decided to make his two single vineyard wines, Curriculum Vitae was considered the top wine of the house.  Today, it is one of the top three, but still one of the most impressive wines made in Portugal.

The grapes are grown in one of their vineyards along the river Torto.  It is a North facing vineyard, very old vines, with more than 80 years of age.

The grapes are foot trodden at Quinta Vale D. Maria for 2 days at a cool temperature between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius.  50% of that juice is fermented in the same lagares, and the other 50% in stainless steel vats.  Aging is done in barrique, 75% new and 25% one-year barrels.  Production is only about 6,400 bottles in total.

The 2011 has really come to form since I first tasted it in 2013.  It is a magnificently rich, but still balanced and lengthy red, that offers notes of plum, black cherry, baking spices and cocoa.  There is no doubt that this is built for the long haul, and I would urge any serious collector to stash this away, trying a bottle first of course, but drinking between 2018-2030.

Epic stuff.




2011 Quinta Vale D. Maria “Vinha da Francisca,” Douro

A single plot on the Quinta Vale D. Maria estate, the vines for Vinha da Francisca were planted in 2004.  The 4.5 hectare vineyard is planted with Tinta Francisca (an old varietal introduced in the Douro in 1756), Touriga Franca, Sousão, Rufete and Touriga Nacional.

Like the others, the grapes are foot trodden in lagares, but also fermented in those lagares.  The wine was racked into Allier oak, undergoing malolactic fermentation in those barrels and aging.

We tasted this wine at my store with Francisca Van Zeller a couple months ago, and it was my current favorite of the bunch in terms of drinkability.  The aromas have this insane fresh blackberry, boysenberry note, and the texture is pure silk.  It does finish with some power on the end, but the length, acid and overall purity lead me to tell you that this is the elegant one of the bunch.

With only 5,675 bottles produced, it is a special wine, and to my knowledge, I’m the only one in the United States that imported it.

For those that want to drink sooner than later, this is special!




2011 Quinta Vale D. Maria “Vinha do Rio,” Douro

The amazing thing about the Quinta Vale D. Maria estate is that every plot is identified and many vinified on their own.

It was this knowledge of their different terroir within the property that led Cristiano Van Zeller to decide to make a special wine from his oldest parcel on the property.  Called Vinha do Rio (River Vineyard) it sits at lower altitude, very close to the river.  The vines were planted 100 years ago.

The wine is fermented and aged in the same manner as Vinha da Francisca, but the flavors and identity are completely different.

Compared alongside the Vinha da Francisca, the aromas introduce a dark cherry, red currant note alongside darker berries, notes of mineral and cocoa.  Texturally, this is much richer and full-bodied than Vinha da Francisca, but again with that hallmark balance and complexity.

One of the longest finishes on a wine from Portugal that I’ve tasted.

With only 1908 bottles produced, this is very rare stuff indeed, and the only place you will see it on the shelves in the US.  This is always the wine that sells out the quickest from the winery.

A perfect gift to yourself, or someone else!



2011 Quinta Vale D. Maria Vintage Port

Port is one of the great wines of the world.  Regardless of whether you like sweet wine, fortified wine, there is no challenging the history and the specialness of the product.

It is a historic wine, with the Douro being the first legally demarcated wine region in the world, some 258 years ago.

Until 1986 all Port could only be exported from Vila Nova de Gaia, a city that sits across the river from Porto.  Historically ships called “barcos rabbles” would carry the wine downriver from the Douro region to Vila Nova de Gaia.  After the building of a few hydroelectric power dams, this changed.

With the changing of the law, there is now an opportunity for producers in the Douro region to do all their shipping and aging from their own estates.

I believe that one of the greatest myths out in the Portuguese wine scene is that only the big bottler / shippers in Vila Nova de Gaia can make great Port.  I think there is an incredible future in the Ports from single Quinta’s in the Douro, and those myths will be difficult to overcome given the marketing force behind the big bottler / shippers.

I am so impressed with this fantastic Vintage Port, and I want my Port-loving customers to know that they have to stock up on this while available.

There has been a ton of hype, and rightfully so about Vintage Port from 2011.  This is a good example why.

A quick primer on how its made, since it is always good to know these things.  More than 25 different grapes have been combined to make this wine, from vines in the 25 to 60 year-old range.

At Quinta Vale D. Maria the grapes are foot trodden in stone lagres with 15% of the total Brandy added at that point.  This allows them to macerate the grapes at cooler temperatures and for a longer period before fermentation.  As the fermentation process takes place, the remainder of the brandy is added all at one moment to stop the fermentation.  They still keep it in the lagar for two to four days for some more treading before moving the wine to large, 100+ year-old oak and chestnut wood Port casks, as well as stainless steel vats.  The Port is aged for around 18 months before bottling. Only 6400 bottles were made.

One common misconception about Vintage Port is that you have to age it.  “Have to” is a strange term because as someone that really loves Port, I had a bottle of this wine earlier this week and enjoyed it immensely.

The reality is, a greatly balanced Port like this tastes great young, but of course it can age for eternity.

While I was in Portugal I had a chance to sample a Port from 1900, that was insanely delicious, and still had the ability to age further.

Buying Port is an investment into your future, and fans of Port should buy 6 to 12 bottles of this and taste it over the course of your lifetime.

This truly fantastic Port from Quinta Vale D. Maria is one that you should stock up on!

And if you have a child born in 2011, this is the perfect gift to give them as they can drink it when they or 21 or when they are 80.

Lastly, I am offering this at a special price through the month of August, so please stock up now!


Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

The Wine Wire: Avinyo Petillant-Going Going Gone….

Remember this wine? Dry, slightly effervescent, the eternal harbinger of summer? Well, we have a bit of bad news.  There are about 30 bottles left and then it’s over for this year. If you love it,  we suggest hoarding a few bottles.


Going Going Gone…

2013 Avinyo Petillant “Vi D’Agulla”-Penedès, Spain $13/BTL.

Posted in The Wine Wire

Friday Feature 08/01/14: Massolino, Cappellano, Agrapart & Chandon de Briailles

Hello & Happy Friday!

On today’s newsletter we have some very special, very limited releases from some of the world’s great producers. Massolino and Cappellano in Piemonte, Agrapart & Fils in Champagne, and Domaine Chandon de Briailles in Burgundy.

All four producers are widely regarded to be at the top of their perspective games, and if ever there were a time to treat yourself to something beautiful and rare, here is your opportunity.

Have a Fantastic Weekend!

Craig & Sheb

The wines of Cappellano are true insiders wines. Teobaldo Cappellano, the late father of winemaker Augusto Cappellano refused to submit his wines to publications if they were going to give them scores. Sadly, in the world that we live in, not being reviewed means largely being unknown by the many. I refer to Cappellano as insiders wines because those that truly dive head first to the world of Barolo seek out these wines, with great fervor. Rightfully so.

Cappellano is a tiny cantina located within the commune of Serralunga d’Alba. Insiders also know that Serralunga produces some of the most structured, age worthy, and fantastically complex Baroli.

Step inside Cappellano and you will see just a few small rooms with large Slovenian oak barrels holding inside some of the best Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto in Piedmont.

Almost the entirety of the fruit comes from the fantastic Gabutti vineyard, which is known by all those in the region as a first growth site. The vineyard itself neighbors Parafada, with mainly South and Southwest facing soils.

Today we offer very small amounts (which is always the case) of Cappellano Dolcetto, Barbera, and of course the two famed Baroli!


2012 Cappellano Dolcetto d’Alba

Always one of the top Dolcetto of Piedmont.



2009 Cappellano Barbera d’Alba

Not your average, Barbera, a powerful core with an elegant finish



2009 Cappellano Barolo “Rupestris”

The flagship Barolo of the house, all from the Gabutti vineyard.



2009 Cappellano Barolo “Piè Franco”

A microscopic cuvée that comes from ungrafted vines in the Gabutti vineyard.



This is the single most underrated producer in all of Piedmont. I never hear people in the business talking about this winery, even despite many accolades and recognition within the region itself.

Massolino is a historic producer located in Serralunga d’Alba. The winery was founded in 1896, and today the current generation of Franco and Roberto Massolino are producing truly epic wines.

Look at a map of the vineyards of Massolino and you can see why they are so successful. Not only is their Classic Barolo one of the two or three best in the appellation, and easily the greatest value, but they also own land in four truly fantastic, first growth vineyards, Parafada, Margheria, Parussi, and Vigna Rionda, which is where their Riserva comes from.

Perman Wine Selections is a longtime fan and friend of the Massolino’s and as such, we are able to offer you some of the outstanding 2009’s Baroli (as well as a few other great wines).

I was in Piedmont in June tasting at the winery, and these are easily some of the best wines I tasted while I was there. Don’t miss Barolo enthusiasts!


2011 Massolino Dolcetto

Always one of my favorite Dolcetto.

$21.99 BTL. / $263.88 CASE – ONLY 5 CASES AVAILABLE


2011 Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo

As good as a lot of Barolo I taste.

$29.99 BTL. / $359.88 CASE


2009 Massolino Barolo

Probably the greatest value for a Classic Barolo, all fruit from Serralunga d’Alba.

$47.99 BTL. / $575.88 CASE of 12


2009 Massolino Barolo “Margheria”

This Cru is all about elegance, the Burgundy of the Massolino cellar.

$88.99 BTL. / $533.94 SIX-PACK CASE


2009 Massolino Barolo “Parafada”

A classic, right next to Gabutti, always needs time but well worth the wait.

$88.99 BTL. / $533.94 SIX-PACK CASE


2009 Massolino Barolo “Parussi”

The recently added Cru. Powerful, with well-integrated tannins.



2007 Massolino Barolo Riserva “Vigna Rionda”

The new release of one of the greatest wines of Italy. Tasted it in June, and still can’t get it out of my mind.



2006 Massolino Barolo Riserva “Vigna Rionda”

Offered this before, amazingly I still have some left, built for the long haul!


Agrapart & Fils

Agrapart & Fils is a small grower house located in the village of Avize, in the Côte de Blancs, a sub-region of Champagne known for Chardonnay. The estate is compassed of 9.75 hectares and is now being fastidiously run by third generation brothers, Pascal & Fabrice. It is under these two men that the estate has risen to, in our opinion, one of the top three producers in Champagne today. Yeah, we said it!

These wines are not to be missed for any fan of grower Champagne. We get minuscule amounts each year.


Agrapart Complantée Extra Brut N.V.

This is a field blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Arbanne & Petit Meslier, harvested and pressed together. It is rare to find Pinot Meunier & Noir, much less the accessory varieties listed above, in the Grand Cru of Avize. A wine of great finesse with a savory, herbal quality.



2007 Agrapart & Fils “Avizoise” Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru

100% Chardonnay grown in the clay slopes of Avize. Rich and textured.



2007 Agrapart & Fils “Minéral” Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru

Taut and nervy, from two single parcels of 40+ year old Chardonnay vines: le Champ Bouton in Avize and Bionnes in Cramant.



2007 Agrapart & Fils “Venus” Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature Grand Cru

This is the top cuvée of the estate, made from Chardonnay grown in Avize from a plot called La Fosse. A remarkable sense of mineral and salinity.


Domaine Chandon de Briailles

Based in the village of Savigny-lès-Beaune, Chandon de Briailles is making some of the best wines in the villages of Savigny, Pernand-Vergelesses, the prestigious hill of Corton. This wasn’t always the case, as Nadine de Nicolay and her children Claude and François have resurrected the once dilapidated estate. Over the course of 20 years they have transformed the vineyards from overcropped, weed-killer-bombed sites to organically, and sine 2005, biodynamically farmed vineyard sites. The beautiful fruit they received from the vineyards is preserved, as the family is careful in their usage of oak barrels, never using new oak. One other thing to note about Chandon de Briailles is their usage of whole clusters in the best vintages. This lightens the color of the wine, but adds to the aromas, which is what makes Burgundy so great.

2011 is regarded generally as a very good vintage, one of great freshness and purity, especially aromatically. Open and generous, you could cellar these wines for several years, but they are priced (in the context of Burgundy) to be enjoyed on a more regular basis than just once in a while, on special occasions.


2011 Chandon de Briailles Pernand-Vergelesses “Île de Vergelesses” 1er Cru

This is the flagship wine for Briailles, one that shows great aromatic complexity and gorgeous finesse, year after year. This is a classic limestone and clay vineyard parcel whose Pinot Noir vines are all 40+ years old.



2011 Chandon de Briailles Savigny-Lès-Beaune “Aux Fourneaux” 1er Cru

Savigny may be all about finesse, but the heavier, clay soils in “Aux Forneaux,” give this a bit of tannic structure. This is not named for a warmer meso-climate, but rather a place where community bread ovens used to be.



2011 Chandon de Briailles Savigny-Lès-Beaune “Les Lavières” 1er Cru

From limestone soils, this is very mineral, very red fruit oriented, really elegant. Neo-classical Burgundy at its best!



2011 Chandon de Briailles Corton “Bressandes,” Grand Cru

From limestone and clay soils, this has that rare combination of power and elegance. True Corton, and definitely Grand Cru!



2011 Chandon de Briailles Corton “Clos du Roi,” Grand Cru

Clay-limestone marls with a little sand. This very special Grand Cru is high on the slope, near Corton-Charlemagne. Superbly mineral and tannic in its youth, this wine demands age. One of the top wines of the hill of Corton!


Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Friday feature 07/25/14: The New 6 for $60 Something Sampler.

Hello and Happy Friday!

Hope you had a great week.


In Perman Wine News, Craig has returned from his Portuguese adventures. If you would like, he has posted a wonderful travelogue. You can access this Here, here and here. I really enjoyed reading these and hope you will too.


More updates will be added shortly.




In other news, we wanted to let you know about a great event coming up at the highly-acclaimed and downright awesome Grace Restaurant.


Florent Baumard, one of the icons of the Loire Valley, famous for his Chenin Blanc-based wines from Savennières and Quarts de Chaume will be in Chicago on Friday, August 1st to preside over a wine dinner at Grace.


Grace has been doing a series of wine dinners in their private dining room, and they are a fantastic opportunity for wine and food enthusiasts to sit down at the table with a famous winemaker for an evening.  The space is intimate, beautiful and truly special.


Chef Curtis Duffy will be preparing a tasting menu that will pair with Florent’s amazing wines.  Expect 10-12 courses, and wine paired with each course.




I’ve known Chef Duffy for many years, having worked with him at Alinea, and he is one of Chicago and the United State’s most talented Chef’s.  This will be a very special dinner!


The Details

Friday, August 1st – 7:00 PM Reception, 7:30 Dinner


Grace Restaurant – 652 W. Randolph St., Chicago


$285 Per Person for Dinner and Pairings – Exclusive of Tax and Gratuity


For Reservations – Please Call 312-234-9494




It being the last Friday of the month (this one went quickly!), it is time to unveil another Six for $60-Something sampler!

This month’s sampler brings selections from France, Italy & Spain.

All of these selections are available by the bottle and the case, with the exception of one, but there is no better way to learn about a country than by trying a variety of its wines. We will take you all the way from Alsace to the western corner of the Languedoc, so hold on tight!

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

Craig & Sheb




6 for $60-Something Sampler


2010 Ravailles Frères Ermitage du Pic St. Loup Rouge “Cuvée Agnès”-Languedoc, France

We are big fans of the Ravailles brothers, who own and produce the wines of Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup.


You often see the words hermitage, ermitage, ermite or hermite on French wine labels; this refers to hermits, men who live alone, away from society, usually with religious motivations. Sometimes when I go home to a pile of laundry, unmade beds, and floors covered with dog hair, I too wish I was a man who lived alone, away from society!
The Ravailles family has been in the region for 1000+ years, but it is the current generation of Ravailles (brothers Xavier, Pierre & Jean-Marc) who have made the greatest progress in winemaking. Recognizing the significance of their high-altitude vineyards and vine age (averaging 40 years), the brothers made a shift from high yielding, industrialized co-op farming, to a more careful, organic vineyard management style.
The resulting wines are complex and full of depth, produced with very little intervention.
They make several wines based upon terroir; Cuvée St. Agnès comes from limestone soils, and although it is made of old vines Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, this potentially beefy wine comes across with a bit of lift and aromatic delicacy, courtesy of those very soils.

2013 Château de la Liquière “À Mi Chemin” Blanc”-Languedoc, France

Last month, on our “all Frenchie” sampler, we featured the rosé from this most affordable line from Château de la Liquière. And this month we have their delightful white. These are some of the young vines that will eventually go into Liquière’s Faugères Blanc, which they call Cistus. But for now, you can enjoy them in the bloom of youth in this bottling, for very little Euros.
The wine is composed of 30% Terret Blanc, 20% Grenache Blanc, 35% Bourboulenc (that just rolls right off the tongue!) & 15% Muscat. This is all planted on the famous Schiste soils for which Faugères is famous.
The wine is fermented at cool temperatures to retain freshness, and kept in tank for four months.
The ensuing wine is imbued with peach skin, pear and candied lemon peel. It’s aromatically pretty too, with flower petals, orange peel a hint of those tasty French hard candies, coated with a dusting of sugar.


$12.00/BTL.-$144.00/CASE OF 12



2012 Hermanos Torrontés-Cafayate Valley, Argentina

For about a minute in 2004, it looked like Torrontés was going to be the next Sauvignon Blanc, a crisp, fresh wine that would delight the masses and take over the world. It did not happen. Why?
There are several issues that blocked this global take-over. Quality could be quite variable. And there were several clones of Torrontés planted in Argentina, some superior to others. It was hard for a wine drinker to know which Torrontés they were getting: a clean, peachy, crisp delight, or something, well, more flabby and uninspiring.
On today’s sampler we are offering the former. Hermanos works in Salta, in vineyards upwards of 5000+ feet above sea level. The grapes enjoy an enviably short distance to the sun, and ripen beautifully, but then during the cool evenings high in the mountains, the vines rest, a process that allows for the preservation of acidity.
This Torrontés offer a peachy, cirtusy flavor profile, with a fresh, almost saline quality along with a creamy texture. It is both clean and thirst quenching.
$13.00/BTL.-$156.00/CASE OF 12



2013 Ca’ Stella Pinot Grigio-Delle Venezie, Italy

We understand if the grape Pinot Grigio doesn’t excite you these days. One of those terrible Housewives of New York has an eponymous wine she promotes at every instance, and in the shadows of the Dolomite Mountains are some spurious looking vineyards where grow the grapes for a very famous, high-production brand that is pretty much the elephant in the room when it comes to Pinot Grigio.

So yeah, yawn city. We totes get it.

However, Pinot Grigio can be quite delicious and even complex, and yes, you can drink a well-made Pinot Grigio from the Anselmi brothers, that destroys the high-production brand at less than half the price.  The Società Agricola Anselmi lies in Pocenia, between Trieste and Venice.  This is a wonderfully fresh, crisp and fruit forward style of Pinot Grigio that is sure to please.

$9.00/BTL-$108.00/CASE OF 12



2012 Bodegas de Murcia “Caracol Serrano” Tinto- Jumilla, Spain

Sometimes, in researching the wines for our samplers, one can accidentally fall down a google “hole” which is how I found out that there are forums for people who keep snails as pets, and post pictures of these pets.

The reason my research pointed to snails is that the name of this delicious and juicy Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Monastrell blend is “Carcol Serrano” which is a abundant and delicious type of edible Spanish snail. And perhaps if you are feeling brave, in a culinary way, you can make a dish of sautéed rabbit with saffron, thyme, marjoram and snails.

Jumilla is a mountainous region with dark, lime bearing soils.  This is southeast coastal Spain, mountainous and mysterious, beautiful and exotic. This is the kind of dark, bold wine you can chill for about 20 minutes and enjoy cool, as it’s silky texture and ripe fruit make sense for the summer as well as cooler times.

$7.50/BTL.-$90.00/CASE OF 12



2013 Ollieux Romanis “Capucine” Rosé-Languedoc, France


We don’t want to freak you out or anything, but we are getting to that time of year where we won’t be offering rosés on the sample pack. So drink as much as this pink elixir as you can, while letting your skin soak in a title Vitamin D!

Ollieux Romanis is a producer of very high quality located in the village of Corbières, in Butenac, which is recognized as an official sub-zone for very good Carignan.

The Capucine Rosé is named for a beautiful pink flower and has a lovely, pale color and  dry, delicate flavors of raspberry and strawberry. It is made primarily from Grenache and Cinsault.

$9.00/BTL.-$108.00/CASE OF 12

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

Friday feature 07/18/14: The New 6 For $120-Something Sampler

Hello and Happy Friday!


Wayward Craig returns from Portugal next Tuesday, so we are back in business on Mondays. Sorry about the thirsty hoards that went unquenched during his travels. Come back thirsty hoards! We missed you.




In other news, it is that time again, the second to last Friday of the month, when we introduce our latest Six for $120-Something Sampler.


This month’s box contains a smattering of old-world delights including a find from Burgundy, a much coveted rosé from the Loire Valley, an exceptional value from Ribera del Duero, and other tasty treats.


Keep in mind that while a few of this month’s selections are a bit limited in quantity, you are welcome to choose some of the wine à la carte, but who are you kidding, just do the whole sampler, you can drink it this month if you really try! We know you can do it.


So what are you waiting for, come on down today to pick yours up!




Craig & Sheb


6 for $120-Something 


2012  Guy Amiot et Fils Bourgogne Aligoté- Burgundy, France

Remember that ad from 1987, “Pork: The Other White Meat”? This was a 7 million dollar campaign that worked, eventually helping to raise pork sales by 20% (that fact that bacon was included in this did not hurt).

Aligoté might benefit from such P.R. “Aligoté: The Other White Grape” has a nice ring to it. Do you think we can get the Burgundians to fork over 7 million dollars to start a campaign? Probably not.

Aligoté is a sibling grape to Chardonnay, but always produces a lighter wine with racier acidity. Much of today’s Aligoté is pretty forgettable and often used in the classic Burgundian cocktail called Kir, where it is mixed with a heavy pour of Cassis. It grows throughout Burgundy and wines made from this grape are labeled Bourgogne Aligoté, except for the village of Bouzeron in the Côte Chalonnaise, which requires 100% Aligoté in its encepagement.

In my travels to Burgundy, however, I have learned that there still exist some small vineyard plots of very old Aligoté, and these plots make some very good wines to which it would be a shame to add any cassis. The older Aligoté vines make a much more concentrated wine, while still maintaining some of that zippy acidity. Back in March, while tasting at Amiot et Fils, I was really drawn to their bottling, which I had not seen in Chicago. Fabrice Amiot explained that their Aligoté was from 70-80 years old vines, nestled beside the prized Chardonnay planted in the village fields of Chassagne-Montrachet.

The wine offers some of the same sharp mineral one often gets from a nice Chassagne, but a bit less weight. And it is ready to go right now, drinking beautifully, as I tested one the other night hoping my palate was not caught up in the la la splendor that is Burgundy. I had asked  Fabrice to throw 3 cases on the next Chicago container, and now upon tasting wish I had asked for five or ten.

$27.00/ BTL.





2013 Bernard Baudry Chinon Rosê-Loire Valley, France

It’s hard to imagine that just a few years ago, this producer was virtually unknown, as they have quickly risen to great acclaim and a cult following. The Baudry Family are located in a small hamlet called Cravant-les-Côteaux, where two generations work together with a slavish devotion to Cabernet Franc and its plantings in the various terroirs they have identified on their estate.

Every year we get a meager amount of their pale, salmon-hued rosé, employing grapes that come from two different parcels and made via the direct press method (a short and swift skin contact). The distinct hallmarks of Cabernet Franc are present (bell peppers and a hint of summer plum), but the rosé reveals something more delicate and tender about the grape. That brief time with the skins does not allow the beefier, more herbal notes inherent in Cabernet Franc’s personality to fully reveal themselves.

I am also sorry to report that this wine is somewhat limited too.





2011 Musella Valpolicella Superiore-Veneto, Italy

Although much of the world has heard of the heavy-hitter of the Veneto, Amarone, there is less recognition for Valpolicella.

We would like to change this.

Good Valpolicella, like the one offered here from Musella, brings all the light-hearted charm and pretty aromatics of a Pinot Noir coupled with a super fresh and taut quality.

If ever there were a wine match for ripe tomatoes, well-seasoned summer salads, and the subtle piquancy of food enlivened by a touch of citrus or vinegar, rather than a reduced and heavy sauce, Valpolicella is it.

Valpolicella is made from the same grapes as Amarone (Corvina and friends) but does not go through “passito” or drying of the grapes. So rather than figs and caramel, the flavor profile is pie cherries, cranberries and earth. Furthermore, Musella’s version offers a bit of power that is unusual, but it is nice to have a sense of gravity in the palate now and again.

And I am happy to report there is plenty of this wine.

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



2013 Château de la Liquière “Nos Racines” Blanc- Languedoc, France

We have been all about the wines of Château de la Liquière this summer. To re-cap, this is a wonderful family working with vines in the village of Faugères and its environs. They have several different lines and today we are featuring the white wine called “Nos Racines”. Translated from French, this means “our roots” and this wine harkens back to their ancestors.

The blend here is 30% Terret Blanc, 20% Grenache Blanc and Gris, 20% Carignan Blanc, 20% Bourboulenc & 10% Clairette. You might have had a blend like this if you have ever had a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Terret Blanc is fast disappearing, it is not allowed in white Faugères, and therefore the motivation to keep growing it is low, which again speaks to the name of the wine and how it recalls the wines of generations past.

There is great texture to this wine, along with flavors like peach skin, apple, and aromas of both white flowers and tender herbs like chervil and parsley.

$22.00/BTL.-$264.00/CASE OF 12



2012 Domaine Chignard Juliénas “Beauvernay”-Burgundy, France

Cru Beaujolais had a really good thing going and was gaining quite a bit of momentum, but then the  2012 vintage hit and it has been a little less than charming. This was a difficult vintage, and some of these young wines have been quite closed and honestly, a bit terse. To call the harvest challenging is an understatement; and the tragedy is that this hardship, coupled with dramatically decreased production levels, forced many wineries out of business.

However, the producer we are featuring has made a wine that does not at all reveal the obstacles of 2012.

Domaine Chignard, located in Fleurie, has produced a delicious Juliénas that is open, generous and full of all the luscious goodness you could want in a Cru Beaujolais. The vineyard, “Beauvernay”, is named for a grove of alder trees that can be seen at the base of the hillside. The granitic soils impart a great sense of minerality to the wine, and the 60+ year old Gamay vines lend weight and concentration.

$26.00/BTL.-$312.00/CASE OF 12


hito2010 Bodegas Cepa 21 “Hito”-Ribera del Duero, Spain

Ribera del Duero is a special place: beautiful, savage, and although rife with agricultural pursuits, especially viticulture, there is a sense of preservation and a desire not to disturb the natural landscape.

Ribera del Duero is also a special place because it is perfectly acceptable to roast a bunch of suckling lambs up for dinner, eat said lambies with your fingers, and drink copious amounts of the wonderful Tempranillo for which the region is famous.

The Tempranillo here undergoes very dramatic conditions during each years’ growth cycle. There is a big swing between the day and nighttime temperatures, sometimes up to forty degrees. This diurnal variation allows for extraordinary ripening during the day and true rest for the vines at night, allowing the grapes to retain acidity.

Emilio Moro is a well regarded producer in the region and makes some very expensive and sought after wines. The Bodegas Cepa 21 project is a second winery built to produce a more affordable line. The vines are all part of a selection massale taken from 100+ year old vines in Pesquera.


Hito is a rich, dark wine that exhibits much blue and black fruit, spice and violet flower.

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

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

Friday Feature 07/11/14: It’s Not Burgundy, But It’s Delicious

Hello and Happy Friday!


As many of you know, Craig is making his way through the Portuguese countryside, making friends, tasting wine and apparently eating lots of baby pigs! He is keeping a log of his adventures this year, and honestly it is some of his most compelling writing to date. You can keep up with his adventures by clicking this link which brings you to our website blog, which we call “The Wine Wire”. You can also keep up with his adventures on our Facebook page.


We also will be CLOSED this coming Monday, July 15th. After that, not too much travel is left on the books, so our hours should return to normal.


With the big boss away, I am left to my own devices regarding the Friday Feature. I had some big plans for France, but then yesterday was fortunate to taste a Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County (I know, get the smelling salts out!) that really knocked my socks off. The word balance is often over-used in the context of wine these days, but today’s Friday Feature is harmonious and made with great equilibrium.


The other terrific news is that the pricing is very reasonable. Onto the Feature!


Have a Great Week-End!


Craig (Iberia and beyond) & Sheb (here)





2012 Deovlet Pinot Noir-Santa Barbara County, CA 


Ryan Deovlet began his winemaking career working alongside some very famous names including David Ramey & Paul Hobbs. And while he owns no vineyards, he maintains constant farming input and strict harvesting decisions, working in the style of a Burgundian micro-negociant. He works with very tiny quantities and only in Santa Maria Valley and Santa Maria Hills, two AVAs known for their cool temperatures and for producing high-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.


The 2012 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir employs fruit from these two appellations and only 175 cases were made. The wines exhibits a velvety texture and bright, baked cherry fruit, along with a hint of smoke and pine. It it luscious without being cloying. Ryan employs 30% new oak for this bottling,  but rather than being a nuisance and obvious, the oak contributes a tender spice and slightly underscores the structure.


I think Pinot Noir lovers of all stripes will enjoy this wonderful bottle.


$36.99/BTL.-$443.88/CASE OF 12


Posted in Friday Feature, Friday Features/Newsletters, Newsletter

Perman’s Portuguese Adventures – Day 3 & 4

Catching up! July 11th & 12th

Friday, July 11th

Friday consisted of many ups and downs, something typical of any wine business trip.

I made my way from Ameal at Ponte de Lima south to the appellation of Lisboa, which until recently was called Estremadura. I’ve had the opportunity to visit one producer in Lisboa before, and this time was a completely different story and philosophy than before.

I met Marta Soares from Casal Figueira at her “in progress” winery in small village of Vermelha. Looking out from the roof of the winery you face south and see Montejunto, a mountain that rises up and helps protect this part of the appellation of Lisboa from the extreme heat of the South. The Atlantic Ocean, which is just a short drive away, provides fresh breezes to help cool the grapes.

The story of Casal Figueira isn’t easy to write. There is of course sadness in this story, but after spending several hours with Marta, and getting a feeling for who she is as a person, I will tell it directly and hope that I have all the facts straight. Continue reading »

Posted in The Wine Wire

Perman’s Portuguese Adventures – Day 2

A recap of my date today in Portugal…

What do you think of, when the words Vinho Verde is mentioned?

This was a question that sparked great conversation today as I visited with Pedro Araujo, owner of Quinta do Ameal, a producer just outside of Refoios de Lima in the Northern part of Portugal.  Ameal begun  in 1989, when Pedro’s father purchased the Ameal estate after selling the famed Port House, Ramos Pinto.  Ameal is roughly 30 hectares, with 12 hectares of vineyards, and the rest a mixture of forest, open land and 800 meters of frontage along the Lima river.  By 1994, some wine was being made at Ameal, and Pedro joined the estate in 1998 with his first vintage being 1999. Continue reading »

Posted in The Wine Wire

Perman’s Portuguese Adventures – Day 1

Hello from Portugal everyone! I’ve decided to keep some records of this trip by adding a daily log. Today I flew into Lisbon and immediately drove to the Bairrada region couple hours north. My purpose was to visit Casa de Saima a producer that I’ve worked with Maverick Wine Company to bring in for my store and the Fat Rice list.

Continue reading »

Posted in The Wine Wire

Friday Feature 06/27/14: The New 6 For $60 Something Sampler. Frenchie Edition.

Hello and Happy Friday!

Hope you had a great week.


In Perman Wine news, the intrepid traveler Craig takes off to Portugal for 10 days. We also have the 4th of July holiday looming (how did it pass this quickly, this summer?!!). As a result, we will have a few closures:


Friday July 4th : CLOSED

(stock up Wednesday the 3rd!!)


Monday July 7th: CLOSED.

Monday July 14th: CLOSED


We appreciate your patience while we try desperately to strive for a work/life balance.




With all the focus of late on Iberian wines, we thought it time to turn our attention to what Sheb calls the “motherland”- France!

So we present to you another themed sampler if you will- this time à la Français!

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

All of these selections are available by the bottle and the case, but there is no better way to learn about a country than by trying a variety of its wines.  We will take you all the way from Alsace to the western corner of the Languedoc, so hold on tight!

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

Craig & Sheb




6 for $60-Something Sampler


2011 Kuentz-Bas Vin D’Alsace Blanc-Alsace, France

Last week on our 6 for $120-Something Sampler, we touched upon briefly some of the more problematic aspects of selling wines from Alsace; high price points and the fact that it is difficult to tell whether or not you are buying a dry wine or something dripping with residual sugar. Despite all this, we are offering yet another wine from the region.

Kuentz-Bas has been around since the 1700s in the adorable village of Husseren-Les-Châteaux. A significant change came to the property in 2004, when it was purchased by Maison Jean-Baptiste Adam, and there was some worry about what the future held. A conversion to biodynamics and a general improvement in wine quality put all anxiety to rest, eventually. After all, it’s the French and sometimes they do not like to change.

The style of wine we are offering here used to be labeled as “Edelzwicker” an awkward term for single variety or blended white wines in Alsace that could, but did not have to, carry a vintage date. But let’s face it, no one is coming into the store asking for Edelzwicker.

The wine is a blend of Sylvaner, Muscat, Auxerrois & Chasselas. It is dry (hallelujah!) and mineral driven. Sylvaner is a grape that could use a better PR department. It is capable of producing nervy yet firm wines, mainly in Germany, Austria and Alsace. Muscat adds a floral note to the blend, the Auxerrois and Chasselas a bit of richness.

$13.00/ BTL.-$156.00/CASE OF 12


2013 Château de la Liquière “A Mi Chemin” Rosé-Languedoc, France


Over the years, both Craig and I have relied upon Château de la Liquière for dependable, delicious wines at very good prices. This producer is located in Faugères (foh-jare). With a population of 501 people, Faugères is not exactly the most populous dense place in the world, and as a wine region it has had its share of hardships. Like most of Europe, phylloxera hit in the late 1800s and then growth was slow due to the two world wars. In the 1960s there was a storm so violent that many of the vineyards were destroyed by landslides. Rebuilding was slow again, but AOC status was finally granted in 1982.

Liquière’s history is a common one in the Languedoc; once a supplier to the local co-op, where the grapes went into making cheap plonk, the current generation now produces wine organically and makes lovely, high quality products.

The “Mi Chemin” line is their most affordable label. The rosé is a true delight and invites the sort of misty, romanticization of Southern France that should most likely be avoided, but is sometimes difficult to do. It is made of Carignan, Syrah & Grenache and in possession of such a beautiful ruby pink color you will think you have been magically transported into some kind of adult princess lair that involves alcohol! It is dry and full of summer fruit- watermelon, cherries and raspberries.

$12.00/BTL-$144.00/CASE OF 12

we highly recommend the case purchase!


2011 Cave de Tain Syrah, Northern Rhône Valley, France

High quality, top-tier wines are not always the first association we have with large co-op wineries. Of course, there are many delicious and affordable wines made by co-ops these days. But Cave de Tain in France, and Produttori del Barbaresco in Italy stand out as grand exceptions to the rule.

Cave de Tain lies at the foot of the Hermitage hillside and buys grapes from nearly 1000 hectares of vines. They own 21 hectares outright, and those vineyards are farmed by nine permanent employees. It is safe to say that these guys know how to handle Syrah.

This Syrah, from the hillsides, and flats of the Northern Rhône, carries the egregious appellation of Collines Rhodaniennes, which by the way, even native residents of the Rhône Valley find preposterous and hard to pronounce.

You may  be thinking, “Well that’s terrific and all, but why do I want a ponderous and heavy Syrah from the Rhône in the summer?”. Let us be the first to assure you that this wine is made in a fruity and affable style, no decanting or meditation required. An easy answer to burgers and steaks on the grill. You can even chill it down a bit for a refreshing evening quaffer.

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



2013 Domaine Montrose Chardonnay-Languedoc, France

For us to get excited about Chardonnay these days, well, it takes a lot. We often, on our travels we have the privilege of tasting some of the world’s greatest expressions of the grape, so when Craig texted me at home, excited about an inexpensive one from the Languedoc, I was stunned.

Domaine Montrose is a serious, family-run winery in the fun to pronounce region of Côtes-de-Thongue. They are not far from the Mediterranean coast, in between the cities of Narbonne and Montpellier. This is normally not a terroir we think about, when we think about Chardonnay, but this proximity to the sea breezes, as well as night harvesting, cold fermentations and stainless steel aging contribute to a fresh and lively Chardonnay, with notes of citrus, peach and fresh apples.

$11.00/BTL.-132.00/CASE OF 12



2011 Château Montauriol Rigaud “Cuvée Les Crozes” Corbières-Languedoc, France

This may be one of the few wines we have ever offered whose grapes are under constant attack from wild boars. Apparently it’s hard out there for a grape!

Corbières is yet another rustic little village that dots the winding Mediterranean landscape of the Languedoc, two hours south of Faugères and abut 20 miles from the Spanish border. The blend here is Grenache, Syrah & Carignan, all fermented in stainless steel and then aged for one year in neutral oak.

Google earth images of Corbières all reveal a similar story; mountainous, pebble-strewn land swathed in vines and green scrub herbs. There is a sense of desolation coupled with peace; a natural savagery that coexists with scenic serenity. The wine however, drinks a little bit more easily than this: ripe baked cherries and cranberries coupled with a hint of earth.

Stick it in fridge for a minute if you wish and place it at the center of a table filled with grilled meat. You’ll be fine.

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


2013 Château Briot Bordeaux Blanc-Bordeaux, France

Back in chilly February we ran the last of the 2012 vintage of this wine, and despite our misgivings about running such a fresh and crisp white in the middle of such a chilly winter, you all went crackerjacks over it. So when we heard about the 2013 being released, we gave it a shot. It is even more fresh and lively than we had remembered, although honestly, we cannot guarantee that we truly remember tasting the 2012 because six months is a long time and we have tasted a lot of wine since then.

Château Briot is one of several large holdings of the successful Ducourt family. This dry white wine is composed of 72% Sauvignon Blanc, zesty and bracingly herbacious and 28% Muscadelle. The Muscadelle, floral and fruity too, contributes to the aromatic complexity and perfumes the wine with acacia blossom, honey and adds a layer of richness.

Sauvignon Blanc fans can finally rejoice- we got you covered fhis summer.

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

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