Category Archives: Friday Features/Newsletters

3/17/17 – Quinta Vale d. Maria Releases

Hello and Happy Friday!
One more call out for anyone interested in a fun, informal walk-around tasting in the store on Thursday, March 23rd with a fantastic California producer:
WHEN: Thursday, March 23rd from 5:30PM to 7:00PM (you can arrive at any point in that window of time)
WHERE: Perman Wine Selections, 802 W Washington Blvd.
WHAT: Hobo Wine Company tasting, with owner-winemaker Kenny Likitprakong.
People are always asking us for values from California. Most of the great value wines that come from California tend to be bulk juice with questionable origins marketed to the masses. Those are not wines we stand behind at Perman Wine Selections.
One of the most exciting discoveries on my trip to California last year were Kenny’s wines. They come from real places, he has great relationships with the farmers, and his excitement and passion come from wanting to deliver great wines at every day price points. It is a refreshing change of pace from the California mainstream.
COST: $10 per person
SIGN UP: Secure your spot by calling the store with your payment information. Even though this is not a sit down tasting, space (and wine) is limited and must be reserved ahead of time. 312.666.4417
Tickets are $10.00/Person. This is a walk-around tasting and limited to approximately 30 people. Tickets are fully refundable with 72 hours (Monday March 20th). Tickets must be secured with payment. Please call the store at 312-666-4417.
Quinta Vale d. Maria
Just recently returning from a work trip to Portugal, its perfect timing to announce the new releases from one of, if not THE, top producers of the Douro Valley in Portugal.
We have a lot of exciting new releases in this newsletter, including two new incredible, world-class white wines, and a line-up of Tawny Ports that are very rare and incredible!
Don’t miss these!
Have a great weekend,
Craig, Jamie & Evie

Quinta Vale d. Maria

The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site for a reason, the twists and turns of the valley, the incredible steep, terraced hillsides all along the Douro river are a sight to be seen.
Beauty, however, is not responsible for making great wine. The terroir and those who carefully farm, harvest, and make the wine are responsible. 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 history of Quinta Vale D. Maria 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. The family owns 16 hectares and they are planted to vines 60-80 years old.  There are 10 hectares which have a long lease with vines between 25 and 80 years, and new plantings of 5 hectares occurred in 2004 and 2007.
With each new vintage it is important to remember that generalizations about the vintage don’t paint the whole picture.  If you have ever been to the Douro you know it offers many different expositions, elevations, and even slight changes to the soils.  Different Douro estates, within a few kilometers, all experience variations in vintage that ultimately impact their wines.
A range of wines is made at Quinta Vale D. Maria, from their value range called “Rufo” to the estate red, Curriculum Vitae, single vineyard wines, and of course Port. This year they released to new white wines to the market that we are very excited about. The estate wines and Ports are very limited in terms of quantity can often be difficult to find.

2013 Quinta Vale D. Maria Douro Tinto
This is the flagship wine of Quinta Vale D. Maria.
There are over 40 different traditional grape varieties blended in this wine, with an average vine age of 60 years.  The vineyards are co-planted with these indigenous varieties and harvested together.  Some of the names include Tinta Amarela, Rufete, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Francisca, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Sousão.
After harvesting, the grapes 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 of two different sizes, and then the wine is aged for 21 months in barrique (75% new, 25% 1 year).
This has the concentration you would expect from a Quinta Vale D. Maria wine, but finishes with more freshness and great length.  I had a chance to taste a 2004 vintage with Cristiano, which was a cooler vintage, and it was still in great shape.
The best part about this wine is that it can be opened now (give it a little time in a decanter) and will age nicely over a decade.
We are the only source for this wine in Illinois, because of its big press, it quickly sold out worldwide.
$59.99 BTL / LIMITED


2014 Quinta Vale D. Maria “Curriculum Vitae” Tinto
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 usually around 5,036 bottles.
It leans toward dark fruits, with notes of black cherry and plum, and also shows some baking spices from the oak, yet the finish has soft tannin and great length.
I have no problem with someone opening and decanting a bottle right now.  In fact I would ask that next time you need a gift bottle for someone that is over immersed in wines like Napa Cabernet or even Châteauneuf-du-Pape, that you bring a bottle of this to try!
This of course will age nicely in one’s cellar for 10-20+ years.
$99.99 BTL / LIMITED
2014 Quinta Vale D. Maria “Vinha da Francisca”
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 variety 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 is racked into Allier oak, undergoing malolactic fermentation in those barrels and aging.
The hallmark of this wine is its aromatic exuberance, always teeming with beautiful red fruits, mineral and spice.  It has a very seductive, silky texture that firms up a bit at the end.
Only 7,800 bottles produced, and this will be very rarely seen in the United States.
$99.99 BTL / LIMITED
2014 Quinta Vale D. Maria “Vinha do Rio”
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 the different terroir within the property that led Cristiano Van Zeller to make a special wine from his oldest parcel on the property.  Called Vinha do Rio (River Vineyard) it sits at a lower elevation, very close to the river.  The vines were planted over 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 more full-bodied than Vinha da Francisca, but again with that hallmark balance and complexity.
With only 2696 bottles produced, this is very rare stuff indeed. This is always the wine that sells out the fastest from the winery and usually from our store as well.
Cellar and drink from 2020 through 2036+.
This is one of the greatest red wines of the Iberian Peninsula.

$149.99 BTL / LIMITED

2015 Quinta Vale D. Maria “Curriculum Vitae” Branco
Only the second release of this new wine from Quinta Vale D. Maria.
Since we are offering this alongside the following wine “Vinha de Martim” we should explain the differences as if you are (and should be) tasting them side by side.
The best white wines of the Douro are grown in old-vine, high altitude vineyards. Both the Curriculum Vitae white and the Vinha de Martim white come from different parcels/vineyards. They are both field blends, from very old-vines, and both barrel fermented and aged.
According to winemaker Joana Pinhão, “The body and soul of the wines are quite different. CV is always richer, bigger and bolder while Martim engages more mineral character, more vibrant acidity and beautiful citric aftertaste. CV is a more ‘horizontal’ wine and Martim a more ‘vertical’ one.
We’ve decided to included a recent review from The Wine Advocate for more complete tasting notes.
“The 2015 Branco CV is an old vines (over 80 years) field blend, aged for nine months in French oak (80% new and 20% second use). This is potentially a brilliant Branco in the making. It was wholly unevolved when seen this summer in Porto, just before bottling, but it has all the earmarks of a great white. Showing exceptional concentration and equally good structure, this has the intensity and power to support and lift the concentrated fruit. Its only flaw at the moment is that it shows too much oak, but as noted with some of the others here, that’s to be expected when it was not even yet bottled. It has the structure and mid-palate to pull it in. This has the potential to age well, but let’s be a bit conservative just now. It should also improve with a couple of years of cellaring, at the least, so don’t dive in right away. As an aside, I couldn’t easily decide whether I liked this or the Vinha de Martim (also reviewed) more. That, perhaps, showed a bit more zing and this a bit more concentration, but they both do everything well. I would give this CV the nod for the moment, though. 95 Points, Mark Squires.”
An incredible white wine that we suggest treating like a fine White Burgundy, drinking at cellar temperature, and out of a Burgundy stem.
Truly incredible.

2015 Quinta Vale D. Maria “Vinha de Martim” Branco


The first ever release of “Vinha de Martim.” Please see notes from CV Branco above. Below another description from The Wine Advocate.

“The 2015 Vinha de Martim “Vale da Maria” is a new offering, sourced from a north and east-facing single vineyard (over 80 years old). It is getting somewhat difficult to differentiate between the many levels and labels here, but here is another. It is a field blend aged for nine months in French oak (75% new and 25% second use). This one proves its case. Simply brilliant, this emphasizes its zing and zest in its youth, its core of acidity beautifully supporting the fruit. Intense and gripping on the finish, this has exciting grip and fine penetration. Not quite bottled when seen, this looks very promising, to say the least. It will be interesting to see how this new offering performs. 94-95 Points, Mark Squires.”

For those that love a “saltier” more mineral white wine. A really special white wine.

When you talk about the greatest Port families of Portugal, you have to include the Van Zeller family. As far back as 1780, the family was a Port wine shipper. Up until 1993, Cristian Van Zeller was the head of Quinta do Noval, one of the most prestigious Port houses and producers of the iconic “Nacional,” considered by most to be the great Port of Portugal.
Below we have a great line-up of Ports, including a couple that come from the Quinta Vale D. Maria property, an excellent look into a single Quinta Port. There is also an incredible range of Tawny Ports. The older, the more rare, and we are incredible lucky to score some of the 30 and 40 Year-Old Tawnys, of which they bottled very little. There is also a special “Colheita” which is a vintage dated Tawny from 1975. This wine is bottled under the Van Zeller label.
If you are a Port lover, we do not want you to miss these, they are truly special.

Quinta Vale D. Maria Reserve Port “Lot 14”
One of two Ports in the line up that falls under the Ruby category. Technically a single harvest Reserve port, it is not permitted by law to make single harvest Reserve Port. The family sort of went around this with crafty naming, hence the “Lot 14” in place of 2014 vintage.

$23.99 BTL 

Quinta Vale D. Maria 10 year Tawny Port
$36.99 BTL / LIMITED

Quinta Vale D. Maria 30 yr Tawny Port

Quinta Vale D. Maria 40 yr Tawny Port

Quinta Vale D. Maria Vintage Port 2011
$59.99 BTL / LIMITED
Van Zeller “VZ” 1975 Colheita Port
Colheita (pronounced Col-yate-a) is a single vintage-dated Tawny Port, (all grapes are from one harvest) which are aged in small used oak barrels. In Portugese the word “Colheita” actually means “harvest”.
A Colheita Port must be aged in cask at least 7 years, though eight years is pretty typical, and they may spend as many as 50 or more years maturing in wood. Look for the date of bottling on the front or the back label (“Bottled In 19XX  or 20XX”) along with the words “matured in wood” or “aged in cask”. Colheitas offer excellent value as these wines are well aged, can be considered outstanding quality Tawny Ports, and are less expensive than similarly aged Vintage Port.
Colheita must be “declared” after approval by the I.V.D.P. (Port and Douro Wine Institute, located in Oporto). There is even less Colheita produced than Vintage Port, approximately 1% of all Port production. It is far more popular in Portugal than here in the U.S. where it is just becoming of intrigue in recent years.
Colheitas change dramatically during extended time in cask and take on flavors of dried fruits, nuts, citrus and exotic spices, while becoming very smooth and complex the older they get.
This Colheita was bottled in 2016, with 40+ years in cask. Truly epic.
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Spring Releases from Paolo Scavino!

Hello and Happy Friday!
Just a quick reminder that we are hosting an informal walk-around tasting in the store on Thursday, March 23rd with a fantastic California producer. Call now to reserve your spot!
WHEN: Thursday, March 23rd from 5:30PM to 7:00PM (you can arrive at any point in that window of time)
WHERE: Perman Wine Selections, 802 W Washington Blvd.
WHAT: Hobo Wine Company tasting, with owner-winemaker Kenny Likitprakong.
People are always asking us for values from California. Most of the great value wines that come from California tend to be bulk juice with questionable origins marketed to the masses. Those are not wines we stand behind at Perman Wine Selections.
One of the most exciting discoveries on my trip to California last year were Kenny’s wines. They come from real places, he has great relationships with the farmers, and his excitement and passion come from wanting to deliver great wines at every day price points. It is a refreshing change of pace from the California mainstream.
COST: $10 per person
SIGN UP: Secure your spot by calling the store with your payment information. Even though this is not a sit down tasting, space (and wine) is limited and must be reserved ahead of time. 312.666.4417
Tickets are $10.00/Person. This is a walk-around tasting and limited to approximately 30 people. Tickets are fully refundable with 72 hours (Monday, March 20th). Tickets must be secured with payment. Please call the store at 312-666-4417.
Flavor Flav once suggested that you shouldn’t believe the hype. While I’m a big P.E. fan, in the case of 2013 Barolo, you should believe the hype!
This is the time of year when we start to see trickling in the new releases from some of the top producers in Piedmont.
Paolo Scavino is amongst the best producers of Barolo. Founded in 1921, Elisa and Enrica Scavino are the fourth generation heading up the winery. There are many things special about Scavino, but a tasting of their line-up reveals a tour around the appellation. Not only does Scavino make Barolo blended from different communes, but they have an incredible line-up of single vineyard offerings from the villages of Roddi, Verduno, La Morra, Barolo and Castiglione Falletto.
On Wednesday night, we here at Perman Wine tasting through the range of 2013 Baroli, and can confirm wholeheartedly their greatness.
We also got the rare chance to taste what is on the short list of the best wines of Piedmont, the Riserva from Rocche dell’Annuziata, which is currently from the 2011 vintage. It is one of the best Barolo I have tasted in the past year.
All the wines below (with the exception of Cannubi) have just arrived in Chicago.
Don’t miss these!
Have a great weekend,
Craig, Jamie & Evie

Paolo Scavino
This week we had the pleasure of tasting through the latest 2013 releases of the famed Barolo estate, Paolo Scavino, which were spectacular as always.
As huge fans of the region, we have always tried to offer our customers a handful of the top growers from the region. The Scavino wines are always highly recommended, and this most definitely includes the list below.
Now in its fourth generation, under Elisa and Enrica Scavino, this is a special estate that owns 23 hectares of vines in 19 Barolo Crus (vineyards).
If you have traveled to the region (and we love to ourselves), then you have witnessed the beautiful rolling hills where vineyards seemingly are everywhere. What isn’t apparent is that within the vast landscape, only a few of these vineyards are truly exceptional.
So when you get a chance to taste with a winery like Scavino, and notice the exceptional quality, they will tell you it is because they have the honor of working with grapes from so many magical  and prized vineyards.
Aside from the terroir, there is the family.  Dedicated to their vineyards and grapes, Elisa’s father is also a great innovator in the winery, even designing tanks that allow the cap to be totally submerged, a process that is more gentle, and just one example of the total thought process that goes into making the most beautiful wines, and letting the terroir shine through.
The 2013 Cru wines are really fantastic.  The vintage was very wet in the beginning, which delayed harvest by a couple of weeks, but enthusiasts are already likening the 2013 wines to the legendary 2010 vintage: classic with plenty of acidity, firm but ripe tannins and near-perfect balance in the best examples. If you love finesse in wines, then this is truly your vintage.  We were blown away by them!
The Cru Barolo will likely sell out as they always do, so it is important to order now. Don’t miss these truly exceptional examples of Nebbiolo!
P.S. – Please inquire about magnum formats, as many of the Cru selections are available in large format.
2013 Paolo Scavino Langhe Nebbiolo
A great introduction to the highly anticipated 2013 Piedmont vintage.  We were stunned by the complexity and pedigree of this wine, and the incredible value it offers. Drink now or hold even for 5-8 years.

$21.00 BTL / $252.00 CASE


2013 Paolo Scavino Barolo
This is the flagship wine of the estate, utilizing fruit from each of their seven crus in its production. Each plot is vinified and aged separately, then blended to produce a harmonious wine that is both representative of the vintage, various terroirs, and philosophies of the Scavino family.
$39.99 BTL / $479.88 CASE
2013 Paolo Scavino Barolo “Carobric”
This wine is produced from three cru vineyards: Cannubi, Rocche di Castiglione and Fiasco. Historically Barolo was always a blended wine and this bottling harkens back to those days.
$64.99 BTL / $389.94 SIX PACK CASE

2013 Paolo Scavino Barolo “Bricco Ambrogio”

This cru is in the commune of Roddi, in the north. A perpetual charmer, Ambrogio always drinks beautifully when young, but is also a wine to lay down for the ages.

$52.99 BTL / $317.94 SIX PACK CASE


2013 Paolo Scavino Barolo “Monvigliero”

From Verduno, the proximity of this cru to the Tanaro River creates a special micro-climate, resulting in a wine with elegant aromatics, a mineral edge and powerful fruit.

$64.99 BTL / $389.94 SIX PACK CASE

2013 Paolo Scavino Barolo “Cannubi”

Undisputedly the most important cru in the commune of Barolo,  this is a rich, age-worthy wine with unbridled tenacity and an expressive, haunting nose.


2013 Paolo Scavino Barolo “Bric dël Fiasc”
This was the first single vineyard wine from the Scavino family back in 1978.  The Fiasco vineyard is an exceptional site, and the wine can best be summed up as a perfect combination of power and fitness.

$84.99 BTL / $509.94 SIX PACK CASE

2011 Paolo Scavino Barolo Riserva “Rocche dell’Annunziata”
One of the great crus in La Morra, the Scavino family was able to purchase a plot here in 1990, and this yields an elegant ethereal wine, one of their most graceful and aromatic bottlings. This is a northwest facing hillside with an altitude of about 300m. This wine is in possession of beautiful floral aromatics and attractive cherry fruits- truly stunning even in its infancy.

This is always one of the top wines of Barolo!

$164.99 BTL / $989.94 SIX PACK CASE
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3/3/17 New Releases from Very Old Friends

Hello and Happy Friday!
We’d like to start by announcing another informal, walk-around tasting at the store on Thursday, March 23rd.
Please read on for more information:
WHEN: Thursday, March 23rd from 5:30PM to 7:00PM (you can arrive at any point in that window of time)
WHERE: Perman Wine Selections, 802 W Washington Blvd.
WHAT: Hobo Wine Company tasting, with owner-winemaker Kenny Likitprakong.
People are always asking us for values from California. Most of the great value wines that come from California tend to be bulk juice with questionable origins marketed to the masses. Those are not wines we stand behind at Perman Wine Selections.
One of the most exciting discoveries on my trip to California last year were Kenny’s wines. They come from real places, he has great relationships with the farmers, and his excitement and passion come from wanting to deliver great wines at every day price points. It is a refreshing change of pace from the California mainstream.
COST: $10 per person
SIGN UP: Secure your spot by calling the store with your payment information. Even though this is not a sit down tasting, space (and wine) is limited and must be reserved ahead of time. 312.666.4417
Tickets are $10.00/Person. This is a walk-around tastingand limited to approximately 30 people. Tickets are fully refundable with 72 hours (Monday March 20th). Tickets must be secured with payment. Please call the store at 312-666-4417.
This Friday we are very excited to announce Craig’s return home (we were worried he might be having too much fun in Portugal and want to stay), as well as the latest release of Norman Hardie, a producer we are proud to support at every opportunity.
This is the second release EVER of Norm’s wines in Chicago. The first newsletter release was our most successful Friday Feature in the store’s history. Not only did our customers want to try the wines, they came back time and again for more.
The Norman Hardie wines have taken their place as some of the best examples of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in North America. Try them if you haven’t, stock up if you have.
Don’t miss these!
Have a great weekend,
Craig, Jamie & Evie

Norman Hardie
In all my years in the business, I have met few more passionate and dedicated winemakers than Norman Hardie. His goal of producing terroir-driven, balanced and delicious wines from Prince Edward County and Niagara in Canada, has garnered him praise by some of the world’s top wine journalists and wine professionals alike.
Canadian wine is not a novelty act, there are as complex of wines being produced there as anywhere in the United States. In fact if you talk to Norm (and I have), he will tell you that outside of Burgundy, there is no other place in the world that he would rather make his Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Outside of France, there are very few wine growing regions in the world that have the fractured limestone soil that Prince Edward County (P.E.C) has.  It is a mixture of young limestone and clay, with a very high active calcium content.  These are the type of soils that you will sometimes find in Chablis, parts of the Côte d’Or, and parts of the Loire Valley.
So much work has to go into vineyard management at Norman Hardie Winery.  It is not uncommon for winter temperatures to reach -25 degrees Celsius.  These type of extreme temperatures will kill the vines.  Norman and his dedicated crew actually have to bury part of their vines in winter to prevent this frost damage.  With between 150,000 – 200,000 canes in the vineyards, this is an incredible amount of work.
Yet all of this work results in incredible fruit.  Norman is able to get physiological ripeness, yet with lower sugars and thus lower alcohol.
In the winery, his crew practices Old World traditions.  Only indigenous yeasts from the vineyards are used for fermentation.  There is no malolactic fermentation till the Spring, and they sit sulfur free on the lees, which in Norman’s words really allow the wines to “blossom.”
I know a lot of people will read this newsletter and think that we are offering a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Canada more as curiosity.  That is the furthest thing from the truth.  These are world class wines, that I personally love to drink, and would say are in my top 5 favorite North American wines.
They are not for you if you like a more overripe style of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but if you find yourself a fan of cool climate expressions of these grapes, then these are definitely for you!
These are limited, so don’t miss them!
2014 Norman Hardie County Chardonnay
This is a must try for any fan of White Burgundy, or cool-climate Chardonnay. The fruit for this Chardonnay comes from 5 different sites, all close to each other and grown on that fractured limestone soil that makes this region special. Mineral-driven with fresh citrus, oyster shell and mineral coming through on the nose and palate.
$38.99 BTL / LIMITED


2013 Norman Hardie Niagara Chardonnay
Grapes were sourced from four very mineral driven sites form both the top and base of the Niagara escarpment with the idea that the variety of sites add a layers of complexity. The wine initially appears light and delicate, but finishes with many layers of citrus and rich minerality – richer fruit notes than the County Chardonnay, but equal in mineral notes.
$38.99 BTL / LIMITED
2015 Norman Hardie Niagara Pinot Noir
This wine appeals to all fans of Pinot Noir, as it has a foot firmly planted in the new and old world.  Pure red berry aromas, give way to an elegant Pinot that has an incredible core of fruit, but finishes so fresh and lively.
This is just seriously good Pinot Noir and in our opinion a great value.
$38.99 BTL / LIMITED
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2/10/17 – From Coast to Côte: Exciting new French Arrivals

Hello and Happy Friday!
It’s that time of year again…Craig will be leaving for his annual trip to Portugal in a little over a week! We wanted to let you all know ahead of time in case you just have to stop in a see him off. With the magic of his new iPhone 7 camera, he’ll be taking lots of pictures during his travels to share with everyone, so keep an eye out on social media.
Part of the trip will include the Simplesmente Vinho wine event, a pop up dinner with Chef Abe Conlon of Fat Rice in Porto, and Craig’s first ever trip to the island of Madeira!
While he’s away, the store will be closed on the following Mondays and otherwise operating on our normal schedule:
2/20 – CLOSED
2/27 – CLOSED
We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause.


Now, onto newsletter topics – This week we are very excited to offer new releases from 3 of our beloved French producers. All of these wines, while hailing from different regions, are fantastic examples of their respective places, and really showcase the magic that happens when you combine passionate wine makers with amazing vineyard sites. Definitely worth a taste!
Have a great weekend,
Craig, Jamie & Evie

Exciting new arrivals from France!
Domaine de la Pépière
Marc Ollivier’s Muscadet-sur-Lie is the shining star of what the Melon de Bourgogne grape has to offer, in large part because it has lees contact until the time of bottling – generally in late May.
This extended contact gives it the crispness that makes Muscadet so refreshing, and such a classic pairing for the seafood and shellfish in the region. It is the traditional way to make Muscadet, but has become the exception as more producers rush to bottle their wines by early January (5 months earlier than Ollivier).
Ollivier takes his time. He hand harvests (also a rarity in the region), uses natural yeasts, waits for the wine to finish and bottles with a very light filtration. The vineyards are mostly comprised of 40+ year old vines from original stock: he is the only grower in the Muscadet who does not have a single clonal selection in his vineyards.
If you’re a fan of mineral-driven, crisp whites that are complex and food-friendly, the Domaine de la Pépière line up is not to be missed!
2015 Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet “Clos des Briords”

Ollivier produces this very-old-vine cuvée of Muscadet from a single-plot with schist soil, the “Clos des Briords.” This is one of the top wines of the AOC – not only delicious young, but something that can also age 10, 20 or 30 years!

Planted in 1930, the vines in the Clos des Briords plot are among the oldest vines in his estate. Because of the soil and greater concentration achieved with old vines, the Clos des Briords is a more powerful wine than most Muscadet. It is very mineral and quite austere in its youth, rather than fruity and light. Over a few months, or even years, if you can wait that long, it develops incredibly complex aromatics and structure.
$17.99 BTL / $215.88 CASE
*Also available in Magnum (1.5L)
$37.99 BTL / 3 bottles available
Domaine Humbert Frères
With Humbert, its clear that in our opinion this is the most underrated producer in all of Burgundy. The fourth generation Humbert brothers, Emmanuel and Frédéric, are among the best of Gevrey-Chambertin, and it is only because they don’t have a litany of big name Premier and Grand Cru’s that they don’t get the attention.
They are creating wines that reflect an old-school, uncompromising style of Burgundian winemaking that has fallen by the wayside. Their holdings in the north, close to Brochon contain some of the oldest vines planted on roche mère (mother rock) and this is the place where Gevrey becomes dense and tannic. The brothers work in a reductive style, insuring long-lived wines that will reward patient buyers. Cousin Bernard Dugat-Py is right next door.
The wines are perfumed, intense and at the same time delicate and racy. Their “simple” Bourgogne Rouge is all Gevrey fruit, all done in stainless steel and is a steal for the price.
2014 Domaine Humbert Bourgogne Rouge
Their humble Bourgogne Rouge is actually pure Pinot Noir all from Gevrey.  Drinks beautifully now, mineral, red and dark fruits, such purity and finesse! Seriously don’t miss this, very few cases came to Illinois this year and we took as many as we could get our hands on!
$39.99 BTL / 5 cases available
2014 Domaine Humbert Gevrey-Chambertin “Vieilles Vignes”

From old vines parcels underneath Estournelles & Etelois, adjacent to Grand Cru Griottes. Strawberry, mulberry, violet, mignonette, and rose all help to make up the vibrant aromas. More maturity brings out licorice, leather and hints of underbrush.

$71.99 BTL / 12 bottles available

2014 Domaine Humbert Gevrey-Chambertin “Poissenot” 1er Cru
A fantastic, south-facing hillside vineyard on light, stony soil. An extension of the Estournelles vineyard. Only around 4,000 bottles produced per year. Rich and aromatic, the red fruit will evolve with patience and time into a gamey and earthy nose with hints of fine leather and licorice.
$115.99 BTL / 12 bottles available
Château de Béru
Just back in September we featured the remaining cases of 2014 vintage Chablis from Château de Béru. Even with the terrible weather that devastated much of the fruit in the region, some of the 2015 has managed to find its way to us.
Athénaïs Béru’s family has owned the beautiful Château and property in the village of Béru for 400 years. Pre-phylloxera, the vineyards were the entire revenue source for the Château. It wasn’t until 1987 that Athénaïs’s father, Éric took on the huge project of revitalizing the vineyards on the estate.
Athénaïs took over the project in 2004, and in my opinion has transformed this estate into one of the benchmark producers of the region of Chablis. This wasn’t easy, and I have been a witness to how incredibly hard Athénaïs works to produce wines with “energy.”
The Château de Béru wines have energy in spades.
2015 Château de Béru “Terroir de Béru” Chablis
A wonderful synthesis of all of Béru’s properties. Crafted from 30+ year old vines in a minimalist style yields a chiseled wine with a delicious core of fruit that everyone can enjoy.
$34.99 BTL / $419.88 CASE
2014 Château de Béru “Athénaïs” 1er Cru Montmains Chablis
The “Athénaïs” wines are a side project that Athénaïs Béru began in 2010 in order to create a range of wines produced in beautiful appellations in the north of Burgundy that mirror the quality and energy of her Chablis.
The Montmains vineyard is located on Kimmeridgian soils on a South/South-East facing hillside, on the left bank of the Serein River, which divides the vineyards of Chablis from North to South. The particularity of Montmains is its typical high minerality and beautiful strength due to a very rocky terroir.
$65.99 BTL / 12 bottles available
2014 Château de Béru “Athénaïs” 1er Cru Mont du Milieu Chablis

Mont de Milieu is a Premier Cru on the eastern banks of the Serein river in Chablis. Here, a southerly aspect and dry, limestone-rich soils have given a terroir that is considered one of the best Premier Crus in Chablis, producing an age-worthy, Chardonnay that is elegant, floral and racy.

$65.99 BTL / 12 bottles available
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2/3/2017 – One of Barolo’s best – 2010 Massolino “Vigna Rionda” Barolo Riserva

Hello and Happy Friday,

We are excited to officially welcome a new team member at Perman Wine Selections. Like the rest of the Perman Wine team, Evie Olson has caught the wine bug, and brings that high level of excitement and love for wine to the store. Many of you have had the opportunity to meet Evie as she has been helping with tastings and social media over the past three months. She will continue to work with us on a part-time basis. Welcome Evie!
Massolino Barolo

Vigna Rionda Riserva


Barolo enthusiasts around the world have been eagerly anticipating the release of this very wine for some time.

It has arrived, and while quantities are limited, we have secured the entire allocation for Illinois.

If you love Barolo, this is simply not to be missed.
Have a great weekend,
Craig, Jamie, & Evie

2010 Massolino “Vigna Rionda” Barolo Riserva, Piedmont, Italy
The Massolino winery, located in the village of Serralunga d’Alba is one of Italy’s greatest wine treasures.
This historic producer began in 1896 under the leadership of Giovanni Massolino, and continues today under the watchful eyes of Franco and Roberto Massolino.
There are several factors which set the greatest producers of Barolo apart from their neighbors. In the case of Massolino, there is no better estate when it comes to offering a range expressing the greatest terroir of Serralunga d’Alba. To say that Massolino is a Serralunga specialist is putting it mildly.
The “grand terroir” of the Massolino vineyards is that of Vigna Rionda. It is widely recognized that Vigna Rionda is THE great vineyard of Serralunga d’Alba. The Massolino family owns the largest section of the vineyard, 2.3 hectares.
From that plot, and only in special years they produce a Riserva bottling.
2010 is one of the most impressive Barolo vintages in recent years. The wines are unique in the way that they have both richness and weight, as well as freshness and tannic structure. They are clearly wines that will develop for many years, and this Vigna Rionda Reserva is no exception.
Intensely aromatic with primary fruit aromas of dark cherry, flowers, and anise. This is a full-bodied, incredibly long wine, with well-framed tannins, and savory licorice, balsamic and herb notes lingering on the seemingly unending finish.
You may try a bottle of this now, decanting for a couple hours before drinking. Ultimately, this is a wine that will continue to develop and hit its stride between 2023-2040.
A truly epic Barolo.
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Pre-Buy Rieslings from Jochen Beurer

Hello and Happy Friday!
A special thanks to all of you who are continuing to drink during the month of January! We appreciate you. And good luck to everyone on keeping your New Year’s resolutions.
You’ll be happy to know that we have started planning some upcoming tastings…
Save the date for a fun-filled Groundhog Day tasting on Thursday, February 2nd, and a Chinese New Year inspired “Year of the Rooser” tasting and dinner on Wednesday, February 8th. Details and pricing to come next Friday!
Our Friday Feature today was written by the very talented Collin Moody, who just opened up Income Tax– a wine bar in Edgewater – with owner Nelson Fitch and Chef Ryan Henderson.  Definitely a cozy neighborhood spot to check out if you love great food and amazing wine.
This Friday we offer you some incredible, single-vineyard Rieslings that we were able to taste with the winemaker himself, Jochen Beurer of Baden-Württemberg. We’ve had these wines in the store before and they were met with great praise and success. We’re excited for the latest vintages!
We are offering three wines today on pre-buy, meaning that you need simply email us your requests, and we will order the wine from the distributor. We will email you as soon as the wines arrive.
In the meantime, there is plenty of the Jochen Beurer Trocken Riesling in the store for anyone in need of instant gratification.
Don’t miss these!
Have a great weekend,
Craig & Jamie

Jochen Beurer Riesling Pre-Buy Offer:
We are delighted to offer the latest release of these laser-focused, bone-dry Rieslings from this most talented young producer in the appellation of Baden-Württemberg, in southwest Germany, an area known as Swabia.
Yes, this is Germany, but before you start thinking of the Mosel and it’s slate soils, remember that this is primarily a sub-Alpine region with hills created by the slow shifting movements of the Alps. This region is best understood on its own, not compared to other parts of Germany. Unfortunately, this uniqueness is also what has made it such a marginal region. Though some think it might be Europe’s next great wine region, it is often easier to forget about it than try and understand it. Württemberg hosts high altitude with limestone and marl hills reminiscent of the Jura, and Baden is warm enough to be Germany’s primary red wine region.
Jochen farms a hillside in Stetten (between Stuttgart and Munich) that is broken down into steps with different soil types at each ridge. Riesling ripens easily here now thanks to global warming and the wines are almost always made completely dry with a long fermentation. Jochen himself is a former BMX champion who returned to his family’s vines in 1997. In 2003 he began experiments with native yeast, then shortly after he began to think about preserving the indigenous yeast and local microflora with biodynamics in the vineyard with herbal treatments instead of spraying with chemicals.
All of this hard work yields wines that are extremely clear in their character and philosophy. The Beurer wines are instead lean, mean, mineral-packed machines that are all about the terroir of the different plots. Definitely worth watching evolve over a couple days with the bottle open or over time in your cellar.
2015 Riesling Trocken
For under $20, this wine has a lot going for it. It is clean, pure, bone-dry Riesling with poise, balance, and acidity from it’s limestone origins that gives it a refreshing energy and brightness that feels downright healthy to drink.
$19.00 BTL / $228.00 CASE 


2015 Riesling “Gipskeuper”
1000 ft. in altitude with a terroir of red mudstones with deposits of gypsum, and chalky topsoil. The most open and round of the bunch with trademark salinity.
$23.00 BTL / $276.00 CASE 
2015 Riesling “Schilfsandstein”
1100 ft. in altitude with a terroir of yellow green sandstone and quartz, 35 year old vines. Lean (we mean it!), powerfully intense, and great minerality. Lovers of Muscadet and Chablis, take note.
$25.00 BTL / $300.00 CASE 
2015 Riesling “Kieselsandstein”
1200 ft. in altitude with a terroir of red chalky sandstone soil, pebbles of basalt, quartz and broken rocks from the Alps. Partially fermented and aged in foudre. Full- bodied with more spice and structure, but with the trademark electric acid and minerality.
$29.00 BTL / $348.00 CASE
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New Releases from Champagne Georges Laval

Hello and Happy New Year!
Let’s just get this over with.
Congratulations on your new diet, we’re supportive.
Working out is also a good thing, just keep drinking wine in moderation, because we all know it’s good for you!
Now that we got that out of the way we can begin our first newsletter of the year.
Many of you have been asking about upcoming tastings, and in January, we typically give them a break.
We are in planning mode for tastings in February and beyond, so stay tuned!
Just because things have quieted down in our lives, doesn’t mean that they have in the wine world. In the coming months we will see plenty of exciting new releases from some of the top wineries in the world.
We begin the new year with one such arrival from Champagne George Laval.
For those that have shopped at the store for a while, this will be a familiar name. Which is ironic because this is one of the smallest superstar producers in all of Champagne producing roughly 10,000 bottles in total per year.
We’ve had a personal connection to the winery for many years, something that we are honored to have. As such we get a great allocation and even have access to one of his wines exclusively in the Midwest.
Champagne is experiencing a renaissance, with many great producers to choose from. Laval is at the top of the game, producing Champagne of the same complexity as any of the top wines of the world. Don’t miss these.
Have a great weekend,
Craig & Jamie

Champagne Georges Laval
We’ve written about the great Champagne of Vincent Laval of Champagne Georges Laval many times in our newsletters. It’s a story worth repeating.
As I mentioned in the introduction, Georges Laval is a small grower Champagne house based in the village of Cumières in the Vallée de la Marne. They only produce 10,000 bottles in total production, with the bulk of the production coming from the NV Cumières Brut Nature.
One of the things that sets Laval apart from most producers is their meticulous farming. This is not a trend thing, the Laval family has been farming their vineyards organically for over 40 years! Even a decade ago in Champagne that was relatively unheard of.
Up until recently, Laval produced grapes only from Cumières, in upcoming vintages he will produce a wine from a vineyard in a nearby village.
The excitement of grower Champagne today is that we can really get even more in depth with the terroir of Champagne. The wines being offered below are all from Cumières, and show the identity of the vineyards.
The same care in the vineyard is given in the winery. Vincent uses a traditional old Coquart vertical press to extract the juice. His press is small by Champagne standards, but it gives him even more control over this very important process.
Laval picks his grapes at a higher degree of ripeness, and he never chapitilizes, and allows the wines to go through malolactic fermentation.
Speaking of which, all the wines are fermented in neutral oak barrels with indigenous yeasts in Laval’s cold and small underground cellar.
The wines are never fined or filtered. Disgorgement is by hand.
These are truly complex Champagnes, and as such, you can drink them now, but those with patience will be greatly rewarded. Each of the Champagnes below age and get better with time.
For years I’ve been wanting to say something with the preface that it is not meant to be controversial or an attack on anyone’s preferences.
In my personal opinion, these offerings are far more complex Champagnes than anything being produced by the Grand Marques (i.e. Dom Pérignon, Krug, Pol Roger, Taittinger, etc.). That’s not based on salesmanship, that is based on taste and experience, and my personal belief. The reason why many of you shop here is to receive advice, to cut through the marketing, and get wines that are made by people with a point of view that isn’t so influenced by the business side, but rather by passion for place.
So if you are a Champagne fan, or even a fanatic, these are wines you should buy each and every year. Making sure you buy enough to drink some now, and put some away.
We love Champagne Georges Laval!
Champagne Georges Laval Brut Nature NV 
From his beautifully farmed vines in the village of Cumières, this is a blend of 50% Chardonnay and 25% each of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.  The base of this NV is from the 2014 vintage, with 10% of Reserve wine from the 2013 vintage. It was just disgorged on September 9th, 2016.
Vincent used to produce two NV’s, one dosed as a Brut and the other without any dosage, a Brut Nature.  He now is only producing a Brut Nature.  There are very few producers that can pull this off, as it requires a lot of detail in the farming of the grapes.  With Laval, and in particular with this wine, it is perfectly balanced, and it seems even a little silly worrying about the dosage.
Champagne is so complex that we often recommend certain producers and styles based on a customers palate.  In this case,  we believe that every single one of our customers must try this.  It may change your life and your understanding of Champagne like it did ours!
$76.99 BTL. / LIMITED
Champagne Georges Laval Rosé Brut Nature NV
Around the end of the year you see a lot of “best of” lists written by various people. With so many great wines tasted in 2016 it is pretty difficult for me to come up with such a list.
One thing I do know for sure is that the best wine I tasted in 2016 was a bottle of Laval Rosé, an older disgorgement that blended 2010 and 2009. It was like drinking Musigny with bubbles. I still dream of it.
The new disgorgement just arrived, and like the Cumières just disgorged in September. This Rosé is entirely produced from the 2014 vintage.
The Rosé is a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier all from Cumières.  The majority of the fruit comes from three of his top vineyards, old-vines in Les Chênes, Les Hautes Chèvres and Longues Violes. It is foot-tread before being pressed, and fermented like the others in used barrel.
This is not your simple, light, fruity style of Rosé.  It is concentrated, yet fresh, multi-layered with notes of wild strawberry and rhubarb.  The finish is never ending, and while I will have a hard time resisting drinking my stash of it now, as I mentioned this benefits from some time in bottle.
An amazing Champagne Rosé!


2012 Champagne Georges Laval “Les Chênes”
Les Chênes was first bottled as a separate wine in 1994.
This is a cuvée made purely from Chardonnay. This is a highly regarded vineyard spot, just east of the village of Cumières, with very little topsoil that barely covers the bedrock of chalk. This wine is always produced in the Brut Nature style (zero dosage) and he usually makes just under 1700 bottles.
The 2012 “Les Chênes” is one of the best I’ve ever had.
It still has that textbook combination of citrus and stone fruit, big-time minerality, and a finish that goes on and on.
Try a bottle now, pouring it into big stems for aeration.  It is a must that this is drunk at a temperature closer to how you would serve White Burgundy, around 52 or 53 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure you hold some in your cellar, drinking over the next 15 years. Optimally I’d drink from 2020-2030.
2012 Champagne Georges Laval “Les Hautes- Chèvres”
Easily one of the greatest and most rare Blanc de Noirs in existence.
This is only made in great vintages. 2009 was the last vintage we received, which was made from Pinot Noir vines in the Les Hautes Chèvres vineyard.
The release of the 2012 marks the first time that this is made entirely of Pinot Meunier, from vines planted between 1930 and 1959 in Les Hautes Chèvres.
The vineyard is on the Western side of Cumières and the top soils here are a bit more fertile, and the chalk bedrock is deeper. Perfect for Meunier.
The 2012 Les Hautes Chèvres is mind-blowing. It is a baby, but don’t hesitate to open a bottle now to experience it in its youth.
Beautiful red fruit aromas of wild strawberry and cassis. The fruit is intense and rich, but also with balance and nuanced mineral and spice notes. The finish doesn’t seem to end.
Again, try a bottle in its youth, but then save some to drink from 2020 – 2035+.
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12/9/16 Italian values guaranteed to warm up your cold winter nights!


The dip in temperature has brought about a realization that we are firmly entrenched in winter. If you are a lot like us, our winter nights are usually spent hanging out at home, cooking and drinking wine.
For many Chicagoans, winter food equals American-Italian cooking. An antipasti plate, with salumi and cheese to start. A hearty lasagna or bolognese-sauced spaghetti for the main attraction, or just a good cast-iron seared steak to fill your belly. These are foods that comfort us and get us through the winter.
With these as our inspiration we wanted to feature two fantastic Italian wines that would make an excellent pairing and are both crazy good values.
Have a great weekend,
Craig & Jamie

Two fantastic Italian values!
2012 Monte Bernardi Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy
Monte Bernardi is situated in Panzano in Chianti, a small village in the heart of the Chianti Classico, Tuscany’s original winemaking region. The estate name, Monte Bernardi, dates back to 1085. The one third of the vineyards are over 40 years old and the first wine produced was in 1992.
The estate strongly focuses on producing wines with the greatest expression of the local terroir, ultimate quality, and a harmony between the land and the environment.
The vineyards have been farmed biodynamically/organically since 2004.
This is an elegant and rich Chianti Classico, made from Sangiovese (95%) and Canaiolo Nero (5%) grapes. This Chianti Classico Riserva originates from the 40 year old vines, and a soil rich in friable shale (Galestro) and limestone (Alberese). The result is a fruity, aromatic Sangiovese based wine with soft, fine tannins. This medium to full-bodied, well-balanced wine is ready upon release, but will reward significantly with aging.
Clean and intense with ripe black cherry, blueberry, rose and vanilla on the nose. The palate is rich, medium to full-bodied. Enjoy with a classic Bistecca Fiorentina, hearty lasagna or aged cheeses.
$28.99 BTL. / $347.88 CASE
2012 Cantina della Volta “Trentasei” Lambrusco di Modena Spumante D.O.C. Brut Metodo Classico 
We simply can’t get enough of the incredibly delicious wines from Emilia-Romagna star Cantina della Volta.
We had previously offered their fantastic and unique Lambrusco, still on its lees, called Rimosso. Now we felt the necessity to feature their incredibly delicious, and more traditional “Trentasei” Lambrusco.
As a refresher, Cantina della Volta started in 2010 with a group of friends, all wine lovers, who wanted to elevate the quality of Lambrusco.
Their “Trentasei” is made entirely of Lambrusco di
Sorbara. There is a very careful selection of the grapes, hand harvested at optimal ripeness, sorted, and fermented in stainless steel tanks. They undergo a second fermentation in bottle, and as the name “Trentasei” suggests this is aged for 36 months on its lees.
This is easily one of the best Red Lambrusco available to us in the United States. If you haven’t tried a lot of Lambrusco, you always should start with one of the best. You will soon become addicted, like us. What a perfect way to start and carry you through a dinner. It is perfect with salumi and antipasti. It works incredibly well with red sauced pastas. It is a great match to roasted meat. Every wine lover should try this, it will become an indispensable part of food and wine pairings in your life.
$27.99 BTL / $167.94 SIX-PACK CASE
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12/16/16 A Mixed Bag from Champagne, Chablis, Napa and Burgundy!

Today’s “Friday Feature” is what we call a mixed bag of goodies!
With so many incoming arrivals of allocated wines from around the globe, we thought we’d dedicate this newsletter to a more informal list of new arrivals. Call it a last minute Christmas list, or simply call it a list of wines that are a must for any wine enthusiast.
Many of these will sell out quickly, so please secure yours today.
We are happy to provide more in depth information about any of these, just ask!
Have a great weekend,
Craig & Jamie

Cédric Bouchard Champagne
Despite its tiny output of Champagne, somewhere around 15,000 bottles in total per year, Cédric Bouchard is known around the world as one of the top producers in the region. Located in the Cote de Bar, the southernmost part of the region, Bouchard makes a myriad of handcrafted Champagne, each bottle from one parcel, one vintage, and one grape. Fermented in stainless steel, always with indigenous yeast, no fining, no dosage, just pure expressions of place. These Champagne are slow to unwind, they deserve a rest in the cellar to express their true beauty. They are truly stunning, and one of Craig’s favorite producers anywhere in the world. Sadly, they are very, very limited (and we get a good allocation!). Champagne fans with a place in the cellar, do not miss these! They will sell out quickly.
2014 Cédric Bouchard Champagne “Val Vilaine”
No need to wait on this, its a great introduction to the line-up, and a delicious expression of pure Pinot Noir.
$56.99 BTL / LIMITED
2009 Cédric Bouchard Champagne “Côte de Béchalin” 
Another offering that is open knit and ready to drink. Made entirely of Pinot Noir from a SW facing vineyard in Celles-sur-Ource. The 2008 blew everyone away at last weeks tasting!
$82.99 BTL / LIMITED
2012 Cédric Bouchard Champagne “Ursules”
The wine that started it all, Pinot Noir of incredible distinction from vines, the majority of which were planted in the early ’70’s. A stunning vintage for Ursules.”
$88.99 BTL / LIMITED
2012 Cédric Bouchard Champagne “La Haute Lemblee”
Tiny .12 hectare vineyard planted to Chardonnay on Kimmeridgian soil. One of the most unique and incredible Blanc de Blanc Champagne bottlings. Such purity.
2012 Cédric Bouchard Champagne “La Bolorée”
Another minuscule vineyard of just .217 hectare, La Bolorée is a very special Champagne made entirely of Pinot Blanc. The Côte de Bar is noted for producing limited quantities, but exceptional Champagne from this varietal. This is the icon. Truly amazing.
2012 Cédric Bouchard Champagne “Presle”
Only the second vintage released of this fantastic Blanc de Noirs, made entirely from Pinot Noir from a relatively newly planted vineyard called “Presle.” Clay and limestone soils with a little Kimmeridgian mixed in. 10 different Burgundian clones of Pinot Noir were planted. Expressive, ripe, and a very long finish.
La Closerie Champagne
This is another one of those tiny grower Champagne houses with a cult-like following and allocated out to the best restaurants and wine shops. We feel lucky to be given some, and they are a must try for the Champagne enthusiast. Jérôme Prévost inherited 2 hectares of vines in the village of Gueux in the Montagne de Reims sub-region of Champagne. Initially he sold off the fruit to the local negociants. After working in the cellars of Anselme Selosse (the cult producer in Champagne), he was persuaded by his mentor to produce his own Champagne. The first few vintages were produced in the Selosse cellars in Avize. Today he has his own winery producing just two wines highlighted below. These are incredible wines.
2014 La Closerie Champagne “Les Béguines”
This is the main bottling from the single-vineyard “Les Béguines.” This is pure Pinot Meunier, from vines planted in the 1950’s. Fermented in a barrels, barriques and demi-muid, with indigenous yeasts. Just 18 months on the lees, bottled with no dosage. I don’t believe there is a better 100% Pinot Meunier Champagne that you can buy.
2014 La Closerie Champagne Rosé “Fac-simile”
One of the top Rosé Champagne produced. 100% Pinot Meunier vinified as a white wine, with the addition of barrel fermented red wine all from Les Béguines.” I’ve only tasted this once in my life, and all I can say is “epic.” Worth fighting for.
This past September, Craig traveled to Napa Valley to explore a wide range of producers. One of the highlights of the visit was tasting with winemaker Scott Young of Young Inglewood. The estate vineyard is in a coveted part of Napa Valley, the Mayacamas bench, on the far Southwest reaches of St Helena. This is Cabernet Sauvignon country, and that is the focus at Young Inglewood, but we are also including a fantastic Chardonnay from the sought after Michael Mara Vineyard at the base of the Sonoma Mountain range. We know you have a lot of choices in Napa Valley, and these wines are at the top of our list of rising stars. Scott really wants to make world-class and balanced wines, and he delivers. First time that these wines have been in Chicago! They would make a great gift to your Napa-loving friends and clients…or to yourself!
2012 Young Inglewood Vineyards “Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
$110.00 BTL / LIMITED
2014 “Venn” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 
$51.99 BTL
2013 Young Inglewood Vineyards “Michael Mara Vineyard” Chardonnay 
5th generation Chablis estate, led today by Lilian Duplessis. One of the few organic producers in Chablis, the estate has a great range of bottlings, including some special Premier and Grand Cru vineyards. As we’ve warned you, Chablis is quickly disappearing from availability given the difficult weather related issues that have reduced yields, but luckily not quality. These are fantastic, and really great values across the board.
2015 Duplessis Petit Chablis 
$25.99 BTL / LIMITED
2015 Duplessis Chablis 
$32.99 BTL / LIMITED
2014 Duplessis Chablis “Fourchaume,” Premier Cru 45.99 BTL / EXCRUCIATINGLY LIMITED
2014 Duplessis Chablis “Montmains,” Premier Cru $46.99 BTL / LIMITED
2014 Duplessis Chablis “Montée de Tonnerre,” Premier Cru
$51.99 BTL / LIMITED
2014 Duplessis Chablis “Les Clos,” Grand Cru
What can I say aside from the fact that this is one of my personal favorite domaines in all of Burgundy. If you follow Burgundy, you know these wines. They are everything you want in Pinot Noir, pure, amazing definition, age worthy, just beautiful. PLEASE NOTE – these wines are due to arrive in stock the week of December 19th.
2014 Michel Lafarge Bourgogne Rouge
$34.99 BTL / 12 bottles available
2014 Michel Lafarge Volnay
$74.99 BLT / 9 bottles available
2014 Michel Lafarge Volnay “Vendange Séléctionées” $81.99 BTL / 9 bottles available 
2014 Michel Lafarge Volnay “Clos du Château des Ducs,” Premier Cru
$182.99 BTL / 3 bottles available
2014 Michel Lafarge Volnay “Clos des Chênes,” Premier Cru 
$182.99 BTL / 3 bottles
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12/2/16 Exciting releases of Gran Reserva Tempranillo from Remelluri and Viña Sastre

Today’s Friday Feature is one we have been anticipating for years. Our focus today is Spain, and one of, if not THE most noble red grape varieties of the country: Tempranillo.
As wine professionals we get to taste a lot of wine, including many of the iconic, classic, great wines of the world. It can not be denied that the greatest Tempranillo ranks up there with the more well-noted great wines of the world including the First Growths of Bordeaux, Grand Cru Burgundy, cult California Cabernet, noble Barolo and Barbaresco, and the list goes on.
Today we feature two Gran Reserva releases from iconic Spanish producers in the Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions.
These aren’t inexpensive wines, but given their status as amongst the greatest red wines of the world, we feel that they are a value. More importantly we feel that no good wine cellar is complete without these wines. They are truly spectacular and can’t recommend them enough to you.
Have a great weekend,
Craig & Jamie

2010 Remelluri Rioja, Gran Reserva
Rioja is the most well-known red wine region in Spain, and certainly one of the most in the world of wine.
It is here that the Tempranillo grape thrives, although Rioja tends to be a blended wine, with small proportions of Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha often included.
The identity of the region bears some comparisons to the Champagne region of France. Just like in Champagne, Rioja is a large growing region, and as such, many producers blend grapes from various parts of the region. For years there has been less of a focus on terroir or “single origin” wines, and the conversation was more about house style, length of aging, and types of oak.
What identifies with wine nerds, such as myself, is when I smell and taste a wine, it speaks to a place. For larger wineries in Rioja, that place is the large swath of the region. Yet for a handful, place, whether it be an estate or a single vineyard means a lot.
Remelluri is a place. Not just any place, but a historic piece of land in the Rioja Alavesa sub-region of Rioja. Visiting Remelluri was one of my most fascinating experiences at a winery ever. Walking the property you visit a necropolis in its center. Not far away, carved into the rock, an ancient wine press. There were glimpses and stories of history everywhere. It became evident that because of the quality of the farm, its well situated place near the slopes of the Sierra de Toloño mountains, this was an important place even in ancient times.
My tour of the winery was from one of Spain’s most important and influential winemakers, Telmo Rodríguez. It was Telmo’s father that purchased the estate in 1967. Telmo spent years away from the family winery, developing his own wines, and becoming one of the most well-known winemakers. In recent years Telmo has returned, and is quietly transforming Remelluri, pushing its quality level to its highest point. In fact, this wine, from the 2010 vintage, marks the first vintage that Telmo oversaw from start to finish.
A Gran Reserva for Remelluri is a very special wine. They have only produced a Gran Reserva in 1989, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2005, 2009 and now 2010. They produced roughly 20,000 bottles of the Gran Reserva in 2010. The wine is made from the best grapes on the estate, from various parcels. It is a blend of mainly Tempranillo, but also Garnacha and Graciano, and even small amounts of white grape varietals such as Moscatel, Viura, and Malvasia. The grapes are hand picked, and sorted both in the vineyard and a sorting table. The wine is fermented with natural yeast and aged for 27 months in various sizes and ages of barrels.
I’ve had the pleasure of tasting many wines over the years from Remelluri, and can say that this is probably the finest wine I’ve tasted from them, and one of the best Spanish wines I’ve had in years. One of the great parts of a Remelluri Gran Reserva is that the producer has aged this for you, and it does drink well now, especially with decanting. Yet for those with patience, you should hold on to several bottles, drinking over a couple of decades.
We really can’t recommend this wine enough, it is a must buy for anyone that loves great wine. We received very little of this in Illinois, and it will sell out.
A truly spectacular Rioja.
2010 Viña Sastre Ribera del Duero “Pago de Santa Cruz,” Gran Reserva
Ribera del Duero is Spain’s other most notable region for the Tempranillo grape variety. Located near the historically important town of Burgos, the region has a long history, but its modern age didn’t explode till the 1980’s. Names like Vega Sicilia and Pesquera helped bring the region to international prominence.
The wines of Viña Sastre are among the very best of the region, and my personal favorite.
Another of my most memorable wine moments was at Viña Sastre in 2012. Proprietor and winemaker Jesus Sastre was an incredible host. We got a chance to visit his magnificent vineyards, including the famed Pago de Santa Cruz. Jesus is well known as one of the best vineyard managers in Spain. He farms organically and also follows many of the guidelines of biodynamics. He also has the opportunity to work with really old vines, in the case of Pago de Santa Cruz, they range from 50 to over 100 years old. It is what makes many of the vineyards near La Horra amongst the best of the region.
We also had an opportunity to visit the winery. You rarely come across a winemaker that analyzes every part of the process as much as Jesus. In his winery, his “toys” are all the best technology, presses, etc, that help him carefully and minimally handle the grapes. He is a perfectionist in every sense of the word.
That leads me to this special release, the first Gran Reserva release since 1999. He had abandoned his Gran Reserva program, as he instead chose to focus on single vineyard wines without a designation of the aging process.
Over the past few years Jesus and his importer André reassessed their feelings about Gran Reservas. Their feeling is that wines with extended aging in barrel can display their terroir as much as any of the wines Jesus was currently producing. They also got to continue to taste the 1996 and 1999 Gran Reservas, see their development and realize how truly great they were.
2010 marks the first release in the US of a Gran Reserva since the 1999 vintage. Made entirely from Tempranillo, with an average age of 65+ year old vines, grown in the clay and chalk soil of the Pago de Santa Cruz vineyard. Jesus commissioned special 1000 liter barrels, which the wine was fermented in for the Gran Reserva. The barrel sat in a cradle which allowed Jesus to ratite the barrel so that he could keep the wine in contact with the lees during fermentation. The wine was then moved to 2000 liter and 3000 liter oak for aging for 36 months. As always the wine is unfined and unfiltered.
This is a bold, full-bodied red, with hints at black currant, dark cherry, herbs, anise and spice. It is richly textured, but maintains a freshness and balance. The finish is incredibly long, and keeps you coming back for more. It calls out for red meat, and having had the Sastre wines with the local speciality of 3 month-old DOP baby lamb, it a mind bending food and wine match.
This is one of Spain’s top wines, and a truly special wine for the cellar. You can drink this now, but it will be in its prime from 2020 – 2035+.
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