6 for $60-Something – February 24th, 2012

Hello and Happy Friday!

I’m getting excited for tonight’s “The Evolution of Wine” tasting!  I’m pairing a current vintage of six different wines with an older vintage of the same wine.  I still have 4 spots open.  It starts at 7:15 pm and is $75 per person.  Call or email me ASAP if you can make it!

It is always an exciting Friday when I release my newest “Six for $60-Something” Sampler!  Want to know what this is about?

Six wines, hand selected by me, that represent a range of styles – all hovering around the $10 price point. Each wine is available by the bottle or case, but as I often say, for maximum pleasure you should take the whole sampler.

The “Six for $60-Something” is highly recommended to those learning about wines, trying to stock their wine rack with affordable and tasty adult beverages, or wanting to bring a gift to someone hosting a party.

So how does this work? To order simply e-mail me back and say “Hey Craig, hook me up.” To join the devoted legions of fans who receive them every month you can just say “and keep ‘em coming!” All of the wines are available by the bottle or case, but for total jubilation just do the whole sampler. Some people are challenged by some of the wines that I put in to my sampler. If North Coast Cabernet gives you the creeps, or you don’t like to mix Croatina and Barbera in the month of March, or any other interesting reason why you can not drink one of the following wines, then I will substitute and try to get the sampler as close to $60 as possible.

A suggestion to those folks trying to learn from this as well as get a buzz – print out a copy of the newsletter to keep with your sampler. That way when you are in the mood for a bottle you have your own mini-wine lesson on hand. So what are you waiting for? Order yours today!

The sampler is in stock and ready to be picked up any time in the coming month!

Thanks again for all your support!

Have a great weekend,

Excuse me while I brush off my shoulder and pop my collar. I’ve done good, real good.  Distributor X decided to move on, just needed to clear out the last remaining supply of this wine. After securing the remaining stock, I’ve included this very tasty Pinot Noir in my “Six for $60-Something” sampler.

Named after the warm anabatic winds that breeze through the gently sloping hillsides of their estate, Anaba Vineyards produces a very elegant  “Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.” A blend of hand-harvested fruit from three distinct microclimates and a typically long growing season, this wine showcases red berry (prominently black cherry) characteristics. Aged in 32% new French oak for 17 months on its lees, the ripeness is accompanied by subtle earthy aromas that will appreciated by a wide range of tasters.

Tasting notes aside, the reality of Pinot Noir is that you can’t produce one of quality that retails under $15 in the Sonoma Coast AVA.  This wine is no exception, after all it normally retails for $27.  This is just a silly, silly deal, and I’ve secured enough for many of you to buy by the case.  This wine is perfect to drink on its own or alongside classically prepared dishes such as a roast pork tenderloin.  Do not miss the Pinot Noir deal of the year!

$13.00 BTL. / $156.00 CASE



Virtually every European wine fan knows the Kermit Lynch name.  He is a legend in our business, one of the first to champion artisan producers from France.  He is also a really great business man, owning his own retail location, as well as his import company.  With all of his relationships in the wine business some dating back 40 years, it made sense for him to start collaboration with winemakers on “Kermit Lynch Cuvées.”  They offer a tremendous bang-for-your-buck, and I’ve featured one or two in previous samplers.

This delicious red is a collaboration with winemaker Alessandra Bodda from Tenuta La Pergola.  Located in Piedmont, the wines of this estate are very traditional and typical of the region.

This collaborative effort with Kermit Lynch bears the simple label, Monferrato Rosso.  A blend of 60% Barbera, 20% Croatina, and 20% Freisa.  It is tank fermented and aged in tank for 10 months before bottling.

The sand and limestone vineyards of Monferrato produce light, earthy and easy to drink reds.  This wine is no exception, providing dark cherry, licorice, and earthy nuances on the nose and the palate.  This super silky wine is a truly fantastic value, a great wine for so many classic Italian dishes.  Don’t miss this!

$13.00 BTL. / $156.00 CASE



It’s back – the new vintage of Chasing Lions has been released!  Sure I think it is kind of a corny name, and sure it oozes “marketed” wine, but you know, it is a really nice wine, and an excellent value!

As a reminder, Chasing Lions is a project created by the Nine North Wine Company, based in the Stags Leap District of Napa.

This blend, made by winemaker James Harder, has changed quite a bit in 2008.  The first thing you will notice is that it isn’t labelled Napa Valley anymore.  Instead it carries the broader North Coast designate.  The previous vintage was predominantly Merlot.  Yet the 2008 is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, 79% to be exact.  It also blends in 15% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc.  It is aged in both French and American oak barrels for 16 months.

I can’t think of another $12 California Cabernet that delivers this much quality.  A very aromatic wine, with notes of fresh dark berry fruit.  That continues on the palate with a bright boysenberry flavor, hints at mocha and spice.  This is very easy to drink on its own, but will be great with your favorite “comfort food” dishes such as meatloaf or hamburgers.

$12.00 BTL. / $144.00 CASE



This is another returning starter to the “Six for $60-Something” line-up!  I don’t often get a chance to offer a wine in this store at the $7 price point.  Most of what exists in that range shouldn’t be drunk, rather used to power a car or motor boat.  This wine is different -it’s wildly delicious!

Château Ollieux Romanis is a standout producer in the Corbières region of the Western Languedoc.  The Languedoc region of France is gigantic, and subdivided into sub-appellations.  It doesn’t even come close to getting the respect it deserves.  There are hundreds of great producers scattered throughout, but it is the thousands of sub-par producers that have helped tarnish its reputation.  Now it is my job to restore that.

Restore I will, but offering this delicious Vin de Pays d’Oc blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne and Roussanne.  The grapes are macerated for eight days on their skins at at a cool temperature.  This is tank fermented and aged.  Only natural yeasts are used and sulfur is kept to a minimum.

So fresh and vibrant, this offers notes of grapefruit and lemon zest on the nose.  That fruit continues on the palate, with a really zippy, refreshing finish.  Drink this on its own, or enjoy with simply adorned preparations of white fish like halibut or loup de mer.  A ridiculous value.

$7.00 BTL. / $84.00 CASE



While the Southern Rhône Valley is still a killer place to get good values in Grenache, there are other parts of the world that can match the quality and price point.

One such region and country is that of Campo de Borja in Spain.  The region has been a well-known viticultural area since the Middle Ages.  Today, it is a treasure trove for those seeking old-vine Garnacha, aka Grenache.

Santo Cristo is a cooperative in the Campo de Borja region, and is one of the brightest, most well-recognized examples of a cooperative in Spain.  It was founded in 1956, but is up-to-date with modern equipment and blessed to have cool underground cellars.  80% of the vineyards that supply the cooperative come from just 30 growers, so quality has been easy to manage and track.

This Garnacha “Selección” is made entirely from Garnacha of various vine-ages.  The vineyards are iron-rich red clay over a limestone bedrock.  The warm days and very cold nights provide grapes with the essential quality of fruit and freshness.

Bright, juicy aromas of strawberry, raspberry, and flowers, lead into a medium-bodied palate, full of fruit and some pepper spice.  This is a vibrant, easy drinking red that works well with lamb dishes or even on its own.

$8.50 BTL. / $102.00 CASE



A Douro red a day will keep the doctor away.  OK, not really, but why not give it a try?

Especially since there are so many delicious reds coming out of this region today.  Quinta do Infantado, Quinta de la Rosa, all recent wines on my newsletters proving the fact.  Here is another reason, a wine from Quinta do Portal, a winery whose white wine I featured on a sampler in the past.

This is a family run estate, based in the Douro region.  Their “Mural” labels offer exceptional value.  The 2007 “Mural” Reserva is a blend of 40% each Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz with 20% Touriga Nacional.  The fermentation is completed in stainless steel vats, and a quarter of the wine is aged for 9 months in French oak barrels.

Hints of raspberry liqueur, herbs and pepper on the nose.  The palate is very elegant, with mineral notes, red fruits and a bright, savory finish.  This is definitely a wine for the table, and would be nice with a chicken tagine.

$8.50 BTL. / $102.00 CASE

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