|2009 Pascal Granger Chénas- Beaujolais, FranceThis may be one of the best wines we have ever had in our 6for $60 something sampler. And although I am the first to admit a penchant for hyperbole, this is a rational and calm statement, I swear.
Beaujolais is finally getting the attention it deserves. A beautiful, hilly appendage of Burgundy, this region announces politically and geologically, the end of Burgundy and the beginning of the Rhône. And so you see the influences of those soils (limestone, clay & granite), and subtle difference of altitude and exposition, in each of the ten “cru” designations. Terroir is alive and well in these parts, now that the vignerons of Beaujolais have been able to unearth themselves from the marketing nightmare of Beaujolais Nouveau (which the French don’t really drink) and bottles with flowers on them.
So let’s talk about Chénas, 2009 and Pascal Granger. Chénas is one of the 3 crus that is in both the Rhône department and the Saône-sur-Loire (southern Burgundy). Chénas is the smallest of these crus and the Gamay grown there produces aromatic, floral wines with a lovely, velvety texture.
The Domaine of Pascal Granger is located in Juliénas, but they produce a tiny bit of Chénas. In the family there is 200+ year history of winemaking in this region. Harvesting is manual and organic when humanly possible.
Finally, 2009 was a terrific vintage for Burgundy in general, and the sunny September that was the hallmark of the vintage suited Beaujolais, in particular, very well. The wine is open, lovely and generous. The pricing on this is the result of a stealth negotiation between Craig and one of our various distributors. We suspect it will not be around for very long.
$15.00/ BTL.-$180.00 CASE OF 12
36 Bottles available for purchase outside the sampler.
2010 Príncipe de Viana Crianza, Navarra, Spain
When was the last time you had a wine from the Navarra region in Spain?
For us at Perman Wine it has been quite some time.
There are reasons of course behind this, namely that Navarra doesn’t produce grapes at the capacity of a larger region like Rioja. 17,5000 ha for Navarra under vine vs. 63,298 ha for Rioja.
Secondly, Navarra for many years was really only known for their Rosé, often produced with the Grenache varietal.
In the ’80’s and ’90’s things started to change, as we saw more varieties being planted, and producers emerged that made high quality white, red and rosé. It is an area that I believe we will start seeing more out of in the near future.
So what better way to reintroduce it than by giving you an excellent value from Bodegas Príncipe de Viana, a winery founded in 1983. This winery was founded as a project of an agricultural lending institution that was looking to promote sustainable viticulture in the region.
This Crianza is a blend of 40% Tempranillo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. It was aged in a mixture of French and American oak barrels for 1 year.
Very aromatic with notes of brambly red and dark berry, black and red pepper, and tobacco notes. A very silky entry on the palate sees a continuation of red fruits, spice, with nice, balanced freshness. It is a very easy drinking style, and we can see this going nicely with a wide range of food.
We were thinking BYOB Indian would be a nice match.
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE
2010 Primus “The Blend”- Colchagua Valley, Chile
We are going to admit here, that for years, we wrote off Chile. Sappy and forgettable were two adjectives that often came to mind when the subject was broached. And yes, there are plenty of cheap-o, sappy and forgettable wines produced in Chile. But the same can be said for every country.
The trick to finding good Chilean wines (and there are some very good examples out there) is to figure out where the vineyards are located. Colchagua is a large sub-region in the Rapel Valley, sometimes referred to as the “next Napa Valley”. In the hills, and higher elevation areas (we are in the Andes Mountain Range) there are some great examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals to be found.
Primus carries an impressive pedigree; Alvaro Espinoza, indisputably one of the greatest winemakers in Chile (Antiyal & Kuyen) and The Huneeus Family (Quintessa, Flowers) collaborate on the project.
The Blend is simply that- a blend of Cabernet, Carmenere, Syrah & Merlot, aged for 12 months in french oak before release. There is a nice harmony between ripeness and structure, and a wine that doesn’t “need” food to taste great.
$13.00/BTL.- $156.00 CASE OF 12
2012 Fattoria Laila Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi- Marche, Italy
The variety Verdicchio is responsible for fresh, everyday drinking whites that arrive without pretense or fuss. It is widely planted in the sub-region of Marche, in Central Italy on the eastern coast of the Adriatic.
It has taken years of research and genetic testing, but finally it hs been determined that Verdicchio is another clone of Trebbiano, a.k.a. Ugni Blanc. We are relieved this deep mystery has finally been solved.
Fattoria Laila (the Laila farm) is located in Corinaldo, in the gently undulating hills of the Marche not far from the sea. The people of this solidly Mediterranean enclave probably will never have to deal with endlessly accumulating snow, or getting stuck behind a salt truck (and therefore pelted relentlessly) on The Kennedy for seven miles, or the polar vortex.
Verdicchio is light and savory, with hints of meyer lemon, orange and wildflowers. There are nuances of honey and bitter almond and it’s levity and freshness remains pure, unencumbered by oak aging.
It is certainly fine for drinking alone, or with a small snack, perhaps some nuts & cheese. You can drinking it while you are cooking dinner, and you won’t be felled by heaviness or extraction.
$10.50/BTL.-$126.00/ CASE OF 12
2010 Magnolia Court Cabernet Sauvignon-Paso Robles, CA
We think this is a dumb name for a wine, because it harkens to some kind of movie re-run on the Lifetime Channel starring Julia Roberts, Kathy Bates and a host of other funny, irrefutable lady characters. But don’t judge a book by it’s cover, unless the cover is a picture of a nice, jammy Cabernet Sauvignon, in that case judge away!
Sometimes, wine experts/writers/bloggers forget that while sure, there is an intellectual component to the subject of wine, a lot of us are just looking forward to a nice glass of something satisfying and tasty after a long day at work, wrestling the kids to bed, and walking the dog who might or might not have had a dog shaming incident while we were away. Sometimes, the discord of modern life itself is blunt enough that we really just need to feel something when we drink. We need to feel our wine, darn it!
This is where Paso Robles Cabernet comes in. Magnolia Court will not force you to ponder the nuances of terroir nor force you to cook some outlandishly complex food for it to make sense.
$11.00/BTL.-$132.00/CASE OF 12
2011 Acentor Garnacha -Calatayud, Spain
The province of Calatayud is fascinating and rich with history; from beginning as a Celt-Iberian settlement to a Moorish enclave. It has also been host to a variety of ethnic groups. As part of the Kingdom of Aragón, bloody wars were fought here too; all in all a pretty typical Spanish history.
Aragón remains to this day, one of the least populated areas of Spain. The Pyrenees Mountain ranges here form some especially difficult terrain; deep, arid valleys, dense forestation, snowy mountain peaks- rather dangerous and impassable terrains.
Amidst all its history and topographical challenges, Catalayud grows acre after acre after acre of delicious Garnacha. if there is one grape that comes to mind when thinking of old-world, Mediterranean wine zones, it is definitely Garnacha (or Grenache if you are in France). And we are talking old vines here, plants that have felt the grace and warmth of the mediterranean sunshine on their trunks for 40, 50 and 60+ years.
And doesn’t that sound nice, right about now?
$9.00/BTL.- $108.00 CASE OF 12