Hello and Happy Friday!
Hope you all have been enjoying the sauna that is our city. And while it is very important to keep hydrated, it is also important to remember that wine counts as a liquid!
Routier is “on strike” tonight, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop by and stock up on some crisp summer whites and rosés.
It’s the second to last Friday of the month, and that is when we introduce the latest “6 for $120-Something” sampler.
For those unfamiliar, the concept is simple; in the course of our tastings each month, we put together a mix of what we think are the best wines tasted in that $20-ish range.
Most of these wines are available by the bottle as well as the case, but the idea here is to give you a selection of wines that you will want to have stocked in your wine rack at home!
So email me to order your sampler, and pick it up at your convenience. They are in stock and ready to go!
Have a great weekend!
Craig & Sheb
6 for $120-Something
2009 Luna Beberide “Finca La Cuesta” Bierzo, Spain
When I first started traveling in Spain over a decade ago I recall getting pulled aside by several a winemaker from established regions such as Rioja and Priorat. Their message to me was simple: “look out for Mencía.”
Excitement was in the air because the grape varietal Mencía was in many of their estimations, one of the most exciting “new” varietals to hit the scene.
Yet Mencía certainly isn’t “new.” The fact that regions such as Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra boasted many old vineyards, many with vines over 100+ years-old in age, will tell you that this was an important grape variety dating back, most likely, to Roman times.
Mencía is a quite the chameleon, taking on the nuances of the soil, climate, and producer style. So you won’t find one type of Mencía, rather an array, with some that can compete with some of the greatest wines of Spain, and some that are, um, rather bad.
Since we only focus on the good here at Perman Wine Selections, let’s introduce you to Luna Beberide. One of the best producers in the region of Bierzo in my estimation. In comparison to some other growing climates of the grape, Bierzo produces one of the more dense and rich styles of the grape. Luna Beberide has always struck me as a producer that manages the tricky balance between phenolic ripeness and a balanced wine.
Owner Alejandro Luna, makes a wide range of Bierzo. “Finca la Cuesta” is a wine that uses Mencía from the a single-vineyard planted at 700-800 meters of elevation, located in Vilafranca de Bierzo. The vineyard features the two most common types of soil you will find in the region: decomposed slate and limestone-based clay.
The fermentation of this wine is done in stainless steel tanks using indigenous yest. It was aged in French oak barrels, both new and one year-old.
The result is a unanimously well-liked wine that received, dare I say, lots of points from The Wine Advocate, International Wine Cellar, Wine & Spirits and more. Here is what the IWC has to say:
“Vivid purple. Smoky, floral aromas of black raspberry and violet are enlivened by a zesty mineral nuance. Elegant, focused flavors of sweet dark berries, candied flowers and spice cake are supported by silky tannins. Finishes racy and long, with lingering smokiness. 91 Points.”
Attention all readers. The importer of Luna Beberide is changing distributors in Chicago. That means, they are moving this wine at a very aggressive price. It normally retails for around $23. At $15 it is highway robbery. So stock up because this is an insane value!
$15.00 BTL. / $180.00 CASE – ONLY 8 CASES AVAILABLE
2012 Iby Rosé Mittelburgenland, Horitschon, Austria
Back in April, I took a brutally early morning cab ride, in the middle of a dramatic spring thunderstorm, down to Acadia restaurant, for a tasting of unusual producers such as Movia, Nicolas Joly and Iby, who we are featuring here. Anton and Johanna Iby specialize in Blaufränkisch, some of the best we’ve had and I was stunned to see that they also produced a rosé. I immediately called Craig, snapped up 5 cases, and we’ve been waiting impatiently ever since.
Iby is located in the center of Burgenland, which is a large sub-region that borders Hungary. Anton describes their area, Horitschon as a hot Pannonian climate, which seemed more like a description of a sandwich so I looked it up. This is a wide basin in Eastern Europe that was once the home of a roiling sea; lucky for us it now houses Iby’s 34 hectares of vines (as well asmany others’).
Blaufränkisch is a variety which shares an ancestry with Pinot Noir & Gamay, and is also called Lemberger in Germany. Although Iby recommends decanting this rosé, that seems a bit formal and unnecessary. There are strong notes of alpine strawberries, meadow flowers and mineral. It clocks in at a manageable 12% alcohol.
If you are feeling rosé-d out, please believe us, this one should not be overlooked.
$14.00 BTL. / $168 CASE – ONLY 6 CASES AVAILABLE
2010 Domaine Matin Calme “Ose” Vin de France-Languedoc Roussillon
Nestled in the bucolic region between Toulouse, France and the Spanish border, sits an extraordinary vineyard of ancient vines. Véronique Souloy and Anthony Guix bought this relic of a property in 2006 and have maintained it lovingly ever since. Some of these Grandma vines are over one hundred years old, and have existed relatively unscathed by war, disease, industrialization or any other environmental disruption that may have ended their lives years ago.
At Domaine Matin Calme, the natural way is the right way. All vineyards are hand tilled, and pruned, grapes are harvested and left to ferment slowly and without additives. Minimal sulfur is employed.
The “Ose” bottling is one of white varieties, planted together on a small, 1 hectare plot, and is a blend of 50+ year old vines of Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Maccabeu and rare 100+ year old vines of Carignan Blanc.
The result is a dense bottling of orchard fruit with a vein of smoke and mineral. There is no fining or filtering at Matin Calme, and therefore the appearance of the wine is a bit clouded. Nuageux in French, if you will.
$29.00 BTL. / $348 CASE
2012 Bisson Bianchetta Genovese “U Pastine” Golfo del Tigullio IGT, Liguria, Italy
It is universal knowledge that the southern coast line of Liguria is one of the most stunning places on earth; the piercing azure sea, the caress of warm Mediterranean breezes, an embarrassment of riches in the fresh seafood department… you get the picture.
The wines here often get overlooked and often for good reason; sloshy, dilute whites made for tourists without a lot of soul. Enter Pierluigi Lugano, a local bar owner who fell in love with the indigenous varieties and saw a higher calling and potential for them.
Bianchetta Genovese is also known as Albarola and there exists only 470 hectares of the stuff on the planet. Pierluigi has single-handedly saved this grape from extinction, and his “U Pastine” offering is a bracing, citric wonder, taught with mineral and salinity due to its oceanic proximity.
This is an opportunity to transport yourself to Liguria and understand, through Pierluigi’s wines, the majesty of this place. And if you have priced airline tickets to Italy lately you know it’s a heck of a deal.
Maybe someday we can all sit upon a beach in Cinque Terre, gazing into the bluest of undulating seas, but until then at least we have this Bianchetta Genovese.
$25.00 BTL. / $228 CASE
2008 Thierry Tissot Roussette Du Bugey “Marteret” Savoie, France
In the spirit of featuring nearly extinct grape varieties, we bring you yet another encouraging story of one man and a singular vision to keep tradition alive. The Savoie region of France is close to the Swiss border, mountainous and climatically challenging. Eking out a living, especially in agriculture is difficult, at best.
International demand for Roussette, also known as Altesse, is not surprisingly, low. In all our years no one has ever asked us for one. Before the devastation of phylloxerra hit Europe, there were 30,000 thriving hectares of vineyards here. Today, less than 1000 remain.
Thierry Tissot grew up with stories of a famed vineyard, the Mataret Hill, whose potential for producing great Altesse wines was legendary. This hill belonged to his family, and when he inherited the land, he decided to take upon the laborious task of clearing the hill, wrought with chestnut trees and dense brush, and re-planted it with Roussette and Mondeuse (the parent variety to Syrah).
Although the vines are still young, this is an opportunity to experience from infancy, the potential of a great vineyard. We are excited to feature this and its premiere in the market.
$19.00 BTL. / $228 CASE
2011 Dashe Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley, California
It’s high noon for grilling, BBQs, patio gatherings and yard parties. This can only mean one thing: Zinfandel.
Let’s express it honestly though; there is a lot of Zinfandel on the market and sometimes it feels like playing Russian Roulette when choosing a bottle, you never know what you’re going to get. No need to fear for your life here though- we’ve got you!
Anne and Michael Dashe purchased a plot of old vines Zinfandel in beautiful Dry Creek Valley and have been quietly making great Zinfandel since 1996. Anne is French and staged as a winemaker at many prestigious properties including Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. She brings a French restraint to a bombastically American variety.
Lastly, if you have a penchant for labels that feature animals, the Dashe label depicts a cute, Curious George-like monkey riding on the back of a whale that does not remind us of any whale we know.
$22.00 BTL. / $264 CASE