Friday Feature 1/24/17: The New 6 For $120 Something Sampler

Hello and Happy Friday!

 

Brrrrrrr….it’s cold outside!

 

Our advice – just stay hunkered down and drink wine. Lots of it!

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In other news, it is the second to last Friday of the month, and that is when we release our new edition of the Six for $120-Something.

 

If you are unfamiliar with this monthly sampler, let us explain. Craig and Sheb sacrifice their livers month in and month out, tasting new wine arrivals, searching for the best of the best.

 

Each month we put together a mixed six-pack featuring our six favorites, in that $15-$30  per bottle range.  Together the sampler costs between $120-$129 for the six bottles.

 

This is a great way to learn about wine and expand your wine horizons.

 

This month’s sampler is a lovely selection of wintry choices from Italy, Spain, France and even the USA.

 

The wine is in stock, so pick up yours today!

 

Have a great weekend,

 

Craig & Sheb

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6 for $120-Something 
2009 Querciabella “Mongrana”-Tuscany, Italy

Querciabella has established itself as one of the finest producers of Chianti since 1974. In 1998, they became part of the vanguard of organic/biodynamic producers in Tuscany. This seemed a bit like heresy at the time; now the practice is accepted as mainstream. Recently, the purchases of two farms, in Radda and Maremma added to the production.

Mongrana is the name for the wine produced in Maremma. The Maremma is located on the western coast of Tuscany, and for years went unnoticed; acres of bucolic, sleepy farms, until the 1980s, when  a few guys with a lot of money realized that the region had great potential for Bordeaux varietals. Soon the area was brimming with vineyards and wineries. The Italian government actually had to step in to squash the rabid development and preserve the natural beauty of the area.

Querciabella brings its ecologically conscious farming to three vineyards: Banditella, Podere Marras and Sugherettaia. The blend from year to year varies, but for 2009 the wine is comprised of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot & 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Agin takes place in cement vats and neutral barriques.

Mongrana always shows supple and rounded fruit, but is in possession of firm structure courtesy of the Bordeaux varieties. Elegant, this wine’s pedigree is obvious the minute you open it.

$19.00/BTL.

47 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2011 Viña Mein “Barrica”- Galicia, Spain

In the last 10 years, oak has become a dirty word.

It’s weird to think that this traditional aging vessel, used for centuries in wine production, has become a pariah. But its understandable. There was definitely a time in history when oak abuse occurred, especially in the 1980s and 1990s (yeah California- we are talking about you!), and wine that probably shouldn’t have been aged in oak barrels was, and everything ended up tasting like a burnt toothpick until, inevitably, wine drinkers started revolting against the practice of oak aging.

We’ve taken it too far though, because sometimes oak can make a wine more delicious, intensify its structure, and contribute to its age-worthiness. Do you love Burgundy? Yeah, you love oak? Brunello?, Yeah, oak. Rioja. Um, yes oak oak oak.

The point is, used judiciously, oak can provide a nice character to a wine,a hint of vanilla and warm baking spices, a hint of grilled bread, that is quite simply, very pleasurable.

And this is certainly the case with the “oaked” version of Viña Mein, a property in the sub-zone of Galicia, called Ribeiro, that we love. The blend here is 80% Treixadura, Godello, Loureira, Albariño, Torrontés, Albilla and Lad. These vines are 30+ years old and planted in granitic soils. The base wine in concentrated enough that it can handle 6 months of oak aging.  The result is a concentrated, creamy, spicy, full-bodied white that will complement your most wintery of dishes.

 

$24.00/BTL.-$288.00/CASE OF 12

 

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2008 Domaine des Croix Beaune- Burgundy, France

Beaune, for some of us at least, represents ground zero for Burgundy production. The city itself has 20.000 inhabitants, most of whom make their livelihoods from the wine trade. It is a beautiful, historic city, seemingly untouched by modernity.

The appellation of Beaune is quite large: 139 hectares of village vineyards are planted along with 338 hectares of premier cru vineyards. This is nearly 1200 acres of vineyards! For Burgundy, this is quite large, yet here is the states we see very little Burgundy labeled Beaune, and the stuff we do see is largely negociant: Latour, Bouchard et al.

Domaine des Croix is actually (gasp!!!) American owned, and the winemaker is the superbly gifted David Croix (everyone relax, he is French), who worked successfully to resurrect the great Domaine of Camille Giroud (also American owned). We carried this wine for a bit a year ago, and in remembering how much we enjoyed it then, reached out to the distributor to see if there was any left. There was, we re-tasted it, and the wine was even better than we had remembered. Dreamy even, some might say.

With the bad news regarding low production numbers in ’10, ’11’12 & ’13, and the international demand for Burgundy on the rise, we have been struggling to find “affordable” Burgundy. The definition for affordable has certainly seen a paradigm shift.

 

And in this new, crazy universe, an offering like the one we have on the Domaine des Croix most likely will not be seen in the near future.

For cool-climate Pinot Noir lovers who relish minerality and a perfumed earthiness, this is as affordable as it is going to get. Buy now or forever hold your peace!

$28.00/BTL.

24 BOTTLES AVAILABLE

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2010 Domaine Rabasse-Charavin Côtes Du Rhône “Cuvée Abel Charavin”- Southern Rhône Valley, France

Over the past 5 months or so, we have been featuring various wines from this wonderful producer. Corinne Couturier and her daughter Laure are third and fourth generation winemakers located in the village of Cairanne.

Cuvée Abel is a very special Côtes du Rhône, and is a good deal richer, and more tannic than your average CDR. This is a hillside parcel of 100 year old Grenache vines planted in limestone and clay soils. 100 years old!!! Totally Grandpa vines.

 

There is 20% Mourvedre & 20% Syrah added to the blend. The yields are extremely low for this bottling, so you get a sort of super-sized Côtes du Rhône, beasty and spicy, and suitable for long-term aging (10-12 years).

Or, conversely, you can decided to rip your mouth up a little and have it young. Not that we are advocating hurting yourself or anything. It is a big old baby, though, with a palate described as “voluminous” by the winemaker, loaded with black cherries, jammy fruit and imbued with an opaque, almost bluish color.

$24.00/BOTLLE
24 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
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2012 J. Wilkes Pinot Blanc- Santa Maria Valley, CA

Pinot Blanc is a delightful, yet perpetually underrated grape, a light-skinned mutation of everybody’s favorite variety Pinot Noir.

Most of us probably were introduced to the grape by way of Alsace, where it makes fresh yet concentrated quaffers. For years it was often confused with Chardonnay, espeically in burgundy, where pockets of Blanc still remain. Lauren Ponsot makes one in Morey-St.-Denis and so does Henri Gouges in Nuits-St-Georges.

 

Most new world Pinot Blanc, however, is planted in the cool recesses of Santa Barbera’s Santa Maria Valley.

J. Wilkes produces three wines in very small quantities, all Burgundian varieties. The wine made here are clean and varietally correct. The Pinot Blanc, which we chose to feature this months, has a lovely flavor profile brimming with apples and pears, and a slightly taffy-d texture. While it does not blind with acidity, it does have a perceivable freshness.

A roasted butternut squash soup and some garlic croutons would be a nice meal to accompany this bottle.

$17.00/BTL.- $204.00/CASE OF 12

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Ratti
2011 Renato Ratti Barbera D’Alba-Piemonte, Italy

 

Long-time customers of Perman Wines may be aware of Craig’s affection for Piemonte and Alba. His love for this area, its wines and people, borders nearly on the obsessive, but it’s ok. There are worse things to get caught up in, in this world.

Renato Ratti is a historic property in La Morra. It was here that the idea of labeling Baroli by single “cru” was born; and the Ratti family were vocal proponents of modernizing winemaking in Piemonte by cleaning up the barrels, shortening the maceration times and harvesting later in the season. Nebbiolo was often harvested before phenolic ripeness and then left to macerate for extended periods of time. Harvesting riper grapes meant one could shorten the maceration time. This sticking point, along with a few others, has become the crux of the modernists vs. traditionalists war that still rages on regarding Barolo.

Whatever side of the modern vs. traditional production argument you end up taking, there is no argument that Ratii’s single vineyard Barbera from Torriglione is not a delicious wine, vintage after vintage. The 2011 is a bit of a whopper in the body department and exhibits purple as well as the red fruit one would expect from Barbera.

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