Friday Feature 3/28/14: The New 6 for $60 Something Sampler

Hello and Happy Friday!

Hope you had a great week!


In Perman Wine news, Sheb will be returning from France any day now, ready to share her discoveries with everyone out there in wine-land.


That means, Perman Wine will be back open for business this Monday.  Sorry we had to close the last couple of Mondays – something that happens when one of us travels.


We appreciate your patience and diligence in stocking up ahead of time.



This past Wednesday I released my schedule of events for May and June.  My May 15th Portuguese tasting sold out very quick.  So good news…


I’m offering the same tasting on Wednesday!


À Portuguesa – The Prequel


Wednesday, May 14th


7 PM – 9 PM @ Perman Wine Selections


$60 per person


Please let me know if interested in attending – this could sell out quickly too!



It is the last Friday of the month, and that means time to unveil another Six for $60-Something sampler!


The 6 for $60-Something is Chicago (and the world’s) best monthly value wine sampler!


We take great pride in sorting through all the terrible $10-ish dollar bottles of wine, to find you the good stuff.  It’s hard work but someone has to do it!


We think seasonally around these parts – and so during these cold winter months you will find mainly red wine samplers.


All of these selections are available by the bottle and the case, but there is no better way to learn wine than by trying a variety of new wines.


If interested in a sampler, simply stop by the store, or send us an email and we can coordinate delivery or shipping.


Craig & Sheb




6 for $60-Something Sampler


2011 Vriesenhof Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, South Africa

What a treat this is to include a wine of this pedigree in my Six for $60-Something sampler.  In a move to get these wines better known, we are offering this at a special low price through the month of April.

Vriesenhof is headed by Jan Boland Coetzee, the legendary South African rugby player, who captained the national team in the ’60’s and ’70’s.  He comes from a long lineage of winemakers, and in his youth trained in Burgundy before returning back to South Africa.  He work at the famed Kanonkop winery for over a decade before purchasing a fantastic, small estate in the Stellenbosch region.

The look and feel of this winery is all Burgundy, and there is a focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, although a broader range is offered.

I won’t go into so much detail about the winery, because you can always check out this great You Tube video which details the estate.

One of the great advantages of buying a sampler like this is that it offers a great learning experience.  This month’s sampler in particular is a great study in the Chardonnay varietal, which is the single most misunderstood varietal amongst wine consumers.  Chardonnay truly relies on a host of factors to determine its flavor profile.

The Vriesenhof Chardonnay being offered is an example of an “oaked” Chardonnay.  Yet this is going to taste very different than your pre-conceived notion.


Oak should not, must not be a dirty word.


It is an important factor in making some of the greatest wines in the world.  One of the best lines I’ve every heard about oak is that “no wine is over-oaked, it is just under-wined.”  As a winemaker, you must meet the quality of fruit that you have with the right type of oak.  Whether it is large barrels, a mixture of new and old, or all old.  There are plenty of decisions to be made.

In this case Nicky Claasens, the current winemaker at Vriesenhof, uses 2nd and 3rd use  French oak barrels to mature his Chardonnay grapes for 10 months.  Given the stunning fruit because of the exceptional site that Vriesenhof occupies, the result is a finely interwoven mixture of citrus and tropical fruit notes, along with some hazelnut and mineral flavors.

This would be an excellent match with scallops or langoustines.





2012 Tetramythos Mavro Kalavritino, Achaïa, Greece

I will have to admit to dusting off Sheb’s copy of Jancis Robinson’s book on grapes to write this description.

17 years in the business and this is my first time trying Mavro Kalavritino, a.k.a. Kalavryta.  The good news is I’m 1 for 1 on Kalavryta, because this red from the Greek winery Tetramythos is really a fantastic value.  The winery is located on the Peloponnese, on the northern side on the mountainous slops of Mt. Aroania.

Ms. Robinson in her Wine Grapes book issues a one sentence title underneath a grape.  She calls Mavro Kalavritino a “very minor Greek variety from the northern Pelopónnisos.


Typically it is used as part of a blend, but in this instance from Tetramythos we have a 100% varietal example.

I was really impressed by this wine, as it shows multi-dimensional with notes of cherry, wild herbs, anise and pepper.  The spice is supported by a nice core of fruit, and while medium bodied, it is the type of red I can see working well with grilled fish or pork.

This goes to show there is still a first time for everything in the world of wine!


$13.00/BTL.-$156.00 CASE OF 12



2012 Valle Reale “Vigneto Vigne Nuove” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy

I’ve long been a fan of this winery located in the noticeably cooler part of Abruzzo, which is located within a national park.

The grape Montepulciano is the “work horse” grape of the Abruzzo region.  I immediately mentioned the climate of Valle Reale because when you taste as many reds from this region as I do, you know that the vast majority are so overripe that many turn pruny and often times are difficult to drink.

“Vigne Nuove” which translates to “young vines” is the opposite of what I’ve described above, instead it shows that classic red cherry, medium-bodied characteristic that Montepulciano is known for.

If you want to try the apex of Montepulciano, try the wineries “San Calisto,” but in this case you are getting a great “everyday” drinking red which is a natural pairing for your pizza / pasta nights at home.


$11.50/BTL.- $138.00 CASE OF 12


2012 Avaniel Tinto, Ribera del Duero, Spain

A house favorite is back!

For those of you unfamiliar with the wines of Ribera del Duero, the region produces some of the best examples of Tempranillo in Spain.  Some of Spain’s most expensive and iconic wines come from this region, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t values to be found.

This everyday Tempranillo from Bodegas Monteabellón in Ribera del Duero won us over previously for its sheer easy drinking qualities.  The 2012 vintage is certainly no different.

Notes of raspberry and spice on the nose, lead into a medium bodied, seamless palate profile.  This is a wine that you can simply kick back and have a glass of without food.  It also will pair well with lamb or squab.


$10.50/BTL.-$126.00/CASE OF 12



2012 Gonnet “Carte Blanche” Chardonnay, Vin de Pays du Gard, France

Your education on Chardonnay continues with this really fresh and vibrant example from Bertrand & Guillaume Gonnet.

Well regarded Rhône vignerons, that also have created a line of everyday values under the Gonnet label.

Compared to the Vriesenhof Chardonnay this is a polar opposite style.  While it shows some characteristic stone fruit notes, the palate profile is that of a fresh, unoaked white.

Put this in a brown bag and serve it to your friends, and not a one would know it was Chardonnay.  Most would guess Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

This drinks great on its own, but also would be a nice white to serve alongside some cow’s milk cheeses or fish like sole.

A great value!


$9.00/BTL.-$108.00/CASE OF 12


2010 Cueva de Las Manos Malbec Reserva, Mendoza, Argentina


We listen.


When we have great customer feedback from a particular producer, we always try to bring it back.


In this case, we featured the Cabernet Sauvignon from this producer in January.  Now it’s time for their Malbec.

Cueva de Las Manos is named after a UNESCO World Heritage site in Southern Patagonia, that holds caves painted at least 9,000 years ago, this is an excellent wine that will remind you of the great values that can be achieved in Argentina.

The fruit comes from 35 year-old vines, harvested by hand and fermented in stainless steel tanks.  The wine is aged for a year in French oak barrels, and sits in bottle for six months before it is released.

Compared to the Cabernet that we featured previously, the Malbec offers a different approach.  Rich, ripe cherry and blueberry aromas are repeated on the palate with a bright, juicy finish.  It is quintessential Mendoza Malbec.

A steak would of course be an appropriate pairing, but it also works well as a nice glass to sip on at the end of a long day.

$11.50/BTL.-$138.00/ CASE OF 12

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