Friday Feature – 3/5/10

Hello and Happy Friday,

I am honored to be one of the finalists in Time Out Chicago’s Readers Choice Awards for Best Wine Store. The credit goes to all of you out there in e–mail land who have helped grow the business toward a successful future.

So now it’s time to win this thing! You can do your part by voting, having your parents vote, your animals, whoever. Go to Time Out Chicago and mark your ballot for Perman Wine Selections.

On another note, if you haven’t become a fan of Perman Wine on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter – well, you really should. You will find up–to–date notices on store hours, tastings and anything else on my brain.

Back to business. I am very, very excited about today’s Friday Feature offerings.
These two Pinot Noirs offer exceptional value in what is normally a much more expensive world.

The Freeman Pinot Noir is a ONE–TIME ONLY e–mail offer. I took advantage of a great deal from the distributor who wanted to clear room in inventory and offered it way below cost. No Russian River Valley Pinot fan should miss it.

As an added bonus, I will have an open bottle of each of these wines at the store this Saturday. Swing by and taste!

Have a great weekend,


For a lesser–known winery, Ken Freeman sure has some street cred! He has been heralded by both Food & Wine Magazine and Wine Spectator as one of the 30 best Pinot Noir producers in California.

Better yet, Ken and his wife, Akiko, are dedicated to making cool–climate Pinot Noir that offers great purity of fruit and a drinkability factor that makes it hard to put down the glass.

The winery was purchased in 2001 and, in 2003, winemaker Ed Kurtzman joined them in their goal to create top Pinot Noir. Sourcing fruit from great vineyards like Keefer Ranch, O’Connor, Bailey and Meredith Estate, you are getting top–notch grape in every bottle of Freeman.

The 2006 Russian River blend comes from seven vineyards all within five miles of the winery in Sebastapol. Of all Freeman wines, this offers the best drinking when young, which means that this is a wine you can crack open now! It was aged for 10 months in French oak (34% new, 25% one year–old, and the rest two and three year–old barrels).

The rich fruit seamlessly integrates this and the wine really jumps out of the glass with ripe pomegranate, morello cherry and spice notes. On the palate this really coats the tongue and offers a mixture of red berry and plum fruit to go with a long seamless finish.

Even with medium–sized production like this, many wineries  have inventory sitting in warehouses in Chicago. This was one such case. My good relationship with its local distributor led to a great deal that will benefit you.

This wine normally retails for $46.99 per bottle.  Through March 19th, I will be offering this wine at an unheard of price of **** per bottle.  This should motivate most of you California Pinot fans to buy this by the truckload. After the 19th, the price will go up, so now is the time to buy. I can tell you from my tastings, you won’t find a better Russian River Pinot at this price!

Limited supplies exist.



Pinot Noir fanatics will do practically anything to source the best. In this case, the Sauvage family went to one of the great emerging regions in the world for Pinot Noir – Central Otago on the south island of New Zealand.

During 2001, in his travels to Central Otago, Marquis Sauvage saw a beautiful vineyard located in a natural amphitheater, a former sheep paddock, with slopes facing North/Northeast – perfect for vines. He judged this a great place to start – and with biodynamic farming from day one.

Marquis was able to bring in famed California winemaker Ted Lemon to be his winemaker. At the outset, Ted laid out the 28–acre vineyard in 11 different blocks distinguished by soil type (in general, the soil is wind–blown loess over schist [a broken–down granite and the most carefully pronounced word in geology]). High density plantings with a variety of different Pinot Noir clones make up the vineyards along with a little Riesling and the first plantings of Grüner Veltliner in New Zealand.

Vinification is geared toward making “real wine,” according to Marquis. No short cuts; native yeast ferment; no chapitalization or acidification. The low–yielding fruit is twice sorted, punch downs are four times a day, and the goal is for minimal oak – 30% new is the ideal.

With all you just read, a Pinot Noir of this care is going to be expensive, right? The main label of the winery will be called Burn Cottage, and it will retail for $45 to $50 a bottle. But – because 2008 did not produce a wine that was, in Marquis’ opinion, up to this price point, he “declassified” it into this exceptional value and called it “Cashburn.”

The name reveals several points. The Scottish settled Central Otago and, in their language, a creek is called a “burn.” Lowburn, the region in which Burn Cottage is located, is a good example of the commonality of the word. “Cashburn” also references the fact that, well, the vineyard planting process and all that went into this was quite literally a cash burn.

I’ve also been told by Marquis that there is a metal band out of Vancouver in Canada called Burn Cottage. Marquis loves metal, as you may be able to tell when you see him rolling around in an AC/DC shirt!

Back to the wine: the ’08 Cashburn represents the best value coming out of Central Otago and will give you a great indication of what is in store for the folks at Burn Cottage.
Buy this by the case!
$21.99 BOTTLE / $263.88 CASE

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