2009 Celler Pardas Xarel.lo
At this time of year, many of us are rooting for our favorite mascot. Mine of course, is the Ducks of Oregon who just happened to take down those higher-seeded Cowboys.
There are a handful of wines in my store that are my “wine mascots.” One such wine comes from Celler Pardas, a winery located Southwest of Barcelona in the Alt Penedès region.
Pardas Xarel.lo is a wine I’m proud to represent in my store. Not just because I’m the only store in the city that has it, but rather because it represents so well what the younger generation of Spanish winemakers is trying to achieve. Take some of Spain’s greatest natural resources, their indigenous varietals, and produce it in a fashion that is respectful of where it comes from.
So much of Spanish wine reaching the US market is driven by marketing, labels, and produced in such a style to meet what a certain importer thinks to be our “palate.”
Celler Pardas produces authentic wine. They speak of a place, and most importantly they are unique and delicious.
The flagship grape varietal of the winery is Xarel.lo, a grape commonly used as part of a blend to produce Cava, Spain’s sparkling wine.
Winemaker Ramón Parera and vineyard manager Jordi Aman believe that Xarel.lo is a noble variety, with the ability to make complex and age-worthy STILL wines. Indeed they have proven it with this truly fantastic white wine.
Xarel.lo has it all, richness, freshness, mineral notes as well as the many distinctive aromas and flavors that speak of a Mediterranean climate.
In the hands of Celler Pardas, they produce a Xarel.lo that reminds me of Spain’s version of White Burgundy.
Go Pardas Xarel.lo!
$27.00 BTL. / ONLY 28 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
2010 Quinta do Infantado Douro Tinto
This year Craig is about to embark on a fact finding mission in Portugal for two weeks.
Portuguese wines are largely under represented on the wine store shelves, restaurant lists and consumers wine racks of the United States.
If you are a Perman Wine customer, you will soon be more knowledgeable on the subject of Portuguese wines than 99% of the wine trade. Our mission will be to learn alongside you about the varied terroir that the different wine regions provide.
The easiest wines to access now are those of the Douro, as the famed region that produces Port, has always been a large exporter of wines. Traditionally those were the sweet, fortified wines of the region, but in the past two decades we have slowly seen an increase in high quality red table wine.
Our journey begins with a red wine from the Roseira family, who traces their Port production back to the late 1800’s. Their winery is located in the Pinhão subdistrict of Gontelho, right along the Douro river.
Here the terraced, schist soils are worked by hand, producing fruit with richness and a distinct underlying minerality. Many Portuguese wines are blends, and this is no different, comprising Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz.
The 2010 Douro Tinto is an excellent value,with intense fruit aromas of boysenberry, cocoa and spice. Soft and silky with a bright, long, mineral and spice finish. The freshness of this wine keeps you coming back for glass after glass.
$17.00 BTL. / $204.00 CASE
2008 Frédéric Esmonin Hautes Côtes de Nuits Rouge
Burgundian labeling is trying at best and this ‘Hautes Cotes de Nuits’ designation doesn’t help matters.
But, let’s simplify.
We have delicious Pinot Noir here, planted in the large swatch of eastern facing hills that flank some of Burgundy’s most important villages: Chambolle-Musigny, Vougeot, Vosne Romaneé & Nuits-St.-Georges.
Frédéric Esmonin does a nice job of handling these grapes with care and restraint, and the wine offers a lovely fullness and the cherry-tinged trademark we have come to expect from good, cool-climate Pinot Noir.
$25.00 BTL. / ONLY 35 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
2007 Fattoria Cabanon Bonarda “Boisée”
Aside from the sparkling wine region of Franciacorta, Lombardy is largely ignored by Italian wine enthusiasts in the United States.
Here is one of my all-time favorite reds of the region made by Fattoria Cabanon, a winery founded in the early 1900’s and brought to prominence by Giovanni Mercandelli. His daughter Elena began as the winemaker in her early teen’s, not only was she one of the first female Italian winemakers, but also one of the youngest.
Cabanon makes a very wide range of wine and grappa, with all their grapes certified organic. I haven’t tasted every wine from Cabanon, but have enjoyed all that I’ve tasted.
In particular, my favorite is a Reserve wine made from 85% Bonarda (which is locally referred to as Croatina) and 15% Uva Rara. These are late harvested grapes, low-yielding, fermented in oak with natural yeasts.
It yields an exotic, rich, and silky red with many aromas and flavors that will remind many of Barbera. This is what I like to call my “Twizzler wine” as the aromas and flavors evoke red licorice like no other. It finishes with structure, complexity and length, and really over delivers from a quality to price ratio.
Don’t miss this insanely delicious Italian red!
$20.00 BTL. / $240.00 CASE
2009 Belle Pente Pinot Gris
While it is inarguable that Willamette Valley’s potential for making great Pinot Gris exists, the reality is that Pinot Gris from this area can vary wildly in quality.
Sometimes the experience is brilliant, and satisfying, and other times it feels dilute, flat and uninspired.
Belle Pente’s 2009 release happily falls in column A. Most of the fruit for the wine comes from the estate in Yamhill Carlton, and a a vineyard called ‘Rivenwood’ which is contiguous to their property and farmed by owners Brian & Jill O’Donnell.
I was struck by the surprising richness in flavor & texture when we tried this in the shop. It seems as if the O’Donnells tried a late harvest experiment that didn’t turn out as it should have, so 6% of the Pinot Gris for 2009 was picked much later and more ripe than the rest of the grapes.
The result is a more-luscious-than-usual offering, an small homage to Alsace’s style of PG. However, the wine still maintains an honorable crispness and acidity.
A perfect wine to match with everything pork. It makes us want to get our Choucroute on!
$19.00 BTL. / ONLY 48 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
2009 Santa Lucia Castel del Monte ‘”Vigna del Melograno”
Castel del Monte is one of the more important wine zones of Puglia, situated in the hilly part of Puglia (southern Italy, the heel of the boot) where the grapes are granted a bit more protection from the relentless, Mediterranean sun.
The variety that makes this wine is called Nero de Troia, a dark-skinned flavorful red grape that unfortunately has been supplanted by more recognizable varieties such as Aglianico & Montepulciano.
This is a lot of wine for the money; and the the kind of voluptuous, bone-warming red you sometimes desire. The vines here are 18 years old which is quite mature for the region and this adds to the depth and quality level.
$15.00 BTL. / $180.00 CASE