Friday Feature – October 30, 2009

Hello and Happy Friday!

It’s the last Friday of the month, and that means it’s “six for $60” time.  The monthly sampler that is sweeping the nation, six bottles of wine for only $60, excluding tax!

The “six for $60”  is highly recommend to those learning about wines, trying to stock their wine rack with fun things, or wanting to bring a gift to someone hosting a party.

So how does this work?  To order simply e-mail me back and say “Hey Craig, hook me up.”  To join the devoted legions of fans who receive them every month you can just say “and keep ‘em coming!”  All of the wines are available by the bottle or case, but for total jubilation just do the whole sampler.  Some people are challenged by some of the wines that I put in to my sampler.  If Primitivo causes you to loose sleep, you don’t drink anything from Chile during the month of November, or just simply hate something I am offering, I will substitute and try to get the sampler as close to $60 as possible.

A suggestion to those folks trying to learn from this as well as get a buzz, print out a copy of the newsletter to keep with your sampler.  That way when you are in the mood for a bottle you have your own mini wine lesson on hand.  So what are you waiting for?  Order yours today!

The sampler is in stock and ready to be picked up or shipped out!

Have a great weekend,



On last month’s sampler we took an adventure to Puglia.  This Southern Italian region in the heel of the boot produces quite a bit of wine from a variety of grapes, some local and some international.

One of the most delicious and easy to drink varieties of the region is called Primitivo.  A couple examples of this grape have made the sampler in the past, but none of the quality as this amazing example from Luccarelli.

Around the town of Manduria, Primitivo is at its best.  Yet it is a somewhat difficult wine to achieve the right balance.  In Puglia, it is very warm and vineyards tend to be quite flat.  Over ripening is the most notable problem of the area.  One reason for this is the fact that to garner the coveted D.O.C. label of Primitivo di Manduria, the wine has to contain 14% alcohol. Luccarelli in its quest to make the best wine possible has decided to make it their way, picking the grapes to produce a wine weighing in at 13.5%.  As a result they can’t label it as Primitivo di Manduria, instead an I.G.T.

The result is one of the most delicious bottles of wine you are going to find from the Primitivo varietal.  Incredibly fresh and vibrant with notes of ripe blackberry, strawberry, spice and herbs.  This is texturally plush and glides across the palate.  I hate to say the word so soon, but think of Thanksgiving when you think of this wine.  This is a real crowd pleaser!
$11.00 BTL. / $132.00 CASE


There is a ton of wine coming from Chile these days, and much of it can be quite good.  So how does one determine which wineries to support with all the good choices?  This is when I find myself saying that I need to follow my palate.  The fact is, there are few wineries that offer consistency across the board.  When I do find a winery that does seemingly nothing wrong, it’s time for me to sing its praises.

Such is the case with Casa Silva.  To me this is the finest winery in Chile, and their values are really second to none.  I’ve carried this wine from Casa Silva in the store since I’ve opened, but never used it for the sampler.  Well it is about time that all of you tasted the promise that Cabernet in Chile has.

Wine growing at the Casa Silva estate goes way back to 1892. Located in the Colchagua Valley, the Silva family began estate bottling in 1997. Three main estates in Colchagua form the base of the wines at Casa Silva. There are many different lines of wines from which you can’t go wrong.

For my sampler I decided to focus on the Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserva.”  This blends fruit from the three different vineyards of the Silva’s.  It is all hand harvested fruit that is fermented in stainless steel before be moved to a mixture of steel and French oak.  The result is a subtle and elegant Cabernet that features cherry and dark berry fruit, cracked pepper, herbs and soft supple tannins.  This is a great wine to pair with simply prepared flank steak.
$10.50 BTL. / 126.00 CASE


Over the last decade lots of Italian moving trucks descended on the Maremma region of Italy, located south of Grosseto along the Tyrrhenian Sea.  Investment in this agricultural region was fast and furious, as the climate and vineyards suited the local clone of Sangiovese, the Morellino, perfectly.

Today there are lots of sturdy reds coming from this region.  Among my favorite interpretation of Morellino di Scansano is this one from Fattoria di Magliano.  The Italian shoe designer, Agostino Lenci, purchased the estate in 1997.  He refurbished the building on the property to make a small hotel, and improved the cellar to make top-notch wine.

Proximity to the warmth of the sea makes for a much riper version of Sangiovese than you may be accustomed to from Chianti Classico.  Yet this wine isn’t all Sangiovese, it also contains a good 15% chunk of Syrah. The wine is aged in a mixture of stainless steel and small French oak.

This rich wine is chock full of ripe notes of blackberry, plum and cedar. Medium to full-bodied on the palate with a very silky fruit driven mouth feel.  A great wine on its own or at the dinner table with Quail. Of note this wine is normally much more expensive, but the local distributor was getting ready to move to the next vintage and sold this to use in the sampler, so get it while it supplies remain!
$11.50 BTL. /  $138.00 CASE


Continuing our tour of Italy we head to the center of the country to the rolling hills of the Orvieto D.O.C. in Umbria.  The white wines of Orvieto are known as real thirst quenchers, and have even gained an international reputation.

Unfortunately there is more bad than good in the Orvieto D.O.C.  Excessive yields and lackadaisical vinification methods through much of the ’60’s and ’70’s created a poor image that has been slowly washed away by some of the talented winemakers of today.

Giovanni Dubini is one of the greats of the region.  From his estate he blends the local varieties Procanico, Grechetto, Verdello, Drupeggio, and Malvasia.  “Terre Vineate” comes from some of the estates best vines.  Gentle pressing, a cold fermentation, and settling in stainless steel tanks are all done to retain the fresh, vibrant aromas of the wine.

While most Orvieto you want to drink very soon after the vintage, the ’07″Terre Vineate” is really singing right now.  Luckily for you the distributor is moving into the next vintage because like the Morellino above, it has been reduced in price and meant to be drunk now! That shouldn’t be a problem given how delicious its big lemon, orange, mineral and spice tones are.  Have this by itself if you want, but I’m going to be drinking this at home with some very simply prepared halibut filets.
$10.00 BTL. / $120.00 CASE


It’s back!  If some of you get into your DeLorean and travel back in time, you may arrive at the moment where you first popped open a bottle of “Charmaba” from one of my previous samplers.  This is a delicious, easy drinking red from Aveleda a large Portuguese producer based in the northern part of the country. There are not too many well-made red wines these days that you can buy for $7.50 a bottle, but lets just say that Aveleda has done it again!

Although Aveleda is most famous for their delicious examples of Vinho Verde, in the early 90’s Aveleda expanded out of that zone by purchasing vineyards in the famed Douro region.  The hillside vineyards chock full of schist soil offer a great growing condition for varieties like Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Barroca, and Tinta Roriz.  Those four grapes are blended together to make “Charamba.”  While this wine is fermented in stainless steel tank, it is aged for nine months in oak barrels.

Overall this is just an easy drinking and delicious bottle of wine that will appeal to many palates.  It is chocked full of red berry fruit, mineral, hints at vanilla and spice.  This would be great with lamb chops.
$7.50 BTL. / $90.00 CASE


Our last stop on the Italian wine trail is Piedmont.  Northwest Italy is home to an amazing array of agriculture coming from Mother Nature.  Whether it is beef, cheese, truffles or grapes, Piedmont seemingly has it all.  So it is no wonder that some of the best wines of Italy, as well as most food friendly wines come from the region.

A grape that is vital for any person that enjoys their wine with food is the Barbera varietal. The grapes vibrant natural acidity and low tannins makes it a natural pairing with pasta, meat and even fish.

To find great value Barbera can be somewhat challenging these days.  Yet a good place to start looking is the hills of Monferrato.  That is where Cantine San Silvestro sources the Barbera for this wine.  San Silvestro is a very high quality, value-oriented producer based in the village of Novello.  Run by the Sartirano cousins, they have built a modern, efficient winery to help in the production of its many wines.

This light and simple Barbera is the best example of the variety that I have ever tasted for under $10.  Don’t expect to find many of them out there for this price, and if you do find one, it won’t have the pedigree of this one.

This wine is definitely made for drinking with food. Meat based pastas sauces, rich risotto with mushrooms, and braised meats are all good ideas for pairing. A great starting point to discover Barbera!
$9.50 BTL. / $114.00 CASE

Craig Perman
Perman Wine Selections
802 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone 312-666-4417
Fax 312-666-4487

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