Friday Feature – September 25, 2009

Hello and Happy Friday!

Hope your week went well.

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 (except for one this month) 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 Tocai from Slovenia makes you depressed, you don’t drink Salice Salentino during football season, 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,


Now what’s got me all excited?  Two things really.  The first is that three weeks from today (October  16th),  I will be hosting my best ever “underground dinner” with winemakers Aleš Kristančič of Movia in Slovenia, and Giusto Occhipinti, co-owner of Cos in Sicily.  This coming week, details will be forthcoming and you will be able to get a chance to attend.

The second, and more relevant reason I’m excited is because often times for the six for $60, I plan months in advance to get a particular wine.  I go to great lengths to special order wines, and it takes quite some time, leaving a bit of anticipation on my part.  Such is the case with this very exciting wine from Aleš Kristančič, one of the winemakers that I will be doing that dinner with. Aleš agreed to make a value wine for his importer, Domaine Select.  He wanted to highlight the local Tocai varietal that you can find at its best in northeast Italy and across the border in Slovenia.

A little over a year ago, the Hungarians in trying to protect the name of their region called Tokaji, home to their very famous dessert wines, spent some time in international court to ban all other countries using similar names from printing it on their label.  Those Hungarians had good lawyers, but in a giant screw you to them, Aleš has made a wine simply called “Toh-kai.”  Beat that Hungarians.

The funny thing is that Tocai is a cousin to Sauvignon Blanc, and has nothing to do with the grapes used in Hungary.  But regardless, it is a grape you should know. Aleš has produced an amazing example in ’07, so much so that I went out of my way to get this.

Recently, the wine just received big accolades from a major wine publication, and it instantly sold out around the country.  Good thing I had this planned way in advance. So yes, you will only find it in retail here at Perman Wine Selections, and only in the sampler! Aleš tell us about Tocai!

“The irrepressible, outspoken, and iconoclastic Aleš Kristančič– whose advice is in great demand on both sides of the Friulian Collio-Brda(-Hills) – is the force behind Quattro Mani 2007 (toh-kai), the inaugural 36,000 bottles of which come from young vines on his Movia estate, although that name – along with the provocative description “100% Tocai,” a name since legally replaced by “Friuliano” – is buried in tiny print on the label. If there is any more amazing value in white wine, I’m desperate to experience it! Ripe quince, Persian melon, vivid gunpowder, green tea, coriander, spearmint, and elusive but haunting floral perfume hover over the glass. This hits the palate juicily, softly, and demurely, but then it spreads out a veritable magic carpet of captivating flavors, among which quince, fig, white peach, green tea, sweet lime, and raw almond are discernable. But frankly, you could play guessing games all the way through a bottle – which might not last as long as the urge to meditate, thanks to its soothing texture and infectiously juicy finish. I honestly couldn’t spit it or put down the glass! My intuition is that one should drink it within the next 6-9 months, especially since it is sealed with a silicone stopper. I just hope something remotely as intriguing and delicious was rendered under this label from 2008.  91 Points, David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate.”
$11.50 BTL. / Only available in the sampler, leftover wine will be available when I’ve moved on to the next sampler


As I mentioned on last Friday’s newsletter, people can’t seem to get enough of the ’07 wines from the Southern Rhône Valley.  I thought it was very fitting then to put this perennial great value in the sampler this month.

Domaine Brusset is based in the village of Cairanne.  The estate was founded in 1947 by the late André Brusset, and is currently run today by his son Daniel, and grandson, Laurent.  The domaine holdings spread over the vineyards of Cairanne, in the Côte du Ventoux, and some prolific vineyards in Gigondas.

This domaine is not a media darling, and the wines have always remained fairly priced for the quality, and best yet readily available to get!

As usual in 2007, the Brusset’s have put together a great line-up of wines including their red Côtes du Rhône called “Laurent B.”  This is a blend of 60% Grenache with 20% Syrah, 10% Carignan, and 10% Mourvèdre.  As with all Brusset wines, the yields in the vineyard are quite low, the grapes are hand harvested, natural yeast are used, and there is no fining or filtering.

This wine shows the richness of the vintage with its classic raspberry, kirsch and pepper notes on the nose and palate.  It is always a good idea to let this sit in a decanter for about an hour before serving, as it gains in richness on the palate, and shows more purity of fruit.  A good wine to have with a burger.
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE


After two years of samplers, it is rare to have a first.  Yet this is the first Salice Salentino that I have featured on a sampler.  If you are not familiar with the D.O.C. of Salice Salentino, it lies in Puglia in the heel of the boot of Italy.

Vallone is a family run winery located with their home base being near the town of Lecce.  They own three estates in total, with over 600 hectares planted to vines, olives, and vegetables like artichokes.

The Salice Salentino Riserva “Vereto” comes from the Azienda Iore estate in the province of Brindisi, and the commune of San Pancrazio Salentino.  Here the varietal Negroamaro shines, and most of the acreage of the vineyard is planted to the varietal.  Malvasia Nera also finds its way into a small percentage of the vineyard and this wine.

Grown on limestone and clay soil that slope down towards the Ionian Sea, the grapes are hand harvested and brought into the winery and sorted. The wine is aged in Slovenian oak barrels for eight months, which add to its complexity.  Medium bodied with cherry, herb and spice notes on the palate.  This shows the warmth of the area while at the same time showing great balance.  This would be great with a crown roast of pork draped in herbs.  An excellent interpretation of Salice Salentino.
$9.50 BTL. / $114.00 CASE


How is it possible that you sometimes still go to an Italian restaurant, have a glass of the “house” Chianti or Sangiovese, and it turns out to be awful?  Ten years ago it seemed almost unavoidable, but today there are so many great inexpensive examples of Sangiovese from Tuscany that this simply shouldn’t happen.

Last week I tasted yet another delicious and affordable bottle of Sangiovese from Poggio al Chiuso.  This small family farm is situated within the D.O.C. boundaries of Chianti.  They make a few wines, but this little Sangiovese di Toscana is one of my favorites.

No interference with the purity of fruit, as it is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged in concrete vats.  Fresh and vibrant aromas of black cherry, fine green herbs, and baking spices such as nutmeg.  This has surprising texture and weight for Sangiovese at its price point, and is relatively fruit forward with well-integrated acidity. Pastas with meat based red sauces are an excellent match.
$9.50 BTL. / $114.00 CASE


As the weather begins to cool down in Chicago, Bordeaux often times makes its way back into many of our drinking habits.  As I often say about Bordeaux, you don’t need to be fancy to drink the stuff.  In fact, most Bordeaux is meant for immediate consumption at the dinner table.  It is just that we tend to focus on the big stuff that needs a bunch of years in bottle to be enjoyed to its full glory.

One area within the larger overall region of Bordeaux where one can find good values is in Entre-Deux-Mers.  The large area sits between the Dordogne and Garonne rivers, hence the name.  The area produces red, white and sweet wine.  In fact most wines you see today with the general Bordeaux appellation written on it comes from this particular region.  Merlot, as an early ripening varietal works best in the region for the reds, as rains can often come later in the season.  If your one of the many scared of the word Merlot, don’t be, just try it, because I know you will like it!

Château Haut Peyruguet is a medium sized producer of white and red Bordeaux in Entre-Deux-Mers.  For the red they blend 60% Merlot, with 20% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

This is a fresh, medium bodied red with plenty of classic plum and red current fruit, light green herbs and good acidity.  The tannins are soft, but I would recommend having this with a simple preparation of flank steak.
$10.00 BTL. / $120.00 CASE


Last month on the sampler we started to explore the Chenin Blanc varietal with an interpretation from the appellation of Saumur in the Loire Valley of France.  This time we go in a different direction with a delicious example from Niel Joubert, a longtime producer located in the Western Cape region of the Paarl.

Chenin Blanc or Steen as the local call it, is the most important white varietal in South Africa.  In the Paarl it is the most widely planted white varietal.  Because the Paarl is not very affected by the cooling influences of False Bay, the Chenin in the region tends to have a bit more ripeness.

This impressive value shows the varietal reaction to the more Mediterranean climate of the Paarl.  Really pretty nose combining tropical notes of guava and pineapple with hints of melon.  Mouth coating fruit clings to palate and refreshing acidity cleans it off to get you ready for the next sip.  This is delicious on its own, but would be great with spicy shrimp Pad Thai
$9.00 BTL. / $108.00 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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