Hello and Happy Friday!
We’ve got a great newsletter today for you! This may be the most off-the-beaten-path (i.e. obscure) 6 for $120 something samplers ever offered! It’s as if aliens landed and helped us pick out the wines.
Routier is still on strike this evening. So no Friday tasting at the store tonight. Craig is finally settling into his new home, but as a good husband and Father, he still needs to attend to a few things over there. Sheb will be manning the store this evening.
It’s the second to last Friday of the month, and that means a brand new edition of Six for $120-Something.
I really do believe this may be the finest line-up for Six for $120-Something that I’ve ever put together!
They are in stock, so stop by this weekend to pick one up.
Have a great weekend,
Craig & Sheb
6 for $120-Something
2011 Cantina Mesa “Primo Rosso” Carignano del Sulcis- Sardinia, Italy
What if I told you that this wine could help you live longer? I’d say for under $20 that is a pretty good deal!
While I can’t offer any empirical evidence as to if this wine will extend your life span, there have been many studies on the inhabitants of the island of Sardinia, identifying it a s a “blue zone.” There also have been many noted health benefits to drinking red wine, and particularly those reds from Sardinia.
Aside from enjoying a longer life, you will enjoy your current life when you pop open this bottle from Cantina Mesa. Gavino Sanna owns 70 hectares of vineyards in Sardinia, mainly planted to local varieties such as Carignano, which is called Carignan in other parts of the world.
Their “Primo Rosso” is a great entry into the Cantina Mesa range. Primarily Carignan with a little Syrah blended in, the grapes come from the Sulcis Iglesiente area. The vines are the classic “Alberello” bush vines that are so prominent on the island.
I’m a big fan of this red wine, its notes of dark and red berry fruit, pepper and clove spices, and little wisp of tannnins on the finish make you crave another glass. A great wine for the table, this could go with a braised stew (goat perhaps?) or even a grilled oiler fish such as swordfish dolloped with olive tapenade.
I feel healthier already!
$18.00 BTL. / $216.00 CASE OF 12
2011 Zlatan Otok Posip “Markarska Vineyard” -Croatia
Let me tell you something – I can’t pronounce this either!
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, we can both start to realize that Croatia is home now to many a great winery. There is so much to learn about the wines of Croatian, I think this might call for a field trip? Just got to clear it with the wife!
In all seriousness, Croatia is really killing it these days with a number of excellent wines making it to our shores.
This wine comes from Zlatan Plenković and his winery on the island of Hvar. This is a place I need to go, as it is listed as the sunniest island in Europe. Not only does the sun shine all the time, the water and air quality are said to be second to none here as well.
Both white and red wines are made at Zlatan Otok, and I decided to feature this delicious white made entirely from the ancent, indigenous Croatian varietal called Posip. This varietal is said to date back to the 4th century BC, coming from the southern island of Korčula. Why this grape is successful is its resistance to the sunshine and low rainfall of the island. The vines where this wine comes from even face south, making for a truly warm climate.
So why drink this Posip? First and foremost because it is tasty, and secondly, I felt that this was the perfect white for the cooler fall months. It shows and density and mineral qualities, while at the same time have plenty of bright citrus, apricot and fig notes.
I’m excited to explore these wines with you in the coming days, months and years. We just may need an interpreter!
$22.00 BTL. / $264.00 CASE OF 12
2010 Ameztia Irouleguy Rouge ” Cuvée Panxto”-Southwest France
It is very difficult for us to contain our enthusiasm for the remote wine zone of Irouleguy. It is the last bastion of French civilization before the Pyrenees Mountains rise up, an imposing, natural barrier that flanks both France and Basque, Spain.
This is a small area, inhabited by only 333 people, so it’s no wonder that the winemaker, Jean-Louis Costera, also moonlights as a shepherd. (Craig also claims to have met half the population, so he can vouch personally for many of the people there). Jean-Louis did have the foresight to modernize the winery in 2001, while still maintaining many of the family traditions. There is a nice balance here between old and new.
Cuvée Panxto is named for the vineyard manager, Panxto Ignard. If that name looks very un-French to you, you’re right! It is easy to see that this region, while politically part of France, philosophically is part of the Spanish Basque region. The old vines of Cabernet Franc and Tannat belong to the Ignard family and are vinified at Ameztia.
Although there always remains a certain gruff rusticity to the wines of this region, Cuvée Panxto also offers floral and briny nuances, full, supple body and formidable structure. It is a wine we recommend decanting and for pairing with your heartiest braised meat dishes.
$27.00 BTL./ $324.00 CASE OF 12
2012 Weingut Krutzler Zweigelt-Burgenland, Austria
If you have somehow resisted the charms of Zweitgelt up to this point, we recommend shedding your rigidity and submitting to the aromatic, juicy deliciousness that a Zweitgelt such as Krutzler’s, can offer.
Zweitgelt is the most common red wine grape in Austria and was developed in 1922 by a botanist names Fritz Zweitgelt when he crossed Blaufränkisch with Saint Laurent. As with its popular white counterpart, Grüner Veltliner, styles can range dramatically, from fresh and fruity to brooding and tannic.
Krutler’s vineyards are very close to the Hungarian border. Established in 1895, this has always been a family affair. Great attention is paid to vineyard management, where healthy vines are a priority. A great source of pride for the estate is their meticulous spring pruning of the Zweigelt vines, without which they can easily become overgrown and produce dilute wines.
This offering is on the fresh and fruity side, but complex and concentrated too. It is in possession of a deep, luxurious purple color, if you’re into that kind of thing. As root vegetables become more prevalent, and we slide into autumn’s cool grasp, you will be happy to have on hand, a bottle or two of this.
$25.00 BTL./ $300.00 CASE of 12
2012 Poggio al Chiuso Chianti -Tuscany, Italy
We don’t think Sangiovese gets the attention it deserves; it is responsible for some of Italy’s most revered wines. Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulicano, and of course, Chianti.
Chianti has struggled a bit, with identity and purpose over the last two decades. Hoping to rise above its reputation for cheap, fiasco (the official name for that ridiculous straw basket) encased swill, international varieties started popping up, and barrique aging became the norm. That sense of gently undulating hills, bucolic beauty and a cheery Mediterranean sun got lost, buried somewhere in overly-oaked wines that were trying to be like Bordeaux.
Poggio la Chiuso is first, a farm. And yes, maybe it does remind of that overly sentimental film “Under the Tuscan Sun” but it cannot help that it looks beautiful like that. They make olive oil and wine. The Chianti we offer today is made as it has been since 1971; with Sangiovese and a little Canaiolo, not too much funny business during fermentation, and a simple elevage in clean and fresh tanks.
$13.00 BTL. / $156.00 CASE OF 12
2007 Casa Castillo “Valtosca”- Jumilla, Spain
The province of Murcia in Spain is home to many incredible wines, most of which exceptional values.
There is no doubt in my mind that Casa Castillo is one of the top, if not the best producer in the Jumilla wine region. They are located in “El Altiplano de Jumilla,” the high plateau which offers a Mediterranean climate (with influences from the sea) and a continental climate. This was an influential region, especially during the days of phylloxera in France, when there was none in Jumilla and the climate provided ripe, high-quality grapes.
Monastrell is the main grape of the region of Jumilla, and Casa Castillo makes some excellent values. For this newsletter, I was able to scoop up the last remaining bottles of 1997 “Valtosca.” The name translates to “Valley of Stone” and the grape most suited to this vineyard is that of Syrah. This wine is made entirely of Syrah, from younger vines that are not-grafted.
When this was first released it was quite a ball of energy, but has since calmed down and now is drinking perfectly. Great aromatics that combine blackberry fruit with classic Syrah pepper notes. Medium-bodied, with softer tannins, and great length. This begs for venison, bison, those kind of hooved animals with earthy tasting flesh. Do not miss this exceptional value.
$20.00 BTL. / $120.00 SIX-PACK CASE