Perman Wine Selections Friday Feature – 10/22/10

Hello and Happy Friday!

It’s back! The “Six for $120,” my “advanced study” sampler that offers six exciting wine values for $120.

In May I introduced this new sampler to all you out their in e–mail land. The feedback has been really great, and I’m excited to keep it going with some new finds.

As with the “Six for $60-something,” sampler, this is a tremendous way to learn about wine you may not normally pick off the shelf. Order your “Six for $120” today by simply telling me “hey Craig, really hook me up.”

All of these wines are also available by the bottle or case, but for maximum pleasure you should be trying the whole sampler. As always, I am willing to sub something out if you really can’t stand it, but c’mon, how do you know you don’t like it if you didn’t try it?

For maximum wine learning print out the descriptions below, and keep it with your wine. You will have a mini–wine lesson on your hands every month.

These are in stock and ready to go!

Have a great weekend,



The Loire Valley is home to some of the greatest values of France. What’s funny is that a value can be $10 and it also can be $60. That really holds true of the Loire Valley because most of its greatest wines can be found in the $20-$60 range, and you can’t say that about other regions. Burgundy – not a chance. Bordeaux – forget about it. Even appellations like Châteauneuf-du-Pape are void of those kind of values for the top wines.

Cabernet Franc from the appellation of Saumur-Champigny can be outstanding, while at the same time not universally loved. These aren’ fruity wines, they are vin de terroir. They have acidity, have herbal qualities, and are low in alcohol. What makes them special is their ability to display where they come from, and their versatility with food. Yes, this is a love poem to the Loire.

Saumur-Champigny is a great appellation for red wines. Cabernet Franc shines at a few of its top estates. You have heard me wax poetic before about the great wines of Clos Rougeard. Yet running just a leg behind are the fantastic wines of the Filliatreau family, let by Paul and his son Fredrik.

With about 40 hectares of vines, Filliatreau makes lots of different wines and is the largest single estate in the appellation.

To make sure you catch the Saumur bug like me, I decided to introduce you to one of the top wines of the estate, “La Grande Vignolle.” The grapes come from a 7 hectare vineyard, with 40+ year old vines on tuffeau.

A wine that benefits from decanting it opens with notes of sandalwood, green peppercorns, violets, and sour cherries. Medium weight, with tons of baking spices, plums, cherries, good acidity and lots of spice on the back end. The perfumed quality carries onto the palate. It finishes long with dusty tannins. Truthfully this is a wine that will drink even better on the second day if you don’t decant. It also has the ability to last a good decade or more in the cellar. This is a Loire wine through and through. Somebody bring out the paté!

$18.00 BTL. / $216.00 CASE



An exciting new discovery for me are the wines of Olivier Merlin and his wife Corinne. This is a winery located in Mâcon La Roche-Vineuse, an area known for its Chardonnay production.

In 1987, Olivier Merlin purchased an old estate called Vieux Saint-Sorlin, and went about to restore it. Through the years he slowly added land and purchased the Touziers winery.

As a graduate of the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, he has a Burgundian approach to vineyard management and winemaking. Plots are all vinified separately, lees are stirred once a week to keep them in suspension and malolactic fermentation is encouraged.

Their entry level Mâcon La Roche-Vineuse just arrived and I couldn’t wait to show it off. From a plot containing clay-limestone soil, the wine undergoes alcoholic fermentation in a mixture of stainless steel and 15% oak barrels. It is aged for 18 months before bottling.

This delicious wine tows the line perfectly – offering good intensity and richness, some of those ripe peach notes, while also maintaining a refreshing, balanced attack. White Burgundy fans are going to love this one!

$19.00 BTL. / $228.00 CASE



If you recognize the name Costa di Bussia, that is because I have offered their Barbera “Ottone” in a past Six for $60. This is a historic producer founded by Luigi Arnulfo, a pharmacist in the town of Monforte d’Alba in the 1870’s. He was among the few to estate bottle his wines at that time.

One of the prized vineyards of the Costa di Bussia estate is their “Campo del Gatto” vineyard in Monforte d’Alba. A small parcel of about 1.3 hectares, there you can find 60 year-old Barbera vines planted on a south – southeastern exposure. This historic parcel has been recognized for over a century as a prime vineyard.

One point of emphasis that I took from my travels to Piedmont this past June is how good of a vintage 2007 was, especially for the Barbera varietal. The richness of the vintage is on display in the terrific ’07 “Campo del Gatto.”

Beautiful aromas of black fruits, dark cherry, and spice. Rich yet silky on the palate with hints at anise and dark berry fruit. A really good match for braised short ribs.

$22.00 BTL. / $264.00 CASE



The most interesting trend in Spanish wine in the last decade has be the re-discovery of the indigenous grapes of various regions.

The most exciting Spanish white wines in recent years have come from the northwest and the department of Galicia. Many of you know the great Albariño varietal, which primarily grows along the coast of Galicia and along the river that separates Portugal from Spain.

If you look inland, there are other exciting areas producing unique grape varietals. One such example is offered on this month’s sampler, the 2009 A Coroa Godello.

Godello is a grape varietal that was introduced a couple thousand years ago to the area by the Romans. Its production in the 20th century had waned, and was rarely seen except locally. People like the López family, owners of A Coroa, have helped reintroduce this grape varietal to Galicia, Spain and the world. The family spent many years in the vine nursery business, and supplied much of the rootstock to the people of the region of Valdeorras, the primary area for the grape varietal.

Starting their own winery in 2002, they have repurposed an old Roman building into a state of the art winemaking facility. I had a chance to visit A Coroa years back on a trip to Galicia, and was impressed with the dedication to quality, which isn’t something you see at every winery in Valdeorras.

A Coroa works their ten hectares sustainably, with the future goal of being fully organic. They vinify their Godello parcel by parcel, using only indigenous yeasts. The wine is rested on its lees for six months, and a blend is made to make the best wine possible.

This is irresistibly aromatic with gorgeous notes of citrus, pear, and white pepper. Crisp and very linear on the palate, this offers plenty of refreshing acidity while at the same time some weight and richness. An absolutely delicious white wine that will keep you coming glass after glass!

$21.00 BTL. / $252.00 CASE



One thing that I don’t do a good enough job of here at Perman Wine Selections is introducing you to more wines from South Africa. Sure you see some Chenin Blanc from time to time on the shelves, but there are many terrific red wines being made throughout the country today.

So why not take the opportunity of the “Six for $120” to introduce you to a favorite of mine. Warwick Estate is a family run, boutique winery in the Stellenbosch appellation of South Africa. The farm in which its vineyards have been planted have been there for well over a couple hundred years. Norma Ratcliffe is one of the very few female winemakers today in South Africa. She brings a thoughtful, hands-off approach to winemaking.

“Three Cape Ladies” is a blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Pinotage, 17% Merlot and 13% Syrah. Each varietal adding something to the complex blend. For those of you unfamiliar with Pinotage, it is a widely planted cross-bred varietal of Pinot Noir and Cinsault. I’m not always the hugest proponent of it by itself, but in this blend it works incredibly well.

I would recommend decanting this wine as it really opens with aeration to reveal lots of black fruit and spice, with hints at licorice and mulberry on the nose. It is medium-bodied with soft tannins and good freshness.

It is a very food versatile wine, with the ability to take on tomatoes and olives. I would recommend it with red meat like steak or venison.

$24.00 BTL. / $288.00 CASE



It’s true – I can’t get enough of the Quinta do Crasto wines. They are among the handful of best producers of table wine in Portugal. Kind of sounds funny saying “table wine,” but in the Douro we are dealing with a region that is most famous for its fortified wine, Port.

The explosion of table wines in Portugal is one of the greatest wine trends of the last decade. As a great wine growing country, it was amazing that the world wine market knew very little of it outside of Port, Vinho Verde and Lancers rosé!

I think once you try enough of the great table wines of Portugal you will be hooked like me!

Let’s start you with the Quinta do Crasto Vinho Tinto. A blend of four varietals – Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional from vines with a 20 year-old average. The soil is composed of schist, which is a noble soil type as it provides ripe grapes due to its heat retention. It also promotes roots to dig deep into the earth for more nutrients, which adds to the complexity. The world is finally starting to understand the greatness of schist soil with places like the Douro, Priorat, and the Roussillon providing iconic examples.

The grapes for this wine are co-fermented in an effort to integrate the flavors. The finished wine is aged in stainless steel vats to preserve the freshness of the fruit.

Vibrant aromas of blackberries and wild strawberry, with a medium-bodied frame and a long, juicy finish. Bring this to a BYOB like Mixteco Grill as it will work well with highly spiced food like their lamb and mole dish.

$16.00 BTL. / $192.00 CASE

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