Hello and Happy Friday!
For those of you who missed last months announcement, I have changed the “Six for Sixty” sampler to the “Six for $60-something.”
By switching to the “Six for $60-something,” I have given myself the flexibility I needed to offer a more complete sampler.
Thanks to everyone for your positive support of this change.
The “Six for $60-something” works exactly like the old sampler. It is six wines, hand selected by me, that represent a range of styles. Each wine is available by the bottle or case, but as I often say, for maximum pleasure you should take the whole sampler.
I will not exceed $65, which still puts the average cost of the wines at less than $11 per bottle.
The “Six for $60-something” is highly recommend to those learning about wines, trying to stock their wine rack with affordable and tasty adult beverages, 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 Gamay causes you to lose your hair, Garganega brings back bad memories of past relationships, or you 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!
As always let me know if you have any questions or concerns with the change.
The sampler is in stock and ready to be consumed today!
Have a great weekend,
2008 CHÂTEAU DE LA LIQUIÈRE FAUGÈRES “LES AMANDIERS”
One of the best days on my recent trip to France was my time in the appellation of Faugères. I visited two producers with different philosophies, but equally delicious wines.
Faugères is a village and appellation in the Western Languedoc of France. Rhône varietals such as Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre are grown. The appellation is famous for its schist soil, a metamorphic rock that is loaded with minerals.
Château de la Liquière is a family estate with 60 hectares of vines in the region. Parcels are vinified separately and then blended to make the various cuvées.
“Les Amandiers” is a blend of 30% each Carignan and Syrah and 20% each Grenache and Mourvèdre. The Caringan undergoes carbonic maceration, and the other grapes are traditionally vinified. The wine is matured in vats for 8 months.
The result is a complex and delicious style of Faugères – full of bright red berry aromas and flavors, hints at herbs and mineral. A good wine to be paired with rosemary and thyme rubbed lamb chops.
$12.50 BTL. / $150.00 CASE
2007 ROCHFORD “LATITUDE” PINOT NOIR
This is an exceptional value for Pinot Noir – don’t expect it to be around for long! Rochford Wines is a well-respected producer in the Yarra Valley of Victoria. They own about 45 hectares of vines spread through the Yarra Valley and the Macedon Ranges. About 20,000 cases are produced annually with a focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
“Latitude” is their entry-level wine sourced from both of the aforementioned regions in Victoria. These are cool climate areas, and Pinot Noir emerges as it should – elegant, ethereal, and light on its feet.
Beautiful Pinot aromas of savory spices, rhubarb, and wild strawberry. Fresh and bright on the palate with soft structure, more red fruits and good acidity.
I took advantage of a good deal to offer this on the Six for $60-something. It is uncommon to see a Pinot Noir at this price point, let alone a really good one. Enjoy this with a wide range of foods from poultry to salmon.
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE
2009 RAATS “ORIGINAL” CHENIN BLANC
South Africa is home to many excellent values including a bevy of great white wine values made from Steen, or as we call it in the United States, Chenin Blanc.
The 2009 Raats “Original” Chenin Blanc is one of the best values in Chenin that I have tasted in a long time. The Raats family winery, founded in 2001, is located in the Stellenbosch region. The focus of the winery is on Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Winemaker Bruwer Raats previously worked at acclaimed cellars such as Blaauwklippen and Delaire. Now that he is his own boss, he is excited to have the chance to produce wines on his own terms.
The “Original” Chenin Blanc is an ode to the fresh and mineral style that the grape can produce when unadulterated with oak. Bruwer sources fruit from areas in and around Stellenbosch for this wine. The average age of the vines are 25 years, and all picking is done by hand.
The wine is cold fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged on its lees for six months. The result is a very aromatic and refreshing style of Chenin with notes of lime, apple, orange and mineral on the nose palate.
This is a terrific wine to take to your favorite BYOB sushi spot.
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE
2009 JEAN-MARC BURGAUD BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGES “CHÂTEAU DE THULON”
Oh no you didn’t! Oh yes I did!
Thanksgiving. Yes I said it – turkey day is just around the corner. Don’t worry I will have a future newsletter dedicated to all that should be consumed on this glorious holiday. Yet I also wanted to showcase a wine in this months sampler that is going to work great with that bird!
It is rare to hear hype about a Beaujolais vintage, but ’09 as I have previously stated is much talked about. So why not put a delicious ’09 in this months sampler?
You got it. Jean-Marc Burgaud is an excellent small grower/producer based in the village of Morgon. Burgaud is a young up and comer, starting his domaine in 1989. He works with 19 hecatares of vineyards spread out through the various crus and beyond.
This Beaujolais Villages comes from Lantignié and the property of Jean-Marc’s great aunt’s property, Château de Thulon. The prized hillside vineyards are composed of granitic soil. The average age of the vines are 50 years.
This is a very fresh, red fruit dominated wine that is meant to be drunk young. Turkey and tannin don’t mix well – so it is important to drink a wine like this with a silky texture and good acidity levels.
Most importantly this wine is delicious and is a great value!
$11.50 BTL. / $138.00 CASE
2009 ANSELMI “SAN VINCENZO” BIANCO
Often time winemakers and winery owners can have a revolutionary spirit when it comes to the rules. Appellation rules in every wine country can be archaic, bureaucratic, and sometimes just plain b.s.
In rare occasions wineries that are not so happy with the way their region is perceived sometimes defect. Roberto Anselmi is a perfect example of a great wine producer, that simply didn’t want to be associated with the bureaucracy. His winery is located in the heart of the Soave region, and yet in the year 2000 he chose not to promote his wines as Soave any more.
He explains – “Probably the best property in Soave is my property, but I don’t like bureaucratic logic in my life. No one is focused on the real quality. I use 7000 plants / hectare as opposed to 1200. I have 3 bunches per plant as opposed to 15. These are two different philosophies of life.”
This may be a bit of an overstatement regarding the quality of the Soave appellation, but Roberto’s heart is in the right place, and so are his wines. His range of wines offer a great glimpse into the Garganega varietal.
At the beginning of the range is “San Vincenzo.” This is predominantly Garganega with splashes of Trebbiano and Chardonnay. Anselmi always uses physiologically ripe grapes and it shows in the richness and texture of his wines. The ’09 San Vincenzo offers notes of ripe peach, lemon peel, and mineral on the nose and palate. It is very pure and easy to drink on its own, almost dangerously so!
If pairing with food I would recommend this with simply prepared scallops.
$11.50 BTL. / $138.00 CASE
2009 LA PLAYA CARMENÈRE
There is a big difference between the inexpensive wines of Chile ten years ago as opposed to today. Even in the very difficult under $10 price point category, I would rather drink a wine from Chile than any other country in the world.
Colchagua Valley is one of the great growing climates in Chile and home to some amazing wines, many of which are bargains. Located about 80 miles southwest of Santiago, it is a Mediterranean climate, that is benefited by cool breezes from the Pacific and thus a drastic reduction from day to night temperatures.
The sedimentary soil of Colchagua is a perfect base for Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère. Speaking of Carmenère, there are many growers that probably wanted to give up on the difficult varietal ten years ago, but today it seems like many producers have learned how to grow and vinify the varietal into a easily quaffable wine.
In its essence Carmenère is a spicy varietal that offers dark fruit flavors and sometimes hints at chocolate. If your yields are too high or you harvest too early it can be way too herbal, and if you ripen too late it can be somewhat flat. In my tastings it seems the adjustments have been made.
This delicious Carmenère comes from La Playa, a winery in Colchagua Valley that is a joint venture between an American family and two Chilean families. With a start of the art winery that was built in 2002, there is a modern approach to winemaking at La Playa.
18 year-old vines, hand harvested grapes, that are hand picked and vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks.
The result is an aromatic and rich red wine chock full of ripe red and dark berry fruits, spice notes like pepper and tobacco leaf, a silky mouth feel, and a clean, fruit forward finish. Enjoy this with braised short ribs.
$7.50 BTL. / $90.00 CASE