Happy Friday and Happy Holidays!
I’ve been “off the air” for a bit due to extra work from the holidays. It may be a week early but, this Friday I am introducing my brand new 6 for $60-Something Sampler!
For all my new customers, the “6 for $60-Something” is the best wine sampler in the City of Chicago! Six wines, hand selected by me, that represent a range of styles – all hovering around the $10 price point. Each wine is available by the bottle or case, but as I often say, for maximum pleasure you should try the whole sampler.
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 you find that Cabernet Franc gives you the blues, Monastrell gives you road rage or any other interesting reason why you can not drink one of the following wines, then 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 any time in the coming month!
Please note the following holiday hours:
Friday, December 23rd – 11 am till 8 PM
Saturday, December 24th – 11 am till 4:30 PM
Sunday, December 25th – Closed
Monday, December 26th – Closed
Tuesday, December 27th – Noon till 7 PM
Wednesday, December 28th – Noon till 8 PM
Thursday, December 29th – Noon till 8 PM
Friday, December 30th – Noon till 8 PM
Saturday, December 31st – 11 AM till 5:30 PM
Sunday, January 1st – Closed
Monday, January 2nd – Closed
2010 DOMAINE BRUSSET CÔTES DU RHÔNE “LAURENT B.”
Get ready Rhône fans – 2012 is going to be the year of the Southern Rhône wine! That is when many of the 2010′s will be released. If you’re in to vintage hype, then 2010 is a vintage you will want to pay attention to. The hype is warranted though, because many of the 2010 Southern Rhône reds from appellations like Châteauneuf-du-Pape are spectacular.
Here is a good way to test drive the vintage, with the perennially delicious Côtes du Rhône from my main man, Laurent Brusset. Based in the village of Cairainne, Laurent runs his exciting domaine with great care. He is well-known for his excellent Gigondas, but his everyday Côtes du Rhône is an amazing value.
This is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% each of Carignan and Mourvèdre. It is fermented in vat, and the Syrah and Mourvèdre are aged in large barrels before blending. True to the Brusset style, this is a lot of wine for not a lot of money. Sumptuous ripe red berry notes, and pepper spice overtones coat the palate. Give this a little oxygen in a decanter or big glasses and glug away alongside a whole host of meats and cheeses.
$12.00 BTL. / $144.00 CASE
2008 CHÂTEAU PESQUIÉ “QUINTESSENCE” VENTOUX BLANC
Let me dispel the mystery of the wine closeout. Wine is like any other product – distributors need to make room for new product and sometimes they make room by cutting something at a loss. This doesn’t mean the product is bad, it just means that at its regular price it would take too long to move. I see this all the time in the wine business, and often take advantage of deals in order to pass them along to my customers.
Consider this your Christmas gift. Here is a wine that I “waxed poetic” about in the past. An outstanding white wine from Côtes du Ventoux producer Château Pesquié. They make a few great wines, and this is the top white wine of the house. It is a blend of 80% Roussanne and 20% Clairette. The grapes are fermented separately, with the Roussanne spending some time on its skins. The malolactic fermentation is blocked, to retain the freshness of the acidity.
At its normal price of $24 it is an OUTSTANDING value, a White Rhône that is truly complex and delicious. For this sampler, I’ve scored a deal that allows me to put this into your hands for a steal. Enjoy it now – it is drinking perfectly. Pair it with pork or simple roast chicken. I will let you know who to send the thank you notes to!
$11.00 BTL. / $132.00 CASE
2009 VINJULI CABERNET FRANC
Bordeaux varietals in Italy – if I asked you where they typically come from, what would your answer be? Bolgheri, that appellation along the Tyrrhenian Sea, would be a good guess. The answer I was looking for was the appellation of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. This Northeastern Italian region is home to some of Italy’s best examples of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is an area that more Italian wine fans should explore.
To help you do so I wanted to offer you a typical, easy-drinking style of Cabernet Franc from Marco Furlan, owner of the Castelcosa estate in Friuli. His labeled called “Vinjuli” offers “everyday” type of wines that are typical of the region.
The 2009 Cabernet Franc offers surprising richness while at the same time not compromising on the classic spicy character of the varietal. Dark berry, peppercorn, and mineral are all in balance, and make for a very easy drink. Pair this with lamb tagine.
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE
2010 SAN SILVESTRO DOLCETTO “ANSELMO”
The San Silvestro wines are almost too good to be true. They have appeared on the sampler before and for good reason. For around $10 in Piedmont, it is hard to find wines of this quality that are so easy to drink.
Located in Novello, the Sartirano family’s winery produces this delicious Dolcetto from the Monferrato hills. To produce an easy-drinking style of Dolcetto, the grapes are fermented in tank, with a short maceration on their skins. The wine goes through malolactic fermentation and is matured in stainless steel before being bottled and released.
This should be your go to red with a variety of Italian-inspired foods. Its freshness and fruit work so well with cured meats and cheeses. Don’t miss this!
$9.50 BTL. / $114.00 CASE
2007 LE PETIT CHAMBORD COUR-CHEVERNY
Francois Cazin is a leader in quality in the Cheverny appellation of the Loire Valley, France. Located just southwest of the city of Orléans, the Cheverny appellation thrives on the Sauvignon Blanc grape.
While I am a big fan of Cazin’s Cheverny, it is his work with the Romorantin grape that is really exciting. This local grape variety is what you find in the wines from the appellation of Cour-Cheverny.
As a champion of quality, Cazin proudly states on his labels “Vendanges Mannuelles” or hand harvesting. His Romorantin vines are over 40 years-old. He ferments this wine in concrete tanks, and ages it on its lees for 4 months in barrel then ages the wine for another year back in concrete tank.
This is another “Christmas gift,” a wine normally retailing for around $18, that is being moved for a very special price. It is really drinking well now, showing off its distinctly mineral personality. Drink this with some oysters or shellfish for a sublime paring.
$10.00 BTL. / $120.00 CASE
2008 BODEGAS CASTAÑO MONASTRELL “HÉCULA”
Looking for a great Spanish red value? Look no further than this delicious example of Monastrell from Yecla producer, Castaño.
The Castaño family are long-time growers in the province of Murcia. They own a whopping 500 hectares of land in the Northern part of the region. The specialty of the winery is the Monastrell variety. A synonym for the grape Mourvèdre that you see in the south of France, this dark thick-skinned varietal, can withstand the climactic extremes of the region.
“Hecula” is made entirely of Monastrell from 35 year-old vines in the Las Gruesas and Pozuelo vineyards. It undergoes a cool fermentation in tank and sees no oak aging.
The result is a vibrant, pure example of Monastrell with both red and dark berry fruit, hints at licorice and fresh cracked pepper. Perfect with a beef stews.
$11.50 BTL. / $138.00 CASE