Perman Wine Selections Friday Feature – 3/18/11

Hello and Happy Friday!

Before we get to the newsletter today, I wanted to inform you about some altered store hours next week.

Perman Wine Selections will be closed from Wednesday, March 23rd through Monday, March 28th. I will be in the store tomorrow and Tuesday, March 22nd so that you can stock up! I will return to normal hours on Tuesday, March 29th.
Why am I so excited this Friday! The “Six for $120” is back!

This sampler, aims to bring you some of the best wines I’ve recently tasted in and around the $20 range. All of these are available by the bottle or case, but for maximum pleasure you should take the whole sampler!

For those folks waiting for the “Six for $60-something,” I will announce the wines next week, but it won’t be available for pick up till I return on March 29th.

Have a great weekend!

Cheers,
Craig

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2009 HEIDI SCHROCK GELBER MUSKATELLER
This is Spring in a glass!

Gelber Muskateller is a rarely seen variety from Austria and can also be found most prominently in France where it is known as Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains.
If it’s so good then how come everyone all over the world isn’t planting it? Gelber Muskateller is a difficult varietal to grow. It’s an expensive grape to grow due to its low yields. That’s only if you can get past the rot problem that often plagues the grape.

Those that still work with it should get an annual thank you card from fans like myself. So Heidi – this thank you goes out to you!

Heidi Schrock is an outstanding producer located in Rüst, in the Neusiedlersee-Hügelland region of Austria. This is a small winery with only 10 hectares under vine, and an average production of around 3300 cases. 10% of these vineyards are planted with Muscat.

Those of you buying the sampler will be lucky enough to try this (although everyone should be buying some even if you don’t buy the sampler)! One of the trademarks of Muscat is the aromas. This doesn’t disappoint with that classic floral note on the nose, along with hints at plums and citrus. Medium weight, with great freshness on the finish, this is a wine that will make you come back for glass after glass. Interestingly, this is a rarity having been aged in acacia oak barrel – not something you see too often these days.

Spring – here we come!
$22.00 BTL. / $264.00 CASE

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2006 PERATA VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON “FRANK’S BLEND”
Even with the “upgraded” sampler it is still difficult to find wines from Napa that are of great quality in that price category. I am fully aware that there are plenty of manufactured wines that cost $25 or under throughout California, but this shop will never go there!

As any business major could tell you (and I wasn’t), two of the most expensive operational costs of a winery are rent/mortgage and labor. In Napa, these two factors are what make it virtually impossible to find quality wines in this price point.

Every time I taste the wines of Perata Vineyards I’m reminded that there are exceptions to the aforementioned rule. How do they do it? Owning the vineyards for several decades will do the trick! This long established grower only makes a couple of wines, with Frank’s Blend being their entry-level wine. The winery and vineyards are located in Yountville. The ever-busy winemaker Gary Galleron presides over the grapes and winemaking. He has been in the winemaking business for over three decades and worked at many famous wineries like Grace Family, Chateau Montelena, Seavey and many more.

This is a classically built style of Cabernet Sauvignon. Galleron lets the grape really speak here with traditional notes of plums, cassis, tobacco, herbs and spices and just a hint of cocoa. It does see 16 months in French oak, but you can tell that it is not new, as the fruit really shines through.

A great value for a Cabernet from Yountville.
$21.00 CASE / $252.00 CASE

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2009 LA BIANCARA DI ANGIOLINO MAULE “SASSAIA”
Here is a white wine to challenge your preconceived notions of what they should taste like.

Angiolino Maule is the passionate proprietor of La Biancara in the Italian DOC of Gambellara. He is a rare example of a self-made winemaker/owner, having saved up his money from a previous job as a pizza maker to fund the start of La Biancara.

Gambellara is situated just to the east of the Soave district. Garganega and Trebbiano have found there way here as well. With rich mineral and clay soil, the grapes provide intensity of flavor.

Angiolino Maule is dedicated to producing wine as naturally as possible. He practices biodynamics in the vineyard and winery looking for very healthy, natural fruit. He also extends his principles to the winery where the vinifications are not manipulated through temperature control, only natural yeasts are used, and there is no addition of sulphur.

Sassaia is a blend of 80% Garganega and 20% Trebbiano from mineral rich soils. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks and bottled unfined.

Many of you are going to open this wine and wonder what in the world? That is the fun thing about wine, there always are new interpretations of varietals you have had before. This version is rich and waxy, with hints at almonds, ripe pear, honey, and spice. It is a little cloudy, it doesn’t taste like Sauvignon Blanc, but trust me, take a few sips and you will be hooked.

This is a wine for the dinner table. Shellfish is a natural match, although you can also pair this with white meats like chicken or pork. If you are going to a BYOB in Chinatown, this would be a versatile wine to take.
$19.00 BTL. / $228.00 CASE

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2006 SAINT-ROCH “CHIMÈRES” CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON VILLAGES
Another excellent value from the Côtes du Roussillon, imagine that? I’m being a bit sarcastic in the remark, as there are many outstanding values come from this region which lies just north of the Spanish / French border on the Mediterranean side.

Château Saint-Roch is a property located in the area of Maury, which is most famous for its Vin Doux Naturel, a sweet, high-octane red apéritif.
Jean-Marc Lafage bought this property a few years back, excited about its potential. Lafage comes from a long line of winemakers and growers dating back six generations. His main property called Domaine Lafage is quite big and well-known in the region.

His know how of the varietals of the region made the transition of winemaking at the Saint-Roch property very easy.

“Chimères” is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Carignan. The old vine-age results in a rich, full-throttle, yet easy to drink style. The nose is very complex, with hints at chocolate-covered cherries, mineral, smoke and spice. A downright silky texture on the palate, leads into more rich red and dark berry fruit, a little hint at bitter chocolate and a long, fresh finish. Hard to believe this weighs in at 14% alcohol given the ease of drinking it.

Have this with braised short ribs.
$18.00 BTL. / $216.00 CASE

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2005 CELLER CAL PLA PRIORAT CRIANÇA
I couldn’t resist bundling this wine with the above wine from Saint-Roch! Comparing two wines with some similarities but from different places is an exciting exercise.

Like the wine above, Celler Cal Pla is composed of Rhône varietals, this one from 50% Grenache, 45% Carignan and 5% of Cabernet Sauvignon. Also like the Saint-Roch, the soil in Priorat has some similarities to the Rousillon. Lots of mineral rich schist soil is the link.

Celler Cal Pla is located in the tiny village of Porrera. The vineyards surrounding Porrera are well-known for their production of Carignan, but Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon also exists. Founded by Joan Sangenís in 1995, he owns 80 hectares of vines, which is a lot for the region.

Priorat is one of the most famous appellations of Spain, and in recent times has become the darling of the younger generation. There is a wide range of price points in Priorat, with most entry-level examples started in the mid $20 range. This wine is an excellent value, and a wine that is drinking at its apex right now.

I encourage you to open this alongside the Saint-Roch and discover the similarities and differences. This is the kind of studying we can all enjoy!
$20.00 BTL. / $120.00 SIX-PACK CASE

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2009 BRETON VOUVRAY “LE DILETTANTE” SEC
A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have Catherine Breton come into the store to taste me on her and her husband Pierre’s great wines. For those that aren’t into the Loire Valley scene, the Breton’s are one of the most well-recognized producers of the Bourgueil and Chinon appellations of the Central Loire.

So how did these famed red wine producers wind up down the river in the white wine appellation of Vouvray? It turns out that Catherine has family in the area, and the grapes for this wine come from those holdings.

For those new to Vouvray or just refreshing their memory, Chenin Blanc is the grape of the region. It comes in sparkling, dry, off-dry, and dessert forms. It is one of the reasons Vouvray is so exciting, so much diversity and different expression of the same varietal. It is also the reason why there is confusion on how the wines are “supposed” to taste.

Since I have had a sparkling Vouvray on the sampler, it was time to show you a delicious dry version! At my tasting with Catherine, while I loved the red wines, I kept going back to this delicious white.

It offers a mouth full of complex fruit components – a little hint of tropical notes, melon and citrus. Texturally it has medium weight that is lifted by its acidity and mineral component. It also happens to be amazingly delicious.

I would pair this with fuller-flavored fish like swordfish or cobia. It also tastes great on its own!
$20.00 BTL. / $240.00 CASE

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