Hello and Happy Friday!
Ok, so it’s not Friday! I’m back from my trip and trying to get caught up, so this newsletter comes to you a day late. Regardless, I am really excited to introduce the brand new “Six for $60-something” wine sampler!
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 take 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 Xarel.lo and Memorial day don’t mix for you, Dolcetto puts you into a sneezing fit, 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!
Thanks again for all your support!
Have a great weekend,
2010 CELLER PARDAS “RUPESTRIS”
Many of you have asked what I’ve discovered on my exploits to European wine country? On my 2010 adventure I spent some time in Spain, specifically Catalunya.
While checking out the top wine retail shops and restaurants of Barcelona, I kept see the label of one winery over and over again. Celler Pardas is one of the hottest names in all of Spain, make a wide range of whites, reds, and even that rosé that I featured on the Friday Feature a few weeks ago.
I went to great lengths to bring these to you, and had always intended to put this outstanding wine value from Pardas into the Six for $60-something. With the escalation in prices on shipping and the weak dollar, this turned out to be a little more expensive than I anticipated. Yet I’m so dedicated to the masses trying a wine from Pardas, that for this month I am offering this at a special price to fit it into the sampler.
What is “Rupestris?” I think the winemaker and owner Ramón Parera says it best. “Rupestris evokes images and flavors that remind us of the strength of stone, the purity of the earth and everything primitive, rustic, wild, ancestral and authentic.
The vineyards planted with white grape traditional varieties, cultivated at Finca Can Comas, are planted in limestone slopes. These vines are directly rooted in the bedrock, or the petrocalcic or tapassot. During summer days in these ancient shallow soils, the vines must exert themselves to achieve the water and minerals that they need to survive. It is this effort, as well as our personal illusion and devotion, that we wish to convey with tenderness in each bottle of wine that we produce.
Rupestris is a grass-roots wine from Celler Pardas that has been elaborated with only one criterion, quality.
With a coupage of Xarel.lo, Malvasía de Sitges, Macabeu, Xarel.lo Vermell as well as a brief maturation in a chestnut barrel, we have created a simple but true equilibrium with finesse and a true reflection and expression of our vineyards.”
This young but complex white has aromas of white flowers, herbs, and citrus. Refreshing notes of lemon and lime citrus with a flinty character and a long finish.
Great as an aperitif, it also marries impeccably well with oysters, shellfish, and octopus.
$14.00 BTL. / $84.00 SIX-PACK CASE / PRICE GOOD THROUGH JUNE, REGULARLY $15.99
2009 CELLER VENDRELL RIVED “SERÉ”
Yet another fantastic producer from Catalunya that I visited in 2010. I’ve known Josep María Vendrell Rived for several years, and in the realm of the wines of Montsant he is one of the elite producers.
This is a very small family operation, with15,000-20,000 bottles produced each year between two wines. What makes this winery special are the vineyards that they own in some of the best spots of Montsant, many with incredible old-vines.
The focus of the winery is on two varietals, Grenache and Carignan, organically grown from three different plots of land.
While there is a trend in the area towards extracted, clumsy wines with lots of shiny new oak treatment, Josep María takes the right approach of well-balanced wines that let the beautiful fruit shine through.
“Seré” is the outstanding value from Vendrell Rived. It is comprised of 80% Grenache and 20% Carignan from vines up to 40 years-old. The vinification is straightforward with a 10-day maceration, malolactic fermentation in Inox tank, and only 5 months in new French oak barrels.
A really outstanding wine for the money. Hints of spicy red paprika, cherry, smoke and pepper leap from the glass. Medium-bodied, with well-delineated red berry notes, and a continuation of the spice and smoke notes on the palate. The finish is long, clean, and keeps you coming back glass after glass. A terrific match for a grilled duck breast with wild mushrooms.
$14.00 BTL. / $168.00 CASE
2009 TAMAYA CARMÉNÈRE
Is it grill time yet? Maybe one day the weather in Chicago will cooperate, and we can get the charcoal going and start to grill up some steaks. If you share a similar plan, then you are going to want to load up on this excellent buy from Chile.
Tamaya is a family owned and operated winery located in the Limarí Valley of Chile. This is far from a famed appellation, located 400 kilometers north of Santiago. The vineyard of Tamaya lie only 20 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean. Here the morning fog plays an influential role, along with the fact that it is a very dry region, with less than 4 inches of rainfall per year!
Carménère has won me over in recent years, with its ability to enhance a meal with its spicy/herbal character. This example from Tamaya is no different. It offers hints of dark plum, red and black pepper, and earth notes. Its fruit is well balanced with the spice notes, and the sum of the parts is simply delicious.
Steak here comes Carménère!
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE
2009 MONTE PALMA VERDEJO-VIURA
This month’s sampler is a study in Spanish whites. For our next lesson we move towards the northern center of the Iberian Peninsula to the appellation of Rueda. Rueda is a warm, dry climate, with an extreme drop-off in night time temperatures. The alluvial soil is well-suited to white grape varietals, and in the region Verdejo is the dominant varietal. Grapes such as Viura and Sauvignon Blanc are also permitted.
When the whether gets warmer, and you are looking for good values, Rueda is a region to source from. The Monte Palma white wine is a perennial best buy, blending Verdejo and Viura in equal proportions.
It offers bright citrus and tropical fruit notes, along with a hint of spice. I’m thinking a good ceviche may be the perfect match.
$8.50 BTL. / $102.00 CASE
2007 PAITIN DOLCETTO D’ALBA “SORI’ PAITIN”
I just scooped up some of the last cases of this excellent Dolcetto at great price. The local distributor was moving into the new vintage, allowing me to offer this at a price that would fit into my monthly sampler.
For those of you hardcore Piedmont fans, you probably will recognize the Paitin name. Located in the commune of Neive, the Pasquero-Elia family is well recognized as one of the top producers.
The Serraboella vineyard is located in the most famous part of the eastern side of Neive. While the Paitin name is most notable for their Barbaresco, Dolcetto has long been prized in the vineyard. 2007 was an excellent vintage overall in Piedmont, and this wine shows the warmth and structure of the vintage.
Classic spicy Dolcetto, with hints of cherry, plum, pepper and licorice. Cool this down a couple degrees to enjoy with antipasti. A ridiculous deal on a terrific Dolcetto.
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00
2010 FIORANO TREBBIANO D’ABRUZZO
The search was on! With two “expensive” wines leading off the Six for Sixty-something sampler this month, I needed a really inexpensive wine to keep me in budget. Where to look for a wine that meets my strict criteria?
Abrruzo was the answer. The region along the Adriatic Sea of Italy, is mainly known for the red grape called Montepulciano. Trebbiano is the main white grape varietal of the region, and produces a wine that can be found on virtually every table in the region during the summer months.
No romantic stories of hand harvesting, low-yields, or hand sorting can be attributed to this wine. Heck, it’s $6! Every once in a long while though, you can find a wine at this price point that is extremely quaffable, simple and delicious. This offers bright citrus notes and well-balanced acidity. It goes down dangerously easy!
$6.00 BTL. / $72.00 CASE