Hello and Happy Friday!
As a reminder, the store is closed this week, and I will return to normal hours on Tuesday, August 2nd.
Of course, it’s the last Friday of the month and time 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 Malvasia Fina gives you pimples, Semillon annoys you, 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,
2009 QUINTA DO PORTAL “MURAL” BRANCO
Portugal is anything but an emerging wine region given that Port was the first demarcated wine region in the world over 250 years ago. Yet their table wines show the spirit of the new Portugal, with fantastic values as well as world-class wines emerging.
This great value white wine comes from the Douro region. Quinta do Portal is a family owned winery, that technically upgraded in the early 90’s and has brought in a trusted Bordeaux enologist to assist in quality production.
The “Mural” Branco is a blend of 45% Malvasia Fina, 30% Côdega do Larinho and 25% Fernão Pires. Cold fermentation and aging in tank help produce a white wine that offers bright citrus aromas and flavors, with hints at flowers and mineral.
A really easy sipper on its own, it is also naturally paired with shellfish.
$11.00 BTL. / $132.00 CASE
2010 AMADOR FOOTHILL SAUVIGNON BLANC
While it is my patriotic duty to try and include American wines in my samplers, it is very difficult to do so with the Six for $60-something. Frankly there is just not a lot in that price point that isn’t industrially made plonk.
So imagine my excitement when I tasted this terrific Sauvignon Blanc from the folks at Amador Foothill Winery, located just east of Sacramento. For over 30 years, this winery has been producing value driven red and white wines from the Shenandoah Valley appellation. They aren’t as well-known as they should, due to their relatively limited production of about 5,000 cases.
Their Sauvignon Blanc is a terrific introduction to the range. It is fermented and aged in stainless steel tank, leading to those traditional crisp citrus notes. Take note – this includes 24% Semillon, which adds texture to the palate, and makes this more than just a simple quaffer. It stands up to spice and richer fish like tuna and mackerel.
$11.50 BTL. / $138.00 CASE
2007 JEAN-MARC LAFAGE “CÔTÉ SUD” ROUGE
Go South for the values! This general wine rule seems to ring true whether it is the Southern Hemisphere as you will see later with a delicious Malbec or the South of France, where the values just don’t stop.
Jean-Marc Lafage is a well-known and respected producer with his home base in the Catalan part of France – a.k.a. the Roussillon. I visited the region in 2010 and was really impressed with the diversity of the terrain and of course all the wines I tried.
Here I offer you a humble wine from the Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes appellation. “Côté Sud” is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. This super-juicy red offers red and dark fruit flavors, mineral and spice notes in a medium-bodied package. It is a good wine to break out for BBQ Chicken.
$8.00 BTL. / $96.00 CASE
2009 LUNEAU-PAPIN MUSCADET “CLOS DES ALLÉES” VIEILLES VIGNES
In my life, it’s always time for a Muscadet!
Muscadet Sèvre & Maine is one of France’s greatest appellations for value white wine. Located on the Atlantic side of the Loire Valley, Melon de Bourgogne is the main grape of the region.
Great producers such as Pierre Luneau-Papin have been responsible with returning Muscadet back to a prestigious region. For a while in the ’60’s and ’70’s, it was more known for machine harvested, industrially made white wine that you could probably light on fire with a match. Luckily today’s Muscadet, and a brilliant one like the “Clos des Allées” old-vines provides the world with complex examples that are destined to be a perfect accompaniment to seafood.
This single vineyard Muscadet, comes from hand harvested old-vines. Only natural yeasts are used, the grapes undergo a gently pressing, temperature-controlled fermentation on the fine lees, and extended aging in tank on these lees.
The result is a minerally expressive white wine with lots of citrus fruit and a long, dry finish. This is a remarkable value given its quality!
$12.50 BTL. / $150.00 CASE
2010 PALAZZONE “DUBINI BIANCO”
This playful white wine comes from Giovanni Dubini, one of the top producers of the Orvieto appellation in Umbria. The region has long been known for its tannic reds from the Sagrantino varietal and its bright and crisp white wines made from a host of local varieties.
The estate has been seriously producing wines for over 30 years. In that short time span, Dubini has proven that complex and balanced white wines could be made from the grapes Procanico, Verdello, Grechetto, Drupeggio, and Malvasia.
Dubini Bianco is the entry-level wine from Palazzone, and it is quite simply the best value white wine that I’ve tasted from Umbria. All the fruit is from estate vineyards, which are mainly composed of sedimentary rocks and clay. The grapes are harvested and fermented in stainless steel tanks. It is kept on its lees for an additional 4 months in tank.
Fresh and fruit-driven with plenty of lemon and mineral nuances to keep it complex. But this is all about sheer glug-ability! So have it on its own, but it also will pair nicely with grilled octopus.
$10.00 BTL. / $120.00 CASE
2010 ALTOS LAS HORMIGAS MALBEC “CLÁSICO”
Many labels of Malbec have come and gone through this store, but one of my favorites has come back home again.
Altos las Hormigas was one of the wines that started the Malbec craze in the United States. In 1995 a group of Italian winemakers purchased 216 hectares of land in the Luján de Cuyo area of Argentina focusing on production of high quality Malbec.
In the first few years of production, two wines were made, a regular Malbec and a French oak-aged Riserva. Today, the range has expanded and the wines have continued to get better and better.
The Mendoza “Clásico” is 100% Malbec from two regions, Luján de Cujo and Vale de Uco. It is tank fermented and aged and drinks well right out of the bottle.
I know you are outside this summer grilling burgers and steaks and other things that moo. If you are, then it is my civic duty to arm you with a bottle of this Malbec to consume alongside. Thank you notes can be mailed directly to the store. Cheers!
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE