Perman Wine Selections Friday Feature – 9/24/10

Hello and Happy Friday!

Today marks a very important day for value wine fans here at Perman Wine Selections.

The “Six for Sixty” is gone, and in its place is the “Six for $60-something.”

This month marks my three-year anniversary of opening the store, and thus the three-year anniversary of the “Six for Sixty.” In reality I have been doing this sampler for almost ten years if you count my time at a retail store in Oregon.

A lot has changed in those ten years. Countries like France were still using the Franc, and Spain the Peseta when I began. Then came the Euro and the weakened US dollar. Taxes on wine rose, and shipping wine has hit astronomical levels. As you have seen in the rest of the world, the cost of goods has risen, and this is no different for wine.

My primary goal for the “Six for Sixty” was to show that great wine does exist at a lower price-point, this is something I still adamantly believe in. I will never compromise quality and use inexpensive wines that don’t taste good just to hit a price goal. By switching the sampler to the “Six or $60-something,” I now have the flexibility I need to broaden the scope of what I offer.

This is not about raising prices, it is simply about getting you better wines and more variety.

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 Shiraz gives you night terror, Verdejo has been banned in your household, 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!

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns with the change. I know the change doesn’t come at the best time in our economic history, but it was a necessary change for me to continue providing a quality sampler.

Have a great weekend,
Craig

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2009 DOMAINE DE LA LOUVETRIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE
The Loire Valley of France is home to many of the countries most exceptional values. The white wine of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation focuses mainly on the Melon de Bourgogne grape, a cousin to Chardonnay.

This area is a great place to look for those wine fans that seek out crisp, citrusy and very mineral white wines. There is a reason why Muscadet is the official oyster wine of Paris bistro’s – it pairs perfectly with these as well as many other things from the sea. The proximity of Paris to the Loire Valley also had something to do with this.

This great example of Muscadet comes from one of my favorite producers, Jo Landron of Domaine de la Louvetrie. Not only does Jo have the world’s best mustache, he also happens to do things the right way in the vineyard. Low yields, hand harvesting, high average age of vine – these are not the norm in the appellation, but for Jo they are a necessity to producing wines that show his terroir.

Great Muscadet should always have that razor sharp acidity, with plenty of citrus and mineral notes making it perfect for you guessed it, shellfish and oysters. In fact I didn’t like oysters till I had it with Muscadet – please try it for yourself!
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE

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2008 IOVINE SANNIO AGLIANICO
If you have been to the region of Campania in Italy then there is a good chance you have tasted one of its autonomous red varietals, Aglianico.

The Sannio area of Campania is one of the most notable parts of the region for the red grape varietal Aglianico. Characteristically this grape is dark skinned, late ripening and can be quite full-bodied and brooding especially if left for a long time macerating on its skin.

Iovine is an old, established winery dating back to 1890. They make a wide range of wines, including a few selections of Aglianico. This wine is a great entry point for those wanting to learn about the varietal.

It offers that meaty, spicy, dark fruit characteristics that one would expect. This example doesn’t see extended skin contact or any oak, which allows its fruit and earth notes to shine. I like its freshness, and know that this will be very flexible at the table. Richer meat sauce dressed pastas, beef, or game are all good matches.
$11.50 BTL. / $138.00 CASE

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2008 MILTON PARK SHIRAZ
There is an imaginary support group in my head where people gather to talk about their problem with getting their reputation back. I can visualize several people – look there is LeBron, and in that corner Tiger, wait who are those people? Oh, those are the folks from the various wineries of Australia. Yes, they too are trying to regain their reputation.

While I don’t have much advice I can give to LeBron or Tiger, I do have some advice for the Aussies – make good wine and the consumers will come back!

The bulk producers of Australia ruined it for the rest – that is clear. But wines like this from the Thorn-Clarke families will help to regain the consumer confidence, and thus help get their reputation back.

Established in 1990, Thorn-Clarke owns vineyards in the regions of Barossa and Eden Valley. Their value range is called Milton Park, and these vineyards lie an hour and a half northeast of Adelaide. Here you can find a Mediterranean climate that is helped by irrigation from the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers. This is a very consistent area to grow grapes.

What makes the Milton Park Shiraz a successful wine is that it is well put together. Let me explain myself. Many Shiraz in this category taste a little tweaked to my palate. Maybe they were acidified, maybe oak flavors were imparted with wood chips. Milton Park doesn’t take these short cuts, preferring to make wine as close to naturally as possible.

This is a mouthful of wine for the money. Rich and ripe notes of black cherry and blackberry, spice notes, and cocoa. This is very silky and seamless with a long savory finish. It drinks well on its own, and is a good match with a bacon cheeseburger or something hearty like venison.
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE

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2009 GARCIAREVALO “CASAMARO” BLANCO
After the Albariño craze in Spain came Verdejo from Rueda. The Castilla y León department of Northern Spain is home to the appellation of Rueda, where the white grape varietal Verdejo shines.

When I explain to people for the first time what Verdejo tastes like I often use the Sauvignon Blanc comparison. In fact, Sauvignon Blanc is a permitted varietal in Rueda, but most feel the local Verdejo is more naturally suited to withstand the swing in temperature that occurs between day and night.

Garciarevalo is one of my favorite Verdejo producers in the region. This is a family estate with 40 hectares of vines. Some of their vines are very old, up to 130 years. The sandy vineyards of Garciarevalo are some of the best in the region because they offer excellent drainage.

“Casamaro” is the house value at Garciarevalo, and from a value perspective it may just be the best Verdejo out there. Bright citrus notes of grapefruit, and orange skin, a touch of herbs and a long juicy finish. This is an easy sipper on its own, and would be great with simple halibut preparations.
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE

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2007 QUINTA DA LAGOALVA “ESPIRITO” TINTO
Portugal is quietly becoming a go to country for wine values. While Port still dominates the dialogue in the world of Portuguese wines, it is the dry wines that consumers are most reaching for today.

There are numerous grape varietals planted in Portugal, many of them native to the country. Grapes like Touriga Nacional and Castelão may never become household names, and for now the best way to decide what Portuguese wines to buy is by sticking with trusted producers.
Quinta da Lagoalva is an medium sized estate located in the Ribatejo region. Diogo Campilho, the young winemaker grew up on the estate, and in recent years has transformed it into a modern facility.

“Espirito” is the name of the inexpensive, “everyday” wines produced at the estate. This red is a blend of equal parts Touriga Nacional and Castelão. It is fermented in stainless steel tank, and sees a short period of time resting in barrel.

A really delicious wine chock full of red and dark berry fruits, hints at white pepper, and a fresh, delicious finish. This should work with lots of different foods, and if you have a BBQ left in you before the season ends, make sure you crack a bottle of this.
$9.00 BTL. / $108.00 CASE

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2009 ZOLO BONARDA
You would have had to be on the moon for the last 5 years to not realize how popular Malbec from Argentina has become. Would it surprise you then if I told you that only recently did Malbec become the most planted varietal in Argentina? That’s right, Bonarda, a grape whose origin is still debated in Argentina, is the second most planted varietal, and for a long time was the top. Historically it was often used for bulk wine, and rarely sought after for top quality wines.

Since most people love an underdog – Bonarda has taken on that role and become popular among producers in the Mendoza region. While Bonarda will never knock you over with richness or tannin, it can provide for a wonderfully elegant and easy to drink bottle of wine.
This example comes from the state-of-the-art Zolo winery in Mendoza – a large scale producer with over 2000 acres of estate vineyards spread throughout Argentina.

The Bonarda comes from the Ugarteche vineyard in Mendoza. Hand harvested, followed by fermentation and maceration in stainless steel tank, it is then aged for six months in French and American oak barrels.

Elegant notes of raspberry, pepper and cocoa on the nose and palate. Medium weight, with good balancing acidity and a seamless texture. This is a great food wine, and is a go to wine for those going to a variety of BYOB’s.
$10.00 BTL. / $120.00 CASE

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