Hello and Happy Friday!
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 un-oaked Chardonnay gives you nightmares, Malbec causes you to shout swear words in public places, 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 CHÂTEAU ANDRON MÉDOC
It’s starting to feel like Bordeaux weather, right? As fall sets in and Chicagoans start to build their nest to burrow in, they look to Bordeaux to keep alongside for warmth and strength.
Bordeaux has two faces – the highly-collectable, futures-offer-side, where customers don’t blink at dropping $12,000 on a case of a First Growth that they won’t be drinking for a couple decades. Then there is the polar opposite side, where you can buy about 100 cases of a “cheapie’ Médoc for the same price. Clearly these two faces don’t have anything to do with each other.
The good news is, you can drink Bordeaux on an every day basis, and as intended they are to be consumed at the dinner table.
This is a fantastic daily drinker from Château Andron. As typical with inexpensive Bordeaux I was not able to get much of a story on the producer. What I do know is that it is a blend of 50% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc.
I also know that it is quite delicious! Classic cassis and plum notes, mineral, tobacco leaf, are packed into a medium-bodied profile. Steak frites – here is your match.
$12.00 BTL. / $144.00 CASE
2006 CHASING LIONS NAPA VALLEY RED
Behold – I’m not a traitor – I’ve included an American red in my Six for $60-something sampler! About time, right?
It took a lot of tasting, but finally I found something that passed the difficult “Craig test” – a wine that is in balance, tastes like where it comes from and isn’t made in a factory.
Chasing Lions is a project created by the Nine North Wine Company who is based in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley.
It is a blend made by winemaker James Harder. The 2006 is a blend of 55% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 7% Syrah and 3% Petit Verdot. The fruit comes from various vineyard sources in the Napa Valley. It is aged for 18 months in old French and American oak.
The results really impressed me. A rich, surprising full-bodied red, with both dark and red fruit, hints at mocha and spice and a balanced finish. Really good juice, at a really good price, that can be enjoyed on its own or with various red meats.
$12.00 BTL. / $144.00 CASE
2007 QUINTA DO ALQUEVE “TRADICIONAL”
I’m going to have to give this wine “Instant Classic” status on the sampler. I really love this everyday red from the Ribatejo region of Portugal, located about 40 miles north of Lisbon.
The wine is produced by Pinhal da Torre at their Quinta do Alqueve estate. This is a 36-hectare property planted to the traditional vines of Portugal. Yields at the estate are kept low compared to their high-yielding neighbors. This is done through crop-thinning twice a season. The grapes are hand picked and sorted before vinification.
The ’07 Quinta do Alqueve “Tradicional” is a blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 20% Trincadeira, and 10% Periquita. The wine is aged in French oak for 9 months.
A bright and fruit forward red that offers notes of blackberry and strawberry jam, pepper notes and a soft, juicy finish. This is going to be very food friendly, pair it with salmon, chicken or sausage and peppers. Delicious stuff!
$9.50 BTL. / $114.00 CASE
2010 INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS CHARDONNAY “DIONYSUS VINEYARD”
Two American wines – now you’re pushing it Perman!
I couldn’t resist introducing you to this really amazing value – an un-oaked Washington State Chardonnay. I was introduced to it by Christophe Hedges, whose family owns and operates Hedges Cellars in Benton City, Washington.
Christophe has put together the House of Independent Producers project, which aims to highlights some of the larger, independently owned vineyards of Washington State.
The Dionysus Vineyard is located near Pasco, Washington on southwest facing hillsides looking over the Columbia River. It hosts a range of varietals, including Chardonnay.
This is a great expression of a un-oaked Chardonnay. Very aromatic with bright notes of citrus peel and ripe apple. Dry, very refreshing and long lasting on the palate. This is great all by itself and of course will work nicely with simple prepared halibut.
$11.50 BTL. / $138.00 CASE
2009 FATTORIA LAILA VERDICCHIO DEI CASTELLI DI JESI
Italy had a plethora of indigenous varietals that are just waiting to be discovered by adventurous wine lovers.
One of the most exciting areas for wine in Italy is that of Le Marche. Exciting not because of widespread recognition of the quality by the world, but exciting because it is still an emerging region where young producers can afford to buy vineyards and seek out quality. You will here more and more about this region in coming years.
The beautiful rolling hills of Le Marche drew Andrea Crocenzi to Fattoria Laila in 1990. With some new plantings in the vineyards and modernization of the old cellar, he has turned the winery into a leader in quality in the region.
Verdicchio is one of the grapes the Marche is famous for. There are two main DOC’s where it grows, Castelli di Jesi and Matelica. The later is much smaller and lesser-known than Castelli di Jesi.
I scored this wonderful deal on Laila Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi as the distributor is soon to move to the new vintage. Bottled under screw top, it is still tasting really fresh and vibrant, with notes of orange, lemon, and mineral.
Easy to drink as an aperitif, but why not source some fresh shrimp to pair with it!
$8.50 BTL. / $102.00 CASE
2008 PADRILLOS MALBEC
I taste 100’s of Malbec’s each year. They are not all created equally.
This month’s Six for $60-Something features a Malbec that you probably haven’t tried before. It comes from Ernesto Catena, one of the members of the first family of Argentinean wines.
I’ve been asked before how I choose one Malbec from another. It typically has nothing to do with the story, as it seems the majority of those wines that I am presented with are labels created by an importer or marketer.
Ultimately it has to come down to how it tastes. What I like about the Padrillos Malbec is its ability to deliver richness, fruit and hints of oak spice, all while making you want to have a second glass.
The ’08 Padrillos is a rich, full-flavored Malbec with dark fruits, hints at cocoa and coffee with a long, smooth finish. It tastes like a more expensive New World wine. Drink a glass without food, or bring it along to your favorite Argentinean BYOB steakhouse.
$10.50 BTL. / $126.00 CASE