A really terrific array of wines today on the newsletter that offer something for everyone. Unfortunately some of these are very limited, so it is always best to act quick!
As many of you know, I have lots of upcoming events happening in the coming weeks. I have a full list on my website under the tastings & events tab.
One very special event that is coming up a week from today, on April 21st, is a winemaker dinner in conjunction with Spring Restaurant. There are only 4 spots left for this dinner that features the wines of López de Heredia in Rioja and Buil & Giné from Catalunya. Chef McClain has put together a wonderful menu, and this truly is a rare opportunity to sit down for dinner with the winemakers and have them tell us all about the wines. Anytime you can combine a tasting and a great meal is a winning situation in my book!
For reservations to this event please contact Spring directly at (773) 395–7100. If you have any questions about the dinner, don’t hesitate to e–mail me.
Enjoy the newsletter, and I hope to see you at an event soon.
2007 MAXIME MAGNON “LA DÉMARRANTE”
This is one of the more exciting Languedoc red wines values that I have tried in a while. Maxime Magnon is a budding superstar in the Southern French wine scene. While he has a full-time job as a winemaker in Fitou, he also makes his own small range of wines that have become sought after by those in the know.
La Démarrante is a humble Vin de Pays de la Vallée du Paradis. It is made from a blend of Carignan and Cinsault. These grapes are known for their elegance, so while there is a good core of red berry fruit and spice, this is not going to bowl you over with extracted fruit, or powerful tannins.
Those who look for organic wines that fall into the natural wine camp, will really enjoy this. I know I’m a big fan.
$15.99 BTL / $191.88 CASE
2007 FATTORIA PETROLO “TORRIONE”
Fattoria Petrolo is one of the hottest Tuscan properties right now. Just about every major reviewer fawns over the wines, including the Wine Spectator who included this wine in last years top 100 list.
The estate is located outside of the Chianti Classico appellation, on the southeastern edge, near the village of Mercatale Valdarno. Luca Sanjust is the current generation in charge of this family estate, and the winery also employs some other famous names like Carlo Ferrini as a consulting enologist and vinification specialist.
The estate is perched on the top of a hillside, which helps the vines to avoid morning fog, and gives the grapes the ripeness that they need. The very cool nights, give these wines great freshness and balance.
Torrione is made from 100% Sangiovese, macerated on its skins for 14 days. Malolactic fermentation is done in barrel, and the wine is aged in partially new French oak barrels.
“Clear and precise, with beautiful aromas of plum, berries and chocolate. Full–bodied and refined, with a dense yet elegant palate of plum, chocolate and cherry. Long and caressing. Wonderfully polished.” 94 Points, Wine Spectator and #37 of the Top 100 2009
Due to its big reviews and popularity I got a whopping one case allocation for the time being. Tuscan fans, jump on it while it is here!
$38.99 BTL. / ONLY TWELVE BOTTLES AVAILABLE
2005 HERRI MINA IROULEGUY BLANC
53 days till I depart for my wine adventure! No I’m not excited at all – ok a little bit. One other thing that gets me very excited is that yesterday I got my confirmation to visit with Jean–Claude Berrouet, a native of Pays Basque, the French Basque country in the southwest corner of France.
Most of you will have never heard of Jean–Claude, but you will know where he worked for 44 years – none other than Château Pétrus in Pomerol. He was the first permanent enologist at Château Pétrus in 1964.
He is now semi–retired, and is making a couple wines from vineyards he purchased in 1998. The name Herri Mina translated from Basque means nostalgia. It was this nostalgia for his homeland that made him start this project.
The white wine is made up of a blend of Gros Manseng and Petit Maseng with a splash of Petit Corbu. It is vinified and aged completely in tank.
The wine is authentic in its flavors. It doesn’t compare to other white wines that I’ve had. It simply tastes like a white from Irouleguy, full of fresh citrus flavors, hints of herbs like cress and tarragon, and a long, juicy finish. Have this with simply prepared shellfish.
$22.99 BTL. / $137.94 SIX-PACK CASE
2006 NIEPOORT “REDOMA” BRANCO RESERVA
Sometimes as a wine retailer you yearn to get each one of your customers to try some of your personal favorites. This is one such example.
Niepoort Redoma Reserva is one of Portugal’s greatest white wines. The grapes come from very high altitude vineyards in the Douro region. Like most Portuguese wines it is a blend of varietals – mainly Rabigato and Codega ,with small amounts of Viozinho and Arinto – to name a few. The vines are very old between 60 and 100+ years.
The wine is fermented in French oak casks and aged there for 8 months on its lees. The wine does not go through malolactic fermentation so that it retains its fresh acidity.
What is ironic about this being one of my favorite white wines, is that very few who know my palate would guess that it is. It is true that I tend to prefer the un–oaked, fresh and citrusy side of white wines, but this is a polar opposite. It has a great bit of intensity and body, with some hints at toast from the oak. But it also has amazing complexity of fruit with both citrus and tropical notes, plenty of minerality, and at the end good acidity.
We need white wines like this to pair with richer and bolder foods. You can use this with a rich lobster dish, with meats like veal breast or pork.
With only 6200 bottles produced, this is a very limited offering. I have six bottles in the store now, but can possibly order some more. This is one you need to try at least once in your life!
$52.99 BTL. / ONLY SIX BOTTLES AVAILABLE
2008 LUCCARELLI SALICE SALENTINO
Those of you 6 for $60 fans will recognize the name Luccarelli as I featured their delicious Primitivo a couple months ago. If you thought that was delicious, their Salice Salentino is even richer and more complex.
The D.O.C. of Salice Salentino sits in the lower center portion of Puglia in Southern Italy. The main red grape varietal of the region is Negroamaro, which has been planted here since the 6th century BC! It is a grape that is able to withstand the extreme heat of the south.
Luccarelli is made at a modern facility called Terre di Sava. The grapes are purchased from local farmers, and the philosophy of high quality grapes are carried out by these farmers. It is very important to bring in ripe, but not overripe grapes, and this is what Luccarelli is all about.
I love this Salice Salentino for its bright dark and red berry fruits, that are ripe, but not candied, for its spice and earth notes that keep it interesting. This is calling out for a roasted leg of lamb!
$13.99 BTL. / $167.88 CASE
2008 BERTHET–BONDET COTES DU JURA “NATURÉ”
I have some really cool customers. How do I know? Because I get frequent requests for wines from the Jura! Now how geeky is that?
I love Jura wines, and maybe you will too if you try some. This is a tiny, tiny region located in a very remote part of eastern France, northeast of Lyon. Several appellations and styles exist in this tiny region.
Today we focus on a more consumer friendly style of Jura from the appellation of Côtes du Jura. Berthet–Bondet is an excellent producer run by Chantal and Jean Berthet–Bondet. The winery dates back to the mid–80’s, but the history of the estate can be traced to the 16th century.
The winery produces two polar opposite styles of white wines. The classic wines are wines aged in tank or wood vats for a year or two. Oxidation is not a factor in these wines, and they show the acidity and minerality of the region well.
The traditional vinification method in the Jura is sometimes called “souls voile” wines. Aged in oak, the vats or barrels are not topped up, a thin layer of yeast forms over the surface, and the wine has a distinctive, slightly nutty aroma and flavor.
“Naturé” is a wine composed from the local varietal called Savagnin. It falls into the more classic wine category, and offers plenty of fresh citrus fruits, along with an underpinning of minerality.
It’s time to discover the Jura!
$22.99 BTL. / $275.88 CASE
2007 ACÚSTIC CELLER MONTSANT “AUDITORI”
I’ve been patiently waiting for my one six–pack of “Auditori” from one of my favorite Spanish producers, Acústic Celler. It finally arrived!
I’ve written lots about Albert Jané and his winery, so I won’t bore you with details. But I will tell you a bit about this very special and limited production wine. Albert was so impressed by this specific plot of old–vine Grenache, that he decided in 2007 to bottle it on its own. This is by far the fullest red wine produced at the estate, and should be cellared for a few years to get the most out of it.
It really is a world–class expression of Grenache!
“The 2007 Auditori is 100% Garnacha sourced from a single vineyard with 80– to 100–year–old vines. It spent 13 months in French oak. It offers a more complex aromatic array than the Braó cuvée with liquid minerals, smoky oak, incense, cinnamon, roasted herbs, and black cherry compote. On the palate this full–bodied, muscular, large–scaled effort is loaded with spicy black fruits and ripe tannin. Intense, concentrated, and impeccably balanced, it demands 6–8 years of cellaring. It will offer a drinking window extending from 2016 to 2032. 95 Points, Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate.”
$79.99 BTL. / $479.94 SIX–PACK CASE