I know this newsletter thing was supposed to be a bit briefer, but unfortunately there were so many terrific wines to note, I kind of got excited and kept writing. So many great wines on this newsletter, so little time to drink!
Big changes happened last week at Perman Wine, with a new way to sign up for wine categories you would like to receive more information about, not to mention the new and improved Six for $60-something sampler. If you have any questions about any of the changes please feel free to contact me.
Enjoy the newsletter!
2008 HAMACHER “H” PINOT NOIR, WILLAMETTE VALLEY
If you haven’t had a chance to try the terrific Pinot Noir’s from Oregon from Eric Hamacher, there is no better time to do so than now.
2008 is a fantastic vintage throughout the Willamette Valley, and one of my favorite attributes of the vintage is that the wines taste great young, and also have the balance to age.
Eric’s wines are all about elegance and balance. He has always eschewed the single vineyard movement in Oregon, preferring to blend from various vineyards to make the best wine possible.
You won’t need to age this delicious Pinot from Oregon. The Hamacher “H” series Pinot is ready to drink tonight.
Cherries, spice, underbrush and a soft, silky texture are the highlights. A great value for a delicious wine!
$22.99 BTL. / $275.88 CASE – ONLY FIVE CASES LEFT
2009 ACÚSTIC CELLER “ACÚSTIC” BLANC
Big props to my friend Albert Jané on his brilliant interpretation of a Rhône varietal white. This is the second vintage of this wine, and the accolades from both consumers and press are starting to roll in.
Most of you by now know Albert’s story – growing up in a wine family, and breaking out on his own with a focus on wines made from the autonomous grapes varietals of the region. Albert’s work in Montsant is nothing short of excellent, and things will continue to get even better as he has moved into a new winemaking facility, and continues to fine tune his wines with more vintages under his belt.
Why buy this wine? Here is a wine that offers richness, without being heavy. It is a perfect departure for those looking to expand their horizons beyond Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.
The best reason to buy this is that it will delight your palate, pair with a wide range of foods and teach you a little more about the great wines of the Montsant region. Great job Albert!
“(60% garnatxa blanca, 25% macabeu, 10% garnatxa and 5% pansal) Light yellow-gold. Pungent, mineral-driven nose hints at fresh pear, tangerine and white peach, with toasty lees, chamomile and iodine qualities adding complexity. Juicy and tight, with bracing acidity and a strong iodine character to its deep orchard fruit flavors. This could pass for a very serious white Burgundy. Finishes firm and spicy, with the mineral element repeating. A remarkable value. 92 points, Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar.”
$17.99 BTL. / $107.94 SIX-PACK CASE
2007 OCCHIPINTI “SICCAGNO” NERO D’AVOLA
Sicilian wine fans may want to get in line now for this recent arrival from young superstar Arianna Occhipinti.
Last winter, her uncle Giusto came to Chicago and was a featured guest at an underground dinner with myself and the X-Marx team. Giusto is a partner in the famous Cerrasuolo di Vittoria producer called Agricola Cos. His experience and passion, and genuine niceness (I know – not a word), has clearly rubbed off on his niece.
She works with vineyards using organic and biodynamic practices, and is currently making a couple of red wines, a lovely, easy drinking Frappato and this awesome interpretation of Nero d’Avola.
This is a wine with a sense of place, and not what you might normally find from Nero d’Avola from Sicily. She is trying to avoid over-ripeness, and that is for the better. This is a Nero d’Avola that drinks great out of the bottle, but on the second night of my taste test, it still displayed beautiful fruit and earth characteristics. How long will this age? I’m not sure, but I would easily say drink now up till 2015
A must for Sicilian fans!
$34.99 BTL. / $419.88 CASE – ONE CASE LEFT
2009 JO LANDRON / DOMAINE DE LA LOUVETRIE MUSCADET “LE FIEF DU BREIL”
Let’s talk Muscadet. The first thing to note is that it is not a grape, it’s an appellation that uses the Melon de Bourgogne grape, a cousin to Chardonnay.
Over the past two decades, small producers, renowned for their hard work in the vineyards, have sought to change the image that once characterized it as a place for innocuous, simple wines. Through site selection, clonal selection, lower yields and extended lees aging, many wine consumers and journalists have realized through their tastings, that Muscadet can hold its own among the great white wines of France.
What’s great about Muscadet to me is that while it can be quite complex, it is always guaranteed to be delicious and food friendly. That is if you buy one from one of the top producers of the Loire Valley like Jo Landron of Domaine de la Louvetrie.
This “Agriculture Biologique” certified producer makes a wide range of terrific wines. I attended a fascinating tasting with Jo earlier this year, and was able to sample much of this range, including his most noble and ageworthy wine called “Le Fief du Breil.” The grapes come from a specific area, with a warm microclimate, that produce grapes of good natural acidity and ripeness. This is a wine to drink or lay down.
Lay down you say? Yes, some of the best examples of Muscadet can age brilliantly, a little like old Chablis to my taste. Don’t believe me? Then buy one of the very limited magnums of ’02 or even ’96 Fief du Breil that I just got in!
Buy this one buy the case to drink slowly over the next decade or two! You will be happy you did.
$18.99 BTL. / $227.88 CASE – PLEASE INQUIRE FOR OLDER LARGE FORMATS OF THIS WINE!
2007 HERRI MINA IROULEGUY ROUGE
Why in the world did I travel to Irouleguy on my trip this past summer? My fascination with this region first occurred when I tasted my first Irouleguy red over a decade ago. It was a wine so authentic of where it came from that I had to see the place. It also happened to be a great place to spend the weekend – a little hiking in the Pyrenées!
For sure one of the highlights of my wine visits in Pays Basque was the half-day I spent with winemaker Jean-Claude Berrouet. He is one of France’s most important winemakers, having spent around 40 years making wine at the legendary Château Pétrus.
I had lunch with Jean-Claude, his wife, and Jean Brana at his 200+ year-old home along a rushing river. We snacked on foie gras and drank some white. Finally Jean-Claude manned the grill to cook up some duck breast for lunch, along with some fresh Porcini mushrooms that Jean had foraged earlier in the day. With it we drank an older bottle of his red wine. Red wine – I had never seen that in America! He informed me that almost none came here as he makes only a couple hundred cases.
Guess what I just got in – some of his red wine! It’s a 100% Cabernet Franc, and lipsmackingly good. Don’t expect a super fruity or tannic style. Bright red fruits, plenty of classic Cab Franc spice, and a long minty, herbal finish make this a great pairing with, well, duck.
Thank you Jean-Claude, you are awesome!
$31.99 BTL. / ONLY 12 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
2008 DOMINIO DE PINGUS “FLOR DE PINGUS” RIBERA DEL DUERO
Those of you Spanish fanatics will definitely know who Peter Sisseck is – winemaker and owner of the famed Ribera del Duero producer Domino de Pingus. Few have tasted his flagship wine called “Pingus” because it happens to be over $600 per bottle.
Luckily for some of us, Sisseck makes other wines that are more in our pricing stratosphere, albeit still special bottles. Just last week, the new vintage of the highly sought after “Flor de Pingus” was released. This is a worthwhile investment for those that love Tempranillo from the region. I was able to snag only one case due to its popularity, and partially to its 96-point score from The Wine Advocate. This is recommended to those with a cellar as it could still use a little time to come together.
“The 2008 Flor de Pingus had been in bottle for 2 weeks when I tasted it. It offers up an enticing nose of smoke, Asian spices, incense, espresso, black cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it displays outstanding volume, intensity, and balance. Rich, dense, and succulent, it has enough structure to evolve for 4-5 years and will offer prime drinking from 2015 to 2028. 96 points, Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate.
Dominio de Pingus is located in the La Horra region of Ribera del Duero. Owner/winemaker, Peter Sisseck, an oenologist originally from Denmark, started the estate in 1995. There are currently 3 wines produced, Flor de Pingus, a single barrel cuvée called Amelia which began in 2003, and the flagship Pingus. In a normal vintage there are usually about 4000 cases of Flor de Pingus, 500 cases of Pingus, and 25 cases of Amelia. Flor de Pingus is sourced from a number of small parcels located in the La Horra zone. The vines are all over 35 years of age and have been farmed biodynamically since 2005.They are either owned or rented by Peter Sisseck, so Flor de Pingus always comes from the same pieces of ground. In that sense it is not a second wine but there is no question that is a very close approximation of Pingus at a fraction of the price. That makes it a relative bargain in the scheme of things. The wine is 100% Tempranillo typically aged for 14 months in new French barriques. The first vintage of Pingus was in 1995. The estate has been biodynamically farmed since 2000 and, according to Sisseck, has never been treated with fertilizer or pesticides. The Pingus vines are all at least 65 years of age and yields are typically under 1 ton per acre. The wines, made from 100% Tempranillo, are bottled without fining or filtration.”
$76.99 BTL. / ONLY 12 BOTTLES AVAILABLE
2007 TENUTA DI VALGIANO
This is one of my absolute favorite wines in Tuscany. Last week I had the pleasure of welcoming Moreno Petrini to the store, where we tasted and chatted about his estate located 10 km northeast of Lucca in Northern Tuscany.
Moreno grew up next to the estate where he now resides and makes wine. The property was well-known among locals as a special place for grapes, yet his work in recent years has transformed this into a world-class estate.
This is the Mediterranean influenced part of Tuscany, not too far from the Tyrrhenian Sea. His property has a variety of soils, planted with grapes like Sangiovese, Merlot and Syrah. He grows grapes according to biodynamic practices. His goal is to bring in grapes with great freshness that display the terroir of the estate.
The top wine of the estate is called Tenuta di Valgiano, named after the winery. It is a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Syrah, and 20% Merlot.
If there was ever a time to be introduced to the wine it would be in the incredible 2007 vintage. Enjoyable now with an hour in a decanter, this is a wine that will age for a long, long time and gain in complexity. Today it shows primary red fruits, mineral, leather, and spice notes, with its never ending length – a sign that this will be a stunner.
Trust me on this, this is a must buy for pretty much anyone that loves the wines of Tuscany and the Tuscan coast. Best to drink from 2014-2030.
$69.99 BTL. / $419.94 SIX-PACK CASE
2007 QUILCEDA CREEK CABERNET SAUVIGNON
For over 10 years I have been saying that Quilceda Creek is America’s best Cabernet Sauvignon. It has always been very hard to get, as I can remember getting six and twelve bottle allocations even then.
This Washington State producer is owned by the Golitzin family, very nice and humble people that set out to make the best Cabernet Sauvignon they could. Well they have done so, especially in the great 2007 vintage.
This is a cult wine, and priced accordingly. Yet if you are looking for one of America’s great Cabernet’s and one that will age well, here is your opportunity to get it before it disappears.
It just got a100-point review in the Wine Advocate, so I don’t expect it to be around for long.
“The flagship 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon contains 3% Merlot. This multi-dimensional offering surrenders an inviting bouquet of sandalwood, Asian spices, violets, truffle, black currant, and blackberry. Seamless on the palate with no hard edges, it is mouth-coating, powerful, and exceptionally light on its feet all at the same time. Impeccably balanced and with plenty of fine-grained tannin in the background, it should effortlessly achieve its 30th birthday. The entire portfolio is a tour de force! 100 Points, Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate.”
$199.99 BTL. / ONLY SIX BOTTLES AVAILABLE