Perman Wine Selections Newsletter – September 1, 2009


Before we get started with today’s great newsletter a couple of last minute notes.

Spots are still available for tomorrow’s winemaker dinner with Steve Doerner from Cristom Vineyards in Oregon.  It promises to be a great night of food and wine, so I hope you can make it.  Below are the key details.  For any questions, don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail or give me a call.

Due to my attendance at this dinner Perman Wine Selections will be open tomorrow, Wednesday, September 2nd from 11 a.m till 6 p.m.

When: Wednesday, September 2nd @ 6:30 P.M.
Where: Spring Restaurant, 2039 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL
Cost: $125 per person, all-inclusive
Reservations: call Spring at 773-395-7100

Also, as most of you know, this Friday I head out on a vacation.  I will have three guest stars filling in for me at the store, good friends who know lots about wine and will give you probably better service than I do!  Below are the days and hours that the store will be open while I am gone.  Remember, I will be closed during the upcoming weekend, so if you need supplies, stop by on Thursday or during limited hours on Friday.

Store hours this week and while Craig is on vacation

Wednesday, September 2nd – 11 AM till 6 PM
Thursday, September 3rd – Noon till 9 PM
Friday, September 4th – Noon till 5 PM
Saturday, September 5th – Closed
Monday, September 7th – Closed
Tuesday, September 8th – 3 PM till 9 PM
Wednesday, September 9th – 3 PM till 9 PM
Thursday, September 10th – 3 PM till 9 PM
Friday, September 11th – 3PM till 9 PM
Saturday, September 12th – Noon till 9 PM

I hope you have a great Labor Day weekend, and I will see you when I get back.

Best wishes,


New Arrivals from Beaujolais producer Clos de la Roilette

Beaujolais leads a schizophrenic existence.  For many producers using carbonic maceration to produce a fruity, simple and soft wine is all that is hoped to achieve.  For some, classic vinification from specific villages speak of the notion of terroir and achieves wines of great drinkability and supreme complexity at the same time.

The Coudert family owns a privileged vineyard in the appellation of Fleurie.  They purchased the property in 1967, after it had fallen into disrepair.  East facing vines, with a high average age, face onto the Moulin-a-Vent appellation.  In fact, the appellation of Fleurie before it was created was part of this appellation.  After the re-classification, the old owner was upset that his vineyards had found their went into this yet unproven region.  Instead of putting Fleurie on his label he renamed his wine after his racehorse Roilette, simply calling it Clos de la Roilette. He halted sales in France and shipped to other parts of the world instead.

Fleurie has since made it back on the label under the Coudert’s.  This is now one of the most reliable estates in all of Beaujolais, and after a brief hiatus from the Chicago market, it is back!  The clay and magnese soils produce a rich style of Fleurie, and the old vines, natural yeasts, low-yields and hand crafted winemaking produce incredible quality Beaujolais at very fair prices.

Two offerings are available from Clos de la Roilette, one of which I special ordered for you out there in e-mail land.  Experience great Gamay from a great producer!


Cru Beaujolais is the name that applies to Gamay from Beaujolais from a particular village.  While most wine simply labeled Beaujolais or Beaujolais-Villages often fetches prices in the $10-$20, good Cru Beaujolais typically finds a price point of $25-$35.

Clos de la Roilette is simply one of the top values in Cru Beaujolais while at the same time being among the best.  The other phenomenon of Cru Beaujolais is its ability to age.  This wine in particular can gain in complexity with 3, 5, or perhaps 10 years of bottle age on it.

I tried the ’08 again last week and although a little tight and jumbled from traveling, it displays that typical cassis and red berry fruit, along with fleshy ripeness and soft tannins.  Whether you love great Cru Beaujolais or need an introduction, you might as well start with one of the best.
$19.99  BTL. / $239.88 CASE


The great thing about working closely with my distributors and importers is that often times I get to land a few special cases of something special that normally would not have made it.

When the local distributor was putting together their order with Clos de la Roilette, I made it a point to request a couple cases of the very special “Cuvée Tardive.”  Only made in the top vintages this is a selection of some of the oldest vines of the estate aged in old Burgundy cask.  The name of the cuvée implies that it needs time in the bottle to develop.

So if your a real Beaujolais geek, unite and grape a few of the 24 bottles that came to Chicago.  Give this a minimum of five years in the bottle, drinking from 2013-2022.


Every December the Wine Spectator magazine comes out with their “Top 100” list, a list of their favorite 100 wines of the year.  Some of the wines that make that list are available for sale, although they quickly get snapped up.  Many of those will be released later down the line.

Such is the case with the #3 wine on last years “Top 100” list, the 2005 Quinta do Crasto Reserva “Old Vines.”  This past week, a few cases of this terrific wine made it to the Chicago market.

The significance of this wine on the list shouldn’t go unnoticed.  This was the first time the publication had put a non-fortified Portuguese red in the top 10.   Well it’s about time!

Quinta do Crasto has been around since the 1600’s, with the Roquette family taking over the vineyards and winery located in the Douro region for over 100 years.  Quinta do Crasto is one of Portugal’s top producers of table wines, starting production of these over twenty years ago.

The ‘05 Reserva “Old Vines”” like many Portuguese reds is a blend of multiple varieties, in this case over 25 different grapes go into its production.  The 70 year-old vines are grown in the famous schist soil of the Douro.  The grapes are hand harvested and sent to the winery for strict sorting.  Alcoholic fermentation is done in tank before being aged for 18 months in a mixture of mostly French oak barrels with some American oak as well.

Full-bodied and rich with a mixture of black fruits, tobacco, mineral, baking spices and chocolate.  The tannins are certainly present now, but will subside with a little time in bottle.  Full-bodied red wine lovers, should not miss this!


If you love white Burgundy you must and I mean must stock up on this great wine from Domaine de Roally.

The Mâconnais region in Burgundy has gone beyond a place that one used to seek for value Chardonnay from France into a competitive region with, gasp, dare I say similar quality to some very good village and Premier Cru level wine from places like Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault.

Gautier Thévenet took over this historic domaine in 2000 from previous owner Henri Goyard.  A very small domaine of under ten hectares, the old vines in prime parcels is part of what drew Thévenet to it.

Thévenet pushes the ripeness levels at Domaine de Roally, and like some of the other top producers in the Mâconnais, his wines contain small, almost unnoticeable amounts of residual sugar.  Because of this, before 2003 he wasn’t permitted to use the Viré-Clessé label on his bottles.  This is one of the dumb bureaucratic laws that you will see in France from time to time.

When 2003 came the rules changed permanently because of the vintage.  That super hot vintage made virtually every grower in the region deal with wines with residual sugar, and the A.O.C. governing body had to change the laws.

The 2007 Domaine de Roally Viré-Clessé is a brilliant example of Chardonnay.  The nose and palate are very complex with layered notes of flowers, apple, pear, and hints at hazelnut.  It offers medium weight, a super silky texture, and perfectly integrated oak notes.  Just because there is measurable amounts of residual sugar doesn’t mean it’s sweet, this is bone dry on the palate with great richness.
Poussin (baby chicken), wild mushrooms, cream, and a bottle of this, now we are talking!
$23.99 BTL. / $287.88 CASE


I had a terrific meeting and tasting with Matthew Rorick of Forlorn Hope the other day at the store.  A longtime winemaker, he is currently the winemaker at Elizabeth Spencer and recently took on his own project called Forlorn Hope. He has trained all over the world: in New Zealand at Craggy Range, in Chile at Errazuriz, and in California at places like Peter Michael and Dashe Cellars.

Matthew loves his Forlorn Hope project because he has taken on the challenge of producing wines from grapes that aren’t necessarily the norm in California.  What I tasted yesterday was a line-up of wines both red and white, that really spoke to me in terms of their uniqueness and their undeniable great taste.  Hard not to write up all of them, but here today we have a full-bodied red for “BIG” red wine lovers.

Pretty rare to find a wine with 100% Petit Verdot, but Mathew found a great source for the grapes in the Suisun Valley, Southeast of Napa. The region is kind of like the bastard stepchild of California, with famous producers secretly purchasing some of its fruit because they love it, but yet ignoring its presence.  That’s what intrigued Matthew about it.

What I liked about it was that “Gascony Cadets” shows a really complex nose combining leather and earth tones with dark plum fruit.  The wine is also rich on the palate with sweet blackberry fruit and slowly mounting tannins.  This is a very substantial wine, and will be great for those “BIG” red wine lovers that I was talking about earlier.  Only 152 cases of this were made, so what are you waiting for?
$34.99 BTL. / $419.88 CASE


The mysterious variety of Welschriesling can be found in places like Albania, Italy (where it is called Riesling Italico), Romania, China, and Austria.  Despite its name, the varietal has no relation to Riesling.  Its origin has been argued in wine-geek land to no conclusion.

What we do know is that Welschriesling reaches its apogee in Austria.  It thrives on warmer regions within Austria, as the extra ripeness helps reduce its natural high acidity.

This delicious wine comes from southern Styria, a region located on the Slovenian border. This area is known for its aromatic and mineral rich white wines.

Lackner-Tinnacher has been around for just a little while, the family has owned the estate since 1770!  Fritz Tinnacher is a careful farmer, cultivating his vineyards through the process of integrated farm management.  To the layperson that means that he allows for a permanent green cover over the vineyards to allow the vines more nutrients.  This careful farming shows through in the purity of the fruit.

A mineral rich nose with hints of herbs and a lemon / lime note, it kind of reminded my of Sprite, only in a good way.  Laser like on the palate, with great precision of fruit.  Notes of melon, citrus and saline, with thirst quenching acidity.  A great white for very simply prepared seafood.  This is on a great price break, so take advantage!
$14.99 BTL. / $179.88 CASE – NORMALLY $21.99 BTL.


Not everyone in the world shares my excitement for the great dry Riesling of the world, but if you do then you must give the Clare Valley its props!  Without a doubt the Clare Valley, located north of Adelaide in South Australia produces the world’s best values when in comes to the dry side of this varietal.

I have several “favorites” when it comes to producers in the Clare: Jeffrey Grosset, Pikes, and certainly the historic winery called Leasingham. They have been around since the late 1800’s, and over the years some of Australia’s greatest winemakers have been at the helm including Tim Adams, Peter Rumball, Brian Barry and Tim Knappstein.

Today this great winery is in the hands of Simon Osicka, who grew up on a winery, and has made his name at places like Jack Mann and Houghton. These names might not mean much to you if you follow the American side of famous Australian wineries, but in that country itself, these are very famous names.

If there ever is a time to try a dry Riesling from Australia and the Clare Valley in particular it would be from the ’08 vintage.  This is one of the better vintages for the varietal in the past few years.  The ’08 Leasingham “Bin 7” is a super refreshing style of Riesling. Bright aromatics combining trademark talc notes along with plenty of lime and other citrus.  Laser beam clarity, with big time acidity and passion fruit notes on the palate.  Great length, this is easy to sip on its own, but would be great with a spicy Thai crab noodle dish.  It is just impossible to find dry Riesling of this caliber for this price anywhere else in the world.
$15.99 BTL. / $191.88 CASE


Each week I get asked by collectors about some of the great ’07 Southern Rhône reds.  This has been the hot item of the year, and a lot of the great wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape are getting snapped up quickly.  I know because I was able to sneak three cases away of this from the distributor, and two are gone already.  The third case I bring to those out there in e-mail land.

This is a long time family run estate, with two sisters Catherine and Sophie Armenier at the helm.  This is an organic, biodynamic estate, that overall I would call very traditional in style.  No new oak is used, rather cement tanks and neutral wood.  In Robert Parker’s book called “The World’s Greatest Wine Estates” he mentions Marcoux as one of these selections, and I would have to concur. I personally have been drinking these wines for many years and can attest to their beauty and longevity.

I will be keeping my eyes peeled for some other great ‘07’s, but for now, don’t miss this!

“The dense ruby/purple-hued 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape’s gorgeous bouquet of crushed blackberries and black currants intermixed with a smorgasbord of spring flowers, truffles, licorice, and honeysuckle is followed by a full-bodied, velvety-textured wine with excellent freshness and vibrancy for a wine of such extraordinary fruit depth, body, and intensity. It should be drinkable in 3-4 years, and last for two decades or more. 92-94 Points, Robert Parker.”

Craig Perman
Perman Wine Selections
802 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone 312-666-4417
Fax 312-666-4487

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