6 for $60-Something – April 27th, 2012

Hello and Happy Friday!

It is time to introduce the newest “Six for $60-Something” Sampler!

Never heard of this sampler and want to know what it’s about?

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 recommended 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!” Some people are challenged by some of the wines that I put in to my sampler. If Greco reminds you of your wrestling days, Carbonic Carignan is not allowed in your house in May, 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 “6 for $60-Something” is in stock and ready to be picked up any time!

Thanks again for all your support!






We can all claim to be a little guilty when it comes to ignoring the wines of Campania.  There is a wealth of excellent producers in this vast region, producing local grapes, many of which brought there by the ancient Greeks.

Campania – I apologize to you and hope to make amends by including your delicious Greco varietal in my latest sampler.

This example of Greco comes from the producer Cantina del Taburno.  A unique producer in the fact that it is owned by the Agricultural Union of the Province of Benevento.  300 viticulturists take part in growing grapes for Taburno, and are then produced in its modern cellars.  The focus is on quality, and in particular it is dedicated to working with local varieties and offering the consumer a glimpse of their “terroir.”

This delicious white wine is composed of 100% Greco planted on southeast-facing vineyards.  Cold fermentation and aging in stainless steel preserve the integrity of the varietal.

A textbook example of Greco with hints at apricot and citrus on the nose.  This medium-bodied variety offers both freshness and intensity.  It never feels heavy, but does offer some impact of flavor on the palate.

A very good pairing for shellfish, prosciutto, or risotto.

$11.50 BTL. / $138.00 CASE




This wine is the perfect reflection of life in a sleepy mountain town nestled in the Pyrénées-Orientales in France.  Caramany is a village of 150 people with 80 growers that have come together to form a high quality cooperative.

Part of the Côtes du Roussillon, the name of Caramany means “Great Rock” and explains the soil structure that grapes like Carignan, Grenache and Syrah thrive in.  With its mixture of Mediterranean climate, and cool nights due to high elevation, it is a good growing climate for grapes, and the reason why virtually all those that live in the village are involved in wine.

“Carmagnole Classique” is a blend of 60% Carignan, with the remainder coming from Syrah and Grenache that was fermented and aged in vat.  By appellation standards the Carignan must undergo carbonic maceration, which lends an aromatic, fruity edge to the wine.

A delicious, easy drinking red with black and red berry notes, hints at wild thyme and pepper.  It will be a nice wine to bring out for grilled poultry or meats.  A great value!

$9.00 BTL. / $108.00 CASE




The central Italian region of Umbria is home to the famous appellation of Orvieto.  Known for its aromatic white blends based on Grechetto and Procanico, red grapes have historically been planted and produced often into red blends.

Giovanni Dubini continues the tradition of red wine making in the region with his limited production red wine called “Rubbio.”  The blend is composed of the traditional varietal Sangiovese (60%) with the rest coming from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  The Bordeaux varietals are a natural fit given the sedimentary clay soils in the vineyard.

Produced using whole-cluster fermentation in stainless steel tanks for ten days, with frequent plunging of the cap. The fermentation takes places in a mixture of barrel, vats and stainless steel.  After malolactic, the wine is blended and bottled.

The result is an aromatic, fruit forward red with notes of cherry, strawberry, and spice.  A natural pairing for porchetta or a fricassée of rabbit.

$10.00 BTL. / $120.00 CASE




Coming on the heels of the last Pinot Noir value I offered on my sampler a couple months ago, I’ve once again worked an incredible deal to offer this delicious wine at a third of its normal price.

Larry and Shirlee Londer turned their passion for wine into a career when they decided to purchase a property in the Anderson Valley in 1997.  They were drawn by its cool climate, perfect to grow Pinot Noir and Gewürtztraminer, grapes they were passionate about,.  With the help of famed California winemaker Greg LaFollette, they were able to get on track and create the winery of their dreams.

Their 15 acres of Pinot Noir is planted in the southwestern corner of Mendocino, a vineyard bordered by the Navarro River to the south. Fog plays a huge influence in the slow ripening of the grapes as it builds at night, and slowly burns off during the day.  This gradual warm up and gentle exposure creates balanced Pinot Noir grapes.

The 2007 Londer Anderson Valley Pinot Noir is really drinking well right now.  Bright strawberry, raspberry, and floral aromas lead into a textured and nuanced palate.  The red fruits carry out on the palate, and it finishes with soft structure.

A great match for squab or roasted chicken with spring vegetables.

This wine is well worth its normal price tag of $31.  With the local distributor parting ways with the winery, they allowed me to purchase it at a price that would fit into my sampler this month.  I have a very limited amount and it will only be available with the entire sampler.  If I have some left over at the end of the sampler offer I will the additional bottles available for purchase.





Muscadet is just one of those wines that puts a smile on the drinker’s face.  There is plenty of “serious” Muscadet, long-lasting, terroir specific, and complex.  Ultimately though, it is a wine that must be referred to as a “vin de plaisir” or wine of pleasure.

For those of you new to my Muscadet “rants,” I should mention that Muscadet is a broad region located near Nantes, on the Atlantic side of the Loire Valley.  The name of the region often elicits the question whether it has something to do with Muscat, which many know as a sweet wine.  The answer is NO!  Melon de Bourgogne, a cousin to Chardonnay, has been planted in the region since the 1700’s and is the varietal you will be tasting when trying this delicious Muscadet.

Serge Batard is the proprietor of Domaine Les Hautes Noëlles sitting in Côtes de Grand Lieu sub-zone of Muscadet.  Grand Lieu is influenced by its lake, which has a tempering effect on the weather and issues like frost.  Serge is one of the leaders of quality in the region, with his domaine having been established in the 1930’s.  His 24 hectares of vineyards are farmed without chemicals and he is in the minority of farmers that is willing to reduce yields for the benefit of the grapes.

This ’09 Muscadet Sur Lie is a really delicious bottle of wine that will demonstrate why it is so popular in the bistros of Paris.  Bright, defined citrus flavors, are accompanied by classic minerality.  The wine is light on its feet, yet not without depth of complexity.  I enjoy Muscadet as an aperitif, but also love to pair it with smoked trout or oysters.

$11.00 BTL. / $132.00 CASE




Spring brings new arrivals.  I’m always excited for the new vintage of one of my favorite values in White Bordeaux from Michel Dietrich of Château Haut-Rian.

White Bordeaux ranges in style, with some really incredible and full-bodied examples on the high end.  In the everyday price category, one can expect a light-bodied, zingy style, perfect for sitting out on the porch with a glass or enjoying with oysters or shellfish.

Château Haut Rian Blanc is exactly in that latter style.  A blend of 2/3 old-vine Semillon and 1/3 Sauvignon Blanc, from Michel’s property 18 miles southeast of the city of Bordeaux.  The limestone soil is a perfect terroir for this style of Bordeaux Blanc.

Lots of that bright grapefruit, lime and floral notes on the nose lead into a vibrant and refreshing mouthful of citrus fruit and fine herbs.  This wine crushes many other producers in its category – a great value!

$10.00 BTL. / $120.00 CASE

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