Hello and Happy Friday!
It is the last Friday of the month, and that means time for another 6 for $60-Something sampler!
Don’t let this scare you, but guess what next month brings? Thanksgiving! Yeah, I said it.
Since I’ve got your back when it comes to stocking up for the holiday season, this month’s 6 for $60-Something focuses on Thanksgiving wines.
Need something inexpensive to bring for your Thanksgiving dinner with your 40 cousins? Refuse to break out the expensive stuff for Aunt Hilda and Uncle Hank because they usually pass out by the time the first football game is over?
No problem – I’ve got you covered with this sampler! I do have to point out, that this month’s wines are not just great with Thanksgiving dinner, but also with a wide arrange of food, or just to drink on their own.
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 “6 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 you refuse to drink Rosé after August 31st, Tempranillo is banned during the month of November or any other interesting reason why you cannot 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!
Have a great weekend,
2010 Mencos Rioja
The new vintage of Mencos Rioja is here!
Those who are regular PWS devotees will recall that I once called Mencos Rioja the best value in the region today!
I still stand by my words. Having visited with Count Iñigo Manso de Zuñiga Ugartechea and his wife back in September, touring the vineyards and the winery and trying the new vintages, my belief is even stronger than when I first uttered those words!
It all starts with the vineyards, and the Count (he really is one), owns some absolutely amazing parcels of land near his home of Torremontalvo in the subregion of Rioja Alta.
How many sub-$15 wines from Rioja or really anywhere come from a great parcel of land with over 35 year-old vines? The vineyard sits on the South side of the Ebro River, with a soil composition of chalky clay over gravel.
Aside from the uniqueness of the vineyard, what makes this particular wine so special is that it shows a side of Rioja that not many consumers in the United States are accustomed to, but should be. The big bodegas of Rioja Alta have a choke hold on the market. These bodegas mainly focus on so-called traditional styles, wines that have been oxidized in American oak barrels. These wines can achieve great complexity, yet there are other styles to be seen in Rioja.
The Count chooses to offer you a wine that is both traditional and modern in a sense. From those 35 year-old vines, he ferments in stainless steel tanks and then simply rests in bottle before shipping. This allows the purity of the Tempranillo grape varietal to shine.
Don’t let the price or simplicity of production method fool you. This is a very complex bottle of Rioja. Bright cherry, wild strawberry and violet notes on the nose lead into a textural fruit focused wine on the palate. A repetition of red berries, hints at mineral and spice emerge on the long finish.
This is an outstanding value, really one of the best Spanish wines for under $15. It will go great with a wide range of foods, including turkey, but also with red meat like lamb.
This wine has gained such a great reputation at the store – so I know I’m going to see some excited folks!
$13.00 BTL. / $156.00 CASE
2009 Selbach-Oster Riesling Spätlese
In a lot of ways it is disappointing for me to see a spike in German wine sales at Thanksgiving. These are wines that should be consumed at all times of year!
Those my age will remember the old Hanz and Franz skit from Saturday Night Live. I’m reminded of this because most guys think that if they drink off-dry Riesling they will be perceived as “girlie-men.” Well I’m here to tell you that your wrong. This great German Riesling from the Mosel Valley is going to “pump you up!”
Selbach-Oster is one of the great names of the Mosel Valley, with Johannes Selbach widely regarded as one of its best winemakers. The style of the Selbach-Oster wines is one of purity and drinkability. The wines almost always taste great young, and certainly taste great old.
There is history to this estate, more than 400 years of Selbach’s growing Riesling in the Mosel. The family is fortunate to own some pieces of the greatest vineyards in the region.
This Riesling comes mainly from the Himmelreich vineyard near the village of Zelting. There is also a little fruit from the Hubertuslay vineyard near Kinheim. 2009 was a superb vintage in the Mosel, and the ripeness of fruit and pristine quality of the wine show this.
Bright notes of red apple and pear can be found on the nose and palate. It has medium-weight and a laser-beam-like acidity. There is such great balance to this wine, that the residual sugar is fully incorporated.
There really isn’t any better pairing at Thanksgiving than this. A Riesling as beautiful as this can mesh well with so many flavors. If you don’t use it at the Turkey table, then keep it around for spicy Thai food. You can also age it for a decade easily, then pair it with roasted pork.
This is not the normal price on this wine. It is usually almost double this price. The new vintage is here, it had to be moved, and you who buy the sampler benefit! Do not miss this.
2011 Quintay “Clava” Pinot Noir
It almost never happens. A Pinot Noir on the 6 for $60-Something. I’ve told you it wasn’t possible. But sometimes it does. Your not going to find it coming from Oregon. Clearly not Russian River Valley. So where to find one of the best under $15 Pinot Noir Values?
Chile. You’ve heard me talk about it before, there are very few places in the world that can produce value wine quite like the Chileans.
Quintay offers the value-driven line of wines called “Clava.” The focus of the winery is on the cool climates of Casablanca and Leyda. These two regions benefit from the cool winds of the South Pacific Ocean, as well as the cooling effect of the Humboldt current.
When you think cool climate, you think Pinot Noir. It is a grape that needs freshness to produce good quality. The grapes for the “Clava” Pinot Noir come from two different vineyards in the central part of the Casablanca Valley. One vineyard has some clay matter in it, and the other is more composed of sand. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tank, and bottled under screw top.
This is not a tweaked or manipulated Pinot Noir, and no, it doesn’t contain any Syrah. This always maintains great varietal character, while showing a style that is light and bright. A very spice driven nose, with flowers and red fruit, lead into a soft-textured mouthfeel. The wine finishes with great freshness and balance.
This isn’t the second coming of DRC, Cristom or Benovia. It is inexpensive Pinot Noir, well-made, and fun to drink. Pair this with the bird, or it makes a nice match for salmon or roasted chicken.
$11.00 BTL. / $132.00 CASE
2009 “Selection by Kermit Lynch” Vin de Pays de Vaucluse
In recent years, well-respected importer Kermit Lynch has brought some excellent values to the table under a line called “Selection by Kermit Lynch.”
Kermit works closely with his producers to select fruit that might not make it into their own line of wines, but could be offered as a great value offering to his customers.
I featured this wine before from the 2007 vintage, and now it is time to bring to you the excellent, and well-priced 2009. The fruit for this Southern Rhône wine comes from Domaine Durban, a well-respected producer located in Beaumes-de-Venise.
The Leydier family was selling off the fruit that went into this to the local cooperative. Kermit convinced them to produce a wine from it that would be geared towards everyday drinking.
This wine is a blend of 55% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Merlot and 10% Marselan. Fermented in stainless steel, it offers a pure expression of these varietals. Spice-driven notes of kirsch, red licorice, and black pepper. It is soft and juicy, and a true “bistro wine.”
Not all Rhône wines are suited for Thanksgiving dinner, but a softer style like this does work well. This wine would also marry well with a classic dish like confit of duck legs.
$8.00 BTL. / $96.00 CASE
2011 Château d’Or et de Gueules “Cimel” Rosé
In my opinion Rosé season is never over!
Especially when you get to an incredibly diverse meal like Thanksgiving. White meat, dark meat, sweet and tart cranberry sauce, gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, veggies, well you get the point. How do you pair that?
Take the freshness of a white wine with some of the red berry notes of a red wine, and you have Rosé. Add in a lower alcohol content, and thirst quenching factor due to the fact it’s chilled, and now you know whey it is really a great match.
This year I’m recommending this terrific Rosé value from the Costières di Nîmes appellation in the South of France. There are tons of killer Rosé’s from this area, but in my opinion Diane de Puymorin has a great touch with it.
This relatively new estate began in 1998. Puymorin found some great vineyards for her estate and has been making delicious and individualistic wines since she started.
This Rosé is composed of 40% each of Grenache and Cinsault with the remainder from Syrah. The Grenache and Cinsault are made by direct press, where the Syrah is made from the saignée method. It is fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks to preserve the freshness.
I love when wineries use a combination of direct press and saignée as I often find they compliment each other. The freshness of the direct press with the intensity of the saignée produces a thirst quenching yet serious style.
Aromatic notes of fresh strawberry and flowers, are accompanied by medium-weight on the palate, more red berry notes and a crisp but balanced finish.
If you fell off, get back on the Rosé-wagon, and don’t miss this value.
$9.00 BTL. / $108.00 CASE
2008 Novaia Valpolicella Classico
Some of you may wonder about how and why I get so excited about some of the offerings on the 6 for $60-Something? When you taste wine in the $10 price category, lets just say there is a lot of really bad wine to sift through.
So when you run across a wine, such as this, which in its category, absolutely crushes the competition, even competing against some wines that are more expensive, you tend to get very excited.
Novaia is known in Italy as one of the great producers in the Valpolicella Classico DOC. Giampaolo and Cesare Vaona are the driving forces behind the quality at this estate located in the Marano Valley of Verona. It’s an overused line, but everything at this estate is done to assure the highest quality grapes and thus wines.
Their entry level wine is a good example of this. It is a blend of the traditional varieties, Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella. It is hand-harvested from their vineyards in Novaia di Marano di Valpolicella. These are high density vineyards sitting on a mixture of clay and lime.
The grapes are fermented at a low temperature in stainless steel tanks and rested in tank for 10 months before being bottled.
This really jumps from the glass with aromas of red plums, cherries, flowers and Asian spices. Lightly textured this just glides across the palate with more red fruit and bright acidity on the long finish.
This is a standout in what normally is a sea of mediocre Valpolicella Classico.
The majority of Italian wines don’t work so well at the Thanksgiving table, but his wine marries perfectly as its light texture and bright acidity make it very easy to sip and can cut through all the flavors at the table. Delicious stuff.
$11.00 BTL. / $132.00 CASE