Bruce’s Pick: 2015 Clos du Caillou Côtes du Rhône Vieille Vignes, $24.00

Here is a Côtes du Rhône that is a cut above the rest and has been a Wine Shop favorite for many years. Yes, it is a bit more expensive than most, but the quality in the bottle justifies the cost. In addition to being the product of a really top notch producer, I’ve always thought that that quality could be attributed to the fact that this cuvee’s old vines are surrounded on three sides by Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards, hence Chateauneuf quality at half or less than half the price. 

I had been told by regular aficionados of this wine over the years that 2015 was a special vintage, corroborated by multiple accounts of its success. So upon finally tasting it, I was struck immediately by an extra depth of spicy dark fruit and more than a hint of the legendary “garrigue” associated with the most complex wines of the region. To top it off, there is none of that obvious rusticity found in many common Côtes du Rhônes, but instead you have a polished texture with even floral hints. In short: worth the extra few bucks.

BONUS: Clos du Caillou also produces an outstanding rosé which we sell for $18.99! 

Kathy’s Pick: 2017 Chateau Sainte Roseline Lampe De Meduse Rosé, $23.00

I tried this wine briefly at a BBQ this summer and remembered liking it quite a bit, so I decided to revisit and I’m so glad I did. A blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Tibouren and Rolle, it has a complex and intense nose that reveals aromas of white flowers, citrus and a freshness that persists on the palate. This wine is full, round and lingering. Definitely worth the price. Château Sainte Roseline is a prestigious vineyard created by Pope Jean XXI in the 13th century. History has graced the château with an exceptional double distinction. It is both a registered historical site and one of the cru classé vineyards of the Côtes de Provence.

Genny’s Pick: 2015 Francis Blanchet Pouilly Fumé, Cuvee Silice, $24.00

The Cuvee Silice is exceptional in that it hails from a vineyard with pure “silex” or flint soils. This unique terroir expresses itself in the wine as the aroma of firecracker smoke. What’s more, winemaker Francis Blanchet’s vines have, following DNA testing, proved to be some of the oldest existing clones of Sauvignon Blanc—the true “mother” rootstock of Loire Sauvignon.

Grapes are harvested by hand, fermented on indigenous yeasts and aged completely in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks, in an effort to preserve Sauvignon Blanc’s naturally vibrant, steely character. The result is a wine with a light golden color. It has notes of apple, light honey and citrus. A well-balanced, easy drinking summer treat.

Bob’s Pick: 2017 Fatoalone “Teres” Puglia Primitivo, $18.99

One hundred percent organic, Puglia IGT, but the first thing you will notice about this red wine is that it isn’t a dark, dark red or a pink rosé. Kind of a tweener. Limited skin contact makes this bright wine lighter, without the background tea and tannin bitterness that can accompany extended skin contact and often takes years to smooth out. What you will get is light body, bright and refreshing acidity, and fresh strawberry fruit. Delicious! This is a unique reddish wine that will take a slight chill and follow you from the kitchen, to the patio, to the dinner table. Or it’s an afternoon poolside wine. Or pair it with a blueberry waffle for brunch. It’s just good.

David’s Pick: 2015 Musset-Roullier Le Moulin de Chateaupanne, $17.99

This is the white companion to the Cabernet Franc that’s Barry’s pick. Since he went into the details about the winery, I’ll just add a bit. The estate enjoys a particularly warm microclimate, which helps push grapes to perfect ripeness, even in cooler years. Located on the right bank of the Loire, the vineyards benefit from the moderating influence of the river, plus a wealth of different soil types: blue schist and limestone, sand, gravel and other marine sediment and fossilized materials. But none of that would matter if what was in the bottle wasn’t as delicious as it is. One hundred percent Chenin Blanc, the taste is something like a honeyed, black walnut tart with a flaky, lightly yeasty crust. Offers a floral bouquet up front, a silky texture in the mouth, and lively lemon zest on the finish. A refreshing summer white that would pair beautifully with spicy Asian cuisine. 

Barry’s Pick: 2016 Musset-Roullier Les Neuf Vingt $17.99

First thing you need to know about this wine is that it is a red wine. Second thing you should know about it is that it is 100 percent Cabernet Franc. Third thing: Delicioso! Especially with a chill. The winery, established in 1994, is a small family-run operation with 35 acres under vine in the Loire Valley, halfway between Angers and Nantes. They are sustainable, practicing Organic as much as possible. All grapes are hand-harvested with the resulting wines bottled with minimal sulfur. This particular wine is vinified completely in
tank. The color is a beautiful garnet with a tinge of purple. On the nose I get aromas of mulberry, violets, moss and herb tea. These aromas join flavors of cranberry and mint on the palate. The light-bodied character of this wine (the tannins are perfectly integrated) along with the more elegant structure and flavors help make it better with a chill when the weather outside is hot. If you love good Cabernet Franc this is a must-try!  

Kent’s Pick: 2016 Eyzaguirre Syrah, $9.99

You can’t miss this bottle, because it’s one of two in the shop that are wrapped in burlap, the other being the Eyzaguirre Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s an homage to the time when the wines of Chile were transported in horse-drawn carts and the burlap was used to protect wines. There are a number of very good wines being made in Chile, and the region is having success with both red and white grapes. When I poured the wine into my glass, the first thing I noticed was the color. This wine is not dark and inky like many of the Syrahs we see, it is slightly translucent revealing its lighter body. The wine is aged in stainless steel and does not spend any time in oak. On the nose, the wine shows strawberry, light cherry and brambly blueberry. On the palate the wine has nice balance and soft texture, and shows blueberries, raspberry, dark cherry with a touch of spice on the back-end. Being a touch lighter than most Syrahs, this wine is an excellent pairing for pork or with cheese and meat appetizers. 

Kathy’s Pick: 2017 Pascal Jolivet Sancere Rosé, $22.00

One of my favorite rosés year after year and the 2017 vintage does not disappoint. One hundred percent Pinot Noir from France’s Loire Valley, it is pale salmon pink in color with a subtle nose of fresh berries. On the palate the wine is delicate and elegant with layers of herb, strawberry and a clean, crisp finish. The Jolivet family has been in the wine business since 1926, but it was another 60 years before a good friend of Pascal (then in Champagne sales) convinced him to set up his own wine brand under his own name. Pascal soon established himself as a talented winemaker, opting for a natural style using indigenous yeast. He built a winery in the Champanois style with which he was so familiar. Today, he owns some 340 acres of vineyard farmed organically using biodynamic techniques.

“Crafting a wine is a great outlet to become creative, a kind of art that asks us to listen to mother nature to better perceive and understand her messages. Magic happens while grapes are transformed into juice, then into wine and gives back to the terroir its nobility.” –Pascal Jolivet