There's always a bit (sometimes a bit much) romanticism swirling around wine, but honestly, we here like it. It makes a pleasant glass even more so—not just drinking a wine but drinking a story, and a good story at that. The other side of that coin is that, unfortunately, selling wine is a business. As such, sometimes wines, even wines with good stories, that hang around in our shop way past release are clogging up space for new and fun stuff. When the La Bolida first came into our shop and we all tried it, the concensus was that this wine was big-big and good-good, but would need a bit of bottle age to mellow into itself. Ninety percent Mourvèdre, ten percent Syrah from a certified organic vineyard in Nimes, this great wine parked itself in our shop and waited. We got impatient; marked the price down. This month I re-discovered it. Boy howdy, all that shelf time did it good! Impressive deep, deep color, rich with red and black fruits, a mid-palate of briar and cigar box, and a long finish. Truly well worth the wait, and silly us, it's on sale!
We brought in this unique Sauvignon Blanc last fall and while the whole staff loved it, it was a gamble, being an unfiltered white wine at this price. However, we've had great success with it, because once someone tries it, they're hooked. With the summer weather coming, I thought I would show case it and get some more people loving it. And as a bonus, here is what the Wine Advocate and the Wine Enthusiast said about it:
"The 2015 Estate Sauvignon Blanc spent four months in 50% neutral French oak with the other 50% in stainless steel. It is therefore a relatively restrained style with less of the overt vegetable and herbal characters, and more of a honeyed stone fruit and the lemon curd character with some grapefruit in the background. The medium-bodied palate has a nice satiny texture and plenty of citrus flavors with the faintest suggestion of herbs coming through on the long, honey-laced finish. Great value! 90 Points WA"
"Fermented and aged in both stainless steel and neutral oak, this wine opens with a heady aroma of lemon cookie covered in powdered sugar, as a spicier element of lemongrass rears its head. Bright in acidity and focused, this textured white also shows highlights of grapefruit and dried herb. 91 Points WE"
This month I chose a red blend simply for the label with its picture of a 1930s motorcycle rider practicing a “Broad-Side” turn. Australia’s Bleasdale was established in 1850 by Frank Potts, and the motorcycle enthusiast was Frank Potts the second’s youngest son, Lloyd Stanley (Sticky Potts). The sixth generation of the family runs the winery today. Their Broad-Side blend is delightfully complex. Like most blended families, the Potts family knows what to do with a juicy mix! With flavors of plum, black currant, chocolate, boysenberry and spice, it’s a harmonious blend of the three varieties. Enjoy with a hearty winter stew or a summer BBQ, or your favorite Potts person!
Normally I’m not a huge fan of Napa Valley Chardonnays, most being a little heavy handed with the oak and malolactic fermentation. But this wine is completely different from what I was expecting. The oak nuances are not over-powering, and the result is a Chardonnay with tropical fruits and fresh pineapple and citrus notes, followed by lemon curd and a little vanilla on the clean, bright finish. Surprise yourself and take one home today.
The village of Vosne Romanee has often been referred to as “the jewel in the crown of the Côte d’Or” (the Slopes of Gold that is Burgundy). Another historically anecdotal saying is simply that “there are no common wines in Vosne.” Yes, the Grand Crus at the very top of the hierarchy are the most expensive wines on the planet, but even the basic village level wines can be superb. This vintage of the Confuron-Gindre is a stunning example of the sheer class of wines from this village. The shimmering, limpid ruby color presages the silky mouthfeel on the palate that follows. From the bouquet of floral notes and spice-box alone, you know you are in the neighborhood of royalty. The wine is round and smooth (remember “silky”) with no hard edges, and is what wine aficionados would call a complete wine--nothing out of place. The finish is long and elegant, even if perhaps not the famous “peacock’s tail” of some of its neighbors, but those cost hundreds of dollars more. At $45.00 this is a relative bargain. Other Vosne village level wines in our store go for $55 to $80 and up.
Domaine du Salvard has been a working domaine in France’s Loire since 1898, through five hardworking generations of the Delaille family. Today, all 100 plus acres of vineyards are farmed by the capable brother team of Emmanuel and Thierry Delaille, with help from their father Gilbert. This blend of 65 percent Pinot Noir and 35 percent Gamay is a 50/50 mix of free run and pressed juice. The 2015 was one of my favorite rosés, and this 2016 is every bit its equal. It was vinified and aged on the lees in stainless steel, then bottled unfiltered. The Pinot provides some depth, while the Gamay gives it the refreshing charm I want from my pink wines. It’s a fruit driven effort with good acidity providing balance, especially on the finish. This is the first of the 2016 rosés to arrive in house, so grab a bottle and get a head start on spring.
Imagine my surprise when I realized we had four cases of Leflaive Rully that has never been on the shelf! One of the best buy regions for Chardonnay (Rully) plus a premier cru vineyard, an excellent producer and (drum roll) 2014, a decidedly fabulous vintage for white Burgundy. Plus, it is a killer price! This wine offers warm lemon cream and toast on the nose, with supple rich Chardonnay fruit and a bare hint of oak. The richness is all about the fruit: lemon and apple throughout with a long finish and good acidity without any sharpness. A fine wine on its own but this will really sing with roast chicken or a richer fish dish. So good I will fight you for a case.
I like the idea of accidental wines. You know, wines where something gets screwed up and it ends up being awesome. Madeira is like that. Originally it was a fortified wine, in barrels in the holds of sailing trade ships, that was used as ballast. Well the heat and the heat and the heat of those long ocean voyages changed the wine, Maderized it, and darned if it didn’t turn out really good! And, considering the fact that the wine was essentially cooked, it will last almost forever, and it’ll be good forever!
From the island off the coast of Portugal of the same name, (and the process of heating it) Madeira from the Blandy Family goes back to 1811. Their ten year Madeiras spend an average of ten years in cask (we have some vintage bottlings in our cellar that go back nearly fifty years!). Malmsey (aka Malvasia, the grape variety from which it’s made) is the sweetest style of Madeira. Mildly syrupy in texture, its sweetness is balanced by racy acidity. Rancio and brown sugar aromas lead the way followed by flavors of caramelized nuts, molasses and burnt orange peel.