After drinking so many good wines in December, I decided to shoot low for January with a Spanish Grenache for $9.99. My good friend Craig Baker at Misa imports alerted me to this wine which got a whopping 91 points from the Wine Advocate and a “trust me, it’s delicious” from Craig. He was not kidding. One hundred percent old vine Grenache from the Calatayud region of Spain, a big pile of crushed berries and some lovely dusty cocoa powder tannins make this easy to enjoy, but not just soft and sappy. This has a good amount of structure and depth in the finish to give it lift and make it a complement to a lot of different week-night meals. You should buy a case. Really. I did.
The Saint-Peray appelation in the northern Rhône is not what would have come to mind if I was sitting down to a meal with a white Rhône wine. But there I was . . .with this wine, and it certainly was an eye-opener for me. The entire appelation is comprised of less than 200 acres of Marsanne and Roussanne grapes, and much of the production is made into sparkling wine which I have enjoyed on occasion while traveling in France. It is said that the sparkling wines of Saint Peray were the first wines that Napoleon Bonaparte experienced as a young cadet in nearby Valance. Our wine, however, was a still wine, made from 100 percent Marsanne grapes, and we chose to pair it with the cheese course after dinner and multiple reds. The wine not only paired perfectly with the assortment of cheeses, but it was a refreshing change of pace with its bright mineral-accented notes of orchard and pit fruits and lively spine of acidity. A pleasant nuttiness and background of white flowers added interest and complexity to the finish. The granitic and limestone soils and unique exposure in this tiny appelation have resulted in wines that now have my full attention. These wines are meant to be enjoyed young. As in...............RIGHT NOW!
This wine comes from the foothills of the Chartreuse Mountains so far to the east in France it’s almost Swiss. One hundred percent Jacquere (that’s the grape), usually this wine is recommended with fondue, and we only see just a drop for our shelves. This vintage, we scored enough to put together a humble stack in our Best Buy area, so I decided to try it. Besides fondue, this crisp quaff would be great with shell fish and soft cheeses. It’s a pale yellow color with hints of green. Fresh and floral with notes of citrus fruit and white flowers. Very mineral with aromas of citrus, pear, and white peaches, with a long finish. This stack will go fast
Happy New Year and welcome to 2018, the year that may very well be the best wine year of your life! My first recommendation to make this a reality is this wonderful Pinot Noir from Chile’s Casablanca Valley. Montsecano is a collaboration between Julio Donoso and the famous André Ostertag of Alsace, France. The wine is one of only two bottlings they do from two horse-plowed vineyards on their biodynamically farmed estate. It is fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete egg fermenters, and from the urging of André’s son Arthur, 20 percent is whole cluster. All this produces a wine with a beautiful ruby red color and a perfumed nose of cherry, violets and raspberry. On the palate, these pure fruit flavors join a lively mouth feel with well-balanced acidity. This is probably the best vintage of this particular wine to date. It is so pretty and delicious that you can even drink it without food if you want. Cheers!
Every month we’re asked to pick a specific wine we’ve tried as our Wine of the Month. Well December is a time of celebration for a lot of people, so I pick Champagne. Not one specific Champagne, just Champagne in general. This year we have struck so many deals with importers through our distributors that we have the best selection of sale Champagne ever. Here are a few to choose from:
• Jean Vesselle Brut Reserve (Reg. $44) Sale $34.95
• Drappier Carte d’Or Brut (Reg. $44) Sale $34.95
• Aubry Brut (Reg. $45) Sale $34.95
• Jean-Noel Haton Brut Rosé (Reg. $44) Sale $34.95
• Louis Roederer Brut Premier (Reg. $54) Sale $44.95
• Pol Roger Brut (Reg. $60) Sale $49.95
• 2008 Godme Brut Grand Cru (Reg. $59) Sale $42.95
So many great wines, start drinking them today!!
This is a wine I’ve been wanting to try for some time. The Burg Hound, always a conservative rater, gave it 91 points—a rarity for him, especially for a wine from Oregon. The wine did not disappoint. The aromas are lovely if a bit reserved, offering floral red fruit with touches of herb and anise. This is an elegantly structured wine filled with silky berry fruit that caresses the palate and lingers on and on. That’s backed by layers of flavor that include tart cherry, mocha, leather and spice. Here’s the good news: if you are a fan of Burgundian Pinot Noir, this is a must try; a beautiful expression of the unique Ribbon Ridge terroir. Now for the bad news: we currently don’t have any in stock. The winery owner recently did a tasting at the shop and brought a bottle of his 2013. We are working on getting the distributor to bring some in for us. In the meantime, try their 2014, a bit more fruit forward effort that is sure to please a wide variety of wine lovers.
Yeah, it’s bubble time. Well anytime is the right time for bubbly wines, but this is the time of the year when we get all the cool and exciting ones. As proof, the wall that was all rosés over the summer is now sparkling wines. Come in and have a look. This particular wine from Burgundy, the land of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, is all Chardonnay and it allies freshness, body and smoothness with hints of flower at the nose, crispness and fruit on the palate. It is a great Classic for all festive occasions. The vinification or elaboration of the Crémant called the méthode traditionnelle corresponds to the (what we used to be able to call) méthode champenoise. Enjoy!
If you don’t think of Australia when you think of Rieslings, maybe you should. In South Australia there is a wine region called the Clare Valley that specializes in Riesling, mostly the dry sort. This particular one comes from Watervale, a relatively high altitude site that has nice, cool evenings (a characteristic that Riesling grapes love). The Mitchell family, which includes Andrew and Jane and their son Angus, organically farm their estate owned vineyards. The 50 year old Riesling vines are dry farmed and the grapes are always hand-picked. The wine itself has a core of lime and a stony minerality that complement this bone dry, crisp Riesling. Extended contact with the lees lends a rather round mouth feel that balances out the wine’s crisp acidity. A great example of a wine that will pair wonderfully with many different cuisines. Cheers!