It’s March 2018 and it's time for the new vintage Rosés!
Clos des Lumieres 2017 Cotes du Rhone Rosé $8.99 3 liter box $24.99 5 liter box $37.99
(FYI 3 liters = 4 bottles = $6.24 a bottle, 5 liters = 6 1/2 bottles = $5.85 a bottle)
Each year Clos des Lumieres presents us with a simple wine; as in simply delicious! It fresh, vibrant flavors ask for no further investigation. It is not a deep, contemplative wine with lots of complexity, it is a spritzy, fresh rosé that offers zesty fruit, and a surprisingly classic blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, as if it wanted to be a Bandol. There is a bit of perfume, a sign of youth, and this French rosé should provide for immense pleasure over the next 3-6 months. Also available in larger boxed format, who could ask for anything more?
Domaine des Lauribert 2017 Vin de Pays du Vaucluse La Cuvee de Lisa Rosé $9.99
Cuvee Lisa is one of our yearly go-to roses, fresh off the boat. The 2017 vintage may not be quite as exquisite and refined as the 2016, we new that when we tasted the 2016’s last year, a hard act to follow, but every vintage has some wonderful qualities. For those of you preferring softer wines, this is your vintage, with slightly warmer fruit, attack these wines while they are still young and fresh! Floral, strawberry fruit with slightly ripe melon, citrus and apple notes, soft and silky out the gate, should integrate and drink well over the next few months. 100% Grenache.
Fabre en Provence 2017 Cotes de Provence Rosé $12.99
Slightly better wine, slightly better appellation, slightly higher price. Provence is the king of rose (accept for Bandol of course), and the Fabre displays the classic pale salmon pink color, with strawberry and subtle fruit scents, soft but more more structure and minerality than the Lisa. Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah.
Jose Maria da Fonseca 2014 Periquita Portugal $9.99
The appellation for this wines is Peninsula de Setubal, across the river from Lisbon, and the grape, Periquita, is a native Portuguese varietal that is fruity and spicy but dry. This is actually a blend of Periquita (also called Castelao) with Trincadeira and Aragonez (also called Tempranillo). Slightly nutty and almond like aromas with dark fruit, tobacco and vanilla. Periquita has been around as a wine since 1850, so it qualifies as a historic wine, although today Fonseca is a modern updated winery.
Chateau la Vieille Cure 2014 Fronsac $27.99
It’s been years since Pomerol reds from the Right Bank in Bordeaux have soared in price, we must console ourselves with little Fronsac, a small appellation just to the west of Pomerol. I think Fronsac doesn’t like to be thought of as the “poor man’s Pomerol.” According to British wine expert David Peppercorn, Fronsac was once the most prestigious wine on the Right Bank fetching even higher prices than St. Emilion. La Vieille Cure is considered an up and coming wine with luscious Merlot based reds. The wines had consultant Michelle Rolland help modernize it years ago, and since the 1990’s this has been a good estate. The wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and sees about 1/3 new oak. It presents dark fruit with hints of cassis, vanilla and toasty oak, fine grained tannins and makes a good red for immediate consumption or for laying down about 7-10 years. La Vieille Cure will never develop into a great Pomerol, but it will always provide pleasurable drinking for a fraction of the price!
Berger 2015 Gruner Veltliner Austria 1 liter bottle $11.99
Packed with fresh fruit, dry style Gruner, with hint of pepper and lemon lime fruit, mineral driven white.
Hugel 2015 Gentil Alsace $13.99
A perennial favorite, this blends Riesling, Muscat, Sylvaner and Gewürztraminer along with Pinot Gris, a real “edelzwicker” style of traditional wine from Alsace, that retains freshness, aromatic complexity and crisp dryer style fruit that pairs well with Asian dishes as well as traditional fish and lighter meats and cheeses. Great with turkey and ham too.
Torre Oria 2011 Valencia Reserva $6.99
Love Spanish wine but tired of paying $15 or $20 for a good bottle, here is a serviceable red composed of 70%Tempranillo and 30%Cabernet Sauvignon. With more than 100years of wine making experience, this wine packs a good punch of Iberian character aged in French and American oak for one year, for less than the price of a glass pour in any Seattle restaurant.
Luc Massy 2012 Epesses "La Crosse” Chasselas Switzerland $24.99
I was so excited to find this more affordable Chasselas (the grape) from Switzerland, as Swiss wines are rare and very expensive. Lucy Massy is no low end producer, he is a famed estate from Grand Cru vineyards. They say “Our wines are our messengers” they speak for us. Epesses is the region, the grapes are farmed organically and then rested on their lees in old wooden casks. You’ll find green apple and hint of licorice and mineral spice with a nice texture from the aging. Fondu and cheese dishes!
Belle Pente 2015 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley $24.99
I really shouldn’t have to say more than: Belle Pente, Willamette Valley Pinot, 2015 and $24.99. 2015, a great vintage in Oregon, Belle Pente, a solid producer of rich, elegant Pinot’s, and $24.99 a fair price for any Pinot from anywhere. Medium bodied, with slight earthy notes, cherry and strawberry fruit. Belle Pente manages to combine old world style with new world terroir. The reason people like 2015’s from OR is because they are easy to like and taste good now.
Diochon 2016 Moulin A Vent Cru Beaujolais $24.99
Moulin A Vent is on the top of the heap in Beaujolais, and Diochon makes crunchy, fresh, buoyant and joyful Moulin A Vent, that is also good for near term aging.
Pio Cesare 2013 Barbaresco $69.99
I love this wine and I love Cesare’s style, very traditional with firm but not aggressive tannins, dark cherry and spice with tar and roses, pure Piedmonte in a bottle. His label is an indication of what lies inside. When people say you can’t buy or trust a wine by its label, they know nothing about wine. Don’t buy the wine by the label because you like the label, its not about what you like, its about discovering what the label is telling you the wine will taste like. A traditional old school label like Pio Cesare says: I’m traditional, yes, old fashioned, but stylish and everlasting, not outmoded, but eternal, like the Piedmonte. These guys have been making wine since 1881.
Boschis Francesco 2016 Langhe Freisa $15.99
Boschis Francesco 2016 Grignolino $15.99
Condes de Albares 2015 Albarino $9.99
Back in stock, great value crisp, dry white from Rias Baixas, northern Spain, cool Atlantic climate and granite soils.
Hippolyte Reverdy 2016 Sancerre $26.99
Year in and year out one of the flagship Sancerre blancs, 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
Chateau de Trinquevedel 2016 Tavel $17.99
One of Kermit Lynch Import wines, this full bodied rosé displays deep dark cherry and spice, composed of Grenache/Cinsault/Clairette/Mourvedre/Syrah.
Le Galantin 2016 Bandol Rosé $19.99
Perhaps not as profound a rosé effort from Bandol as Domaine Ott or Tempier, this reasonably priced rosé still manages to pack a lot of classic Bandol elegance and polished sophistication in a bottle of wine. 50%Mourvedre with remainder Cinsult and Grenache. Delicate, strawberry and licorice.
Miraval 2016 Cotes du Provence Rosé reg. $26.99 our special price $19.99
A blend of Cinsult, Grenache, Syrah, Rolle with 5%aged in barrel and some batonnage (stirring of the lees for richness). Pale salmon pink with hints of tropical and fruit flavors and strawberry showing some crisp acidity and a saline finish.
Some New Values June 2017
Los Vascos 2016 Chardonnay Chile $8.99
Last week we introduced a new CA Chardonnay, Auspicion $9.99, which although un-oaked, received malolactic fermentation, (often referred to as just “malo”) which makes the wine softer and creamier in texture, a nice style between the harder un-oaked and softer oaky styles. Today’s Chilean wine is stainless steal fermented and aged and shows a crisper, fresher style, with hints of pineapple and tropical fruit and citrus. Its brighter style is great for warmer days.
Tomero 2016 Torrontes Argentina $9.99
I like to think of Torrontes as South America’s “Viognier.” It has a slightly more viscous texture than a Sauvignon Blanc, for example, and more spice and floral notes than a Chardonnay, and when not over done, it can be quite delightful and always a pleasant Summer sipper.
In keeping with my theme last week concerning Languedoc wines, the Carignan grape and terroir, here are some new wines from Corbieres:
Domaine Sainte-Eugenie 2015 Corbières $11.99
St.-Eugenie is a quintessential terroir driven wine, hand crafted by a small estate. 40%Old Vines Carignan, 30%Grenache, 30%Syrah, the old vines Carignan is 60 years old. This wine is medium bodied, peppery and brambly, a delight with pizza.
Chateau Vaugelas 2014 Corbieres $12.99
60%Syrah, 20%Grenache, 15%Carignan, 5%Mourvedre. The larger portion of Syrah makes Vaugelas a bit heavier and darker than St.-Eugenie, but the inclusion of Carignan helps to retain some sense of local expression and typicity in the wine.
Blason d’Aussieres 2014 Corbieres $19.99
This estate is owned and operated by Baron Rothschild of Chateau Lafite, Bordeaux. Rothschild also makes the Los Vascos Chardonnay above, and has various other estates around the world. What I have noticed about wines from the Rothschild family, is that they really do tend to reflect the style and approach and philosophy the domaine uses to construct Lafite. Of course you don’t notice that so much on a $9 bottle of Chardonnay from Chile, but you can on some of their more quality driven wines, such as this Corbieres. There is a “classy” refinement, a certain polish to their wines that usually sets them apart, not “glossy” or “glitzy” like an overbuilt CA Cabernet, but sophisticated, as you would expect from a First Growth Bordeaux. They often use their retired Lafite oak barrels for example, on their reds, and their careful selection and judicious use of oak usually pays off in more refined and balanced wines. 32%Syrah, 27%Grenache, 23%Mourvedre, 18%Carignan. The wine is medium bodied, with spice and garrigue, it has a rich finish and elegant tannins. I think the first two wines provide that rustic edge of country French wines, the Blazon allows you to examine the terroir with a bit more elegance and complexity, but retains the terroir.
Get to know Tannat!
This rare varietal is also native to the SW of France and comes from the region know as Madiran, near the Pyrenees foothills. This grape variety was transported by immigrants to Uruguay where it has become a popular grape, making Uruguay and Madiran the only two major sources of this unique varietal. The name derives from the same source as the word tannin, so you can imagine that this wine displays some hearty tannic features.
Garzon 2014 Tannat Uruguay $18.99
Red fruits, tobacco, dark chocolate and spice, aged in French oak. This wine takes a turn away from Tannat’s robust bitter edge, and tries to tame the grape and smooth it out a bit, with riper fruit, giving it a more New World flavor and style, which seems perfectly in keeping with its location.
Chateau Lafitte-Teston 2010 Madiran “Reflet du Terroir” $17.99
Although somewhat modern in style, its terroir is very Old World. The 2010 shows plenty of red fruit, with a few years under its belt, the tannins have soften, and the juicy fruit has aged and mellowed, this is a good “gateway” into Tannat and Madiran and would be a nice foil for roasted chicken. A blend of Tannat, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Clos Baste 2009 Madiran $29.99
100%Tannat, although not an old estate, Clos Baste builds traditional style Tannat wines, with dark smoky fruit, heavy and dense in texture, tannic underpinning and some rusticity showing through. Perhaps a touch smoky, with dried cherry, its more massive and monolithic character would suit most meat or game dishes.
New Wines Winter 2017
Chateau Haut-Gaussens 2012 Bordeaux rouge $9.99
Just one of a dozen of value oriented Bordeaux we stock, this new arrival packs loads of fresh fruit and hints of mocha, gravel and cherry onto this affordable bottle. Tends more on the Merlot side of things, with a little Cabernet Sauvignon.
Nicolas Potel 2014 Macon-Village blanc $14.99
Nicolas Potel 2014 Bourgogne Pinot Noir $14.99
This is a good negotiant address, producing well priced Burgundy at this regional appellation level. The white is crisp, with mineral tinged fruit typical of the Macon, clean and very serviceable, while the Pinot shows hints of cherry and strawberry fruit. This brand tends to avoid the hard edges and rustic nature of some wines typically found at these price points.
Pomum 2013 Red Wine Columbia Valley $19.99
Yes we do carry Washington wine! Pomum is a great way to get in touch with WA terroir, winemaker Javier Alfanso comes from Ribera del Duero, Spain, but after an engineering career he has sunk his teeth into Washington wine. His winemaking skills present dark, concentrated fruit, with good balancing acidity and judicious oak aging. The Red blends Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, to create a dark, yet elegant red blend with mocha, vanilla and spice.
Marengo 2011 Barolo $39.99
Imported by famed Marc de Grazia, itself a sign of good wine, this 2011 over achieves for the vintage, and provides a surprisingly drinkable 5 year old Barolo. The price is certainly right, and the wine, aged two years in oak, displays rather elegant pure vanilla and cherry, with classic notes of tar and bitter chocolate, grippy, but refined. The grapes come from La Morra, mostly the Brunate vineyard, an excellent source of raw material to fashion a Barolo, and La Morra is known for its more delicate and refined character, so this humble estate has captured the terroir of La Marra quite well, but don't mistake this wine for a Barbaresco, it has hidden muscle too.