New for Sept/Oct. 2017
Boschis Francesco 2016 Langhe Freisa $15.99
Boschis Francesco 2016 Grignolino $15.99
These two wines are reminiscent of the “old school” Piedmontese wines of yore, as we don’t see these two native local varietals much any more. The Freisa is dark red in color with a tinge of purple and is fuller, more plum and licorice, with hint of blackberry and juicy, with aromas of violets. The texture is about like a Barbera or Dolcetto, but the wine is more rustic with light grippy tannins. Friesa was never going to win its way into the hearts of millions of people and become an international varietal, it is however, authentic and unique and provides us with a view into the wines the folks in and around the Piedmont region used to drink in abundance, in straight sided tumblers or what ever glass came to hand, with no ceremony or profound expectation such as what one might expect when opening a bottle of the other famous local wine, Barolo. The once popular varietal was the source of a rustic bubbly wine made slightly sweet, with its acidity to balance it out, but today most producers make a drier style. It can pair well with heavy pasta and is great with pizza and cheeses.
The Grignolino is the lighter wine, with bright red and pale purple hints, and what I think of as a “classic” aroma full of pepper and minerals. It is vigorous and lively, with that wet stone minerality and a rather unique flavor of cherry and tobacco and perhaps tar, like a Nebbiolo want-to-be, but far more refreshing and still with that grippy slightly tart finish. These wines were what Italians would drink instead of water, but where our soda pop and flavored waters tend to be sweet, these wines are very dry but refreshing. Another grape varietal that come to mind when thinking of Grignolino is Pineau d’Aunis of the Coteaux du Loir from the Loire Valley. Like that grape, the slightly peppery note is distinctive, as are the slight tannins and cherry fruit and spice. This is an ideal red to wash down a light pasta meal or to share with Turkey or ham.
Here is what my favorite Italian wine writer once wrote concerning Grignolino:
“Once widely planted, Grignolino has been reduced to secondary status in Piedmont, a victim of shy yields. Its pale, delicate wines seem strangely out of step in a region of bold reds, but local admirers (in the Monferrato Hills) find its almost rosy color and dry, vaguely bitter, gritty flavour unmatchable.” (Burton Anderson/Wines of Italy)
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.