By: Joel ~
WINEKNOWLOG: Spring Training is Over-Let’s Get Serious!
Che Bella Figura! Three special Italian Vini Rossi
2013 Luciano Sandrone Barbera d’Alba $36.50
One of Italy’s greatest producers, Luciano Sandrone, with brother Luca and now daughter Barbara strongly involved, has been at the forefront of re-defining the reputation and improving the quality of Barolo for thirty years. Joel has been good friends with the family since 1981 when he first imported their first commercial wines. We have limited inventory at WoW of Luciano’s Barolo Le Vigne ($139.50), but what we want to feature is their glorious, oak-aged Barbera. Vineyards in the villages of Monforte d'Alba: Cascina Pe Mol and of Novello: Ravera and Rocche di San Nicola, all fermented with ambient yeasts, followed by aging for 15 months in French oak barrels, about 35% new, yieldsthis gorgeous wine . Near opaque ruby violet. Rich, balanced black cherry, slight anise and lightly tannic flavors. Very good depth and length- Fine extract. Balanced, can age 4-5 years. Shows subtle oak spice/roasted cherry character. Long finish with a hint of graphite. A masterful wine with delicious purity of flavors!
2011 Pacenti Brunello di Montalcino Pellagrilli $51.50
“A captivating, radiant wine, the 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Pelagrilli offers striking depth and nuance. Sweet dark cherry, plum, smoke, licorice and tobacco all flesh out in the glass. The Pelagrilli is without question one of the best wines of the year. Crushed flowers, tobacco, mint and sweet dried cherries grace the long, precise finish. The Pelagrilli is a blend of fruit from the north (80%) and south (20%) of Montalcino, aged in 45-50% new oak. I especially like the sense of energy here. 93 Points Antonio Galloni/Vinous.
We (Joel!) couldn’t resist this plug for Giancarlo Pacenti’s latest version of his estate’s Brunello. Joel has been friends with Giancarlo since first meeting him in 1988, and persuaded him to sell his wines for the first time in the US. More surprisingly, this I also one of the best values in Brunello on the market. A sleek, lovely take on this Tuscan classic! Don’t miss!
2013 Poggio Scalette Il Carboniaone Rosso Toscana Reg. $75/WoW $52.50
The home Estate of one of Tuscany’s greatest winemakers, Vittorio Fiore, Poggio Scalette is privileged by its high altitude, AND Fiore’s discovery of a unique century old selection of Sangiovese he found in the area decades ago. As Antonio Galloni put it recently: “The 2013 Il Carbonaione is compelling… but is going to take the better part of the next decade to be at its best. Black cherry, plum, licorice and menthol are all fused together. Today, the 2013 is rich, deep and unctuous, with superb depth and striking balance. Opening a bottle anytime soon...the Carbonaione is so primary, it almost tastes like a barrel sample! 95+ Points.” A monumental wine at a super price, along the lines of Grand Cru Classé Pauillac Bordeaux. Very Limited at this price!
New WA ARRIVALS for April (no foolin’)
The Hits just keep on comin’!
2014 II Vintners Some Days/Diamonds Syrah, Discovery Vyd, Horse Heaven Hills $51.50
2014 II Vintners Some Days/Stones Syrah, Stoney Vine Vyd. The Rocks $51.50
2014 II Vintner Lola Syrah-Cabernet, Walla Walla $31.00
2013 II Vintners Merlot, Columbia Valley $33.50
2013 Col Solare Red, Red Mouintain $79.95
2013 Spring Valley Vineyard Uriah Bordeaux blend, Walla Walla 52.50
2014 Proper Wines Syrah, the Rocks $51.50
2014 Force Majeure Parvata Rhone Blend, Red Mountain $71.50 (limited)
2014 Force Majeure Syrah Red Mountain $71.50 (limited)
2014 Mark Ryan Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain $67.75
2014 Mark Ryan Lonely Heart Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain $98.50 (v. limited)
2014 Avennia Valery Right Bank Bordeaux blend Columbia Valley $47.50
2014 Avennia Sestina Bordeaux Blend Columbia Valley $66.00
2014 Avennia Red Willow Vyd. Cabernet, Yakima Valley $96.50 (v. limited)
2014 Betz Family Pere de Famille (Cabernet blend) $82.50 (limited)
2014 Betz Family Clos de Betz (Merlot Blend) $67.50
2013 Woodward Canyon Estate Red, Walla Walla $105
2013 Saviah Cellars The Stones Speak Syrah, Rocks District-W2 61.00
2014 Quilceda Creek Cabernet, Columbia Valley $185
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: MAY 17: BLOCKBUSTER WA CABS TASTING $40/PERSON
Wines for Week Night Enjoyment
2014 Faisão Tinto, Dão DOC, Portugal $9.50
Faisão means Pheasant in Portuguese, and while the bird is native to Asia, Portuguese sailors brought it back to their country in the 15th Century.
Taking a cue from the bird’s bright plumage, Faisão’s creators crafted a deep-colored, bright fruited, supple delicious wine from the local Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro varieties. We love its exuberance, solid fruit, fresh, deep berry yet earthy flavors. Such an easy wine to drink with a lot of personality for a small price!
2012 Schoenheitz dry Riesling ‘Linsenberg’, Alsace $14.75
Not your grandmother’s Riesling! Adrian Schoenheitz’ Linsenberg vineyard is steep sloped and high, with granite-sandy topsoils on top of the rock. A sun-trapping site, it yields this deep, powerful, full-flavored dry Riesling (and we mean dry!). Incipient honey, rich, stony flavors, dry with good acidity, yet full extract on palate; almost oily texture. Very lengthy, complex and terrific value. Hard to find so fine a white wine at such a low price.
2015 Bodega Zorzal Pinot Noir Terroir Unico, Gualtallary Argentina $14.50
Delicious & character-filled Pinot Noir is not easily found at $45, let alone $14.50, but the Michelini brothers at Zorzal in Mendoza have made a believer of us! Their high vineyards (5000’), in Gualtallary [Gwal-tah-zjar-ree]with containa a fair amount of chalk limestone soil as in Burgundy. Using 30% whole clusters for more structure, they have crafted this very floral, violet-cherry, even raspberry-scented wine. Good fruit, moderately dry finish, fine light tannins make this a very stylish wine for drinking regularly now-2 years. Great with grilled salmon.
2015 Windy Canyon Cabernet, Walla Walla $14.75
2014 Windy Canyon Poirier Cabernet-Syrah, Walla Walla $18.50
A terrific small winery operation in Walla Walla owned by the Weaver Family, we were genuinely surprised and excited by the quality of these two wines, from vineyards like Les Collines. These two excellent wines show solid muscle and rich fruit, delicious now yet capable of keeping for a couple of years. Chuck Weaver sources from outstanding vineyards such as Les Collines. The Poirier is the denser wine of the two: Dark ruby-violet Bright berry/cassis aromas. Firm acidity , black pepper flavors. Well balanced fresh and vibrant fruit, savory and fruit forward all at once!. The Cabernet is all from Les Collines Vineyard (Leonetti). Solid dense cassis/berry aromas , some anise and a touch of new oak vanilla. Solid fruit, good purity and amazing depth for this price. Solid dense cassis/berry aromas , some anise and a touch of new oak vanilla. NO new oak barrels, uses 17-20% new staves. Solid fruit, Good character, needs a few years but shows solid purity and good depth.
2013 Indigenous Selections Barbera del Piemonte $14.85
Indigenous Selections was created by La Spinetta owner Giorgio RIvetti, a long time friend and producer of top quality Barbaresco, Barolo, Chianti, Moscato d’Asti as well as Contratto sparkling wines. The whole idea was to craft excellent and affordable examples of classic Italian varieties in their original zones of origin. Here’s a great example of old-school, Piedmont Barbera, funky in good way. but delicious! Ripe gamy black cherry earth aromas. Supple ripe dark flavors, good acid, light tannins old style woodsy flavors. Medium body, good fruit, great with a bowl of fettucine, grilled sausages or roast chicken.
APRIL SURPRISE SALE 30% OFF
ALL 2015 ROSÉS IN STOCK - STILL DELICIOUS
SPRINGTIME IN A GLASS!
Did you know that we’re adding craft beers to our selection? We’ve been having a great time with our brewer days at WoW. If you haven’t been to one of our beer Saturdays yet, what are you waiting for?
In the meantime, try one of these - perfect for sipping on a warm Spring evening...
Kulshan Brewing (Bellingham)
German Style Pilsner
MALT: Hallertau Perle, Spalt Select
ABV: 4.9 %
SEE: Golden Straw
SMELL: Noble Hops
TASTE: Soft Sweet Malt and Light Herbal/Spicy Hops
We raise a glass to the men and women who pioneered this classic session beer in 1842. Crisp and refreshing with clean and balanced bitterness from floral, bright and spicy Noble hops, this lager is our tribute to their hard work, precision and good taste. Prost.
Wander Brewing (Bellingham)
House Belgian Yeast
Belgian abbey yeast combines with imported malts and aromatic hops resulting in a flowery, earthy spiciness. Share Wanderale with others. Discover your wander.
By: Joel ~
New Arrival Highlights from Washington
While it’s somewhat early in the new year, already some of our favorite wineries (and friends!) have put their newest releases on offer. And over the next month or so, we will try to feature some of them during our weekly tastings. Here’s a peek at what’s upcoming.
2014 Mark Ryan Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain $67.75
2014 Mark Ryan Water Witch Cabernet blend, Red Mountain $59.50
2014 Mark Ryan Lonely Heart Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain $98.50
2015 Board Track Racer Chardonnay, Olsen Vineyard Yakima Valley $27.85
2015 Board Track Racer The Chief Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley $27.85
2014 Avennia Valery Right Bank Bordeaux blend Columbia Valley $52.00
2014 Avennia Sestina Bordeaux Blend Columbia Valley $67.25
2014 Avennia Gravura Bordeaux Blend Columbia Valley $34.50
2014 Avennia Justine Rhone Blend, Columbia Valley $41.50
2014 Avennia Cabernet Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley (limited, call for price)
2014 Amavi Cellars Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon $31.49
2013 Efeste Winery Ceidleigh Syrah Red Mountain $42.50
2015 Efeste Feral Sauvignon Blanc Ancient Lakes $20.50
2014 Two Vintners Some Days are Diamonds Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills $51.50
2014 Two Vintners Some Days are Stones Syrah, The Rocks $51.50
2014 Two Vintners Lola Syrah-Cabernet Walla Walla $30.50
2012 Northstar Merlot Columbia Valley $46.50
2012 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon reg. $52, WoW $39.75
One of Napa Valley’s most historic wineries, Freemark Abbey’s history dates to 1886, when Josephine Tychson became the first female winemaker in Napa Valley. Later in 1939, new owners took parts of their three names to name the original stone winery Freemark Abbey. Since the late 60’s. Freemark Abbey has been a stellar participant in the rise to prominence of Napa Valley Cabernet, particularly from the famed Rutherford Bench. Ted Edwards, winemaker since 1985 (above), continues to refine the winery’s classic style. To quote the rave review in the recent Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine: “This generously filled, very well-focused offering is a textbook expression of the richness, the fruity succulence and supple feel that have made the Napa Valley version the standard by which all others are measured, and it does so at a price that makes it one of the best buys to be had among collectable Cabernets.
And a new Fine Napa Cabernet producer, by way of France!
2012 Rafael et Fils. Oak Knoll District Cabernet Sauvignon, $57.50
Marc Rafael the ‘fils’ (son) of George Rafael, was raised in France but his parents had the foresight to buy land in Napa 30 years ago, so the winery name pays a little homage to their European heritage. His parents came to America in the 1970s, and were able to discover a Napa Valley still in its infancy. More amazingly yet, In 1985 an opportunity presented itself to own a magical patch of dirt in the then unnamed Oak Knoll District; 50 acres of former cattle ranching land, so steeply inclined that only 25 acres could be planted. Once planted the family began merely as grape growers, selling fruit to some of Napa’s finest producers, which they still do, since they only bottle about 1500 cases of wine total! Marc came back from France to take over management in 2010, and to launch their own estate bottled brand. Their cabernet’s style echoes a fine Bordeaux, but with great Napa Valley fruit expression., aged in 50% new French oak for 22 months. Dark ruby. Dark currant, black olive, herbal nose. Black currant liqueur flavors. Very savory, sweet fruit, fine velvety texture and medium full body. Refined, fresh, flavors. The flavors showcase lovely cassis/licorice accents and a touch of graphite. This is a very strong and classy wine which represents a great value in age-worthy Cabernet.
Distinctive New Arrivals
2013 Bodega Tomero Malbec Reserva, Mendoza $19.85
Tomero is a sister winery to one of our favorites, the Bodega Vistalba. Founded in the late 19th Century, Tomero’s vineyards in the Uco Valley are in the shadow of the Andes, many of which are decades old. Yet remarkably, this effusively rich, velvet ripe and juicy Malbec is from a single vineyard, Finca Don Antonio, planted in 2000! Aged in French oak it is everything you want in Malbec,—loaded with dark blue/black berry flavors, rich texture and full body, plus an extra degree of intensity and complexity from 15 months aging in barrel (nicely toasted ones at that)!
2014 Domaine Magdalena Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain Reg. 42.00 WoW $29.75
A terrific new intense, rich and sleek new property on Red Mountain, courtesy of Maggie Hedges (yes, that Hedges family!). We were truly struck by the baroque, wonderful label on first sight, then even more so by the quality of this specially priced estate bottling. This vineyard, planted in 2004, is also noteworthy as it Demeter certified Organic and Biodynamic. In line with this, the fermentation (overseen by Sarah Goedhart) is entirely done with ambient east and the wine is unfiltered before ending up in French Barrels for 7 months. The final result is one of the purest expressions of Red Mountain we have tasted recently, and there were only 500 cases made. opaque black ruby. Deep, black-fruit, new oak vanilla. Medium intense dark berry flavors, fine but insistent tannins, and fairly dark anise/cocoa powder and chewy flavors. Drink now with a couple hours aeration for its full savory, power, but we think it needs 5-6 years to really blossom. A terrific value in Red Mountain Cabernet!
2015 Broadley Estate Pinot Noir Willamette Valley $26.85
One of the richest versions of this perennial Pinot Noir favorite we have yet tasted; nearly 30 years since Craig Broadley released his first 1987 vintage! Darker shades of ripe cherry fruit, some oriental spice (clove, cardamom, star anise) medium body and light tannins frame this delicious fuller than usual Pinot Noir. A superb accompaniment to local grilled salmon!
New lower price on distinctive Walla Walla Syrah!!
2013 Result of a Crush Syrah (the Rocks)Walla Walla: was $36.50, now $22.50
We are not sure of the reason, but the Reynvaan sisters and their brother/winemaker Matt Reynvaan have lowered the price of their delicious, northern Rhone style Syrah, just as it is reaching its peak of flavor!. Dark berry fruit, meaty-bacon or graphite aromas and rich, peppery flavors abound in this now-more affordable wine! A fine showcase for the style and quality of Walla Walla (including the Rocks District) Syrah.
Two Great Blends Old World, New World
2014 Henschke Henry’s Seven Red,
Barossa Valley Australia $41.50
One of the greatest wineries in Australia and the world even, Stephen and Prue Henschke’s (pictured) wines from Barossa and Eden Valleys include the legendary Hill of Grace Shiraz whose vines date to 1862, and sells for upwards of $700/bottle. But this fifth generation couple and their children also are noted for other very expressive wines that uphold the traditions of the Barossa dating back to the mid-19th Century. AND one of the most affordable and delicious of these wines, from a fine Barossa Valley vintage, is Henry’s Seven!
The shiraz, grenache, viognier, mataro blend is a tribute to Henry Evans who planted the first vineyard of seven acres at Keyneton in 1853. He quickly developed a reputation for producing the best wines in the southern colony. Following Henry’s death in 1868, his widow Sarah exercised her temperance convictions by closing the winery and uprooting all the winegrapes. This blend highlights the historical introduction of southern French and Spanish varieties to South Australia in those early pioneering days and reflects the history, religion and culture of the Barossa. Most of the fruit is from older head trained vines and the wine shows real freshness, but also is ripe and plummy. Lots of fine berry and spicy fruit flavors, with a hint of mocha-oak spice adds definition. Fresh well balanced, sleek yet rich and just impeccably balanced and delicious for drinking over the next 6-8 years.
2013 Quinta do Crasto Old Vines Red
Douro Reserva $41.25
Spectacularly situated on a bluff above the Douro River, with terraced vineyards tumbling down the schist-based steep slopes, Quinta do Crasto today has been in the forefront of Port producers who have broadened the fame of the region by producing high quality, age-worthy red wines from the Port varieties. This Old Vines blend from their Maria Teresa vineyard (steep slope facing left in picture) has over 47 varieties, the average age of the vines is over 70 years!
The wine is as dramatic, dense and flavorful as the terraced slopes are steep. Dense purple ruby color, strong anise, dried roasted herbs, bitter chocolate and dark blackberry aromas lead to rich, firm flavors. The distinctive graphite, licorice and ferrous flavors are enveloped by fine firm tannins ensuring a long drinking window. This is one of Portugal’s rarest and finest red wines —one that captures centuries of tradition as well as the distinctive flavors of its origins.
Wednesday night winners!
Check out this group of wines for weekday drinking, affordable wines for when you just want something easy and quaffable!
2012 Chateau Canon Canon Fronsac Bordeaux $20.50—Super delicious minerally pure Merlot from one of the best but least known appellations in the Bordeaux region. Great fruit, earthy, dark cherry and plum aromas, fine medium body . Perfect with grilled lamb Here’s what ‘original’ Merlot tastes like!
2015 iLauri ‘Salto’ Sangiovese Terre di Chieti $11.50—Chieti is in the mountainous Abruzzo zone of central Italy east of Rome overlooking the Adriatic Sea. More famous for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, the Abruzzo does have a fair amount of Sangiovese, especially in the higher areas around Chieti. This inexpensive gem is full of vibrant cherry fruit, soft texture yet very fresh and energetic; the perfect wine for daily drinking with just about anything!
2015 Powers Malbec, Columbia Valley $11.85— Washington Malbec is ready to take on the popular wines from Mendoza Argentina. Here’s one that competes just fine for price and quality. We are not sure how the Powers family can produce such a delicious, affordable and flavorful wine but more power to them!
2013 Cantina Argiolas ‘Costera’ Cannonau (Grenache), Sardinia $15.50—Argiolas is one of Italy’s finest wineries, and certain the most prestigious in Sardinia. Cannonau is Sardinia’s ‘chosen’ variety, probably brought over from Spain 5 centuries or so ago when Sardinia was part of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies. Costera is Arigiolas’ easygoing, full-flavored juicy version, made to drink young and fresh. Truly delicious, with crunchy black cherry, pomegranate, sweet spice flavors.
2015 Vistalba Corte ‘C’ Malbec-Cabernet, Mendoza $13.50
Carlos Pulenta, founder of Vistalba, is one of the most innovative, forward thinking
producers in Argentina, particularly with his emphasis on blending. This lovely,
Forward, fruit-filled blend of 82% Malbec (60 year old vineyard) and 18% Cabernet
(35 years old) is made to be drunk young, yet has loads of flavor, as the Cabernet
lends distinction and length. Dark color, dark fruit flavors-- very solid fruit, with graphite/cedar flavors from the Cabernet, and excellent Malbec blueberry accents.
2014 Thurston Wolfe Family Red Columbia Valley $15.75
Wade Wolfe is one of Washington’s wine pioneers, having first established a reputation at Ch Ste Michelle in the 70’s-80’s then establishing his own winery with his wife in 1987. A gregarious guy, Wade’s Family red is just as friendly; a distinctive blend of Zinfandel, Petite Syrah and Lemberger. Deep earthy, black cherry/dark plum aromas, rich crunchy licorice and hint of black pepper flavors. Full bodied and fleshy with strong texture and very spicy finish. A delicious, earthy, robust and fruity Washington blend to drink with almost anything!