December Holiday News
By: Joel ~
WoW December/Holidays newsletter
Festive Greetings to all of our loyal customers, and a welcome for those of you new to our community. This time of the year is special for so many reasons. There is no better time to obtain that special gift, see family and close friends, or enjoy a glass of fine champagne at the best prices of the year. Karen and I spend a lot of time tasting thousands of wines a year to sift through the chaff to find those fine wines that offer the best taste and value possible. Of course we cannot carry every wine, but virtually every wine we do sell reached our criteria for quality and we recommend them without hesitation, even when they get 90+ points from some wine pundit.
IF you don’t see what you are looking for, whether in person, or in our online store, let us know! We can order it if still available. Can’t think of what to get someone? Why not purchase a World of Wines Gift Certificate?
Don’t forget to check out our Library Selection of older vintages; there is nothing better than a fine mature wine that reflects positive patience (and your good taste!).
WoW Discount Policy: We offer 10% discount on 6-11 bottles purchased, and 15% off 12 or more, unless otherwise specified.
new year’s eve day we will be open until 4:30pm - join us for a fun fizz tasting 2-4pm. Pick out your celebratory favorites! $8/person, $14 couple
From Champagne to Cava, Lambrusco to Prosecco, this is the time of year to splurge and enjoy the best bubbles you can, reveling in that delightful ‘pop’ of sound when a bottle is opened and its frothy contents GLIDE INTO your glass.
These are some of our favorite choices!
Discounts: Unless otherwise noted, 10% on 6 bottles, 15% on 12+ bottles
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne NV Reg. 77.00, WoW $49.00
Perennially our favorite champagne for its complexity, layered flavors, toasty bouquet and creamy texture due to long aging on the yeast, and a high percentage of Reserve wines going back many vintages.
2009 Dom Perignon Brut Champagne, Reg. 225. WoW $198.50
From one of the warmest recent vintages, and all Grand Cru Pinot Noir and Chardonnay aged seven years on lees and Disgorged Spring, 2017. More floral than Krug, with ripe Pinot Noir red currant, then saline mineral notes. Less overt biscuit aromas than others. Still closed in a bit, but shows great style and fruit, with pinpoint bubbles, creamy-fresh mousse texture and typical DP finesse and definition. Needs time, though being from a ripe vintage, there is no shortage of flavor for this benchmark Tête de Cuvée (Prestige) wine. Enjoy now or over the next decade.
Krug Grand Cuvée 166th cuvee MV Brut, Reg. $261, WoW $154.50
Since 1843, the House of Krug has set a unique and unparalleled benchmark for deep, rich, toasty multi-layered champagne. This newest blend is based on 2010, but includes 140 wines dating back to 1996, and aged 7 years sur lie. THE REAL DEAL and the best value this season in Tete de Cuvée champagnes. There is nothing else like Krug Champagne!
2008 Hugues Godmé Extra Brut Grand Cru Verzenay, Reg. $84 WoW$ 66.50
A favorite of ours-fully organic farming, all Grand Cru richness from the beautiful village of Verzenay with its old windmill and classic chalk soils. Aging 9 years on the lees has resulted in a rich creamy, deeply focused champagne with length and real complexity. A superb blend of 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir
Alain Bailly Brut Rosé Champagne, Reg. $35, WoW $26.75
Still our best value champagne with a lovely salmon-pink hue, fine Pinot Noir red berry aromas and flavors, a touch of fresh brioche toastiness in the bouquet and ripe, dry flavors to complement any holiday ham or other rich meat entrée.
2012 Cava Mestres ‘Coquet’ Brut Nature, Catalunya, WoW $ 22.85
Cava Mestres is one of the few producers in Spain whose wines elevate the reputation for Cava beyond just simple, inexpensive bubbly. This wine was aged on lees for 4 years and really shows near-champagne like depth of flavor and toasty aromas, combined with the richer fruit and easy-going flavors that mark the best wines from around Barcelona’s hills. An excellent ‘daily’ fizz, but also flavorful and complex enough to celebrate with on New Year’s Eve.
NV J. Laurens Cremant de Limoux Brut & Brut Rosé, WoW $17.50
It’s simply impossible to NOT like these two inexpensive, but complex, fresh bubblies made in SW France using the local variety, Mauzac, but importantly the champagne varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. For everyday fizz, these two make for a great celebration, as well as week-night sizzle!
…and more fine and distinctive fizz! (Many more on our shelves)
2008 Champagne Veuve Clicquot Gold Label Brut VINTAGE, Reg. $106, WoW $97.50
2017 Castello di Santuario Moscato d’Asti $14.50
2017 Villa Maria Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc NZ $16.50
NV Champagne Marc Hebrart Brut Selection Vieilles Vignes, Reg. $63.00 WoW $55.75
NV Champagne Tarlant Brut Zero FR $57.75
NV Champagne Paul Dethune Grand Cru Ambonnay Brut FR $49.50
NV Roederer Carte Blanche Demi Sec Champagne (medium sweet) $46.50
NV Lini 910 Lambrusco di Sorbara (Red, dry) $16.50
1999 Bereche 1er Cru Late Disgorged Champagne (20 years sur lie!) $112.75
NV Adami Prosecco Garbel Brut 15.50/9.50 (750/375ml)
NV Gratien Meyer Cremant de Loire Rosé Brut $19.50
The Season’s Best offerings
Here are suggestions that represent our picks for exciting, fine wines you should consider for your gift giving, OR, to treat yourself! Wines that were among the best we tasted this Year.
2016 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Reg. 118.50, WoW 104.50
From what many consider the greatest producer in this storied appellation, and from a great vintage (hyperoble intended), Beaucastel is a legendary wine from the Perrin Family for generations. The blend is a bit eccentric for the region (but typical of Beaucastel) with 30% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise, and the rest a mix of permittedvarieties (all 14!). It means this is more densely textured, fuller-bodied, but without excess alcohol and more black pepper, spice and concentrated flavors.Mega-points from everyone who matters (especially Us!). As our friend and colleague, Jancis Robinson MW put it; “A great wine, with great pedigree – you can taste this in the sheer elegance and intensity.”
2017 Patricia Green Cellars Pinot Noir Freedom Hill Vineyard, Willamette Valley $37.50
At the least, 2017 will be remembered as the last vintage our friend Patty Green harvested grapes and made the wine in tandem with her partner Jim Anderson before her tragic passing—and oh what a joy this vintage is! Freedom Hill is one of Willamette Valley’s iconic vineyards, with Pinot Noir vines dating back to the early 1980’s. Located outside of Monmouth west of Salem, this wonderful vineyard in 2017 produced an intensely flavorful, black-fruit and deep flavored wine that truly indicates why this vineyard, and those nearby, should gain their own discrete appellation.
1985 Kopke Colheita Porto, bottled 2018, Douro Valley Portugal $79.50
Kopke is one of the oldest Port houses, founded in 1670 by Dutch merchants, and over the centuries has specialized in producing sublime aged Tawny ports, especially those of one vintage (Colheita), much of the fruit coming from their stunning Quinta San Luiz vineyard above the Douro (see photo). These are the firm’s specialty, which require immense cellars, astute, expert blending experience and a big checkbook. And yet? Wines like this with 33 years aging in oak barrels, are amazingly good value. Here is a superb Tawny from a generally declared excellent vintage. Showcasing voluptuous rich flavors, it is also elegant and sleek and shows effortless age-worthiness. Pale amber-green color. Tobacco-pepper bouquet; nutty, yet fresh. Lovely rich spicy peppery flavors with underlying plum, candied fruit, wood-spice accents. Supple, still fairly sweet, still rich with stylish subtle resin-herbal aromas. Long finish, fresh, fine sweetness yet firmer note on finish-more complete pleasure than any wine has a right to be! A splendid Port which only needs some blue cheese, a few walnuts and a big glass to help you achieve Nirvana!
2015 Pavillon de Leoville Poyferré, Saint Julien $47.50
The ‘second’ wine of the Super Second Growth Château Leoville Poyferré is anything but second in quality! Partly this is due to the excellent vintage, but the rest is due to the insightful, sensitive blending of the wine; 2/3 Cabernet Sauvignon, 1/3 Merlot with a splash of Petit Verdot, and aged for 16 months in barrel, 33% new ones. It is a terrific value in fine Bordeaux, the benchmark for Cabernet even today; dark ruby-violet color. Fine cassis-cedar aromas with dark cherry opens up with some graphite and overt oak-spice smokiness. Finely extracted, dense black fruit, graphite flavors show full weight and center, revealing deep muscularity and rich sweet fruit. Still very polished and not chunky, highlighting its pedigree, and capable of aging at least 10 years more.
2015 Francesco Boschis Dogliani Vigneto Sori San Martino DOCG, $23.50
Dogliani is a beautiful village high up that is south of the Barolo zone in Piemonte. Due to location and altitude, the only variety permitted for the DOCG appellation is Dolcetto, which reaches distinctive heights of quality and refinement here. Francesco Boschis is one of the benchmark producers and this purple-ruby colored wine shows exactly why Dogliani’s reputation is excellent. Lovely rich, fresh, wild cherry and licorice bouquet. Generous fruit with light tannins good density and finesse lead to a supple saline finish. So easy to drink, yet not wimpy, with great fruit and intensity. Really fine Dogliani made to be drunk young, ideal with any rich flavored foods where its freshness cuts through the richness.
2014 Jordan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley $57.50
79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.7% Merlot, 5.8% Petit Verdot, 1.2% Malbec, 0.3% Cabernet Franc
Perennially, Jordan has made consistently generous wine. As Josh Green in a recent review in Wine and Spirits Magazine wrote: ““Welcoming cabernet” might seem like an oxymoron, but Jordan has always aimed for a style that’s drinkable on release. Mostly hillside and benchland cabernet, supported by petit verdot and merlot.” The Critical bit here for us is the change over the last 20 years to more gravelly, dry soils that give Cabernet the structure and lessens the green-herbal notes that older Jordans had from being grown on valley floor flood plain soils.
Recent vintages of Jordan are focused on vineyards in the gravelly soils of the valley floor in eastern Geyserville, with about 40 percent coming from hillsides that rise into the Mayacamas Mountains. Rob Davis, long winemaker at Jordan and friend said that the late great Andre Tchelistcheff, BV’s legendary winemaker for decades, told him in no uncertain terms that growing grapes on the flood plain was madness—land better suited to hay. And now, years later, the change of vineyards now allows us to happily sell Jordan…AND it now enjoys respect from the critics and of course drinkers everywhere for its more opulent fruit, supple texture and deep complex flavors. Jordan has never ‘chased’ points like other wineries, but today, critics who independently assess wines routinely do give it 90+, for what it’s worth!
2015 Fattoria Piaggia Carmignano Il Sasso DOCG, Tuscany IT $32.50
Carmignano, a charming small town west of Florence, is one of, if not the oldest “appellations” in the world. In 1716 Duke Cosimo di Medici, who had a large villa conveniently in the area, proclaimed very specific boundaries and varieties for the wines of the town, as well as for what we know now as the Chianti Classico. It is the only DOC(G) in Tuscany that actually mandates the use of Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot in the blend with Sangiovese, harking back to the period over 2-3 centuries ago when the grapes were introduced to this area by Medici family members, probably. Piaggia produces the richest yet sophisticated version of this wine being made today; a wine of class and ample power, to drink now or over the next decade.
Featured Holiday offers
holiday best Values
2015 Result of a Crush Christmas Cuvée Syrah, Walla Walla, WoW $28.75
A deliciously rich yet not overpowering Syrah perfect for greeting (or toasting!) Santa when he comes down the chimney! Seriously, the Reynvaan sisters, Amanda and Angela, working with their winemaker-brother Matt, have created a wonderful gift for the holidays with the Xmas Cuvée. The idea of the label celebrates love of the grape, and/or having a ‘crush’ on someone or something, like good wine. Indeed, the best part of this wine is its price to quality ratio. It’s a deeply flavored, rich Walla Walla and Rocks District based wine that is half the price of its competitors—a best value IMHO! Ho Ho Ho indeed! (PS- it will taste just as good after the holidays)
2017 Powers Chardonnay, Columbia VALLEY, REG: $15.00, WoW 12.25
Powers continues to impress with wines like this chardonnay which elicits comparison to bright orchard-fresh appley fruit, medium body and juicy flavors. Very good character for a very low price.
2016 Jean-Marie Royer ‘Le Petit Roy’ Vin de France, WOW $16.50
JM Royer is a well-known Chateauneuf du Pape producer, and for good reason. His wines are rich, powerful rustically classic but limited in production. Why not make a similarly expressive but affordable wine from nearby vineyards just outside Chateauneuf du Pape, and then include a soupçon of appellation fruit that didn’t quite make the cut for the CdP? This ‘Little King’ blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache is the answer! Deliciously earthy, with black berry, kirsch, strong mourvedre gamy notes, then black raspberry/anise syrah flavors kick into overdrive. good 'muscle' and Fine violet scents accent the finish as fruit comes up. A generously rich wine for enjoyment with all sorts of hearty dishes.
2016 Kennedy-Shah La Vie en Rose Red wine, Columbia Valley $16.50
Our friend and Kennedy Shah winemaker Jean Claude Beck must have had lots of fun putting this delicious blend together, given how many varieties are included: 36% Merlot 35% Cabernet Sauvignon 14% Tempranillo 8% Malbec 7% Syrah. Medium blue ruby color The overall flavors are rich yet not heavy, the fruit is somewhat earthy (that’s the syrah and tempranillo talking). The dusty, blueberry, dark cherry bouquet picks up on the Malbec, Merlot and Cab notes. Medium bodied, there is a certain ‘French’ spine of tannins, good acid and clarity which we find cuts through the attractive fruit intensity in a more restrained style which won’t tire your palate during a meal. Bravo Jean Claude!
2017 Villa Wolf Gewurztraminer, Pfalz Germany $13.50
An ideal holiday feast wine, this new vintage FROM ERNI Loosen’s Pfalz vineyards is one of the best spicy wines we have recently had; not too dry, definitely spicy and floral flavors of white pepper, red currant, pink grapefruit and incense, but without the cloying sweetness or perfumed hairspray-like smells that too many Gewurz’s have. Here’s the wine I tell my Jewish friends who go out for Chinese food on Christmas day to drink!
Special wine-related Gifts & stocking stuffers
Virtuoso Lever Screwpull with foil cutter set: $39.98
We have found this much less expensive version of the Original Lever Screwpull® from many years ago to be our best friend here at WoW. Removing the capsule with the foil cutter, the double action corkscrew (we can show you how easy it is to use!) quickly removes the cork. The teflon®-lined worm slides easily into a cork, and takes a lot wear, too. The key components are metal, so won’t break so easily as similar lever-types made of plastic. A great gift for those who want to take out much of the hassle of opening a bottle.
Affordable one bottle ($20.50) and two bottle/magnum ($27.50) decanters
Both glass decanters are in this shape, and the Magnum size has a lovely glass stopper with a chrome neckband.
Jetsetter TSA approved waiter’s Corkscrew (no blade, with built in foil cutter $10.75
Jeeves Ah-so twin prong cork extractor (great for removing old corks) $5.95
Cone Bottle Stoppers (two pack) $6.28
Wine Thermometer $14.99
Double hinge Waiter’s Corkscrew with knife $7.99
Library Wines—Distinctive & Rare Wines at maturity, the finest gift for that special wine-lover in your life!
1997 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1.5L $275.00
1986 BV Georges de Latour Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford/Napa $155
1999 Ch. Duhart-Milon Rothschild, 4eme grand Cru Classé Pauillac 1.5L $155
1996 Ch. Duhart-Milon Rothschild, 4eme grand Cru Classé Pauillac , 3L $400
2001 Costanti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1.5L $310
2004 Clos de Caillou Chatauneuf du Pape Reserve $165.99
2000 Gusto di Notri Toscana Rosso $119.99
2005 Vincent Girardin Corton Bressandes Grand Cru 1.5L 184.75
2001 Ch. Latour 1er Grand Cru Classé Pauillac $475
2003 Ch Margaux 1er Grand Cru Classé Margaux $920.99
2000 Ch Margaux 1er Grand Cru Classé Margaux $1425.99
2006 Ch Margaux 1er Grand Cru Classé Margaux $562.99
1998 Ch Lafite Rothschild 1er Grand Cru Classé PAUILLAC $1300.99
2000 Ch Ste Michelle/Dr Loosen Eroica Riesling, Individual Berry Select (TBA) 375ml 189.99
2006 Cain Five Estate Red, Spring Mountain/napa $138.50
1997 Ojai Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sta. Lucia Highlands CA 1.5L $185
2005 Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Rioja Gran Reserva Especial $86.50
2005 Bouchard Pere Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru $585.99
1997 Dal Forno Recioto di Valpolicella 375ml $286.99
1994 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Porto $112.50
2005 CVNE Imperial Rioja Gran Reserva $85.50
2005 Bergstrom Pinot NOIR Bergstrom Vineyard, Chehalem Mountain 1.5L $130
Unusual and Delicious Stickies
Perhaps the best time of the year to enjoy delicious luscious Dessert wines. the winter months are ideal for enjoying these great, often rare, certainly unique wines. until you have had one of these, never say you don’t like sweet wines!
1949 Ch. Ste. Michel Muscat de Rivesaltes $106.50
2009 Fattoria San Felice Vin Santo Toscana 375ML $26.75
2015 Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria (Muscat) 375ml $45.50
2015 Monte Zovo Recioto di Valpolicella 375ml $36.75
2003 Ch. Rabaud Promis 1er Grand Sauternes $48.75
2017 Kiona Chenin Blanc Ice Wine, Red Mountain 375ml $37.75
2009 Ch Pazjos 5 puttonos Tokaji Azsu 500ml $57.75
2011 Artimino Vin Santo di Carmignano 375ml $26.25
2003 Smith Woodhouse Classic Late Bottled Vintage Porto $36.75
1998 Kopke Colheita tawny Porto, bottled 2018 375ml $27.50
2015 Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Porto $83.75
NV TAYLOR Cordova Kosher Ruby Porto $44.75
By: Joel ~
WoW November Highlights
Mark your calendars: Annual WoW Champagne tasting is December 7th, 4-7pm
$55/person RSVP REQUIRED; LIMITED to 25 people
We are anxiously awaiting many of our direct import champagnes arriving this month. We will feature a range of wines from several of our favorite importers and producers across a range of prices, AND have many others on the shelves. What better way to start the Holiday season than with great Fizz! Among others, we will feature many of the following:
Bereche Bruno Paillard Alain Bailly G. Chiquet H. Godmé Dom Perignon Lallier Pierre Peters Jacques Hebrart Laurent Perrier Charles Heidsieck Delamotte Roederer Krug Pascal Ponson Clicquot Wafflart-Antoniolli Pol Roger
You’ve got everyone and their cousin (uncle, brother, mother) coming over for this annual ritual and feast. What to do wine-wise? So many flavors, so many different peoples’ tastes to deal with. Our suggestions reflect all these variables. Indeed, for a preview of some of the wines WE may be serving at our tables on the 22nd, come to our Thanksgiving wines tasting on Wednesday the 21st, 5-7pm.
In the meantime, here are some quick and delicious suggestions to suit all budgets.
2017 Delas Freres Cotes du Rhone; $12.75 : This nearly two centuries old producer continues to amaze us with this singular blend of northern Rhone Syrah (60%) and southern Rhone Grenache (40%) which has so much personality, fruit and robust yet soft flavors that it is hard to imagine so small a price for the quality. Buy a case and have with the leftovers on Black Friday and on into New Year’s Day. You won’t regret it!
2017 Villa Wolf Gewûrztraminer, Pfalz Germany $12.95: Finally! a Gewûrz that tastes great, has fine spicy white pepper-rose aromas & good freshness yet doesn’t taste like hair spray or has cloying sweetness. This lovely little gem from our friend Ernie Loosen at Villa Wolf provides delicious flavors, a hint (just a hint!) of sweetness to satisfy those who don’t care for dry white wines, yet with enough brisk fruit to enjoy as an aperitif and complement the Bird (white meat especially).
2017 Erica Orr Grenache, Columbia Valley $27.50: Erica Orr has enjoyed a short yet so far brilliant career as winemaker, starting in California in the late 90’s.She took a vacation from her lab tech job at UCSF to work harvest with Cathy Corison while applying to the master’s program at Davis. Erica honed her craft working at some of the best wineries in the world: Rudd Estate, Cain Vineyard, Domaine Dujac and Yering Station. In 2005, she moved to Washington State and started an independent winemaking consulting and enology business in Woodinville, and now makes the wines for Lisa Baer and launched her own label in 2016 with old vine Chenin Blanc and now this delightful, fresh, wildly aromatic Grenache.Floral vibrant strawberry/bitter cherry nose with a hint of blood orange. Medium body, fine fresh flavors showing good acidity, lightly crunchy Grenache tannins and solidly ripe but not jammy finish. A well-balanced poised grenache with real length and focus, best served cool. Turkey or ham?
2016 Marshall Davis Yamhill Carlton Pinot Noir OR $23.75:We really don’t know exactly who this, but when one of our agents brought it in to taste, we said YES! This is excellent OR Pinot Noir for a very fair price. The color is excellent, there is plenty of deep ripe black cherry, even plum flavors befitting the vintage’s superb ripeness. Solid mid palate, near velvety texture, and moderate tannins well balanced and delicious Pinot. Great with the dark meat, just plain fine no matter what! A truly excellent and affordable OR Pinot.
2017 Villa Maria Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc Brut, NZ $16.50: Whatever possessed Villa Maria founder/owner Sir George Fistionich to take his award winning Sauvignon Blanc and siphon off some to make this crazy-ass delicious refreshing and aromatic fizz, we are happy he did ! Give the devil his due, a wacky idea that works. This will make a great cocktail intro to your holiday dining, and be refreshing and flavorful enough to cut through all of the rich food you will end up enjoying.
NV J. Laurens Cremant de Limoux Rosé Brut FR $18.25 : Short of very good Champagne Rosé, this lovely blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and 15% Pinot Noir from a long time, well-known (to us!) producer is one of the best wines to have at the holiday table for its versatility and delicious fresh, juicy flavors. Lovely pale pink violet. Strong, raspberry/strawberry Pinot Noir bouquet. A firm stream of bubbles, and creamy ripe berry flavors are beautifully balanced. Very easy drink shows good length and freshness.
2012 Pacenti ‘Pelagrilli’ Brunello di Montalcino $54.50: Giancarlo Pacenti is one of our oldest friends in Montalcino, dating back to 1988 when we (JB) introduced him to the US Market in California. His estate, Pelagrilli , in the northeast sector of the Brunello zone is somewhat cooler, which is reflected in the elegance combined with power of this superior wine. By using some new French oak barriques for aging this is a superb modern Brunello, showing graphite, anise, smoky new oak vanilla on nose. Lovely fruit intensity without being too oaky, it has richer, more overt, focused concentrated flavors with dark cherry fruit. Mouth-coating fine density with a plush, velvety finish. A truly fine wine to serve that will stand up to everything on the table and add extra panache to the feast!
2017 Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly Cru Beaujolais $31.50 : One of the most beautiful labels, Thivin’s low yields historically produce delicious richly fruity, spicy Beaujolais from their vineyards on the circular dome-like granitic Mont de Brouilly (see photo). 2017 appears to be a terrific year here, as the Gamay grape reaches ultimate ripeness with vibrant color, black raspberry flavors and crunchy texture that will complement virtually anything on your festive table. Serve it cool (one hour in the fridge) and it is even more pleasing.
November’s Noteworthy Wines
2016 Mark Ryan Little Sister Merlot: 78.75: Plush deep, dark berry fruit, ripe opulent texture and powerful finish. Serious Merlot drinking well even now.
2015 Result of a Crush Syrah Christmas CuvÉe Walla Walla $28.75: The Essence of Walla Walla SYRAH! Rich, blackberry, gamy & anise flavors, round but firm texture and deliciously silky all at once. In time for the holidays, Ho Ho Ho!
2016 Jones of Washington Wahluke Slope Viognier $16.50: W agree with Seattle TImes Wine Critic Andy Perdue: “If there is a classic example of this RHone white, this is it!” Exotic, orange blossom citrus apricot aromas and crisp, yet full-flavors. Quite a versatile wine at the table, too.
2015 GUARDIAN Cellars The Rookie Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $54.50: Deep, ripe plush and definitely no ‘rookie’ when it comes to richness without heaviness. Shows great Red Mountain (photo below) dark plum, cocoa, graphite and black cherry flavors for drinking now or in 5- 7 years.
2014 Buty Wines Connor Lee Merlot/Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley $48.50: What a lovely surprise! Gorgeous fruit, soft ripe raspberry and violet cedary aromas & flavors with velvety texture and real Bordeaux-like finesse, combined with Washington ripeness. Nina Buty debuts another winner!
2015 Coleen Clemens Dopp Ranch Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains $28.50: Even The Wine Spectator gets it right sometimes (95 pts!). This does showcase excellent Pinot velvety texture and refined dark black fruit flavors without excess; Very good complexity at a fine price with enough weight to merit aging a few years, even.
2016 A.D. Beckham Amphora Syrah-Viognier Applegate Valley $39.50: A wonderful modern take on an ancient wine style, made by the master, Andrew Beckham. Fermented and aged in his own crafted clay amphorae (photo), co-fermented (17% Viognier) skins and all, this is deeply expressive, black pepper, graphite inflected fresh and wonderfully stylish Syrah. The tannins are soft and the style is forward, smoky and meaty than big and opulent.
2014 Cameron Nebbiolo Dundee hills $43.50: Whatever else Cameron’s John Paul is, he certainly is an iconolclast. A long-time fan of Barolo, in 1993 he planted cuttings from his/our friend Aldo Vacca in Barbaresco at his estate and on Ribbon Ridge. This is the best New World Nebbiolo I have tasted in the last five years, and is ‘autumnal’ in character as the best wines of the Langhe district of Piedmont. Great bouquet, typical garnet ruby color, fine structure with refined TANNINS, AND stylish Nebbiolo wild cherry, mushroom and woodsy flavors. Very RARE, limited and worth it!
2016 Goodfellow Chardonnay, Willamette Valley $25.85: Marcus Goodfellow (he really is, and that is his name!) once again has crafted a lovely, Burgundian-style chardonnay, aged 20 months in barriques but not too oaky. From mature vines at Whistling Ridge and Durant vineyards, this is a superior example of Chardonnay that is rich without being weighty, and will be a fine complement at the table with a number of dishes, given its good acidity and solid fruit. A steal!
2015 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Laurene Pinot Noir Dundee Hills $74.50: every year since 1990, this is one of the most eagerly awaited wines from Oregon, a pioneering ‘Reserve’ wine made by Veronique Drouhin of that illustrious Burgundy family, named for her eldest daughter. A selection of the best barrels, oldest vines on their estate hillside vineyard, it reflects, as she wryly states; “French Soul and Oregon Soil.” Restrained oak, lovely sandalwood, crystallized black cherry fruit and fine dark peppery finish. Very Limited.
2016 Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills $39.50: “Mind Behind” Jim Clendenen has quietly but profoundly made the case for Santa Barbara County as ‘ground zero’ for California Chardonnay in a Burgundian vein. Sanford & Benedict is one of the ‘grand crus’ of the Santa Rita Hills. This VINTAGE FROM 40-YEAR-OLD vines has garnered rave reviews from critics galore. This IS GRAND Cru chardonnay at a terrific price, which will age gracefully for another 5- 7 years at least. ABC indeed! THIS GREAT chardonnay may change your mind and give your taste buds a thrill.
2015 Domaine Eden Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains $44.75: When famed Mount Eden Vineyard owner s Jeffrey & Ellie Patterson bought the old Cinnabar Vineyard two hillsides (see photo below)) away from them near Saratoga in 2007, they instantly recognized the quality, and the difference, from their higher estate. Hence, the name Domaine Eden. This is a gorgeous, more fruit forward, slightly denser wine than Mount Eden Estate’s Pinot, given a lower elevation and is somewhat warmer. Savory smoky, dark cherry flavors and great balance. A wonderfully complex wine for a very fair price, considering miniscule yields, around 1.4 tons per acre!
2014 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot $36.75: One of Napa Valley’s great legacy wineries (1889), FREEMARK ABBEY’S long-time winemaker Ted Edwards has a strong affinity for Merlot, though Cabernet is the winery’s hallmark wine. What gives this wine its singular muscle and great intensity is that it comes from two fine mountain vineyards, along with fruit from cooler sites in Yountville which contribute perfume and dark plum flavors. Merlot this good should not be missed!
2015 Ch. Mayne-Vieil Cuvée Alienor (Merlot) Fronsac $22.50: From a fine, intense vintage, this superior value top wine from this long time estate in the lovely, hilly Fronsac area near Pomerol is unusually all Merlot, with some new oak aging as well. Not all fine Bordeaux costs an arm and a leg. This full-flavored but stylish and compact wine brilliantly reveals what Merlot tastes like on its home turf- dark cherry, violet and graphite aromas, rich cherry-ish fruit but tautly framed, fresh and rich. enjoyable now, it will benefit from 5-7 years aging.
2016 Jean-Marie Royer ‘16eme’ Le Petit Roy, Vin de France $16.50: Royer is a top grower in Chateauneuf du Pape. SO, what happens when he owns some fine vineyard parcels just outside the appellation boundary that are not entitled to be labeled as such? Under French law you cannot even put a vintage date on the label for ‘Vin de France (table wine), hence the ‘16eme’ designation. No worries! this is a deeply potent Syrah-Grenache-Mourvedre BLEND THAT SHOWS real grip, powerful black berry, licorice and pepper FLAVORS MORE typical of its big brother for a very moderate price. Great Value
2015 Michel Magnien Bourgogne Rouge $25.75: Magnien is an old family domaine in Morey St Denis (now run by 5th generation son Frederic) who own nearly 45 acres of prime vineyards in the Cote de Nuits a fine grower, from Grands Crus to Village level. Here, a combination of solid Village wines from up and down the Cote make up the majority of the blend, and indeed, this is a serious, MEATY, PINOT Noir that also has fine fruit intensity and richness. For about the price of an average-quality Oregon or California Pinot Noir, you can have this singularly expressive wine made by one of the top growers in Burgundy! (photo ©domaine-magnien.com)
2016 Vincent Paris ‘Granit 30’ Cornas $42.50: In a little more than a decade, Paris, the nephew of Cornas legend Robert Michel, has taken on his uncle’s mantle of responsibility to produce deeply flavorful, granite-laced Syrahs which are top exemplars of Cornas’ steep-terraced, ancient vineyards. Concentrated but not heavy, this lovely wine highlights the deep, meaty, black berry-violet –infused nature of Cornas from vineyards over 30 years old. Paris ‘knows’ Cornas, and this more ‘elegant’ version allows one to APPRECIATE THE inherent power as a young wine.
2015 La Braccesca Vino Nobile di Montepulciano $26.75: La Braccesca, a large estate (see PHOTO) IN Montepulciano but within site of the ancient hillside town of Cortona, has been owned by the Antinori Family since 1990. The ‘Noble Wine’ of Montepulciano can be somewhat rustic, but in recent years, its fame and finesse has grown as producers like Antinori have worked diligently to tame the local Sangiovese’s brusque tannins. 2015 is a superb vintage here, and with a little dash of Merlot blended in, the usual cherry and fine leather character is rounded out by deeper succulent fruit, minerally texture and fine-grained tannins to seamlessly finish fresh and fruity. It will be even better in 4-6 years, but a joy now with grilled meats.
2014 Tenuta Monte Zovo Valpolicella Superiore ripasso $21.50: Made by adding the pomace (skins/juice) of dried Corvina grapes for Amarone to the main harvest valpolicella juice, then refermenting the total for two weeks followed by aging in large new oak casks for 18 months, Monte Zovo has crafted a deliciously fruity, rich modern take on an ancient idea. Making so balanced a high alcohol, richly fruity and ‘chocolatey’ wine without it tasting burnt or pruny is a difficult task. Here, it is done beautifully. A unique, delicious, warm and rich wine for the cold winter months ahead at a fine price.
2015 Gaja Sito Moresco Langhe Rosso $59.50: A longtime friend, an incredible personality, a literal legend in his own time for reviving BARBARESCO AND modernizing Italian wine production, Angelo Gaja has always loved tinkering with tradition. A man of his land, he has not hesitated to innovate in order to satisfy his own curiosity. Sito Moresco, a singular Vineyard in Treiso, traditionally was all Nebbiolo for Barbaresco. Gaja then went back to traditional Piedmontese practice of blending in local barbera to add some fruit, color and soften the often austere Nebbiolo tannins. In 2015, a superb vintage, he has gone one step further, modernizing the blend to 35% Nebbiolo | 25% Barbera | 25% Merlot | 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. with some aging in new oak, this wine will astonish and gladden your taste buds!