By: Joel ~
WoW September Newsletter
ANNOUNCING A NEW WoW FEATURE!
BE ADVENTUROUS: PICK UP OUR 6-PACK OF THE MONTH. Each month we will pick out 6 distinctive wines we find delicious, different, and flavorful; wines you may not have heard of, and some which might be old favorites you haven’t had in a while. All will be wines that 0ver-deliver on quality for the price. (You can buy these wines individually as well)
Ah yes…the Price? Each month’s 6-pack is priced between $100-125 (plus tax). Our hope is that you will find this an easy, simple way to enjoy a fine range of wines for regular enjoyment throughout the month without having to spend time searching about the shelves. Salud
September 2018 6-pack [$110.00] contains:
2012 Cava Mestres Brut Nature ‘Coquet’ Gran Reserva, Catalunya: We heard about this fine decades old producer while traveling in Spain years ago. Our friend said they made wines that were as close to real champagne in style and quality, yet still uniquely Spanish Cava, as could be found in Spain. We are happy they are here in WA, and this is a beauty- no dosage, very dry. With nearly four years aging on the yeast lees, it has fine biscuit-brioche aromas, tiny bubbles and crisp appley flavors with solid weight. This is a gastronomic, high class sparkling wine which would likely cost 3 times as much if it were from Champagne!
2015 Piaggia Carmignano ‘il Sasso’ DOCG: The sleepy village of Carmignano, 25 minutes west of Florence, is home to one of the oldest officially designated wine regions in the world dating to the Bando of 1716 promulgated by Duke Cosimo III de Medici, setting the boundaries for wines around his estate near Carmignano, as well as subzones of the Chianti region. Mauro Vannuci, Piaggia’s owner, set up his estate in Caiano not far from the Medici Villa in the heart of the appellation. Carmignano is the only Tuscan appellation that demands the blending of Cabernets with the local Sangiovese (cabernet being originally brought into the zone in the 17th-18th Century by the Medicis according to local historians). Il Sasso is a tremendously delicious, impressive wine; 75% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernets. With ruby color, ripe rich style and very fruit forward, though less than other wines of the district. Sweet tannins frame ripe fruit which show some definite Cabernet cassis-dried herb notes on finish. Succulent ripe style that is very appealing to drink even now. A terrific Tuscan red
2017 Quady North ‘Pistoleta’, White Rhone Blend, Rogue Valley, OR: Herb Quady came up from California in 2003, escaping from the heat of the Central Valley where his father, Andy, makes some of America’s fortified wines and vermouth. Herb became entranced with gorgeous valleys, peaks and Mediterranean climate of the Rogue Valley, especially the Applegate Valley west of Medford. Herb was convinced that the region, reminding him of Southern France with its warm days puctuuated by afternoon winds and cool nights, allowed Rhone varieties to thrive. The Rhone and Spanish varieties prosper in the mix of marine sedimentary and rocky-clay soils of the area. Making a name for himself has been a challenge in this ‘other’ Oregon-- Pinot Noir is not the name of the game down here, though he makes a pretty good one! This is such a delicious blend of 42% Viognier, 23% Roussanne, 29% Marsanne, 5% Grenache Blanc & 2% Vermentino! The grapes were all co-fermented harmonizing the flavors, and partially barrel fermented in Acacia wood and French oak barrels, yielding this expressive, lush wine. Lots of fruit! Ripe peach, some honeysuckle and bright fruit aromas. Fairly crisp and fresh, but also rich, with a creamy texture provided by the wood aging. Neat, intense palate, but bracingly fresh and distinctive flavors.
2016 Delas Cotes du Rhone Saint Esprit: Delas is one of the top four great wine merchant/growers of the Rhone Valley, along with Guigal, Jaboulet and Chapoutier, founded in 1835. The current Technical Director/winemaker, Jacques Granges came on board over 20 years ago, and since then, the quality of Delas’ wines has soared to new heights. WoW carries their top Hermitage wines, which are superb, and priced accordingly. Yet it is this unique Cotes du Rhone that recently grabbed our attention; high quality, low price. Saint-Esprit is made from a blend of syrah (majority) and grenache grapes, which come from a small village in the Ardèche region. The vineyard’s southern exposure on steep granite hillsides provides the best growing conditions for the vines. It is this more northerly origin and granitic soils that makes Saint Esprit differ from most wines of the appellation grown further south in warmer climes and on more sedimentary soils. Floral-blackberry, lightly gamy, syrah-influenced nose. Medium body, graceful flavors inflected by anise or graphite on finish. Mild tannins and bright fruit lead to a peppery, chewy finish. This is just so easy to drink and versatile at the table; one can even chill it for an hour to serve with lighter dishes.
2016 COR Cellars Momentum Red, Horse Heaven Hills: One of our favorite wineries located in the Gorgeous (!) Columbia Gorge, Momentum red is delicious rich blend of Petit Verdot 52%, Merlot 22%, Malbec 20%, and Cabernet Franc 6%, all from McKinley Springs and Alder Ridge vineyards. Dark violet ruby. Ten months aging in neutral French oak barrels frames this chewy wine, propelled by strong, currant/anise/graphite and black pepper aromas. Dense, dark blue/black fruit flavors, full body and a supple mid- palate richness leads to a ferrous accent on the long finish. Very good value, too!
2017 19 Crimes Shiraz, SE Australia: OK…gimmick? Or reaction to ‘critter’ wines from Oz? Or out-of-the-box approach highlighting Australia’s singular history? What is 19 Crimes? In England, there were 19 crimes for which a convicted person could be ‘transported’ to Australia. Thus, the people at Treasury came up with the idea of focusing on the fact that Australia was originally a penal colony. The marketing gurus found their hook and were then able to find real mug shots of criminals being sent to AustraliaHere’s the hook, according to writer Sharon Nagel in Vitisphere: “After the swell of Yellow Tail, Americans and for that matter Canadians thought of Australian wines as having an animal on the label and being cheap and cheerful. Looking at the different wineries owned by Treasury, there is one called Baileys of Glenrowan. It happens to be near the place where the famous bandit, Ned Kelly, had his last stand, [In 1880, when Kelly's attempt to derail and ambush a police train failed, he and his gang, dressed in armour, engaged in a final gun battle with the police at Glenrowan. Kelly, the only survivor, was severely wounded by police fire and captured. Despite thousands of supporters attending rallies and signing a petition for his reprieve, Kelly was tried, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging, which was carried out at the Old Melbourne Gaol. His last words were famously reported to have been, "Such is life”.-Wikipedia]. One thing is certain - this Shiraz is pretty tasty for the price. First made and imported in 2012 to Canada and now in the US, the wine shows a lot of intensity, ripe fruit flavors and suppleness for a modest price.
2016 G. Viberti Barbera d’Alba La Gemella $18.50: Deliciously vibrant dark red fruit flavors and soft tannins combined with fine acidity show classic Barbera character ideal for drinking with almost anything you choose to serve. La Gemella (the Twin) refers to Claudio Viberti’s mother Maria, who has an identical twin sister, and is a great lover of Barbera, Piedmont’s ‘everyday’ wine.
2016 Enrique Mendoza ‘La Tremenda’ Monastrell, Alicante, Spain $12.50: Tremendous, indeed! One of the best surprises I have tasted recently is this full flavored yet balanced Mourvedre (Monastrell in Spanish) from the Alicante appellation in SE Spain. Why is this wine so good? For one thing, it is grown at 2000’ elevation, so much cooler, slowing down maturation to allow for balanced alcohol, freshness and lots of vibrant fruit. Also, the vines are traditionally bush-trained, and over 30 years old requiring manual care. Most Monastrell wines from Spain in this area taste raisiny, a bit cooked and jammy; not to our taste. La Tremenda shows balance, fresh dark fig/plum and licorice flavors, with energy and fine tannins framing the deep fruit and good acidity moderating the ripeness. Sophisticated yet rustic, but above all satisfying. The Wine Advocate® gave it 92 points. I can only agree, especially for such a low price.
2017 Powers Chardonnay, Columbia Valley $12.25: Bill Powers and his family are turning out some of the best values in Washington wines these days, showing great improvement in the last couple of years. This fresh, lively, moderately rich and very easy drinking chardonnay won’t have you thinking of Montrachet any time soon, but then, it doesn’t cost $800 either. Ripe pure honey pear apple flavors, good weight and juicy finish. Still hankering for fresh cracked crab? Here’s your wine!
2015 Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina $17.50: Rùfina, east of Florence and cooler, is the other ‘great’ zone historically, for Chianti, and Selvapiana is the finest practitioner. Selvapiana in Medieval times was one of the watch towers along the river Sieve built with the purpose to protect the city of Florence on the North-East border. During Renaissance the building was enlarged and transformed into a Villa as summer residence of noble Florentine families and of the bishops of Florence. In 1827 it was acquired by Michele Giuntini, a successful banker and ancestor of Francesco Giuntini, the present owner and fifth generation to run the property from 1957 to 1997. There is probably no more satisfying red wine at the table than fine Chianti, due to Sangiovese’s dark cherry fruit, fine acidity, medium body and savory flavors. In a superbly ripe vintage like 2015, all this character comes forward in a most satisfying way. Mediu intense, dried cherry/light leathery-oak bouquet. On the palate, it is fairly rich, intense and balanced, with good weight and center. Ripe dark cherry-anise, lots of fruit and fine tannins holding it together. Nicely done and focused. The epitome of class and Tuscan focus from one of the oldest and famous wine areas in Tuscany.
2015 Dominque Piron Beaujolais Villages $18.50: Here’s a seriously intense yet utterly delicious ‘drink-me’ wine from one of the best domaines in Beaujolais. 2015 was a powerful warm, ripe vintage yielding wines such as we haven’t seen since perhaps 2009. Dark ruby, Bright, deep black raspberry, even graphite or granite minerally aromas show the class of Gamay on granitic soils found in the best vineyards of the area. What sets this apart from the usual cherry/soda pop style of Beaujolais is that it has more ‘chew’ to it-solid grip and length. Good fruit. Serious style. Drink now for its ripeness or wait 2-3 years when it will soften further. Either way, a perfect wine for Fall’s cooler days.
September’s Special wines
Force Majeure Red Mountain: One of Washington’s finest young wineries
2015 Parabellum Alluvio Red Mountain Estate: 54% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot $63.00
2015 Parabellum Coulée Red Mountain Estate: 56% Syrah 44% Mourvèdre $49.50
2015 Parvata Red Mountain Estate: 46% Mourvèdre, 34% Syrah, 20% Grenache $74.50
2015 Syrah Red Mountain Estate $81.50
2016 Viognier Red Mountain Estate $49.50
2015 Épinette Red Mountain Estate: 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot $95.00
2014 Cenyth Right Bank Blend, Sonoma County: Cabernet Franc 60%, Merlot 25 %, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%, Malbec 5% $52.50
Easily one of the best Cab Franc based wines I have tasted from the West Coast! The name Cenyth represents Hélène Seillan beginning her journey as a winemaker, tutored by her Bordeaux trained renown father Pierre Seillan. Following in her father’s footsteps, Hélène pursued a career in winemaking and began splitting her time between Sonoma County and Saint-Émilion. Starting in 2006, she served as assistant winemaker for her father at the family’s Bordeaux estate. This is an admirably balanced, very Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé like wine. Fine deep ruby, violet magenta. Superb, cassis, cedar graphite and berry nose. Aged in 40% new French oak barrels, the wine unfolds with a textured, dense, minerally palate and velvety but rich tannins. Nicely balanced. Very St Emilion length, focus. Can keep 4-6 years, but its mineral-graphite, dense yet fine textured flavors are good now with some aeration before serving. Lovely and fine California Bordeaux blend.
It’s finally here! The great Antinori Tignanello 2015 (vineyard below); IGT Toscana
85% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernets $139.50
The Original Super Tuscan, and one of Italy’s most consistently great wines. In 1970-71, Piero Antinori strayed outside the then current, restrictive production code for Chianti to make a wine truer to, and richer than that associated with what passed for quality wine in the 60’s. Using Cabernet to enrichen the austere Sangiovese, then aged in smaller French oak barrels, the result brought out the best of the Tignanello vineyard’s terroir. 2015 is a magnificent, deeply concentrated and elegant wine with more Sangiovese in the blend, due to greater ripeness. Widely acclaimed by all critics, this is a masterpiece, among the very best I have had going back to the original. Worth cellaring for 10-15 years if you can!
2017 Patricia Green Reserve Pinot Noir Willamette Valley $29.50: The passing of our friend Patty Green was a true shock to us. We miss a good friend with a wicked sense of humor and a commitment to making Pinot Noirs that truly expressed both their origin and Patty’s sense of what was right for that site. Her partner, Jim Anderson, continues to make wines which reflect their joint vision, guided by 20 years of partnership and shared sensibilities. Patty helped crush this 2017 Reserve Pinot Noir, their lovely, more affordable distillation of all of the vineyards they work with. It is archetypal Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. 2017 appears to be an excellent follow-on to the stellar 2015-2016 duo. You cannot go wrong with Patty Green wines, and this is no exception; succulent yet earthy, fine ripe fruit with acidity to match, frame, and focus the deliciously dark cherry, gamy flavors and soft tannins. As Patty used to say: ‘Women taste better’! And indeed, she had great taste –as does this wine.
2016 Saviah Cellars Walla Walla Syrah $31.50: Our friend Rich Funk makes some of the most flamboyant yet balanced wines in Washington, full of character, rich fruit and fine texture. The newest version of his Syrah, derived from Funk Estate, Watermill Estate, Anna Marie, and Lewis Vineyards. Aged for 17 months in 20% new French oak barrels, it perfectly expresses Walla Walla Syrah: Purple ruby. Ripe berry cassis aromas with wheaty, slightly smoky violet floral accents.. Very fat, rich, hint of licorice. Plush dark berry flavors, with supple tannins, olive tapenade and some charcoal notes. A great expression of WA Syrah capable of aging up to 6-8 years.
By: Joel ~
July WoW Newsletter
New & noteworthy Northwest Wines which do not disappoint !
2017 Mark Ryan Viognier, Yakima Valley: 32.25: A gorgeous yet refined wine from Olsen & Red Willow vineyards that highlights a brighter, more refined, mineral-accented yet texturally rich style; like great Rhone Condrieu!
2016 Mark Ryan the Dissident Red, Columbia Valley: 41.00: A superb blend of Bordeaux grapes led by Cabernet Sauvignon, derived from a mélange of top vineyards on Red Mountain, along with Red Willow and Phinney Hill. The best Dissident yet? Dark ruby violet, Strong, vibrant cassis, dark cherry nose. Ripe supple tannins, fine dense fruit- graciously rich berry flavors and some new oak vanilla creaminess. Excellent, with better length /balance than some previous years. Deliciously rich now, but will keep well for a half a decade or more.
2015 Mark Ryan Lost Soul Syrah, Red Willow Vineyard: 49.50: A brilliant Syrah from the original Syrah vineyard in Washington! Opaque black ruby-violet. Black pepper, earthy, dark berry, meaty aromas reminiscent of great Northern Rhone syrahs like St Joseph. Ripe rich black raspberry, blackstrap,cassis-graphite/creosote flavors. Fine tannins. Long lively fruit; more relaxed less muscular and very N. Rhone in character. This may be the Best yet? 8 months extra aging in larger barrels clearly has broadened the flavors and yielded expansive velvety texture.
2014 Gramercy Cellars Syrah, Columbia Valley: 35.50: Greg Harrington’s ‘everyday’ regional syrah blend has great fruit sources like Olsen, Les Collines and Red Willow. More supple, sweet berry fruit and hints of smoked meat and softer texture, though quite rich berry flavors with licorice accents and medium full body. Well balanced and definitely ready to go, if you want, or keep it five years. Delicious
2015Gramercy Cellars The Deuce Syrah, Walla Walla: 63.50: Gramercy’s homage to the powerful meaty density of Cornas in the Rhone valley; a stunningly good blend of Forgotten Hills & Les Collines vineyards’ fruit. Moderate alcohol, rich graphite, roast meat, anise aromas and full bodied fruit framed by firm tannins yield a muscular, focused wine that will serve well now with grilled meats or keep well for a decade to develop more complex and soave flavors.
2015 Guardian Cellars Gun Metal Red, Columbia Valley: 43.75: Consistently one of the richnest wines from Washington, Jerry Reiner’s newest near equal Cab-Merlot blend has an inky color, pronounced dark berry aromas, sweet ripe rich black berry jam and kirsch flavors with mocha-vanilla oak accents. Deliciously full bodied. And we should not forget the newest rendition of its more fruit-forward side-kick, the
2016 Guardian Cellars Chalk Line Red, Columbia Valley: 27.50: Straddling the ‘chalk-line’ between Rhone (Syrah) and Bordeaux-style (Cab, Merlot) red every vintage, this year’s version is a full-flavored supple and big bang-for-the-buck wine that is hard not to immediately like and enjoy!
2016 Megan Anne Cellars Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley: 36.50: The lovely wife of Mark ‘Ryan’ McNeilly has her own delicious set of wines from three vineyards in Oregon and it is a winner! With the wonderful French-Canadian Isabelle Meunier (ex-Evening Land) as winemaker, this lovely, plush yet firm flavored Pinot is much richer than some, and shows a lot of depth, length, fine-grained tannins as in the finest burgundies, but more opulent finish. We pour this at the wine-bar; come in and try it!
2016 Division Wine Co Pinot Noir ‘Deux’, Eola-Amity Hills: 38.85: We ‘discovered’ this producer through a friend of ours who knows the owner/winemaker Kate Norris from Portland, where we once met her at her then urban winery, and oh hell…you get the point! Long story short, we tasted a bunch of her wines and really fell for this old vine Pommard clone Pinot Noir (1980-82) grown on two key soil types: the basalt-volcanic typical basement soils of the Eola Hills, AND a heavily calcium-laden marine sedimentary soil on the top. The result is a fine mélange: Dark raspberry aromas; solid fruit, good length, fine tannins. Fairly good weight, but also lithe medium body ripe fruit (raspberry -sousbois) flavors. Classically elegant Pinot Noir.
Fall Champagne pre-arrival offer
Our favorite wine may be Champagne. Those who know us well eagerly look forward to our annual holiday Champagne tasting (this year, December 7).
Champagne, blended primarily from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier, has never been better overall, due to some recent quality vintages like 2013 informing the non-vintaged blends. Moreover, producers are aging their wines longer on the yeast to give richer, more complex flavors. On the negative side, the dollar has gone down against the Euro over 10% the last year or so. We have tried to compensate for that by choosing wines that provide the best price/quality rapport from the hugely diverse offerings made to us. All of the wines noted are excellent—they are made by growers we have followed and respected for years who make distinctive, stylish wines.
Here’s your chance to lock in at a discounted price a number of our favorites arriving in October and November in time for the end of year celebratory occasions! Let us know how many bottles (cases!) you would like of these. No payment up front, we will charge you on arrival. The following wines are some of our favorite Grower Champagnes. Of course we will also have in top Grandes Marques like Dom Perignon, Charles Heidsieck, Roederer and others.
Lallier Grand Cru Rosé :Reg.67.50, WoW 57.50, 51.75 pre-arrival
Lalllier Brut Grand Cru 2010 : Reg. 96.00, WoW 73.50, 66.15 pre-arrival
Lallier Zero Dosage Grand Cru Brut : Reg. 63.00, WoW 56.50, 50.85 pre-arrival
Camille Savés Grand Cru Brut 2009 : Reg. 76.00, WoW 68.75, 61.88 pre-arrival
Pierre Peters Cuvée Reserve Blanc des Blancs Brut : Reg. 75.00, WoW 66.75, 60.07 pre-arrival
Pierre Peters L’Esprit Blanc des Blancs Brut 2013 : Reg. 100.00, WoW 89.50, 80.55 pre-arrival
Marc Hebrart Brut Selection : Reg. 64.00, WoW 55.75, 50.17 pre-arrival
Huges Godmé Grand Cru Brut 2006: Reg. 84.00, WoW 69.50, 62.55 pre-arrival
Pierre Gerbais Extra Brut Grains des Celles: Reg.48.75, WoW42.25, 38.02 pre-arrival
A. Margaine Brut Rosé : Reg. 68.25, WoW 59.85, 53.86 pre-arrival
Gaston Chiquet Carte d’Or Brut 2008 : Reg. 72.00, WoW 66.50, 59.85 pre-arrival
VALUE WINES: Wines with superior price/quality rapport
2016 Fess Parker Santa Barbara County Chardonnay: $16.75: A bargain in barrel-fermented chardonnay from a veteran Santa Barbara winery. Aged on lees in 25% new French oak barrels for eight months, this is a fine glassful of rich tropical fruit flavors, spicy-cinnamon-oak vanilla aromas and well balanced, fresh finish. A rich style that shows greater intensity than we normally find for this low a price~!
2017 Jordanov Tikves Red, Macedonia: $11.50: Potentially the newest member-to-be of the EU and NATO, the Republic of Macedonia lies just north of Greece, sharing the ancient landscape that was the birthplace of Alexander the Great. Roughly equal parts Cabernet, merlot and the local dark variety Vranec, this crafty blend is extremely drinkable and fresh, yet quite flavorful and deceptively rich. Not meant to be aged a long time, Tikves (the region) red has impressive flavor for so low a price.
2016 Coto de Gomariz Souson La Flor y la Abeja, Ribeiro, Spain: $17.75 :Better known across the Spanish border in Portugal as Souzao, especially for Port, Souson in the Galician Ribeiro appellation makes profoundly deep-colored wines on its own, which is unusual anywhere! This producer’s version is an absolute joy for those who like rich textured, full-fruited wines with a distinctive ‘earthy’ twist. Like a lighter pure Syrah Cotes du Rhone, or really dense Cru Beaujolais, Souson also has a unique bitter chocolate-like finish. Excellent, different and ready to drink now.
2016 Guardian Newsprint Malbec, Columbia Valley: $19.50: From the fine Stone Tree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope comes this rich, inky purple-colored, full-textured wine that exemplifies what WA can do with Malbec! Jerry Reiner of Guardian uses younger vines for this flavorful wine, whose somewhat higher yield allows the lower price. One of the best values for rich red wine on the market, impeccably made.
Shebang! Red Wine, California: $12.50: Shazam!! Bedrock’s newest blend of Zinfandel and a cast of 1000’s (really only 1o or so, but …) is sheer delight! Crafted as carefully as their top single vineyard old vine Zins, Bedrock blends are made to be deliciously fruit-driven, with low tannins, bright flavors, moderate alcohol, and full berry aromas that will complement a wide variety of dishes. It’s hard to go wrong here!
Top New 2017 rosés for all seasons
As always, Summer is Rosé season, and we have some delicious new ones, both favorites from past vintages and some new and exciting ones from unusual varieties and places (Canary Islands?). All are dry, zesty, and you don’t need rose-colored glasses to enjoy them!
Tried and true every vintage:
2017 Villa Wolf Pinot Noir rosé, Pfalz Germany- 11.50
2017 La Spinetta Casanova Sangiovese rosato, Tuscany- 20.50
2017 Domaine Sorin Cotes de Provence rosé, rhone blend, Provence-14.50
2017 Gramercy Cellars Olsen Vineyard rosé, Yakima Valley 28.50
2017 Ch Beaulieu rosé, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence 17.50
New, Improved, Distinctive !
2017 Palama Arcangelo NegroAmaro Rosato, Puglia Italy 14.50
2017 Kiona Vineyard Mourvedre rosé Red Mountain 16.25
2017 Regaleali Nerello Mascalese Rosato, Sicily 12.75
2017 Ktima Semeli Agiorgitiko rosé, Greece 16.75
2017 Bodegas Muga Rosado, Rioja Spain 18.50
2017 Efeste Oldfield Vineyard rosé, Yakima Valley 27.75
2017 Los Bermejos Listan Negro Rosado, Canary Islands 27.75
2017 Domaine L’Hortus rosé, Pic St. Loup France 18.50
2017 COR Winery Cabernet Franc rosé, Horse Heaven Hills 18.25
No wines are more versatile at the table than Italian wines and we received some truly lovely new wines from the length and breadth of the Italian Boot! Check these out…
2017 Marchetti ‘Castro di San Silvestro Rosso Conero, Marche 13.50: A delicious blend of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo lending deep color and plummy fruit, and Sangiovese, offering floral, wild cherry aromas, This is a solid, berry-flavored , chewy wine with lovely graphite-cedar flavors, substantial weight and ridiculously low priced for this amount of intensity and quality!
2015 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico, Toscana 21.50: Perhaps our best-selling Chianti Classico year to year, Marco Ricasoli’s lovely 2015 vintage is richer, more intense and flavorful than previous years. Subtle but fragrant violet/wild cherry aromas, with slight tar/graphite bouquet nuances. Medium body, firm, spicy cherry, raspberry flavors and firming tannins lead to a long finish. This is a wine to enjoy no end with grilled steaks over the next decade!
2015 Palmento Costanzo Etna Rosso, Sicily 33.50: Mt Etna, Europe’s tallest active volcano (nearly 11,000’), has unique lava –ash soils at ideal for the native, unique Nerello Mascalese and Capuccio grapes. Here, at up to 3000’, old vines and a quasi-continental climate (more like Piedmont’s Barolo) provide the Costanzo family with fruit that shows dense, earthy-black cherry, leather and licorice flavors; Nebbiolo meets Pinot Noir! Richer and softer than many from Etna, this is a fine new property to watch, and enjoy the wine with flavorful stews, roast pork or simply grilled chicken.
2015 Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino, Toscana 28.50: One of the finest and oldest producers in Montalcino, this pure Sangiovese Grosso (Brunello) is aged just one year in large oak, and reveals an intriguing wild cherry bouquet, bright cherry/graphite and leathery flavors with medium tannins that recommend serving it with strong grilled lamb or sausages flavored with fennel. Truly one of the best and complete wines from this fine vintage!
2015 Gaja Sito Moresco Langhe Rosso, Piedmont 59.50: Angelo Gaja is perhaps Italy’s most famous and inventive wine-makers, famous for world class traditional Barbaresco, Barolo and Brunello, but rebel enough (when he was younger) to disobey his father and dare to plant Cabernet and Chardonnay in some of the family’s finest vineyards. Insatiable world demand and great quality means his wines are expensive, but Sito Moresco, named after the estate in Barbaresco where much of the fruit originates that Angelo bought from Giovannini Moresco 30 years ago, is unique in two ways. First, it is a superb blend of the traditional Nebbiolo used for Barbaresco, with a healthy dose of Cabernet and Merlot. Second, for Gaja this is as affordable a wine as one can get. Ripe, full and muscular all at once, it’s a delicious blend of traditional and modern as only Angelo Gaja can make!