World of Wines WineKnowLog

As always,  We would love to hear from you —tell us what wines you would like us to carry, what kinds of wines you want to taste at our thrice-weekly tastings on Wed. Fri. & Saturdays. And come in to enjoy a glass of wine at our wine bar every day. We have many fine wines across all price points for your delectation, and if you desire, we can make you a small plate of food to enjoy with your wines!

Joel Butler Joel Butler
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July News
By: Joel ~ 7/5/2017

July News

YES!!  Summer is here (finally, we hope!)

The 4th of July has come and gone—Summer  officially has  started!

And this month features :

  • 2016 Rosés for summer-time sipping (and beyond!)
  • 2012 Brunello di Montalcino— a fine rich vintage
  • Superb 2015 red Burgundies from Bouchard Pere et Fils
  • New Releases from Gramercy Cellars
  • Concentrated, rich and bold: 2015 Rhone reds
  • New Affordable and delicious values
  • Don’t forget you can order on-line:

2012 Brunello di Montalcino

july Picture1.png"The superb 2012 Brunello vintage represents a conundrum: a hot, very dry year that produced a large number of wines in a cooler-climate style.” - -Ian d’Agata,

Ian is one of the most respected wine-journalists writing on Italian wines; someone Joel has known for years and tasted with several times. He certainly knows where-of he speaks about this most prestigious Italian wine. As he noted in his March 2017 review of the wines, “the 2012 vintage for Brunello stands out for its consistently high quality...with more good to outstanding examples than in any past vintage…(and) are characterized by impeccable balance, vibrant acidity and fine grained tannins...blessed with precise aromas and flavors…” As Brunello must be aged at least four years before release, we are just now receiving the first wave of wines—all top choices, mirroring Joel’s opinion of these wines based on years of tasting in Montalcino. Brunello can often be intense and strong-structured when young, which often means the wines need a few years in bottle to refine and soften. But in 2012, there is so much fruit that even when the tannins are assertive, the wines can be enjoyed young, benefiting from decanting a couple of hours ahead of service.  Unless otherwise noted, the marks are from Ian d’Agata.  The 2012 Brunelli  are stellar wines, and will repay keeping for 10-15 years, if you can resist their charms today!

2012 Scopetone Brunello di Montalcino-94 pts. $57.50 

2012 Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino-98 pts  (James Suckling) $89.50

2012 La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino –92 pts $58.50

2012 Il Marroneto Brunello di Montalcino-93+ pts $86.75

2012 Salicutti Brunello di Montalcino Piaggione-95+ pts $94.50

2012 Ciacci Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Pianrosso-92+ pts 479.95




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(pictured- Les Collines vineyard, source of Gramercy John Lewis Syrah) ©Kevin Pogue/

Greg Harrington is one of Washington’s best, most consistent producers, and given his formal career as a Master Sommelier, put his money where his mouth was when he started Gramercy in 2005.  We love Greg’s wines for their finesse, depth of fruit, moderate alcohol and above all intense flavors that don’t overwhelm the palate.  His commitment to crafting fine Rhone-style wines, red and white, highlight just how wonderful our eastern Washington region is for these varieties. Unfortunately, Greg, his wife/partner Pam and partner Brandon Moss’ wines have limited availability, are highly desired by restaurants around the country and generally allocated, so we only get a limited amount. Give us a call to reserve what you would like soon.

2016 Picpoul, Walla Walla $21.50

Picpoul is a deliciously aromatic, very dry white wine native to the  town of Pinet on the Mediterranean coast west of Marseilles. Gramercy’s version from Los Oidos Vineyard at the foot of the Blue Mountains. As Greg says: “Think Pinot Grigio with attitude!” Unusual and refreshing!

2016 Rosé Olsen Vineyard, Columbia Valley $29.50

Ok, this isn’t cheap, but it is the first single vineyard rose made, and the first where the  Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah were co-fermented together after being harvested early in September. The combination of 6 hours maceration on the skins combined with its early harvest has given the wine vibrant, minerally flavors with fresh strawberry, orange/melon accents and great bouquet.

2016 Viognier, Antoine Creek Vineyard, Columbia Valley $25.85

From a cool vineyard near Lake Chelan, this is gorgeous Viognier! Exotic, peachy, creamsicle Viognier nose. Good fresh acidity,  vibrant, keen fruit, more northern Rhone in style. Rich and still mineral tinged flavors that bespeak perfect ripening in a cooler area and deft winemaking.

2014 Lagniappe Syrah Yakima Valley $67.75

Always one of my favorites, this terrific blend of Red Willow & Minnick vineyards Syrah and co-fermented Viognier has all the perfume, ripe fruit, meaty –berry aromas and well-toned muscle of a fine St.Joseph from the Northern Rhone. A stunning beauty now, but give it 5-7 years for real magic.

2014 John Lewis Syrah, les Collines vineyard, Walla Walla $94.50

Named for Pam Harrington’s father and the top “grand cru” of the Gramercy portfolio, Denser, more wild mineral-firmer tannins. More flesh and chewy notes with greater finesse than above. Very classy, more concentrated, along the lines of great Hermitage, but softer.


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New Rosés from 2016 VintageJuly Picture4.png

Sales of Dry Rosés continue to  increase year after year—and why not?  Refreshing, flavorful, versatile and lovely to look it, as well as inexpensive (mostly), here’s our current WoW recommendations.  We are firm believers in the less expensive the better; with a few exceptions to the rule, we don’t find there is a significant quality difference between wines costing $10-15 and those at $20+, especially not the over-hyped and marketed Rosés from Provence, France! We taste dozens of Rosés and only select a handful. Freshness is imperative!

And join us throughout the summer for new Rosé tastings once a month. Check the Events calendar our website for dates

2016 Idylle Rosé Pamplemousse, France $12.50 (fizzy!)

2016 Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé, Pfalz-$12.50

2016 Dom. Chermette Beaujolais Gamay Rosé $14.75

2016 Pratsch Zweigelt Rosé, Austria $13.75

2016 La Spinetta Il Rosé di Casanova, Sangiovese, Tuscany $20.50July Picture5.png

2016 Dom. Sorin Cotes de Provence Rosé $12.50

2016 Amalie Robert Pinot Noir Rosé Willamette Valley $22.50

2016 Guado al Tasso Scalabrone Rosé, Bolgheri Tuscany $16.25

2016 Quinta del Arcas Arca Nova Vinho Verde Rosado, Portugal $11.85




2015: A Superb vintage for red Burgundy! 

July Picture6.pngFounded in 1731 in Beaune by Michel Bouchard, Bouchard Père & Fils is one of the oldest wine houses in Burgundy, perpetuating the traditions for nearly 3 centuries and 9 generations.  In 1775, Joseph Bouchard acquired the first vines in Volnay in the famous climate of "Caillerets", and began the constitution of the family estate. Today, the company is one of the largest owners of 1er and Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy. “In terms of their consistent quality and broad appeal, 2015 will be a difficult vintage to top”  writes Stephen Tanzer We concur . The Following trio were my top picks for quality and price.  Burgundy cannot be cheap, given the small size of vineyards, tempermental  climate and high demand.  But these are worth it for their sheer class and complexity.

2015 Beaune Clos de la Mousse 1er Cru $66.50 (89-92 pts)

2015 Savigny les Beaune les Lavieres 1er Cru $58.50 (88-90 pts)

2015 Volnay Caillerets Ancienne Cuvée Carnot 1er Cru $99.50 (92-94 pts)





Bargains for Daily enjoymentJuly Picture7.png

2016 Cantina San Pietro Pinot Grigio Alto Adige $14.75–The newest vintage of this perennially crisp, but well flavored wine from vineyards at the foot of the Dolomite Mountains.

2016 Martin Ray Sonoma Chardonnay $16.50-A terrific, rich, yet fresh chardonnay showing light oak/vanilla aromas apple-melon fresh fruit and fine acidity to balance. A steal!

2014 Falesco Vitiano Rosso IGT Lazio $10.50-Always delicious, this blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet & Merlot continues to offer excellent spicy red fruit flavors in a medium-bodied package ideal for complementing just about any dish!

2015 Cava de Cerco Ouro Verde Vinho Verde $9.50– the label looks right out of ‘Finding Nemo’, but the wine is anything but fishy! Just crisp lime, quince fresh minerally flavors.

2015 A&R Seghesio Barbera d’Alba $16.50– The brothers Seghesio have crafted their best Barbera yet! Joyous dark cherry fruit, supple texture yet fresh finish with keen raspberry-graphite accents. An ideal wine!




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New Arrivals from the powerful 2015 Rhone Valley vintage!

Whether you prefer the potent, spicy and meaty character of the pure Syrahs of the northern rhone, or the jammy, warm and July Picture9.pngfleshy nature of southern rhone blends, here’s a quartette of expressive, rich, ‘high fidelity’ wines. All have received fine reviews.

2015 Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage (pictured) $38.50 (91-92 vinous. Com)-Concentrated fruit, lurid violet color!

2015 Ch Fortia Cuvee Baron Chateauneuf du Pape $43.50 (89-91 Sappy, gamy dark cherry flavors; fleshy.

2015 Jerome Gradassi Chateauneuf du Pape $46.50  (90-92 A newcomer offering deep, spicy, juicy flavors and fine peppery finish.

2015 Moulin de la Gardette Gigondas ‘Tradition’ $28.75 (90-92 Strong, gamy, strong black pepper and black cherry flavors and muscular finish.