By: Joel ~
WoW January 2019 – New and Note-worthy
Happy New Year to all! We thank all of our loyal customers, and those new to our vinous community for your support this past year.
After all the recent holiday intensity, January’s wintery quiet calls for more relaxed vinous enjoyment with wines to sip and savor with good friends over hearty dinner or in front of a fire with a good book (Kindle anyone?).
Also, if you are interested in learning more about wine, DO CHECK out our upcoming class schedule (see classes tab on the homepage) for WSET Level II and III classes beginning in February. Two or Four day intensive classes featuring a lot of tasting will certainly give you more confidence in choosing wines and a greater appreciation for our favorite beverage!
Bricco delle Viole vineyad above Barolo- MonVisio in background (12,200’) --Marco Marengo (below left)
2013 M. Marengo Barolo Bricco delle Viole $59.50
I first met Mario Marengo back in the early 80’s via his neighbor and mutual friend Elio Altare. He was dedicated grower in the village of La Morra, and fortuitously owned prime, small parcels in the grand cru vineyards of Brunate and Bricco Viole. The latter is the highest vineyard in the district, over 1300’ and facing SW towards the imposing pyramid of Monte Viso in the Alps. Bricco delle Viole means ‘hillside of violets’, as there has always been a patch of the flowers located there. Mario was an old traditionalist, and his wines were somewhat rustic, until Altare offered to help him to improve the old vineyards and carefully improve the wine-making. Over the course of the next 20 years, Altare helped Mario, and then his son Marco after the former passed away, to achieve more refined yet still richly flavored Barolo and Barbera. Now Marco is making simply great wines, and this vintage, 2013, is one of the best in recent years. A great Barolo in the making, with very intense fruit (for Barolo!) and beautifully velvety tannins for aging up to 15 years, The bouquet alone is worth the price-violet, dried cherry, balsamic/mint accents and autumn leaves! If you have ever wanted to know why the big deal about Barolo, taste this wine
2016 Owen Roe Roza Mystica Cabernet Franc, Yakima Valley $31.50
David O’Reilly, Owen Roe’s owner/winemaker, has really upped his game. In 2013, he and his partners took over an old vineyard at Union Gap, behind Treveri Vintners, and built a new state of the art ‘barn’ winery. More control, proximity to the vineyards, or simply some very warm vintages the last few years has led to wines with increased depth of fruit, better balance, and real intensity without over-extraction. This stylish Cabernet Franc, aged in 12% new French oak barrels for 16 months reveals the structural density of a Right bank Bordeaux, yet has the soft, finely balanced, lightly tannic and fresh flavors of a great Loire Valley Chinon on palate. Possibly it’s the vineyard pedigree that accounts for this quality-- Red Willow, DuBrul, Outlook, and Union Gap? Cabernet Franc has a great future in Washington, and this wine reveals why!
2017 Maturana Amphora Garnacha, Maule Valley Chile $23.50
Javier Maturana Lanza and his family decided the year 2010 after the great earthquake that afflicted Chile, to start a passion for the production of wines of exceptional quality, that are unique, that represent a way of life and how to keep intact the conditions where their grapes come from. This approach dictated manual work throughout the process; organic viticulture, harvesting into small 16 lb. crates, and with this unique, ancient method-produced wine, the added restriction of no added yeasts, bacteria or sulphur at first to the grapes when they are added as must and whole clusters to the clay amphorae (tinajas) for 10 months of fermentation and aging. This is old vine Grenache, over a century old. Rarely have we tasted Grenache with so delectable yet deep character! Maybe the “ancients” knew something we don’t? Lovely, full ruby color. Fresh, lively strawberry-cherry nose with raspberry ferrous notes. Solid medium body, chewy texture and juicy flavors are framed by 'crunchy' Grenache tannins, firm but not harsh, no heat or over-ripeness to finish. The amphora aging contributes to the chalky earthy notes adding extra textural depth to the wine, which is vibrant, youthful, unique and simply delicious.
Two Great Reynvaan Syrahs! VERY limited
2016 In the Hills Syrah, Walla Walla $95.50
2016 In the Rocks Syrah, Rocks District of Milton-Freewater $99.75
My recent trip (JB) out to Eastern Washington to visit wineries we are reviewing for the upcoming International Wine Review report (www.i-winereview.com) took me to Reynvaan for the first time. We have been supporters of Matt Reynvaan’s sisters’ wines, Result of a Crush, for some time, which he also makes. Reynvaan has been around a decade, and somehow, has already reached ‘cult’ status, especially for its deep-pitched Syrahs from their Stonessence Vineyard Syrah in the Rocks District. Reynvaan had the benefit of being ‘mentored’ by Christophe Baron of Cayuse, though he now clearly is his own master. Indeed, we think his wines really are that good, even given the prices. These are made in miniscule quantities, both are co-fermented with 4-5% Viognier. As indicated by these stellar 2016 vintage wines, their own Palouse-based estate vineyard (see photo) above Walla Walla and the Rocks District bottling really showcase the wonderfully savory, N. Rhone syrah-like deep flavors and spiciness that makes the Walla Walla region (on both sides of the state border!) world class for Syrah, especially. Not to be missed
2016 MATTHEWS CUVÉE Columbia Valley Reg: $45, Wow $22.50
Having a wine-bar means that we are offered some very attractive prices for more expensive and limited production wines, provided that we pour them by the glass. Winemakers really like to see their wines poured! Matthews Cuvée is one of the more stylish Bordeaux blends around, a much better wine in our opinion that their Claret. The blend is very Left Bank Bordeaux: 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot… then the surprise addition of 4% Syrah and splash of Malbec. At once rich, flavorful and concentrated it also reveals a more floral, fresh and elegant side with real class and focus. Deeply colored, with very focused wild dark cherry, floral, almost violet and peony bouquet Medium full-bodied, with fine, firm tannins and solid fruit, this blend is densely structured, with a hint of cassis, earth, wild herbs and kirsch notes to the finish lending style. One of the best deals in Washington red blends you can buy, to drink now or keep 4-6 years.
And…don’t forget these flavorful Value wines
2016 Kennedy-Shah La Vie en Rose Red, Columbia Valley $16.50
NV Cava Mestres ‘1312, Penede Catalunya $16.75
2016 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina, Tuscany $18.50
2017 Domaine de Colette Beaujolais Villages $16.75
2017 Bodegas Garzón Tannat Reserve, Uruguay (new vintage!) $18.75
2017 Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône (Syrah) $16.75
2017 Licia Albariño, Rias Baixas $14.85