By: Joel ~
WoW March Highlights
March is Washington Wine Month!
WoW will have Chris Peterson of Avennia Wines here on march 15 to showcase their marvelous 2016’s (Hail Chris!).
Do give us a shout if interested in the newest and finest from other great local and statewide WINERIES LIKE Mark Ryan, EFESTE, SAVIAH, DOUBLEBACK , Isenhower, WATERMILL AND more.
Fine NEW WINES FROM ELSEWHERE
2015 Piaggia Carmignano Riserva $43.50
Mauro Vanucci has once again produced one of the stellar Tuscan wines of the year; among the best Tuscan wines I have tasted in the last year! A Tre Bicchieri winner again (Italy’s top Wine Critics Award) in the upcoming 2019 Gambero Rosso guide. Deeply colored thanks to its Cabernet and Merlot content, it maintains the dense dark cherry and earthy, leather/anise flavors of super ripe Sangiovese, balanced by solid extract and fine tannins to age well over a decade if desired. A classic example of Carmignano, one of the earliest delineated appellations in the world dating to 1716 and Duke Cosimo de Medici, whose family likely helped to import Cabernet and Merlot to Tuscany in the 18th Century.
2015 Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) Tapestry Reserve Napa Valley RED REG: $65, WOW $55
The art of blending the 5 main Bordeaux varieties is beautifully illustrated in this classic Napa Valley red from one of the premier heritage wineries making some of its finest wines today. Three quarters Cabernet Sauvignon, and sourced primarily from BV’s great original Vineyards #1 and #2 in Rutherford, you cannot find a finer example of a Napa Cabernet blend for the money than this one. Additionally, it represents the last vintage of BV’s longtime winemaker Jeffrey Stambor; a great vintage to retire on!
2015 Bodegas Inteus , Aviadores del Terruno Graciano, Rioja, $29.75 Luís Palacio’s father planted the first certified organic vineyard in Rioja in 1980, and quickly converted the rest of his family’s holding when he saw the results. Three decades later, Luís has the most beautiful vineyards in Rioja (see photo below - pools of green life in a desert of red clay). A plot of 150 year-old own-rooted graciano and tempranillo peludo vines provide the genetic material for four generations of vineyards, the last of which Luís planted himself. His debonair wine reflects the simple genius of generations of patience and observation—distinctive fruit, thoughtfully presented. Luis says that Graciano is too often ignored in Rioja and Spain, but “if it’s produced with various determinants (Old vines as here, low yields) it can be one of the best varieties in the world.” This is a beautifully aromatic, rich wine from 80 year old vines, fermented for three weeks on skins and aged for over 12 months in French and American oak barrels. Deep, intense coffee-black plum and smoky bouquet, showing torrefaction, ripe fruit, mint-herbs and licorice. Medium full body, rich flavors with firming tannins and integrated wood spice, vanilla on finish. Rather chewy, youthful, focused flavors that beg roast lamb, fennel sausages, or another 4-6 years in the cellar to acquire even more complexity and softness. Terrific wine.
2002 Warre’s Late Bottled Vintage Porto $36.50
Warre’s is one of the oldest Port producers, and one of the few that still makes Late Bottled Vintage Ports in the traditional manner with no filtration. In other words, it will yield a lot of sediment, like Vintage Ports do, with age. The advantage of this process is longer and better aging potential, and here’s a 16 year wine at the peak of its maturity. A superbly balanced rich, velvety near Vintage-quality Port, now with sufficient age and complexity. Bottled after 4 years aging instead of the 2 years required for true Vintage Port. Medium ruby not purple, showing some maturity. Mature, dark mulberry, earthy, spice-cake bouquet. Lovely fruit, fine texture and medium sweet finish. Resolved tannins with velvety richness to finish, yet some 'chew' left with good acid and nice woodsy accents. This is a wonderful wine with chocolate, to be sure.
2017 Colene CLEMENS DOPP CREEK PINOT Noir, Willamette VALLEY $29.50
Joe Stark and his wife Vicki started Colene Clemens Vineyard (named after her mother) around 2007. Both are local to the area and after developing their own business to a successful level, realized their fondness for Pinot Noir ‘necessitated’ planting their own vineyard. They found an abandoned farm (on Dopp Road, naturally!) with fallow fields in the Chehalem Mountains with perfect south exposure, fine slopes and good drainage. Planting various clones, they brought on as winemaker Steven Goff, who had spent six years prior at Beaux Freres Vineyard nearby. This vintage showcases the bright black fruit aromas, lightly savory, earthy flavors of Pinot Noir expressed by the several Dijon Clones planted. Well balanced and fairly rich, this is one of the best Pinots from OR at the price now in the market.
2011 Quinta do Romaneira Douro Tinto, Portugal 32.50 One of the Douro’s oldest (1757), finest, and largest Quintas (vineyards), Romaneira has gone from strength to strength in the last decade under the guidance of it superb enologist, Antonio Agrellos, who also manages Quinta do Noval nearby. While Romaneira makes excellent Ports (we carry them!) they are focused increasingly on quality red wines. This 2011 Tinto, from a great year, composed mainly of Touriga Nacional, reveals strong graphite, black berry aromas with floral sage/violet accents. Plush, rich and luxurious flavors show some mature softness, yet still room for even more development, and complex hints of cassis- berry leather and spicy oak. Very like N. Rhone Syrah or rich WA Cabernet, but more floral, elegant tannins, lower alcohol and softer finish. Rich flavors but elegant, effortless finish. If this is the future of Portuguese red wines, we want in!
2016 Clos des Rocs Macon Loché En Près Foret Chardonnay $22.75
Vigneron Olivier Groux is one of the best growers in southern Burgundy, as this gorgeously textured white burgundy attests. Tasting more like a fine ‘cru’from Meursault, it comes from vines 35 yrs old. Aged in 25% used oak for textural richness and lightly oaky aromatics. Lovely, light honey-toast, with hint of almond nutty/lees aromas Fairly rich and fleshy flavors with lovely oak creaminess, hint of peach, spiced apple, good acidity balanced by full extract. If anything, this is better than 90% of the more famous Pouilly Fuisse’s made not far away. A perfect wine with richer fish dishes, or simply roasted chicken, even Pad Thai!
March Value Wines
2015 SANTOS Lima Colossal Reserva Tinto, LISBOA $15.50 Portugal’s unique heritage of indigenous grapes along with more experienced winemakers in the last 15 years, makes for exciting wines at very good prices. This is one of the best we have tasted recently. A blend of Touriga Nacional, Roriz, Bouschet and a dollop of Syrah, the ‘Colossal’ shows violet purple ruby, near opaque color. Really strong flavors of black berry, black pepper and licorice along with roasted savory herbs, suggest a more expensive wine. The fruit intensity carries into the finish and there is enough tannin backbone to counterpoint grilled meat dishes. Chewy finish, balanced alcohol and dense texture tells me you could enjoy this even more now by decanting ahead of time, or keeping in the cellar 3-5 years.
2015 Ch. Massiac Minervois (Grand Vin), Minervois $19.50 Minervois is one of the most beautiful wine areas in Languedoc, surrounded by limestone escarpments, medieval villages and lovely hillsides carpeted by vineyards and wild herbs which somehow lend their perfume to the finished wine through osmosis! Massiac is an excellent Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre blend. It is all about the vineyard here; one month fermentation in concrete vats, then another 20 months or so aging in same before bottling. Minervois is a truly Mediterranean wine; gamy, wild herbs-garrigue like bouquet with black pepper, anise, creosote smoky notes. Riche and sweet darker berry flavors on palate with refined mature finish. A deliciously rich, savory wine for those who want more than just fruit! Grilled sausages or Portobello mushrooms, anyone?
2017 Photobomb Pinot Gris Columbia Valley/Ancient LAKES PINOT Gris $12.75 Brett Isenhower’s other label, Photobomb, is all about great fruit, in this case from famed Ancient Lakes Vineyard, and pricing below the wine’s real intrinsic value. Too much Pinot Gris in WA can be blowsy and lacking in fresh flavors. Here’s one that is not only fresh, but also full flavored! Toasty, leesy aromas, with hints of sweet corn. Solid fruit, fresh acidity, medium full body and good definition to finish. Nice florality and flesh with just a hint of sweetness to enrichen the finish makes this an ideal pre-prandial sipper, an accompaniment to sautéed halibut, or a great happy hour wine!
2016 Alder Ridge 6 Prong Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah Horse Heaven HILLS REG $23, WoW $16.50
Not much we can say, except…Deliciously rich and savory! One of the best vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills overlooking the Columbia River (see photo), Alder Ridge’s ‘bargain’ brand truly reflects how good the vineyard is. Aged in 30% new French/American oak barrels to add some sweet cocoa/vanilla aromas, there is plenty of ripe dark berry fruit, velvety texture and medium weight to make this an ideal rich flavored wine to enjoy throughout the week and with everything from lighter poultry dishes through rich BBQ!