Newsletter

March 15, 2017 – April 14, 2017

Austria and the Northern Rhone

Until this month we thought that Austria and the Northern Rhone had little in common, but this group of whites (plus one red) are full-bodied, rich wines that hold their own with strongly flavored foods. The key is not to serve them too cold, so that the aromas and weight have space to dance. The Cornas is a dense, gamy Syrah from the soon to be legendary 2015 vintage.

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Grüner Liter
Mantlerhof Grüner Veltliner 2015 Grüner Veltliner (Mantlerhof)
Sale Price $11.99 per Liter – $122.30 case of twelve
While this Grüner Veltliner is not as full-bodied as the other Austrian wines on this page, you do get a full Liter instead of a 750ml. The extra volume gives you enough to cook with and still have a full bottle of wine for dinner. This is fresh, minerally, and zesty, with enough character to go well with all kinds of spicy foods.

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Roter
2015 Roter Veltliner ‘Fels am Wagram’ (Wimmer-Czerny)
Sale Price $17.99 – $183.50 case of twelve
Wimmer-Czerny Fels am Wagram Roter VeltlinerThe two wines from Wimmer-Czerny in this newsletter capture the intensity of the 2015 vintage in Austria and the winery’s commitment to biodynamic viticulture in the Wagram district. Roter Veltliner’s home district is the Wagram, where this centuries-old variety thrives in hot, dry vintages. The 2015 excels with pronounced spiciness aligned to an overall elegance. This wine has big character and wonderful balance.

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Grüner Fumberg
2015 Grüner Veltliner ‘Fumberg’ (Wimmer-Czerny) Sale Price $15.99 – $163.10 case of twelve
Wimmer-Czerny Fumberg Grüner VeltlinerWimmer-Czerny’s Roter may be the more exotic of the two wines we’re featuring, but their single vineyard ‘Fumberg’ delivers a rich, fuller flavored wine with terrific depth and Grüner’s signature herbal and mineral intensity. This is a wonderful wine to serve with a roasted cod with garlic and parsley. Both of these wines from Wimmer-Czerny are very dry and very strong in very good ways.

Saint Péray
2014 Saint Péray (Les Vins de Vienne)
Sale Price $14.99 – $152.90 case of twelve
Les Vins de Vienne Saint PérayLes Vins de Vienne is a collaboration of three Northern Rhone vignerons who have successfully restored vineyards around the town of Vienne. The 2014 Saint Péray, a pure Marsanne, is a focused dry white with full bore pear and apricot flavor plus an earthy, smoky finish. Have this with a leek, mushroom, and goat cheese tart.

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Viognier
2015 Viognier (Les Vins de Vienne)
Sale Price $17.99 – $183.50 case of twelve
Les Vins de Vienne ViognierAs recently as 50 years ago there were only 35 acres of Viognier planted on a couple of hillsides in France’s Northern Rhone. Today, it grows in every major winemaking nation as winemakers seek to capture the elusive perfume and body of this beguiling grape. We have learned that a warm harvest brings out the best in Viognier, and the 2015 vintage delivered. This is a decadent dry white, with plush aromas of honeysuckle and peach along with a wonderfully textured palate and a minerally finish. Try this with an comparably decadent shellfish dinner.

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Cornas
2015 Cornas ‘Granit 30’ (Domaine Vincent Paris)
Sale Price $34.99 – $356.90 case of twelve
Domaine Vincent Paris Granit 30 Cornas Our supply of Vincent Paris’ Saint Joseph ran out quickly last month, so we have now moved into his dense, packed Cornas titled ‘Granit 30.’ This beauty starts with aromas of violets and berries, follows with flavors of jammy berry fruits, and finishes on a smoky, meaty, and tannic note. Young and concentrated, this bottle will be best enjoyed after a long decant or with three to five years of cellaring.

Listed prices are honored through April 14th, 2017. We will not honor mistyped prices. Vol. 41, No. 4

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House Muscadet
2015 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine (Domaine Gadais)
Sale Price $11.99 – $122.30 case of twelve
Domaine Gadais Muscadet Sèvre et MaineIn our opinion every bar, restaurant, and hot dog stand should offer Muscadet by the glass. A cool glass of this flinty dry white from the Western Loire has great food-matching affinities. While it is routinely given credit as a shellfish wine, we find that it’s also terrific with a chicken and mushroom stew. This month our house Muscadet comes from Domaine Gadais, whose 2015 has a crisp, lively balance of zesty minerals and melon fruit.

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Great Spätlese
2015 Oppenheimer Sackträger Riesling Spätlese (Dr. Heyden)
Sale Price $11.99 – $122.30 case of twelve
Dr. Heyden Oppenheimer Sackträger Riesling SpätleseWhen Frank Heyden was back in the area for his annual visit we were able to taste some new 2015s, re-taste some we already own, and get an overall view of the 2015 vintage. Our early impressions were quite favorable, but now all we can say is wow! 2015 is truly a great vintage for German Riesling. This Spätlese is amazingly concentrated and loaded with beautiful quince and mango fruit framed by a crisp balanced finish. This will be a great match with spicy curries.

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The Right Hook
2014 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon (Smith & Hook)
Sale Price $16.99 - $173.30 case of twelve
Smith & Hook Central Coast Cabernet SauvignonWhen winter refuses to leave, sometimes the right wine can soothe the bite of cold nights. Whether enjoyed alone or partnered up with a hearty dish, the 2014 Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon is an easy choice. It’s rich and concentrated and lush. A dash of Malbec and Merlot softens the tannins and rounds out the texture of this weighty red. The scent of vanilla merges with boysenberry, chocolate, and a touch of spice. What is our most popular $20 California Cabernet is now available at the best price we’ve ever been able to offer. Stock up for more cold nights. And when it finally warms up enough to grill, open a bottle for your burgers and steaks.

Givry Ier Cru
2015 Givry Ier Cru ‘Champ Nalot’ (Parize)
Sale Price $27.99 – $285.49 case of twelve
Parize Champ Nalot Givry Ier CruBurgundy has been bludgeoned lately with horrible spring weather followed by pitifully small harvests. With the grapes that remained, growers were able to produce excellent wine, but at an elevated price. The best overall recent vintage, 2015, produced a merciful though not abundant harvest. Lovers of Pinot Noir are sure to flock to this vintage and we will continue to search the hamlets and side valleys of Burgundy where value can be found. The Parize family of Givry in the Cote Chalonnaise turned out a luscious Vieilles Vignes bottling and now this more serious Ier Cru Champ Nalot. The V.V. was packed with ripe fruit and supple tannins. The Ier Cru trades more on its spicy tannins and regal earthiness. We suggest keeping the Champ Nalot for medium-term drinking to savor the unfolding fruit and fine structure.

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Seghesio Barbera d’AlbaBarbera, It’s Been a While
2015 Barbera d’Alba (Seghesio)
Sale Price $13.99 – $142.70 case of twelve
We hope that Barbera has forgiven us while we were praising the virtues of 2015 Dolcetto and older Nebbiolo wines. It was just that we were waiting for a new vintage of the superb value Seghesio Barbera to arrive. This vintage is a deep, dark, powerful Barbera packed with blackberry fruit and with an earthy, minerally core. Try this with a spicy pasta dish with mushrooms and sausages.

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Pouilly-Fumé
2015 Pouilly-Fumé (Clément et Florian Berthier)
Sale Price $19.99 – $203.90 case of twelve
Clément et Florian Berthier Pouilly-FuméClément and Florian Berthier are 28 and 25 years old, but we’re certain that there are other generations’ wisdom behind them. Still, this gorgeous 2015 Pouilly-Fumé portends a great future. Lean, crisp, and long, packed with gooseberry fruit, and flecked with spicy minerality, this Sauvignon Blanc is perfect for a seared salmon and a tomatillo salsa.

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Crios Rosé of Malbec

Rosés of the Month
2016 Rosé of Malbec (Crios)
Sale Price $9.99 – $101.90 case of twelve
The Crios Rosé of Malbec gets better every year and it’s always a great value. The 2016 is peppery and savory with tart berry fruit.

Carrel Vin de Savoie Rosé2016 Vin de Savoie Rosé (Carrel)
Sale Price $11.99 – $122.30 case of twelve
This alpine Rosé is fresh and floral with delicate strawberry and raspberry fruit.

Houchart Côotes de Provence Rosé2016 Côtes de Provence Rosé (Houchart)
Sale Price $12.99 – $132.50 case of twelve
Houchart’s classic Provençal pink once again delivers its signature peachy aroma and firm dry finish. Be forewarned, our supply of Rosé de Provence will be limited this year because of drought, demand, and a particularly unruly herd of wild boars.

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Super Deliciosa
Manzanilla Deliciosa en Rama ‘Saca de Primavera 2016’ (Valdespino)
$11.99 per 375ml – $122.30 case of twelve
Valdespino Saca de Primavera 2016 Manzanilla Deliciosa en RamaWhile we do not drink Sherry every day or every week, we think that it is one of the most amazing wines ever produced. We will never really know whether this era’s Sherries taste the same as they did in Shakespeare’s time, but the quality of today’s Sherries clearly indicate that this is a golden age in the long history of Sherry. After decades of mergers, acquisitions, and explosions the best thing to happen to Sherry may have been the Grupo Estevez. They rescued the venerable Valdespino, reinvigorated La Guita, and incorporated long neglected brands. Our interest in Fino and Manzanilla sherry peaks with the seasonal releases of ‘En Rama’ bottlings. These bottlings are taken from the best casks at the peak of their expression. This spring release of Deliciosa is salty, minerally, and dry, with a tantalizing peach and apple finish. This is well worth having at meal time with a seared tuna steak along with spinach and chickpeas. It’s also beautiful as a starter with almonds and olives.

Specialty Foods

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Teleme $19.99 per lb.
(Regular price $20.99)

This is so unique! Aged anywhere from 10 days to two months, Teleme starts out semi soft and gets runnier with age as it develops more complex flavors. Encased in a rice-flour rind, it’s similar in style to Stracchino. Its tangy sour lemon flavor stands alone but is nicely complimented by a fruit preserve.

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Eidolon $27.99 per lb. 
(Regular price $28.99)

Eidolon cheeseEidolon is a young, bloomy rind cheese based on traditional French cheeses like Chaource and Coulommiers. Made with certified organic cow’s milk at Grey Barn on Martha’s Vineyard, the paste is moist and cakey, creamier towards the rind.

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Willoughby washed in Imaginary Day
$11.99 per piece  (Regular price $12.99)

Willoughby Imaginary Day cheeseA special one-off batch of Jasper Hill’s already beloved washed rind cheese, made all the better washed in Imaginary Day, a barrel-fermented wild ale with fresh herbs and Chardonnay grapes from Cambridge Brewing Company. We always look forward to these special edition Willoughbys. Get some while supplies last.

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Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert
$20.99 per lb.
(Regular price $21.99)

Hudson Valley Camembert cheeseCamembert made from a rich, creamy, and buttery pasteurized blend of sheep’s milk, cow’s milk, and cow’s cream from Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. in Old Chatham, NY, the largest sheep dairy in the United States. A gold medal winner in the 2016 World Cheese Awards.


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Wines of the Month — March 15, 2016 through April 14, 2017

2015 Rosso Piceno ‘Tolenus’ (Cantina Numa)
Sale Price $7.99 – $86.29 case of twelve
Cantina Numa Tolenus Rosso PicenoRosso Piceno is a ripe and round blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese from Italy’s Le Marche region. Numa’s ‘Tolenus’ is made with organic grapes and is perfect for pizza and pasta.

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Château Chicane Graves Rouge

2014 Graves Rouge (Château Chicane)
Sale Price $8.99 – $97.09 case of twelve
This old-school earthy dry Bordeaux is an equal parts blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Have this smooth-structured red with a garlic-laced lamb stew with beans and greens.


Di Filippo Colli Martani Grechetto

2015 Colli Martani Grechetto (Di Filippo)
Sale Price $9.99 – $107.89 case of twelve
Grechetto is Umbria’s full-flavored, ample-bodied dry white. Di Filippo’s 2015 is a wonderful match with spring asparagus and risotto.

 

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Castelo do Sulco Lisboa Reserva

2015 Lisboa Reserva (Castelo do Sulco)
Sale Price $7.99 – $86.29 case of twelve
This old favorite has returned in a big way with dark plummy fruit and hints of dark, dusty chocolate. This favors two of Portugal’s great grapes, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz, along with Syrah. Terrific with a bean stew and spicy sausages.