Newsletter

December 11, 2017 – January 14, 2018

Great Bottles Make Great Gifts

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Mature Saint-Emilion and Haut-Médoc
1995 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (Chateau Grand Mayne)
Regular Price $74.99 – Sale Price $59.99 NET
Nielson by Byron Santa Barbara County Pinot NoirA mature Saint-Emilion is a real treat, and the 1995 Grand Mayne is drinking beautifully. Care must be taken with a fine old bottle like this. Stand it up for a day, then use a corkscrew with a long worm and pull slowly and carefully. The aromatics alone will be worth it. The palate is admirably fresh for a twenty-year-old wine with elegant ripeness and the gentlest of tannins. Please note: if the cork does crumble, decant through a strainer and the wine should be fine.
2005 Haut-Médoc Cru Classé (Château de Camensac)
Regular Price $69.99 – Sale Price $54.99 NET
Nielson by Byron Santa Barbara County Pinot NoirCamensac makes a classic Cabernet Sauvignon-heavy Haut-Médoc. The 2005 has great structure and unfolding layers of dry character with the subtle suggestion of fruit and earth. A fine bottle just on the cusp of maturity.

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Aruma, Amancaya, Argentina
2016 Malbec (Aruma)
Regular Price $14.99 – Sale Price $11.99 NET
Domaine Alary Côtes du Rhône VillagesThe formal name of this winery is Bodegas Caro, as it is a collaboration of the dynamic Argentine winery Catena and the French juggernaut Lafite-Rothschild. As expected they do make a high-end Bordeaux blend, but these two wines are sensational values. Aruma is a pure Malbec with bright aromas and silky smooth fruit. A nice red for a seared salmon and roasted rosemary potatoes.
Nielson by Byron Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2015 Reserve Red Blend (Amancaya)
Regular Price $17.99 – Sale Price $13.99 NET
With an additional year in oak and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, Amancaya yields a more structured, drier red. Try this with a pork roast and some brussel sprouts.

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O Porto
Pedroncelli Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Mother Clone 20 Year Old Tawny Porto (Ferreira)
Regular Price $64.99 – Sale Price $49.99 NET
Ferreira makes some of our favorite Tawny Ports, and the pinnacle of their blending craft is their 20 Year Old Tawny. By including some wines that are in the 40-year range they produce a wine of gently sweet elegance and pinpoint balance. Fantastic with a cheese course and mixed nuts.

Mont-Olivet and La Bouïssière
2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Clos du Mont-Olivet) Regular Price $37.99– Sale Price $29.99 NET
Nielson by Byron Santa Barbara County Pinot NoirClos du Mont-Olivet continues to produce traditional ageworthy Châteauneuf-du-Pape at extremely reasonable prices, the prices being reasonable because you have to age the wines. We say a minimum of ten years after vintage date is when you should consider opening them. This year we have had delicious bottles of the 1998 (amazing), 2005 (smoky and deep), and the 2007 (still young). The 2015 is sure to follow along similar lines.
2015 Vacqueyras (Domaine la Bouïssière )
Regular Price $27.99– Sale Price $21.99 NET
Nielson by Byron Santa Barbara County Pinot NoirLa Bouïssière’s Vacqueyras does not require aging. Its deep, dark, and spicy blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre delivers a palate-drenching, full bodied, full throttle Rhone. Have this with a larded roast leg of lamb.

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Castiglione and Scarrone
Domaine Alary Côtes du Rhône Villages2013 Barolo Castiglione (Vietti)
Regular Price $49.99 – Sale Price $39.99 NET
In an incredible bit of news the Vietti winery was sold to an American family. What is truly incredible is how terrific their entry-level Barolo is in the 2013 vintage. And how surprisingly ready to drink it is. This wine has fantastic aromas, muscular fruit, and regal tannins.
2015 Barbera d’Alba ‘Vigna Scarrone’ (Vietti)
Regular Price $44.99 – Sale Price $35.99 NET
Nielson by Byron Santa Barbara County Pinot NoirVietti also has one of Piedmont’s best Barbera vineyards. They make two versions from the Vigna Scarrone. This is the less expensive version. The 2015 is a smoky, berry-scented powerhouse of a Barbera with a firm, long finish. A fabulous wine for a homemade mushroom lasagna.

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Oh Champagne!
NV Brut Champagne (Nicolas Feuillatte)
Regular Price $34.99 – Sale Price $27.99 NET
This time of year we have full shelves of Champagne, but the value once again comes from Nicolas Feuillatte. This toasty, crisp, and dry Brut Champagne is great on its own and fantastic with smoked fish and creamy cheeses.

Happy New Year!

Listed prices are honored through January 14th, 2018. We will not honor mistyped prices. Vol. 42, No. 1

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More Mont-Olivet
2015 Côtes du Rhône (Clos du Mont-Olivet)
Sale Price $14.99 – $152.90 case of twelve
2015 Côtes du Rhône ‘Vieilles Vignes’ (Clos du Mont-Olivet)
Sale Price $16.99 – $163.10 case of twelve
Château du Hureau Saumur-Champigny TuffeWhile we wait for Mont-Olivet’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape to mature, these two Côte-du-Rhônes from the excellent 2015 vintage are ready for the many varied dishes of the season. The basic Côtes du Rhône captures the freshness of the Grenache grape with soft tannins and a peppery finish. A nice bottle for meatloaf or macaroni and cheese.
The Vieilles Vignes is a bit heartier, with a roasted fruit character and a bigger presence on the palate. Try this with a blue cheese potato gratin.

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Isonzo del Friuli
2016 Friulano (Villa Locatelli)
Sale Price $11.99 – $122.30 case of twelve
Tenuta Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Il Bruciato We’ll never bash Pinot Grigio, but if you look and taste around Alto Adige and Friuli you’ll find more interesting wines. In Alto Adige we almost always prefer Pinot Bianco. In Friuli our go-to grape is Friulano (previously known as Tocai Friulano). Villa Locatelli can be relied upon to produce a richly flavored, dry white that perches pear and almond flavors on top of zesty minerals. The 2016 is fresh and lively, and matches as well with Prosciutto San Daniele as it does with all manner of fish and shellfish.

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Touraine is Back on Track
Tenuta Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Il Bruciato 2016 Touraine Sauvignon ‘Le Grand St-Vincent’ (Les Vignerons des Coteaux Romanais)
Sale Price $10.99 – $112.10 of twelve
Our best-selling French Sauvignon Blanc is back in stock. Le Grand St-Vincent is grassy and citrusy with a clean, dry finish. Great with a salad of beets and goat cheese.

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La Voûte
2016 Morgon ‘La Voûte Saint-Vincent’ (Desvignes)
Sale Price $17.99 – $183.50 case of twelve
Tenuta Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Il Bruciato A few months ago we plowed through a bunch of the 2014 Morgons from Des Vignes. The 2016 is certainly a worthy successor, with its charming berry fruit, gripping tannins and weightless finish. The village of Morgon again delivers one of Beaujolais’ most solidly reliable Crus.

Viré-Clessé – Father-Son
2015 Viré-Clessé (Domaine de Roally)
Sale Price $24.99 – $254.90 case of twelve
2011 Viré-Clessé ‘Cuvée E.J. Thevenet’ (Domaine de la Bongran)
Sale Price $37.99 – $387.50 case of twelve
Ettore Germano Dolcetto d’Alba LorenzinoYears ago, before the French wine authorities decided to combine the villages of Viré and Clessé into a Super-Mâcon appellation, Henri Goyard, the original owner of Domaine de Roally poured us a glass of Mâcon-Viré that was as good as any white Burgundy we had ever tasted. Monsieur Goyard has long since retired, but he found the proper successor in Gautier Thevenet, whose father Jean Thevenet has long kept alive the flame of late harvested, super concentrated, exquisitely balanced, and truly exceptional Mâconnais Chardonnay. Gautier, the son’s, 2015 Roally is a classic, dry styled Viré-Clessé with an extra dose of apple/pear compote fruit and enough crisp acidity to keep the extra ripeness in check. A lovely white Burgundy that surpasses many whites from more prestigious Côte de Beaune producers.
Ettore Germano Dolcetto d’Alba LorenzinoFather Jean’s wines always take a few years to ferment on their natural yeasts. Thus the 2011 is the current vintage. This wine is mostly dry, but it fools the palate with a wild array of complex flavors. Honey, citrus rind, mint, anise, and pear all appear and disappear like fireflies. A fascinating Chardonnay. We are extremely pleased to renew our acquaintance with these wines.

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Rufina
Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Sétilles2015 Chianti Rufina (Selvapiana)
Sale Price $16.99 – $173.30 case of twelve
Chianti Classico has its obvious merits, many excellent producers and terrific marketing among them. But we have long championed the Selvapiana estate in the vest pocket denominazione of Rufina. Their 2015 is a finely structured, earthy, dry Sangiovese with just enough cherry fruit to keep it bright. Excellent with a pasta and bean soup.

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Armand
2015 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine ‘Clos Armand’ (Delhommeau)
Sale Price $17.99 – $183.50 case of twelve
Growers in the Loire encountered difficult weather in 2016, so we are looking at back vintages to keep fine wine on the shelves. Delhommeau is best known for its Saint Vincent cuvée, but we always keep a look out for the extra lees aged ‘Clos Armand.’ It took a while to get here, but this is a broad and deep, dry Muscadet that will match well with a simple steamed lobster and a bisque made after.


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Mister Heyden and Doctor Silvaner
2015 Silvaner Trocken (Dr. Heyden)
Sale Price $9.99 – $101.90 case of twelve 2015 Oppenheimer Pinot Noir (Dr. Heyden)
Sale Price $14.99 – $152.90 case of twelve
Le Mesnil Brut Blanc de Blancs ChampagneIf we misled you to think that these vintages of these wines were long gone, we are sorry. They are back. The bone-dry, crisp Silvaner is still lively and fresh. Le Mesnil Brut Blanc de Blancs ChampagnePlus we now facetiously state that the 2015 vintage was so good in Germany that they even made good red wines.

 

 

Holiday Hours
Christmas Eve: 10 to 6
Dec. 25 & Dec. 26: Closed
New Year's Eve: Noon to 8
New Year's Day: Closed
Thank you for a wonderful year.
Happy Holidays!

Rheingau Riesling Trocken
2016 Johannisberger Vogelsang Riesling Trocken (Goldatzel)
Sale Price $17.99 – $183.50 case of twelve
Domaine Pierre Guillemot Savigny Aux Serpentières Ier CruMost of our German Rieslings come from the Mosel or the Rheinhessen. These regions are where the values come from, but we do want to know what’s going on in the Rheingau. Goldatzel’s decidedly dry Vogelsang is nearly clear in color and has an amazing lift of flavors, from earthbound minerals to pristine apple fruit to an amazingly long finish. Fantastic for a spicy shrimp curry.

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Lofty and Loamy
2013 Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits ‘Les Dames de Vergy’ (Dominique Guyon)
Sale Price $19.99 – $203.90 case of twelve
Closerie  des Alisiers Gevrey-Chambertin Les Champs RemyWhen estate-produced red Burgundy is this good and this reasonably priced, little needs to be said. We will simply remark that this 2013 from Guyon provides a fine earthy nose, a compelling combination of bloody game, interesting fruit, and a mellow, loamy finish.


Specialty Foods

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Chiriboga Blue $26.99 per lb.
(Regular Price $28.99)

This rich and delicate blue cheese is made by Arturo Chiriboga, an Ecuadorean who studied cheesemaking in Switzerland before settling in Bavaria. Arturo adds extra cream to organic, local milk, which is treated by thermization rather than pasteurization. This gentler process of treating the milk helps to preserve its quality and the unique characteristics of the terroir. The dense and creamy paste of the cheese is only lightly streaked with blue mold, providing delicate, bright, and tangy flavors that balance the rich and buttery finish.

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Fromager des Clarines $11.99 each  
(Regular Price $13.99)

Montchevre Goat Brie cheeseFromager des Clarines is a soft cow’s milk cheese from the Franche-Comté region of France. Served in its own wooden box, it is creamy enough to be scooped out with a spoon, much like Vacherin Mont d’Or, after which it is modeled. If that doesn’t sound indulgent enough, you can also bake the cheese right in its box. Simply score the top, insert some fresh thyme and minced garlic, and pour in a splash of white wine from the Jura. After wrapping the box in foil, bake in a 350° oven for about 20 minutes. Enjoy with a baguette and the remaining wine.

Perlagrigia $18.99 per lb.  (Regular Price $20.99)
Central Formaggi Piccolo  Truffle cheeseThis young and fresh semi-soft cow’s milk cheese from the Veneto region of Italy is named “silver pearl” for its striking appearance. It has a smooth, dense paste that features slivers of black truffle, and the exterior is coated in a mixture of vegetable ash and spices (including cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, and cloves). The stunning appearance, matched by intoxicating aromas of truffle and cinnamon, make this nuanced cheese a great focal point for a holiday cheese plate.

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Époisses AOP $9.99/$18.49 each 
(Regular Price $10.99/$20.99)

Central Formaggi Piccolo  Truffle cheeseLike Clarines, Époisses comes encased in a wooden box, necessary to contain the gooey, custard-like texture of the cheese inside. A smear-ripened cow’s milk cheese from Burgundy, washed in the local Marc de Bourgogne brandy and aged at least six weeks, Époisses is one of the “stinkier” washed rind cheeses. Those who can get past the pungent odor are rewarded with an incredibly rich and decadent cheese that, though certainly strong, delivers a mouthwatering blend of salty, sweet, and creamy flavors. Available in half or full wheels!


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Wines of the Month —December 11, 2017 through January 14, 2018

Flaco Tempranillo

2012 Madiran ‘Petit Torus’ (Brumont)
Sale Price $9.99 – $107.89 case of twelve
Madiran is a deep, earthy, dry red from the foothills of the Pyrenees. Petit Torus is a smooth, mature Madiran with good fruit and structure. For long-braised stews.

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2016 Pinot Grigio (Riff)
Sale Price $8.99 – $97.09 case of twelve
The ever reliable Riff Pinot Grigio overachieves in the 2016 vintage with this nicely concentrated dry white.


Masciarelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

2016 Sangiovese di Romagna ‘Lôna Bôna’ (Trerè)
Sale Price $8.99 – $97.09 case of twelve
The ‘happy moon’ is back and as good as last year. This ripe and round Sangiovese is ready for all kinds of pasta and bean dishes for the winter months.

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Domaine Brusset Ventoux Rouge Les Boudalles

2014 Syrah (Lenore)
Sale Price $9.99 – $107.89 case of twelve
Lenore is a great-value, smooth, and rich Washington Syrah with pristine berry fruit and a nicely framed, dry finish.