Newsletter

September 15, 2017 – October 14, 2017

Bountiful Reds

Time to start canning and preserving the best of the harvest for use in the colder months ahead. Here are some red wines, perfectly ready to store and use for meals to go with the bountiful season.

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Collaborative Côtes du Rhône
2015 Côtes du Rhône ‘Les Cranilles’ (Les Vins de Vienne)
Sale Price $11.99 – $122.30 case of twelve
Cave de Saumur Les Epinats Saumur BlancLes Vins de Vienne is a collaboration between the three Northern Rhone producers Cuilleron, Villard, and Gaillard. Their efforts yield wines that are much lower priced than their own vineyard offerings yet have a richness and finesse. The 2015 Les Cranilles is a spicy, dense Côtes du Rhône with ripe, plummy fruit and peppery tannins. This is mostly Grenache, but the Syrah makes its presence known.

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Cru Régnié
2016 Régnié ‘Les Vallières’ (Jean-Marc Burgaud)
Sale Price $14.99 – $152.90 case of twelve
Jean-Francois Mérieau L’Arpent des Vaudons Touraine SauvignonWhen Régnié attained Cru status some wondered whether a new Cru was needed. Twenty years on the answer is yes, to judge by this wine from Jean-Marc Burgaud. His Les Vallières is Gamay with real weight and ripe, spicy tannins. It has a minty aroma and decidedly raspberry fruit. While not as structured as his Morgon, in 2016 it has more gravitas than his Beaujolais Villages. Have this with a spicy chicken curry.

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Sanguineto is Back
20115 Rosso di Montepulciano (Podere Sanguineto)
Sale Price $17.99 – $183.50 case of twelve
Francois Cazin Cour ChevernyWe feared that we would never see the wines of Sanguineto again, but the force that is Dora Forsoni continues. Her 2015 delivers on all the promise of the vintage with dark fruit, dense dryness, and a ripe, long finish. This is a glorious blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero, and Mammolo, and one of Tuscany’s greatest values.

Valpolicella by the Lake
2016 Valpolicella Classico (Ca’ La Bionda)
Sale Price $12.99 – $132.50 case of twelve
Jean-Francois Mérieau Le Bois Jacou Touraine GamayWe love the freshness of good young Valpolicella. One can compare it to Beaujolais, but there is an airy lightness to the wines that radiates charm while not lacking in flavor,. The 2016 Classico from Ca’ la Bionda shimmers with gorgeous red fruits and follows up with a crisp and lively finish. Try this with a broiled salmon.

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Classed Growth Bordeaux
2012 Haut-Médoc, 5ème Cru Classé (Château Cantemerle)
Sale Price $41.99 -  $428.30 case of twelve
Domaine de La Noblaie Les Chiens Chiens ChinonWhen we offered this fifth-growth Bordeaux almost two years ago, the reception was better than expected. Yet it wasn’t too much of a surprise, as Château Cantemerle has always delivered early-drinking pleasure at one of the best prices for a classed growth. So when we learned that the supply of the 2012 vintage was running out, we had to snatch up the last of it. We revisited it to see how it was drinking and found the wine had attained even more depth. The tannins are smoother than ever and meld seamlessly into this Cabernet-dominated blend. Raspberry and black cherry are still present along with graphite and thyme. But a slight smokiness is now emerging from the background, adding to the intrigue of how this Bordeaux will continue to develop in the next couple of years. It’s a wine that will transition gracefully from a main course of a roast to an after-dinner Stilton.

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Organic Abruzzese
Bernard Baudry Chinon Rosé2015 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (Valle Reale)
Sale Price $12.99 – $132.50 case of twelve
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a workhorse of a red wine that provides a perfect foil for strongly flavored and spicy food. The 2015 Valle Reale has an earthy brick-like aroma, jammy raspberry fruit, and a lively, zesty, dry finish.

Listed prices are honored through September 14th, 2017. We will not honor mistyped prices. Vol. 41, No. 10

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Domaine de la Chapelle Saint Victor Coteaux d’Aix-en-ProvenceGrüner by the Liter
2016 Grüner Veltliner (Mantlerhof) Sale Price $11.99 per Liter – $122.30 case of twelve
Could this be the perfect picnic wine? First, it’s equipped with a screwcap, second, it’s a full Liter, and third, it’s wonderfully versatile and refreshingly well made, with authentic Grüner Veltliner flavor. The tell-tale Grüner aromas of spring peas, green beans, and white pepper predominate, while crisp apple fruit follows. Finally, the Mantlerhof finishes totally dry. This is one terrific value in Austrian wine.

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Between Two Rocks
2014 Macon-Vergisson ‘Les Rochers’ (Domaine Guerrin)
Sale Price $17.99 – $183.50 case of twelve
Cantina del Pino Barbera d’Alba The villages of Pouilly and Fuissé are located at the base of two large rocky promontories named Solutré and Vergisson. Domaine Guerrin makes Pouilly-Fuissé and St-Véran, but our favorite wine of theirs is this small-production Macon-Vergisson ‘Les Rochers.’ This vineyard lies high on the rock of Vergisson and it has beautifully chiseled Chardonnay fruit and a lovely stony dryness. Have this gorgeous white Burgundy with a steamed lobster.

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Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Riesling KabinettFiore
2015 Vernaccia di San Gimignano ‘Fiore’ (Montenidoli)
Sale Price $19.99 – $203.90 case of twelve
Most wine writers say that Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a light wine, but it is certainly more formidable when it is made by Elisabetta Fagiuoli at Montenidoli. We currently stock two of her Vernaccias. The Tradizionale is the bigger of the two and it even appears to have some tannin embedded in its richness. This 2015 Fiore is brighter, but no less generous. Its flavors and aromas offer glimpses of apricots, almonds, tea, and waxy honeycomb. Try this intense, fascinating dry white with a grilled swordfish and a fresh tomato salad.

Old Lopez!
2005 Rioja Reserva ‘Viña Tondonia’ (R. Lopez de Heredia)
Sale Price $44.99 – $458.90 case of twelve
Joseph Drouhin Chorey-les-BeauneWe almost hesitate to advertise the wines of R. Lopez de Heredia because they are becoming scarce and expensive due to increased demand. But when offered a small allotment of their most ‘commercial’ red, the Viña Tondonia Reserva, we obligingly pass it along. Tondonia ferments in the winery’s original oak vats, which are now about 140 years old. It then is transferred to smaller oak barrels for at least six years. After a few more years resting in bottle at the winery the 2005 is mature and ready to drink. It’s a classic Rioja blend of Tempranillo (75%), Garnacho – the ‘o’ is not a typo – (15%), and some Graciano and Mazuelo. This is earthy and old-fashioned, with aromas of smoke and beef. Upon first opening, it’s rough and tannic, but in an hour or two it becomes smooth as some ripe red fruit emerges. Have this with roast lamb.

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Catalan Ros and Spanish Rosado
2016 Penedès ‘Ros de Pacs’ (Parés Baltà)
Sale Price $9.99 – $101.90 case of twelve
2016 Rioja Rosado (Viña Real)
Sale Price $14.99 – $152.90 case of twelve
Domaine Gachot-Monot Côtes de Nuits VillagesHere we have two very different expressions of rosé. In Catalan’s Penedès region the locals call rosé ros and the folks at Parés Baltà like theirs on the dark side. Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Scharzhofberger Riesling KabinettSo this spicy, lightly tannic blend of Garnatxa, Syrah, and Cabernet has the strength to match up with strong grilled foods. Try it out with a lamb burger and feta cheese. The Viña Real Rosado is a very pale wine. We call it a reverse Rosado because it is made with 15% red Tempranillo and 85% white Viura. This has a crisp, fresh, peachy nose and a long, lean, completely dry finish. Have this with shellfish.


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The White and the Red Riesling
2015 Niersteiner Riesling Trocken ‘Vom Kalk’ (Schneider)
Sale Price $11.99 – $122.30 case of twelve
2015 Niersteiner Riesling Trocken ‘Vom Kalk’ (Schneider)
Sale Price $11.99 – $122.30 case of twelve
Fratelli Alessandria Verduno PelavergaThankfully the Schneider family in the Rheinhessen continue their Riesling bottlings from two different soil types. To us this is a compelling argument for the concept of terroir – as exemplified by the Riesling grape variety. The ‘Kalk’ is limestone and was harvested at Kabinett-level ripeness and fermented dry or trocken. This is not a light, fruity Riesling. It does start out lean and angular, but with good weight on the palate and a crisp, elegant, minerally finish. Fratelli Alessandria Verduno PelavergaWe think this will match well with a simple sautéed sole or crab cakes. The Rotliegenden is a red soil which absorbs more heat, and this wine was harvested at Spätlese-level ripeness and also fermented dry. Here, we have a riper, rounder, more tropically fruity Riesling, with a subtle, earthy finish. We suggest trying this with spicier foods. All in all, two terrific value, dry Rieslings from a great vintage.

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True West Coast Chardonnay
2016 Sonoma County Chardonnay (Stillman Street)
Sale Price $14.99 – $152.90 case of twelve
Domaine De Villaine  BouzeronIt’s not often we come across a California Chardonnay in this price bracket that impresses us. The 2016 Stillman Street, primarily from a vineyard in the Alexander Valley, managed to do just that. A biscuit- and brioche-laced nose derives from the wild yeast fermentation. The rainy winter in 2016 was a welcome relief in northern California after several drought-ridden years, and that’s reflected in a lovely freshness combined with apricot, pear, and citric waves, and a mildly spicy finish. This is an easygoing end of summer white that will pair beautifully with a simple Caesar salad.

Specialty Foods

Oktoberfest is here!
This month’s selections all pair splendidly with beer.
Prost!

Chällerhocker $23.99 per lb. 
(Regular price $25.99)

Arethusa Farm DivaChällerhocker—which translates to “sitting in the cellar”— is a raw cow’s milk cheese made by the famed Swiss Appenzeller producer Walter Rass. It is washed in brine before being aged for at least 12 months. The deep flavor of this smooth and dense alpine cheese evokes roasted nuts and caramel, with a salty and creamy finish. Recommended pairing: Founders Porter, $10.69+deposit (6 pack, 12 oz bottles).

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Dziugas 36 month $16.99 per lb. 
(Regular price $17.99)

Dziugas is a traditional Lithuanian cow’s milk cheese that is enjoyed at various stages of maturity up to 48 months. At 36 months, it is most comparable to Parmigiano-Reggiano or an aged Gouda, and features an alluring crunch, a rich, savory body, and a slight sweetness. Recommended pairing: Spencer Monks’ Reserve Quadrupel Ale, $14.79+deposit (4 pack, 11.2 oz bottles).

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Flory’s Truckle $19.99 per lb. 
(Regular price $21.99)

Domaine De Villaine  BouzeronThis spectacular American cheddar is actually a collaboration: it is made by the Flory family in Missouri and aged at Milton Creamery in Iowa. “Truckle” refers to the large cylindrical drum shape, a common format for English cheddars. The raw-milk cheese is wrapped in cloth and allowed to dry out for 10 days before being coated in lard and aged for 12 months. Dry and crumbly, with a rich and grassy flavor. Recommended pairing: Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Brown Ale, $10.69+deposit (6 pack, 12 oz bottles).

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Champignon Grand Noir $14.99 per lb.  (Regular price $17.99)
This extremely creamy blue is produced by Käserei Champignon in the Allgäu region of southern Germany. Essentially a finer version of their Cambozola blue, the wheels are hand dipped in black wax before aging. The taste is piquant, but with a lingering, delicate sweetness. Recommended pairing: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, $10.69+deposit (6 pack, 11.2 oz bottles).


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Wines of the Month —September 15, 2017 through October 14, 2017

Sangiovese di Romagna Trerè Lôna Bôna

2015 Pays d’Oc Red Blend (Aussières)
Sale Price $8.99 – $97.09 case of twelve
This Languedoc blend is a full-flavored spicy red blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Its peppery fruit and deep tannins will match well with a beef stew.

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Les Vignerons des Coteaux Romanais Touraine Sauvignon Le Grand Saint Vincent 2016 Pinot Noir ‘Bicicleta’ (Cono Sur)
Sale Price $7.99 – $86.29 case of twelve
Although light in color, the Cono Sur ‘Bicicleta’ delivers a sneakily flavorful Pinot Noir at an unheard of price. Have with roast chicken and a squash puree.


2015 Mâcon-Villages ‘La Côte Blanche’ (Cave de Lugny)
Sale Price $9.99 – $107.89 case of twelve
Gorgo Veneto Pinot GrigioThis Burgundian classic returns to form in 2015 with broad, rich and dry Chardonnay flavor. A fine white for cod and haddock, potatoes and parsley.

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Viña Zorzal Navarra Graciano2016 Orvieto Classico ‘Vignarco’ (Palazzone)
Sale Price $7.99 – $86.29 case of twelve
Palazzone delivers fabulous Orvieto for a song. The Vignarco is a lively dry white that is perfect for simple seafood and risotto.