By: Joel ~
WoW November Highlights
Mark your calendars: Annual WoW Champagne tasting is December 7th, 4-7pm
$55/person RSVP REQUIRED; LIMITED to 25 people
We are anxiously awaiting many of our direct import champagnes arriving this month. We will feature a range of wines from several of our favorite importers and producers across a range of prices, AND have many others on the shelves. What better way to start the Holiday season than with great Fizz! Among others, we will feature many of the following:
Bereche Bruno Paillard Alain Bailly G. Chiquet H. Godmé Dom Perignon Lallier Pierre Peters Jacques Hebrart Laurent Perrier Charles Heidsieck Delamotte Roederer Krug Pascal Ponson Clicquot Wafflart-Antoniolli Pol Roger
You’ve got everyone and their cousin (uncle, brother, mother) coming over for this annual ritual and feast. What to do wine-wise? So many flavors, so many different peoples’ tastes to deal with. Our suggestions reflect all these variables. Indeed, for a preview of some of the wines WE may be serving at our tables on the 22nd, come to our Thanksgiving wines tasting on Wednesday the 21st, 5-7pm.
In the meantime, here are some quick and delicious suggestions to suit all budgets.
2017 Delas Freres Cotes du Rhone; $12.75 : This nearly two centuries old producer continues to amaze us with this singular blend of northern Rhone Syrah (60%) and southern Rhone Grenache (40%) which has so much personality, fruit and robust yet soft flavors that it is hard to imagine so small a price for the quality. Buy a case and have with the leftovers on Black Friday and on into New Year’s Day. You won’t regret it!
2017 Villa Wolf Gewûrztraminer, Pfalz Germany $12.95: Finally! a Gewûrz that tastes great, has fine spicy white pepper-rose aromas & good freshness yet doesn’t taste like hair spray or has cloying sweetness. This lovely little gem from our friend Ernie Loosen at Villa Wolf provides delicious flavors, a hint (just a hint!) of sweetness to satisfy those who don’t care for dry white wines, yet with enough brisk fruit to enjoy as an aperitif and complement the Bird (white meat especially).
2017 Erica Orr Grenache, Columbia Valley $27.50: Erica Orr has enjoyed a short yet so far brilliant career as winemaker, starting in California in the late 90’s.She took a vacation from her lab tech job at UCSF to work harvest with Cathy Corison while applying to the master’s program at Davis. Erica honed her craft working at some of the best wineries in the world: Rudd Estate, Cain Vineyard, Domaine Dujac and Yering Station. In 2005, she moved to Washington State and started an independent winemaking consulting and enology business in Woodinville, and now makes the wines for Lisa Baer and launched her own label in 2016 with old vine Chenin Blanc and now this delightful, fresh, wildly aromatic Grenache.Floral vibrant strawberry/bitter cherry nose with a hint of blood orange. Medium body, fine fresh flavors showing good acidity, lightly crunchy Grenache tannins and solidly ripe but not jammy finish. A well-balanced poised grenache with real length and focus, best served cool. Turkey or ham?
2016 Marshall Davis Yamhill Carlton Pinot Noir OR $23.75:We really don’t know exactly who this, but when one of our agents brought it in to taste, we said YES! This is excellent OR Pinot Noir for a very fair price. The color is excellent, there is plenty of deep ripe black cherry, even plum flavors befitting the vintage’s superb ripeness. Solid mid palate, near velvety texture, and moderate tannins well balanced and delicious Pinot. Great with the dark meat, just plain fine no matter what! A truly excellent and affordable OR Pinot.
2017 Villa Maria Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc Brut, NZ $16.50: Whatever possessed Villa Maria founder/owner Sir George Fistionich to take his award winning Sauvignon Blanc and siphon off some to make this crazy-ass delicious refreshing and aromatic fizz, we are happy he did ! Give the devil his due, a wacky idea that works. This will make a great cocktail intro to your holiday dining, and be refreshing and flavorful enough to cut through all of the rich food you will end up enjoying.
NV J. Laurens Cremant de Limoux Rosé Brut FR $18.25 : Short of very good Champagne Rosé, this lovely blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and 15% Pinot Noir from a long time, well-known (to us!) producer is one of the best wines to have at the holiday table for its versatility and delicious fresh, juicy flavors. Lovely pale pink violet. Strong, raspberry/strawberry Pinot Noir bouquet. A firm stream of bubbles, and creamy ripe berry flavors are beautifully balanced. Very easy drink shows good length and freshness.
2012 Pacenti ‘Pelagrilli’ Brunello di Montalcino $54.50: Giancarlo Pacenti is one of our oldest friends in Montalcino, dating back to 1988 when we (JB) introduced him to the US Market in California. His estate, Pelagrilli , in the northeast sector of the Brunello zone is somewhat cooler, which is reflected in the elegance combined with power of this superior wine. By using some new French oak barriques for aging this is a superb modern Brunello, showing graphite, anise, smoky new oak vanilla on nose. Lovely fruit intensity without being too oaky, it has richer, more overt, focused concentrated flavors with dark cherry fruit. Mouth-coating fine density with a plush, velvety finish. A truly fine wine to serve that will stand up to everything on the table and add extra panache to the feast!
2017 Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly Cru Beaujolais $31.50 : One of the most beautiful labels, Thivin’s low yields historically produce delicious richly fruity, spicy Beaujolais from their vineyards on the circular dome-like granitic Mont de Brouilly (see photo). 2017 appears to be a terrific year here, as the Gamay grape reaches ultimate ripeness with vibrant color, black raspberry flavors and crunchy texture that will complement virtually anything on your festive table. Serve it cool (one hour in the fridge) and it is even more pleasing.
November’s Noteworthy Wines
2016 Mark Ryan Little Sister Merlot: 78.75: Plush deep, dark berry fruit, ripe opulent texture and powerful finish. Serious Merlot drinking well even now.
2015 Result of a Crush Syrah Christmas CuvÉe Walla Walla $28.75: The Essence of Walla Walla SYRAH! Rich, blackberry, gamy & anise flavors, round but firm texture and deliciously silky all at once. In time for the holidays, Ho Ho Ho!
2016 Jones of Washington Wahluke Slope Viognier $16.50: W agree with Seattle TImes Wine Critic Andy Perdue: “If there is a classic example of this RHone white, this is it!” Exotic, orange blossom citrus apricot aromas and crisp, yet full-flavors. Quite a versatile wine at the table, too.
2015 GUARDIAN Cellars The Rookie Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain $54.50: Deep, ripe plush and definitely no ‘rookie’ when it comes to richness without heaviness. Shows great Red Mountain (photo below) dark plum, cocoa, graphite and black cherry flavors for drinking now or in 5- 7 years.
2014 Buty Wines Connor Lee Merlot/Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley $48.50: What a lovely surprise! Gorgeous fruit, soft ripe raspberry and violet cedary aromas & flavors with velvety texture and real Bordeaux-like finesse, combined with Washington ripeness. Nina Buty debuts another winner!
2015 Coleen Clemens Dopp Ranch Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains $28.50: Even The Wine Spectator gets it right sometimes (95 pts!). This does showcase excellent Pinot velvety texture and refined dark black fruit flavors without excess; Very good complexity at a fine price with enough weight to merit aging a few years, even.
2016 A.D. Beckham Amphora Syrah-Viognier Applegate Valley $39.50: A wonderful modern take on an ancient wine style, made by the master, Andrew Beckham. Fermented and aged in his own crafted clay amphorae (photo), co-fermented (17% Viognier) skins and all, this is deeply expressive, black pepper, graphite inflected fresh and wonderfully stylish Syrah. The tannins are soft and the style is forward, smoky and meaty than big and opulent.
2014 Cameron Nebbiolo Dundee hills $43.50: Whatever else Cameron’s John Paul is, he certainly is an iconolclast. A long-time fan of Barolo, in 1993 he planted cuttings from his/our friend Aldo Vacca in Barbaresco at his estate and on Ribbon Ridge. This is the best New World Nebbiolo I have tasted in the last five years, and is ‘autumnal’ in character as the best wines of the Langhe district of Piedmont. Great bouquet, typical garnet ruby color, fine structure with refined TANNINS, AND stylish Nebbiolo wild cherry, mushroom and woodsy flavors. Very RARE, limited and worth it!
2016 Goodfellow Chardonnay, Willamette Valley $25.85: Marcus Goodfellow (he really is, and that is his name!) once again has crafted a lovely, Burgundian-style chardonnay, aged 20 months in barriques but not too oaky. From mature vines at Whistling Ridge and Durant vineyards, this is a superior example of Chardonnay that is rich without being weighty, and will be a fine complement at the table with a number of dishes, given its good acidity and solid fruit. A steal!
2015 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Laurene Pinot Noir Dundee Hills $74.50: every year since 1990, this is one of the most eagerly awaited wines from Oregon, a pioneering ‘Reserve’ wine made by Veronique Drouhin of that illustrious Burgundy family, named for her eldest daughter. A selection of the best barrels, oldest vines on their estate hillside vineyard, it reflects, as she wryly states; “French Soul and Oregon Soil.” Restrained oak, lovely sandalwood, crystallized black cherry fruit and fine dark peppery finish. Very Limited.
2016 Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills $39.50: “Mind Behind” Jim Clendenen has quietly but profoundly made the case for Santa Barbara County as ‘ground zero’ for California Chardonnay in a Burgundian vein. Sanford & Benedict is one of the ‘grand crus’ of the Santa Rita Hills. This VINTAGE FROM 40-YEAR-OLD vines has garnered rave reviews from critics galore. This IS GRAND Cru chardonnay at a terrific price, which will age gracefully for another 5- 7 years at least. ABC indeed! THIS GREAT chardonnay may change your mind and give your taste buds a thrill.
2015 Domaine Eden Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains $44.75: When famed Mount Eden Vineyard owner s Jeffrey & Ellie Patterson bought the old Cinnabar Vineyard two hillsides (see photo below)) away from them near Saratoga in 2007, they instantly recognized the quality, and the difference, from their higher estate. Hence, the name Domaine Eden. This is a gorgeous, more fruit forward, slightly denser wine than Mount Eden Estate’s Pinot, given a lower elevation and is somewhat warmer. Savory smoky, dark cherry flavors and great balance. A wonderfully complex wine for a very fair price, considering miniscule yields, around 1.4 tons per acre!
2014 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Merlot $36.75: One of Napa Valley’s great legacy wineries (1889), FREEMARK ABBEY’S long-time winemaker Ted Edwards has a strong affinity for Merlot, though Cabernet is the winery’s hallmark wine. What gives this wine its singular muscle and great intensity is that it comes from two fine mountain vineyards, along with fruit from cooler sites in Yountville which contribute perfume and dark plum flavors. Merlot this good should not be missed!
2015 Ch. Mayne-Vieil Cuvée Alienor (Merlot) Fronsac $22.50: From a fine, intense vintage, this superior value top wine from this long time estate in the lovely, hilly Fronsac area near Pomerol is unusually all Merlot, with some new oak aging as well. Not all fine Bordeaux costs an arm and a leg. This full-flavored but stylish and compact wine brilliantly reveals what Merlot tastes like on its home turf- dark cherry, violet and graphite aromas, rich cherry-ish fruit but tautly framed, fresh and rich. enjoyable now, it will benefit from 5-7 years aging.
2016 Jean-Marie Royer ‘16eme’ Le Petit Roy, Vin de France $16.50: Royer is a top grower in Chateauneuf du Pape. SO, what happens when he owns some fine vineyard parcels just outside the appellation boundary that are not entitled to be labeled as such? Under French law you cannot even put a vintage date on the label for ‘Vin de France (table wine), hence the ‘16eme’ designation. No worries! this is a deeply potent Syrah-Grenache-Mourvedre BLEND THAT SHOWS real grip, powerful black berry, licorice and pepper FLAVORS MORE typical of its big brother for a very moderate price. Great Value
2015 Michel Magnien Bourgogne Rouge $25.75: Magnien is an old family domaine in Morey St Denis (now run by 5th generation son Frederic) who own nearly 45 acres of prime vineyards in the Cote de Nuits a fine grower, from Grands Crus to Village level. Here, a combination of solid Village wines from up and down the Cote make up the majority of the blend, and indeed, this is a serious, MEATY, PINOT Noir that also has fine fruit intensity and richness. For about the price of an average-quality Oregon or California Pinot Noir, you can have this singularly expressive wine made by one of the top growers in Burgundy! (photo ©domaine-magnien.com)
2016 Vincent Paris ‘Granit 30’ Cornas $42.50: In a little more than a decade, Paris, the nephew of Cornas legend Robert Michel, has taken on his uncle’s mantle of responsibility to produce deeply flavorful, granite-laced Syrahs which are top exemplars of Cornas’ steep-terraced, ancient vineyards. Concentrated but not heavy, this lovely wine highlights the deep, meaty, black berry-violet –infused nature of Cornas from vineyards over 30 years old. Paris ‘knows’ Cornas, and this more ‘elegant’ version allows one to APPRECIATE THE inherent power as a young wine.
2015 La Braccesca Vino Nobile di Montepulciano $26.75: La Braccesca, a large estate (see PHOTO) IN Montepulciano but within site of the ancient hillside town of Cortona, has been owned by the Antinori Family since 1990. The ‘Noble Wine’ of Montepulciano can be somewhat rustic, but in recent years, its fame and finesse has grown as producers like Antinori have worked diligently to tame the local Sangiovese’s brusque tannins. 2015 is a superb vintage here, and with a little dash of Merlot blended in, the usual cherry and fine leather character is rounded out by deeper succulent fruit, minerally texture and fine-grained tannins to seamlessly finish fresh and fruity. It will be even better in 4-6 years, but a joy now with grilled meats.
2014 Tenuta Monte Zovo Valpolicella Superiore ripasso $21.50: Made by adding the pomace (skins/juice) of dried Corvina grapes for Amarone to the main harvest valpolicella juice, then refermenting the total for two weeks followed by aging in large new oak casks for 18 months, Monte Zovo has crafted a deliciously fruity, rich modern take on an ancient idea. Making so balanced a high alcohol, richly fruity and ‘chocolatey’ wine without it tasting burnt or pruny is a difficult task. Here, it is done beautifully. A unique, delicious, warm and rich wine for the cold winter months ahead at a fine price.
2015 Gaja Sito Moresco Langhe Rosso $59.50: A longtime friend, an incredible personality, a literal legend in his own time for reviving BARBARESCO AND modernizing Italian wine production, Angelo Gaja has always loved tinkering with tradition. A man of his land, he has not hesitated to innovate in order to satisfy his own curiosity. Sito Moresco, a singular Vineyard in Treiso, traditionally was all Nebbiolo for Barbaresco. Gaja then went back to traditional Piedmontese practice of blending in local barbera to add some fruit, color and soften the often austere Nebbiolo tannins. In 2015, a superb vintage, he has gone one step further, modernizing the blend to 35% Nebbiolo | 25% Barbera | 25% Merlot | 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. with some aging in new oak, this wine will astonish and gladden your taste buds!
By: Joel ~
WoW September Newsletter
ANNOUNCING A NEW WoW FEATURE!
BE ADVENTUROUS: PICK UP OUR 6-PACK OF THE MONTH. Each month we will pick out 6 distinctive wines we find delicious, different, and flavorful; wines you may not have heard of, and some which might be old favorites you haven’t had in a while. All will be wines that 0ver-deliver on quality for the price. (You can buy these wines individually as well)
Ah yes…the Price? Each month’s 6-pack is priced between $100-125 (plus tax). Our hope is that you will find this an easy, simple way to enjoy a fine range of wines for regular enjoyment throughout the month without having to spend time searching about the shelves. Salud
September 2018 6-pack [$110.00] contains:
2012 Cava Mestres Brut Nature ‘Coquet’ Gran Reserva, Catalunya: We heard about this fine decades old producer while traveling in Spain years ago. Our friend said they made wines that were as close to real champagne in style and quality, yet still uniquely Spanish Cava, as could be found in Spain. We are happy they are here in WA, and this is a beauty- no dosage, very dry. With nearly four years aging on the yeast lees, it has fine biscuit-brioche aromas, tiny bubbles and crisp appley flavors with solid weight. This is a gastronomic, high class sparkling wine which would likely cost 3 times as much if it were from Champagne!
2015 Piaggia Carmignano ‘il Sasso’ DOCG: The sleepy village of Carmignano, 25 minutes west of Florence, is home to one of the oldest officially designated wine regions in the world dating to the Bando of 1716 promulgated by Duke Cosimo III de Medici, setting the boundaries for wines around his estate near Carmignano, as well as subzones of the Chianti region. Mauro Vannuci, Piaggia’s owner, set up his estate in Caiano not far from the Medici Villa in the heart of the appellation. Carmignano is the only Tuscan appellation that demands the blending of Cabernets with the local Sangiovese (cabernet being originally brought into the zone in the 17th-18th Century by the Medicis according to local historians). Il Sasso is a tremendously delicious, impressive wine; 75% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernets. With ruby color, ripe rich style and very fruit forward, though less than other wines of the district. Sweet tannins frame ripe fruit which show some definite Cabernet cassis-dried herb notes on finish. Succulent ripe style that is very appealing to drink even now. A terrific Tuscan red
2017 Quady North ‘Pistoleta’, White Rhone Blend, Rogue Valley, OR: Herb Quady came up from California in 2003, escaping from the heat of the Central Valley where his father, Andy, makes some of America’s fortified wines and vermouth. Herb became entranced with gorgeous valleys, peaks and Mediterranean climate of the Rogue Valley, especially the Applegate Valley west of Medford. Herb was convinced that the region, reminding him of Southern France with its warm days puctuuated by afternoon winds and cool nights, allowed Rhone varieties to thrive. The Rhone and Spanish varieties prosper in the mix of marine sedimentary and rocky-clay soils of the area. Making a name for himself has been a challenge in this ‘other’ Oregon-- Pinot Noir is not the name of the game down here, though he makes a pretty good one! This is such a delicious blend of 42% Viognier, 23% Roussanne, 29% Marsanne, 5% Grenache Blanc & 2% Vermentino! The grapes were all co-fermented harmonizing the flavors, and partially barrel fermented in Acacia wood and French oak barrels, yielding this expressive, lush wine. Lots of fruit! Ripe peach, some honeysuckle and bright fruit aromas. Fairly crisp and fresh, but also rich, with a creamy texture provided by the wood aging. Neat, intense palate, but bracingly fresh and distinctive flavors.
2016 Delas Cotes du Rhone Saint Esprit: Delas is one of the top four great wine merchant/growers of the Rhone Valley, along with Guigal, Jaboulet and Chapoutier, founded in 1835. The current Technical Director/winemaker, Jacques Granges came on board over 20 years ago, and since then, the quality of Delas’ wines has soared to new heights. WoW carries their top Hermitage wines, which are superb, and priced accordingly. Yet it is this unique Cotes du Rhone that recently grabbed our attention; high quality, low price. Saint-Esprit is made from a blend of syrah (majority) and grenache grapes, which come from a small village in the Ardèche region. The vineyard’s southern exposure on steep granite hillsides provides the best growing conditions for the vines. It is this more northerly origin and granitic soils that makes Saint Esprit differ from most wines of the appellation grown further south in warmer climes and on more sedimentary soils. Floral-blackberry, lightly gamy, syrah-influenced nose. Medium body, graceful flavors inflected by anise or graphite on finish. Mild tannins and bright fruit lead to a peppery, chewy finish. This is just so easy to drink and versatile at the table; one can even chill it for an hour to serve with lighter dishes.
2016 COR Cellars Momentum Red, Horse Heaven Hills: One of our favorite wineries located in the Gorgeous (!) Columbia Gorge, Momentum red is delicious rich blend of Petit Verdot 52%, Merlot 22%, Malbec 20%, and Cabernet Franc 6%, all from McKinley Springs and Alder Ridge vineyards. Dark violet ruby. Ten months aging in neutral French oak barrels frames this chewy wine, propelled by strong, currant/anise/graphite and black pepper aromas. Dense, dark blue/black fruit flavors, full body and a supple mid- palate richness leads to a ferrous accent on the long finish. Very good value, too!
2017 19 Crimes Shiraz, SE Australia: OK…gimmick? Or reaction to ‘critter’ wines from Oz? Or out-of-the-box approach highlighting Australia’s singular history? What is 19 Crimes? In England, there were 19 crimes for which a convicted person could be ‘transported’ to Australia. Thus, the people at Treasury came up with the idea of focusing on the fact that Australia was originally a penal colony. The marketing gurus found their hook and were then able to find real mug shots of criminals being sent to AustraliaHere’s the hook, according to writer Sharon Nagel in Vitisphere: “After the swell of Yellow Tail, Americans and for that matter Canadians thought of Australian wines as having an animal on the label and being cheap and cheerful. Looking at the different wineries owned by Treasury, there is one called Baileys of Glenrowan. It happens to be near the place where the famous bandit, Ned Kelly, had his last stand, [In 1880, when Kelly's attempt to derail and ambush a police train failed, he and his gang, dressed in armour, engaged in a final gun battle with the police at Glenrowan. Kelly, the only survivor, was severely wounded by police fire and captured. Despite thousands of supporters attending rallies and signing a petition for his reprieve, Kelly was tried, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging, which was carried out at the Old Melbourne Gaol. His last words were famously reported to have been, "Such is life”.-Wikipedia]. One thing is certain - this Shiraz is pretty tasty for the price. First made and imported in 2012 to Canada and now in the US, the wine shows a lot of intensity, ripe fruit flavors and suppleness for a modest price.
2016 G. Viberti Barbera d’Alba La Gemella $18.50: Deliciously vibrant dark red fruit flavors and soft tannins combined with fine acidity show classic Barbera character ideal for drinking with almost anything you choose to serve. La Gemella (the Twin) refers to Claudio Viberti’s mother Maria, who has an identical twin sister, and is a great lover of Barbera, Piedmont’s ‘everyday’ wine.
2016 Enrique Mendoza ‘La Tremenda’ Monastrell, Alicante, Spain $12.50: Tremendous, indeed! One of the best surprises I have tasted recently is this full flavored yet balanced Mourvedre (Monastrell in Spanish) from the Alicante appellation in SE Spain. Why is this wine so good? For one thing, it is grown at 2000’ elevation, so much cooler, slowing down maturation to allow for balanced alcohol, freshness and lots of vibrant fruit. Also, the vines are traditionally bush-trained, and over 30 years old requiring manual care. Most Monastrell wines from Spain in this area taste raisiny, a bit cooked and jammy; not to our taste. La Tremenda shows balance, fresh dark fig/plum and licorice flavors, with energy and fine tannins framing the deep fruit and good acidity moderating the ripeness. Sophisticated yet rustic, but above all satisfying. The Wine Advocate® gave it 92 points. I can only agree, especially for such a low price.
2017 Powers Chardonnay, Columbia Valley $12.25: Bill Powers and his family are turning out some of the best values in Washington wines these days, showing great improvement in the last couple of years. This fresh, lively, moderately rich and very easy drinking chardonnay won’t have you thinking of Montrachet any time soon, but then, it doesn’t cost $800 either. Ripe pure honey pear apple flavors, good weight and juicy finish. Still hankering for fresh cracked crab? Here’s your wine!
2015 Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina $17.50: Rùfina, east of Florence and cooler, is the other ‘great’ zone historically, for Chianti, and Selvapiana is the finest practitioner. Selvapiana in Medieval times was one of the watch towers along the river Sieve built with the purpose to protect the city of Florence on the North-East border. During Renaissance the building was enlarged and transformed into a Villa as summer residence of noble Florentine families and of the bishops of Florence. In 1827 it was acquired by Michele Giuntini, a successful banker and ancestor of Francesco Giuntini, the present owner and fifth generation to run the property from 1957 to 1997. There is probably no more satisfying red wine at the table than fine Chianti, due to Sangiovese’s dark cherry fruit, fine acidity, medium body and savory flavors. In a superbly ripe vintage like 2015, all this character comes forward in a most satisfying way. Mediu intense, dried cherry/light leathery-oak bouquet. On the palate, it is fairly rich, intense and balanced, with good weight and center. Ripe dark cherry-anise, lots of fruit and fine tannins holding it together. Nicely done and focused. The epitome of class and Tuscan focus from one of the oldest and famous wine areas in Tuscany.
2015 Dominque Piron Beaujolais Villages $18.50: Here’s a seriously intense yet utterly delicious ‘drink-me’ wine from one of the best domaines in Beaujolais. 2015 was a powerful warm, ripe vintage yielding wines such as we haven’t seen since perhaps 2009. Dark ruby, Bright, deep black raspberry, even graphite or granite minerally aromas show the class of Gamay on granitic soils found in the best vineyards of the area. What sets this apart from the usual cherry/soda pop style of Beaujolais is that it has more ‘chew’ to it-solid grip and length. Good fruit. Serious style. Drink now for its ripeness or wait 2-3 years when it will soften further. Either way, a perfect wine for Fall’s cooler days.
September’s Special wines
Force Majeure Red Mountain: One of Washington’s finest young wineries
2015 Parabellum Alluvio Red Mountain Estate: 54% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot $63.00
2015 Parabellum Coulée Red Mountain Estate: 56% Syrah 44% Mourvèdre $49.50
2015 Parvata Red Mountain Estate: 46% Mourvèdre, 34% Syrah, 20% Grenache $74.50
2015 Syrah Red Mountain Estate $81.50
2016 Viognier Red Mountain Estate $49.50
2015 Épinette Red Mountain Estate: 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot $95.00
2014 Cenyth Right Bank Blend, Sonoma County: Cabernet Franc 60%, Merlot 25 %, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%, Malbec 5% $52.50
Easily one of the best Cab Franc based wines I have tasted from the West Coast! The name Cenyth represents Hélène Seillan beginning her journey as a winemaker, tutored by her Bordeaux trained renown father Pierre Seillan. Following in her father’s footsteps, Hélène pursued a career in winemaking and began splitting her time between Sonoma County and Saint-Émilion. Starting in 2006, she served as assistant winemaker for her father at the family’s Bordeaux estate. This is an admirably balanced, very Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé like wine. Fine deep ruby, violet magenta. Superb, cassis, cedar graphite and berry nose. Aged in 40% new French oak barrels, the wine unfolds with a textured, dense, minerally palate and velvety but rich tannins. Nicely balanced. Very St Emilion length, focus. Can keep 4-6 years, but its mineral-graphite, dense yet fine textured flavors are good now with some aeration before serving. Lovely and fine California Bordeaux blend.
It’s finally here! The great Antinori Tignanello 2015 (vineyard below); IGT Toscana
85% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernets $139.50
The Original Super Tuscan, and one of Italy’s most consistently great wines. In 1970-71, Piero Antinori strayed outside the then current, restrictive production code for Chianti to make a wine truer to, and richer than that associated with what passed for quality wine in the 60’s. Using Cabernet to enrichen the austere Sangiovese, then aged in smaller French oak barrels, the result brought out the best of the Tignanello vineyard’s terroir. 2015 is a magnificent, deeply concentrated and elegant wine with more Sangiovese in the blend, due to greater ripeness. Widely acclaimed by all critics, this is a masterpiece, among the very best I have had going back to the original. Worth cellaring for 10-15 years if you can!
2017 Patricia Green Reserve Pinot Noir Willamette Valley $29.50: The passing of our friend Patty Green was a true shock to us. We miss a good friend with a wicked sense of humor and a commitment to making Pinot Noirs that truly expressed both their origin and Patty’s sense of what was right for that site. Her partner, Jim Anderson, continues to make wines which reflect their joint vision, guided by 20 years of partnership and shared sensibilities. Patty helped crush this 2017 Reserve Pinot Noir, their lovely, more affordable distillation of all of the vineyards they work with. It is archetypal Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. 2017 appears to be an excellent follow-on to the stellar 2015-2016 duo. You cannot go wrong with Patty Green wines, and this is no exception; succulent yet earthy, fine ripe fruit with acidity to match, frame, and focus the deliciously dark cherry, gamy flavors and soft tannins. As Patty used to say: ‘Women taste better’! And indeed, she had great taste –as does this wine.
2016 Saviah Cellars Walla Walla Syrah $31.50: Our friend Rich Funk makes some of the most flamboyant yet balanced wines in Washington, full of character, rich fruit and fine texture. The newest version of his Syrah, derived from Funk Estate, Watermill Estate, Anna Marie, and Lewis Vineyards. Aged for 17 months in 20% new French oak barrels, it perfectly expresses Walla Walla Syrah: Purple ruby. Ripe berry cassis aromas with wheaty, slightly smoky violet floral accents.. Very fat, rich, hint of licorice. Plush dark berry flavors, with supple tannins, olive tapenade and some charcoal notes. A great expression of WA Syrah capable of aging up to 6-8 years.