2011 Mesa Winds Pinot Gris, West Elks AVA, $17.99: From Colorado’s own Western Slope. It’s a soft, rich, almost peachy Pinot Gris. Not surprisingly, the maker is renowned for his peach orchards. Check it out…it’s superior to many Italian and Californian Pinot Grigios.
2011 Margerum Riesling, Santa Barbara County, $20.99/Sale $18.99: The Margerum winery provides us with all sorts of beauties. This is very slightly sweet with crisp acidity. One of the best domestic Rieslings we’ve yet to taste. Drink alone or maybe with some spicy Eastern food. Ham would be great too.
2009 Bohème Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Stuller Vineyard, $51.99: This Pinot comes from the Stuller Vineyard on the northern Sonoma coast, amid redwood trees and in sight of the Pacific. It’s a silky, sexy Pinot, worthy of a VICTORIA’S SECRET feature, but with higher IQ.
2011 Neyers Zinfandel, Vista Luna, Borden Ranch, $22.99/Sale $18.99: Golly, here’s a delicious Zin from Bruce Neyers. It gives all the seductive Zinfandel fruit without being too “zinny,”.i.e. a nuclear fruit bomb. Our hats off.
2010 T-Vine Zinfandel , Napa Valley, $35.99: In the past ten years T-Vine has built a reputation for intense, ripe Zinfandels. This is true to form, offering bold, complex and luscious Zin fruit…blackberry pie, spice and everything nice. Perhaps the key is that the grapes come from two diverse vineyards, Nichellini and Chiles, and the vines are 60+ years old. Get it while you can…only 675 cases were made and we always sell out of this charmer.
2011 Clos Du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast, $15.99/Sale $13.99: Now here’s a dandy Cab at a dandy price. It has some body, but is still svelte. There are scrumptious blackberry and plum essences framed craftily in toasted oak.
2010 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $32.99: Louis is just going off the register. This grand Cab gives you cassis, herbs and tobacco in the nose, and black cherries on the palate. It’s more of an “Old World” style and is drinking nicely right now. Definitely a good value for Napa Valley Cabernet.
2010 Proper Syrah, Walla Walla, 53.99: As good a Syrah as you can find in Washington these days (and there are lots of very good ones). It bewitches you with plum, blueberry, roasted meat, smoke, earth, expresso, pepper and lavender essences …a lot of adjectives, we know, but there’s a lot going on in this wine! It’s rich, but it’s also fresh. We’d put this up against many Cote Roties or Hermitages from the northern Rhone, the mother lode of Syrah. This venture began when two Colorado Springs residents, Conor McCluskey and David Houle, purchased an eight acre apple orchard in a region of Washington’s Walla Walla Valley called “The Rocks”, named, as you might suspect, for the ancient riverbed rocks which make up its soil. The highly esteemed Cayuse Vineyards are nearby which, perhaps, inspired McCluskey and Houle to replace the apple orchard with Syrah vines. A few years later, the duo was joined by three other close friends from Colorado Springs, Billy Adams, Dave Kunstle and Kevin Dibble. A former geologist named Sean Boyd, who was known for producing wines with the “Old World” style of the Rhone region, was hired and the wines of Proper were born. This is only their second vintage and Robert Parker bestowed it with 94 points! Pretty amazing. He called this wine “a thrilling Syrah as well as a smoking value. Utterly captivating with a La Mouline-like suppleness and texture, this brilliant Syrah needs to be purchased by the case. Drink now – 2022.” We totally agree!
2011 Courtney Benham, Lake County,Vin d’Eliza, $14.99: This is a buxom wine (less than Jane Mansfield) without a lot of bite, but a lot of enticement. Made mainly from Mourvedre, but with a portion of Grenache, this is a wine with “Old World” character … and vast appeal.
2011 My Essential Red , $21.99/Sale $19.99: A friendly California blend of five grapes, the usual suspects… Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Petite Syrah. The idea here is about grace, not girth. The grapes are sourced from three different quality estates, one of which is the esteemed Jonata. Made by Richard Betts, the master sommelier who commandeered the wine cellar at the Little Nell in Aspen for many years. He has produced several other wines which we have carried, including Double O Cabernet, Betts and Scholl Hermitage Rouge and Hermitage Blanc. This, his latest endeavor, is another winner.
2010 Evening Land Meursault, $39.99/Sale $37.99: Don’t let the English name put you off. It’s owned by some daring Americans with apparently a lot of “fric” (money). The wine is not a rich, creamy Meursault, but one with stunning balance. We all liked it and the price is insanely low.
2012 Domaine du Salvard Cheverny, $16.99/Sale $15.99: Cheverny is a wine zone on the Loire river and it’s also a Chateau. It used to be one of only privately owned chateaux in France. They had a nice pack of fox hunting beagles. The wine is mainly Sauvignon Blanc with a dollop of Chardonnay which is allowed in the blend. Dandy intro to the sublime Sauvignons of the Loir.
2009 Tentation de Chateau Pecot, Cahors, $15.99: If anyone wants to see what real Malbec tastes like, this is an ideal one to try. It’s a bit rasty, dark and full bodied. Not like those gulpable Argentine versions. It comes from southwest France, not too far from Toulouse.
2010 Domaine La Boutiniere Chateauneuf-du-Pape, $39.99/Sale $29.99: If you can find a better Chateauneuf at this price, please let us know. It has an intense nose of raspberry and violets. The tannins are mild but there is great depth of flavor. It’s juicy with Provencal herb on the tongue. Interestingly, it is made with all the 13 grape varietals (three are white) allowed in the appellation. Stunning stuff.
2011 Benjamin Leroux Bourgogne Rouge, $38.99/Sale $33.99: Hard to go wrong with a Becky Wasserman Burgundy selection like this beauty. This is certainly not your everyday, watery Bourgogne Rouge, infinitely more substance. There is sweet cherry and a touch of oak. The winemaker also makes Comte Lafon, one of the hallmark wineries in all of Burgundy.
2012 Avancia Godello, Valdeorras, $18.99/Sale $17.49: We are shameless Godello addicts and this is one of the best we’ve found to feed our addiction. It comes from the Valdeorras rigion of Galicia, where the Romans mined gold. It is liquid gold with traces of ripe pears, citrus and minerality. Stephen Tanzer agrees with us and gave it 90 points.
2013 Vizcarra, Senda del Oro, Ribera del Duero $22.99/Sale $17.99: Ribera del Duero seems to have decided to moderate their price “un pequeno” and still give us macho, full bodied wine. Maybe you could serve this with bull, after a Sunday’s “corrida.”
2009 Borsao Berola, Campo de Borja, $15.99/Sale $14.99: Those of you who have been downing the value driven Borsao and Vina Borgia from this maker are in for a real thrill. They have put a little Syrah and Cabernet into the normal Grenache of the region, aged it in oak and have come up with a wine with far more complexity. It’s full bodied, tightly structured with an infinitely long finish. Lordy! 90 Points from Wine Spectator, Robert Parker and SteveTanzer.
2011 Monte Castrillo, Ribera del Duero, $11.99: Stupendous value from the revered Ribera del Duero of north central Spain. It certainly has fruit, but not too much. It’s big, but in excellent equilibrium. We drink it all the time, by the glass, at Rico’s wine bar.
2012 Albino Piona Custoza, $15.99/ Sale $12.99: This is yet another of the whimsical white wines coming from the shores of lovely Lake Garda, near Verona. Besides most agreeable flavors, it has a little earth to it. Pound it alone or with some fresh water fish, simply prepared.
2009 Poggerino Chianti Classico, $22.99/Sale $17.99: Poggerino continues to impress us (their rosé was one of the best we had this Spring). Reflecting the warm 2009 vintage, this is lush, round Chianti. Certainly not the wicker basket swill of old. Those were more fit for the kitchen sink and a candle inserted in the empty bottle. This Chianti is for drinking.
2011 Arcos Salice Salentino $13.99/Sale $11.99: From the boot of Italy, this is one of the most lyrical wines we’ve tasted from the zone. The fruit is forward, interspersed with the rustic elements of that southern Italian region. It’s medium bodied holding tart cherry and wisps of chocolate. Try it will all pasta, maybe even raw tuna.
2008 Donnas, Vallé d’Aosta, $27.99/Sale $24.99: Here’s one you don’t see every day. It comes from the Alps of way northern Italy, south of Switzerland, east of France. It’s mainly Nebbiolo, but coming from granite mountain slopes, it gives more minerality than a lush Barolo or Barbaresco. Definitely an old world style with the secondary flavors that come with aging evident. This was a big hit with our wine staff. Take your skis off and drink up!
2011 Crater Rim Pinot Noir, $18.99/Sale $16.99: This comes from an unusual part of New Zealand, between Marlborough and Central Otago. The fruit is more subtle than Marlborough and not as restrained and complex as that from Central Otago. Certainly a new experience in Kiwi Pinot, which we really enjoyed.
2012 Sincerely Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape, $14.99/Sale $10.99: About as likeable a SB as you will ever encounter. It comes from South Africa. It’s clean and zesty, but more restrained than most of its New Zealand brethren. Sublime with fresh fish.