The Summer 2019 Newsletter Has Arrived
CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRINTABLE IMAGE VERSION (complete with images & additional information) WINES OF THE MONTH
2018 Principe Pallavicini Frascati | Lazio, Italy · $12.99 | Sale $10.99 The wines of Frascati can be traced back to the 5th century BC. They have proved a refreshing quaffer to ancient Rome, Popes and the glitterati of Rome today. The Pallavicini Family have raised this ancient white to new heights. They use the traditional varietals of Malvasia, Bombino, Greco and Trebbiano grown on ancient volcanic soils. The grapes are hand harvested and selected, then macerated and fermented at low temperatures to retain freshness. It is bottled fresh and sent to the masses. Light yellow in color with greenish hints, the nose is vibrant with floral notes. It has a light citrus palate with bright acids and slight honey notes - a lovely porch sipper for scorching summer days as those in the Roman countryside. It is a great accompaniment to fruits of the sea or angel hair pasta with garlic, olive oil and crushed red peppers. Experience what Julius, Augustus and the Popes so appreciated! Organic.
2016 Château Bourbon La Chapelle Médoc | Bordeaux, France · $15.99 | Sale $13.99
Bordeaux is often best known for its justifiably famous and often astronomically priced classified growths. However, as the largest fine wine region in France, it is home to nearly 6,000 châteaux. Château Castera dates from the 14th century and is located in the Medoc region north of the city of Bordeaux. It is here that Château Bourbon La Chapelle is made. Featuring the classic Bordeaux blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, Bourbon La Chapelle belies the myth that all good Bordeaux must be expensive. Medium bodied with notes of blackberry, plum, coffee, sandalwood and very fine tannins, this is an excellent introduction to the ancestral home Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
2018 Château de Vauclaire Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence | Provence, France
$15.99 | Sale $13.99
The Sallier family has owned the estate for over 200 years. Third generation winemaker Charlotte studied wine making in Burgundy and worked at estates around the world before returning to take over winemaking at the Château. The estate is located on a plateau 10 miles north of Aix-en-Provence. The Rosè is blend of Syrah, Cinsault and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine only stays in contact with the grape skins for a few hours, which results in the very delicate color. The juice is fermented at low temperatures to maintain freshness. The nose is delicate with floral and red berry notes. The berry notes continue on the palate balanced by bright acidity. A perfect sipper for Colorado sunsets or to wash down grilled large shrimp as they do along the coast in Marseille.
2017 Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc | California · $12.99 | Sale $10.99
In 2005, Sean and Nicole Minor decided to turn their love of wine into their family business. A small portion of the juice is fermented in neutral oak with lees aging, while the majority is sent to stainless steel tanks. This results in a Sauvignon Blanc with balanced acid and a rich and slightly rounder mouthfeel. While grapefruit and tropical notes are still abundant on the bouquet, as is typical with most Sauvignon Blancs, the oak and lees aged portion that is delicately blended in creates characteristics of melon and fig, which would pair wonderfully with crab or scallops in a lemon garlic sauce, as well as soft goat cheeses. In fact, if you ever find yourself wondering what to pair with that especially stinky cheese at your next cocktail party, wonder no more! A bottle of this wine makes that decision a no-brainer!
2018 Big Salt White | Oregon · $18.99 | Sale $16.99
Big Salt is a wine that tries to capture a day at the beach in a bottle. Made from a proprietary blend of Riesling and Gewürztraminer, sustainable and organic vineyards across Oregon are the building blocks for this wine. Winemaker John House has been cited by several publications as being one of Oregon’s finest winemakers, and Big Salt is a perfect example of why. As with most great winemakers, John believes that great wine is produced in the vineyard not the winery, which is why he accepts only the finest Oregon fruit available. Whether at home on the porch, or brought along to a barbecue with friends, Big Salt is the perfect summer wine.
2017 Jean-Paul Brun “Terres Dorées” Beaujolais Blanc Chardonnay | Beaujolais, France
$19.99 | Sale $17.99
Mention Beaujolais and most will think of the light, somewhat fruity red made from the Gamay grape. However in the northern regions of Beaujolais, near the border with Macon, the soil turns from granite (good for Gamay) to limestone (good for Chardonnay). Here Jean-Paul Brun makes an excellent affordable Chardonnay from 80-year-old vines all grown organically and, unusual for the region, utilizing native yeasts. Unoaked with a hint of green apples and an undercurrent of minerality, this medium weight wine is one the great values of the region. Decanter magazine called it “Quite serious and worth every penny” and listed it as a “Must Try White.” Don’t miss it. 91 points | James Suckling
Attimo Bianco | Piedmont, Italy · $14.99 | Sale $12.99
Attimo, Italian for “Moment,” is the brainchild of Denver Restaurateur Jon Schlegel of Snooze fame. This project he created when he was living in Monforte d'Alba in the Barolo Zone. He has teamed up with the winemaker from the Ceretto winery to make this quaffable 100% Arneis. A great aperitif or an accompaniment to lighter meals.
2018 Berger Grüner Veltliner | Lower Austria · $16.99 | Sale $12.99
We’ve been selling this wine for decades and have never been disappointed. The grapes are grown on steep loess terraces. These terraces store heat during the day and reflect it onto the vines at night, resulting in wines with fresh, bright flavors. It is one of our favorite summertime wines for everyday drinking. Such a great value… only $12.99, and that’s for a LITER (25% more wine than in a standard 750 ml bottle)!
2016 Mt. Beautiful Riesling | North Canterbury, New Zealand · $23.99 | Sale $21.99
From a pioneering winery in the North Canterbury region of New Zealand, 70 miles north of Christchurch, comes this certified sustainable, estate-grown Riesling. Cool climate varietals grow well on the South Island, and we are big fans of Kiwi Rieslings. This one has a touch of sweetness, but it is balanced beautifully by the acidity. The classic petrol nose precedes flavors of citrus and apple, with a honeysuckle note on the finish. Fresh and zingy, this is a great addition to your summer white wine line-up. Great with Thai food.
2016 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc | North Canterbury, New Zealand · $18.99 | Sale $16.99
This Sauvignon Blanc pushes the boundaries of the typical New Zealand flavor profile. North Canterbury is south of Marlborough, where a great majority of the country’s Sauvignon Blancs are produced. Tropical fruit and lime flavors dominate, rather than the usual grassiness, and a bit of time in barrel brings a mid-palate creaminess. But the finish is crisp, bright and minerally - as you’d expect from this varietal in the Southern Hemisphere. Great with shellfish, chicken or just an evening on the deck. 89 points | Wine Spectator
2017 No. 33 Pinot Noir | Willamette Valley, OR · $19.99 | Sale $17.99
If you are looking for value priced Oregon Pinot Noir that doesn’t taste like it was made by (and for) cyborgs, look no further. Cultavin Cellars is a custom crush operation using purchased fruit to make small lots of affordable Pinot Noirs from the Willamette Valley. Their No. 33 Pinot Noir is not a fruit-centric wine, but it way over delivers with its rich but not heavy palate of dark cherries with fine ripe tannins.
2016 Huntington Pinot Noir | Santa Barbara, CA · $22.99 | Sale $19.99
Pali Wine Co. was founded in 2005 in Lompoc, California with the express purpose of making small lots of affordable Pinot Noir. Their Huntington Pinot Noir is sourced from a vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills and one in the Santa Maria Valley, both in Santa Barbara County. Medium to full-bodied with notes of cherry, strawberry and spice on the nose. Rounder and more fruit on the palate than No.33, but a well realized example of its origins. Another small production affordable Pinot Noir with some personality. 92 points + Editor's Choice | Wine Enthusiast
2018 Post Flirtation Red | Contra Costa, CA · $24.99 | Sale $21.99
Martha Stoumen is the 'it girl' these past couple years, playing with all the cool kids in Sebastopol, California at Pax Winery. Her own label by her name focused on rare, beautiful old vineyards. Here, in Post Flirt, you have Carignan - planted in 1948 and Zinfandel - planted in 1960. The wine is such an enjoyable blend of ripe, rich fruits and that textbook savory, floral note from the Carignan. Somehow these grapes, from warm climates, still have a beautiful fragrance. This is an exceptional minimally intervened "natural" wine (native yeast, no fining/filtering, minimal to no sulfur additions) that is great for al fresco sipping during spring, summer and fall. Only 1540 cases produced.
2017 Foxglove Cabernet Sauvignon | Paso Robles, CA · $16.99 | Sale $13.99
This Cabernet Sauvignon from Foxglove definitely over delivers for a wine at this price point. Twin brothers Bob and Jim Varner have created fabulous wines under the Varner label, most notably Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They created Foxglove as their second label and have given these wines the same care and finesse that gave Varner wines their remarkable following. This is truly a great wine at a great value. The grapes come from organic farms and are treated as naturally as possible, including the use of indigenous yeast. The dark, ripe fruit, such as cherries and plums, are slightly softer in this wine than in other Cabernets, however it is still beautifully rich, with soft, silky tannins, notes licorice and tobacco, and a full and luscious mouthfeel. Another glass will be impossible to resist!
2016 Michele Tete “Cuvée Tradition” Juliénas | Beaujolais, France · $24.99 | Sale $21.99
Vines have been grown in Juliénas since the days of the Roman legions. In fact the town is named after Julius Caesar. Juliénas is famous for its blue granite which is perfect soil for the Gamay grape. Here Michel Tete utilizes many Burgundian techniques including extended barrel aging to make wines of unusual depth and power for Beaujolais. “Spicy and sharply focused on the highly aromatic nose, displaying fresh cherry and dark berry aromas. Taut and energetic on the palate, offering bitter cherry and boysenberry flavors that are supported by a spine of juicy acidity. Powerful and lively, showing firm harmonious tannins."
92 points | Vinous - Antonio Galloni
2017 Prá Valpolicella | Veneto, Italy · $23.99 | Sale $21.99
We have long been fans of the Prá Soave in all its forms. They are new to the Valpo game, though. They purchased a vineyard in 2001 in the Eastern part of the Triveneto zone. Due to the climate in that part of the zone, a lighter, more complex wine is produced. This wine is made from traditional Valpolicella grapes, which are organically farmed. The fruit is expressive and has balanced acidity. A delightful summer red.
2017 High Note Malbec | Uco Valley, Argentina · $12.99 | Sale $10.99
Altitude is everything! High Note hails from the foothills of the Andes, where altitude is essential in providing the vineyards intense sunlight and cool temperatures. 93% Malbec and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, this spicy, ripe and round wine is the perfect foil for grilled meats or vegetables, even pasta. 92 points | James Suckling
2017 Tyler Chardonnay | Santa Barbara County, CA · $29.99 | Sale $27.99
Justin Willet of Tyler winery might be making some of the most compelling wines in Santa Barbara right now, if you are into incredibly pristine, clear, complex Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Even he explains, "Tyler is dedicated to producing wines of delicacy and balance, where structure and nuance are favored above all else." Think Burgundy with a little more fruit, this Chardonnay is not your old-school butter bomb dipped in oak. The acidity is refreshing, the fruit defined, the texture thoughtfully integrated into the full wine from first to last sip. Truly beautiful, exciting newer producer.
2017 Stolpman Roussanne | Ballard Canyon, CA · $27.99 | Sale $24.99
We’ve been fans of Stolpman Syrah for many years and have just recently had the opportunity to taste this white wine from them. Roussanne, a Rhône varietal, is not often grown in California. It is extremely slow to grow and mature, but the southern location of Stolpman allows for even, late ripening. The limestone and cold nights combine to maintain the acidity in the grapes. Roussanne can be weighty, but this one, while having a nice amount of richness and body, retains an element of delicacy which makes it very charming. Try it this summer. It would go well with a great variety of seafood and can stand up to pork and poultry as well.
90 points | Wine Enthusiast
2017 Hitching Post "Gen Red" Blend | Paso Robles, CA · $21.99 | Sale $18.99
Aficionados of the classic wine country movie Sideways will recognize Hitching Post, the name of the restaurant prominently featured in the film. Owner and Chef Frank Ostini and friend Gary Hartley started Hitching Post Wines in the 1980s, primarily to supply the restaurant. With the advent of Sideways, demand soared and they ended up moving into a much larger facility. Along with a bevy of fine Pinot Noirs they also make Gen Red, a delicious red with an unusual blend of Sangiovese, Valdiguié, Tempranillo, Merlot and Nebbiolo. Soft and guzzle-able. What some would call a crusher, with notes of berry and earth on a soft, round palate. A great picnic red.
2014 Terre Rouge Syrah “Les Côtes de L’Ouest” | California · $21.99 | $19.99
In 1994, besotted by the wines of France’s Rhône Valley, Bill Easton found similar granitic soil in the foothills of Amador County. Since then he has made some of the finest Rhône reds in California, under the Terre Rouge label. His Côtes de l'Ouest Syrah is from several sites throughout the Sierra Foothills, all of which feature granitic soils. Arguably California’s best $ for $ Syrah, it’s fully ready to drink with a deep, dark color and an outstanding bouquet of blackberries, herbs and roasted meats. Rich, but not heavy, with a long, smooth finish. This may be America’s best everyday Syrah.
2015 L’Ecole No. 41 Merlot | Columbia Valley, WA · $27.99 | Sale $24.99
This pioneering Washington State winery was founded by the Ferguson family in 1983 after they had purchased an old schoolhouse. Through the ensuing years, they have become one of the region’s most esteemed wineries. Their Merlot, seasoned with 13% Cabernet Franc, comes from vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley that they farm themselves. Always one of the northwest’s premier Merlots, the 2015 is impeccably balanced despite the extreme heat of the vintage. Black cherries and violets on the nose and palate with a hint of cocoa. Really as good a domestic Merlot as one gets at this price point.
2015 Hendry Zinfandel Blocks 7 & 22 | Napa, CA · $36.99 | Sale $33.99
We had the amazing opportunity to visit the Hendry Estate in Napa, California last February. While the typical weather for Napa in that time of year is “cold” (about 60-65 degrees), and rainy, we walked the vineyards of Hendry, with George Hendry himself, during an unseasonably ideal day of sunny and 72° - not a cloud in the sky. How perfect! George Hendry is loveably eccentric. He took over the family business from his parents and has been involved in EVERY step of the wine making process for decades. In his seventies now, he shows no sign of slowing down. With the exception of a small handful of employees to help, George still runs the show. This winery is truly a small business. The Blocks 7 and 22 in this wine’s label refer to separate vineyards on his property. His original Block 7 Zinfandel was released in 1992, with only an offering of a few hundred cases. Now, it is the strong back bone of this flagship wine, and it has character! Dark cherries, orange rind, pepper, spices, cocoa and even black tea create a tasting profile that is just as beautiful as it is unique. Good food pairings are plentiful. Anything grilled would be excellent served next to a glass of this wine, as would pastas, pizza, mushroom and chicken piccata. You name it!
2014 White Rock Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa, CA · $64.99 | Sale $58.99
This Napa Valley winery is one of the first that gave Cabernet the reputation it has in this special region. It is estate-grown, produced and bottled one mile off Silverado Trail, east of Yountville on the south end of the Stag’s Leap Range. This microclimate is a few degrees cooler than the valley floor. Gorgeous, well-integrated French Oak (only 35%), sturdy but well-knit tannins and long, complex finish. Notes of cassis, black currant and cedar make this old-worldsy Napa reminiscent of Bordeaux with a little more fruit. Drinking beautifully now.
2016 Remoissenet Bourgogne Blanc | Burgundy · $33.99 | Sale $29.99
In 2005, Remoissenet was sold to a group of investors including Pierre Rovani, who at one time wrote for Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, and Bérnard Repolt, former president of Louis Jadot. Since then, great strides have been made, with improvements in the facilities and especially in the wines. Their 2017 Bourgogne Blanc is much more than just a regional white. Some of the fruit comes from Chablis and a sizable chunk is from younger vines in Puligny-Montrachet. 2017 has turned out to be the best vintage for white Burgundy in several years. Easily of Villages wine quality, this is a great buy for lovers of White Burgundy and Chardonnay in general.
2013 Saint Jean de Barroux “L’Argile” | Ventoux · $29.99 | Sale $24.99
Located near the ancient fortified town of Barroux, Saint Jean du Barroux was founded by Philippe Gomel, after working at Château Beaucastel and Domaine de la Janasse. Philippe purchased 12.3 hectares of vines in the unheralded Ventoux. He devoted himself to organic farming, tending his vines by hand and working out of a makeshift cellar. He is now making some of the most outstanding wines in the Ventoux. This wine received 93 Points from Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate. It is composed of 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 5% each of Carignan and Cinsault, all grown on rocky clay soils. Thoroughly old school, he ferments and ages his wine in concrete tanks for at least two years (no oak) and then bottle ages the wine until he feels it is drinking well. We were blown away by this wine. Reminiscent of Châteauneuf du Pape, this is a value not to be missed!
2017 Domaine de la Butte Bourgueil “La Pied de la Butte” | Loire · $32.99 | Sale $29.99
Jacky Blot is a star in the world of natural winemaking in the Loire Valley. Domaine de la Butte is his estate in Bourgeuil where he makes some of the purest expressions of Loire Cabernet Franc. The grapes come from a 35 year old certified-organic vineyard of clay and flint. He uses natural yeast with minimal intervention and no new oak. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, the result is a textbook Cabernet Franc; savory, bell pepper-like flavors with dark cherry, black olive and an underlying minerality. Great with grilled meats or portobello mushrooms.
2016 Domaine Cabirau Serge & Nicolas Maury Sec | Languedoc-Roussillon
$25.99 | Sale $22.99
From the small village of Maury, this wine is named after Serge Soulatge, the vigneron who tends the vines, and Nicolas Burger, the winemaker. We first tasted Cabirau at our 2018 Wine Festival where Dan Kravitz, the importer, presented the wines. We loved the 2013 Serge and Nicolas! The 2016 is another terrific vintage from this estate. Composed of 63% Grenache, 23% Carignan and 14% Syrah from 35-75 year old vines, it is a beauty with strawberry and black cherry fruit mingled with dried herbs, a touch of licorice and an array of baking spices. To quote Jeb Dunnuck, who gave it 93 points, “It is medium bodied, polished, with beautiful purity of fruit and a solid mid-palate density… a smoking value!”
93 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2018 Bisson Glera Bianco Frizzante | Veneto · $22.99 | Sale $19.99
“A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet” is Juliet’s lament from the Shakespeare play also based in the Veneto - an appropriate lament for this wine as well. Glera is the grape of Prosecco, which hails from the Dolomite foothills near the town of Treviso in the Veneto. The best vineyard spots for this wine are the south facing slopes over the Piave River in Valdobbiadene. This is one of the most complex sparkling wines for the price we’ve found. The only reason it is not classified as a DOCG Prosecco is because of the closure. Grab your church key and taste for yourself.
2013 Selvapiana Bucerchiale Riserva Chianti Rùfina | Toscana · $36.99 | Sale $29.99
As you stroll from the Old Plaza, Piazza Vecchio, to the Boboli Gardens when you are in Florence, you cross the Medieval Old Bridge, Ponte Vecchio. If you look out to the left between the jewelry shops up the Arno River, you see the foothills of the Apennines. That is Rùfina. It is the smallest and possibly the most rural appellation of Chianti. The cooling breezes from the mountains and its sun exposure provide for a long growing season and very ripe Sangiovese. This single vineyard of fifty-year-old vines is tended biodynamically to produce a wine of great structure and nuance. Try as the Florentines do with the local specialty Cinghiale, wild boar. Cin Cin!
94 points + Top 100 Cellar Selection | Wine Enthusiast
2018 Muga Rioja Blanco | Spain · $20.99 | Sale $18.99
Rioja is best known for their Reservas and Gran Reservas - red wines based primarily on Tempranillo. However, most estates make white wines as well, most often from the Viura grape. Called Macabeo elsewhere, it is the primary grape in millions of bottles of Cava. At Muga they have redesigned their Blanco to be a value-priced alternative to White Burgundy. They have also had their own cooperage for over 75 years, where they make all of the barrels that they use from French oak, which they select themselves. The Muga Blanco is 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia and is fermented and elevated using many Burgundian techniques. The resulting wine has some of the lushness of White Burgundy with a lighter touch, less overt oak and more citrus and pear flavors. Excellent value if you are looking for a rounder yet refreshing white.
FINCA VILLACRECES | Finca Villacreces traces its roots back to the ancient monastery in the heart of Ribera del Duero near the town of Valladolid. The estate has passed through several hands over the centuries, until 2004 when the Antòn family purchased it. The family was already making wine in Rioja and Toro. They updated the facilities but needed to do little with the 160 acres of vineyards divided into 15 separate plots. These vineyards are placed in the area called the golden mile, considered the optimal growing area for the appellation. The Pruno bottling is the estate's fundamental wine, while the estate wine is from the best plots. These are wines of power and grace that show what great wines can be made in this Denomination of Origin.
2015 Villacreces Pruno | Ribera del Duero, Spain · $21.99 | Sale $16.99
92 points | James Suckling
2011 Villacreces | Ribera del Duero, Spain · $37.99 | Sale $27.99
2015 Elqui Carménère | Elqui Valley · $29.99 | Sale $26.99<