The Fall 2019 Newsletter Has Arrived!
CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRINTABLE IMAGE VERSION (complete with images & additional information) WINES OF THE MONTH
2018 Via Revolucionaria Bonarda Pura | Mendoza, Argentina · $13.99 | Sale $11.99
The Bonarda grape, originally from France and known as Douce Noir, is no longer grown there. There is Bonarda from Piedmont in northwestern Italy, but it is not the same grape. In California it is known as Charbono, and some wines from Napa get premium prices. The Argentine version of Bonarda is second in acreage only to plantings of Malbec, but dramatically different. This organically-farmed 100% Bonarda is from Via Revolucionaria, located in the Uco Valley in Tupungato, Mendoza. Matias Michelini, the winemaker and agronomist, strives to make experimental wines that express the terroir of this cooler climate. Light (with the alcohol coming in at just 12%), lively and juicy, yet not overly fruity, the wine is soft and round on the mid-palate, with bright acidity and a touch of tannin. Balanced wine, easy and imminently quaffable (or “glou-glou” as the French describe chuggable wines!)
2016 Château Charron Bordeaux Blanc | Bordeaux, France · $13.99 | Sale $10.99
Bordeaux, as the largest wine region in France, produces an ocean of wine: around 75 million cases. Despite the accolades for the top wines, only about 3% of the total production sells for over $20 a bottle. There is a vast quantity of affordable everyday wines. While thought of as red wine region, millions of cases of white are also made. There are a handful of “serious” white wines, but the vast majority are for everyday drinking. Château Charron is located on the right bank of the Gironde River across the river and just north of Margaux. Their white Bordeaux contains equal parts Sauvignon Blanc (crisp, light and herbaceous) and Sémillon (fuller-bodied, viscous and honeyed) with a touch of Muscadelle (for floral aromatics). This light, crisp wine is a perfect match for lighter seafood and chicken dishes. From the wineries website (with perhaps some questionable translation), “The nose is floral and includes exotic notes. In the mouth it is very nice, not aggressive and greedy.”
2017 Stonestreet Winery Sauvignon Blanc | Alexander Valley, CA · $32.99 | Sale $25.99
It’s rare to find a mountain-grown Sauvignon Blanc. Mountainside vineyards are usually reserved for Cabernet, which, as you may know, sells at a much higher price. However, Stonestreet planted Sauvignon Blanc on parts of their mountainside vineyards and have created a unique and very compelling wine. We had the pleasure of tasting this wine at the Stonestreet dinner we co-hosted with The Famous, and we loved it. It’s very different than the typical Sauvignon Blanc. While the nose has some citrus aspects as you might expect, the flavors are peach, nectarine and melon. Delicious! There’s enough acidity on the finish to make you yearn for another sip WITHOUT the tartness and grassiness found in many Sauv Blancs. If you swear you don’t like Sauvignon Blanc, try this one. And, if you love Sauvignon Blanc, you should try this one, as well, to experience a wonderfully-different style.
91 points | Wine Enthusiast
2016 Anaba Turbine White | Sonoma, CA · $33.99 | Sale $29.99
In the vineyards of Sonoma, cool ocean breezes flow in from San Pablo Bay. As these breezes blow through the vineyards they cool down the temperatures and allow the grapes to ripen at a slower pace and develop more complex flavors. When these breezes rise up the slopes of the vineyard hills they’re called anabatic winds. Anaba Winery derived their name from these beneficial winds. In addition, winery owner and engineer, John Sweazy has harnessed the power of these winds by installing a 45 foot wind turbine that provides most of the power to the winery. Take these winds, some Rhône varietals and throw in winemaker extraordinaire Ross Cobb (Williams Selyem and Hirsh Vineyards) and you have a recipe for success. You can taste that success in Anaba’s White Turbine Rhône varietal blend. Comprised of 40% Viognier, 31% Grenache Blanc, 22% Roussanne and 7% Marsanne, this is an absolute delight. Flavors of orange blossom, honeysuckle and peach explode on the palate with a bracing acidity to hold it all together. Our well established wine connections allowed us to get the last few cases of this gem so grab it before it’s gone for good!
90 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2016 Willamette Valley Vineyards Dijon Clone Chardonnay | Willamette Valley, OR · $24.99 Sale $21.99
We fondly remember going to a tasting, about 30 years ago, sponsored by the wineries of Willamette Valley. They flew in lots of fresh fish and lots of Chardonnay. Well, the fish was awesome, but not so much the Chards. How 30 years can make a difference! They discovered they had planted all the wrong clones of Chardonnay for that area and basically started over. They grafted or replaced all of the existing vines and changed them out with clones that are now producing wonderful wines. The Dijon Clone Chardonnay has aromatic notes of tropical fruit, butterscotch and vanilla. It has a wonderful, creamy, medium-bodied palate with nice acidity and a long finish. We are so glad they replanted all those vineyards and love to redo that tasting of 30 years ago. Pairs well with rich seafood dishes, creamy risottos and white cheddar cheeses.
2015 Allis Ranch Winery Roussanne | Colorado · $14.99 | Sale $13.99
Colorado’s wine industry is still in its infancy. As recently as 1990, there were only five operating wineries in the state. It may take another generation or two for winemakers to figure out which varietals work best in western Colorado’s unique climate and soil types. Roussanne is a white grape that is most famously grown in the Rhône Valley of southern France. Often difficult to grow, it is usually blended with Marsanne, most famously in the great white wines of Hermitage. Small amounts are also grown on the western slope right here in Colorado. David Rhyne, who makes one of the state’s finest Syrahs called Two Husky, also makes a small quantity of Roussanne. The aroma of this Roussanne suggests a flowery, herbal tea with orange blossom and lemon. Rich with flavors of melon, pears, sweet white fruit, orange, toast and honeysuckle. One of Colorado’s most distinctive wines. Less than 50 cases made.
2018 Matthiasson Family Tendu Cortese | Clarksburg, CA · $17.99 | Sale $14.99
Steve Matthiasson is one of Napa’s top viticultural consultants and has worked with such wineries as Hall, Spottswoode, Araujo and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. He was named Winemaker of the Year by Food & Wine in 2012. In 2003 he and his wife Jill created Matthiasson Wines. They have always emphasized balance and restraint in their wines rather than over extraction. Tendu is a label they created to offer affordable natural wines from lesser known varietals. Cortese is most famously grown in the Gavi appellation in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The Tendu Cortese comes from a vineyard planted in the Clarksburg AVA on the Sacramento River delta. Fog and cool breezes from San Francisco Bay make this ideal white wine country. White peach, starfruit and lemon peel along with a slight minerality highlight this beautifully balanced and elegant (only 12% abv) white wine. Perfect for lighter dishes and for quaffing by itself. Only 551 cases made.
2016 Wrath Swan/828 Clone Pinot Noir | Santa Lucia Highlands, CA · $34.99 | Sale $28.99
In 2007, archaeologist Michael Thomas and family purchased the San Saba Vineyard located just below the Santa Lucia Highlands. Michael spent many years in Italy working on archaeological digs and like many others developed a love for the local food and wine. His goal at Wrath is to make the wines as expressive of their terroir as possible. Four bottlings of Pinot Noir - totaling about 2,000 cases - are made from different plots and clones in the San Saba Vineyard. “Forest floor, wood smoke, and earthy dark fruits all give way to a medium-bodied, concentrated, nicely balanced Pinot Noir that shows the elegant, complex style of the vintage nicely. It's another classic Pinot Noir from this estate that's well worth seeking out."
93 points | Jeb Dunnuck
2017 Stolpman La Cuadrilla · Ballard Canyon | Central Coast, CA · $23.99 | Sale $20.99
When Tom Stolpman purchased the land that is now Stolpman Vineyards, he declared that if his dream of owning a vineyard was to come true, it would not be on the backs of people being taken advantage of. He asked vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano to employ vineyard workers year-round, so the team members could have a steady job, a career, and raise their families with security. A man of action, Ruben started a training program in which he gave one Cuadra - a small vineyard block - to his team so they would take responsibility for their land. Each crew member became the farmer rather than just the worker. The wine made from the crew’s training Cuadra would be given to the team members for their own consumption. Beginning with the 2009 vintage, Stolpman expanded the Cuadrilla (“the crew”) program to blend in more wine from the vineyard in addition to the training Cuadra. Today, 10% of the vineyard’s production goes into the blend. The profits are returned to the crew members, divided by seniority, in the form of a year-end bonus. Every vintage, the blend is different, with the 2017 being 55% Syrah, 27% Sangiovese and 18% Grenache. Dark and intense, with delicious suppleness through the palate, the wine shows loads of wonderfully ripe fruit in the mouth with firm, grainy tannins and juicy freshness. Yum!
93 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2017 The Paring Red Blend | California · $27.99 | Sale $22.99
Screaming Eagle Cabernet is the most expensive wine made in America (available at Coaltrain for $2,499). Owner Stan Kroenke also owns property in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County. There at the Jonata Winery, they make the Central Coast’s most esteemed Cabernet Sauvignon called El Desafio ($139 at Coaltrain). What does all this have to do with The Paring? Well, Jonata winemaker Matt Dees takes all of the grapes from younger vines and those declassified from the Jonata line to make The Paring. The Red Blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot and is aged in 55% new French oak. What’s not to like? This is a premium quality California Cabernet blend from an esteemed vineyard at a very reasonable price. “Offers plenty of blackcurrant, toasted spice, graphite and licorice notes in a medium-bodied style.”
91 points | Jeb Dunnuck
2016 Tamber Bey Cabernet Sauvignon, Deux Chevaux Vineyard | Yountville, Napa, CA $62.99 | Sale $56.99
This stunning 100% Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the “Deux Chevaux” vineyard at Tamber Bey. Aromas of dark plum, blackberry, spice and vanilla fill the glass. On the palate, the wine has richness, strength and a velvety texture. This Cabernet is complex with a touch of Bordeaux character… a style we love. Approachable now, but has the tannin and balanced acidity to age gracefully. “Deux Chevaux” is French for “two horses.” Besides being a winery, Tamber Bey is home to a world class equestrian facility, 45 horses and is the largest horse rescue organization in Napa County. Limited production, so don’t wait!
92 points | James Suckling
2016 Domaine Eden Cabernet Sauvignon | Santa Cruz, CA · $52.99 | Sale $47.99
Martin Ray was one of the founding fathers of California’s boutique wine industry. He planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the site that is now Mount Eden Vineyards, in the rugged Santa Cruz Mountains, in 1945. This site has come to be regarded as one of the finest in the state. In 2007, Mount Eden purchased the Cinnabar winery just a short distance away. Here the soil was quite different and it was decided to market the wines as Domaine Eden rather than incorporate them into the existing wines. Along with grapes from some carefully selected neighboring plots, the Domaine Eden Cabernet Sauvignon is made in a similar style to its big brother at Mount Eden Vineyards but at half the price. The emphasis here is on balance and nuance with notes of blackberry, sage and forest floor, but not to the detriment of a lush, smooth palate with a perfect oak/fruit balance. One of the best values in premium California Cabernet.
2017 Les Gras Moutons Muscadet Sèvre et Maine | Loire · $20.99 | Sale $17.99
Near the mouth of the Loire, France’s longest river and largest wine region, sits the appellation of Muscadet. Here the grape grown is Melon de Bourgogne, which produces a dry, very crisp and minerally white wine - perfect for seafood, especially oysters. This is the Loire Valley’s largest wine region and there are many producers, but there are a few who stand out and have taken their wines to a higher level. One of these is the Domaine de la Pépiere. Here the vineyards are organic and farmed with biodynamic practices. Les Gras Moutons (The Fat Sheep) is a single hilltop plot. With strong breezes often coming off the Atlantic Ocean, this windy site produces crisp, focused wines with a nearly-ripe peach, citrus flavor, like lemon bordering on mandarin orange. Serious wine from a region known more for value.
2016 Chapoutier La Ciboise Blanc | Luberon · $18.99 | Sale $16.99
Situated midway between Avignon and Châteauneuf-du-Pape in Aix-en-Provence is the appellation of Luberon. Luberon lies in the midst of a National Park/Reserve and is protected from encroaching urban sprawl. It is also at a higher altitude than many surrounding wine regions, hence cooler nighttime temperatures. This is beneficial for the production of white wines. Chapoutier is one of the great names of the Rhône Valley; especially for their incandescent wines from Hermitage. They also make wines from lesser appellations and their Luberon Blanc is a wonderful, flavorful blend of Grenache blanc, Viognier, Roussanne and unusually, Vermentino, known locally as Rolle. The Vermentino adds a distinctive citrus character, refreshing acidity and surprising richness to an already flavorful blend. Rich enough to be served as an aperitif, but not heavy or blowsy, as many whites from this area can be; this is a wonderful southern French white with notes of lemon and white peaches, yet round on the palate with a surprising minerality.
2017 Jean Manciat Mâcon-Charnay | Bourgogne · $20.99 | Sale $18.99
Mâcon, in southern Burgundy, is home to some of the best values in Chardonnay. Here in the village of Charnay, Jean Manciat farms 12 acres of vines. In these sustainably-farmed vineyards, he utilizes techniques more common in the Côte d’Or to the north, where the wines can reach stratospheric prices. This drastically reduces his yields. The hand-harvested fruit is whole-cluster-pressed, naturally fermented and aged on its lees in stainless steel tanks - no oak at all! The end result is one of the purest expressions of Chardonnay we’ve tasted all year. Clean, slightly floral and flinty; almost like Chablis but with a little more weight reflecting the warmer climate in Mâcon. Although somewhat challenging for reds, 2017 was an exceptional vintage throughout Burgundy for white wine, as reflected in this wonderful Chardonnay.
2017 Domaine des Masques Essentielle Les Masques | Vin de France · $18.99 | Sale $15.99
This blend of Syrah and Marselan (a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache) shows roundness and charm on the palate, with a beautiful expression of red and black fruits and some nice spicy notes. Medium-bodied with round tannins that give a feeling of immediate pleasure and an elegant finish.
2017 Michel Tete Beaujolais Villages | Bourgogne · $18.99 | Sale $16.99
Our last newsletter featured the Julienas from esteemed Beaujolais producer Michel Tete. This was a serious and wonderful Beaujolais and we had to restock due to its popularity. Just west of Julienas in an area only classified as Beaujolais Villages, the Tete family own a parcel of 50 year old vines that are farmed utilizing the same techniques as their more expensive cru bottlings. So what’s the difference? Price. This wine may be classified as Beaujolais Villages, but it is Cru quality in everything but name. "This is a character-rich, expressive Gamay. Certainly one of the finest values for serious quality anywhere; floral, aromatic and full of intensely layered red fruits.” -Michael Skurnik
2018 Domaine Rougeot Bourgogne Passetoutgrain Les Vercherres | Bourgogne · $27.99
For generations, Burgundian vignerons have kept a portion of their crop for their own ingurgitation. Not the high-end famous names though; that’s where the money comes from. Often, lesser plots would be co-planted with Pinot Noir and Gamay. In the 1930s when Burgundy’s appellations were being established, this wine was recognized as Bourgogne Passetoutgrain, which loosely means “throw it all in”. Passetoutgrain must contain at least one-third Pinot Noir and/or one-third Gamay. Production of Passetoutgrain has decreased by more than 50% in the last decade, since it is more lucrative to sell Pinot Noir, but there are still 80 or so growers who keep the tradition alive. Domaine Rougeot’s Passetoutgrain comes from a single vineyard in the Côte d’Or, just south of Meursault and is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Gamay. Organically-certified and biodynamically grown, the estate uses minimal sulfites in an attempt to make the most natural wine possible. Lush and fruity and made for immediate consumption, experience has shown that Passetoutgrain can age and evolve into a most interesting Burgundian libation.
2016 Domaine Lombard Brézème Côtes du Rhône | Rhône · $24.99 | Sale $19.99
The Drôme River originates in the Alps and is the only remaining Alpine river that remains undammed. Famous for its recreational activities, it eventually empties into the Rhône River at the southern edge of what is considered the Northern Rhône wine region. Just before its confluence with the Rhône lies an ancient and forgotten wine growing area, Brèzéme. Well regarded in the 19th century, by as recently as 1970 there was only one small parcel of vines left. Some of the appellation consists of ancient terraces which had to be meticulously rebuilt. Under the auspices of the Domaine Lombard and local négociant Eric Texier, Brèzéme is slowly being brought back to life. This being the Northern Rhône, it is Syrah territory. However, unlike the granitic soils of its more famous neighbors, the soil in Brèzéme tends towards limestone. This makes a softer, but beautifully aromatic wine. Domaine Lombard is organically certified and produces primarily red wine with a small amount of white. Their Brèzéme Rouge has aromas of black currants and berries with violet flower nuances. The palate is elegant with silky tannins, with flavors of dark fruit and earthy spice.
2015 Château Pegau Setier Côtes-du-Rhône Villages | Rhône · $25.99 | Sale $22.99
Domaine du Pegau is one of the most renowned estates in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with some of their releases fetching in excess of $100 a bottle. In 2012, owners Paul and Laurence Féraud purchased a 101-acre estate primarily in the Côtes-du-Rhône Villages appellation. Here they continue their tradition of elegant, spicy wines with an emphasis on balance and integrity. Their 2015 Cuvée Setier presents an opportunity to sample the Pegau style without breaking the bank. Made from 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre, the grapes are organically grown and aged in neutral tanks until bottling. Hints of cassis, black cherry and tar highlight a superior southern Rhône bottling.
Every year as the air starts to chill, the leaves begin to turn, and our thoughts turn to pumpkins and football, we at Coaltrain (or at least some of us) have another obsession; Lirac-tober. This is our time to celebrate the wines of Lirac. Located across the Rhône River from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac shares some of the same terrain, including the large stones called galets that cover many vineyards. The upside is that the wines are much less expensive yet still contain many of the fruit, earth and spice that make Rhône wines so appealing. This year for Lirac-tober we celebrate the following offerings:
2014 Château de Montfaucon Baron Louis | $19.99
Owned by Rodolphe de Pins (our old pal Rudi, who was here for our Wine Festival in 2017), formerly of Vieux Télégraphe. Soft, lush and for current consumption.
2016 Château de Ségries - Cuvée Réservée | $22.99 | Sale $19.99
“A terrific value for consumers looking for an authentic Southern Rhône. It’s medium to full-bodied, with scents of ripe cherries, licorice and cracked pepper.”
90 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2016 Alain Jaume Domaine du Clos de Sixte | $31.99 | Sale $29.99
“A terrific wine, easily the rival to many Châteauneufs. Treat it like a Châteauneuf-du-Pape in terms of cellaring: hold it for a few years.”
93 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2017 Domaine Lafond Roc-Épine | $17.99
“The supple palate is packed with juicy, berry fruits. The finish is fresh, detailed, long and palate-staining.”
95 points + Gold | Decanter World Wide Wine Awards
2017 Meroi Ribolla Gialla, Colli Orientali | Friuli, Veneto · $39.99 | Sale $37.99
The winds of war... After the collapse of the Doges in Venice the void was quickly filled by the nascent Austrian, Habsburg Empire. In their ambition to keep up with the French, they replanted many of the vineyards in Northeast Italy to grapes of Bordeaux and Burgundy. Therefore many native varietals were relegated to less favorable spots. Ribolla Gialla was one of those that languished until recently. Today producers in the area are reclaiming their heritage. This wine shows an incredible depth of character and a true taste of history. We hope to see many more of the varietals come back to the mainstream.
2016 Franco Serra Rosso | Piemonte · $15.99 | Sale $13.99
The Sperone family has been involved with wine and spirits for nearly 100 years. They have always focused on value wines. This pleasant blend of 80% Barbera and 20% Nebbiolo is sourced from the Monferrato Hills. It has nice dark stone fruit notes with balanced structure from the Nebbiolo. Would pair well with pasta dishes and lighter meats.
2016 San Fereolo Valdiba Dolcetto | Piemonte · $28.99 | Sale $25.99
The Dolcetto grape is widely planted throughout the Piemonte Region of northwest Italy. It has long been considered a lesser grape to Nebbiolo, the grape of Barolo. However, the grapes in this wine have a power and complexity not seen in other Dolcettos. The winemaker, Nicoletta Bocca, studied winemaking with some of the greatest Barolo producers. San Fereolo is the perfect expression of her education. She brings depth and complexity to this varietal. You’ll be amazed!
2011 Monchiero Barolo | Piemonte · $55.99 | Sale $49.99
The Monchiero family traces their winemaking roots to the 1950s, first as growers and then, winemakers. The winery is located on the west-facing slope of Castiglione Falletto, and this Barolo is sourced mostly from holdings around Castiglione. It is made in the traditional style and aged in large Slovenian Oak barrels of 5,000 liters. At eight years of age, it is expressing those nuances of floral, fruit and earth that make Barolo so enticing. What an opportunity this is to be able to buy a Barolo that is ready to drink now. A beautiful foil for hearty stews or sausage dishes.
PORTUGAL & SPAIN
2017 Paulo Laureano Private Select White | Alentejo, Portugal · $23.99 | Sale $19.99
We were fortunate enough to go to Portugal this summer and visit the legendary Paulo Laureano, who was one of our guest winemakers at the last Wine Festival of Colorado Springs. He is one of the most sought-after winemaking consultants in Portugal and is known for his passion for unique Portuguese grape varietals. This is one of those unique wines. Made from the Antão Vaz varietal, this wine is layered and balanced with ripe mango, tangerine and minerality. We fell in love with this wine as did many people - it was the best selling wine of the Wine Festival - and want to share it with you.
90 points | Wine Enthusiast
2015 Paulo Laureano Miguel Maria Alfrocheiro | Alentejo, Portugal · $35.99 | Sale $29.99
Well, we fell in love again (see above)! While in Portugal, not only did we enjoy Paulo’s white wines, we enjoyed the reds, as well. Made entirely from the unique Alfrocheiro grape, this wine has intensity and power. It has an inky color, velvety texture and is full of black currants and spice. Ready to drink with a little air or feel free to cellar for a few years. Paulo made this to honor his family, Genus Generationes, and we’re sure his family is proud. He didn’t make much of this beauty so grab a bottle or two while you can! It, too, was a big seller at the Wine Festival.
90 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2016 Langa Reyes d’Aragon Old Vine Garnacha | Calatayud, Spain · $15.99 | Sale $12.99