The 2020 Wine Newsletter -V2- Is Here!
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A NOTE OF THANKS TO OUR CUSTOMERS:
In nearly 40 years of business, we've never experienced anything close to what is happening now, with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has always been our great pleasure and honor to serve you - our neighbors throughout Colorado Springs and beyond - and we want to extend a sincere thank you for your continued patronage and support during these trying times.
As a reminder, the store is still open to guests with adjusted hours of operation:
Monday-Saturday · 9am-9pm | Sunday · 11am-7pm
We are also offering curbside pickup of orders and delivery of our entire inventory, including pastas, sauces, meats, cheeses and snacks via Drizly.com or the free Drizly mobile app.
For all our updated policies and offerings, please visit coaltrainwine.com/covid-19-policies.
Call us if we can help you find something to ease your cabin fever!
Hope to see you soon,
Jim & Peggy
For your convenience, and to save our customers from having to pick and choose from our newsletter wines, for the first time we are offering two staff-selected mixed cases. We have two price tiers as shown below:
WINES OF THE MONTH
2018 Famille Gessler Domaine de Joÿ L'Eclat
Côtes de Gascogne, France · $13.99 | Sale $11.99
In 1927, Paul and Marguerite Gessler traveled from Switzerland to an area in Southwestern France, the Côtes de Gascogne. They found rolling hills, cypress trees, a maritime climate and a history of viticulture that dates back to the Roman times. This terroir allows the production of aromatic, crisp and balanced white wines. The Gascogne also includes the Armagnac region where white grapes are distilled and made into brandy. The Gesslers wasted no time building their winery, Domaine de Joÿ, and started making Armagnac and various blends of white wines. Presently, 4th generation brothers, Roland and Olivier are the winemakers and our wine of the month, L’Eclat is a perfect example of their work and the terroir of the Côtes de Gascogne. A blend of regional grapes that include Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc. This wine displays fresh, bright floral and citrus aromas while the palate is full of clementine, lemon and grapefruit flavors with a crisp dry finish. L’Eclat means “The Shine”, and that’s exactly what this wine does!
86 Points + Best Buy | Wine Enthusiast
2017 Lazy Creek Vineyards "Lazy Day" Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, California · $17.99 | Sale $13.99
The Pinot fans on the Coaltrain wine staff were thrilled to find a Pinot Noir with the quality/price ratio that we could offer as a Wine of the Month! This little gem comes to us from a region which yields wines at much higher price points. The land on which Lazy Creek vineyards are planted was established in the early 1900s and is one of the oldest properties in Mendocino County. The bucolic Anderson Valley property was founded by Italian immigrants, and saw several proprietors before landing in the hands of Don and Rhonda Carano in 2008. The wine has those delicious cherry and spice notes that we look for, and finishes with a light toast and astringency. Lazy Day will pair well with a range of foods, and the fact that the vineyard practices sustainable farming is the “cherry” on top!
2019 Moment de Plaisir Rosé
Pays d'Oc, France · $12.99 | Sale $10.99
Hooray! The 2019 rosés are starting to arrive! We look forward to the new rosé season, although we drink these pink beauties all year round. This pale salmon color rosé is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. The grapes are picked at the coldest hours of the day, de-stemmed and crushed before pressing. The free run juice and best pressed juices are blended to produce this wine's soft ripe berry flavors and a long refreshing finish. This delicate rosé pairs well with salads, pasta, pizza, seafood and chicken - or is totally quaffable on its own on a spring evening. A moment of pleasure, to be sure!
2018 Hanna Sauvignon Blanc
Russian River Valley, CA · $18.99 | Sale $16.99
Over the past few decades the Russian River Valley has developed a reputation for world class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Less well known is the quality of their Sauvignon Blancs. The Hanna Winery was founded in 1995, and while they do make Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, among other wines, they are best known for their Sauvignon Blanc. There is an ineluctable quality to this wine that belies its price point. While many California Sauvignon Blancs have rich fruit they are often deficient in the acidity that gives Sauvignon Blancs their reputation for refreshing crispness. Due to the cooler climate in the Russian River Valley, especially at night, these wines retain their acidity without losing the fruit that California is known for. Guava, grapefruit, lime, Meyer lemon, mango and pear are some of the nuances in this delightful, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc.
91 points | James Suckling
2016 Trisaetum Coast Range Dry Riesling
Yamhill-Carlton, OR · $28.99 | Sale $19.99
Think you know Riesling? Think again! This gem was crafted by James Frey, owner and winemaker for Trisaetum Winery. He moved his family to Oregon in 2003, bought a small parcel of steep and rocky land in the Willamette Valley and started to make some outstanding wines. What makes it even more amazing is that James was self-taught and he’s been making award-winning wines for the last 10 years. We’ve always enjoyed Trisaetum’s Pinot Noirs, but due to limited availability had not had their Rieslings. Well, we were caught off-guard when we were blind tasted on this wine. We couldn’t agree on the varietal but we all agreed that we liked what we tasted! On the nose, there is orange blossom and fresh peach. In the mouth, there is a gorgeous concentration of flavors, interwoven with bright acidity and a flinty minerality. We were not disappointed, and you won’t be either. Don’t mis out on this rarity – quantities are ext
2019 Kinero Alice Grenache Blanc
Paso Robles, CA · $25.99 | Sale $23.99
Many moons ago, there was a mutation in northern Spain. A white version of the commonly planted Garnacha grape was discovered. It eventually found its way to the Rhône Valley in southern France where it is known as Grenache Blanc and is most commonly used as a blending grape in white Châteauneuf-du-Pape to add weight and body. Often deficient in acidity, it is rarely bottled on its own. Enter Anthony Yount. At the ripe old age of 25 he became winemaker at Denner Vineyards in Paso Robles. In 2008, he started Kinero Cellars as a side project making only single-vineyard, organic white wines. His Grenache Blanc is a revelation. He picks early to retain freshness but still obtains phenolic ripeness. At only 12.5% ABV it is lighter than even its European counterparts but has excellent balance and vivacity. “Fresh pear, melon and Meyer lemon aromas are complemented by a gingery nuance that builds in the glass. Juicy and focused on the palate, showing very good clarity and firm bite to the lively citrus and orchard fruit flavors.
92 points | Vinous
2017 Acacia Chardonnay
Carneros, CA · $19.99 | Sale $14.99
In 1979, Mike Richards and Larry Brook were looking for the ideal environment to start a winery and grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They needed a cool climate with low rainfall and a challenging soil to stress the vines. They found the answer they were looking for in southern Napa and Sonoma in a place called Carneros. At the time, this wasn’t even a recognized American Viticultural Area, but they knew it was perfect! We too, enjoy the wines the Carneros region produces. Instead of heavy handed, fruit-forward wines, Carneros' wines tend to be a little more subtle with crisp acidity, and this Chardonnay is no exception. Aromas of fresh stone fruits and flavors of baked apple, ripe lemon with a hint of French oak and a slight creaminess that rounds out the finish. Most Carneros Chardonnays are double this price, so take advantage before it’s gone!
2017 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay
Russian River Valley, CA · $59.99 | Sale $48.99
Since he first started interning with Robert Mondavi and Opus One in 1977, Paul Hobbs has become one of the leading figures in premium California wine. Through multiple long-term contracts and recent vineyard additions, he has amassed a catalog of wines from many of the finest vineyards in California. Aside from these single-vineyard bottlings, there are several regional appellation wines as well. The Russian River Valley Chardonnay comes from several premium vineyards, all harvested at night to retain acidity and then barrel-fermented with indigenous yeasts. It's aged for 12 months in French oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered. “...a rich, upfront bouquet of caramelized pineapple, tangerine, honeysuckle, spice, and a touch of toasted nuts. It's rich, concentrated, has beautiful mid-palate heft, and nicely integrated acidity. It's a rocking wine as well as a great introduction into the wines of this great winemaker.”
94 points | Jeb Dunnuck
2015 Benton Lane Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, OR · $23.99 | Sale $19.99
Lifelong winemakers Steve and Carol Girard founded this winery. High school sweethearts whose families loved wine, they began their wine journey in the Napa Valley where they established their first winery together, Girard Winery. They soon developed a passion for Pinot Noir and began searching the world for a Pinot Noir vineyard. They found Sunnymount Ranch in the foothills of the Willamette Valley Coast Range near Monroe, which straddles both Benton and Lane counties. The Girards bought the 1,860-acre property in 1988 and began the planting of Pinot Noir the following year. The first Benton Lane wine was produced in 1992. Estate-grown using organic, sustainable and biodynamic methods, the 2015 Pinot is black fruit driven (boysenberry, black cherry, blueberry and cassis), lending depth and concentration to the wine. Rich, smooth and deep with a touch of tannin, this would be the perfect match for roast lamb.
91 points | James Suckling
2017 Huntington Pinot Noir
Santa Barbara, CA · $21.99 | Sale $18.99
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.
90 points | Wine Spectator
2018 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, and there is more Syrah in the 2018 than in previous vintages, 70%, with 15% each of Sangiovese and Grenache. The result is a slightly darker, richer wine but by no means heavy. “Aromas of cooked plums, cracked pepper, wood spice and beef jerky show on the nose, while smashed berries, toasted sage and coffee beans arise on the sip.
92 points | Wine Enthusiast
2017 Airfield Estate Bombshell Red
Yakima Valley, WA · $21.99 | Sale $18.99
As the name suggests, Airfield Estates has ties to aviation. A portion of the family property operated as a training base for hundreds of Army Air Corps pilots during World War II. A beloved favorite of many, the Airfield Estates Bombshell Red is their approachable signature red blend. It has dark aromas of plum, blackberry, and a hint of cocoa, leaving lingering flavors of dark fruit and toasted oak on the palate. A blend of Cabernet, Malbec, Merlot, and Syrah, Bombshell Red has enough complexity to keep everyone at the table happy.
2017 Bucklin Bambino Zinfandel
Sonoma Valley, CA · $27.99 | Sale $21.99
In 1852, William McPherson Hill purchased a ranch in Sonoma County and immediately began planting vines from cuttings that were imported from Peru. These were the first vines other than the sweet Mission grape that were planted in Sonoma County. One of the most successful plantings was of a grape called Black St. Peters, known for its richness and color. The name of this grape gradually morphed somehow to Zinfenthal [sic]. By 1866 Hill was receiving accolades for his Zinfandel. The vineyard was replanted in the 1880s and, as was the tradition at the time, it was a field blend with many different varietals although the majority was Zinfandel. Many of those vines are still productive at 130 plus years of age. Knowing these ancient vines won’t last forever, the current owners, the Bucklin family, planted a 10-acre plot on the property in the late 1990s to a similar layout as the original Old Hill vineyard. The grapes from this organically- farmed vineyard go into the Bambino Zinfandel. The blend is 78% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 5% Alicante Bouchet and the remainder a mix of Syrah, Grenache and Carignane. Dark fruits with black cherry, plums, earth and pepper on the palate. Very rich. Really an outstanding Zin for the money. Perfect with burgers.
91 points | Wine Spectator
2017 Silver Ghost Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa, CA · $29.99 | Sale $22.99
Cool trivia - Silver Ghost founder Weston Eidson's great grandfather, John Montagu, was an automobile pioneer at the turn of the last century. He was friends with Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, and Montagu's secretary was the model for the Rolls Royce hood ornament, the Spirit of Ecstasy, which we still see on Rolls-Royce cars today. Silver Ghost derives its name from John Montagu’s favorite car, the 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. And like its name, the wine itself is filled with layers of richness, culture and authenticity. Fruit from Yountville, Calistoga and Rutherford goes into this well-made Cab. Medium-bodied, silky and nicely balanced, this wine's not-too-fruity, spicy characteristics open up beautifully in the glass. We got a screaming deal on this wine - get some while it lasts!
92 points | Vinous
2017 Miro Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Russian River, CA · $39.99 | Sale $31.99
Winemaker Miro Tcholakov learned his trade at the foot of his grandfather, making wines for the family in his native Bulgaria before coming to California on an exchange program with Future Farmers of America. After parlaying that experience into a nine-year stint at Dry Creek Vineyards, he went to work at Trentadue Winery, where he is still employed, producing award-winning wines for his employer as well as custom crushes for various winemakers in the area. In 2001 he became his own client, creating his Petite Syrah from purchased fruit and garnering a 90-point rating from Robert Parker. For his proprietary 2017 Cabernet, he focused on the Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak appellation at 2600 feet above the Russian River Valley for the intensity and structure he found in the grapes there. Day to night shifts in temperature yield intense tannins and generous fruit, and Miro’s use of French oak helps to temper the structure and create a wine capable of aging for ten years or more. The red/purple color and smoky bouquet of this 100% Cabernet offer a full-bodied expression with blue- and blackberry notes and a restrained finish of spice and menthol.
2016 Domaine Eden Cabernet Sauvignon
Santa Cruz Mountains, CA · $48.99 | Sale $37.99
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.
92 points + Cellar Select | Wine Enthusiast
2018 Ricard Le Bouc Touraine
Loire · $16.99 | Sale $14.99
A couple of hours south of Paris along the banks of the Loire River lie the twin appellations of Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre, known for the crisp, minerality and depth of flavor of their Sauvignon Blancs. Unfortunately this esteem does come with a price. But the Loire River extends for over 600 miles until it empties into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. Along the way, there is a bevy of fine wine regions. One of the larger is Touraine. Here the most commonly planted varietal is also Sauvignon Blanc and this is where the Domaine Ricard is located. Vincent Ricard farms organically using biodynamic principles. Grapes for the Le Bouc cuvée are planted on limestone soils similar to those found in the best parts of Sancerre. The low yields of his vineyards result in one of the best value Loire Valley Sauvignon Blancs around, with a ripe mineral green apple nose, crisp acidity and a surprising stony finish. Much goes to Michelin-starred restaurants in France, but a bit makes it here to the states. At half the price of many Sancerres, this is one not to pass up.
2018 Frantz Chagnoleau Mâcon-Villages
Bourgogne · $22.99 | Sale $19.99
Without a doubt, Chagnoleau is one of the most exciting vignerons to enter the scene in recent years in the Mâconnais, really shaking things up and delivering wine that far surpasses the quality of his neighbors for the same (if not better) price. He works biodynamically, methodically and intentionally. Even his soils are plowed by horse to maintain the integrity of the soil (he is one of two doing this!). The result is beautifully crafted Chardonnays that don't boast the over-the-top tropical fruit many associate with this area. Rather, the wines are well-balanced, fresh, integrated and complex. This entry level Chardonnay will give you a glimpse of what Frantz is capable of in the first sip. Enjoy with triple crème cheese, roasted chicken or mushroom driven recipes.
2019 Vignobles Raymond Les Hauts de Lagarde Bordeaux Blanc
Bordeaux · $15.99 | Sale $13.99
The Raymond family has been making wine since the 1850s in the Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. Entre-Deux-Mers (between two tides) is a wine region situated between the rivers Dordogne and Garonne. The soil consists of gravel, limestone and clay, and it’s responsible for the fresh white wines made here. In 2000, out of their love for the environment and terroir, the family converted the entire vineyard to organic. This was a huge commitment and it takes twice the amount of work to grow the grapes, but this labor can be seen in the wine. The current vintage of Les Hauts de Lagarde is a traditional blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon that is fresh and crisp with aromas of white flowers, lemon and melon. The flavors on the palate are clean, full of minerality and pulled together by mouth-watering citrus notes. This wine is perfect for seafood, sushi or just sitting on the patio enjoying the sunset.
2018 La Petite Madeleine Malbec
Vin de France · $16.99 | Sale $14.99
This bottling, while labeled Vin de France, comes from Blaye, on the right bank of the Garonne River that flows through Bordeaux. Produced by Château Magdeleine Bouhou, this sustainable, no-sulfites-added red is made from 100% Malbec, an ever-present grape in the property's vineyards. It highlights the whole range of fruit that Malbec can offer. Pleasant, light and supple, this is not your Argentine version of the grape, but a delightful alternative to serve with tapas, beef barbecue or just on its own.
2017 Domaine de Cabirau Côtes du Roussillon
Côtes du Roussillon · $18.99 | Sale $15.99
At the base of the French Pyrenees, there is a rich diversity of soil and microclimates where the summers are warm and there’s lots of sunshine, basically an ideal place to grow grapes and make wine. Our good friend, Dan Kravitz, wine importer extraordinaire, realized this and bought 13.5 acres of vineyard land in the sub-appellation, Maury. The vineyards consist primarily of 50-60 year old Grenache vines which sit below the old Cathar fortress of Queribus. Dan has really impressed us with his latest vintage of Domaine Cabirau. It’s a blend of Grenache, Carignane and Syrah and has aromas of violets, herbs and spice, while the palate is dominated by ripe, clean blackberry and blueberry flavors with a long, smooth finish. Enough earthiness to match with a variety of food but perfectly delicious by itself. No need to travel to Roussillon, we have several cases in the cellar!
92 points | Jeb Dunnuck
2018 Bergerie Cerisaie Cabernet Franc, Anjou
Loire · $21.99 | Sale $18.99
Along the Loire River past Vouvray and Chinon is the large appellation of Anjou. Here the predominant varieties are red, primarily Cabernet Franc. Maintaining many vineyard sites in the region is the Domaine de la Bergerie. As has become quite commonplace in the Loire, the estate has completed its conversion to organic viticulture and makes several excellent Cabernet Francs along with a bevy of outstanding whites. La Cerisaie is their entry level bottling and consists of 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is aged for approximately nine months in tank before bottling. With the ever increasing temperatures in the area there is a richness of fruit not often seen in Loire Cabernet Franc. With some breathing, the classic Cabernet Franc graphite notes emerge along with a mix of mineral and spice subsumed in a lush palate of blackberry, mulberry and cherries. This is a great introduction to Loire Cabernet Franc.
2016 Paul Jaboulet Les Jalets, Crozes-Hermitage
Rhône · $24.99 | Sale $19.99
The hill of Hermitage looms over the Rhône River just above the town of Tain-l’Hermitage. Here with a perfect southern exposure and granitic soils, legendary wines - most recently from Syrah - have been made for over 2,000 years. Unfortunately, the entire appellation is less than 300 acres and the dozen or so producers don’t make nearly enough to keep up with demand; hence very high prices. Enter Crozes-Hermitage. Wrapping around the Hermitage hill, and with over 3,000 acres of vineyards, this is a primary source for northern Rhône Syrah. The firm of Paul Jaboulet makes one of the great wines of Hermitage called La Chapelle, but they are also significant producers of Crozes-Hermitage. Their Les Jalets comes from their own 15-acre vineyard along with select purchased fruit. Crozes-Hermitage can be lean in some vintages, but in 2016 the grapes ripened well. With breathing, it opens up to reveal the inimitable aspects of northern Rhône Syrah - black fruit with hints of licorice, roasted meats and a hint of leather. Medium bodied, this is an excellent accompaniment to grilled meat.
2015 Le Comte Malartic, Pessac-Léognan
Bordeaux · $39.99 | Sale $35.99
This is the second wine of Château Malartic-Lagravière, whose first wine, by the way, received 96 points from Vinous, James Suckling and Wine Enthusiast, and 94 points from Decanter! Located south of the city of Bordeaux on the Left Bank, it is famed for its excellent terroir. The Malartic family obtained the vineyard at the end of the 18th century. Michele Bonnie and Alfred-Alexander Bonnie purchased it in 1997 and spent close to $20 million completely modernizing the estate and replanting and increasing the size of the vineyards. Château Malartic-Lagravière is now a renowned Bordeaux estate. Le Comte de Malartic follows in the footsteps of its big brother. It’s reflective of the 2015 vintage in its rich and very polished flavors of fresh black cherries, mocha, licorice and French oak. Made from 45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet, 8% Cab Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, this sumptuous “second vin” is drinking beautifully and is an excellent value at this price.
2018 Varvaglione 12 e Mezzo Chardonnay
Puglia · $15.99 | Sale $13.99
This pretty bottling is one of the few Chardonnays we have seen come out of the Puglia growing region; the organically-grown grapes show lovely ripeness and fruit due to the warmer climate found in the heel of the Italian peninsula. “12 e Mezzo” translates to “12 and a half”, and refers to the family’s intention to create wines of freshness and balance with an ABV of 12.5% or less. The Chardonnay offers up minerality with a touch of sweetness, aging in stainless steel for enhanced aromatics. Try this with a shrimp sauté or sushi.
2018 Varvaglione 12 e Mezzo Primitivo
Puglia · $15.99 | Sale $13.99
It’s been said that Puglia is one of the perfect places on earth to grow grapes; the need for pesticides and fertilizers is virtually non-existent, resulting in a propensity for organic production. This Primitivo is a perfect example; grapes raised without intervention result in an intense red wine with hints of violets and red fruits. After malolactic fermentation, the wine rests briefly in stainless steel casks before bottling. Low alcohol helps make this bottling perfect for enjoying with a meat and cheese board or on its own.
2017 Roagna Dolcetto d'Alba
Piemonte · $25.99 | Sale $19.99
Roagna's 2017 Dolcetto d'Alba is bright, floral and very nicely lifted, with striking aromatic nuances and tons of pure class. Flavors of sweet red cherry, licorice and crushed flowers are beautifully integrated. Luca Roagna gave the 2017 an incredible 100 days on the skins, just like wines that were made decades ago, when, for practical reasons, farmers had multiple crops to look after and took wines off the skins around Christmas. The Dolcetto for this wine is sourced from both the Paje and Carso vineyards in Barbaresco, which is part of the Asili hill.
2018 Franco Serra Barbera d'Asti
Piemonte · $17.99 | Sale $15.99
The Sperone family has been involved with wine and spirits for nearly 100 years. They have always focused on value wines. This 100% Barbera is a brilliant red color with cherry and floral aromatics, dry and medium-bodied with ripe red fruit, bright acidity and smooth tannins. This would pair well with pasta dishes and lighter meats.
2018 Piazzano Chianti
Toscana · $15.99 | Sale $13.99
On our travels to Tuscany, we were able to meet the Bettarini family, who make this wine. Quite a bunch! Oriando and his sister Ilaria (who was just in town last month) now operate the estate near Lucca that was founded by their great uncle Othello in the late 1940s. A small, completely family-run operation, much of the work is done by hand and they farm organically. We were greeted by Oriando, who showed us around the estate. Then the whole family arrived and we sat down to enjoy a classic Tuscan lunch. Of course, copious amounts of wine accompanied the meal! This is a step up in grape selection from the Sangiovese we have featured, and it is a terrific Chianti for this price point. A pleasing red, with a little Old World fruit and structure, this is the perfect pizza wine. It would also pair well with roast pork or any pasta dish.
91 points | James Suckling
2015 Fernández Gómez Crianza
Rioja Alavesa · $21.99 | Sale $18.99
Bordered by the Ebro river to the south and the towering Cantabria Mountains to the north, the Rioja Alavesa region is home to the family-owned vineyards of Fernández Gómez. The vineyards are hand harvested and are 80+ years old. The family home, located in the hamlet of Labastida, is connected to the winery’s underground network of four natural caves, dating back to the 1400s, which are perfect for aging the wine in oak barrels. Carlos and his three brothers do everything. They manage the vineyards, make the wine, and handle the production, export and sale of the wines. We like this wine. It’s made from Tempranillo, a thinner skinned grape which has a lighter crimson color but masculine aromas and flavors. Light sage and cigar smoke balance the ripe red fruit and medium tannins. This is a steal... Buy some before it’s gone!
2018 Dreissigacker Riesling Trocken
Rheinhessen · $21.99 | Sale $18.99
In 2001, Jochen Dreissigacker took over the family estate that dated back to 1728. He immediately began conversion to organic farming and the estate is now certified. The trend for dry Rieslings in Germany has not always been well received here. Sometimes a little sweetness is needed to soften the often searing acidity and to bring out the endless nuances of the Riesling grape. Dreissigacker’s Riesling Trocken is one of the finest we have come across. Aromas of apricot pit, white peaches and mineral salts lead to a surprising richness on the palate. With 6.1 grams/liter of residual sugar the wine is not overly dry. This is a quintessential food Riesling but very enjoyable on its own.
2017 AF by Achaval-Ferrer Malbec Blend
Mendoza · $20.99 | Sale $13.99
Although they’ve only been around since 1998 the firm of Achaval-Ferrer has been producing some of Mendoza’s (and Argentina’s) finest Malbecs. AF by Achaval- Ferrer is their négociant line and features fruit sourced from multiple regions. Their Malbec blend is 85% Malbec with 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Unlike their regular Malbec, which is very rich (but also very well balanced), this blend shows more elegance in a medium-bodied style. The characteristics of the Cabernet Franc are apparent in the weight of the wine and the bouquet. This is beautiful winemaking and not overly oaked like many of its peers.
2017 Penfolds Max's Cabernet Sauvignon
South Australia · $20.99 | Sale $18.99
In the 1950s, Winemaker Max Shubert of Penfolds ignored his corporate overlords and discreetly made a high-end wine, primarily from Shiraz, that he called Grange Hermitage. Despite the objections of the company’s board, critics' responses were overwhelmingly positive, and Grange - as it is now known - has come to be recognized as Australia’s most iconic wine. In 2013, as a tribute to Max, who passed away in 1994, Penfolds released a line of varietal wines. The 100% Cabernet Sauvignon comes from vineyards in McLaren Vale, Wrattonbully and Coonawarra, top sites for Cabernet production. Aged for 12 months in mostly used oak, this is an outstanding Australian Cabernet Sauvignon with big black and red fruits and a touch of eucalyptus. Delicious!
91 points | James Suckling
2019 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc
North Canterbury · $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 Sauv 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.
90 points | Wine Spectator