The 2020 Wine Newsletter -V5 The Holiday Edition- Is Here!
What a Year! 2020... full of trials and tribulations for all, but you have continued to show your support through it all, and we greatly appreciate it!
The good news is that your outpouring of votes cast in both the 2020 Colorado Springs Independent's and Gazette's "Best of the Springs" competitions enabled us to receive triple medals in both contests… again scoring the Indy's GOLD medals for BEST STORE for WINE and BEST STORE for CRAFT BEER! Thank you so much! We look forward to continuing to serve you, and are grateful that you continue to choose Coaltrain as your go-to shop for fine libations and friendly, knowledgeable service.
The bad news is that we cannot host our annual "Infamous Christmas Wine Soirée" this year, due to the coronavirus. But our awesome wine staff has put together an outstanding selection of bottles from around the world for our Christmas Wine Sale, which are featured in this Holiday Edition of our newsletter, along with our usual, highly-informative tasting notes.
As always, we are happy to wax poetic with you about any of the wines we carry, when you visit. The Christmas Wine Sale lasts through New Years, so come back often. We have something for everyone on your list and for all your holiday celebrations.
And don't forget that we offer local delivery and complimentary curbside pickup.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! We wish you good health and happiness in the upcoming year. Here's to 2021!
Peggy, Jim and our wonderful Coaltrain team!
· While we strive for perfection, we sometimes make a pricing mistake or typo. We appreciate your understanding. ·
WINES OF THE MONTH
2018 Les Trois Couronnes Côtes-du-Rhône
Côtes-du-Rhône, France · $14.99 | Sale $10.99
Hitting a home run, crossing the finish line of a marathon, reaching the peak of Mt. Everest - these are a few activities we compare to picking our Wines of the Month! Numerous days of hard work, tasting, and many sleepless nights are spent before we find the right wine. Maybe that’s a bit much, but in all seriousness, we do taste many wines to try to find a great value for our customers. It's a task we take seriously, and it's not always easy to find the perfect holiday wine. But we all did agree on the 2018 Les Trois Couronnes Côtes-du-Rhône. A harmonious blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah that displays ripe flavors of blackberry, plum, spice, and hints of earth, this wine is round in the mouth with gentle, well-integrated tannins and a long, rich finish. We can't say enough about what a great value this is, and we think you'll agree. Excellent with all your holiday feasts!
2019 Domaine J. Boulon Beaujolais Blanc
Beaujolais, France · $14.99 | Sale $11.99
Ah, Burgundy! Ancestral home of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and some of the most sought-after and expensive wines in the world. Fortunately, south of the prestigious Côte-d’Or region, one can find more accessible styles of Burgundian winemaking and never more so than in Beaujolais. Here in a region famous for its refreshing red wines, grown on mostly granitic soils, a small amount of white is made as well, usually grown on limestone soils. All Beaujolais Blanc must be 100% Chardonnay. Domaine J. Boulon has about five acres dedicated to Chardonnay and makes a very refreshing and affordable Beaujolais Blanc. The wine is aged briefly in stainless steel tanks. There is no oak aging. It's refreshing, with subtle aromas of stone fruits, pears and melon and a surprising minerality for a wine at this price point. This has the character of a Chardonnay from a much more prestigious (and expensive) location.
Vicente Gandía NV Hoya de Cadenas Cava Brut
Valencia, Spain · $15.99 | Sale $11.99
Cava is one of the great values in the wine world. By Spanish law, all Cava must be made using the "traditional method" or what used to be called the "méthode champenoise." These are the same procedures used in the making of French Champagne. This is a labor-intensive method, and is usually used only in more expensive bottlings. In the hills above Valencia, the Vicente Gandía winery produces a bevy of wines, including several excellent Cavas. Traditionally, the most important grape in Cava is the local varietal Macabeo. However, since the 1980s, producers have been allowed to use Chardonnay. The Hoya de Cadenas Organic Cava Brut has a significant amount of Chardonnay in the blend, and this notably adds a finesse and elegance to the wine that one doesn’t often see in Cava. This is a very clean, delicate sparkler, with beautiful bubbles and flavors of ripe apples and pear, with a touch of biscuitiness that is so prized in high-end Champagne. A perfect wine to toast the holiday season or just to enjoy with lighter fare.
2016 The Paring Sauvignon Blanc
Santa Ynez Valley, CA · $21.99 | Sale $16.99
20 years ago, Matt Dees had just graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in plant science and was searching for his next step in life. Those steps lead him to Australia, Napa and New Zealand where he landed stints working at several different wineries such as Craggy Range and Staglin. Matt now juggles winemaking responsibilities at three wineries: Jonata, The Hilt and The Paring. The Paring uses the younger vines and vineyards that don’t fit into the style of Jonata or The Hilt. Situated in Santa Barbara, the grapes are sourced from vineyards in Santa Maria, Santa Rita Hills and Ballard Canyon. The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc is a richer style of the varietal due to a third of the wine being aged in new French oak. This adds depth to the citrus layers of the wine without diluting the zest. The palate has flavors of lemon, lime and hints of grapefruit with herbaceous notes in the background. It finishes clean and dry with bracing acidity. Owned by the iconic Screaming Eagle winery.
93 points | Jeb Dunnuck
2018 Dewey's Vermentino
El Dorado County, CA · $26.99 | Sale $24.99
When we tasted this wine, thoughts of holiday table and food pairings came rushing to our minds. A grape that we are used to seeing from Italy, this Vermentino is organically grown and harvested from the Barsotti Vineyard in El Dorado County outside Sacramento. Pink granite soils lend salinity and savoriness to the wine, which features ripe fruit and viscosity. The mouth-coating weight and fresh minerality balance each other perfectly, and 15 months in neutral barrel round out the production. Only 100 cases were produced, so by no means are there unlimited quantities. Drink with turkey, or serve with appetizers to introduce guests to an alternative white!
2018 Foxen Chenin Blanc
Santa Barbara County, CA · $27.99 | Sale $24.99
The anchor on the Foxen labels is an homage to the shipping heritage of Capt. William Benjamin Foxen, the great-great-grandfather of the label’s co-founder and the original owner of Rancho Tinaquaic, where Foxen Winery makes its home. This picturesque canyon in northern Santa Barbara County produces single-vineyard varietals with minimal intervention, leaving the fruit to express itself and its terroir. Grapes for the Ernesto Wickendon Chenin are whole-cluster pressed, and the juice rests on the lees in large French barrels before bottling. If you haven't tried Chenin Blanc recently, treat yourself to this bottle while it lasts. "The Foxen Chenin is one of the most distinctive wines in Santa Barbara. It is also an insane value."
94 points | Antonio Galloni · Vinous
2018 Au Bon Climat Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc
Santa Barbara County, CA · $19.99 | Sale $17.99
The wines of Au Bon Climat are nothing new at Coaltrain, and if you really enjoy exceptional wines they shouldn’t be to you, either. It was started in 1982 by Jim Clendenen, in Santa Barbara, with a vision to make classically-styled wines, and he has been nothing short of successful. His wines have been receiving critical acclaim for years, and we're definitely followers. The 2018 Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc is a refreshing white wine with layers of lime, pear and lemon with a richness from time spent in the barrel that wraps it all together. This is a great match for a roasted turkey!
2016 Smith·Madrone Chardonnay
Napa, CA · $42.99 | Sale $39.99
In the hills above St. Helena, in the northern part of Napa Valley, lies the Spring Mountain appellation. Here in 1971, in the rugged Mayacamas Mountains that separate Napa Valley from Sonoma Valley, Stu Smith purchased 200 acres of wild land, and with the assistance of his brother Charlie, they gradually planted 38 acres of vines. In these days of corporate takeovers and large trophy wineries purchased by wealthy venture capitalists, the Smith family still owns this small winery that they built from scratch, where production rarely exceeds 4000 cases. They are firm believers in dry farming and do not irrigate. They made their first splash in 1979, when their Riesling (considered by some to be Napa’s best) was declared "Best Riesling in the World" at a special tasting organized by the French food and wine magazine Gault & Millau. Very nice wood integration. Full of white pear, white peach, and a kiss of vanilla. Full-bodied Chardonnay that isn't too buttery, oaky, or fat like Napa Chardonnay can get. Oily on the palate. Spicy finish.
94 points | Wine Enthusiast
2018 Hirsch Chardonnay
Sonoma Coast, CA · $76.99 | Sale $73.99
We feel very fortunate to have received some Hirsch Chardonnay this year. Hirsch makes arguably some of the best California Chardonnays, and it all started in 1980 when David Hirsch planted vines in Sonoma Coast, two miles from the ocean. Until 2001, Hirsch sold all his grapes to such noteworthy producers as Williams Selyem and Kistler, but then he decided it was time to make his own wine and he has never looked back. Hirsch has always focused on the terroir of the region, not over manipulating the fruit, and it has paid off. Their Chardonnays are incredibly well-balanced with bracing acidity, minerality and bolstered by stone fruit. This wine displays great energy and intensity. Always in demand and highly-rated, this is one not to miss. Extremely limited. Organic and biodynamic.
96 points + Chardonnay of the Year Wine & Spirits
92 points | The Wine Advocate
2017 Calera Pinot Noir
Central Coast, CA · $26.99 | Sale $19.99
In 1974, after interning at two prestigious wineries in Burgundy, Josh Jensen returned home to California and searched for the limestone soil that was so prevalent in the great vineyards of Burgundy. Although common in France, limestone was not easy to find in California. Finally, after a lengthy search, he purchased some land atop Mt. Harlan in the Gavilan Mountains east of Monterey. His subsequent Pinot Noirs have come to be recognized as some of the finest made in America. While his single vineyard estate Pinot Noirs can bring high prices, he also produces a Central Coast bottling. This is no ordinary regional wine. Fruit is sourced from some of the area’s most renowned vineyards including Bien Nacido, Pedregal, Laetitia and Garys'. "The 2017 Pinot Noir Central Coast comes from multiple vineyards throughout the Central Coast and has a touch of the elegance and purity found in the top cuvées. Impressive black raspberry fruits, white flowers, spice, and a subtle salty minerality all emerge from the glass, and it's beautifully textured, balanced, and just a joy to drink."
93 points | Jeb Dunnuck
2017 Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard
Willamette Valley, OR · $59.99 | Sale $48.99
Ken Wright sees Pinot Noir as a "gift of nature," and thus, he strives to leave his wines as untouched and individual as possible. Thirteen different single vineyard sites throughout the Willamette Valley, including Carter in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, are used to produce a collection of Pinot Noirs with the intention of demonstrating how terroir can be reflected in the bottle. This Carter selection is a mature and well-rounded wine, with beautiful blue/black fruit that features a medium-spicy profile. Firm acidity keeps the tone lively, with moderate tannins providing a smooth finish. Organic.
92 points | William Wong for Wine.com
2018 Owen Roe Abbot's Table Red
Yakima Valley, WA · $25.99 | Sale $23.99
If the interesting blend on this wine wasn’t enough to recommend it, the fact that our tasting notes say, "delicious all the way through," seals the deal. Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Blaufränkisch and Malbec come together to create a unique combination (did you say Blaufränkisch?) that blends bright red fruits and acidity, coating the palate with a pleasing and balanced wine that, for the money, can’t be beat. The fact that it is from Owen Roe only makes it more appealing; winemaker and co-founder David O’Reilly makes it his mission to use the best estate and purchased Washington fruit to create wines that serve a higher purpose… "Abbot’s Table honors the most fundamental form of hospitality through the ages - the meal." What better way to show friends and family that you care (not to mention that you have good taste)?
2016 Gilbert Cellars Malbec
Horse Heaven Hills, WA · $34.99 | Sale $31.99
Although Malbec has been around for centuries, it is still searching for its true identity. While well known for its success in Argentina, where it produces powerful and often well-oaked reds, it originally hails from Cahors in southern France, where the wines are lighter and fresher with less wood aging. As temperatures in wine-growing regions rise, Malbec has increasingly been planted in warmer regions where it can handle the heat better than many other varietals. Increased plantings in Napa Valley can attest to this trend, where it is often used to beef up Cabernet Sauvignon. In Washington state, Gilbert Cellars makes a different style of Malbec. From their own Chukar Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills, they produce a powerful Malbec with a quintessential blue fruit profile that perfectly complements the deft use of oak. This is a different style of Malbec that has surprising depth and complexity and portends well for the future of Malbec in America. "A very brambly array of plums and mulberries with a succulent and juicy edge, which makes for a compelling palate, as well as a fresh, energetic finish."
92 points | James Suckling
2014 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa, CA · $52.99 | Sale $46.99
California's oldest continually-operating winery is known for its Cabs, and this one is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah comprising the rest. The mouthfeel of this wine shows a rich texture and layers of ripe dark fruits with hints of leather and chocolate. Full-bodied, dark and concentrated, with plush tannins that underpin the solid structure, this Cabernet Sauvignon is ready to drink.
92 points | James Suckling
2017 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa, CA · $22.99 | Sale $19.99
Sourced heavily from Coombsville, Rutherford, and other select Napa sites, this 100% Cabernet is aged 16 months in 40% new French oak. It is a rich, medium-bodied red with berry and fresh herb notes, well-structured tannins, and subtle oak influence. Start grilling your rib-eye! This is the under $20 Napa Cab that will make your meal shine!
93 points | James Suckling
2016 Larkmead Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa, CA · $139.99 | Sale $128.99
Not only does Larkmead own some of the most iconic vineyards in all of Napa Valley (they are one of the oldest, family-owned vineyards, having been established in 1895,) they also happen to have one of Napa’s most iconic winemakers. Dan Petroski, the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Winemaker of the Year, produces classic, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon from beautifully-farmed Napa Valley fruit. "This stellar, powerhouse wine is perfumed in aromas of pencil, leather and sage that season a core of mineral and crushed rock. The fruit is equally savory in currant and plum, with a dusting of dark chocolate."
98 points | Wine Enthusiast
2016 Stuhlmuller Zinfandel
Alexander Valley, CA · $34.99 | Sale $29.99
Dry Creek Valley, in northern Sonoma County, is home to many of the most revered old vine Zinfandel vineyards. One of the most esteemed of these is the Teldeschi Vineyard, with vines planted back in the 1890s. It is from this site that Fritz Stuhlmuller took some cuttings and planted them at his family vineyards in nearby Alexander Valley. The Stuhlmullers produce mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, the varietal that Anderson Valley is most known for, but they also have two small parcels of Zinfandel from the Teldeschi cuttings. While Dry Creek Zins are known for their red fruits and spice, the 2016 Stuhlmuller Zinfandel shows the blue fruit quality that Alexander Valley is famous for. The wine is aged in equal amounts of French and American oak (20% new). This is a lush, and equally elegant and well-balanced Zinfandel, not jammy, and with a real purity of fruit. Blueberries, plums, vanilla and black cherries with a hint of spice all figure in the flavor profile. Great for barbecue. You do grill year round, don't you?
2018 JB Adam Sec… Si Blanc
Alsace · $17.99 | Sale $13.99
The wine in the bottle is as fun as the tongue-in-cheek label, but it comes with some serious winemaking chops behind it. Jean-Baptiste Adam and his family celebrated 400 years in the wine business in 2014; daughter Laure is the 15th generation to participate in the company. The grapes for this Alsatian white are certified-organic and biodynamic; 85% Sylvaner and 15% Muscat offer floral notes on the palate and lift on the finish. Just enough fruit to allow this wine to pair perfectly with a wide range of menu options, from sushi to Indian to your Thanksgiving table.
Domaine Borgeot is located just outside of Santenay in the Côte de Beaune. Founded in 1903, brothers Pascal and Laurent, the 4th generation of the Borgeot family, now run this small family winery. Pascal is the vineyard manager and utilizes sustainable and organic practices that allow the beauty of the region to show in the wine. Laurent is the winemaker who likes to ferment in stainless steel and then usually ages the juice 10-12 months in about 25% new French oak to provide richness. Although they make approximately equal amounts of red and white wines, it is their whites that have garnered the most attention. They own significant holdings in the premium white wine villages of Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet.
2017 P&L Borgeot Chardonnay
Bourgogne · $23.99 | Sale $21.99
The 2017 Bourgogne Blanc is a real testimony to the beauty of Burgundy wine. 2017 was a beautiful vintage for white Burgundy, and Borgeot capitalized on it. This wine shows a balanced richness, with aromas of white flowers and a hint of toasty oak with plenty of apple, citrus and minerality on the palate to round it out. If you want amazing Burgundy without the price tag, here is your wine. We bought the last several cases of the 2017, so grab it while you can.
2018 P&L Borgeot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Chenevottes"
Bourgogne · $92.99 | Sale $76.99
Les Chenevottes sits slightly higher up the slope just above Le Montrachet, Burgundy's most esteemed white wine vineyard. The two vineyards share similar soil types and orientation to the sun. This is a wonderful example of the heights that Chardonnay can achieve in Burgundy. While obviously oaked, the wine is not overly oaked, and as is the house style, there is a wonderful sense of balance while the wine still maintains depth and power. Notes of toasted almonds on the nose, along with honey, apple and a kiss of butter. There is a strong sense of stony minerality and a hint of spice on the palate, but no shortage of fruit. This is a wine of elegance and restraint that will improve with cellaring but can be enjoyed now with a little breathing. A wonderful white Burgundy and about one tenth the price of a bottle of Montrachet.
Also available from Domaine Borgeot:
2017 Puligny-Montrachet · $94.99 | Sale $69.99
2017 Santenay Rouge · $39.99 | Sale $36.99
2018 Domaine d'Elise Petit Chablis
Bourgogne · $27.99 | Sale $22.99
The smallest wines of Chablis are known as the Petit Chablis. Ok, just kidding. Bad joke, but hard to resist! Petit Chablis refers to the appellations around Chablis that do not include premier or grand cru vineyards. The soil composition is also a little different, but they can be great values. The Domaine d’Elise is no exception, and it’s located directly south of several premier cru vineyards. Frédéric Prain purchased the land in 1982 and has been making quite the name for himself. This wine is full of zesty minerality and wet stone on the palate, and the signature chalk character on the finish. A beautiful wine to start off the holidays. Excellent with scallops.
2017 Audebert Bourgueil
Loire · $21.99 | Sale $18.99
Once upon a time, about 400 years ago in the wilds of southwestern France, Mother Nature miraculously crossed the Cabernet Franc grape with Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon was born. In the ensuing centuries, Cabernet Sauvignon has become the most widely planted wine grape in the world. But what of its parent Cabernet Franc? It blends well with its offspring and is used in Bordeaux, in small percentages, to add aromatic complexity to Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a promising future in California and Washington state, but it is in the central Loire River valley where it really shines. Maison Audebert has been in the Bourgueil area since 1839 and specializes in Cabernet Franc (locally known as Breton). This is an absolutely textbook Loire Cabernet Franc. While some wines from Bourgueil can exhibit excessive barnyard funk, this is pristine and cleanly made. Silky and mid-weight with complex notes of undergrowth, spice and ripe berry fruit. And it has the inimitable nuance of graphite or pencil lead shavings that the best Cabernet Franc wines have. Limited quantities available. Don’t miss it!
2016 Domaine du Terme Gigondas
Rhône · $34.99 | Sale $29.99
Forty years ago, the Gaudin family purchased their first vines in the Rhône village of Sablet. In the ensuing decades, they have expanded their domaine to include wines from Vacqueyras and Gigondas. In fact, Rolland Gaudin is the mayor of Gigondas. Wine from Sablet is noted for its elegance, and the Gaudins have translated that concept to their Gigondas. We have been unrelenting in our praise for the 2016 vintage in Gigondas, but most of those wines have tremendous depth and power. The Domaine de Terme Gigondas is more about purity of fruit, balance and elegance. A wonderful example of the variety of styles that one can find in a great appellation. "80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, with aromas of raspberries, garrigue and peppery spice. Full-bodied and open-knit. Drink it young for the rich fruit."
93 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
In the southern half of the famed Côte-d’Or in Burgundy sits the village of Volnay. Here, the reputation of the wines made from Pinot Noir was for elegance rather than power and depth. Times change, however, and with improved viticulture and winemaking techniques the wines of Volnay are now considered some of the very finest in Burgundy. They retain that sense of elegance, but often today show more concentration and structure. To many, they are now the finest red wines of the Côte de Beaune, the southern half of the Côte-d’Or. Here are a few offerings to grace your holiday table or to put away for a few years:
2016 Jean-Marc Bouley Volnay Clos de la Cave
Volnay · $82.99 | Sale $69.99
Crafted from a single vineyard of vines averaging 40 years of age, directly behind the winery, at the beginning of the slope just below the line of premier cru vineyards. Practicing organic with natural yeast and 50% whole cluster fermentation, giving it a bit of a wild rusticity. "Currant and spices on the nose. Sappy, subtle and elegantly styled for a village wine, showing a faint wildness."
91 points | Antonio Galloni · Vinous
2015 Domaine Delagrange Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes
Volnay · $119.99 | Sale $99.99
Hailing from one of the great vineyards in Volnay; the vines were planted in 1939. Practicing organic with natural yeasts. The Delagrange family has owned vineyards in Volnay since the 16th century; Clos des Chênes is their flagship wine and produces one of the most powerful and age-worthy wines in Volnay. Don't miss it!
2012 Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur Volnay 1er Cru Pitures
Volnay · $65.99 | Sale $54.99
Vignerons in Volnay since the early 19th century, the Bitouzet family has extensive holdings in premier cru vineyards throughout the appellation. The Pitures vineyard is close to the border with Pommard and is the steepest vineyard in Volnay. It tends to make wines of more power than is typical for Volnay. "Dark, rich and powerful, the 2012 is laced with black cherries, new leather, cloves and menthol, all supported by huge, incisive tannins. I would give the tannins a few years to soften, but the Pitures is likely to remain intense."
93 points | Antonio Galloni · Vinous
2016 Domaine de Saint-Siffrein Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Rhône · $43.99 | Sale $41.99
There is a reason the Rhône Valley continues to captivate and engage us... the fruit, the terroir and the Old World-ness of the wines make them the perfect companions for our favorite meals. This Châteauneuf from St. Siffrein checks all the boxes: the bouquet literally jumps from the glass, a juxtaposition with the punch of acidity revealed on first taste. Not as ripe as some 2016s we have tried, this wine holds back somewhat on the front to present a more elegant façade that builds with air. "Pristine plum and cherry notes gain ripeness and richness from nose to palate of this full-bodied, concentrated wine. Enjoy this ample, opulent wine now through 2026."
90 points | Wine Enthusiast
2016 Château de Montfaucon Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Rhône · $42.99 | Sale $38.99
Whenever we taste Montfaucon wines, Jim and Peggy always have a story about "Rudi," the charismatic owner who was here for the Wine Festival of Colorado Springs and whom they had the pleasure to visit at his beautiful castle on the Rhône. We have been pleased to support the winery for years, and this Châteauneuf lives up to our expectations. The 2016 is 92% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre, grown on 80-year-old vines, and features a gorgeous dark berry color in the glass. A complex yet accessible palate of dark cherries, garrigue and subtle anise finish with lip-smacking satisfaction. "It's full-bodied, creamy and plush yet also vibrant, mouthwatering and long. It should drink well for at least a decade."
95 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2012 Château Castera Bordeaux
Médoc · $24.99 | Sale $20.99
One of the oldest Châteaux in the Médoc, Castera has been producing great wines since the 14th century. We were huge fans of the 2010 vintage of this wine, and with some trepidation moved on to the 2012. Happily, we found it equally compelling! This deep crimson wine releases aromas of cassis and violets, along with scents of toast and vanilla. A fleshy and supple mouthfeel gives way to a dense, well-structured mid-palate. The elegant, long finish is enhanced by beautifully-mellow mature notes. Powerful and complex with great aging potential.
2017 Guy Farge Saint-Joseph "Terroir de Granit"
Rhône · $39.99 | Sale $36.99
For lovers of northern Rhône Syrah, value is a relative concept. The classic wines of Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Cornas are produced in small quantities, and demand has continually pushed prices higher and higher. Much of the "value" appellation of Crozes-Hermitage is not on the best terrain. Where to turn? Saint-Joseph. The appellation stretches for 30 miles along the west bank of the Rhône River, but the best sites are in the south near Hermitage, where similar granitic soils can be found. This is where Guy Farge's estate is located. The vines are planted on terraces similar to those across the river in Hermitage. The vineyard is sustainably farmed and has to be plowed by a horse. Syrahs of Saint-Joseph are usually the most elegant of the northern Rhône. "Very ripe liquorice, pepper, olive and black fruit nose. The palate is dense, fruity, tight and focused with saline tannins and a powerful, driving and grippy finish. Real terroir expression here."
95 points | Decanter
2016 Château Gloria Saint-Julien
Bordeaux · $79.99
And its name is G-L-O-R-I-I-I-I-A, GLORIA... Wait a minute, wait a minute. We’re not talking about 60's garage rock here, we're talking Bordeaux. In 1942, Henri Martin began to cobble together various vineyard sites throughout Saint-Julien and eventually created Château Gloria. Because the winery did not exist in 1855, it was not classified as a grand cru, but the quality today certainly rivals that of many 4th and 5th growths. In the 1970s, before prices skyrocketed, Château Gloria was one of the most popular Bordeaux wines in America. Ease of pronunciation was of course a key reason, but the wine was always a good value by Bordeaux standards. The 2016 Château Gloria blends 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 7% Cabernet Franc. "The 2016 Gloria is one of the undisputed stars of the vintage. Rich, deep and explosive, the 2016 possesses tremendous intensity in all of its dimensions. Sweet red cherry, tobacco, menthol, licorice and dried rose petal all add complexity."
96 points | Antonio Galloni · Vinous
"This is easily the best wine produced in the history of the estate." - The Wine Cellar Insider
2018 Mormoraia Suavis Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Toscana · $18.99 | Sale $14.99
When talking Tuscany, the mind tends toward the stellar reds produced throughout the region. However, we would miss out if we skipped the white wines, particularly Vernaccia; this white wine is just what a body needs when it's overwhelmed with heavy foods and high alcohol offerings. Light gold with a green tint, the Mormoraia offers up bright acid with a hint of salinity that gives a savory spin to the wine. More complex than many of its neighbors, with a price that begs to be enjoyed mid-week or anytime. Organic.
2019 Calcaneus Etna Bianco Ginestra
Sicilia · $25.99 | Sale $23.99
We feel so lucky to have the chance to taste wines with tiny productions that are not available at every shop in town. Sicilian wines are definitely having a moment at Coaltrain, and this bottling struck us as a white that would comfortably take us from summer into fall and winter. The Carricante grapes for this wine, along with a handful of Grecanico, are grown on the eastern face of Mt. Etna on 30 to 40-year-old vines. The electric acidity is indicative of the volcanic soils from whence the grapes come; appropriate that "ginestra" refers to the first plants that sprout from lava flows of active volcanoes.
2017 Feudo Montoni Nero d'Avola Lagnusa
Sicilia · $22.99 | Sale $19.99
Feudo Montoni has been producing wines on its historic grounds an hour south of Palermo since 1469. "Lagnusa" means lazy, and this vineyard produces less, creating smaller-quantity, higher-quality wine. Made with organically-farmed fruit, this wine is fermented and aged in concrete. Brimming with authentic charm, the nose shows a harmonic blend of fruit and spice. The palate is fresh, fruit-forward, and supple, with elegant tannins on the finish. Would pair beautifully with roasted meat dishes, tuna or some aged cheeses.
2018 Cavallotto Dolcetto d’Alba Vigna Scot
Piemonte · $23.99 | Sale $18.99
Cavallotto's single vineyard Dolcetto Vigna Scot hails from 30-year-old vines planted on the east-facing portion of the same hill upon which Cavallotto's great Bricco Boschis Barolo is grown. An opaque black-ruby color in the glass, with textbook Dolcetto aromas of black raspberries, red currants and cloves, the palate shows bright bitter cherry fruit with plentiful fine tannins and earthy undertones. Like other Dolcettos, it is fresh and uncomplicated by oak, but the old vines and superiority of its vineyard site bequeath this wine with far more structure and complexity. Enjoy with Piemontese primi and antipasti like salami, carne cruda, risotto, pâtés, and mushroom dishes.
2016 Casina di Cornia Chianti Classico
Toscana · $23.99 | Sale $19.99
One hundred percent Sangiovese from picturesque vineyards in the heart of Tuscany. Casina di Cornia produces beautiful, elegant Chiantis that are perfect wines for the table. With prominent notes of red cherry, strawberry, and ample structure, this Chianti would be ideal with a simple pasta dish with lots of tomato (think classic Bolognese), or a well-marbled ribeye or NY strip. Certified organic.
2015 Fontodi Chianti Classico
Toscana · $49.99 | Sale $39.99
Since 1969, the Manetti family has converted an old run down farmhouse with a few acres of vines into one of Tuscany’s greatest wine estates. Meticulous replanting and tending of the vines, which are now organic and biodynamically farmed, has resulted in wines of exceptional quality. In 1981, they introduced Flaccianello, a 100% Sangiovese wine aged in new oak that was one of the very first Super-Tuscans. It is now considered one of Italy’s greatest wines. Their regular Chianti Classico is also a standout among its peers. Also made from 100% Sangiovese, it is aged in roughly equal amounts of French oak and neutral barrel. This is Chianti Classico at its finest from an outstanding vintage. "...outrageously beautiful. Rich and seductive, the 2015 expresses the radiance of the year while retaining a good bit of translucence and energy. Rose petal, mint, white pepper and crushed flowers add elements of brightness to this classy, super-polished Chianti Classico. More than anything else, though, I am simply blown away by the wine's quality."
95 points | James Suckling
2016 Begali Valpolicella Ripasso
Veneto · $29.99 | Sale $26.99
Giordano Begali began his wine production after World War II, but only started selling to the public in 1986. His 18-acre vineyard is now run by his son Lorenzo and his family. The estate only produces around 1000 bottles per year, a testament to the discriminating eye and palate of Begali. This blend of Corvina, Rondinella and 5% other grapes is fermented and then "re-passed" through the pomace left from the house’s Amarone production; the wine features a soft, warm palate with dark red and purple fruits showing baked plum and berry flavors on the finish. Not long on acid, but gentle oak notes and smooth texture make this a perfect glass for a cold winter's night.
2015 Colla Barbaresco
Piemonte · $64.99 | Sale $44.99
Let's make a deal! There is a general consensus that 2016 Barolos and Barbarescos are stupendous. Every once in a while though, a deal falls in our lap. A supplier anxious to move on to the 2016 vintage offered us this wine at a significant discount. We couldn’t refuse. The Colla family's involvement in growing and winemaking dates to the 1700s. Beppe Colla, who unfortunately passed away last year, was one of the pioneers of single- vineyard bottlings. He made his wines in a traditional style. The Colla Barbaresco comes from the Roncalgie Vineyard at the southern end of the Barbaresco commune, a south-to-west facing bowl. This wine shows the traditional elegance of Nebbiolo - the floral aspects and red fruits with firm tannins. Drink now, giving the wine some air, or let it develop over the next ten years. Single-vineyard Barbaresco for village-level price.
In the southern half of the famed Côte-d’Or in Burgundy sits the village of Volnay. Here, the reputation of the wines Let's not beat around the bush (or the vine for that matter.) 2016 is looking to be one of the all-time great Barolo vintages. While there has been an unprecedented string of excellent vintages recently, 2016 is looking to be something extra special. Smithers, release the hyperbole!
"Truly spectacular, breathtaking wines that capture all the pedigree that Nebbiolo and Barolo are capable of." -Vinous
"The newly released offerings of Barolo from the 2016 vintage, a year that was particularly notable, are clearly among the finest examples of this celebrated red in the past 20 years, and are must-buys for any serious Barolo lover." -Wine Searcher
"Italy’s most famous wine lives up to the hype after a spectacular, long 2016 growing season, perfect for the thin skinned, sometimes finicky Nebbiolo."
"A standout vintage, 2016 Barolo is among the greatest vintages of recent decades, potentially the finest vintage ever in Piedmont's 'Golden Age.'"-Cru
"A stupendously distinctive vintage."
And of course we are here to indulge your 2016 Barolo cravings:
2016 G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe · $42.99
2016 Paolo Scavino · $45.99
2016 Vietti Castiglione · $53.99
2016 Oddero · $56.99
2016 Fratelli Brovia · $69.99
2016 Cavallotto Brico Boschis · $79.99
2016 Margherita Otto · $97.99
2018 Shaya Verdejo
Rueda · $17.99 | Sale $15.99
If the beautiful (rein)deer on the label wasn't enough, we were sold on the wine inside the bottle as a perfect holiday white. Shaya is a partnership between the Gil Family and Enrique Busto, begun in 2008 on property in the southeast corner of Rueda in the province of Segovia. Their purpose was to "work with authentic Verdejo grapes to make an authentic Rueda wine." Belinda Thompson, the white wine wizard from the Australian Crawford River Winery, is the technical director for the winery. She harvests the Verdejo grapes from low-yielding old vine plants, many un-grafted. The wine stays with the lees post-fermentation until time of bottling, giving it a beautiful mouthfeel and notes of baking spices. The perfect wine for poultry, or try it for post-holiday brunch as a crisp alternative to sparkling.
90 points | James Suckling
2014-15 Las Moradas de San Martin Senda Old Vine Garnacha
Madrid · $16.99 | Sale $14.99
The winery sits at a height of just under 3000 feet above sea level to the south-east of Madrid. Fifty-two acres of vineyards surround the winery, and boast impressive old Garnacha vines. They sit in fine-gravel soil, granite in origin, and face up to an austere climate, resulting in low grape yield. Fresh and aromatic, with an attractive and stable cherry-red color, this wine reveals typical characteristics of Garnacha; floral aromas alongside those of plum and bramble against a mineral background typical of granite-based soil. The personality of the fruit is strong with subtle hints of oak enhancing the overall experience. Satisfying on the palate with a lingering finish, this is a terrific bargain of a wine!
91 points | James Suckling
2015 Biga de Luberri Crianza
Rioja · $25.99 | Sale $19.99
This Rioja, from Florentino Martínez Monje, the original winemaker at Artadi, is a single-vineyard bottling comprised of 100% Tempranillo grown on bedrock. That it was aged 12 months in French and American oak barrels, and designated "Crianza," - meaning two years of pre-release aging in total - is a secondary consideration. "Biga" is about vineyard and variety first, and its invigorating mix of fruit and soil character is a welcome departure from the sweet, oak-slathered styles that have largely defined "modern" Rioja. Smoke and woodsy aromas lead to a clean palate of spice, pepper and dark fruit flavors with bright acidity and soft, persistent tannins. An impressive achievement when you consider its price, which doesn’t come close to reflecting its quality.
GERMANY & AUSTRIA
2018 Seehof Riesling Kabinett
$22.99 | Sale $20.99
Here is another producer who had us with their rosé! This Riesling from Seehof is a fantastic example of the varietal with a geographic pedigree attached. Florian Fauth is quietly making outstanding Rheinhessen wines that compare with the more well-known Klaus-Peter Keller, who just happens to be his brother-in-law. Sourced from the iconic Morstein vineyard, considered one of Germany’s greatest sites, the vines live in limestone soil which contributes to the wine’s "glycerin-induced sexiness." Aromas of apricot and Meyer lemon evolve if you let the wine breathe for a moment or ten. A far cry from the "Liebfraumilch" for which the area was previously known, buoyant fruit balanced with bracing acidity is the hallmark of this new generation of German producers.
2018 BioKult Zweigelt Meets Pinot Noir
Burgenland, Austria · $16.99 | Sale $13.99
BioKult is a group of vintners with the same mindset and goal of producing high-quality, minimally-manipulated organic wines. This philosophy is key to all the wines they make, and we love them for that. The 2018 red blend is 50% Zweigelt, a cross between Austrian varietals Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, and 50% Pinot Noir. Wow! This wine is full of lush, fleshy dark cherries and raspberry. It is rich without being too fruit forward, soft but with a little grip on the finish. No oak on this to weigh it down, clean and brilliant. Great by itself, but absolutely perfect for a variety of foods including salmon, pork and spicy foods.
ARGENTINA & CHILE
2017 Durigutti Pie de Monte Malbec Finca Las Jarillas
Mendoza, Argentina · $23.99 | Sale $19.99
Brothers Hector and Pablo Durigutti have been running their eponymous winery for over 20 years now, and in that period have established themselves as one of the most forward (and backward, as we shall see) looking estates in Argentina. All of their wines are now organically farmed, and they have recently started an experimental project called "Pie de Monte," utilizing concrete eggs. Sourcing fruit from three distinct premium vineyards, they ferment and age the wine in concrete egg-shaped vessels for 11 months. These eggs are less porous than oak barrels, but do allow more oxygen into the wine than stainless steel tanks. There is also a theory that the shape affects the nature of the fermentation, as there is lees exposure to the air. Egg-shaped wine amphorae have been traced back more than 8,000 years and are the oldest known wine vessels. This Malbec from the Finca Las Jarillas vineyard shows more depth and nuance than their regular Malbec and is lighter in weight due to being unoaked. Still there is a richness and purity of fruit with a real sense of terroir. Concrete eggs are a new (and very old) trend in winemaking, and this bottling shows that the future for more interesting experiments of this sort is bright. Highly recommended!
2014 Cuvelier Los Andes Grand Vin
Uco Valley, Argentina · $61.99 | Sale $58.99
This is the Argentinean cousin of Bordeaux’s Château Léoville-Poyferré, 2nd Grand Cru Classé from Saint-Julien. Naturally this is a Bordeaux-style blend, drawing its impressive tannic structure from Malbec, and rounded, balanced and completed with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot. "This is a generous and juicy red with gorgeous fruit. Shows reserve and balance. A wonderful tangy, light orange peel and light foie gras. Full to medium body. Fantastic finish. Clear and meaningful."
96 points | James Suckling
2017 Montes Twins Red
Colchagua Valley, Chile
$17.99 | Sale $13.99
Father-son winemaking team (Aurelio Montes Sr. and Jr.) can’t agree on a wine, so they each make a separate wine and blend them, creating a wine greater than the sum of its parts. Thus was born Montes Twins. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (for structure and complexity), Tempranillo (for freshness), Syrah (for volume and silkiness) and Carménère (for texture and intensity), this wine is loaded with aromas of red and black fruit, sweet spices and bitter chocolate. Creamy, youthful and easy to drink, it would pair well with red meat, pasta and pizza.
2018 Steenberg Sémillon
Constantia · $31.99 | Sale $28.99
This is the still arm of our favorite South African sparkling producer, Graham Beck. Established in 1682, Steenberg has the distinction of being the oldest farm in the Western Cape area. Fast-forward to 2020, and the bustling property now encompasses not only vineyards and a modern winery, but two restaurants, a five-star hotel, and a challenging 18-hole golf course. JD Pretorius oversees the winemaking here, where sea-facing slopes and granite soils produce award-winning wines year-after-year. This Sémillon (pronounced "sem-ill-lon" by the locals, as opposed to the French "sem-ee-yone,") presents a lovely golden hue in the glass, giving one a hint of the honey and stone fruit notes that await. A restrained viscosity plays lightly on the palate, and the long finish of lingering spice and citrus leaves you wanting more.
2018 Brew Cru Chardonnay
Walker Bay · $31.99 | Sale $29.99
Walker Bay is the southernmost wine region in South Africa and therefore, the coolest. It is here that winemakers have had the most success in growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, due to the cooler temperatures, proximity to the ocean and slightly lower sun angles. Some of the most elegant and, dare we say, Burgundian wines of South Africa are made here. Brew Cru is a small boutique operation making only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their Chardonnay utilizes Burgundian winemaking techniques including nine months on the lees and extended oak aging in French oak, 50% of which is new. This well-balanced wine displays the true characteristics of a cool-climate Chardonnay. On the nose, there is beautiful orange blossom, peach and mandarin with tones of raw almonds. The palate shows great finesse and has subtle hints of nougat and toasty notes with a refreshing, lasting and creamy finish. A very pretty wine of unquestionable breed.
AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
2018 Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz
South Australia · $28.99 | Sale $26.99
Sourced from multiple sites across Southern Australia, leaning heavily on the Barossa Valley, this 100% Shiraz is the perfect companion on a cold winter night. Founded in 1855, the Penfolds winery continues to produce top-notch wines across the board, and this one delivers an earthy, smoky nose which evolves into complex dark fruits and bramble on the palate. Twelve months in American oak smooth out any edges, but this wine could easily be enjoyed now, or ten years from now, if you have the patience. "It’s full-bodied, concentrated and plush without going over the top, finishing long and velvety."
93 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2019 Saveé Sea Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough, New Zealand · $14.99 | Sale $12.99
Oh no! Not another New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Hold on! The wine crew at Coaltrain found a real gem here! The flavor profile for this wine is not the usual white grapefruit and gooseberry. The Saveé Sea is a little lusher and full of juicy red ruby grapefruit with hints of apricot and lemongrass. Saveé Sea is the work of well-known New Zealand winemaker Louis Vavasour, who has been creating award-winning wines for over 30 years. He primarily consults now, but once in awhile he finds something or some place that sparks his interest. This time he discovered the magnificent vineyards of the Awatere River Valley, not far from the coast in Marlborough, and Saveé Sea was born. We hope you'll enjoy this as much as we do, and you can't beat the price, so buy a few! A perfect wine with appetizers, seafood and chèvre.
2019 The Ned Pinot Gris
Marlborough, New Zealand · $14.99 | Sale $11.99
When this wine came across the desk, we had to ask whether customers would think outside the Sauvignon Blanc box and embrace another white from New Zealand; we decided this one was just too good to pass up! Winemaker Brent Marris is a homegrown Marlborough native who learned his craft under his father, pioneering viticulturist John Marris, who planted some of the first vineyards in the area; together they launched the benchmark brands Oyster Bay and Wither Hills. Marisco Vineyards was conceived by Brent in 2005 as a legacy for his family; he purchased prime property in the Waihopai Valley, and named The Ned line after the prominent Marlborough peak which also graces its labels. The aromatics just burst from the glass, and the warm weather and low yield of the 2019 growing season shows voluptuous fruit and exotic floral notes. A portion of this wine sees skin contact, and will show varying degrees of pink blush from vintage to vintage.
Boutet Saulnier Vouvray Méthode Traditionnelle Brut NV
Loire, France · $19.99 | Sale $16.99
In 1997, Christopher Boutet took over the winery after the passing of his father, who had started the winery in 1950. With his wife's assistance, they moved the winery towards all organic and sustainable practices. In Christopher's words it really allowed the terroir of Vouvray to shine. His sparkling Vouvray is made with hand-picked Chenin Blanc grapes (as required by law) and utilizes the Champagne practice of méthode traditionnelle; he ages on the lees for several months to add complexity and richness. It is a delightful sparkling wine with a creamy texture and notes of peach, apple and apricot and a slight honey finish. A beautiful alternative to Champagne, and great for the holidays!
Donelli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro NV
Emilia-Romagna, Italy · $22.99 | Sale $19.99
In the 1950s, after the devastation of World War II and difficult economic times in Emilia-Romagna north of Tuscany, a group of local wine producers formed a cooperative, and over the course of the next three decades created a brand of inexpensive, sweet syrupy wine that has sold millions and millions of cases. That brand is Riunite, and unfortunately for the producers of traditional Lambrusco this is the face of their appellation. (This is akin to showing a Martian that a Yugo is representative of an automobile.) Traditional Lambrusco does have some sweetness and bubbles and is made with indigenous varietals unique to the region. Donelli has been producing Lambrusco for over 100 years. Their Lambrusco comes from Grasparossa di Castelvetro, the most prestigious area of the appellation. It is made primarily from the local clone Lambrusco Grasparossa, which produces more flavorful and concentrated wine. Rich ruby-red in color with fruity aromas and some spicy notes. Yes, the wine is off-dry, but there are actually some subtle tannins on the finish. And it has bubbles! This stuff is downright delicious.
André Clouet Brut Rosé NV
Champagne, France · $69.99 | Sale $64.99
Champagne André Clouet was founded in 1741 and is one of the oldest Champagne houses still producing bubbles. Located in Bouzy, one of nine grand cru villages in the Montagne de Reims, Clouet makes Champagnes of class, finesse and elegance. The Brut Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir and showcases the pomegranate, strawberry and beautiful minerality of the grand cru vineyards. Absolutely delightful in its youth, but easily has the ability to age several more years. We cannot recommend a more perfect Champagne for the holidays or any day, for that matter! Limited availability, so enjoy it while you can. Perfect for a gift, but don’t forget to treat yourself!
91 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2012 Roederer Vintage Champagne
Champagne, France · $83.99 | Sale $74.99
In the immortal words of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (actually written by the great songwriting duo of Ashford & Simpson), "Ain’t nothing like the real thing." There's sparkling wine, and then there’s Champagne. But with all good things, there comes a price. In the case of Champagne, it ain't cheap. The majority of production in Champagne is Brut or a similar variation. Most producers also make a Prestige Cuvée, such as Dom Perignon by Moët & Chandon, or Cristal from Louis Roederer. These can be very expensive, and quite frankly overpriced. But there is a hidden gem in the middle, if you can find it. It is Vintage Champagne. Three or four times a decade, a Champagne house will declare a vintage and produce a small amount of Vintage Champagne, rarely more than 5% of overall production. The wine comes from their best plots that don’t go into the Prestige Cuvée. It is required to be aged for at least three years, more than twice as long as their regular brut cuvées. Roederer is unique among major Champagne houses in that they are all organic and are in the process of getting biodynamic certification. This vintage comprises 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. A little over 8% of the wine is fermented in large oak barrels, while the rest is done in stainless steel. Their style is one of elegance and great precision. At this price, it’s easily the best deal going for premium Champagne. "The 2012 shows a deep, rich and ripe but also fine, precise and elegant chalky nose with hazelnut, toasted almond and blossom flavors. The palate is profound, round, highly elegant, and the long, remarkably salty finish is very complex and terribly fresh in its persistent mineral expression. This is an impressive, ripe and almost creamy textured but precise and finessed 2012 with power, body and structure. A true, highly stimulating classic. Just love it!"
94 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
CHAMPAGNE LAHERT FRÉRES
Few wine regions remain as steadfast in their ways as Champagne. While we love the idea of upholding tradition, as we become more aware of sustainable and responsible agriculture techniques, we are morally obliged to evolve and begin to incorporate them. Laherte Frères is one of a handful of producers in Champagne doing this. His farming is biodynamic - a true rarity in Champagne. His manipulation in the cellar is minimal.
Ultratradition Brut NV
Champagne, France · $43.99 | Sale $41.99
A new generation of winemakers are beginning to slowly extol the virtues of Champagne’s underrated workhorse grape: Pinot Meunier. Some of the most coveted bottles, in fact, are taking the lead in the blend. We can thank Jérôme Prévost, Jacques Selosse, and Laherte Frères for this change. The best thing about Laherte Frères? Their wines are a fraction of the cost of the other two, and actually make it onto shelves, instead of being hoarded by famous sommeliers. 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir, this sparkling wine has beautiful notes of brioche, almonds, and an undercurrent of just-ripe red fruit.
Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature NV
$54.99 | Sale $52.99
The Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature is left bone-dry, without any addition of sugar to the disgorged wine. Laherte's hard work really displays the terroir of the region in this beautiful Champagne.
2018 Deux Vallées Coteaux du Layon Clos de la Motte
Loire, France · $31.99 | Sale $26.99 · 500ml
When one thinks of white wines from the Loire, crisp and minerally Sancerre or round, off-dry Vouvray may come to mind. But Loire Valley is also home to some of the most, dare-we-say, delicious dessert wines. West of Vouvray, along the Layon River, a tributary of the Loire sits the appellation of Coteaux du Layon. Here the grape is Chenin Blanc, and conditions are excellent for the creation of sweet dessert wines. In most years botrytis, the noble rot, affects the grapes and extracts moisture, thereby concentrating the sugars in the wine. Harvesting these grapes is a laborious process. Often three to six passes through the vineyard must be undertaken to ensure that all of the grapes are infected with botrytis. The rest are discarded. The Clos de la Motte is a single-vineyard bottling that is the essence of Coteaux du Layon wine. Sweet and lush but with great acidity. Never heavy or unctuous, with a subtle bouquet of honey, apricot, quince and minerals. Long and persistent finish. A perfect ending to your holiday repasts. Delish!
Graham’s 20 Year Tawny Porto
Douro, Portugal · $55.99 | Sale $51.99
A perennial Coaltrain favorite year-round, but especially at the holidays, Graham's was founded in 1820 and sits among the country’s elite Port houses. Their 20 Year Tawny has a signature nuttiness in the bouquet that is highlighted with hints of orange peel and dried fruits. The taste is sensational with baked peach and almond components melded into caramel and toffee. And the finish seems to be never ending.
96 points | Decanter
2014 Barberani Calcaia Muffa Nobile Dolce Orvieto Classico Superiore
Orvieto, Italy · $59.99 | Sale $49.99 · 500ml
Orvieto sits in the province of Umbria, just south of Tuscany, and produces one of Italy’s most famous white wines. Made primarily from local grapes Trebbiano and Grechetto, it is a dry, clean, eminently-quaffable wine, especially from the center of the appellation, Orvieto Classico. In the past, Orvieto was an off-dry wine that reflected the tastes of times past. In the last few decades, though, the demand is for dry whites, and the style has changed to accommodate this. There are still a handful of producers who make sweeter Orvieto. In the 1970s Dr. Luigi Barberani, owner of the winery that bears his name, noticed that one particular section of his Calcaia vineyard would fog over in the autumn mornings. This was perfect for the development of botrytis, the fungus that attacks grapes and extracts moisture while leaving the other components of the grape more-or-less intact. The result is wine with greater concentration of flavors and also more residual sugar. After over a decade of experimentation, they released their Orvieto Classico Muffa Nobile (Italian for "noble rot.") This is an absolutely wonderful dessert wine that rivals Sauternes, but with a lighter touch. "A fabulous dessert wine from Umbria. The wine opens to a beautiful golden color and amber hues. The bouquet delivers honey, dried apricot, white raisin and candied fruit. The mouthfeel is honey-like in intensity."
94 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
Luigi Giusti Visciola NV
Marche, Italy · $34.99 | Sale $31.99 · 500ml
The holidays are when we find ourselves reluctant to leave the table after a comforting meal with friends or family, which suggests why we find a lot of customers who might not regularly indulge in after-dinner tipples shopping in the dessert wine section this time of year. This Visciola is a great new item to introduce yourself to! Coming from the Marche, and produced in a traditional method, this aromatic cherry liqueur is a perfect accompaniment to dessert (or AS dessert!) Luigi Giusti Lacrima red wine is the base for this Visciola; rather than adding neutral spirits, wine is passed through a blend of fermented cherries (some dried for 60 days) to create the final result. The sweet dark nose and generous fruit meld with the tartness of the sour cherries for a balanced and delicious treat.
WINES FOR GEEKS
2020 Orbis Moderandi Pétillant Naturel Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough, New Zealand · $19.99 | Sale $16.99
The wine world has never been immune to trends, and that is not always a bad thing. Right now one of the hottest categories for those seeking unusual vinous experiences is Pet-Nat (pétillant-naturel.) What is a Pet-Nat? Well, the wine is bottled before fermentation is complete, and when the winemaker caps the wine, it traps in carbon dioxide which results in… bubbles. This also leaves a sediment in the bottle called lees. This is the way sparkling wine was made in the past, before the perfection of the Champagne method. Orbis Moderandi is made by Hunter's Estate in Marlborough. Made from Sauvignon Blanc, the nose is fruity with notes of grapefruit, peaches and lemons. On the palate, it's almost like a spritzer with flavors of grapefruit, green apple and stone fruits. Refreshingly delicious. The sediment is harmless, but stand the bottle up for a day to let it settle. Do not shake the bottle, and do open it over the sink! Organic and vegan.
2016 La Colombera Timorasso Derthona
Piemonte, Italy · $30.99 | Sale $25.99
Back from the brink! Timorasso, the grape for this wine, was once one of the most widely planted white grapes in Piedmont, but is a difficult grape to grow. After the Second World War, the grape fell into disuse as agriculture shifted to industry, and farms were abandoned. Grape growers also went to varietals that were more consistent. Elisa Semino, the winemaker at La Colombera, and Walter Massa, another famous Piedmontese winemaker, discovered some plots in the late 20th century. Their efforts to re-establish the grapes have been fruitful. The wine is notable as it develops amazing complexity as it ages. It has high-toned acid and citrus notes when young. As it ages, the wine develops a distinctive mineral and baked stone fruit aspect. A great foil for fowl. Taste a bit of history!
2018 Cherry House Red
Paso Robles, CA · $26.99 | Sale $23.99
We fell in love with (and quickly sold out of) the Pinot Noir Rosé from Villa Creek this summer, and we continue to be impressed with the wines coming from this small producer. Their Cherry House line is geared for a more casual application, great wines for sharing in impromptu situations and interesting times. A blend of Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre grown in the Central Coast, this "natural" style wine has a liveliness and energy that appeals to Old and New World fans alike. Spicy fruit plays with cherry flavors, and a touch of carbonic maceration lends freshness to the finish. A great wine to enjoy with a cheese board, but would hold up to roast bird with cranberry sauce beautifully.
92 points | Wine Enthusiast
Here are a few hard-to-find, allocated selections for that special occasion, fine wine cellaring or someone special:
2017 Andremily EABA
Highly-allocated and sought after Rhône blend from premium
98 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2017 Clos des Papes
Year-in and year-out,
one of the greatest wines
98 points | Jeb Dunnuck
2016 Gaja Barbaresco
Legendary figure in Italian wine
with a legendary wine
from a legendary vintage.
98 points | Wine Enthusiast
2005 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet
Well-aged Cabernet from one of
California's premier wineries.
96 points | Decanter
2016 Peter Michael Les Pavots
Cabernet-based blend from
the Les Pavots vineyard.
99 points | James Suckling
The Mondavi family's premium
Napa Cabernet-based blend.
100 points | James Suckling