The 2021 Newsletter -Volume 3- Is Here
WINES OF THE MONTH
2018 Perrin+Dobbs Vineyards Pitch Black Cabernet Sauvignon
Paso Robles, California · $42.00 | Sale $14.99
This is undoubtedly one of the best values we have ever offered! After decades working for some of the finest wineries in Napa, winemaker Chad Alexander finally got around to starting his own winery. Unfortunately, then came the onslaught of Covid and the subsequent collapse of the marketplace. As a result, we were able to purchase this outstanding Cabernet at an outstanding price. Cabernet Sauvignon (85%) is blended with Syrah (15%) for added depth and spice. This blend is often used in some of the most esteemed wines from Australia. Flavors of blueberries and blackberries with a rich, earthy spiciness and amazing depth for a wine at this price. The tannins are well-integrated and it's drinking beautifully now. $42 at the winery · $14.99 at Coaltrain! This is an amazing deal!
2020 Le Triporteur Blanc
Vaucluse, France · $13.99 | Sale $10.99
This delightful white wine comes from the region of Vaucluse in the heart of the southern Rhône Valley. It's an intriguing blend of six different varietals; Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussane and Sauvignon Blanc. With the exception of Sauvignon Blanc, these are the classic white wine varietals of southern France. Grenache Blanc brings roundness on the palate. Clairette is featured in the great white wines of Cassis and many whites from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It adds body along with herbs and a hint of grapefruit. Roussanne and Marsanne are staples of the Northern Rhône and bring richness and stone fruit flavors. The addition of Sauvignon Blanc is most likely for acidity and citrus flavors. Altogether, the total is greater than the sum of the parts. Excellent accompaniment for all seafood, end-of-summer charcuterie, or just by itself.
2020 Domaine La Florane À Fleur de Pampre Visan Rosé
Rhône, France · $15.99 | Sale $13.99
Visan lies about 15 miles north of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the northern reaches of the southern Rhône Valley. Here, the climate is a bit cooler; perfect for rosé. It is also the home of the Domaine La Florane. Half of the estate is devoted to olive trees and lavender. The other half is vineyards, which have been farmed organically for years and recently became Demeter certified, establishing its biodynamic credentials. The À Fleur de Pampre Visan Rosé is a blend of Cinsault and Grenache with a dollop of Syrah. The grapes were picked in the cool of the night to retain freshness and see no oak. Styled similarly to a Provençal rosé, with a touch more watermelon on the palate. Also notes of melon, citrus, rose petal and mineral water. Great with bouillabaisse or other light seafood fare, or best of all as a summer porch pounder. It's a rare treat to see a biodynamic wine of this quality at this price point.
2019 Marca Oro "Valdo" Prosecco Rosé Brut
Veneto, Italy · $14.99 | Sale $12.99
If you were keeping track of sparkling rosés this year, you might have noticed a new entry in that category: Prosecco Rosé. Yes, it's new and it's here. Up until the end of 2020, Prosecco was not allowed to be rosé, according to rules of the controlled designation of origin (DOC) in Italy.Well, thank goodness that's over, and what better way to introduce this new category then by having a Prosecco Rosé as our sparkling wine of the month? Made with 90% Glera - the designated grape of Prosecco - and 10% Pinot Nero (aka Pinot Noir) to give it that nice pink hue. We chose Marca Oro "Valdo" Prosecco Rosé Brut for its delicious flavor profile and quality. Layers of strawberry, raspberry and apple fill the mouth while closing with a crisp, dry finish. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks, which give it a nice round quality.This is a perfect sparkling wine to enjoy during these hot summer days, so stock up!
WARM WEATHER REDS
The onset of warmer temperatures does not necessarily portend the end of red wine consumption. While a hearty red certainly goes well with grilled meats (like venison from the buck you fell from 300 yards with the crossbow you smuggled out of the William Tell Museum) there are many reds wines that are easily enjoyed on a warm summer day. Here you will find a small sample of what may satisfy one's red wine cravings as the earth keeps cooking:
2019 Alois Lageder Schiava
Alto Adige, Italy · $18.99 | Sale $14.99
In the alpine valleys of Alto Adige, some of the finest white wines in all of Italy can be found - especially Pinot Grigios and Pinot Biancos. Despite the lofty reputation of the region's white wines, the most widely planted varietal is the red grape, Schiava. Defined by its thin skins and large berries, Schiava makes a lightly-colored, slightly fruity red wine with flavors of strawberries, currants and a hint of almonds. One of the most prestigious estates in Alto Adige is that of Alois Lageder. The Lageder family has been involved in the wine industry for nearly 200 years, beginning when Alto Adige was still a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The estate is currently run by Alois Lageder IV and is renowned for its outstanding white wines. Their Schiava comes from several plots, some with vines planted as far back as 1946. It sees no oak and is bottled in the spring following the vintage. This is a quintessential warm weather red; low in alcohol (11%), and best served with a slight chill. Perfect with a light charcuterie.
2020 G.D. Vajra Claré J.C. Nebbiolo di Langhe
Piemonte, Italy · $22.99 | Sale $19.99
There is a very cool story behind this wine. Aldo Vajra was reading through Thomas Jefferson's 1787 description of Nebbiolo as a light-colored, slightly sweet wine. Fascinated by this bit of vinous history, he continued his research into winemaking of the past and discovered some writings from 1606 by G.B. Croce (no relation to Jim), the jeweler for the House of Savoia. Using fruit from the young vines of his Barolo and other top vineyards, he followed the centuries old recipe to produce Claré J.C., a perfect summer bistro red. Off-dry with a slight spritz. "Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for Piemonte, 1606!"
"This was one of my favorite discovery wines from last year. Showing a luminous and bright ruby color, the bouquet shyly reveals wild cherry fruit and cassis. In a second moment, you taste bitter almond, candied lilac and hints of fresh garden herb or rosemary blossom. It's hard to image such a young wine tasting so good at this unbelievable price."
93 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2020 Domaine Saint Cyr "La Galoche" Beaujolais
Bourgogne, France · $19.99 | Sale $17.99
In days old, when wines weren't bold and Beaujolais was best forgotten, it was often thought of as no better than an undistinguished jug wine. Often served chilled, it was simply used to wash down whatever plain fare was abundant. These days, there has been a qualitative renaissance in Beaujolais that belies its less-than-stellar reputation of years gone by. Domaine Saint Cyr has always been one of our favorite Beaujolais producers. Their rosé regularly sells out, and their Pet Nat is one of the best on the market. But let's not overlook their flagship wine, their regular Beaujolais, La Galoche. Galoche is the name of a small stream near the winery, and is also French teenage slang for making out! The estate has been certified organic, and since 2017 they have been using cold carbonic fermentation with only naturally-occurring yeasts. This retains more freshness than traditional carbonic fermentation techniques. This is the quintessential Beaujolais - delicious, joyful and easy to drink. A wonderful warm weather red. Serve slightly chilled.
"Lively and expressive, this Beaujolais cuvée from organically farmed Domaine Saint Cyr combines concentration with freshness. Think ripe juicy cherries, spicy redcurrants and a taut mouthfeel, giving this wine great length."
90 points | Decanter
2020 Evening Land Vineyards Seven Springs De Mûres Pinot Noir
Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon · $20.99 | Sale $18.99
The unpredictability of the weather in recent years has brought challenges and opportunities to contemporary winemakers. As wildfires raged through Oregon in 2020, vintners feared that smoke taint would make their grapes all but unusable. At one of Oregon's most revered sites, Seven Springs Vineyard, they came up with the novel idea of creating a sort of red wine/rosé hybrid. The grapes are macerated on the skins for a brief period, but longer than usual for a rosé. The skins are then removed before there is any trace of smoke taint. The wine is aged for eight months in neutral barrels before bottling. The result is a light bodied Pinot Noir, somewhat resembling a rosé, but with more depth. Flavors of fresh picked berries with aromatic floral notes. When you consider that it comes from one of Oregon's best vineyards this is a great deal. And it's biodynamic!
2018 Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria
Sicilia, Italy · $23.99 | Sale $20.99
The Planeta family has owned their estate in Italy since the 1600s. Here, they produce Sicily's only DOCG (an elevated classification). Frappato and Nero d'Avola grapes are grown on red sandy soil, hence the name Cerasuolo (cherry or cherry-like). The wine, too, has cherry-like flavors. Macerated on the skins for only eight days, there are still some soft tannins on the finish. This is a patio red. Perfect with seared tuna, fowl, pizza, or almost anything needing a fruity yet dry lighter red. Serve slightly chilled.
"The 2018 Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria is a lovely red wine from Sicily. It exhibits aromas and flavors of red fruit, dried herbs, and a hint of minerality. Pair it with a juicy, grilled ribeye topped with minced shallots." 91 points | Wine.com
2019 Quivira Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc
Sonoma, CA · $20.99 | Sale $18.99
Founded in 1981 by Holly and Henry Wendt, Quivira is a leading producer of Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Rhône varietals in the Dry Creek AVA of Sonoma County. In 2006, Pete and Terri Knight purchased the winery and vineyards with a vision of biodiversity. The Knights worked tirelessly to make the winery organic by installing sustainable farming practices. Now the winery has an educational garden with 100+ raised beds, a 500 cubic yard compost pile, and is mostly powered by solar energy. According to the Knights, these practices have made the vineyards healthier and the wines more complex. We certainly noticed the qualities of their wines when we sampled them and have included two of our favorites in this newsletter. The Sauvignon Blanc is zesty and refreshing, full of citrus and tropical fruits. It has a little weight to it from the blend of stainless steel and oak aging. Perfect with oysters and goat cheese.
91 points | Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
2019 Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc
Napa, CA · $28.99 | Sale $24.99
Cliff Lede's Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, although not inexpensive, has always been one of our favorite Napa Cabs, displaying wonderful complexity without suffering from heavy-handed use of oak. Along with their Cabernet, they also make one of Napa's most rewarding Sauvignon Blancs. They blend Sauvignon Blanc (85%) with Sémillon (12%) and a small amount of Sauvignon Vert (3%) from vines planted in 1947. Known in Italy as Friulano, Sauvignon Vert adds a subtle spicy character. Atypical for Sauvignon Blanc, 68% of the wine is fermented in Franch oak with the remainder in stainless steel. A small amount is fermented experimentally in large concrete eggs. The result is a wine with more richness than usual for Sauvignon Blanc, but also with a lot of depth of flavor.
"This delightfully complex, structured white blends in 12% Sémillon and 3% Sauvignon Vert, fermenting in a majority of French oak, as well as stainless-steel tank and concrete egg. Seamless and supple, it explodes in lemon meringue, tangerine and a subtle hint of brioche, long on the finish in crushed rock and stone." 93 points | Wine Enthusiast
2019 Alki Chardonnay
Columbia Valley, WA · $19.99 | Sale $17.99
Founded by the husband and wife team of Chris and Heather White, the Washington Wine Group now controls over 3,500 acres of vineyards in the Columbia Valley. Rather than make one mass-produced blockbuster brand, they have several brands and wineries at different price and quality levels. Alki (Al-Kai) is their premium line. Alki, meaning "hope for the future," is Washington State's motto. Their Chardonnay grapes come mostly from Yakima Valley. The remainder is almost equal parts from Ancient Lakes and Wahluke Slope.
"With its pale golden hue, this wine has aromas of yellow apple, pineapple and Bosc pear. The palate is direct and lightly creamy, with a pleasing acidic lift. The balance is impressive throughout."
90 points + Editor's Choice | Wine Enthusiast
2016 Camlow Cellars Magna Porcum Pinot Noir
Green Valley of Russian River Valley, CA · $39.99 | Sale $30.99
Local Sonoma photographer Alan Campbell is the owner of a four-acre Pinot Noir vineyard in the Green Valley sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley. Due to his love of all things pork, he named it Big Pig Vineyard. Down the road is the Keefer Ranch vineyard, one of the great Pinot Noir vineyards in California. The estate manager for years was Craig Strehlow. The two men pooled their talents (and names) and created Camlow Cellars. The best lots of the Big Pig Vineyard go into the Magna Porcum bottling. Deep and dark in color, full bodied with lots of black fruits and a long rich finish. Magna Porcum is unusually powerful for a Russian River Pinot. This is a Pinot for grilled meats and hearty fare. A great value.
2016 The Paring Red Blend
Central Coast, CA · $27.99 | Sale $22.99
Sustainability has become a buzzword in the wine world of the 21st century. For some, it is a vague set of rules and mantras to delineate the way that many have been growing grapes for centuries. In an idyllic corner of the Santa Ynez Valley outside Santa Barbara, Jonata has made sustainability a way of life, complete with livestock, cover crops, and a communal garden that provide much of the food for the estate. Matt Dees, geologist turned winemaker, oversees production of the various tiers of wines on the Jonata estate. The Paring is the entry-level label that utilizes grapes that do not quite fit into the premier bottlings of Jonata and the Hilt. The Paring Red Blend brings together Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot to create an elegant cuvée showing bright red fruit, plum, and a delightful intermingling of sweet and savory. Dusty tannins keep the fruit at bay, and the finish is long a lively. Drink this wine with anything from the grill, perhaps lamb meatloaf.
93 points | Jen Dunnuck
2018 Leviathan Red Blend
California · $33.99 | Sale $27.99
Through a long and distinguished career, Andy Erickson has become one of California's most respected winemakers. He has worked at some of Napa's most prestigious wineries, including Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate, Staglin Family Vineyard, Ovid, Spottswoode, and Dalla Valle. Nowadays, he has a busy schedule as one of the area's most sought after consultants. Amidst all of this, he also makes Leviathan, a red blend he created in 2004 to make a more affordable red wine from multiple appellations utilizing all of his connections and winemaking expertise. The 2018 Leviathan is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Franc sourced from eight different sites throughout Napa. The wine is aged in French oak, 25% new.
"Always a great value, the 2018 California Red Wine is a Bordeaux blend put together by Andy Erickson. The wine reveals a ruby/purple hue as well as complex notes of red and black fruits, green tobacco, cedary spice, and spring flowers. These all flow to a medium to full-bodied, elegant wine that offers good overall concentration, seamless tannins, and a great finish." 94 points | Jeb Dunnuck
2017 Quivira Dry Creek Zinfandel
Sonoma, CA · $24.99 | Sale $22.99
Though mostly comprised of Zinfandel, Quivira has added some Petite Sirah, Malbec and Mouvèdre giving the wine some layers of complexity and a nice round finish. It has loads of raspberry, strawberry and black cherry flavors with hints of sage and oak and that classic Zinfandel black pepper on the finish. Well-balanced and perfect for all those barbecue parties.
91 points | Wine Enthusiast
2019 Mary Taylor Côtes de Gascogne Blanc
Côtes de Gascogne · $13.99 | Sale $11.99
In 1928, the Gessler family moved from Switzerland and settled in the Bas-Armagnac region of Southern France with dreams of making Armagnac and beautiful wines. Now the family is in its fourth generation, and their dreams have become reality. They make their wines in the Côtes de Gascogne region, which shares the same land surface as Armagnac. The region is covered with medieval hilltop towns and used to be home to over 100,000 hectares of vines, but is now just 15,000 hectares. The Gesslers use only organic practices in their winery, and they stick to indigenous varietals. 2019 was a great vintage for white wines in this region, and that can be tasted in their Mary Taylor Côtes de Gascogne white. Fifty percent Colombard with 20% Ugni Blanc, 20% Gros Manseng and 10% Sauvignon Blanc fermented in stainless steel. This is a vibrant and highly-aromatic wine. Fresh flowers and lemon on the nose, with bright citrus notes of grapefruit, and finishing with beautiful minerality. This is a "sip all summer long" wine. Perfect as an aperitif, but also great with spicy sushi, fish tacos or an arugula salad.
2019 Jean-Aubron Pascal Sauvignon Blanc
Loire · $15.99 | Sale $13.99
Exceptional Sauvignon Blanc is grown throughout the Loire River Valley, the largest wine region in France. While Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are the most famous appellations, there are many lesser known (and less expensive) areas where excellent Sauvignon Blanc is made. The Domaine Jean Aubron is located in the Muscadet wine region at the mouth of the Loire River near the Atlantic coast, more than 200 miles west of Sancerre. While renowned for their outstanding Muscadet, they also make a similarly outstanding Sauvignon Blanc from an organic 40+ year-old vineyard that is only entitled to the Val de Loire appellation. The wine is fermented in stainless steel, unfined, lightly filtered and barely sulfured. Very refreshing with grassy herbs on the nose, green apple, a hint of melon on the palate. Great for seafood and lighter fare and a wonderful bargain.
2019 Domaine Gavoty Grand Classique Blanc
Côtes de Provence · $25.99 | Sale $23.99
In the midst of the Provence rosé craze, where every Tom, Dick and Henri buys any juice they can get a hold of and slap on a label that says Provence, Roselyn Gavoty is a staunch traditionalist. No mass cropping, machine harvesting, cold stabilization and/or excessive fining to make a translucent pink color at the expense of depth and flavor. She is the eighth generation to run the estate that has always eschewed the use of chemical sprays and recently was certified organic. The Gavoty Grand Classique Blanc is 100% Rolle (known elsewhere as Vermentino). Vinified and aged in a combination of stainless steel and cement vats, the wine sees no oak. This is one of the premier white wines of Provence. No winemaking trickery here. Rich on the palate with incredible depth and minerality. A perfect accompaniment to roast fowl, rich seafood like lobster or halibut, and lighter pork dishes. This is the real wine of Provence.
2018 Château L'Argentier Cinsault