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The 2021 Newsletter -Volume 4- Is Here

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WINES OF THE MONTH

RED

2018 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Parallèle 45 Côtes-du-Rhône

Rhône, France · $14.99 | Sale $11.99

The firm of Paul Jaboulet has been making stellar Rhône wines for nearly 200 years. Their Hermitage "La Chapelle" is one of the world's most iconic wines... the epitome of premium Rhône Valley Syrah. Unfortunately, it's also the epitome of not being cheap! Enter Parallèle 45. In the 1950s, Jaboulet began making an everyday Côtes-du-Rhône named after the winery's location near the 45th parallel. This is one of the great values of the Rhône. The Frey family, current owners of the estate, have been converting all their vineyards and contracted growers to organic farming. The 2018 Parallèle 45 is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. After a long, slow, temperature-controlled fermentation, the wine is aged in stainless steel tanks to retain freshness. "Deep red cherry and spiced berry notes on the nose. This has a nice mouthfeel where the soft tannins subtly coat the mouth. There's spice and soft, chewy, jammy fruit on the palate. Balanced and enjoyable, packing a punch in terms of fruit flavor, but doesn't feel heavy on the palate."

90 points | Decanter + Top 20 French Wines Under $20


WHITE

2020 Domaine Eugène Carrel Jongieux

Savoie, France · $15.99 | Sale $12.99

Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Napa Cabernet; everything, not just wine, seems to be skyrocketing in price these days. But we have a secret value region that, so far, has not been discovered. That is Savoie. Savoie is located in the foothills of the Alps in France, just south of Lake Geneva near the Swiss border. As the world heats up and alcohol levels soar in many wines, the cool mountain air of Savoie helps keep temperatures down. The result is refreshing wines of elegance and balance. Jongieux is a specific appellation in Savoie and the home of the Domaine Eugène Carrel. Their Jongieux blanc is made from the local grape Jacquère. At only 11.5% alcohol, this is a beautiful, elegant, dry wine with notes of citrus, pear and white flowers and a touch of minerality on the finish. "You are drinking bottled mountain air" is noted wine scribe Hugh Johnson's characterization of Jacquère. This is your chance for a budget friendly trip to the Alps!


UNITED STATES

2020 Stirm Calcite White Table Wine

La Cienega Valley, CA · $17.99 | Sale $14.99

Every vintage of a wine is unique. In the eyes of Stirm, that means every wine, each year, should be made as an individual project. Stirm Wine Company is incredibly sensitive to the terroir and climate they work with, spending more time in the vineyards than in the lab, and letting the vines speak for themselves. They hope their wines will become a piece of California's history, showing in the truest sense what the Central Coast is capable of. Stirm works with Riesling more than any grape, and it shows in this blend of 88% Riesling, 6% Chardonnay, and 6% Scheurebe. The fruit hails from just off the coast in the Cienega Valley and is insanely juicy, laced with minerality, stone fruits and a touch of ripe pineapple. The Calcite White Blend is one of those bottles of wine that seems like a magic trick has occurred... once you've poured yourself a glass, you look at the bottle and it seems magically empty because you drank it so quickly!


2020 2020 L'Isle Verte Chenin Blanc

Columbia Valley, WA · $24.99 | Sale $19.99

Division Wine Making Company strives to make delicious and interesting low-intervention wines. They focus on responsible stewardship of the terroir-expressive vineyards that celebrate their favorite varietals inspired by their time in France. L'Isle Verte Chenin Blanc is no exception. Willard Farms is one of the last remaining old vine Chenin Blanc sites in the Pacific Northwest, boasting 45-year-old vines grown at the highest elevation in North Central Yakima. Honeysuckle leads the palate, but this Chenin is more mineral-driven than fruit-driven. The wine is medium bodied and accented by racy edges, making it a refreshing option now, but allowing plenty of room for developing complexity as it ages. L'Isle Verte is sure to become an instant favorite!


2019 McBride Sisters Chardonnay

Central Coast, CA · $17.99 | Sale $15.99

If you brought this story to a movie producer, they'd throw you out instantly claiming that it was too preposterous! But the story of McBride Sisters Collection is true. There are two sisters, separated in age by nine years, with the same father but different mothers. One was raised in California, the other in New Zealand, and for years they did not know of each other's existence. When they finally tracked each other down, they realized they both had a strong interest in wine, and they decided to create the McBride Sisters wine company. They are now the largest black-owned wine company in America. While we have enjoyed and featured their wines under the Black Girl Magic label, we have been especially impressed with their McBride Sisters Collection Chardonnay. It is crafted from purchased Central Coast fruit, and unlike many of its peers, there is a real sense of balance here. Not overly-fruity, with just the right kiss of oak. Apple and pear flavors predominate, not artificial "buttery" flavors that you often find in Chardonnays at this price point. This is one of our favorite affordable California Chardonnays!


2018 Rocks of Bawn Pinot Noir

Yamhill-Carlton, OR · $22.99 | Sale $20.99

The name "Rocks of Bawn" comes from an old Irish ballad that refers to the futility of farming rocky, barren soil. For many crops, this is problematic. For vineyards this can be ideal. The soils of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA are composed of ancient marine sediments unique to the area. This allows the soil to drain quickly, which is ideal for viticulture. The Rocks of Bawn wines are a project of David O’Reilly, best known for his extensive portfolio of wines under the Owen Roe label. A fixture in the American northwest wine scene for over two decades, David has connections to some of the areas best vineyard sources. The majority of fruit for this Pinot Noir comes from a single site, planted in 2001... old vines by Oregon standards. "This has a beautiful texture, polished and plush, with an elastic feel that lengthens the flavors. Strawberry rhubarb aromatics are laced with dried citrus peel and cola while the smoky cherry fullness is balanced by a raspberry coulis zingy crispness, fading into dry savory notes on the finish." How do they come up with these descriptions? Anyway, this is a heck of a good Pinot Noir for the money! Don't miss it.


2018 Allis Ranch Grenache/Syrah

Grand Valley, CO · $24.99 | Sale $22.99

Up the road in Sedalia is our favorite local winery, Allis Ranch. Here David Rhyne makes small quantities of some of Colorado's best Rhône varietal wines. Aside from his excellent Syrahs, he makes a Grenache/Syrah blend. The Syrah used in this blend is from the 2016 vintage and sourced from the BookCliff Vineyard in Palisades. Small amounts of Grenache are grown in the Grand Valley at Guy Parker's vineyard in Orchard Mesa. No crop was produced in 2014 or 2015 due to freezes. The same issue arose in 2019 and 2020, showing the challenges of high-altitude viticulture. As the vines recovered in 2016, a small amount of Grenache was harvested and utilized in this blend. The majority of the Grenache comes from the 2017 harvest. The varietals were vinified separately and then aged in French oak - two years for the Grenache and three years for the Syrah. The resulting wine is one of Colorado's top Rhône style blends. The Syrah predominates on opening with aromas of black fruits. Upon aeration, the red fruit flavors of the Grenache surface. This is an outstanding Rhône-inspired wine that augurs well for the future of the style in Colorado.


2016 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa, CA · $66.99 | Sale $53.99

Crafted in the heart of Napa Valley, Merryvale is a staple to many Cabernet drinkers. We were so excited to get our hands on the 2016 vintage, which is drinking perfectly! On the nose, the wines opens with abundant dark fruit aromas of plum, blackberry, cherries, and a touch of leather and graphite. On the palate is lively acidity that brings a freshness to the wine and then evolves into soft tannins and a very velvety texture. The blend is 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 6% Malbec and 4% Cabernet Franc. This classic Cab is drawn from three top Napa vineyards: Stagecoach, Hardman and Rancho Chimiles, with each vineyard fermented separately in small tanks. Aged in 50% new medium-toast French oak barrels, the wine matures for 22 months before being bottled - unfined and unfiltered. If you love Napa Cab, you cannot miss this deal! 92 points | Wine & Spirits



FRANCE

2020 Domaine Adèle Rouzé Quincy

Loire · $25.99 | Sale $23.99

Way back in 1936, when the appellations were being defined throughout France, Quincy (pronounced kahn-see) was the first region in the Loire to be awarded appellation status, even before its neighbor Sancerre. Through the ensuing decades, the reputation of Sancerre has soared while Quincy has faded into the background. Like Sancerre, the wines of Quincy are made from Sauvignon Blanc. Unlike Sancerre, the soils in Quincy are primarily sand and gravel, not the limestone that is found in its more famous neighbor. The result is wines with a touch less acidity, and often, a bit more body, although the difference is subtle. Adèle Rouzé owns about 11 acres of Sauvignon Blanc vines that were gifted to her by her father. The vines are farmed sustainably using the principles the French call "lutte raisonée" or responsible farming. Only Sauvignon Blanc is permitted in Quincy; there are no red wines. In her short time running her own domaine, Adèle has established it as one of the finest of the appellation. This wine is rich on the palate, with intense minerality and flavors of grapefruit and lime with a hint of stone fruits and excellent acidity. Quincy is a forgotten appellation that deserves to be rediscovered. But for the time being, we can enjoy and appreciate its little-known price/quality ratio.


2019 Château Guilhem "Pot de Vin" Chardonnay

Languedoc · $18.99 | Sale $15.99

In 2015, fifth generation château owner Bertrand Gourdou was searching through an old desk when he came across a label that his grandfather had made in the early 1970s; that wine was called "Le Pot-de-Vin" which, in French, translates to "the bribe." For that era, it was an audacious play on words for a wine label! That label inspired Bertrand to make a simple, natural wine from biodynamically-grown fruit fermented with native yeast and made in the concrete tanks built by his grandfather. The word "pot" also references the old-style bottle shape. Most of the estate's production is red, but they have a small number of Chardonnay vines planted too, which yield this succulent, freshly-styled wine. The Pot de Vin Chardonnay is astonishingly bright and quenching, with aromas of white flowers, a light tropical fruit middle, and a crisp-creamy finish. Certified organic like all the wines in the Pot de Vin line from Château Guilhem, it is a pleasure to sip or serve with light starters, vegetables and fish.


2019 Armand Heitz Bourgogne Pinot Noir

Bourgogne · $34.99 | Sale $31.99

The story of Domaine Heitz-Lochardet (recently renamed Armand Heitz) is an interesting one. Since its conception in 1857, the family has sold off pieces less worthy and kept only the best parcels, which include holdings any grower today would envy: Chevalier-Montrachet, Meursault-Perrieres, Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot and Pommard Les Rugiens, among others. Armand Heitz took over the family business for the 2013 vintage, focusing on permaculture and biodiversity. He is tremendously sensitive to the realities of climate change and feels strongly that he and his peers must do everything they can to ensure the health of the region as the earth grows warmer. He relies on planting a wide selection of grains, legumes, roots and herbs, depending on the needs of the vines and has begun a regimen of passages through the vineyards with chicken and sheep, not only to control pests, but also as a means to fertilize the soil. In these practices, he sees a long-term solution for healthy soil and carbon reduction. The vines used in his Bourgogne Rouge are situated in the most prestigious sites in the Côte de Beaune, including vineyards in Mercurey, Meursault and Pommard. The wine drinks full and rich for such an entry level Burgundy, due to the whole cluster inclusion. Violets, plum and black fruits waft from the glass with a light earthy note in the background making for a very accessible and delightful glass of Pinot Noir.


2018 Nozières Malbec

Cahors · $19.99 | Sale $17.99

Today, Malbec is most famously known as the signature grape varietal of Argentina. But where did it come from, inquiring minds want to know? In the mid-19th century French agronomist Michel Aimé Pouget was contracted to bring cuttings of French vines to Argentina. Along with the usual suspects - Cabernet, Merlot, etc. - he brought cuttings of vines from Cahors, where the local grape was known as Côt. The derivation of the name Malbec is unclear, but it is used throughout France interchangeably with Côt. Although not the first place to grow Malbec in France, Cahors is certainly the most important. Château Nozières is one of the premier estates in Cahors with over 140 acres of organically-farmed vineyards. Their Cahors is a blend of 85% Malbec and 15% Merlot. Dark and inky with dense black fruits and aromas of violet, raspberry and blackcurrant. This is the quintessential modern style of Cahors, deep and powerful and a wonderful introduction to the ancestral home of Malbec.


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FRANCE · PEGAU

In the southern Rhône, in the small village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Laurence Féraud is busy tending to vines or blending wines. She has been the head winemaker at Domaine du Pegau for almost 30 years and is also a co-owner with her father, Paul... but the winery's story goes back much further than that. In 1670, Laurence's ancestors were farming olives, cherries and grapes. They were making traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape under the name Domaine Féraud & Fils. It stayed that way until in 1987, when Laurence returned home from college, a recent graduate in oenology and business. She discussed with her father taking five hectares of vineyards and creating an independent estate named Pegau. (Pegau is the name of a wine jug used in the 14th century.) 1990 was the first release of Domaine du Pegau's Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and it was met with extremely positive reviews and established Pegau as one of the powerhouses of the southern Rhône. Pegau didn't stop there; in 1992 they bought 41 hectares of vineyards, six km south of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and created Château Pegau. While the Domaine continues to make high quality Châteauneuf, the Château makes red and white Côtes-du-Rhône and Vin de France wines. A few years ago, we had the privilege of visiting Domaine Pegau and being guests of Laurence. She took us into their fabled cellars and tried us on many of their fabulous selections. Needless to say, it was an amazing experience. Recently, we re-tried some of the Pegau selections and we'd like to share with you some of our favorites...


2016 Laurence Féraud Côtes-du-Rhône

Rhône · $15.99 | Sale $13.99

Not only does Laurence own and manage Domaine du Pegau, she also heads a négociant winery. A négociant is a winemaker who buys grapes, juice or finished wines and vinifies or bottles them under their own name. This is usually a win-win for both the winery and the growers because of finances and resources on both sides. Laurence is extremely picky about what grapes she selects before putting her family name on the bottle, so rest assured you're getting the absolute best. The 2016 is an insanely good value. A cuvée of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, it is classic Côtes-du-Rhône. Almost at its peak, this wine delivers with blackberry and cherry flavors intermingled with hints of herbs and earth. Extremely approachable and with some spice on the long finish. One of our best values now!

89 points | Wine Enthusiast


Plan Pegau Lot #16-#17-#18

Rhône · $22.99 | Sale $16.99

Plan Pegau is an atypical red blend from vineyards just outside of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is a cuvée of three different vintages (2016, 2017 & 2018) including classic Rhône varietals such as Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre; however, it also includes some unusual varietals for the Rhône such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Aged in 50% concrete tanks and 50% old French oak barrels and unfiltered. Aromas of herbs, spice and flowers with loads of dark fruit in the mouth. Blackberries and cherries with hints of licorice, leather and earth. The tannins are well-integrated, and the mouthfeel is soft. This is wonderful value to try Pegau without dropping the coin for their flagship Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Enjoy this with lamb, prime rib and roasted vegetables.

90 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate


2012 Domaine Du Pegau Cuvée Réservée Red Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Rhône · $104.99

This is what Pegau is known for, and what put them on the map... Châteauneuf-du-Pape! 2012 was a better-than-average year in the southern Rhône, and Grenache tended to do very well. Pegau uses all 13 approved varietals in their Châteauneuf, with Grenache taking up the majority at 80%. Their Cuvée Réservée is aged in large older French oak barrels for two years. Dark in color with plum, black pepper and classic garrigue aromas that will fill your glass. There are layers of blackberry, plum and cherry fruit on the palate with hints of minerality. It is medium to full bodied, rich and round with soft tannins. Ready to drink now or you could hold it for three to four more years, depending on your style. If you've only experienced Côtes-du-Rhône, now is a chance to step up into the big leagues without breaking the bank!

94 points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

93 points | Wine Spectator


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ITALY

2019 Monte Zovo Lugana "Le Civaie"

Lugana · $19.99 | Sale $14.99

The shores of Lake Garda in northern Italy are dotted with picturesque fishing villages surrounded by dense woodlands and medieval towers. The southern edge of the lake straddles the border between Lombardia on the west and Veneto on the east; this region, known as Lugana, has relatively recently become a popular growing area for a clone of Verdicchio, known locally as Turbiano or Trebbiano de Lugana. This grape makes up about 98% of wine production in the area, thriving in the calcareous clay soils and temperate breezes off the lake. The Cottini family produces their Monte Zovo Lugana from two vineyards in the area, and the resulting wine is a beautifully balanced white that feels custom-made for the seafood coming off the Garda fishing boats. Tropical notes dominate, and six months lees aging lend a richness and body to the mouthfeel and texture of the wine. A fresh citrus background and soft minerality will appeal to a diverse group of white wine fans. This Lugana is a wonderful choice for any shellfish course or even a spicy Asian dish!


2019 Ottin Petite Arvine

Valle d'Aosta · $31.99 | Sale $28.99

Valle d'Aosta is located near Piemonte and borders both France and Switzerland. It is mountainous with very little land for agriculture, and it is Italy's lowest wine producing region. In 1989, a recent graduate from the Institut Agricole Régional named Elio Ottin had a dream to transform this terrain into terroir. It did not happen overnight... Elio started with several acres of land where he grew apples and grapes and bred cattle. He sold all his grapes to local wineries for many years, but in 2007 Elio decided it was finally time to make his own wine and express himself, and he has not looked back. A wonderful example of Elio's craft is his 2019 Petite Arvine. Petite Arvine is a white grape varietal grown mainly in Switzerland and Valle d'Aosta. This wine is medium-bodied with aromas of white flowers and citrus. The palate shows beautiful richness with flavors of pear, yellow apple, minerality and a bracing acidity to tie it all together. This wine is perfect with raclette, oysters and sushi.


2019 Ottin Petite Arvine

Valle d'Aosta · $31.99 | Sale $28.99

Valle d'Aosta is located near Piemonte and borders both France and Switzerland. It is mountainous with very little land for agriculture, and it is Italy's lowest wine producing region. In 1989, a recent graduate from the Institut Agricole Régional named Elio Ottin had a dream to transform this terrain into terroir. It did not happen overnight... Elio started with several acres of land where he grew apples and grapes and bred cattle. He sold all his grapes to local wineries for many years, but in 2007 Elio decided it was finally time to make his own wine and express himself, and he has not looked back. A wonderful example of Elio's craft is his 2019 Petite Arvine. Petite Arvine is a white grape varietal grown mainly in Switzerland and Valle d'Aosta. This wine is medium-bodied with aromas of white flowers and citrus. The palate shows beautiful richness with flavors of pear, yellow apple, minerality and a bracing acidity to tie it all together. This wine is perfect with raclette, oysters and sushi.


2019 Giacomo Fenocchio Langhe Nebbiolo

Piemonte · $24.99 | Sale $21.99

The Fenocchio family has been producing wine in Piemonte for well over a century. Their Barolos are some of the most esteemed of the appellation. Claudio, the fifth-generation of Fenocchios, is the current manager of the estate. Very much a traditionalist, he eschews the use of new wood, utilizing the classic techniques of organic farming, long fermentations on the grape skins, and aging in large Slavonian oak casks. His Langhe Nebbiolo is made primarily from younger vines near the Barolo crus in Bussia. Deep ruby red in color with a fruity bouquet of plum and cherry. The palate is dry with good body. Well-balanced with hints of licorice and rose petals.


2010 Vallana Gattinara

Piemonte · $42.99 | Sale $39.99

Vallana is an illustious name throughout the Alto Piemonte in northwest Italy. The estate was founded in 1937, but it was in the 1950s and 60s that Bernardo Vallana made quite a splash with his iconoclastic Spannas (Nebbiolo). Not stating any regional source, and featuring brightly-colored labels, they attained almost cult-like status. Exactly how these wines were made, and if they were truly all Spanna, was never revealed. Somehow the authorities got involved, or so the story goes, and the estate stopped making those wines. Some are still available on the auction market, but they are not inexpensive. Flash forward to the 21st century, and Bernardo's grandchildren now run the estate. Today, their flagship wine is their Gattinara. This is truly 100% organically-farmed Spanna. Light in body with tremendous complexity; white truffles, old leather boots, baking spices, underbrush, dried berries, a hint of balsamic. The nuances go on and on.


2019 Monte Bernardi Tzingarella

Toscana · $23.99 | Sale $19.99

Monte Bernardi is a winery brimming with fame and history. While the estate name dates to 1085, the winery as we know it now was only recently revived by the Schmelzer family in the early 2000s. What makes this land so special that is would be used for wine production for a thousand years is that the vineyards are situated in the hilly, southern-most region of Panzano, a terroir zone that has been acknowledged as one of the Grand Crus of Chianti Classico. Tzingarella, meaning Gypsy Girl, is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Colorino from their younger vines. This medium-bodied red, which spends 18 months in oak, is packed with fruit that is richly complex and smooth. Its tannins, acidity and cherry soul are unmistakably Tuscan with the added character of fresh cassis, blackberries and a minerality characteristic of Bordeaux wines. Certified organic and biodynamically farmed, you will not regret trying this thoughtfully-made Tuscan treasure.