The 2022 Newsletter -Volume 3 · Autumn Edition- is Here
WINES OF THE MONTH
2016 Monte Zovo Caligo Rosso Veronese
Veneto, Italy · $16.99 | Sale $13.99
For four generations, the Cottini family has been cultivating a tradition that dates far back in time. It's a story of love and determination that inspires every action, where the most priceless legacy is experience. The area surrounding Lake Garda and the historic city of Verona has been planted with grape vines for thousands of years. Along the shores of the lake are the regions of Bardolino, famous for its light reds, and Lugana, better known for its whites. Moving east you'll enter Valpolicella, noted for its robust Amarone and little-brother, Valpolicella. Monte Zovo has been crafting the full spectrum of red wines here for a century. The historic 45-hectare estate consists of limestone soil with a substratum rich in clay, allowing the grapes to ripen, but retain a signature freshness. This delicious and unique wine is custom-made for the American market. It has a bright ruby color with aromas and flavors of red plum, red cherry, black tea, red currant, cinnamon and spice. Certified Organic grapes (Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella) were sourced from vineyards in the northern portion of Verona. The result is an especially fresh, vibrant and lively showing, with pretty red fruits, a subtle herbal tone and a velvety, smooth finish. Pair with anything from grilled meats to pasta.
2019 Corvidae 'Mirth' Chardonnay
Washington, USA · $16.99 | Sale $13.99
David O'Reilly has crafted the Owen Roe wines since their inception, with a focus on integrity and character. He is dedicated to sourcing fruit from only the highest quality vineyards and allows the expression of the grape to define the wine. "Corvidae" is Latin for the crow family of birds, while "Mirth" refers to an old nursery rhyme about magpies. While the name is fanciful and fun, O'Reilly is serious and meticulous in the winery and the vineyard to ensure that only top-quality wines carry the Owen Roe and Corvidae names. The Mirth is quintessential Chardonnay, exhibiting bright tropical notes and excellent purity of flavor and balance. It is unencumbered by oak flavor as the wine is fermented and cellared in stainless steel to preserve its freshness and varietal character. The 2019 is floral and fruitful Chardonnay perfection. What a delicious expression of Pacific Northwest terroir!
BORDEAUX ON A BUDGET
Bordeaux: The ancestral home of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and site of some of the world's most expensive wines. Bordeaux is the largest premium wine growing region in France. While a hundred or so estates get all the attention, there are literally thousands of châteaux, most of which produce excellent affordable wines for everyday consumption. Here are a few for your delectation:
2019 Château Le Souley-Sainte Croix
Haut-Mèdoc, France · $19.99 | Sale $15.99
This family-owned estate is located just west of Saint-Estèphe in the Haut-Mèdoc. Comprising 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Bright redfruit notes with cassis and blackberry. A hint of oak and sweet spices. Outstanding value.
2016 Château Bernadotte
Haut-Mèdoc, France · $21.99 | Sale $18.99
From the same group that owns the renowned Château Pichon Lalande, just down the street in Pauillac comes Bernadotte. An even split between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this is fuller-bodied than the Souley-Sainte Croix with 30% new oak. Rich and round with black fruits and dark berries. Fleshy and quite concentrated with fine tannins that hold a long finish. 93 Points | James Suckling
2019 Château des Pelerins Pomerol
Pomerol, France · $29.99 | Sale $24.99
Pomerol is by far the smallest premium wine region in Bordeaux, hence prices can often be stratospheric. Lost in the glamour of the estates that often bring hundreds and even thousands of dollars per bottle is the tiny Château des Pelerins. Only 1000 cases are produced annually from a blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Plums, black cherries and figs with notes of chocolate and spice. One would be hard pressed to find a better value in Pomerol.
SPANISH MEMORIES: FAVORITES FROM THE WINE FESTIVAL
What a wonderful Wine Festival of Colorado Springs we had this year, with such a special group of winemakers! In honor of their visit, we have brought back three of our favorite wines, each from a different producer, to show you the magic of their Spanish winemaking.
2020 Huguet de Can Feixes Blanc Selecció
Penedès, Spain · $21.99 | Sale $18.99
Penedès is now one of the most exciting winegrowing areas in Spain. Many regions are tied to very specific laws stating how much oak must be used, which grapes are allowed to be grown or how long wine must be held before release. Penedès doesn't have to deal with almost any of those issues. It has traditionally been an area for the production of sparkling wines and, thus, fewer laws were put in place for the production of still wines. Many exciting winemakers are emerging from this "freedom," and none are more impressive than the Huguet brothers! Their property sits on 'Grand Cru' quality sites, and they only keep the best juice for their family bottlings, while selling the rest to neighbors. The Selecció is a blend of Parellada (49%), Maccabeu (28%), Chardonnay (17%) and Malvasía de Sitges (6%) that is farmed and processed organically. An intense lemon oil scent greets you as soon as the wine hits the glass. Citrus, mineral, chalk, and a white floral hint follow leading to a crisp, clean and dry finish.
2018 Bodegas Díaz Bayo 15 Meses
Ribera del Duero, Spain · $24.99 | Sale $19.99
Díaz Bayo is a family obsessed with Tempranillo. They are located in Fuentelcésped in the province of Burgos, and are known for producing the best fruit in the region from 100 acres divided into multiple parcels of predominantly old vine Tempranillo. Those vines average close to 100 years old, but some plantings are up to 155 years of age. The family organically farms all their fruit and hand harvests their vast property. The "15" on the label is part of a series of Tempranillos marked for the time they spend in both American and French oak barrels. Ripe black fruits, balsamic and hints of cedar and spice combine with notes of cocoa and licorice. Fruit and barrel are perfectly integrated, which is a difficult feat to achieve.
2014 Valenciso Rioja Reserva
Rioja, Spain · $49.99 | Sale $39.99
In a land with many centuries of winemaking in its history, Valenciso is an opportunity to delve into a younger winery of great success. It was founded for the 1998 vintage by Luis Valentín and Carmen Enciso (hence Valen-Ciso.) Both Valentín and Encisco are Rioja natives with extensive experience in the making, tasting and commercialization of Rioja wines. The Reserva is 100% Tempranillo that was aged 17 months in fine grained French oak, followed by two years spent refining in cement tanks. This Rioja is a highly-polished, tightly-wound and elegant wine with refined aromatics. Fine tannins provide a silky texture, leading to a persistent finish of red berries and sweet oak. It blossoms both in body and flavor with decantation and will age gracefully for years, in the manner of top Burgundies.
ONCE & FUTURE
In 1976, Joel Peterson started Ravenswood wines with the intention of creating a small portfolio of single-vineyard wines. Financial considerations caused him to create an affordable line called "Vintners Blend," famous as the home of "No Wimpy Wines." Ravenswood Vintners Blend soon became the bestselling Zinfandel in the world. In 2001, pressure from his investors forced him to sell the brand to a giant beverage corporation and the brand has wallowed in limbo ever since. Eventually, he was able to extract himself from the corporate entanglements and has returned to his original vision of making small lots of premium wines - primarily Zinfandel - from some of California's most prized old vine sites.
2019 Teldeschi Vineyard Zinfandel
Dry Creek Valley, CA · $46.99 | Sale $39.99
From Dry Creek Valley - the epicenter of fine Zinfandel. These vines were planted in 1904. "Red/purplish fruit, lavender, rose petal, mint and blood orange build into a creamy, beautifully- textured Zinfandel loaded with character. Absolutely compelling." 95 Points | Vinous
2017 Oakley Road Vineyard Zinfandel
Contra Costa, CA · $54.99 | Sale $41.99
From 120-year-old vines grown on very sandy soils. This is the softest and most approachable of these Zinfandels. "Aromas of stone-fruit salad, pipe tobacco, black cherries, earth, dried leaves and a red berry core with a great freshness to lift the long finish." 92 Points | Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
2019 Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel
Sonoma, CA · $54.99 | Sale $45.99
From the oldest vineyard in Sonoma County, originally planted in 1856 and replanted in the 1880s. A field blend of more than a dozen varietals, although primarily Zinfandel. These vines survive to this day. The most structured wine that will improve with short term cellaring.
"Sweet perfumed floral notes lift a core of red berry fruit, with hints of spice and earthiness. In any discussion of California wine, Old Hill is one of the most pedigreed sites." 95 Points | Vinous
2020 Domaine Viret Energie
Côtes-du-Rhône, France · $27.99 | Sale $24.99
Philippe Viret's wines are beyond organic, beyond bio-dynamic and sometimes beyond the realm of sensibility. He has studied winemaking principles of the ancient Incas and Mayans. His patented 'cosmoculture' also accounts for the telluric currents, or energy fields, of the earth itself. All native yeasts, very long macerations and no added sulfites in a winery with strategically-placed illuminated crystals to properly direct the energy flow. His Energie is primarily Syrah with a splash of Mourvèdre and tiny amounts Picpoul Noir, Vaccarèse, Muscardin, and Counoise. After a long maceration, Energie is aged in tank for one year. This is the apogee of natural wine and then some. Pure natural acidity, red and black fruits and a certain spiciness and freshness that is unique to Viret's wines. Uniquely outstanding.
2019 Domaine Les Aphillanthes Côtes-du-Rhône Tradition
Côtes-du-Rhône, France · $19.99 | Sale $16.99
There seems to be a never-ending supply of beautiful affordable wines from the Rhône Valley. Just north of Gigondas lies Domaine les Aphillanthes. Daniel Boulle makes small quantities of five different Côtes-du-Rhône, all of which are certified organic and bio-dynamic. His Côtes-du-Rhône Tradition is made from 40-year-old vines; 70% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre and 10% Carignan. There is a real sense of freshness to his wines. A lovely bouquet of black raspberry and boysenberry with a touch of violets. Medium bodied with an excellent core of dark fruits and a long finish. Really outstanding... and outstandingly well-priced.
Friend & Farmer
La Mancha, Spain · $16.99 | Sale $14.99
Friend & Farmer is the dream of three brothers, Francisco, Javier and Luis Parra. The hope was to celebrate their home in La Mancha by raising organically and bio-dynamically grown grapes. They achieved this feat while getting Demeter certified to boot, and then, to top it off, they chose to add no sulphites, got the wine vegan- certified and magically managed to keep their prices affordable! I mean, WOW!
2021 Tempranillo - This easy-drinking red wine is made from Tempranillo and shows solid dark fruit, cherry, plum, tomato, dried fig, and chewy tannins. Great for carne asada and pulled pork.
2020 Verdejo - A refreshing white that is crisp and citrusy, with nice minerality and a clean, oak-free finish. Try pairing this with oysters or a delicious paella.
GET YOUR GEEK ON
2021 The Electric Chardonnay 'Acid Test'
Pflaz, Germany · $21.99 | Sale $17.99
The Brand brothers are electrifying their little town and this forgotten region in Pfalz, and they are doing so with huge smiles and a raucous joy in their role as stewards of the land. Everything is farmed organically, with intense dedication to the process. This is the Chardonnay for Chardonnay haters! Zippy, fruity and energetic, the wine exhibits flavors of green apple and ripe pear. Don't be frightened by the cloudy appearance; that is just the delicious byproduct of no fining or filtering. The addition of 10% Riesling grapes gives it an aromatic, perfumed ZING of acidity that seems to last for days. This is by far one of the best deals on the market. The value is shocking!
2018 Hilberg-Pasquero 'Vareij' Barbera/Brachetto
Piemonte, Italy · $31.99 | Sale $27.99
Michele Pasquero believes deeply in symbiosis and a sharing of empathy with nature. In his words, he will always be on the road to equilibrium with his projects. His bio-dynamic methods help him achieve that equilibrium while allowing the wine to be what it is truly meant to be: Delicious! Brachetto, recognized by most as a dessert wine grape, has been harvested to create a dry wine. Blended with Barbera, this might be the most surprising red to come out of Italy. An intense nose of rose petal, lychee, strawberry and fresh floral notes greet you as soon as the cork is pulled. The wine goes down silky and fresh with a distinctively dry finish. With a slight chill, you could drink this all day long!
2019 Podere Pradarolo 'Vej' Bianco Antico
Emilia-Romagna, Italy · $31.99 | Sale $27.99
Winemaker Alberto Carretti sees ancestral knowledge of the craft of winemaking and the passage of time as vital elements in the creation of a truly beautiful wine. To achieve this, his wines undergo long natural macerations and elevage, as well as no fining or filtration. "Vej" in the local Parma dialect means "old" or "ancient," as well as being the medieval name for the location where the winery stands. From an old south-facing vineyard, this aromatic Malvasia di Candia is comprised of only grapes, love, masterful craft and no trickery. It is a dense, dry and deeply-hued orange wine from an organic vineyard outside of Bologna, seeing 180 days of skin contact with no sulfur added at any point, and no filtering or fining. There is a lovely bouquet of dried white flowers and a tannic palate with notes of ripe apricots and peaches, tea, dried herbs, citrus peels and preserved stone fruit.
OUI, OUI CHABLIS
Chablis is at the northernmost extremities of Burgundy, and for centuries the wines reflected this - producing lighter and crisper wines than its "big brothers" further south in the Cote d'Or, such as Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. But times, they are a-changing. Several hot vintages have challenged the growers and made it difficult to make the lean, steely wines the region is known for. The wines are richer and fuller bodied now, but most wines still retain the unique minerality that Chablis is known for. Also, the 2020 vintage was certainly the best in the region for several years.
2020 Brocard Chablis Sainte Claire
$24.99 | Sale $21.99
"Smoky, flinty notes open nicely to reveal green plum and yuzu aromas. Sourced from a single vineyard of organically-farmed vines, it is a fresh, cutting lime and lemon sip with a long, delightfully chalky finish."
91 Points | Wine Enthusiast
2020 Roland Lavantureux Chablis
$36.99 | Sale $32.99
Textbook Chablis from the Kermit Lynch portfolio. Crisp acidity with hints of green apples, Kimmeridgian limestone and a long steely finish.
$49.99 | Sale $44.99
Situated next to the line of Grand Crus in Chablis, Montee de Tonnerre is a Grand Cru in everything but name (and price). Fermented in neutral oak barrels and with a slightly smoky and spicy nose. Good acidity with some weight and a long citrus mineral finish. Outstanding.
$114.99 | Sale $99.99
For a special treat comes this well-aged Grand Cru from a great vintage. "There is excellent richness, size, weight and power to the large-scaled, well-detailed and energetic flavors that culminate in an explosive and almost painfully intense finish that delivers huge length. Im