MAY 2019 REVIEWS


RED WINES

OREGON - RED

2017 Evesham Wood, Pinot Noir, La Grive Bleue, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon (O) 24.99/269.89

Evesham Wood’s La Grive Bleue (Western Bluebird) is sourced from organically farmed vines on the Evesham Wood estate. Transparent garnet in the bowl, the La Grive Bleue Pinot Noir opens with classic Eola Hills aromas of loganberries, cranberries, violets, and white pepper. The wine is wonderfully sumptuous and generous on the palate, alternating waves of fleshy red berry fruit with complex notes of tobacco, dried rose petals, and savory herbs. Clean, focused and delightfully light-footed, the wine finishes with herb-infused notes of red currants, raspberries and dusty earth. This is a lovely 2017 Pinot that drinks great right out of the chute but shows the poise and reserve to improve for another five to seven years. Enjoy with classic Northwest fare, especially broiled salmon, wild mushrooms, and quail. Look for the little bluebird in the lower right-hand corner of the label!

FRANCE - RED

2008 Chateau Magence, Graves, Bordeaux, France (S) 19.99/215.89

Drinking silky, mature red Bordeaux is one of the world’s most satisfying pleasures. Situated in Graves, the cradle of Bordeaux’s wine history, Chateau Magence is renowned for crafting classically-styled clarets that drink impressively well young while also repaying short term aging. Nearing its eleventh birthday, Magence’s 2008 vintage is right in the center of the zone of optimal drinking. An opaque plum-claret color with mature highlights, Magence’s 2008 Graves rouge opens with aromas of black currants, licorice, and dried herbs. The wine’s silky texture on the palate is a testament to its level of maturity. Notes of tobacco, cocoa, blackberries, and cassis linger as the wine transitions from its velvety palate impression to its long, elegant, gravel-infused finish. Pair the wine now and over the coming three years with beef Wellington, roast leg of lamb, burgers, and casseroles rich in earthy mushrooms. Don’t miss this delicious Graves rouge from a classic vintage!

2015 Domaine Jean Deydier & Fils, Cotes-du-Rhone-Villages, Massif d’Uchaux, Southern Rhone Valley, France 14.99/161.89

The Domaine Jean Deydier is renowned for its superb Chateauneuf-du-Papes bottled under the Les Clefs d’Or label. The same care and excellence that goes into Deydier’s Chateauneufs carries seamlessly into the domaine’s Cotes-du-Rhone-Villages bottling from the Massif d’Uchaux, just north of the town of Orange. Employing roughly equal parts of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cinsault, the wine performs like a baby Chateauneuf, yet costs a fraction of the price. Translucent black-ruby in the glass, the wine casts smoky, spicy aromas of bay leaf, juniper, paprika, and cinnamon alongside hints of tar, violets, and wet stones. Fresh on the palate, the wine’s deep kernel of chewy Grenache fruit alternates with the tarry, leathery notes imparted by the Mourvedre and the supple, perfumed nature of the Cinsault. Plentiful fine, buffered tannins emerge on the back-palate and transition it to a long licorice, plum, cherry, and herb finish. Enjoy this comfortably priced Rhone rouge now and over the next five years with classic Southern French cuisine like rosemary-scented lamb and ratatouille; it will also perform beautifully as a pair with everyday fare like burgers, pastas, and pan-seared pork chops.

2014 Chateau de la Liquiere, Faugeres, Vieilles Vignes, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 14.99/161.89

Faugeres is a cool, high-altitude appellation in the Languedoc. The wines find a happy middle ground between the rusticity of Corbieres and the typically fruit-forward reds of the Cotes du Rhone. One of Faugeres’ leading lights, the Vidal family’s Chateau de la Liquiere, employs 50- to 100-year old Carignan vines (40%), Grenache (40%), Syrah and Mourvedre grown on rocky schistose soils in the steeply-sloped northwest sector of the appellation. Opaque black plum in the glass, la Liquiere’s Vieilles Vignes cuvee bursts with aromas of blackberries, blueberries, licorice, juniper and herbal garrigue. Intense on the attack, the wine’s dense, chewy core of black plum and blackberry fruit is complemented by a fine, lip-dusting tannins and complex suggestions of bitter herbs, tar, cured meat, leather and button mushrooms. Dense and chewy, yet vibrant on the palate, this Southern French beauty should be paired now and over the coming decade with only the heartiest of fare: braised hare, game, squab, grilled lamb, mature cheeses and wild boar.

ITALY - RED

2017 Abbazia di Novacella, Schiava, Alto Adige DOC, Italy 15.99/172.69

A staff and client favorite, Abbazia di Novacella’s 2017 Schiava glows a light Pinot Noir-like cherry color from the glass followed by beguiling aromas of red currants, wild cherries, and bay leaf. Fleshy and vibrant on the palate, the Abbazia’s Schiava bursts with expressions of spicy cherries, tangy red raspberries, bitter orange peel, and menthol. The wine finishes with buoying acidity and savory tannins that deftly frame the wine’s gorgeous kernel of crunchy red fruit. Transparent and radiant with energy, the 2017 Schiava will take a light chill and prove a most versatile and food friendly warm-weather red. Fans of Eyrie’s Pinots, Poulsards from the Jura and other deft, transparent reds owe it to themselves to try this beauty. Enjoy with clear soups, salumi, light chicken preparations, morel mushrooms, pizza, sushi, sashimi, broiled salmon, and seared ahi tuna.

2010 Cantina Sociale Cooperativa di Copertino, Copertino Riserva, Puglia, Italy 13.99/151.09

Folks, this is a ridiculously great wine. The Cantina Sociale’s 2010 Copertino is fashioned from a core of Negroamaro seasoned by a dollop of Malvasia Nera. An orange-rimmed crimson-garnet color, the Copertino Riserva casts a kaleidoscope of aromas from leather to red currants to ripe cherries to cinnamon to cola to mushrooms to cured meat. Supple on the palate, the wine packs a wallop of funky, leathery dried cherry fruit followed by brisk acidity, fine lip-dusting tannins, and notes of savory herbs. Long, lingering, and with impressive staying power, the wine finishes with earthy, mushroomy notes alongside reprises of saddle leather, tobacco, game, and peppery salumi. Buy this by the case and serve with everything that calls for a lusty, earthy, soul-satisfying red wine: pizza, grilled sausages, marinated flank steak, or pasta sauced with sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and olive oil.

2015 Sella & Mosca, Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva, Sardinia, Italy 14.99/161.89

In Sardinia, Cannonau (Grenache) achieves a very special expression that stays true to the grape yet conveys a cinnamon-tinged earthiness unique to the island. The Sella & Mosca estate’s 2015 Riserva, issued only in the finest vintages. opens with a beautiful, translucent crimson-garnet robe followed by a delicious bouquet of pie cherries, garam masala, leather, tobacco, and underbrush. Graceful in weight yet bold in flavor on the palate, Sella & Mosca’s Cannonau adds suggestions of cinnamon, tart red plums, and smoky minerals alongside leather and cinnamon notes. The wine finishes long, vibrant, and soil-driven, with plentiful savory tannins and snappy acidity alongside delicious notes of cloves, leather, porcini mushrooms, and blond tobacco. Fans of southern French Grenache and bold, earthy reds will relish this Cannonau and find it a most comfortable value that can be enjoyed now and over the coming six years with dishes featuring tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, lamb, and game.

2016 Rapalino, Barbera d’Alba, Pian Romualdo, Piedmont, Italy 14.99/161.89

Federico Rapalino’s exemplary Barbera is among our customers’ most beloved wines and one of the most successful selections in our newsletter. Rapalino’s transparent black plum-colored 2016 Barbera conveys the beauty and elegance of Piedmont’s 2016 vintage with an earthy nose of blackberries, violets, leather, earth, and dark tobacco. Dense, yet brisk and vivacious, the wine is packed with tart blackberry and black currant fruit complemented by complex hints of tar, leather, tobacco, and button mushrooms. Plentiful, chewy tannins emerge on the back-palate to frame the wine’s deep kernel of black fruits. Longtime fans know that Pian Romualdo is one of Barbera’s grand cru sites. Rapalino’s 2016 confirms the vineyard’s exalted status and is among the finest vintages of this wine that have ever passed our lips. Delicious now with braised beef, oven-roasted vegetables, egg-rich pastas, or grilled pork, Rapalino’s 2016 Barbera has the structure and poise to ensure seven to twelve years’ positive evolution in your cool cellar.

2017 Piero Benevelli, Langhe, Nebbiolo, Piedmont, Italy (S) 19.99/215.89

Piero Benevelli and his son Massimo farm 21 acres in Barolo’s hallowed Monforte d’Alba zone. Their Langhe Nebbiolo is crafted specifically to be affordable and enjoyable young. A brilliant crimson-garnet robe, Benevelli’s 2017 Langhe Nebbiolo fills the glass with fresh, young Nebbiolo aromas of rose petals, cinnamon, cherries, tobacco, and limestone dust. Vibrant and energetic on the palate, the wine offers a lip-smackingly delicious core of tangy pie cherry fruit backed by textbook Nebbiolo tannins and juicy acidity. Hints of licorice, tobacco, cardamom, and wood spice emerge as the wine transitions to its long, energetic finish. A superb value, this is the perfect Nebbiolo to enjoy while we wait for our great Barolos and Barbarescos to mature. Pair now and over the coming three years with hearty Piemontese fare like tajarin, risotto, and osso buco, or as a versatile foil for pizza, burgers, and just about everything that doesn’t make water its habitat.

SPAIN - RED

2009 Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez, Dehesa la Granja, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon, Spain 14.99/161.89

Dehesa la Granja is the third estate acquired and rejuvenated by the tireless husband-and-wife team of Alejandro Fernandez and Esperanza Rivera. Like everything the talented couple touches, the results have been stunning. Opaque black-plum in the glass, the Fernandez 2009 Dehesa la Granja Tempranillo opens with a core of blackberry fruit infused with suggestions of tobacco, graphite, smoke, vanilla, and mocha. The wine graces the palate with a lush and velvety texture followed by fine, framing tannins and complex suggestions of coconut, tar, menthol, and licorice. Deep, long, and smoky, the Dehesa la Granja finishes with reprises of blackberry fruit deepened by barrel tones of coconut, vanilla, and baker’s chocolate. Tremendously food-versatile, serve this beauty now and over the coming decade with rich beef, lamb, and pork preparations, meaty paellas, and savory potato tapas.


WHITE WINES

FRANCE - WHITE

2016 Pierre Henri Gadais, Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie, Saint-Fiacre, Loire Valley, France 10.99/118.69

This is Muscadet in its purest, most crystalline expression. Pale green-gold in the glass, Gadais’ Muscadet from the sensational 2016 Loire Valley vintage shines with notes of pear skin and lemon pith infused with bay leaf, fleur de sel, and oyster shell minerals. Clean, zesty, and bone dry on the palate, the wine bursts with expressions of lemon juice, quinine, ginger, iodine, and chalky minerals. Muscadet works well as an aperitif but shines brightest when paired with briny oysters on the half shell, pan-roasted mussels, fried razor clams, Dover sole, and sauteed green vegetables. For lovers of mineral-driven white wines, think of this as your cost-effective alternative to pricier Sancerres or Chablis; Muscadet aficionados will delight in the wine’s bright, stony, saline minerality and exceptional purity. It is the value play white wine of the newsletter and will delight now and over the coming five years. Great, great Muscadet!

2018 Les Vignerons de Florensac, Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 9.99/107.89

We adore the “lip-stinger” Picpoul de Pinet. New to our palates, Florensac’s spanking fresh 2018 Picpoul casts a brilliant green-tinged lemon-gold color in the glass followed by aromas of freshly shaved fennel, quince, lemon zest, and chalky soil. Brisk and bracing on the attack, the Picpoul fleshes out mid-plate with suggestions of freshly squeezed lime juice, Bartlett pear, lemongrass, and flinty minerals. Clean, fresh, and bristling with energy, the wine reprises its pear, citrus, and mineral notes on its pure, limestone-driven finish. Zesty and refreshing way beyond its price tag, Les Vignerons de Florensac’s Picpoul will prove a lovely foil now and over the coming year with delicate white-fleshed fish dishes, squid a la plancha, grilled and sauteed zucchini, calamari, raw oysters, escargots, and periwinkles.

2017 Paul Pernot et Fils, Bourgogne Chardonnay, Burgundy, France 26.99/291.49

Paul Pernot’s always-delicious Bourgogne Chardonnay is fashioned from declassified Puligny-Montrachet vines situated on Puligny’s border with Meursault. Pernot’s 2017 Bourgogne Chardonnay opens with a lemon gold color followed by rich, Meursault-like aromas of lemon curd, Brazil nuts, and subtle French oak inflections. The Bourgogne’s palate is at once rich, textured, and precise, conveying premier cru intensity and soil transparency rarely found in such an affordably priced Cote-de-Beaune blanc. Long, sappy, and packed with limestone-infused impressions of fresh lemon juice, acacia blossoms, and buttery pastry crust, the wine finishes elegant, rich, and impeccably well balanced. Pernot’s Bourgogne already drinks well young, but also has reserve and balance to ensure midterm keeping. Enjoy now and over the coming decade with roast pork, veal, poultry, white-fleshed fish dishes, and young chevres. Always very limited, contact us early to secure your case of this beauty.

ITALY - WHITE

2015 Marotti Campi, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Classico Riserva Superiore, Salmariano, Marches, Italy (S) 18.99/205.09

Verdicchio is central Italy’s most distinctive white varietal, especially when it hails from the mineral-rich soils of the Castelli di Jesi’s Classico Superiore zone just miles from the Adriatic Sea. Marotti Campi’s Riserva Salmariano, named after a castle built in the 1100's bordering the Marotti Campi's vineyards, opens with a deep straw gold color and complex aromas of acacia blossoms, white pepper, eucalyptus, and smoky minerals. The wine fuses a palate expression of fleshy green pear fruit with a riveting acid backbone and a complex, flinty mineral expression. Deep, resonant, and uncompromisingly dry, the Salmariano finishes with notes of honeydew melon, quinine, lemongrass, and flinty minerals. A touch of almond lingers on the palate as you prepare your next bite of roast pork, baked chicken, freshwater fish, sauteed lentils, and recipes featuring zucchini and summer squashes. Serve this superb and special Verdicchio Riserva now and over the coming three years.

2016 Argillae, Orvieto Bianco, Umbria, Italy (S) 11.50/124.20

Orvieto is Umbria’s most renowned white wine. The Argillae estate sustainably farms ninety acres of vines on clay and calcareous soils in Orvieto’s northeastern zone. Fashioned from a blend of Grechetto, Procanico, Malvasia, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, the estate’s Orvieto casts a bright green-tinted lemon gold color from the glass, followed by aromas of kiwi, green melon, honeysuckle blossoms, crushed herbs, and wet limestone. Crisp and brisk on the palate, the wine conveys suggestions of green apple skin, clover honey, and dried bay leaf. Argillae’s Orvieto shows the elegance of Italy’s fantastic 2016 vintage, finishing dry and vibrant with further suggestions of citrus zest, pine, and saline minerals. A terrific selection for shellfish, freshwater fish dishes, light poultry preparations, white pasta dishes, sauteed green vegetables, and fresh cow’s milk cheeses, enjoy now and through 2020.

2017 Tenuta Santa Maria Lepia, Soave, Veneto, Italy 17.99/194.29

The Tenuta Santa Maria was the first estate in the Veneto to bottle and sell Veronese wines such as Valpolicella Ripasso, Recioto, and Soave on a commercial scale. Backed by superb soils and deep respect for tradition, the fifth generation of the Bertani family continues the abiding excellence of its forebears. Santa Maria’s fleshy, juicy, and delicious 2017 Lepia Soave is crafted from indigenous Garganega grown on complex clay, limestone, and marl soils. In the glass, the Soave casts a vivid lemon gold color followed by delicate aromas of pear flesh, white peaches, almond blossoms, and flinty minerals. Brisk, vibrant notes of guava, green melon, and lime juice emerge on the palate alongside complex suggestions of mint, cinnamon, and botanical herbs. The wine finishes brisk, long, and uncompromisingly dry, leaving that special tactile dusting of chalky minerals on the lips. Pair this superb Soave now and over the next two years with shellfish, trout, halibut, green vegetables, and seafood pastas.

SPAIN - WHITE

2018 Ostatu, Rioja Alavesa, Blanco, Rioja, Spain (S) 13.99/151.09

Rioja is the oldest and most famous winegrowing region in Spain. The Ostatu estate, located in Rioja’s Alavesa sub-zone, features predominantly clay-calcareous soils essential for creating wines of great concentration and complexity. Ostatu’s high-altitude, old-vine blend of Viura (85%) and Malvasía casts a brilliant straw gold color and dazzling aromas of gardenia blossom, green apple skin, lemon zest, and chamomile. Vibrant and mineral driven on the palate, Ostatu’s blanco layers the palate with waves of yellow plums, lemon juice, quinine, thyme, and limestone dust. Brisk, clean, and pulsing with energy, the wine finishes with a burst of juicy citrus fruit infused with suggestions of raw almonds, medicinal herbs, ginger, and limestone minerals. Enjoy this crisp Rioja blanco (served cool, but not too cold) now and over the coming two years with all things seafood, vegetable tapas, roast pheasant, and fresh cheeses.


ROSE WINES

OREGON - ROSE

2018 Crowley Wines, Rose of Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon (S) 17.99/194.29

Here’s another fantastic early release from the terrific 2018 Willamette Valley vintage! Tyson Crowley hits it out of the park again with this lovely, low octane, 12.5% alcohol rose crafted from a single dry-farmed block of Four Winds Vineyard Pinot Noir. A gloriously pale orange-tinted salmon color, Crowley’s rose opens with crisp aromas of golden raspberries, tart Rainier cherries, and orchard blossoms. Brisk and driven by its firm acidic backbone, Crowley’s 2018 rose combines the chalky lightness of a fine Sancerre rose with the depth and sappy, herbal tinges of the best from Provence. This is a rose that you simply want to drink – anytime and anywhere. We could expound further, but with only 310 cases produced, you’re going to want to immediately reserve your case. Pair now and over the coming year with fresh chevres, broiled salmon and steelhead, light poultry, seasonal squashes, and pork tenderloin.

SPAIN - ROSE

2018 Ostatu, Rioja Alavesa, Rosado, Rioja, Spain (S) 14.99/161.89

Along with this month's juicy and delicious blanco from Ostatu, we present the estate’s superb rosado, which hails from high altitude, 20-year-old Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Tempranillo Blanco vines. Ostatu’s rosado casts a vivid salmon pink hue followed by chalky, mineral and herb-driven aromas of red raspberries and pie cherries. On the palate, Ostatu’s 2018 rosado reveals a tangy core of wild cherry, blood orange, and red raspberry fruit elevated by dried herbs, chalky minerals, and spine-tingling acidity. Fresh and brisk, the wine seamlessly meshes its pure, juicy raspberry and cherry expressions with chalky minerality and freshening acidity. A very exciting start to the 2018 rose season, we recommend pouring Ostatu’s superb rosado by itself as an after-work refresher or as a versatile pair with summer vegetables, salmon, steelhead, meat and potato tapas, roast poultry, and pork. Enjoy now and over the coming two years.


SPARKLING WINE

FRANCE - SPARKLING

NV Les Tuffieres, Vouvray, Brut, Loire Valley, France (O) 22.99/248.29

Next to Champagne, is there any more compelling sparkling wine than the finest fizz from Vouvray? Submitted for your consideration: Jerome Loisy’s Vouvray Brut from hand-harvested, organically grown Chenin Blanc on red clay soils, aged eighteen months on the lees before bottling. We could certainly pontificate about the merits of this insanely delicious Vouvray Brut, but one sip is all that’s needed to convert even the most ardent sparkling wine agnostic. It’s clean, it’s vibrant, it’s dry, it’s affordable, and it’s ready for every graduation, wedding, picnic, barbecue, spring and summer celebration on your calendar. It will also be our go-to bottle for dry-rubbed ribs, barbecue, fried chicken, skillet cornbread, baked whole fish, oysters Rockefeller, grilled summer squashes, broiled halibut… just about everything but beef. Buy a case to drink now and over the coming two years.

LINER & ELSEN
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FRIDAY TASTINGS:
First and third Friday of the month
5:30-7:30 p.m. ~Fee~

May 3 - Powerhouse Austrian Gruner Veltliners from Knoll, Pichler, Brundlmayer, Malat and still more!

May 17 - Great wines from Rioja Spain

June 7 - A superlative selection of wines from Northern Portugal. Douro Valley, Barraida, Vinho Verde, and more!


SATURDAY TASTINGS:
Weekly; 12-4:30 p.m. ~No fee~

May 4 - La Belle France: Les Tuffieres Vouvray Brut, Pierre Henri Gadais Muscadet, Ch. Magence Graves, and Jean Deydier Cotes-du-Rhone-Villages.

May 11 - Tutti Italia: Tenuta Santa Maria Lepia Soave, Marotti Campi Verdicchio Salmariano, Rapalino Barbera d’Alba Pian Romualdo, Cantina Copertino, and Piero Benevelli Langhe Nebbiolo.

May 18 - From Oregon: Crowley Wines Rose of Pinot Noir, and Evesham Wood Pinot Noir La Grive Bleue. From Spain: Ostatu Rioja Rosado, Ostatu Rioja Alavesa Blanco, and Alejandro Fernandez Dehesa la Granja.

May 25 - From France: Les Vignerons de Florensac Picpoul de Pinet, Paul Pernot Bourgogne Chardonnay, Ch. de la Liquiere Faugeres V.V. From Italy: Argillae Orvieto, Abbazia di Novacella Schiava, and Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna.


SPECIAL EVENTS:

A Tasting of Piedmont Wines from G.D. Vajra with Giuseppe Vajra

Fri., May 10 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Please join us as we welcome Giuseppe Vajra to Portland. The wines of G.D. Vajra are among Piedmont’s finest: meet Giuseppe, the second-generation winemaker, taste, and find out more.

No reservations needed; tasting fee: $10.


Taste the wines of Negro Angelo with Giovanni Negroand Cameron Abbot, the Piedmont Guy

Wed., May 15 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Giovanni Negro, owner of the historic Azienda Agricola Negro Angelo, will join us at a tasting of great Piedmontese wines from some of the most desirable vineyard sites in Roero.

No reservations needed; tasting fee: $10.


Paolo Scavino tasting with Special Guest Andrea Osterro

Tue., May 21 5:30-7:00

Export manager Andrea Osterero will be here to share the wines of Paolo Scavino, the historic winery in Barolo. Scavino's offerings are known for their purity of expression, complexity, and elegance.

No reservations needed; tasting fee: $20.


» The lists of wines to be served


B = biodynamic methods; CO = certified organic; O = organic; S = sustainably farmed
 


© Liner & Elsen, all rights reserved. Information and prices apply during the current month only. Wine availability and prices are subject to quantity on hand. We are not responsible for mispriced items in the newsletter.