NOVEMBER 2018 REVIEWS

 


SPARKLING FRENCH WINES FOR THE HOLIDAYS!

NV Domaine des Baumard, Cremant de Loire Rose, Brut Extra, Loire Valley, France 29.99/323.89

Baumard’s blend of Cabernet Franc (50%), Grolleau (30%), and Chardonnay offers aromas of blood oranges, dried herbs, and smoky minerals. The wine finishes long and floral, displaying the eastern Loire Valley’s complex, smoky soil signature. A world-class sparkler!
Josh Raynolds, Vinous: 90 points

NV Diebolt-Vallois, Brut, Tradition, Champagne, France 33.99/367.09

Wow! This gorgeous blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier is gonna knock your socks off. Complex aromas of Brioche, blood orange, strawberry, and limestone set the stage for a Champagne that possesses an elegant, velvety palate that offers the finest of bubbles and an exceptionally long finish. A tremendous value.
Wine Spectator: 92 points

NV Simmonet-Febvre, Brut, Cremant de Bourgogne, Chablis, France 16.99/183.49

A delicate and full flavored blend of Chardonnay (60%) and Pinot Noir. On the nose the wine offers hints of light Brioche, Asian pear, and apples. The wine finishes with elegant, lingering hints of toast, lemon mousse, and apparent minerality. Best deal under $20.
Wine Enthusiast: 90 points


RED WINES

OREGON – RED

2016 Vincent Wine Company, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon (S) 18.99/205.09

We’re delighted to feature the newly released 2016 Vincent Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The wine casts a lovely rusty crimson-ruby robe followed by cool aromas of black raspberries, earthy rhubarb, cranberry, and loamy earth. The wine’s cool, deft palate reveals a crunchy kernel of black raspberry and sour cherry fruit followed by complex suggestions of cinnamon, wintergreen, cloves, nutmeg, tobacco, and subtle fine tannins. Zesty and vibrant, the Vincent 2016 Pinot finishes with reprises of freshly crushed red berry fruit. A wonderful autumnal red and an ideal Pinot to grace your Thanksgiving table, it will also gain texture and complexity with three to five years in your cool cellar.

2015 Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Pinot Noir, Laurène, Dundee Hills, Oregon 64.99/666.79

The 2015 Domaine Drouhin Laurene is superb, and any fan of DDO and Oregon Pinot Noir will be thrilled with this wine! Unfortunately the vintage was limited in size, and therefore our allocation of this highly sought bottling from Drouhin will also be limited. Order your case now! Read tasting notes and scores


FRANCE – RED

2016 Domaine Faiveley, Mercurey, Burgundy, France (S) 29.99/323.89

Crafted from vines dating back to 1962, Faiveley’s 2016 Mercurey rouge gleams with a luminous ruby robe and fresh aromas of black raspberries, Bing cherries, bitter orange peel, cinnamon, and earth. Lively and vibrant on the attack, the wine layers the palate with elegant plum, currant, and loganberry fruit accented by notes of potpourri, leaves, and wood spice. Faiveley’s 2016 Mercurey finishes long, suave, and generous with reprises of spicy cherry fruit, rhubarb, and earthy limestone minerals. This is lovely, authentic, soil-driven red Burgundy fashioned for immediate enjoyment, yet it also has the poise and stuffing to improve for seven to twelve years. A lovely choice for your Thanksgiving table, Faiveley’s Mercurey will also pair well with roast chicken, pan-seared pork chops, and broiled salmon. Very limited.
Wine Spectator: 93 points

2016 Gerard Lebeaupin, Saint-Amour, Clos de la Brosse, Beaujolais, France 17.99/194.29

There’s no better or more versatile Thanksgiving red than fine cru Beaujolais. Hailing from one of Saint-Amour’s prime sites, Gerard Lebeaupin’s Clos de la Brosse is crafted from low-yielding, 90-year-old vines. A deep violet-imbued ruby in the glass, the wine fills the glass with scents of black raspberries, wild cherries, pungent minerals, and spicy cinnamon. Vibrant and gamy on the palate, the Clos de la Brosse alternates waves of crunchy berry fruit with a deep, stony mineral undercurrent of stemmy herbs, brown spices, and floral overtones. This is deep, classic, uncompromising, old-school Beaujolais that shows its old-vine complexity while simultaneously being approachable and delicious. A superb value, you’ll want to buy a case of this beauty for enjoyment now and over the coming decade.
Josh Raynolds, Vinous: 91 points

2017 Francois Chidaine, Touraine Rouge, Loire Valley, France (B) 16.99/183.49

Francois Chidaine, the master of Montlouis, has broadened his scope and brought his magical touch to the wonderful and varied terroirs of the greater Touraine. Fashioned from a blend of Cabernet Franc (50%), Cot (Malbec), and Pineau d’Aunis, Chidaine’s Touraine rouge opens with an opaque plum-ruby robe and deep aromas of cherry skin, black raspberries, cassis, calcareous earth, cocoa, and violet petals. Bright and snappy on the palate, this rouge from the superb 2017 Loire Valley harvest charms with fresh expressions of earthy red fruits alongside notes of tobacco, smoke, baker’s chocolate, and white pepper. Zesty and lingering, the wine finishes with further waves of black cherry fruit, rhubarb, stemmy herbs, and salty minerals. This is a fantastic wine that will prove a lovely rouge for traditional Thanksgiving fare and for cool weather cuisines. Pair now and over the coming two years with terrines, pates, cured meats, quiches, roast chicken, burgers, and roasted delicata squash.

2016 Burle, Cotes du Rhone, Southern Rhone Valley, France (O) 13.50/145.80

Burle’s wines offer so much character, boldness and authenticity for their amazingly modest tariffs. Burle’s 2016 Cotes du Rhone highlights the deep, muscular fruit of this acclaimed vintage alongside the southern warmth and herbal notes that define the finest Cotes du Rhones. The wine opens with an opaque black-plum color and a bouquet filled with notes of licorice, kirsch, plums, cracked black peppercorns, camphor, and herbal garrigue. Firm tannins and juicy acidity enter the picture and transition the wine to deep, soulful expressions of ripe plums, black cherries, cassis, leather, black pepper, and bay leaf. Tarry black fruit, black licorice, wet stones, and menthol-driven herbal garrigue mark the long, rustic finish. As with the entire range of wines from the Burle portfolio, this 2016 Cotes du Rhone is reference-standard and a superb value. Enjoy now or over the coming ten years with roast leg of lamb, ratatouille, and recipes favoring rosemary and fresh garlic.

2014 Chateau Eugenie, Cahors, Cuvee Tsar Pierre le Grand, Southwestern France (S) 16.99/183.49

The fashionable Malbec grape finds its historical home and greatest expression in southwestern France’s Cahors appellation. Chateau Eugenie traces its winegrowing history back to 1470, and today the estate encompasses some of Cahors’ finest terraced hillside vineyard sites. A classic blend of Malbec (85%) and Merlot, Chateau Eugenie’s Cuvee Tsar Pierre le Grand opens with a fresh, vibrant bouquet of black raspberries, cassis, curry powder, wood spice, and toffee-scented oak. Brisk and energetic in the mouth, the wine fuses a delicious core of juicy black fruits with complex suggestions of leather, tobacco, licorice, and vanilla. Fine, polished tannins and food-friendly acidity brighten the wine’s vigorous black-fruited core. Enjoy this gorgeous Cahors now and over the next five years with roast goose, grilled ribeye steaks, braised short ribs, rich eggplant casseroles, braised lentils, and lamb-focused cassoulets.

2016 Domaine du Moulin, Gaillac, Southwestern France (S) 10.50/113.40

Known for blending distinctive indigenous vines with Bordeaux and Rhone varieties, Gaillac is one of France’s most exciting and dynamic regions. Domaine du Moulin’s 2016 Gaillac – a blend of equal parts indigenous Duras and Syrah – presents a translucent plum ruby color followed by aromas of crushed blackberries, menthol, violets, and graphite. Fusing the rustic pepperiness of the Duras with the leathery, gamy notes of the Syrah, Domaine du Moulin’s Gaillac graces the palate with blackberry and wild cherry fruit infused with piquant, spicy soil, wood bark, game, licorice, and menthol. The wine finishes long, graceful, and harmonious far beyond its price point. Enjoy this distinctive Southwestern French rouge now and over the next three years with herbed rack of lamb, roast goose, rib roasts of beef, and hearty rosemary-scented vegetable casseroles.

2015 Abbaye Ste. Eugenie, Corbieres, Nine Dimoni, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 9.50/102.60

The rugged landscape of Corbieres, just north of Narbonne, produces some of the Languedoc’s wildest and most characterful wines. The vineyards of the Abbaye Sainte Eugenie estate wrap around a former abbey established in 817. Based on a classic cuvee of 70% Carignan (from 75-year-old vines) Mourvedre, and Syrah, the Abbaye’s delicious 2015 Nine Dimoni reflects an opaque black plum robe and zesty aromas of blackberries, cassis, black pepper, leather, and Provençal herbs. Rich, suave, and lively on the palate, the Abbaye’s saturated core of blackberry fruit fuses with complex suggestions of violets, mushrooms, cinnamon, garrigue, and black licorice. Supple, chewy tannins and buoying acidity segue the wine to its peppery, herb-tinged finish, which readies your palate for another forkful of ratatouille, grilled sourdough bread slathered with garlicky tapenade, lamb, or roast pork shoulder. Enjoy this sumptuous and savory Corbieres now and over the coming three years.


ITALY – RED

2015 Conti Capponi, Chianti Classico, Cappone, Tuscany, Italy (CO) 15.99/172.69

The Villa Calcinaia Conti Capponi estate is situated in the center of Chianti Classico near the hallowed village of Greve-in-Chianti. Capponi’s 2015 Cappone bottling casts an opaque plum hue and classic aromas of plum skin, black cherries, leather, game, mushrooms, and dusty earth. Spicy and firm on the palate, the Cappone unfurls with impressions of Italian plums, bitter cherry skin, dried herbs, menthol, and mushroomy underbrush. Plentiful tannins frame the Cappone’s black-fruited kernel and amplify its food friendliness and versatility at the table. This is superb Chianti Classico from the region’s grand cru historical core. It will drink well now with hearty bean stews, braises of game, beef, lamb and pork, salumi, and rich mushroom preparations. It will also make a lovely partner to everyday fare. Enjoy now and over the coming decade.

2015 Ronchi di Cialla, Ribolla Nera, Friuli Colli Orientali, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy (S) 19.99/215.89

Ribolla Nera, also known as Schioppettino, is a delicious, versatile red varietal native to the hills of Friuli in northeastern Italy. Nearly extinct after the ravages of phylloxera in the late 19th century, Ribolla Nera is finally enjoying a resurgence in plantings and popularity. Ronchi di Cialla’s 2015 Ribolla Nera is a textbook rendering of the varietal, offering fascinating expressions of Szechuan peppercorns, wild blueberries, violets, and sandalwood. Suggestions of earthy mushrooms transition the wine from its peppery bouquet to a bright, lively palate. Fine tannins and enlivening acidity sneak in and propel the Ribolla’s complex hints of boysenberries, tamari, green peppercorns, and hoisin sauce. Brisk, bright, and truly original, the wine’s delicious Asian spectrum of aromas and flavors positions it admirably for pairing with noodles and stir-fries, pork dishes with mushrooms, and all sorts of everyday fare that get their special accent by a dash of tamari, a miso marinade, shiitake mushroom reduction, or fermented black bean paste. It will also work will with pizza, steaks, and grilled ahi. Enjoy now and over the coming three years.


SPAIN – RED

2009 Lopez de Heredia, Rioja Crianza, Vina Cubillo, Rioja, Spain 23.99/259.09

Just released, Lopez de Heredia’s superlative 2009 Vina Cubillo Crianza could by law be labeled as Gran Reserva, but the bodega holds that moniker for its even longer aged cuvees. A blend of Tempranillo (65%), Garnacha (25%), Mazuelo, and Graciano, the wine reflects its long ageing with a crimson robe and mature aromas of raisins, dried cherries, orange peel, pipe tobacco, and coconut husk. Warm, suave and fleshy on the palate, the Vina Cubillo resonates with impressions of ripe cherry and strawberry fruit accented by star anise, cedary pencil lead, sweet tobacco, vanilla bean, clove, and cinnamon. Suave tannins emerge on the wine’s long finish to frame the wine’s warm fruit expression and ensure further evolution in the bottle. Serve this traditional beauty now and over the coming eight years with meat tapas, potatoes sauteed in olive oil, hearty bean stews, braised duck, and hard sheep’s milk cheeses.


WHITE WINES

FRANCE – WHITE

2017 Domaine de la Pepiere, Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur Lie, La Pepie, Loire Valley, France (O) 13.50/145.80

Marc Ollivier, the affable, hard-working genius behind the Domaine de la Pepiere, crafts some of the finest expressions of authentic, naturally made, soil-driven Muscadets. 2017 is showing itself as a lovely, balanced Muscadet vintage, and the domain’s newly released example shows its remarkable freshness, cut, and verve. A limpid, green-inflected pale straw gold in the glass, the wine casts a mineral-driven bouquet of flint, granite, green melon, and Key lime zest. The palate glows with pure expressions of crisp green apples, crunchy gooseberries, white grapefruit, and Meyer lemon, all backed by brisk acidity and pungent minerals. Pepiere’s 2017 La Pepie finishes clean, long, and insanely delicious, which makes it drink well by itself, but ideally succeeds as a foil for fresh oysters, halibut, branzino, clams, mussels, and savory seafood stews. Enjoy now and over the coming five years.

2017 Les Heritiers du Comte Lafon, Macon-Villages, Burgundy, France (B) 26.99/291.49

Dominique Lafon’s exemplary portfolio of Meursault premiers crus and Le Montrachet are among the most eagerly sought and cellared white Burgundies worldwide. In the Macon, Lafon fashions the most coveted wines with the same attention and care he gives to his prestigious Meursaults. Lafon’s 2017 Macon-Villages reflects a pale golden hue from the glass followed by smoky, soil-driven aromas of lemon pith, yellow plums, and barrel smoke. Fresh and invigorating on the palate, the precociousness of the fine 2017 vintage reveals a ready-to-drink core of fleshy apple and Mirabelle plum fruit. Aged primarily in old foudres, the wine shows impeccable balance, a lacy texture, and finishes with floral notes and a limestone minerality propelling reprises of apple blossoms, orchard fruits, and smoky barrel tones. This is a sensational Macon to buy by the case to enjoy now and over the coming five years. Pair with broiled salmon, mushrooms in a cream sauce, roast pork tenderloin, or rich sausages.

2017 Kientzler, Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France 14.99/161.89

A frequent feature in these pages, Kientzler’s delicious 2017 Pinot Blanc again knocked us out. A pale straw green-gold in the glass, Kientzler’s Pinot Blanc offers aromas of lemon zest, white meadow flowers, pear skin, and menthol. In the mouth, the wine fuses chewy, fresh Mirabelle plum fruit with crisp lemony acidity and deft hints of freshly squeezed ginger and lemongrass. Kientzler’s 2017 Pinot Blanc finishes crisp, clean, and driven by a persistent mineral undercurrent. A fine and versatile choice to grace your Thanksgiving table, it’s a joy to offer a superb Pinot Blanc that presents this much character, finesse, and balance for such a modest tariff. Enjoy now and over the coming three years with roast turkey, salmon, halibut, duck, green vegetable souffles, and, of course, choucroute garni.


GERMANY – WHITE

2016 Maximin Grunhauser, Riesling, Monopol, Mosel (Ruwer), Germany (S) 18.99/205.09

Emphasizing natural viticulture and winemaking, Stefan Kraml is crafting soil-driven, critically acclaimed Rieslings across the entire Pradikat spectrum. Fusing fruit from all three of the estate’s grand cru vineyards – Abtsberg, Herrenberg and Bruderberg – Grunhauser’s Monopol Riesling shows the pedigree of these great crus in a modern, palpably dry style. The Monopol Riesling radiates a brilliant green-gold in the glass alongside scents of bee pollen, lime blossom, grapefruit pith, and salty slate minerals. Crisp, clean, and refreshing, the wine bursts with fresh suggestions of green apples, juicy nectarines, kaffir lime leaves, and clover honey. The wine’s long, clean, elegant finish spotlights the Monopol’s racy acidity and dissolved slate minerality. It will effortlessly complement your traditional Thanksgiving vegetable and meat recipes from savory turkey, green beans, and mashed potatoes, all the way to yams and sweet potatoes. It will also prove lovely with mild to semi-assertive cheeses. Enjoy now and over the coming five years.


ITALY – WHITE

2015 Ferrando La Torrazza, Erbaluce di Caluso, Piedmont, Italy 15.99/172.69

High in sub-alpine Piedmont, the Ferrando family produces the reference setting renditions of Carema and Erbaluce de Caluso. The Erbaluce grape is an ancient white variety that originates from, and can only be found in, the alpine foothills of this northwestern corner of Piedmont. An unusually deep amber-gold in the glass, the wine casts aromas of limestone-infused pear and yellow apple fruit, apricot, and bitter aromatic herbs. Deep and resinous on the attack, suggestions of pineapple, apple skin and preserved lemon join with brisk acidity and a limestone undercurrent to give lift to this richly textured wine. Bone dry on the finish, the wine leaves the palate clean and refreshed with lingering notes of ginger, resin, and a dusting of chalky limestone minerals. Enjoy this distinctive, artisanal Erbaluce now and over the coming year with sauteed brook trout, halibut, pan-sauteed vegetables, or light poultry dishes.

2017 Malvira, Roero Arneis, Piedmont, Italy (O) 17.99/194.29

Arneis champions Roberto and Massimo Damonte of the Malvira estate fashion their superb, aromatic Arneis from 25- to 35-year-old organic vineyards on the sandy soils of Piedmont’s Roero district. A brilliant, limpid lemon-gold in the glass, Malvira’s 2017 Arneis blossoms with a bouquet of green apples, Comice pears, chamomile, freshly cut fennel, and chalky minerals. On the palate, electric acidity and savory notes of white pepper and dried bay leaf drive invigorating suggestions of apricot, tangerine, jasmine, and almond blossoms. Fresh, delicious, and impressively complex, this classic Arneis will pair with delicate white-fleshed fish preparations, light pastas, squashes, and vegetarian risottos. Enjoy this terrific value now and over the coming three years.

SPAIN – WHITE

2016 Coto de Gomariz, Ribeiro, Dende O Seculo X, Galicia, Spain (B) 17.99/194.29

The Coto de Gomariz, at the eastern edge of Galicia, overlooks the Avia River where schistose, granitic and sandy soils, steep slopes, and tiny yields make for an ideal spot to growing indigenous white and red varieties. The Coto de Gomariz’s Dende O Seculo X bottling blends Treixadura (80%), Godello, Loureira, and Albarino to craft a stunning Ribero blanco. The wine opens with a lemon oil color followed by salt-infused aromas of pineapple, nectarine, and honeysuckle blossoms. Dry and bristling with acidity, the 2016 Dende O Seculo X offers intense expressions of lime zest, tangerine, green melon, bay leaf, and salty minerals. Zesty and incisive, the wine finishes with complex notes of quince, ginger, and quinine. Pair this delicious, versatile, biodynamic beauty now and over the next two years with grilled octopus, potato tapas, broiled swordfish, and albacore tuna. Another sensational wine from Galicia!


ROSE WINE

FRANCE – ROSE

2017 Domaine Brazilier, Coteaux du Vendomois, Gris (Rose), Tradition, Loire Valley, France (B) 11.99/129.49

Wines from the Vendomois are virtually unknown in the States. Based on the character, deliciousness, and affordability of this gris (or rose), we suspect that will soon change. The Brazilier family traces their winemaking back to 1780. Today, father Jean and son Benoit employ biodynamic farming and craft their wines in 12th-century caves carved out of limestone hills. Brazilier’s Gris Tradition, crafted from Pineau d’Aunis, glows with a brilliant copper salmon hue followed by aromas of white pepper, Seville orange zest, flint, and limestone dust. Light, fresh, and packed with character, the wine layers the palate with fresh red currant and Rainier cherry fruit backed by complex notes of black pepper, Serrano peppers, gunflint, and limestone. Lithe and clean on the finish, Brazilier’s Gris Tradition is a lovely rose that can be enjoyed year ’round with barbecued chicken thighs, pork or veggie kebabs, and grilled salmon, steelhead, ahi, and swordfish.


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

SOLD OUT: Nov. 2 - Special Event: 6:30 p.m. (reservations required) A retrospective tasting of wines from Mt. Eden Vineyards with co-owner Reid Patterson. Starts 6:30 sharp. Fee. $40 per person.

Nov. 16 - Get ready for Thanksgiving with a tasting of great wines from Alsace, France.

Dec. 7 - Our Semi-Annual Champagne Blast! Party hats required!


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

Nov. 3 - French Beauties: Kientzler Pinot Blanc, Les Heritiers du Comte Lafon Macon-Villages, Gerard Lebeaupin Saint-Amour Clos de la Brosse, and Dom. Faiveley Mercurey.

Nov. 10 - Viva Italia: Ferrando La Torrazza Erbaluce di Caluso, Malvira Roero Arneis, Ronchi di Cialla Ribolla Nera, and Conti Capponi Chianti Classico. Plus from Oregon: Vincent Wine Company Pinot Noir, and from Germany: Maximin Grunhauser Riesling Monopol.

Nov. 17 - Two from Spain: Coto de Gomariz Ribeiro Dende O Seculo X, and Lopez de Heredia Rioja Crianza Vina Cubillo. Plus, we pour our holiday bubbles from France: Simmonet-Febvre Brut Cremant de Bourgogne, Dom. des Baumard Brut Extra Cremant de Loire Rose, and Diebolt-Vallois Brut Champagne Tradition.

Nov. 24 - The Wine Roads of France: Dom. Brazilier Gris (rose), Dom. de la Pepiere Muscadet, Francois Chidaine Touraine Rouge, Burle Cotes du Rhone, and Ch. Eugenie Cahors Cuvee Tsar Pierre le Grand.


SPECIAL EVENTS:

SOLD OUT: A Tasting of Wines
from Mount Eden Vineyards
with Reid Patterson
Fri. Nov. 2, 6:30 p.m. sharp

James Laube of the Wine Spectator once wrote, “If one were to only collect wine from one vineyard, Mount Eden would be a tough choice to beat.”

Our tasting will feature wines from 1982 up to the present releases. Seating is limited, and reservations are required. (Note: This event replaces our usual Friday night tasting) $40 per person

__________

Domaines Albert Bichot
Burgundy Tasting with
Jenna Chegvigny
Weds. Nov. 7 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Join us and Jenna Chevigny of Albert Bichot for an informal tasting of red and white Burgundies from Domaines Albert Bichot.This your opportunity to taste the new vintage, including selections from many Burgundy appellations.

Reservations not necessary. Tasting fee: $15.


The complete list of wines for each event is on our website.

 

LINER & ELSEN
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Thanksgiving Day Nov. 22

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


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