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AUGUST 2016 NEWSLETTER

 
RED WINES


OREGON – RED

2014 Franchere, Pinot Noir, Havlin Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Oregon (CO) 15.99/172.69

Franchere’s 2014 Pinot is stunning: a lovely crimson-garnet in the glass followed by cool-climate aromas of cranberries, white pepper, iris, cinnamon and ferruginous soil. Owner-winemaker Mike Hinds emphasizes low intervention to fashion wines of freshness, texture and moderate alcohol (12.2%). Suave and silky on the attack, the Franchere Pinot quickly tightens to reveal a savory tannic backbone, bright acidity and suggestions of tangy loganberries, wood smoke and peppery cured meat. Fresh, spicy and lip-smackingly delicious, Franchere’s Pinot finishes long and zesty with further waves of savory tannins, cinnamon and ferrous terroir. Catch a rising star and a fantastic bargain with this sub-$16 gem. Enjoy now and over the coming three years with roast chicken, duck, salumi and pan-seared pork chops.

AUSTRIA – RED

2014 Judith Beck, Zweigelt, Burgenland, Austria 13.99/151.09

Austria’s favorite and most widely planted red wine grape, Zweigelt, is a hybrid of St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch. With its deep black cherry color and explosive nose of peppery cherry fruit, spicy game and smoky soil, Judith Beck’s 2014 Zweigelt is a classic and unusually affordable rendition of the variety. Fresh and meaty on the palate, Beck’s Zweigelt presents a luxuriously silky black cherry and brambly black raspberry fruit followed by suave tannins and impressions of wild game, Szechuan peppercorns and a touch of the good ol’ funk. This wine is fabulous: a perfect choice for a summer red that can take a chill and deliver a mouthful of spicy, gamy black fruits. Pair now and over the coming two years with barbecued ribs, pulled pork, hanger steaks and grilled marinated Portobello mushrooms.

FRANCE – RED

NV Laurence Feraud, Plan Pegau (Lot 11-12-13), Vin de France, Southern Rhone Valley, France 18.99/205.09

Few Chateauneuf-du-Pape domaines are as celebrated as Laurence Feraud’s Domaine du Pegau. With a full roster of critically acclaimed Chateauneuf-du-Papes at the upper end of the price spectrum, this not-in-any-way-humble Vin de Table is our affordable entry into Pegau’s hallowed portfolio. Feraud’s Plan Pegau is an inventive blend of Grenache (30%), Syrah (30%), Merlot (20%) plus a blend of old-vine Carignan, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Danlas, Alicante and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine delivers the stony limestone soil signature and special funk of a fine Chateauneuf with the deliciousness and precociousness of the best Cotes-du-Rhones. Designed to be more approachable and forward at an early age, bright cherry and red currant notes marry with notes of bay leaf and spicy cinnamon, followed by chewy tannins on the wine’s long, appetizing finish. Definitely a wine to buy by the case to enjoy now and over the coming five years with rosemary and garlic crusted leg of lamb, ratatouille, burgers, steaks, and hearty braises and stews.

2014 Domaine Mucyn, Crozes-Hermitage, Les Entrecoeurs, Northern Rhone Valley, France 16.99/183.49

Jean-Pierre and Helene Mucyn studied in Beaune before purchasing land in the northern Rhone. The Burgundian elegance from their training shines through in this superb Syrah Crozes-Hermitage. Translucent ruby in the glass, Mucyn’s Crozes casts scents of violets, wild cherries, black pepper and game. Soft, elegant and suave on the palate, the Entrecoeurs is floral as well as meaty, herbal and driven by an electric kernel of tangy Morello cherry and black raspberry fruit. The result is one of the most beguiling, complete, balanced and utterly authentic northern Rhone Syrahs in many a moon. Endlessly versatile, this can serve as your attention-grabbing red for summer barbecues as well as a noble foil for mid-winter roast leg of lamb. It will also thrill with hearty bean stews, mushroomy vegetarian preparations and antipasti platters. Enjoy now and over the coming four years.

2014 Domaine de la Chanteleuserie, Bourgeuil, Cuvee Alouettes, Loire Valley, France (S) 14.99/161.89

Bourgueil, along with its neighbor Chinon, are the planet’s benchmarks for the noble Cabernet Franc grape. Chanteleuserie’s Cuvee Alouettes, fashioned from Cabernet Franc planted on sandy clay soils, is the domaine’s most approachable and immediately delicious wine. Translucent ruby in the glass, 2014 Cuvee Alouettes casts aromas of violet-scented black raspberry and cassis fruit lifted by Bourgueil’s inimitable powdered limestone goût de terroir. Fresh, lively and immediately delicious, the wine saturates the palate with fresh blackberry and currant fruit, hints of tobacco, earthy gentian root and appetizing herbal notes. Fine, dusty tannins and lovely suggestions of bitter chocolate, white pepper and licorice sneak in on the mid-palate and segue the wine to its long soil-driven finish. As always, the Cuvee Alouettes is a stunning wine and a terrific value. We suggest buying a case to enjoy now and over the next five years with pork rillettes, rabbit in a mustard sauce, steak frites, grilled eggplant, fresh chevres, burgers, and roasted poultry.

2014 Chateau La Grolet, Cotes de Bourg, Bordeaux, France (B) 14.99/161.89

The Hubert family of Chateau La Grolet embraces the rigorous philosophy and labor-intensive practice of biodynamism for its unusually affordable red Bordeaux. The result is a splendidly authentic, vibrant and characterful Right Bank claret, and one that doesn’t require a second mortgage to obtain a case. Featuring a deep young claret color, the 2014 Grolet – a blend of Merlot (65%), old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), and Malbec (5%) – casts brilliant aromas of black cherries, cassis, dried herbs, saddle leather and gravelly soil. Fresh and vibrant on the palate, the wine bursts with currant and dark cherry fruit accented by hints of cinnamon, cedar, leather and beef bouillon. Bright, delicious and satisfying, this traditionally-crafted Bordeaux finishes with fine, soft tannins and reprises of cedar, cinnamon and clay-and-gravel soil. Open this beauty ahead of serving to give it plenty of time to unfurl, then pair it with everything from burgers to rib roasts, pork chops, duck, sauteed lentils and grilled eggplant.

ITALY – RED

2012 Italo Pietrantonj, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy 14.99/161.89

Bold, rustic and brimming with sun-warmed cherry and plum fruit, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo packs a ton of central Italian charm into a most affordable package. This beauty from the venerable Italo Pietrantonj estate captures the robustness of the Montepulciano grape tamed by three years’ leisurely ageing in large neutral oak botti and bottle. Casting a translucent black ruby robe, Pietrantonj’s 2012 Montepulciano presents aromas of plum skin, black cherries, smoky soil, black pepper and herbs. Suave and fleshy on the palate, the wine bursts with menthol and leather-scented cherry fruit backed by suggestions of mushrooms, tobacco and smoky soil. Full-bodied yet light on its feet, Pietrantonj’s Montepulciano finishes luscious and long with further waves of plum and cherry fruit complicated by notes of leather, herbs and tobacco. Buy for immediate enjoyment and up to three years aging, and serve with rustic pasta dishes, stews, game, grilled meats and rich mushroomy fare.

2011 Conte Loredan Gasparini, Rosso della Casa, Montello e Colli Asolani, Venegazzu, Veneto, Italy 19.99/215.89

North of Venice in the Treviso hills, the classic Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (10%) and Malbec (5%), have been planted since the 1950s to fashion Bordeaux-style red wines of unusual complexity and value. An opaque young claret color, Gasparini’s Rosso della Casa opens with Medoc-like aromas of cassis, tobacco and herbs. Rich and sumptuous on the palate, the Rosso balances tangy acidity and fine, food-friendly tannins with a dense core of black cherry, plum and black currant fruit. Delicious notes of licorice, pipe tobacco and dark chocolate emerge on the wine’s long finish alongside complex hints of herbs and earthy mushrooms. Aged eighteen months in large neutral oak barrels, the wine’s pure, delicious core of black fruits takes center stage while its latent structure ensures several years of positive evolution in your cellar. This is an elegant and distinctive interpretation of a classic Left Bank Bordeaux, and its lack of obvious oak influence makes the wine especially suitable for hearty braises, roasts and grilled meats. Vegetarians will enjoy it with rich casseroles featuring eggplant and chard.

2012 Rapalino, Barbera d’Alba, Pian Romualdo, Piedmont, Italy 13.99/151.09

Since its debut in these pages over a decade ago, Federico Rapalino’s exemplary Barbera is among our customers’ most beloved wines. Longtime fans know that Pian Romualdo is one of Barbera’s grand cru sites, and this wine exemplifies its intrinsically regal status. Rapalino’s opaque plum-ruby colored Barbera casts a deep, classy nose of blackberries, leather, almond, tar and leather. In the mouth and through to the finish, the Rapalino’s palate-staining blackberry, blueberry and black cherry fruit meshes seamlessly with earthy hints of tar, leather, tobacco, sassafras and button mushrooms. Delicious now with braised beef, roasted root vegetables, egg-rich pastas or grilled pork, Rapalino’s 2012 Barbera will also cellar well for four to six years to allow its mushroomy notes to blossom. Another dynamite Barbera from Federico Rapalino estate!


WHITE WINES

OREGON – WHITE

2013 Belle Pente, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon (S) 15.99/172.69

Belle Pente’s Brian O’Donnell is one of the Willamette Valley’s most gifted and conscientious winemakers. O’Donnell’s trademark is his ability to balance elegance and power while simultaneously honoring the distinctive nature of his vineyards’ terroirs. An unabashed Alsatian wine enthusiast, O’Donnell looks to the Pinot Gris’ homeland for inspiration for his own interpretations of Oregon’s signature white grape. Belle Pente’s 2013 Pinot Gris opens with a rich, opulent nose of clover honey, candied hazelnuts and honeysuckle blossoms – a dead ringer for a top-notch example from Alsace. Ample, full-bodied and rich, Belle Pente’s Pinot Gris coats the palate with lovely yellow melon, cling peach and ripe apricot fruit. Long, lingering and complex, the wine finishes with reprises of dried apricots, baked apples and smoke. This is a world-class Pinot Gris in the classical Alsatian style that will thrill you over the next two years. Pair with hearty fish dishes, roast poultry, choucroute garni, assertive cheeses and roast pork loin, and be sure to serve only slightly chilled.

AUSTRIA – WHITE

2015 Malat, Gruner Veltliner, Furth-Palt, Kremstal, Austria 17.99/194.29

Founded in 1722, the Malat winery is now confidently helmed by ninth-generation winemaker Michael Malat. Malat’s Furth-Palt Gruner Veltliner is designed for freshness and easy drinkability, and boy does it deliver! A lovely green-gold robe in the glass leads to classic Gruner aromas of earthy lentils, lima beans, lime zest and white pepper accenting a core of lemon and pineapple fruit. Fresh and zesty on the fore-palate, Malat’s Furth-Palt Gruner boasts and unusually rich and bold texture thanks to the warm, inviting 2015 vintage. Smoky, citric and loaded with lentil-driven goodness, the wine finishes with a spicy lashing of deep, salty loess soil minerality backed by plenty of juicy pineapple and yellow plum fruit. Enjoy this delicious, forward and ready-to-charm Gruner now or over the coming two years with sauteed green vegetables, grilled zucchini, braised pork, antipasti and roast chicken.

FRANCE – WHITE

2014 Dubreuil-Fontaine, Bourgogne Blanc, Les Crenilles, Burgundy, France (S) 21.99/237.49 reg. 23.99

Dubreuil-Fontaine’s Bourgogne Blanc Les Crenilles hails from 20-year-old vines within the village of Pommard. Since Pommard is a red wine only appellation, this beauty from most prestigious origins must be declassified to humble Bourgogne blanc. This is great news for cost-conscious white Burgundy lovers. A lovely lemon-gold color, the wine explodes with notes of buttery lemon curd, smoky limestone minerals and sappy raw hazelnuts. Brisk and tensile on the attack, the blanc gains texture mid-palate thanks to the riveting acidity of the 2014 vintage. No oak and no malolactic allow all the pristine Chardonnay fruit and inimitable Burgundian limestone soil to shine through. The wine already drinks well young, but also has the acidic tension and deep kernel of lemony fruit to ensure positive midterm evolution. Enjoy now and over the coming decade with roast pork, veal, poultry, white-fleshed fish dishes and young chevres.

2015 Albert Mann, Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France (B) 18.99/205.09

Over the past decade, the Albert Mann domaine has catapulted itself into the highest echelon of Alsatian producers. Biodynamic, delicious and always an incredible value, Mann’s Pinot Blanc again satisfies far beyond its price tag in the tiny, extremely high quality 2015 vintage. Lovely lemon-gold in the glass, Mann’s 2015 Pinot Blanc deftly balances a bold core of peach and pineapple fruit with soft minerality, acacia honey, and smoky, herbal notes. A full, lavish palate features suggestions of peach, Mirabelle plum and nectarine. On the finish, lifting acidity buoys the wine’s citrus and stone fruit expressions, while reprises of nectarine and yellow plum fruit yield to hints of fresh ginger and slate minerals. This is a textbook, mineral-driven Pinot Blanc in the elegant yet palate-staining Alsatian style: the kind that serves as inspiration for Pinot Blanc specialists in Italy and Oregon. Enjoy this over the coming two years with broiled salmon, choucroute garni, pork roasts, duck confit, quiches and washed-rind cheeses.

2015 Domaine Riffault, Sancerre, Cortem a Batis, Loire Valley, France 18.99/205.09

Here’s precisely what we Sauvignon Blanc fans need: a delightful Sancerre from a great vintage at a sensible price. Domaine Riffault presents this authentically scented, crisp, fruity, light bodied wonder that slakes the thirst while electrifying the palate with a stony “caillottes” soil signature. A pale green-glinted gold color in the glass, Riffault’s Cortem a Batis casts textbook Sancerre aromas of grapefruit, lemongrass and flinty gun smoke. Juicy on the attack, the Sauvignon’s grassy edge is tamed by the robust 2015 vintage, allowing expressions of grapefruit, fresh lime juice, Thai basil, gooseberry and smoky minerals to shine through. Fresh, crisp and begging to be drunk with gusto, Riffault’s Sancerre finishes clean and brisk with lovely waves of juicy citrus fruit and flinty minerality. Enjoy this superb Sancerre now and over the coming three years with raw oysters, pan-roasted mussels, white-fleshed fish preparations, sauteed green vegetables and fresh chevres.

2014 Pascal Bouchard, Chablis, Les Vieilles Vignes, Burgundy, France 18.99/205.09

For this gorgeous Vieilles Vignes bottling, emerging Chablis superstar Pascal Bouchard employs his estate’s oldest vines from plantings to the north and west of the village of Chablis. Reflecting a brilliant lemon-gold in the glass, Bouchard’s old-vine cuvee casts textbook Chablis aromas of high-toned chalky minerals, freshly grated lemon zest and sweet butter. Lithe and sprightly on the palate, the Chablis’s brilliant acidity and smoky, flinty mineral spine lift its core of buttery citrus fruit. The wine’s old-vine sappiness comes to the fore on its long, flinty, soil-inflected finish. Showing impressive grip, persistent minerality, resinous fruit and a most comfortable price point, this a superb choice for pairing with oysters, mussels, crustaceans, light fish dishes and vegetable souffles.

PORTUGAL – WHITE

2015 Quinta da Raza, Vinho Verde, Raza, Portugal 8.99/97.09

From the famed Vinho Verde zone in northwestern Portugal, the Quinta da Raza leverages a superb terroir of granite, schist and clay to craft this lovely branco. A blend of Arinto (50%), Azal (35%) and Trajadura (15%), Raza’s Vinho Verde casts a pale lemon-gold hue accented by glints of green. Fresh and brimming with juicy lime fruit, Raza’s Vinho Verde presents a remarkably ample and full palate texture followed by suggestions of linden blossom, papaya and green apple. Classic Vinho Verde saline minerality and expressions of lime juice enter the picture as the wine transitions to a mouthwateringly long, zippy and juicy finish. This is a smashing Vinho Verde and a steal for its tariff. Make this your go-to refreshing white all summer long by itself, or serve it with fresh seafood, grilled summer squashes, light salads and pasta tossed in a light olive oil sauce.

SPAIN – WHITE

2015 Mokoroa, Getariako Txakolina, Basque Country, Spain 15.99/172.69

We're always delighted to bring you top-quality Txakoli at affordable prices. Situated just outside of San Sebastian, Mokoroa's seventeen acres of Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza vines are planted in the famous Getariako Txakolina D.O. A shimmering green-glinted, lemon-gold color in the bowl, Mokoroa's Txakoli opens with aromas of green olives, basil, lemon zest and saline minerals. Fresh, zippy and still sporting a dose of dissolved CO-2, the 2015 Txakoli revives the palate with suggestions of key lime, green apple skin, breadfruit and salty sea spray. The wine finishes with layers of citrus zest, quinine, saline minerals and ginger root. This very distinctive, crisp and refreshing Txakoli – and a rare value for its denominación – is a superb choice for warm weather sipping or for partnering with acidic vegetables fresh artichokes, grilled asparagus, shellfish, light squid tapas, ceviches, and delicate poached white-fleshed fish dishes.

2015 Granbazan, Albarino, Etiqueta Verde, Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain 16.99/183.49

Albarino comes in many expressions, from fruity to exotically floral to crisp and mineral driven. Our faves are clean, crisp, minerally and mouthwateringly saline: precisely what this Etiqueta Verde bottling from Granbazán delivers. Lemon-gold in the glass, Granbazán’s Etiqueta Verde conveys elegant aromas of jasmine blossoms, pear skin and white grapefruit. Impressively intense and tactile on the palate, suggestions of key lime, fresh ginger and quinine are lifted by shimmering acidity and a palate-dusting of saline minerals. Delicious and deft on the palate, the Etiqueta Verde finishes with further waves of citrus juice, white flowers, bitter herbs and salty minerals. This is sensational Albarino in the floral, citrus and mineral aesthetic; pair it over the next two years with calamari, clams, oysters or Dungeness crab, or enjoy it all on its own as an attention-grabbing aperitif.

ROSÉ WINE

FRANCE – ROSÉ

2015 Chateau de Margui, Perle de Margui, Rose, Vin de Pays du Var, Provence, France (O) 17.99/194.29

And here we have the rose of the vintage! The Perle de Margui Rose embodies precisely what makes the greatest of roses: the crispness and refreshment of a great white wine with the depth and grip of a great red. A pale cantaloupe-ivory salmon color, Margui’s rose exudes elegance, grace and deliciousness the moment it’s poured. A blend of organically-grown Cinsault, Grenache and Vermentino, Margui’s rose is at once deft and refreshing while also conveying impressive grip and depth. Aromas of wild strawberries, Rainier cherries and red currants blend with smoky, stony Provençal soil and sappy wild herbs. Crisp and refreshing and yet deep and complex, the wine’s yellow plum and orange fruit spectrum is accented by lavender notes. Full-bodied yet seemingly weightless on the palate, the wine finishes as crisp and satisfying as it begins. Enjoy now and over the coming two years with fish and seafood, plus pork, poultry, light game, light pasta dishes, and sauteed vegetables.

OLIVE OIL

Perazzeta, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Montenero d’Orcia, Tuscany, Italy
(500 ml.) 19.99

Alessadro Bocci takes meticulous care of his olive orchards to produce a powerful, balanced oil with unusually complex flavors. He handpicks a combination of Frantoiano, Leccino, and Moraiolo olives from estate plantings when they're half green and half black, giving the resulting oil both lean, spicy flavors and rich texture plus a supremely balanced character. Fresh aromas of cut grass, black pepper, tomato leaf, and rosemary give way to a luxurious textured oil that offers butter, fresh almond and bay leaf flavors. The pepper re-appears on a spicy finish.

 

LINER & ELSEN
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Portland, OR 97210
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STORE HOURS:
Mon.-Sat. 10am - 6pm


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

Aug. 5
Great wines from Sancerre:
Rouges, Blancs et Roses.

Aug. 19
Spectacular Whites from Spain
: Don’t miss this one! see the list.

Sept. 2
Just the Jura
: Bourdy, Rolet, D’Arley, Pignier and more.


SATURDAY TASTINGS:
Weekly; Starts at
12 noon - No fee

Aug. 6
Beautiful wines from Oregon
: Belle Pente Pinot Gris and Franchere Pinot Noir Havlin Vineyard. Plus, wines from Austria: Malat Gruner Veltliner Furth-Palt, and Judith Beck Zweigelt.

Aug. 13
Vive La France:
Ch. de Margui Rose, Albert Mann Pinot Blanc, Pascal Bouchard Chablis V.V., Riffault Sancerre Cortem a Batis, and Dom. Mucyn Crozes-Hermitage Les Entrecoeurs.

Aug. 20
Summer thirst-quenchers from Iberia:
Mokoroa Txakolina, Quinta da Raza Vinho Verde, and Granbazán Albarino Etiqueta Verde. Plus, from Italy: Pietrantonj Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Conte Loredan Gasparini Venegazzu, Rapalino Barbera d’Alba Pian Romualdo, and Perazzeta olive oil.

Aug. 27
French Beauties:
Dubreuil-Fontaine Bourgogne Blanc Les Crenilles, Laurence Feraud Plan Pegau, Dom. de la Chanteleuserie Bourgeuil Cuvee Alouettes, and Ch. La Grolet Cotes du Bourg.


SPECIAL EVENT:

ALLEGRINI WINE DINNER
At Bastas Trattoria

Thursday, Aug. 25 6:30 p.m.

Join us for a special evening of great wines from Allegrini, one of the finest wineries in Italy’s Valpolicella region.

Robin Shay, export manager for Allegrini, will be on hand to host. Bastas’ owner Marco Frattaroli will be our chef de cuisine, and a special pairing menu will be served.

Seating is limited. Please contact Liner & Elsen, or reserve your seats on our website. Price per person is $80, inclusive.

 


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.