FEBRARY 2020 REVIEWS

 

RED WINES

OREGON - RED

2018 Broadley Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon 18.99/205.09

Founded in 1981 in the southernmost, warmest and driest sector of the Willamette Valley, Broadley Vineyards has a stellar track record of crafting exemplary Pinot Noirs. Broadley’s tangy, delicious 2018 Willamette Valley cuvee – crafted from a blend of grapes from the Valley’s top vineyards – opens with a lovely saturated ruby robe and deep aromas of Bing cherries, licorice, rhubarb, and earthy cranberries. Taut and bristling with energy on the palate, fine tannins envelop a core of earthy cherry and red currant fruit accented by suggestions of violets, cinnamon, and herbs. Savory tannins melt into the wine’s core of berry fruit, adding a pleasant bitterness to make the wine especially versatile at the table. Pair Broadley’s splendid 2018 Willamette Valley Pinot now and over the coming four years with burgers, roast chicken, turkey, duck, vegetarian lasagna, and hearty stews.

FRANCE - RED

2017 Philippe Gavignet, Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France (S) 26.99/291.49

Philippe Gavignet is the "terroir master" of Nuits-Saint-Georges. The Gavignet family’s impressive holdings include remarkably old vines in many of Nuits’ finest premiers crus. For his Bourgogne rouge, Gavignet combines fruit from 45-year-old vines grown on two separate plots in Nuits proper. A beautiful purple-ruby hue, Gavignet’s Bourgogne opens with rich aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, violets, and cloves. Suave on the palate, the wine layers the palate with suggestions of pomegranate, red plums, bitter orange peel, and ferrous soil. Old-vine depth and dimension segue the Bourgogne to its long finish, which reprises red berry and orchard fruits with notes of black pepper, mustard seed, wood spice, cinnamon, and bright limestone minerals. It’s rare to find a red Burgundy that offers this much joy, character, and approachability at such a modest price. Pair now and over the coming seven years with roast poultry, pan-seared pork chops, bœuf bourguignon, and rich recipes featuring morel mushrooms.

L18 (2018) Melaric, Le Tandem, Vin de France, Loire Valley, France (O) 17.99/194.29

Delicious, distinctive, and filled with personality, this is a superb choice for a characterful, easy-drinking rouge. Domaine Melaric’s wines stylistically fuse Saumur’s limestone soil signature with the igneous soils of the Anjou to the west. The estate’s superb 2018 Le Tandem reflects a translucent black-ruby robe followed by high toned aromas of red currants, spicy cinnamon, white peppercorns, Serrano peppers, and dusty earth. A blend of Cabernet Franc (60%) and Grolleau, Melaric’s Le Tandem graces the palate with snappy red currant pomegranate and cherry fruit enlivened by a bright limestone mineral undercurrent and notes of wintergreen, sour cherries, and crunchy cranberries. Enjoy this natural, minimal-intervention Loire Valley rouge now and over the coming two years with pan-seared pork chops, dry rubbed ribs, burgers, herb roasted chicken, sauteed squashes, and fresh chèvres.

2018 Domaine du Cros, Marcillac, Lo Sang del Pais, Southwestern France 16.99/183.49

A unanimous staff favorite every year, this 2018 vintage is packed with rustic charm and an absolute joy to drink. Marcillac is an isolated appellation located east of Cahors in France’s Massif Central, and home to the wonderfully obscure grape, Fer Servadou (Mansois, in local dialect). Fashioned exclusively from Mansois, Domaine du Cros’ Lo Sang del Pais (the blood of the soil) casts an opaque plum-ruby hue in the glass followed by exotic aromas of Szechuan peppercorns, Serrano peppers, cinnamon, crushed herbs, and ferrous earth. Fleshy, spicy, and peppery, the 2018 Lo Sang del Pais presents a generous, savory palate marked by notes of red currants, black cherries, tobacco, smoke, and bay leaf. Fine tannins dust the lips and transition the Pais to its long, zesty, mineral-driven finish. Enjoy this beautiful and distinctive Marcillac rouge now and over the next five years with sausages, burgers, grilled vegetables, and cassoulet.

ITALY - RED

2016 Canalicchio, Franco Pacenti, Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany (S) 19.99/215.89

2016 is shaping up to be another superb Tuscan vintage, a harvest of supreme balance, elegance, and harmony. We’ve long admired the pure, unadorned, old-school wines made by Franco Pacenti, and the estate’s terrific 2016 Rosso di Montalcino is yet another in their long line of successes. Canalicchio’s 2016 Rosso displays a beautiful, transparent mahogany-tinged garnet robe and bright, perfumed nose of black cherries, licorice, leather, wintergreen, and Medoc-like pencil lead. The Rosso’s pure red-fruited kernel – unfettered by any oak influence – stains the palate with notes of tangy plums, wild cherries, dusty earth, leather, bitter herbs, and fresh mint. The wine finishes long and complete with plentiful fine tannins and just enough acidity to reign in the round, generous texture. This is textbook Rosso di Montalcino, the kind that offers a clear glimpse into just how fabulous the wines of Montalcino are. It will drink well for five to seven years with traditional Tuscan fare, especially hearty pastas, bean stews, grilled beef, and roast pork.

2017 Rapalino, Barbera d’Alba, Pian Romualdo, Piedmont, Italy 14.99/161.89

Since its debut in these pages nearly twenty years ago, Federico Rapalino’s exemplary Barbera is among our customers’ most beloved wines. Rapalino’s transparent black plum-colored 2017 Barbera conveys the warmth and depth of Piedmont’s 2017 vintage with an earthy nose of blackberries, violets, leather, licorice, and dark tobacco. Rapalino’s 2017 Barbera brims with tart blackberry and cassis fruit complemented by complex suggestions of tar, leather, tobacco, and morel 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, and Rapalino’s 2017 once again confirms the vineyard’s exalted status. Delicious now with braised beef, oven-roasted root vegetables, egg-rich pastas, or grilled pork, the wine has the structure and poise to ensure five to seven years’ evolution in your cool cellar.

2016 Azienda Agricola Ronchi, Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy (S) 28.99/313.09

Folks, this is the real deal: traditionally crafted Barbaresco that delivers cru complexity and completeness for under $30. Named after the great Barbaresco cru Ronchi, situated between Montestefano to the north and Moccagatta to the south, this delicious Barbaresco is crafted from fruit grown in the Ronchi cru as well as a special vineyard site near the family farmhouse. A beautiful transparent orange-rimmed garnet, Ronchi’s Barbaresco – aged for two years in large, traditional Slavonia oak botti – unfurls with classic Barbaresco aromas of wild cherries, red currants, licorice, balsam, and limestone. Firm and tensile on the palate, the wine opens to reveal perfumed accents of leather, underbrush, rose petals, and sandalwood. Classic Nebbiolo tannins sneak in to frame the wine’s elegant cherry-fruited core and transition it to a long, clean, soil-driven finish. Buy this by the case for enjoyment now and over the coming fifteen years with rack of lamb, risotto con funghi, roast poultry, grilled burgers and steaks, and hearty pastas dressed with a mushroom sauce.

2018 Francesco Brigatti, Uva Rara, Selvalunga, Colline Novaresi, Alto Piemonte, Italy (S) 15.99/172.69

Francesco Brigatti makes small amounts of elegant, expressive wines based on the classic Nebbiolo variety, as well as delicious varietal bottlings of the indigenous varieties that are normally blended with Nebbiolo in this area, such as Vespolina and Uva Rara. A brilliant pale ruby in the bowl, Brigatti’s Selvalunga presents pure scents of red raspberries, Morello cherries, orange zest, and rosewater. Brisk and vigorous on the palate, the Selvalunga brightens its chewy kernel of red fruits with shimmering acidity and floral notes of rose petals and violets. The wine finishes juicy and savory with reprises of sappy cherry and raspberry fruit complicated by smoky soil, fine tannins, and impressions of tobacco and bitter herbs. Delicious, unusual and thoroughly satisfying, this is must-try wine for all fans of Northern Italian red wines. Pair this versatile wonder now and over the coming three years with just about anything but seafood. It drinks well as a winter warmer and will prove equally delicious with a slight chill over the summer months.

REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA - RED

2018 Teleda Dila'o, Saperavi, Kakheti, Georgia 15.99/172.69

Saperavi, a dark-skinned grape variety often employed as a blending grape to give intense color and marked acidity to wines, has also proved itself capable of producing age-worthy varietal wines of high quality. In Republic of Georgia, Saperavi's best expression comes from its premier region, Kakheti, near the eastern border with Azerbaijan. A translucent black ruby color in the bowl, Teleda’s Saperavi – fermented and aged in qvevri (earthenware amphorae) for twenty to thirty days – opens with a generous bouquet of black plums, Telicherry peppercorns, licorice, cinnamon, and violets. Fresh and vibrant on the palate, the Saperavi expands with vibrant expressions of black cherries, elderberries, Assam black tea, and star anise. Fine, savory tannins segue the wine to a long, earthy finish reprising boysenberries, black cherries, and camphor. This is a fascinating and soulful wine that’s perfect for the dark days of winter. Pair this now and over the coming three years with hearty pizzas, grilled burgers and steaks, braised pork preparations, rustic bean stews, stuffed peppers and cabbage, and eggplant Parmigiana.


WHITE WINES


AUSTRIA - WHITE

2017 Arndorfer, Gruner Veltliner, Strasser Weinberge, Niederosterreich, Austria (S) 17.99/194.29

Martin and Anna Arndorfer both hail from long winemaking heritages in the Kamptal region of Lower Austria. Inheriting the families’ superb vineyard sites and leveraging winemaking experience gained abroad, the couple is rapidly becoming superstars in the Austrian winemaking scene. The fruit for this wine is selected from three of Martin’s finest vineyards in the village. A lovely gold color in the glass, the Arndorfers’ Gruner Veltliner explodes with scents of yellow plum and papaya infused with salty loess minerals and suggestions of hops. Floral accents of honeysuckle and orchard blossoms join rich expressions of yellow melon, Comice pear, and vanilla bean on the wine’s generous palate. Classic Gruner notes of lentils, green beans, and white pepper appear on the back-palate and segue the wine to its long, mineral-driven finish. Enjoy this delicious, impressively full-bodied Gruner now or over the coming two years with sauteed green vegetables, grilled zucchini, braised pork, antipasti, and roasted chicken.

FRANCE - WHITE

2018 Drouhin-Vaudon, Chablis, Burgundy, France (B) 21.99/237.49

The Moulin de Vaudon, an eighteenth-century watermill on the Serein River, is headquarters for Joseph Drouhin’s Chablis endeavors. Drouhin-Vaudon’s biodynamic viticulture and masterful winemaking imbue its Chablis portfolio with impressive purity of fruit and authentic expressions of Chablis’ inimitable terroir. Brilliant lemon-gold in the glass, Drouhin-Vaudon’s 2018 Chablis opens with classic seashell and iodine-infused Chablis notes of lemon curd, ripe pear, and gunflint. Brisk yet ample on the palate, suggestions of yellow plums and Comice pears fuse with undercurrents of limestone soil, honey butter, and quinine. Impressively fleshy and generous, the wine finishes long, full, and driven by its orchard fruit and oyster shell minerality. Drouhin-Vaudon’s gorgeous 2018 Chablis drinks well young but will easily reward three to five years’ patience in your cool cellar. Pair with all things seafood, vegetable souffles, potatoes au gratin, light poultry, and pork preparations.

2016 Joseph Drouhin, Meursault, Burgundy, France (S) 59.99/647.89

What a treat it is to be able to offer the Drouhin family’s superb Meursault in a great white Burgundy vintage like 2016! If you’ve ever wanted to experience what makes Meursault so special in the minds of Burgundy’s most avid connoisseurs, this is a phenomenal place to start, as this wine screams Meursault from the moment it’s poured. A deep lemon-gold in the glass, Drouhin’s 2016 Meursault offers classic aromas of lemon curd, toasted hazelnuts, and bright limestone minerals. Barrel notes of toffee, smoke, and vanilla segue the wine to a vibrant, full palate resonating impressions of pear skin, acacia blossoms, and yellow apple flesh. Tensile minerality carries the wine to its long, persistent finish. Buy this beauty by the case to enjoy now and to cellar five to seven years while the wine gains richness and texture. But do not delay: this sensational Meursault is an unusually fine value and will be available in very limited quantities.

2018 Arnaud Lambert, Saumur Blanc, Breze Clos du Midi, Loire Valley, France (O)
18.99/205.09

The Breze hill is considered one of the wine world’s two finest sites for dry Chenin Blanc, the other being Savennières. Lambert’s Clos du Midi – from a cool site near the top of the Breze hill – casts a pale straw-gold hue from the glass and classic Saumur Blanc aromas of Anjou pears, dried apricots, chamomile, and perfumed yellow limestone. Brisk on the attack, the wine presents a mouthful of pear-driven Chenin fruit framed by smoky limestone minerals and nervy acidity. Pleasant notes of quince and honeycomb emerge on the wine’s long pear and apricot-tinged finish followed by an electric acidic undercurrent and a dusting of lip-coating limestone minerals. Pair the wine now and over the coming three years with freshwater fish preparations, aged chèvres, dishes featuring chanterelle mushrooms, and roast pheasant. This is grand cru dry Chenin for a song!

2018 Andre Dezat & Fils, Sancerre, Loire Valley, France 21.99/237.49

We are unabashed devotees of Dezat’s wines and are thrilled to present their gorgeous Sancerre for the eighth consecutive vintage. Dezat’s classically styled 2018 Sancerre casts a pale, green-tinged gold color in the glass followed by aromas of grapefruit pith, green plums, lime juice, Serrano peppers, Thai basil and dusty, chalky minerals. On the palate, the wine presents a kaleidoscope of juicy citrus fruit, white pepper, and herbal notes of nettles, freshly cut grass, and menthol – all lifted by bristling acidity and etched by an undercurrent of chalky minerality. This is a superb, elegant, authentic Sancerre to buy by the case and enjoy now and over the coming three years with fresh chèvres, poached freshwater fish dishes, oysters, clams, mussels, vegetable risottos, white pasta recipes, and as a top-shelf reward for a hard day’s work.

ITALY - WHITE

2018 ColleStefano, Verdicchio di Matelica, Marches, Italy 14.99/161.89

Boasting some of the Marches’ highest altitude vineyards, the Matelica zone is renowned for Verdicchios with more flesh and body than elsewhere in the region. ColleStefano’s 2018 Verdicchio reflects a pale straw color and a smoky, mineral-driven nose of white flowers, yellow apple, pineapple, cinnamon, and tarragon. Rich and ample on the palate, ColleStefano’s Verdicchio teems with notes of lemon oil, pine, almond meal, and quinine. The wine’s gripping, sappy palate texture belies its modest price tag and could only come from low yields and careful viticulture. Herbal notes emerge on the finish and are complemented by further suggestions of honeysuckle, hawthorn blossoms, fresh fennel, and lip-dusting minerals. Refined, elegant, and bursting with character, ColleStefano’s Verdicchio will prove a lovely choice wine for sipping by itself or for pairing with all types of seafood and vegetable dishes. Drink young to enjoy all the wine’s lip-smacking fruit.

PORTUGAL - WHITE

2018 Quinta de Porrais, Douro Branco, Portugal 10.50/113.40

The terraced shale vineyards of the Douro are a sight to behold. Here the vines cling to precipitously steep hillsides and absorb the plenitude of minerals in the vineyards’ shallow soils. Grown at nearly 2,000 feet above sea level, Quinta de Porrais’s Branco – a blend of 65 to 80-year-old Códiga do Lorinho (55%) and Rabigato – is the white wine deal of the new year. Bristling with mineral energy, the blend expresses the signature of the shale soils on which each indigenous variety grows. Pale lemon-gold in the glass, the wine casts smoky, mineral-infused aromas of green pineapple, honeydew melon, acacia, orange, and gardenia blossoms. Brisk and invigorating on the palate, the wine’s acid backbone propels a tart core of green plum, papaya, and melon fruit. Floral notes reappear to segue the Branco to its long, clean finish featuring waves of smoky shale and schistose minerals. Serve this stunning value as an everyday sipper or to accompany green salads, prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe, sauteed zucchini, oysters on the half-shell, sashimi, steamed clams, and seafood tapas.

SPAIN - WHITE

2018 Bodegas Frontonio, Macabeo Selección, El Casetero, Campo de Borja, Spain (O) 12.99/140.29

Fernando Mora, the mastermind behind the El Casetero project, is one of only four Masters of Wine in Spain. Mora and his team are working with old, dry-farmed, organically grown Garnacha and Macabeo vines in Aragon’s legendary Campo de Borja zone. Radiating a brilliant pale lemon-gold color, El Casetero’s Macabeo (aka Viura) gives aromatic sensations of yellow apple skin, grapefruit pith, and smoky soil. Ample and waxy on the palate yet with impressive cut, the wine presents notes of Bartlett pear, chamomile, star fruit, and white tea. The Macabeo finishes impressively clean, vivid, and long with resinous expressions of white grapefruit, green melon, fresh fennel, and wet stones. This is a fascinating and extraordinarily pure expression of the noble Macabeo grape that conveys the variety’s mouth-filling texture and kaleidoscope of flavors without the intrusion of the barrel notes. Enjoy now and over the coming three years with sauteed prawns, salt cod fritters, vegetable tapas, and seafood pastas.

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

Feb. 7 - Those hip new wines coming from the Canary Islands? Check 'em out!


Feb. 21 - A Special Event: Meet Mario Andrion, winemaker at Barolo’s Castello di Verduno, who will be here to feature his new wines from Azienda Agricola 499.

March 6 - A bounty of Barolos!

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

Feb. 1 - Beauties from Burgundy: Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis, Joseph Drouhin Meursault, and Philippe Gavignet Bourgogne Pinot Noir.

Feb. 8 - Wines from Italy’s Piedmont: Francesco Brigatti Uva Rara Colline Novaresi Selvalunga, Rapalino Barbera d’Alba, and Ronchi Barbaresco.

Feb. 15 - From France: Dezat Sancerre, Arnaud Lambert Saumur Blanc Breze Clos du Midi, Melaric Le Tandem, and Dom. du Cros Marcillac Lo Sang del Pais.

Feb. 22 - From Italy: ColleStefano Verdicchio di Matelica, and Canalicchio Franco Pacenti Rosso di Montalcino. From Oregon: Broadley Vineyards Pinot Noir. From Republic of Georgia: Teleda Dila'o Saperavi.

Feb. 29 - Wines from Iberia: Quinta de Porrais Douro Branco, and Bodegas Frontonio Macabeo Seleccion El Casetero. From Austria: Arndorfer Gruner Veltliner.

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Special Events at L&E:

Vietti Barolo Tasting w
With Elena Currado

Weds. Feb. 5, 6:30 sharp

Join us for a tasting of some of Barolo’s most renowned single-cru wines. Vietti winery partner Elena Currado will be here to talk about the wines and the winery, and there's no better way to get to know the estate than spending an evening with her. The evening will feature eleven cru Barolos.

Seating is very limited, and reservations are necessary. You may purchase seats at our website or by contacting us directly. Price per seat is $75.

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Meet Mario Andrion, Barolo Winemaker
Fri., Feb. 21, 5:30-7:30

Mario Andrion, winemaker at Barolo’s Castello di Verduno, will be here to feature his new wines from Azienda Agricola 499. No reservations needed; tasting fee: $10.

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Selbach-Oster Tasting with Johannes Selbach
Tuesday, March 3 - 5:30-7:00

Please join Johannes Selbach for a tasting of some of Germany’s finest Rieslings. No reservations needed; tasting fee: $10.

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The list of wines to be served will be on our website


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.