© Liner & Elsen, all rights reserved. Availability and prices may have changed since the newsletter date.

NOVEMBER 2019 REVIEWS

RED WINES

OREGON - RED

2013 Carlton Cellars, Pinot Noir Estate, Yamhill-Carlton District, Oregon (CO) 19.99/215.89 reg. 26.99

Carlton Cellars 2013 Estate Pinot, registering a cool 12.6% alcohol, shows the bright, crunchy nature of the vintage that we so love. Reflecting a transparent crimson-garnet hue, the wine unfurls with lovely notes of cranberries, rhubarb, bay leaf, and cinnamon-scented potpourri. The wine is brisk on the attack before broadening mid-palate to reveal a velvety, mature texture, and smoky cherry fruit mingling with loamy earth and subtle barrel tones. Hints of camphor and dried orange peel segue to a long, silky finish. A stunning value at its sub-$20 tariff, this has to be the finest value in mature, elegant Willamette Valley Pinot Noir on the market. Pair it with broiled salmon, roast turkey, and grilled squashes now and over the coming three years.

2017 Crowley Wines, Pinot Noir, Entre Nous, Willamette Valley, Oregon (S) 27.99/302.29

Crowley’s Entre Nous cuvee combines specially selected barrels from the Four Winds and La Colina vineyards, marrying the power of the Dundee Hills with the austerity of the Coast Range. A bright, youthful crimson-ruby color in the glass, Crowley’s Entre Nous opens with lovely aromas of dusty cranberries, red raspberries, rose petals, and wood spice. Brisk and energetic on the palate, Crowley’s Entre Nous reveals youthful expressions of bitter cherry skin and red raspberry fruit mingling with notes of nutmeg, pink peppercorns, and dark earth. Fine tannins couple with brisk acidity to lift the wine’s crunchy berry fruit expression and segue it to a long, spicy, peppery finish. Always a brisk seller, this will go quickly, so be sure to reserve your stash. Serve now and over the next five years with roast chicken, duck, potatoes au gratin, stews, and other hearty fare. It will also make a lovely foil for traditional Thanksgiving fare.

2016 Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Pinot Noir, Laurene, Dundee Hills, Oregon (S) 64.99/666.79

* James Suckling: “There’s a savory stance here that sets it apart from the regular Dundee Hills bottling. Very svelte and composed. This is beautifully regal pinot.” (97 points)
* Josh Raynolds, Vinous: “Smooth, even tannins lend shape to the impressively persistent finish, which shows strong, floral- and spice-driven tenacity.” (94 points)

FRANCE - RED

2015 Domaine Chofflet-Valdenaire, Givry, Burgundy, France (S) 21.99/237.49

Givry is a small village in the heart of Burgundy’s Cote Chalonnaise subzone producing the Chalonnaise’s finest red wines. Emphasizing sustainable agriculture, Denis Valdenaire has crafted a Cote Chalonnaise rouge that conveys Givry’s charm and Burgundy’s inimitable soil signature in the generous 2015 vintage. A deep ruby color, Chofflet-Valdenaire’s Givry, from 35-year-old vines, opens with peppery cherry and blackberry fruit accented by floral overtones of geranium and rose petals. Earthy clay-limestone soil notes emerge on the palate underneath a chewy core of Bing cherry and elderberry fruit. Fine tannins emerge mid-palate alongside hints of sandalwood, brown spices, and black tea to segue the wine to its deep and authentically Burgundian finish. For those of us who prefer our Burgundies pure and soil-driven, this beauty over-delivers at a very attractive price. Enjoy now and over the coming seven years with gratin dauphinois, roast duck, grilled salmon, and recipes featuring sauteed mushrooms.

2017 Gerard Lebeaupin, Saint-Amour, Clos de la Brosse, Beaujolais, France 16.99/183.49

There’s no better or more versatile Thanksgiving red than fine cru Beaujolais. Situated in the Cote Chalonnaise, Saint-Amour is Beaujolais’ northernmost cru, boasting complex soils of granite, clay, schist and limestone. The four-acre walled Clos de la Brosse is one of Saint Amour’s top sites and is where Gerard Lebeaupin crafts this bottling from low yielding 90-year-old vines. A deep plum-ruby in the glass, Lebeaupin’s 2017 Clos de la Brosse fills the bowl with scents of violets, wild cherries, blueberries, flinty minerals, cloves, and spicy cinnamon. Vibrant and palate staining, the Clos de la Brosse fuses chewy blackberry fruit, plentiful fine tannins, and expressions of stony minerals, herbs, brown spices, and violet petals. This is deep, classic, uncompromisingly old-school Beaujolais that shows impressive old-vine sappiness and grip while simultaneously being approachable and delicious. A superb value and a versatile partner for your Thanksgiving table, we recommend buying a case of this beauty for enjoyment now and over the coming decade.

2017 Domaine la Fourmone, Gigondas, Le Fauquet, Southern Rhone Valley, France (S) 21.99/237.49

The Domaine la Fourmone earns consistent accolades from critics in France, Britain and America for its superb expressions of Vacqueyras and Gigondas. Fourmone’s Le Fauquet casts an opaque black-plum robe and fills the room with textbook Gigondas scents of black raspberries, black licorice, lavender-inflected garrigue, bay leaf, and hickory smoke. Fleshy and generous on the palate, the wine tightens mid-palate to reveal plentiful fine tannins that frame and buttress the wine’s chewy kernel of blackberry and plum fruit. Packed with Southern French charm and warmth, Fourmone’s impeccably balanced cuvee finishes bright and spicy with added suggestions of orange zest, lavender, savory herbs, licorice, menthol, baking spices, and cocoa. A terrific value in classic, old-school Gigondas, this will make a lovely foil for leg of lamb, burgers, grilled eggplant, mushroom ragouts, and hearty stews. Enjoy now and over the coming decade.

2016 Chateau Tournefeuille, Lalande-de-Pomerol, Bordeaux, France (S) 26.99/291.49

To the left of Chateau Tournefeuille one finds Chateau Trotanoy; to the right, Chateau Lafleur-Petrus; and straight ahead, Chateau Petrus. In addition, Chateau Tournefeuille’s blue clay and gravel soils are remarkably similar to these three benchmark properties, but, alas, the vineyard happens to be on the wrong side of the proverbial tracks. The Chateau’s losses are the Bordeaux fan’s gains, for this Merlot (70%) and Cabernet Franc gem shows all the glorious plum fruit, floral top notes, gravel terroir, and chocolate undertones that mark the finest Pomerols. Framed by lip-smacking fine tannins and lifted by vibrant 2016 acidity, the wine shows the impeccable balance that only the finest Bordeaux terroirs can convey. Graceful, elegant, and classy, this is the Right Bank Bordeaux value that comes around once in a blue moon. We recommend buying a case to enjoy now with duck, beef Wellington, roast lamb, rich lentil preparations, and dishes accented by fresh shaved black truffles. Stash the rest away in your cool cellar for a decade or more to allow its texture to mellow and its latent complexity to develop.

ITALY - RED

2016 Flavio Fanti, Rosso di Montalcino, La Palazzetta, Tuscany, Italy (O) 15.99/172.69

Working organically in Brunello’s esteemed Castelnuovo dell’Abate sector, Flavio Fanti fashions its delicious Rosso di Montalcino from 15- to 20-year-old vines planted at over 1,100 feet above sea level. Sporting a deep cherry skin hue, Palazzetta’s Rosso opens with classic, limestone-dusted aromas of spicy wild cherries, leather, and mushrooms. The palate follows through with cherry, fig, and plum alongside suggestions of violets, licorice, leather, tobacco, and spice cake. The wine finishes lively and vibrant with licorice-tinged cherry fruit mingling with dusty soil notes, buoyant acidity, and fine, buffered tannins. This is a sensational Rosso di Montalcino that drinks fantastically well today and will serve admirably as a cellar saver while you wait for your 2010 and 2013 Brunellos to mature. Enjoy as you would a great Chianti or Brunello with grilled or roast beef, burgers, eggplant parmigiana, aged cheeses, rich mushroom recipes, and hearty pizzas and pasta dishes.

2015 Montaribaldi, Barbaresco, Palazzina, Piedmont, Italy (S) 21.99/237.49

This is a steal in firm, age-worthy Barbaresco! The Montaribaldi estate crafts this delicious, traditionally structured yet modern styled Barbaresco from hillside vineyards in Barbaresco’s esteemed Neive commune. A limpid orange-rimmed garnet color in the glass, the 2015 Palazzina casts textbook Barbaresco scents of sour cherries, rose petals, black tea, leather, wintergreen, and vanilla. Firm and classically structured on the palate, chewy, mouth-coating tannins frame the dense kernel of red currant and cherry fruit laced with hints of camphor, blood oranges, smoke, and tobacco. Cool, long, and satisfying on the finish, Montaribaldi’s Palazzina lingers with a lip-smacking undercurrent of limestone minerality, menthol, and hints of mushroomy sotto bosco. Pair the wine now with hearty risottos, osso buco, and rich lamb preparations, or, ideally cellar it for another decade or two to allow the plentiful dusty tannins to melt into its sappy red-fruited core.

2010 Cantina Sociale Cooperativa di Copertino, Copertino Riserva, Puglia, Italy 11.99/129.49 reg. 13.99

Folks, this is a ridiculously great wine and now it is two bucks less per bottle! 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.

PORTUGAL - RED

2015 Faldas da Serra, Jaen, Quinta das Maias, Dao, Portugal (O) 21.99/237.49 reg. 23.99

The Dao region is well known for producing Portugal's finest dry red table wines. We have frequently featured Quinta das Maias’s Tinto blend, and this month we are delighted to feature for the first time the estate’s Jaen (a.k.a. Mencia) single-varietal bottling. Opaque black garnet in the glass, Quinto das Maias’s 2015 Jaen offers aromas of wild blackberries, damson plums, Szechuan peppercorns, tamari, crushed herbs, and flinty minerals. Packed with peppery blackberry and elderberry fruit, the wine fuses its tart berry-fruited core with accents of crushed bay leaf, peppercorns, and chewy black licorice. The wine finishes deliciously long with plentiful buffered tannins to frame its saturated black fruit expression and to amplify its spicy overtones, smoky minerality, and peppery top notes. As always, the Quinta das Maias delivers impressive complexity, distinctiveness, and value. Enjoy now or over the next ten years with cured meats, grilled pork, and red meat preparations featuring smoky pimenton.


WHITE WINES

FRANCE - WHITE

2017 Pierre Henri Gadais, Muscadet, Sevre et Maine Sur Lie St.-Fiacre, Loire Valley, France 10.50/113.40

Few wines in today’s market combine soil specificity, refreshment, food friendliness, and value like great Muscadet. Pierre Henri Gadais’ Saint-Fiacre cuvee, grown on schist and rocky orthogneiss soils strewn with ancient sea fossils, is Muscadet in its purest, most crystalline expression. Pale green-gold in the glass, Gadais’ Muscadet shines with notes of lemon drops, kiwi, and pear skin infused with flint, fleur de sel, and oyster shell minerals. Clean, zesty, and incisively dry on the palate, the wine conveys impressions of lemon zest, green apples, quinine, ginger, and chalky minerals. Muscadet proves lovely as an aperitif, but it always shines brightest when paired with briny oysters, mussels, fried razor clams, dover sole, and sauteed green vegetables. A terrific follow-up to the tremendously successful 2016, this is the “value play” white wine of the newsletter. It will delight now as well as age effortlessly for five years or more. Our choice for the best value Muscadet on the market!

2018 Domaine de la Bregeonnette, Gros Plant du Pays Nantais, Folle Blanche, Loire Valley, France (O) 14.99/161.89

The Pays Nantais are the environs around the Atlantic Loire Valley city of Nantes, home to Muscadet and its lesser-known cousin, Gros Plant. Warm vintages like 2018 give the humble Gros Plant added dimension, character, and texture, as evidenced in this outstanding example from Domaine de la Bregeonnette. Pale lemon-gold in the glass, the Folle Blanche offers aromas of lemon oil, gooseberries, flinty minerals, and briny oyster shells. Sharp and laser-focused in the mouth, the wine refreshes and enlivens the palate with citrus and green berry fruit expressions propelled by saline minerals. The neutral Folle Blanche varietal effortlessly allows the briny air of the Atlantic Loire to fuse with the varied soils of the region. Enjoy Bregeonnette’s organic Folle Blanche now and over the coming three years with clams, mussels, oysters, crab, halibut, green squashes, and lightly dressed salads.

2018 Chateau Graville-Lacoste, Graves, Blanc, Bordeaux, France (S) 18.99/205.09

Asked for his best white wine bargain, Kermit Lynch always replies, “The white Graves from Graville-Lacoste.” True to form in the 2018 vintage, Herve Dubourdieu’s Chateau Graville-Lacoste is a vivid reminder that Graves is one of the world’s great white wine terroirs. The Graves Blanc – a blend of Semillon (75%), Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle – reflects a pale straw-gold color followed by notes of honeydew melon, grapefruit, spicy basil, and gardenia. Showing notes of melon, grapefruit, green apple, pear, and gooseberry, the Sauvignon Blanc lifts the Semillon’s waxiness to achieve a lovely balance of transparency and texture. On the finish, the Graville-Lacoste is zesty and refreshing with nuances of apricot, lemon drop, nettles, menthol, and an undercurrent of flint and gravel. Try a bottle tonight with platter of raw shellfish, or pair with broiled rainbow trout, sole meuniere, sauteed leafy vegetables, spinach, and fresh chevres. We suggest buying a case for enjoying tonight, at Thanksgiving, and over the coming three years.

2017 Chateau d’Epire, Savennieres, Grand Cru d’Anjou, Loire Valley, France (S) 21.99/237.49

The noble Chenin Blanc grape reaches its pinnacle as a dry wine in the complex, schist-dominated soils of Savennieres in the Loire Valley’s esteemed Anjou sector. The Chateau d’Epire, imported for decades by the legendary Kermit Lynch, has released an absolutely superb, bone-dry 2017 Savennieres that features classic smoky, pungent minerality alongside delicious and beguiling notes of quince, lemon verbena, and chamomile. Long, zesty, and vibrant, the wine conveys impressive grip on the palate with insistent expressions of green apple, honeydew melon, kiwi, blond tobacco, and white pepper. Crafted from vines grown on the highest point in the Savennieres appellation, the wine finishes pungently mineral and with a freshness and brightness rare for Savennieres. Enjoy now with trout, sushi, sashimi, scalloped oysters, and light seafood dishes. but be sure to buy enough to cellar, as the wine will mature gracefully for another ten to fifteen years adding complexity, richness, texture and nuance.

2018 Les Heritiers du Comte Lafon, Macon-Villages, Burgundy, France (B) 27.99/302.29

This is a sensational, impeccably balanced Macon, and perhaps Dominque Lafon’s finest Macon-Villages bottling to date. The 2018 Macon-Villages reflects a pale golden hue from the glass followed by smoky, soil-driven aromas of lemon pith, toasted hazelnuts, and a whisper of barrel smoke. Zesty and invigorating on the palate, the freshness of the fine 2018 white Burgundy vintage reveals a ready-to-drink core of apple and Mirabelle plum fruit. Aged primarily in old foudres, Lafon’s Macon-Villages finishes with floral limestone minerality and reprises of lemon, apple blossoms, orchard fruits, and smoky barrel tones. Enjoy now and over the coming five to seven years with broiled salmon, mushrooms in a cream sauce, roast pork tenderloin, boudin blanc, and other mild sausages.

2016 Joseph Drouhin, Macon-Villages, Burgundy, France 12.99/140.29

Leave it to Drouhin to elevate the humble Macon-Villages to new heights by capturing the Macon’s delicious clay and limestone minerality and buttressing it with a core of lemony Chardonnay fruit. A lovely green-tinged gold color in the glass, Drouhin’s 2016 Macon-Villages opens with lilting, classic white Burgundy aromas of meadow flowers, roasted hazelnuts, lemon, and soft limestone minerality. Crisper and fresher than usual in 2016, Drouhin’s Macon shows the precision and elegance of the vintage with persistent minerality, notes of sweet butter, yellow apple, lemon zest, and apple blossoms. Crisp, focused, and again emphasizing its persistent soil expression, Drouhin’s 2016 Macon finishes with reprises of freshly squeezed lemon, hazelnuts, and a final wave of limestone minerals. It will also make a wonderful complement now and over the coming three years for roast chicken, pork, halibut, and snapper.

ITALY - WHITE

2018 Ernesto Picollo, Gavi di Gavi, Rovereto, Piedmont, Italy (O) 12.99/140.29

Based on the Cortese grape, Gavi is the Piedmont’s most celebrated white wine, and the one of only a handful of Italian white wines to be honored with full D.O.C.G. status. Spotlighting 30-year-old fruit from Gavi’s grand cru slopes around the village of Rovereto, Ernesto Picollo effortlessly balances the minerally essence of Gavi with a deep, vibrant core of fruit. The wine begins with a pale lemon-gold color and aromas of smoky minerals, grapefruit zest, malted barley, and almond meal. Deliciously expressive in the 2018 vintage, the Roverto layers the palate with suggestions of white grapefruit, crunchy fennel, Anjou pear, and menthol. Refreshing acidity, fresh herbal notes, and a flinty mineral undercurrent leave the palate refreshed with notes of white grapefruit, Meyer lemon juice, and almond skin. Drink young to capture the wine’s freshness, crispness, and zip. Enjoy this most satisfying and affordable Gavi with golden trout, snapper, halibut, steamed clams, vegetarian frittatas, sauteed zucchini, and mild green vegetables.

SPAIN - WHITE

2017 Celler del Roure, Cullerot, Valencia, Spain (O) 15.99/172.69

Reviving ancient traditions, winemaker Pablo Calatayud nurtures a field blend of the indigenous Valencian varieties, Pedro Ximenez, Macabeo, Tortosina, Malvasia, Verdil, and Merseguera grown at nearly 2,000 feet above sea level. Also in accordance with tradition, Calatayud ferments the grapes on their native yeasts and ages them in buried 17th-century clay amphorae. The result is one of the year’s most fascinating, satisfying, and affordable white wines. Roure’s Cullerot (“tadpole”) casts a gleaming green-gold from the glass followed by beguiling scents of tangerine, green melon, fennel pollen, curry powder, and dusty earth. Fresh and vibrant on the palate, the Cullerot follows with suggestions of freshly cut fennel, green pineapple, star fruit, lemon and lime zest, bay leaf, and coriander – all lifted and amplified by juicy acidity. The spicy, turmeric-inflected finish makes this a versatile choice for mildly spicy Indian and Asian cuisines, freshwater seafood preparations, grilled marinated chicken, tuna sashimi, and recipes spotlighting briny olives. Serve only slightly chilled now and over the coming three years. Fantastic wine!


SPARKLING WINES

FRANCE - SPARKLING

NV Domaine Allimant-Laugner, Cremant d’Alsace, Brut Rose, Alsace, France 23.99/259.09

This Pinot Noir cremant rose bursts with a high-toned bouquet of wild strawberries, sour cherries, pomegranate, rhubarb, yellow rose petals, and crushed minerals. Fresh and vibrant on the palate, Allimant-Laugner’s rose conveys impressive harmony between crisp acidity, yeasty richness, and crunchy berry fruit.

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? This delicious Vouvray Brut is clean, vibrant, dry, affordable, and ready for the season’s celebrations. Buy a case to drink now and over the coming two years.

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. The wine finishes with elegant, lingering hints of toast, lemon mousse, and apparent minerality. Best deal under $20.
Wine Enthusiast: 90 points

NV Dieboldt-Vallois, Blanc de Blancs, Cramant, France 39.99/431.89 reg. 45.99

Our number one choice this season is the superb Blanc de Blancs from Diebold-Vallois, a lively and elegant Champagne. The nose is floral with delicate notes of tropical fruits, apples, and citrus. The palate is both elegant and firm, never heavy, and possesses a polished, creamy roundness. The texture of this 100% Chardonnay is quite refined, with bright acidity, and a firm, long finish. We cannot find a better valued, better tasting Champagne at this price (and above) to celebrate or to drink anytime!
Wine Spectator: 91 points -- Tanzer: 91 points -- Wines & Spirits: 93 points

LINER & ELSEN
2222 NW Quimby St.
Portland, OR 97210
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STORE HOURS:
Mon.-Sat. 10am-6pm

CLOSED:
Thanksgiving Day
Thurs. Nov. 28

Free on-site parking
while you shop

 

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

Nov. 1- A Taste of the Alto Piemonte: Wines from Gattinara, Monsecco, Boca, Colline Novaresi, and more.

Nov. 15 - World-Class Oregon Chardonnay: We have arrived!

Dec. 6 - Beautiful Burgundies from Savigny-les-Beaune

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

Nov. 2 - From Oregon: Carlton Cellars Pinot Noir Estate, Crowley Pinot Noir Entre Nous, and Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir Laurene. From Iberia: Celler del Roure Cullerot, and Faldas da Serra Quinta das Maias Jaen.

Nov. 9 - Italia! Picollo Gavi di Gavi, Cantina Sociale Cooperativa di Copertino Riserva, Flavio Fanti Rosso di Montalcino La Palazzetta, and Montaribaldi Barbaresco Palazzina. Plus: A selection of our holiday sparkling wines.

Nov. 16 - French Beauties: Pierre Henri Gadais Muscadet, Ch. d’Epire Savennieres, Chofflet-Valdenaire Givry, St-Amour Clos de la Brosse, and Ch. Tournefeuille Lalande-de-Pomerol.

Nov. 23 - From France: Dom. de la Bregeonnette Folle Blanche, Graville-Lacoste Graves Blanc, Les Heritiers du Comte Lafon Macon-Villages, Gerard Lebeaupin St-Amour Clos de la Brosse, and Dom. la Fourmone Gigondas Le Fauquet.

Nov. 30 - Oregon on display: Meet Chris Dickson from Twill Cellars, Kristen Cooper for Biggio Hamina Cellars, and GregMcClellan from Suzor Wines.

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SPECIAL EVENT NEXT MONTH:

Cameron Winery Tour and Dinner
Sunday, Dec. 8 6:00 p.m.

Join us for a very special event at Cameron Winery in the Dundee Hills. We are thrilled to be able to co-host along with owners Teri Wadsworth and John Paul the first dinner and tasting event at the winery house.

The evening will begin with a tour of the winery, conducted by John Paul, followed by a five-course dinner at the winery's new house. New and older vintages of great Cameron Pinots and Chardonnays will be served, paired with the incomparable cuisine of Portland's highly-acclaimed Coquine Restaurant.

Seating is very limited, and prepayment is required. Please contact L&E directly to reserve your seats. $275 per person, inclusive.


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

© Liner & Elsen, all rights reserved. Availability and prices may have changed since the newsletter date.