Welcome to Featured Wines
On occasion, we feature either individual wines or a particular winery or event. Read on for current “Wines of the Week” and other Featured Wines!
Wine of the Week: 8 August 2019
Produttori del Barbaresco 2015 Barbaresco
Full Retail: $49.99 – Club Card Price $35.00
There was a time when growers of Nebbiolo thought that the world would never care for, or desire, the wines of Barolo or Barbaresco. Oh how wrong they were.
Produttori del Barbaresco has roots tracing to 1894 when the headmaster of the Royal Enological School, Domizio Cavazza, formed the Cantine Sociali with 9 Barbaresco vineyard holders. The local flavor of fascism forced the closure of the co-op in the 1930’s, but thankfully in 1958 the local clergy would see to its resurgence. The first three vintages were made in the church basement.
The 2015 vintage proved to be problem free and easygoing for the grape growers. The rain was ample at the right time, scarce when appropriate. The warm dry months weren’t too warm or too dry, and harvest went off without a hitch.
This vintage is marked by prominent red fruits, black tea (Darjeeling?), firm yet balanced tannins, and a sense of elegant concentration. Drink within the next two decades.
Wine of the Week: 11 July 2019
Pegaso ‘Zeta’ 2016 Sierra de Gredos Garnacha
Full Retail: $21.99
Occasionally I try a wine and my tasting notes read simply, “This wine is _expletive_ delicious!”
Sometimes I don’t have time for flowery language or a litany of fruits.
Pegaso’s Zeta comes from granite and slate heavy vineyards located at 890 – 920m of altitude, from vines that are around 60 years old. And as of 2016, the vineyards are EU certified organic.
This Garnacha, and ones of its ilk, are part of a new wave of Spanish Garnacha that we’ve seen recently that express more precision and elegance than the over alcoholic, over-oaked Garnachas of 10 to 15 years ago.
The grapes are all hand harvested and spontaneous fermentation takes place in a mix of large old barrels and stainless steel tanks.
Pure fruit and finesse make this a great crossover for Pinot Noir fans.
Wine of the Week: 28 May 2019
Nieto Senetiner 2011 ‘Terroir Blend’ Malbec
Full Retail: $24.99 – Club Card Price: $14.99
Located not too far from the Andes, and close to the Mendoza river in the Lujan de Cuyo region of Mendoza, Nieto Senetiner exists as the result of vine growing and wine making since 1888. In 1969 it was taken over by two families with the names Nieto and Senetiner (shocker).
They produce a number of wines (including a rather impressive series under the name Nicanor that we also carry) made from grapes at rather dramatic elevations.
Their ‘Terroir Blend’ sourced grapes from three different vineyards ranging from 3,120 feet to 3,780 feet above sea level. After fermentation the wine is moved to new French oak barrels for 12 months of aging before being bottled for further aging.
The range of elevations lends to freshness as well as accentuating the black cherry notes along with some subtle dark berry flavors. The new French oak imparts spicier aromatics reminiscent of Gran Reserva Rioja.
Wine of the Week: 4 May 2019
Domaine de Cabidos 2015 Le Pic Blanc
Full Retail: $16.99 – Club Card Price: $11.99
Domaine de Cabidos is located in the idyllic, gentle hills of southwestern France. They are a scant hour and change from the Atlantic Ocean and about two hours north of the Pyrenees and the border with Spain.
This is warm weather sunflower country, and the white wine that they make in this part of the world reflects that inviting, sunny brightness.
From their twenty or so acres of vines they make a number of wines, including this white blend. Le Pic is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (50%), Chardonnay (40%), and the local delight Petit Manseng (10%).
Without the use of oak this blend is fresh and citrusy, the emblematic beverage of spring warming into summer.
Wine of the Week: 3 March 2019
Herdade do Rocim 2016 Alicante Bouschet
While drinking wine we don’t often spend too much time considering the agricultural nature of the grapes. Some grapes develop naturally in the wild while some are bred with specific goals in mind, much like most of the produce we consume. Alicante Bouschet is a grape that was bred with purpose.
In the 1800’s a botanist named Henry Bouschet developed this grape with the goal of a grape that had intense color, strong fruit flavors, and remarkable vigor in the vineyards. Great success.
Herdade do Rocim farms their 40+ year old vines of Alicante Bouschet in the southern half of Portugal, in the Alentejo region. They farm the wine organically, making use of wild yeast for fermentation, and then age the wine in oak for a bit. Alicante Bouschet is the grape to try for Zin or Shiraz drinkers.
Wine of the Week: 22 January 2019
Chateau Etoile de Viaud 2015 Lalande de Pomerol
I don’t always drink Merlot, but when I do it’s from right bank Bordeaux.
Don’t get me wrong, good Merlot is made all over the world, but I can’t stop coming back to Bordeaux for this stuff. In Bordeaux they’ve been growing Merlot since around when the Romans showed up, and they’ve never been afraid to blend it with other grapes to make more balanced wine.
The 15 or so acres of Chateau l’Etoile de Viaud are owned by the Chevalier family. The fourth generation wine making family is headed up by two brothers making wine in Lalande de Pomerol and other right bank appellations.
Their red is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc from vines grown on sandy, gravelly soils. Production is about 3,750 cases per year, with the wine being aged in a blend of old and newer oak. Full bodied, bold red fruit structures, some notes of French oak with light menthol & mint qualities.
Wine of the Week: 7 January 2019
Koehler-Ruprecht 2014 Pinot Blanc Kabinett Trocken
The story at Koehler-Ruprecht can be summed up with, “slow & steady.” The relatively scant 25 acres owned by Koehler-Ruprecht are found in Germany’s Pfalz where they grow Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and a half dozen other local varieties.
In the vineyard they don’t irrigate, chemical fertilizers or herbicides are never used, synthetic treatments for fungus or pests is a rare occurrence only in vintages with punishing conditions.
In the cellar, the slow & steady philosophy continues. Fermentation takes place at its own pace in large old barrels made from German oak, followed by extended lees contact. This practice of not mucking around with good juice creates wines of richness, finesse, and ageability.
True to that style, the 2014 Pinot Blanc is full bodied and maintains the necessary acid to keep it from tasting flat and flabby, while showing no signs of tiring from age. A tasty bottle of German white wine indeed.