Philippe Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 2006 (Burgundy, France) Reg. 69.99, Sale $35.99 – This is such a classic Burgundy! Aromas of white peaches and white apricots and honey. Great acidity that levels out the fruit and the wines depth and richness. Great floral aromas as well. This is supple and lush. At the same time it has this verve and élan and a cut to the flavors that makes it pair well with rich seafood and dishes with cream sauces. 13% alcohol. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 90 points
Wolf Blass Riesling 2006 (Australia) Reg. $11.99, Sale $6.99 – This is a big, bold style of Riesling. It’s dry with aromas and flavors of apples, beeswax, minerals and petrol. It’s pretty full-bodied. Great acidity and a long finish.California
Flora Springs Chardonnay 2006 (California) Reg. $16.99, Sale $11.99 – I just opened one of these with Phil from Mariner Beverages and we loved it! Great intensity and elegance to this Chardonnay. All is well put together. Great combo of tropical fruit, weight and heft, buttery creaminess and elegance. This is not oaky. Balanced, balanced Chardonnay. Organically farmed. Solar-powered winery. 8,000 cases made. 50% aged in French oak that is 1/3 new barrels, 1/3 2nd usage and 1/3 3rd usage (what all that means is that the wine is not oaky – the 1st time you use an oak barrel, you leech out 80% of the oaky flavors and aromas). Food pairing – roasted chicken, lobster, scallops.
Hyde & De Villaine (HdV) Chardonnay 2005 (California) Reg. $59.99, Sale $29.99 – Just over 10 years ago, Aubert de Villaine, co-owner and director of Burgundy's famed Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC to its fans) and Larry Hyde, owner of famed Hyde Vineyards in California, joined forces to produce a Chardonnay and a Merlot-Cabernet blend from the Carneros district. This venture is HdV, named after the two families. De Villaine’s wife is Larry Hyde’s 1st cousin. Hyde Vineyards doesn’t make wine. They grow some of California’s greatest grapes – Patz & Hall, Staglin, Dave Ramey, Paul Hobbs, Kistler, Duckhorn and more buy grapes from Larry Hyde. Hyde Vineyards is the equivalent of a Grand Cru vineyard in France. The coat of arms on the label is that of the De la Guerra family, one of California’s oldest and one that won a winemaking gold medal at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Fair; so, their ancestors have a long history of making wine in California. This joint venture is making no more than 5,000 cases per year.
This is a BIG, rich Chardonnay. COMPLEX wine. Delicious. Aromas of lemons, apricots, pears, Provencal herbs, tropical fruit, flowers, melons and chalky minerals. Flavors of citrus, ginger, chalk, minerals, smoked meats. This is weighty and substantial without being flabby. Long finish. This has that Hyde Vineyard trademark acidity, so it has the ability to age for a long time. Aged 11 months on lees in French oak (45% new). 1,264 cases made. Organic and sustainable farming. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 92 points
Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (California) Reg. $34.99, Sale $19.99 – This is a rock-solid, excellent Cabernet from a top winery in Napa. This IS Napa Cabernet. Winemaking on this land dates back to the 19th century, but it was Jerry and Flora Komes who brought the property into the modern era and to GREAT winemaking over 30 years ago. Aromas and flavors of black currants, a wet forest, toasty oak and more. Mocha and dark chocolate. Soft tannins. Delicious! Organically farmed. Solar-powered winery.
DeLoach Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2007 (California) Reg. $21.99, Sale $12.99 – This is a delicious wine! Aromas of raspberries, cola, strawberry-rhubarb tart, anise and baking spices. Flavors of raspberries, strawberries and baking spices. Fine-grained tannins. Handcrafted in small French oak vats that are open-topped. This is a more tricky winemaking technique than fermenting in stainless steel tanks, but it is more true to how Burgundy is produced. Aged 12 months in French oak (12% new). Food pairing – leg of lamb, braised pork tenderloin, roast duck, salmon. Organic and biodynamic farming.
Hyde & De Villaine (HdV) Napa Valley Proprietary Red 2003 (Carneros, California) Reg. $63.99, Sale $29.99 – Just over 10 years ago, Aubert de Villaine, co-owner and director of Burgundy's famed Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC to its fans) and Larry Hyde, owner of famed Hyde Vineyards in California, joined forces to produce a Chardonnay and a Merlot-Cabernet blend from the Carneros district. This venture is HdV, named after the two families. De Villaine’s wife is Larry Hyde’s 1st cousin. Hyde Vineyards doesn’t make wine. They grow some of California’s greatest grapes – Patz & Hall, Staglin, Dave Ramey, Paul Hobbs, Kistler, Duckhorn and more buy grapes from Larry Hyde. Hyde Vineyards is the equivalent of a Grand Cru vineyard in France. The coat of arms on the label is that of the De la Guerra family, one of California’s oldest and one that won a winemaking gold medal at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Fair; so, their ancestors have a long history of making wine in California. This joint venture is making no more than 5,000 cases per year.
Aromas of blackberries, black cherries, herbs, pepper and baking spices. Flavors of black fruit, cinnamon, leather, pepper and vanilla. It has that velvety feel that Merlot adds to wine. The tannins are fine-grained and soft. This has that characteristic Hyde Vineyard acidity so the wine ages well and has this vibrant refreshing finish. 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged 18 months in French oak (35% new). Bottled unfiltered. 1,287 cases made. Organic and sustainable farming. Food pairing – steak, fillet mignon, venison, quail, duck. Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, 89 points
TAZ Pinot Noir 2007 (Santa Barbara, California) Reg. $24.99, Sale $12.99 – I first tasted this wine about 4-6 months ago. I liked it a lot. At the same time, in this economy, I was thinking, “What am I going to do with an unknown $25 Pinot?” Well, it’s no longer $25 and it is still unknown and it still tastes good! Aromas of strawberries, black tea, black cherries and baking spices. Flavors of vanilla, baking spices, red cherries, dark berries and a bit of earth. The founder, Bob Steinhauer, is nicknamed the “Tasmanian Devil.” 100% Pinot Noir from 2 distinctly different vineyard areas. One is in the Santa Maria Valley and these grapes add a silky, soft texture with red fruit and floral notes. The second is the Fiddlestix Vineyard and that is a weightier Pinot with more dark fruit. Each lot of grapes is vinified separately and aged in French oak (40% new) for 9 months. Food pairing – roasted or grilled poultry, salmon, leg of lamb, lamb chops..
Baron Philippe de Rothshild Almaviva 2002 (Chile) Reg. $99.99, Sale $59.99 – If you like California-style big reds, you’ll love this Franco-Chilean blend featuring 3 noble Bordeaux grapes! This is concentrated, robust with aromas of dark, dark fruits, baking spices and toasty vanilla and new oak. The flavors are loaded with blackberries, cassis, black cherries and vanilla. This is medium-to-full bodied. The tannins are ripe and well-integrated. This has a super long finish. While Almaviva has a Hispanic ring to the name, the wine is named after Count Almaviva, the hero of “The Marriage of Figaro.” This wine is the result of a joint venture between Mouton Rothschild and Concha y Toro. Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine (67% Cabernet, 29% Carménère and the rest is 4% Cabernet Franc). Aged 18 months in new French oak. Drink now through 2016. Food pairing – while this would pair up well with steak, lamb and other robust meals, I think this is a sit and sip wine after dinner. While you may buy a bottle of this, if you buy 6 of them, you get the nice wood box that comes with it. Wine Spectator, 93 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 93 points
Cru Beaujolais are among the greatest values in the wine world and great food wines. We have 2 of them from great producers from two distinctly different parts of Beaujolais, Brouilly and Moulin-a-Vent. Cru Beaujolais is more akin to good Pinot Noir than it is to Beaujolais Nouveau or Villages.
Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly 2006 (France) Reg. $26.99, Sale $15.99 – This is a fabulous wine from a great winery. Aromas of toasted nuts, smoke, cranberries, cherries, earth and more. Flavors of nuts, cranberries, saline, roasted tomatoes, black fruit and more. This is substantial and weighty. Really nice wine. Long finish that has bright, fresh fruit. Food pairing – roasted chicken, duck, salmon, cold cuts, paté.
Domaine Diochon Moulin-à-Vent 2006 (France) Reg. $26.99, Sale $12.99 – Delicious! This is an intense, vibrant wine. Cranberry aromas just pop out of the glass. Aromas of cherries, smoked meat and earth. Flavors of cranberries, tart raspberries, earth and more. Long finish that is mouth-watering. Bottled unfiltered. Aged in enormous oak casks. Food pairing – salmon, tuna, roasted chicken, duck. Wine Spectator, 90 points
Domaine A. et P. De Villaine Mercurey Les Montots 2008 (Burgundy, France) Reg. $41.99, Sale $19.99 – This is an excellent Burgundy that will age well for at least 6-12 years. This wine will significantly improve with age and you’d be doing both it and yourself a disservice if you drink this right away. I’d buy this for Thanksgiving Dinner in 2015-2018. Aromas of raspberries, red currants, bing cherries and flowers. This has a silky texture and a pleasant tartness at the finish. De Villaine reduces yields/acre more than 20% from the already strict A.O.C. guidelines for Mercurey. This helps ensure that the grapes are of the highest quality. Fermented in traditional open-topped, small oak vats and then aged in oak barriques for a year. Bottled unfiltered. 158 cases imported. Organic Farming. Food pairing – red meat, game, mushroom dishes. Harder cheeses. Serve at about 64 degrees. Wine Spectator, 88 points; Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 88 points
Charles Joguet Chinon “Les Petites Roches” 2006 (Loire Valley, France) Reg. $29.99, Sale $19.99 – Chinon is a region in the Loire Valley in France. Red wines from Chinon are 100% Cabernet Franc. Chinon is one of my favorite red wines. It’s a great food wine! This has wonderful aromas and flavors of black cherries, strawberries, pepper, herbs and green olives. It definitely picks up the chalk that is so prevalent in much of the soil in this area. 2006 was a challenging year in Chinon with drought in the early summer, then a great August and early September, followed with rain in the last part of the month. This made the harvesting difficult. Consequently, the team at Charles Joguet drastically reduced the yields from their vineyards to increase the quality of the grapes. Bottled unfiltered. 1,200 cases imported. For years, this winery has practiced green, sustainable farming in its vineyards. Drink now through 2012-2013. Food pairing – poultry, roasted pork, potted meats and goat cheeses.
Tua Rita Perlato del Bosco Rosso Toscana 2006 (Tuscany, Italy) Reg. $45.99, Sale $19.99 - This is a great, GREAT winery from southwestern Tuscany. They make FANTASTIC wines. Aromas of blueberries, blackberries, baking spices, toasty oak, vanilla and more. Flavors of dark berries, cherries, vanilla, mint, licorice, spices and more. Long, lnog finish. Rich, bold wine that is a nice combo of Old World and New World. Full-bodied. Tannins are well-integrated and soft. Blend of 70% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah. Single vineyard from the Perlato del Bosco vineyard. Aged 20 months in oak barrels and aged 6 months in the bottle before release. 1,300 cases made. Drink now through 2026. Food pairing - steaks, grilled sausages, rich pasta dishes and aged cheeses, such as Piave Vecchio or Pecorino Toscano. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 93 points; "2006 is quite possibly the most consistent vintage yet from top to bottom for Tua Rita. Simply put, the wines are not to be missed."
Tua Rita Rosso dei Notri Toscana IGT 2007 (Tuscany, Italy) Reg. $23.99, Sale $12.99 - This is the "little brother" of the above wine. At the same time, this is an outstanding wine in its own right! This is their "drink now" wine. This is soft, smooth and juicy. Aromas of jammy blackberries, plums, cherries and dark chocolate and spices. Flavors of dark chocolate, blackberries, plums, cherries, licorice and spices. Blend of 60% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch Cabernet Franc and Syrah. The vineyard is on the southern coast of Tuscany. Fermented in stainless steel tanks. Aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months and then bottled. Food pairing - cured meats, hearty pasta dishes, rich risotto dishes, aged cheeses. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, 90 points; "This is an especially complex Rosso di Notri that overachieves in 2007 and delivers superb value for the money."
Antonio & Elio Monti Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC 2006 (Italy) Reg. $19.99, Sale $11.99 - This wine is a “KILLER WINE!” – tastes wonderful! This is a CLASSIC Italian red made in a traditional fashion…wonderful wine! Dark, deep purple color. Black pepper, dark berries, licorice and smoke aromas. Berry flavors, medium-bodied, big flavors, long finish. Unfiltered and unfined. 95% Montepulciano & 5% Sangiovese. Aged in Slovenian oak and then aged in the bottle by the winery. Food pairing - Drink with grilled meats, sausages & stews. Great choice for barbecue and with pasta dishes.
Giuseppe Cortese Trifolera Dolcetto D’Alba DOC 2007 (Italy) Reg. $16.99, Sale $9.99 – The Trifolera vineyard is named after the prized white truffles that can be found in the region. The vines are 25-35 years old. This is a small, family-run winery dating to 1971. The wine is a lighter style red, which is typical for Dolcetto. This is elegant and velvety with a pleasant bitter note at the finish. That might not sound right or good, but it is. This has really nice red berry fruit all the way through the wine. Food pairing – roasted poultry, vegetable pasta or risotto dishes, pork tenderloin with a cranberry sauce.
Maysara Pinot Noir Estate Cuvée 2004 (Oregon) Reg. $29.99, Sale $15.99 – This is an excellent Pinot Noir that is drinking great right now and will drink well for another 2 years or so! This has ripe dark fruit aromas with additional notes of baking spices, pepper and cardamom. The flavors are of dark fruit, earth, pepper, cherries and pomegranates. Smooth. Well-integrated tannins. 743 cases made. Aged in French oak barrels (about 30% are new). Owner Moe Momtazi immigrated from Iran in 1971 as a young man. He’d spent a lot of time with his grandfather watching him farm naturally. This winery began in 1997 with the planting of 13 acres of Pommard-clone Pinot Noir. Today, they have over 200 acres of vines and they’ve never used a pesticide, herbicide or fungicide in their vineyards. Organic and Biodynamic Sustainable farming. Food pairing - Wine Spectator, 89 points
Legaris Ribera del Duero Reserva 2004 (Spain) Reg. $36.99, Sale $16.99 – This is an excellent red! Big and rich. Aromas of plums, cherries, Provencal herbs and minerals. Flavors of ripe cherries, stewed plums, licorice and smoked meats. Soft tannins. 100% Tempranillo, which is known locally as Tinta Fina or Tinta del Pais. Aged 12-13 months in French and American oak. 14.3% alcohol.. Food pairing – rice dishes with meat and mushrooms, aged cheeses such as Manchego, venison, pork, rare red meats.
Dessert and Fortified Wines
Porta Pocas Late Bottle Vintage Port 1998 (Portugal) Reg. $26.99, Sale $9.99 – Late Bottle Vintage Ports or LBV’s are aged in oak barrels for longer than vintage ports. This helps make the wines more accessible and drinkable than vintage ports at a younger age. LBV’s are barrel-aged for 4-6 years. The Porta Pocas was aged for about 4 years. This has ruby port characteristics – red berry flavors and aromas. This is full-bodied and robust.
Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Ice Wine 2004 (Canada) Reg. $72.99, Sale $19.99–The grapes for this wine were harvested in mid-December 2004 and late-January 2005, often at night to ensure the grapes remain frozen. The temperatures at harvest are 15 degrees or colder. The grapes are crushed while frozen, this means that only 10-20% of the juice is yielded – making for more intense flavors and aromas. Only icewine juice is used to make the sparkling wine. The wine is aged on lees for almost 9 months in stainless steel tank. This has many of the traditional Vidal characteristics in the aromas and flavors of mango, lychee, apricot and honey and a hint of fresh bread and butter. This has great acidity in the mouth and flavors of apricots, lychee and baked apples. Aging – now through 2016. Food pairing – great as a cocktail wine or as dessert on its own. Pan-seared Foie gras, duck pate, spicy Asian cuisine, strong cheeses with dried fruit, lighter fruit-based desserts.