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August, 2016

Walter Scott 2016 Fall Releases

As summer begins to wane, Ken and Erica are already looking to harvest and beyond, and following tradition have released their popular Willamette Valley bottlings. Made with the same care and attention to detail as their single vineyard wines these are incredible values and disappear quickly. The Chardonnay is especially limited. They're young, they're fun, and they're really good. 

Chardonnay La Combe Verte 2016
The past two vintages proved that Walter Scott is making some of the best Chardonnay in Oregon and here is more proof. Youthful and racy but boasting that incredible Walter Scott texture you hoped for, the nose is lemony with a nutty edge and flashes of creamed honey and waxy notes. Crisp green apple is accented by dried oregano and fresh spearmint, and with air the texture gets better and better: supple and smooth and long on the palate but with great underlying acidity. As always there's minimal intervention in the cellar: native yeast fermentation, 20% new wood and minimal lees stirring. Fruit sourcing includes some of the best including X Novo, Vojtilla, Clos des Oiseaux, Freedom Hill and Sojourner. 

Pinot Noir La Combe Verte 2016
Many would be hard pressed to guess this as Oregon Pinot - it tastes so European but then again, it tastes very much like...Walter Scott. Cutting no corners for their introductory bottling, this is dense and layered with complex flavors just like their single vineyard wines. Plus like the Chardonnay above, it has a silky pretty texture that hides the power and structure underneath. Savory and wild in aroma, there are airy hints of sweet strawberry and dark blueberry before a more leathery, spicy savory personality emerges. There's plenty of dark cherry and black plum fruit on the palate that balances perfectly with the other flavors.

I can't wait to see how this tastes tomorrow and the next day. Already opening up nicely but there's so much promise for the future: decant if drinking now now or cellar for up to five years. 15% whole cluster, all native yeast, 30% new oak for 10 months and mostly Eola-Amity Hills vineyards.

Both wines are $27.99 retail, but $25 by the 6 pack, $22.40 by the case (mix and match is fine).


July, 2016

Small Vineyards Italian Direct Imports

La Quercia Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2013   
$20.99/$16.80 by the case
Wildly popular the last two vintages, this full-throated and multi-layered red is a huge step up from a typical Montepulciano. Like all good wines the quality starts in the vineyards with 40+ year old vines, strictly organic farming and very low yields. 2013 was a warm vintage in Abruzzo and this still-youthful red is packed with flavor. A huge extrovert, the mass of brooding dark plum and blackberry fruit is shaded overall with pastoral images and aromas - floral iris, wet loamy soil, crushed rosemary and smoked meats - while milk chocolate flavors soften the grippy finish.

Marchetti "Later Harvest" Verdicchio 2016  
$15.99/$12.80 by the case
Still deliciously unique and one of the most popular Direct Import wines each summer. 2016 looks to be a balanced, classic vintage after the warmth of 2015 and this shows more nuance and focus than the full-frontal attack of the 2015. There's still plenty of luscious peach and honeyed pear to feast on, and as usual these flavors are perfectly balanced by a concentrated stone fruit acidity. Intense and layered, the mouthwatering aromatics melt into a wave of rolling white fruits as notes of baking spice, dried mango and bitter orange zest hang on the persistent finish.

Bocelli Tenor Red Toscana 2015    
$15.99/$12.80 by the case
A dynamic Super Tuscan made by opera tenor Andrea Bocelli’s brother at their ancestral family estate, this offers an old world/new world tension that kept it interesting glass after glass. 1/3 each Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, first impression showed this to be juicy and bright, offering lovely pure flavors of fresh cherries and ripe red plum with a supple inviting texture. With air and time this shifted dramatically becoming fuller-bodied and more powerful. Layers of flavor opened up revealing lush blackberry, dried cranberry and kirsch - dense fruit flavors interspersed with notes of savory spice, cured salumi and forest floor. Alternately pretty then brawny, open-knit or teasingly coy, this was a fun few minutes of tasting.

Palama Arcangelo Rosato Salento 2016
$13.50/$10.80 by the case
100% Negroamaro from the bottom of Italy's heel, this has beautiful strawberry aromatics that shift to raspberry on the palate. Gentle yet lively in texture, there’s an earthy minerality, hinting at tobacco and Asian spice before ending with a zesty lemony lift. A lot of rosés out there could easily be swapped one for another with little notice; this one is refreshingly different, vinous yet vibrant, summery crisp but full of flavor.