New Arrivals, Pre-Sales and Special Offers

 
 

Limited Time Offer: 13th Annual Small Vineyards Direct Import
Pre-Sale

Welcome to a cherished springtime tradition here, our ever-popular Italian Direct Import offer

Here's how it works:

(If you have participated in past years, skip ahead to see this year's picks) In early March we taste 15-20 small-production, limited-availability wines from Italy, suggest our favorites to you, and then we all look forward to receiving them in late June - just in time for summer BBQ/backyard party season. 

Small Vineyards is an Italian importer who works with tiny estates (almost all family-run and organic) that produce wines of character and personality. Twice a year they offer a chance to directly import wines whose production is too small to carry year-round, even for this "small" importer. Several of our best-selling Italians were first introduced here and the overall quality vintage after vintage is consistently high. They offer complexity and depth yet are accessible and not over-precious. Best of all they're priced to drink and enjoy again and again. 

If you like Italian wines, these are well worth exploring. A cult-like following of fans attest to their popularity and staying power; not only do plenty of customers order every spring, many come back for more in late summer after drinking through their initial order.        

There is once again a 20% discount for mixed or full case orders, so you can mix and match your own custom sampler, split a case, get an entire case of a favorite wine...and get a great deal.

DEADLINE FOR ORDERS IS SUNDAY MARCH 24
The wines are scheduled to arrive in late June.

Orders can be emailed to info@greatwinebuys.com or phoned in to (503) 287-2897. Thanks!

OUR FAVORITE SELECTIONS:

This year reads like a Greatest Hits, Favorite Producers Edition. Every year certain wines (and wineries) just capture the spirit perfectly and are re-bought, recommended to friends and sought after until supply inevitably runs out. While some favorites from years ago are now available year round, those offered here still arrive just once a year. In addition to the familiar faces are a few new wines from SV mainstays that jumped out as worthy of exploration.   

As in past years, we've lined up our six can't-miss home run favorites making it easy to sample a wide variety in one fell swoop. Grab two of each for a mixed case and you're set. It's a great way to explore this varied collection and over the years this approach has been a great success.

Following the suggested six-pack is a bonus nod to summer fun - a flavorful Rosato from Puglia that radiates the spirit of its surroundings, a narrow thumb of terra firma surrounded by the Ionian and Adriatic Seas, a mere stone's throw from Greece.  

White Wines 

Monte Tondo Garganega Frizzante Verona 2018 (Veneto)
$11.50/$9.20 by the case

A repeat summer favorite that we just can't quit, all it took was a few sips and I was pining for warm July afternoons, an empty hammock and a cold glass of this. Delightfully spritzy and deliciously creamy, this unique 100% Garganega from Soave is again so good and has become so popular that we had to include it. 

Somewhat similar in style to that summer standby from Portugal, Vinho Verde, this is richer and creamier on the palate, offering more flavor and interest even as it refreshes. This 2018 seems drier and crisper than the softer 2017 but otherwise offers all that we loved about past vintages. Fresh pear, toasted almonds and ginger ale flavors are balanced by brisk notes of lemon curd and sea salt, flavors that snap crackle and pop all the way through the long finish. With lovely aromatics, a gentle texture and slightly lower alcohol, this has been dubbed the perfect brunch wine. Or depending on your plans for the day, the perfect breakfastwine. Salute!   

Marchetti "Later Harvest" Verdicchio 2018 (Marche) $16.99/$13.60 by the case

The Small Vineyards white wine standard that sells out every year, this old friend is still a lot of fun. Born of an inspired experiment (how would the wine taste if we let the grapes ripen an extra few weeks on the vine?), this is richly flavored yet focused and almost cerebral, with layers of nuanced complexity.  We have sold so many vintages of this, it's fun to look back and compare one to another to the new one that's on the way. Aromatically the 2018 stands out- an Alsatian-like mix of Indian brown spice, white pepper, dried apricot and a stony dry earthiness, a compelling intro to any white wine. The texture as always is what really grabs your attention - fleshy, polished and nibbly soft - while the poached pear/ white peach richness is balanced by subtle tangerine acidity and gravelly grip. Flavors of dried mango, pineapple and a hint of bitter orange zest emerge and linger on the finish, dry yet persistent. Less than 500 cases produced.    

Red Wines  

Marchetti Castro di San Silvestro Rosso Conero 2017 (Marche) $12.50/$10 by the case
While Marchetti's Verdicchio is a direct import staple, his reds are not always offered. Not having tasted this in a while we were yet again startled at just how packed with flavor and explosive his reds can be. Rosso Conero is a little-known appellation northwest of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and while dominated by that same varietal, its reds are typically meatier, headier and more wild tasting than the average juicy red from Abruzzo. This one certainly is - a surprising powerhouse that totally over-delivers for the money. Behaving more like a red from Sicily or Puglia in Italy's far south, this is impressively dark in color and flavor with loads of sun-kissed warmth. Brawny and coltish, this tasted as if drawn straight from an old barnyard cask: honest and unadorned with big rollicking flavors of black cherry and plum that trail in their wake all kinds of rustic brambly goodness: singed wood, cracked pepper, cured salami and caramelized fennel. Like a young excitable pitcher at spring training this throws a lot at your palate, really fast; the ride may be a bit wild but it's also a lot of fun.  

La Quercia Aglianico (Puglia) 2016
$12.99/$10.40 by the case
 
La Quercia's Montepulciano normale and Riserva are two of our longtime best sellers but this very small-production curiosity is more rare and unique. Although located in Abruzzo, winemaker Antonio Lamona also makes a wine from a small family property just seven acres in size farther south in Puglia. Aglianico (a varietal most likely brought by the Greeks centuries ago) is not widely planted in Puglia and is most often seen in Campania and Basilicata. The volcanic soil in those regions tend to produce Aglianico that are structured, tannic and long-lived, often with a pronounced peppery note.  This version from Puglia offers a more sunny open personality: full bodied, ripe, and mouthfillingly soft. Clearly touched by the sun, this offers a pool of dark plum fruit accented with appealing warm tones of a baker's kitchen from toffee and raisins to cinnamon and allspice. With a milk chocolate creaminess, the texture is caressing and inviting finishing with a hint of the varietal's trademark peppery mineral grip.   

Monte Tondo "San Pietro" Valpolicella Superiore 2017 (Veneto)
$16.99/$13.60 by the case
A stylistic opposite to the Aglianico and Rosso Conero, this is charming, perfumed and light on its feet, a lovely warm weather red that I can't wait to drink this summer on the deck, with memories of watching snow fall as I write these words. Monte Tondo is a small, well-regarded producer of Amarone, Valpolicella and Soave. This Superiore bottling lands somewhere between a full Ripasso and classic Valpolicella as the grapes are dried, Amarone-style, for one month before being pressed and aged five months in oak. The result offers some of the depth and softness of Ripasso while maintaining a food-friendly lively freshness.  Fragrant and floral, the aromatics are like a summer garden where many overlapping aromas blend into a unified pleasant whole. Roses, violets and leafy herbs introduce flavors of wild strawberry, sour cherry and fresh redcurrants while wisps of crunchy acidity crackle and pop keeping it all vibrant and expressive. Medium-bodied, pretty and supple throughout, the finish is toothsome and lightly firm echoing hints of red licorice and white pepper.

La Quercia Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2015 (Abruzzo)
$20.99/$16.80 by the case
A rock star these past five vintages, this has become the most popular DI red and has consistently sold out by summer's end, well before we can satisfy everyone. Some first timers wonder if it really can be that good, being "just" a Montepulciano. As they come to realize, it definitely deserves the Riserva designation as this powerful, serious red is a huge step up from the mass-produced stuff of the same name. Like all good wines the quality starts in the vineyards: the vines are over forty years old, farming is strictly organic and the vines are pruned so that each plant only produces enough grapes for about 2/3 of a bottle. There was a lot of anticipation and excitement for the 2015 vintage and this more than delivers. More polished and aromatically expressive than the brooding 2014, there's still plenty of intensity and layered flavor saturation. It initially leans red, all roses and kirsch, before shifting to darker tones mid-palate, a mix of brambly blackberry and cocoa-dusted plum, all shaded with notes of warm wood, balsamic and crushed rosemary. Only 700 cases produced, a mere drop in the sea of wine that this area produces.

And since we are planning for summer...  
Palama Arcangelo Rosato Salento 2018 (Puglia)
$13.50/$10.80 by the case
Palama's Primitivo and Negroamaro are perennial crowd favorites and with the past two vintages, this deeply-hued pink has joined the popular ranks. I referred to the 2016 as "ebullient and frisky" and happily this 2018 keeps the party going.   100% Negroamaro from the very bottom of Italy's heel, this has beautiful wild strawberry aromatics that shift to cranberry, raspberry and red plum on the palate. The texture is medium-bodied and supple, balanced by a vein of lemony acidity that keeps the flavors sailing along. Buried in there is an earthy minerality and like the 2016, it drinks brighter and cleaner than its rich color would suggest. Many rosés, even if delicious, offer a narrow flavor range and can seem not that dissimilar one from another; this one is refreshingly different, vinous yet vibrant, summery crisp but full of flavor. 

KEN WRIGHT CELLARS 2018 VINTAGE PRESALE

Limited Time Offer - Order Deadline: Saturday March 16

"Deep, dreamy and gorgeous."
-Ken Wright on his 2018 single vineyard Pinot Noir

After an introduction like that I feel that I don't need to add much more but a few words on vintage conditions. Overall 2018 was another warm, dry growing season with two important footnotes. One is that despite the summer's warmth, it was consistent with no major heat spikes. Second is that autumn brought markedly cooler weather and a nice dose of rain in September, refreshing the vines and extending the season by allowing the grapes longer time on the vine. Longer hangtime in moderate, even weather develops more complex flavors while retaining balancing acidity.  

And boom! The result: deep, dreamy and gorgeous Pinot Noir. The few barrel samples that Julianne brought for our tasting last weekend were in line with Ken's comments. Full-flavored, layered and succulent, their generous fruit profile was balanced by lively youthful acidity. Although still in the process of becoming bona fide wines, it was clear to see the promise of beauty and depth ahead. 

The one downside to the vintage at KWC is that production was down 20%, so for some vineyards availability and pricing is different this year as noted below. 

Pricing and Ordering
(some changes this year):

Larger Acreage Vineyards:
Bonnie Jean, Canary Hill, Carter, Freedom Hill, Guadalupe, Savoya, Shea

Bottles: $56.99 discounted presale price
(Non-futures price $65)  

Cases:
20% off mixed or full cases: $45.50 bottle/$546 case


Small Acreage Vineyards: 
Abbott Claim, Bryce, Hirschy, Latchkey, McCrone, Tanager

After March 15, these vineyards will be only be available at the winery

Bottles: $64.99
Cases: 20% off mixed or full cases: $52 bottle/$624 case

Order Deadline: Saturday March 16
After March 16 contact us to see what may still be available. 

Payment is due upon confirmation of your orderWines are scheduled to be released around Thanksgiving 2019. 

To place orders:Call us at (503) 287-2897 or email info@greatwinebuys.com 

Questions? Please call or email and we'll be glad to help.