Favorite Featured Wines From The Newsletter
Cameron Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 2015
$25.99/$20.80 by the case
A favorite year after year and how can it not be? A blend of Abbey Ridge and Clos Electrique, Cameron’s top two vineyards, this is such a lot of wine for the money - especially if you can age it a few years to coax out even more complexity. The warmth of the 2015 vintage makes it bigger and richer than the 2014 but there’s still plenty of layers of flavor to explore. Roughly 70% Abbey Ridge and 30% Clos Electrique, it shows the high toned floral dark red cherry quality typical of Abbey paired with the more animale, savory meatiness of Clos. After pouring it at our Memorial Day Friday night tasting, I drank a bottle over two days; it just got better and better.
Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2014
$54.99/$44 by the case
Another northwest favorite that just arrived, this is a gorgeous Cab and true to the Abeja style: supple and flowing, silky and caressing, saturated with flavor but elegantly so. The nose is charming with vanilla crème and baking spice aromas while the fruit flavors are balanced right in the middle: red plum to black cherry and dark blueberry, just hinting at blackberry. Well-knit with refined tannins, it finishes with a light savory dustiness, a perfect complement to the richly expressive fruit.
De Forville Nebbiolo d’Alba 2014
$21.99/$17.60 by the case
De Forville produces beautiful Barbaresco and a Langhe Nebbiolo, but the vines for this special cuvée are located in the commune of San Rocco d’Elvio, perched on a hilltop in between the Barbaresco and Barolo zones. Importer Neal Rosenthal refers to this (somewhat jokingly) as De Forville’s Barolo as its structure and fruit profile leans more Barolo than Barbaresco. Whichever way it leans, it tastes delicious. Dark, spicy and roundly textured with classic Nebbiolo aromatics of roses and damp earth, the black cherry flavors are crunchy and lively, drawn out across the palate and lingering on the finish. Traditional in style but really sexy (two descriptions that are usually mutually exclusive), this struck us as charmingly versatile, equally suited to a chilly Juneuary night or served slightly chilled al fresco on a properly warm July evening.
Domaine de L’Amauve Côtes du Rhône-Villages Séguret
Laurances Rouge 2015 & La Daurèle Blanc 2016
Both $17.99/$14.40 by the case
2015 was a superb vintage in the Rhone (as it was for much of France) and finally the wines are starting to arrive in quantity. This Laurances rouge bottling wowed us when we met with the winemaker one rainy January afternoon but early supply was limited; we just received more and so far it’s an early star of the vintage. Situated in the storybook village of Séguret, a 10 minute drive north of Gigondas, Amauve is run by Christian Voeux, a former winemaker at La Nerthe and Mont Redon, two big names in Châteauneuf du Pape. After retiring, he set to work revitalizing his family’s ancestral domaine and his winemaking talent is clearly evident in the wines. Delivering unexpected depth and concentration, this has a satisfying peppery richness married to an elegantly polished texture, all encircled with pretty fresh floral aromatics.
As much as we loved the red, the La Daurèle blanc may have captivated us even more. When a Rhône white is done well, it can be such a thing of beauty. The trick is coaxing out ample fruit flavors and complexity while retaining a balancing lively acidity, a trick Monsieur Voeux clearly knows well. Boasting an “ideal” texture (Don’s comment), the fruit is generous and happy with ripe peach and tropical flashes brightened by tangerine and orange zest. The aromatics add another layer with fennel, linden blossom and a white pepper spiciness. If you’re unfamiliar with the charms of a good white Rhône, this is a delicious place to start.
Collet Crémant de Bourgogne NV
$20.99/$16.80 by the case
This lovely bubbly has been our go-to for months and with June’s expected raft of celebrations (graduations, weddings, nice weather!) it’s time to share the word. 100% organic Chardonnay from two prime vineyards in Chablis (including the Premier Cru Vaillons), this has a power and presence that makes it stand out. At a recent Friday night sparkling tasting where each wine offered its own charms, this was a definite crowd favorite. Vinified in stainless then left on its lees for fifteen months, there’s focus and precision balanced by a creamy texture. The importer’s tasting notes describe it well: “lemon, apricot and gardenia with cut-throat minerality, supported by a soft blanketed mid-palate and a seashell tang finish.” Cheers!
Tenuta Monolo Bramaterra Riservas 2001 and 1996
Bramaterra, a small appellation in the north of Piedmont, received DOC status in 1979 thanks to the tireless effort of Umberto Gilodi, the owner of Tenuta Monolo. Because of his role in creating the DOC, he decided to never sell his wine to avoid any conflict of interest. Now after his passing, several vintages of this legendary Piedmont red are available directly from Italy. These two excellent vintages were among our favorites, powerful in personality yet elegant in presentation.
The 2001 is remarkably youthful tasting with still grippy tannins, licorice peppery spice and robust red cherry fruit.
The 1996 is just hitting its stride with rosy savory aromatics and dusty cherry fruit that shades from darker to bright.
All farming was organic (uncommon in the area for many years) and fermentation was in large wooden botti with native yeasts. The vineyards were a mix of 60% Nebbiolo, 20% Croatina, 10% Vespolina, and 10% Uva Rara. For fans of Piedmont or aged old world reds in general, this is an amazing opportunity to taste history.
$52.99/$42.40 by the case. Limited, arrives in August. Order and pre-payment required
Hot Wines From May Still Available
Tyrus Evan Claret Ciel du Cheval 2015
$17.99/$14.40 by case Normally $36
This time last year our switchboard was lighting up with excitement as we rolled through case after case of the 2012 vintage. Whether you fondly remember the wine or this is new to you, here’s one last chance to play as 2015 is the final vintage. Tyrus Evan is a side label of Ken Wright Cellars, designated for non-Pinot reds, and is made at the winery in Carlton with the same attention to detail as their single vineyard Pinot Noir. Ciel du Cheval, considered among Washington’s elite vineyards, is located in the tiny Red Mountain AVA. Historically Washington's warmest growing area, wines from here are almost always dark, richly flavored and full-bodied. The soil is unique as well, typically giving the wines a distinct minerality.
This 2015, while youthful and restless, clearly shows the pedigree of winemaker and vineyard. Jazzy and initially light on its feet, the flavors seem dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon leaning red with cherry, cassis and raspberry floral notes. With air and time in the glass, the fruit gets fuller and darker shading into rich ripe blackberry while distinct flavors emerge, from vanilla and lightly toasted oak to oregano and eucalyptus. Decant, drink over two days or pile it in the cellar for the future- whichever you choose, this is a deal worth taking advantage of.