Featured Wines From The Newsletter
Barefoot in the Grass
Walla Walla Vintners Columbia Valley Cuvée 2016
$19.99/$15.99 by the case Originally $33
Arguably one of the best deals in Washington reds right now, this sold fine at its regular price but the new winemaker and owner wanted their shake things up a bit and wow did they succeed. An eager poster child for the magic of blending, this six-varietal Bordeaux-style blend offers a little bit of all kinds of flavors and moods, all delivered in a silky smooth package. It opens pretty, floral and perfumed before diving into flavors of black raspberry, cherry and cassis. The texture is plush yet bouncy and lively and the finish shows off the 45% new oak aging with notes of maple, vanilla and toasted cedar. We have sold this cuvée for 15+ vintages; it’s always been good and never priced so low. Also check out lower prices on their Walla Walla Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Sangiovese and more. Great quality across the board.
Idealist Pinot Noir Diplomat Willamette Valley 2015
$14.99/$11.99 by the case Originally $25
Idealist is the one-man winery of winemaker John Lyon who focuses solely on Pinot Noir from diverse sites across the Willamette Valley. After honing his skills at Lange, Owen Roe and Crowley, he started Idealist in 2008. His passion is winemaking/vineyard tending and since he has not yet figured out how to clone himself or be in two places at once, he has fallen behind on the sales end of things and wants to catch up on vintages. So here’s a hot deal to close out this not-so-hot Oregon summer. Made by natural methods (no added yeast, sugar, acid, etc. and unfiltered), this is a pure expression of the vintage and site. 100% Pommard from two blocks of the great Beacon Hill vineyard (Tony Soter’s original Oregon property before moving to Mineral Springs Ranch), this is dark and spicy with aromas of loamy earth, black tea and clove surrounding the dark cherry and plum fruit. Medium-bodied and supple, there’s elegance despite the dark flavor profile and on the long finish the flavors brighten and lift.
Suzor Gamay Noir Par Contre Eola-Amity Hills 2018
$21.99/$17.60 by the case
The elusive Greg McClellan of Suzor Wines has come up for air and what fun stuff was he carrying this time? His first-ever, just-bottled Gamay, sourced from just a few rows of vines in a LIVE certified higher elevation vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills. A slow ripener at this site, the fruit is picked almost at the end of the season in mid-October and its long hangtime clearly impacts its flavor profile. Juicy and fresh, the fruit runs to dark berry and Pinot Noir-like cherry while little pops of crunchy cranberry acidity dance in the background with a kiss of tannin on the finish. There’s a layered developed feel to the whole, helped by savory brambly notes, an Eola-Amity Hills added bonus. Thanks to natural fermentation and bottling unfined and unfiltered you get the essence of the Gamay fruit and a sense of place, always welcome in this price range. Just 70 cases produced, let’s hope he makes more next year.
Bastide Miraflores Syrah/Grenache Côtes du Roussillon 2016
$14.99/$11.99 by the case
A steady favorite off the shelf all summer and with good reason; it’s a whole lotta wine for the money. “A blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache from Lesquerde and Saint Martin de Fenouillet (both in the northern part of the Roussillon), aged all in older barrels and concrete tanks, it boasts rockstar notes of ripe blackberry fruits, spice, dried garrigue, and hints of chocolate. Possessing a full-bodied, layered mouthfeel, sweet tannins, and sensational purity, it’s another one of those values that almost seems too good to be true. 94 pts” - Jeb Dunnuck
Mokoroa Txakoli Getaria 2018
$14.50/$11.60 by the case
A blast of Spanish Basque culture for the tastebuds, summertime is a great time to enjoy this lightly spritzy, lower-alcohol white. Mokoroa is a tiny family run winery with a view of the Cantabrian Sea. The vines catch some of this sea vibe as well; tasting this was like getting a splash of seawater in the mouth while walking on the beach. Limey, briny and salty, it crackles with refreshing intensity and is a great match for late afternoon sipping with snacks or even early afternoon if the mood strikes.
Cellar Frisach L'Abrunet Negre 2018 (Terre Alta, Spain)
$18.99/$15.20 by the case
The new vintage of this popular Spanish red from last summer is just in and it’s pretty awesome again - and remains the same great price. A quick recap: energetic young importer Andrew Yandell lived in Spain and has kept tight relationships with young winemakers in Catalunya, Terre Alta and Rioja dedicated to reviving old varietals, and making wine via organic, biodynamic and natural methods.
L’Abrunet Negre is a native yeast co-fermentation of 60% Garnacha and 40% Cariñena from high elevation Terre Alta vineyards, where hot days and cool nights deliver juicy flavors, lock in freshness and capture vibrant acidity. There are plenty of high-toned floral aromatics and oh-so-tasty dark cherry, raspberry and red plum flavors, interwoven with light spice, fresh earth and striking minerality from the stony soils. The Negre is mid-weight and impeccably balanced, making it perfect for late summer/early fall pleasure.
Cellar Frisach L'Abrunet Vernatxa 2017
$25.99/$20.75 by the case
Frisach makes a delicious L’Abrunet Blanc, but this single-vineyard old-vine Garnacha Blanca blew us away with dreams of White Burgundy. The vineyard lies on petrified sandstone studded with veins of quartz that provide intense minerality. Grapes are picked twice to capture both freshness/acidity and ripeness/texture. Fermented naturally on the skins for a week, the wine ages in barrel for six months, is transferred to concrete tank, then bottled unfined and unfiltered with almost no sulfur. Dense and sappy, yet intense and with coiled power, the Vernaxta delivers a complex array of flavors: white peach, pear, lemon zest, fresh flowers, tropical notes and hints of savory fennel and light oak, before a long finish This will age nicely, yet is delightful to drink now with cheese, summer veggies, seafood and poultry.
Back in Stock
Galantin Bandol Rosé 2018
$19.99/$15.99 by the case
An early summer favorite, this beautiful Provençal pink is back. Complex, aromatic, racy and delicious!
François Gay Chorey-les-Beaune 2016
$31.99/$25.50 by the case
A best buy in Burgundy every year, a little more just arrived. Perfumed floral cherry, creamy texture, spice.
Rioja Olive Oil Closeout Deal
500ml was $15, now just $9.99
Imported alongside the popular Olabarri Rioja reds, this 100% extra virgin Arbequina oil has become a shop favorite. The only oil the importer sells, it isn’t much of a focus so they dropped the price to clear inventory. Roundly textured, fruity and only lightly peppery, it’s a big step up from a basic EVOO without being too assertive, adding fresh green aromatics and velvety body to wherever you choose to pour it. Versatile, friendly, addictive and now, cheaper!
SMALL VINEYARDS SUMMER DIRECT IMPORTS
Many of you know Small Vineyards, a favorite Italian importer. They work with tiny estates, mostly family-run and many organic, who produce personality-filled wines. Twice a year we directly import wines whose production is too small to carry year-round. We sent an e-mail offer in the spring but if you missed it, we ordered extras of our favorites.
La Quercia Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2015
$20.99/$16.80 by the case
A favorite five years running, this shows just how good Montepulciano can be in the right hands. The quality starts in the vineyards with 40+-year-old vines and strictly organic farming. 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
Monte Tondo Valpolicella Superiore 2017
$16.99/$13.60 by the case
Charming, perfumed and light on its feet, 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.
Past Favorites Still Available
Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly 2017
$25.99/$20.80 by the case Regularly $32
This Kermit Lynch import has long been considered among the top Gamay producers in the region. Gloriously pure and energetic, it’s a joy to drink, both in its charming, effusive youth or after some years in bottle in its complex, layered middle age. Clearly worthy of its regular price (it always sells out within a few months) imagine our happy surprise when it inadvertently was included on a closeout list despite having just arrived. I was too busy reveling in its deliciousness to take notes when I drank a bottle in May but The Wine Advocate describes it well in a 94 point review calling it “an excellent rendition of this storied cuvée”: [This] is superb, unfurling in the glass with aromas of ripe cassis, candied violets and plums. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, rich and concentrated, structured around fine-grained but chewy tannins and tangy balancing acids, with considerable depth and substance at the core.
Scala Ciro Rosato 2018
$14.99/$11.99 by the case
Welcome the new vintage of last summer’s #1 rosé hit! Full of character and complexity this stands out in a crowd; last year even diehard red drinkers called it a rosé they could drink. The Ciro appellation sits at the very toe of Italy, sun-baked and arid. If you’re drinking a lot of rosé, it had better be versatile - light enough to pair with seafood and salads but sturdy enough to pair with strongly flavored dishes. 100% Gaglioppo from organic vineyards, the 2018 is darker in color than the 2017 with more weight and texture but the flavors are very similar. It opens brisk and bold, like an iced tea spiked with nectarine, lemon and cherry. Mid-palate it turns more wild with subtle herbal notes of oregano and dried sage before finishing with notable presence, zesty and firm.
Château Haut-Bergey Pessac-Léognan 2007
$29.99/$23.99 by the case
Father’s Day, graduation gift, or any special occasion that calls for a classy I-pulled-this-from-my-cellar bottle, here it is. A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot from the gravelly clay soils south of Bordeaux city, this is integrated and complex, a special 11+ year old treat that is drinking beautifully now yet will continue to age gracefully. 2007 was an overlooked vintage for Bordeaux – lost between the past excitement of ’05 and ’06 with the great ‘09s on their way - but time has proven that the best-made wines are now outstanding values, obtainable directly from the winery’s cold cellars at bargain prices. Even upon release this was a winner, with Parker hailing it as a “generous sleeper of the vintage” and calling Haut-Bergey a “constant over-achiever”; the more restrained Decanter Magazine dubbed it a “very stylish wine” in its 93-point review. Its overall profile is dark and mellow with as much emphasis on earth, mineral and spice as there is on the fruit. Plum and black cherry flavors are joined by aromatics of graphite, charred stone, licorice, cigar box and fleeting Asian spices, all wrapped together in a silky elegant package.
Cameron Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 2017
$29.99/$23.99 by the case
One of the most anticipated Pinot releases of the year has arrived and even though we knew it would be good, just how good this is still surprised us. As always a blend of Cameron's two top vineyards Clos Electrique and Abbey Ridge, the combination of two almost competing flavor profiles gives this dimension and tension as the complex mix of flavors bounce around the palate. There's the pretty side - perfumed strawberry and black cherry; the wild side - an animal sauvage quality with iron-y dirt and spicy licorice; and the textural side which may be the most compelling of all - smooth and creamy yet taut and stretchy. Despite the saturation of flavors, it's remarkably fresh and bouncy on the palate and the flavors are persistent through the long finish. Intensity and light tannins promise a long life but given how sexy and open-knit it already is, it may be hard to wait.
Burle Gigondas 2016
$23.99/$19.20 by the case
Is this really a Burle Gigondas? Could the excellence of the 2016 vintage so transform this typically burly rustic brawler of a red into something so polished and poised? Whether vintage conditions or winemaking, something did and wow does it work. Smooth, layered and downright elegant for Burle, this still offers a classic southern Rhône snapshot of aromas and flavors- wild thyme and marjoram, a basket of strawberries and blackberries warmed in the sun, a bowl of cured black olives beside a homemade saucisson sanglier. On the palate the fruit runs black to blue and the complement of savory peppery anis notes all but scream southern Rhône. There’s a Gigondas growl clearly buried in there, it’s just smothered in love polish.
Sino da Romaneira Douro 2012
$18.99/$15.20 by the case
Portuguese wines are a hot category lately; as word spreads of dreamy vacations spent there and the amazing value these wines offer it seems everyone is now curious about this long overlooked country. Although the under $15 section gets most of the attention, this surprise best seller has recently outpaced everything. A clear step up in quality from a good basic Douro red, this shows unexpected finesse, depth and complexity, helped by its many years in bottle and mix of four traditional Douro varietals. The nose suggests a rustic feel with notes of dried flowers, earthy red berries and blond tobacco but the palate delivers a much fresher jazzier profile. With good lift and balance, the range of red fruit flavors - ripe strawberry to tangy raspberry to darker cherry - are carried along a vein of surprisingly citrus-like acidity before finishing creamy and smooth.
GWB Newsletters Archive
Here are current and back-issues of the Great Wine Buys Newsletter to help you print out the month or find a wine from past issues.