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What's New in Wine

Feliz Quinceañero!

Chateau Fortia Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée du Baron 2012
$39.99/$31.99 by the case
One of our most popular Châteauneuf every vintage and definitely a top pick at our 2012 Barrel Sample tasting last spring, we're happy it's finally here. The combination of value, complexity and sheer deliciousness make this a customer favorite year after year. While most southern Rhône reds are dominated by Grenache, almost half of this is Syrah along with a good dose of dark Mourvèdre. This more diverse blend coupled with Fortia's winemaking style results in a wine of ranging complexity and succulent texture. Pure and elegant yet plenty rich, the black raspberry fruit is spiced up nicely with licorice, crushed pepper and subtle herbes de Provence notes. Silky tannins make this already hard to resist but try if you can; this will be even better after a few years in the cellar.

El Corazon Cabernet Franc First Crush 2012
$31.99/$25.60 by the case
A favorite every year and in such short supply, it's best to get the word out, especially this vintage. As in Oregon, Washington 2012 looks to be a vintage to love. Many of the reds we have tasted are deliciously fruity yet balanced with plenty of lush fruit backed by gentle structure and vibrant aromatics. My first few tasting notes may sound embarrassingly simple but are still accurate: really nice. Overall richly flavorful yet light on its feet and lithe in texture, there's a lively tension between the graham cracker/blackberry pie bass notes down low and the mouthwatering tanginess of blue/red berries on high. Super smooth, aromatically expressive and saturated with flavor, this is a pleasure to drink from start to finish. Only 100 cases made. Other new releases available in limited quantities: Duct Tape, First Base Cab Franc and Swordfight.

Come taste with the winemaker on Saturday, October 25, from 2-5 pm.

Evening Land "Blue Label" Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2012
$21.99/$17.60 by the case
Much of the excitement about the 2012 vintage has focused on its generosity of fruit but this new arrival shows you can have your cake and eat it too. Well-balanced and elegant, the vintage character shows in its softness and textural warmth but it still hews to the Evening Land style with its nod to Burgundy. Open-knit and layered, the tangle of red fruit flavors range from bright cranberry to deeper cherry and dried red currants. Mixed up in this jumble are savory herb and floral notes including violet, anise and damp soil and the finish amps up with a briary, taut muscular feel. Made from organic fruit from Lemelson (Yamhill-Carlton) and old vine fruit from Eola Springs Vineyard (Eola-Amity Hills), this is classy stuff for the price; enjoy now with an elegant meal or stash some in the cellar, it's just going to get better.

Buil & Giné Priorat GinéGiné 2010
$17.99/$14.40 by the case
"Big, rich, deep, funky, smooth, juicy..." I realized after writing a string of adjectives that the best way to sum it up was "very complete". Balance and complexity are maybe a wine's most prized attributes and this has both: funky old world character but not too much, rich black fruit but not overpowering, structured yet supple. Called a great value by tasters at last month's Priorat tasting and highly praised in the press, a San Francisco Chronicle review says it well: "from 40% Grenache and 60% Carignane on the region's llicorella slate soils, [this] remains sinewed and inky, with deep black currant, dark-stone intensity and a celery-seed spice bite. The core of Priorat, without makeup."

Abbazia di Novacella Sylvaner 2011
$14.99/$11.99 by the case
Autumn seems the best time for Alsatian whites. Richer in texture and with a slight earthiness, they pair well with the flavors and heartiness of fall dishes. Although this wine isn't from Alsace, it offers the same alluring combination. The varietal Sylvaner is little known and despite this wine's quality, the distributor dropped the price to get it moving. Italy's Alto Adige region is in some ways a sister region to Alsace (just jump over Switzerland in the middle), and they grow many of the same varietals. A cooler climate and mountain vineyards, however, add a nervy backbone of acidity and minerality to this Sylvaner, a perfect foil to balance the fleshy fruit. The texture is honeyed and smooth with nutty spice notes accenting mild stone fruit flavors. It finishes dry and grippy with lingering mineral and white pepper. Novacella is highly respected and remains a multi-functional religious abbey that has made wine since 1142!

Tommasi Sangiovese-Cab Sauv Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo 2011
$14.99/$11.99 by the case
A creeper of a wine, as in its mass appeal crept up on us slowly... then pounced! It was delicious when we tasted it, but after so many wines that day we lost track. Then slowly, repeat orders, repeat orders... Now before it's all gone, we want to share the excitement. 92 points from the Wine Spectator who sez: "Presents a whiff of blackberry, bacon and ink, followed by dark berry, black pepper and spice notes. Rich and supple, with ample structure for support and a long, fruit-, spice- and mineral-filled aftertaste."

Two Deals From Cristom

Cristom Pinot Noir Sommers Reserve Willamette Valley 2011
$32.50/$26.50 by the case. Regular $43
Always a lovely wine and maybe the best deal in the Cristom line-up even at its regular price, the winery made a lot of this the last few years. Now they want to catch up with the release schedule of their other reds, hence the great deal. Interestingly this is drinking much better right now than the Mt. Jefferson Cuvée, their intro. offering. Medium-bodied airy and elegant, the tangy cherry and red berry fruit is layered with woodsy spice and appealing cinnamon/cola notes before firming up on the lightly smoky dusty finish. Pretty now, but you can taste that it will just keep getting better.

Cristom Pinot Noir Sommers Reserve Willamette Valley 2009 375ml
$16.99/13.60 by the case. Regular $24
These half-bottles from a fruit-forward vintage are ready to go! Darker fruit and a brooding richness clearly show the warmth of the vintage, but there's plenty of herbal spice and briary chewiness that makes this much more interesting than just a Pinot Noir-based fruitfest. Half-bottles are great for a moderate evening for two, a quiet solo event or even when one full bottle didn't quite do the trick, here's a little more...

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