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What's New in Wine

Summer Came Early
That Year

Lemelson Six Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2013
$18.99/$15.20 by the case
Our best-selling under-$20 Pinot several years in a row, we're always happy to see this return. As usual this delivers excellent bang for the buck (it's so nice they haven't raised the price) and here's why: made like all their other Pinot, much of the fruit is declassified from top vineyards (Meyer, Stermer, Mount Richmond, etc.), cropped at only 1.9 tons per acre, fermented with indigenous yeasts, yada yada yada...in short this is no tanker-truck castoff. It's also remarkably consistent in style vintage to vintage, which to us shows thoughtful winemaking. Expressive and aromatic, the sweet red cherry fruit turns darker mid-palate and notes of orange zest, black tea and woodsy bramble add depth and distinction. Fullish-bodied and long on the palate, it's hard to go wrong with this one.

Owen Roe Syrah Ex Umbris Columbia Valley 2012
$21.99/$17.60 by the case | Originally $28
David O'Reilly & Co. made a lot of this longtime favorite and recently lowered the price to blast into the next vintage. I've seen plenty of customers happily surprised at the lower price so I figured probably should spread the word. Originally created ten years ago to capture the smokiness imparted by wildfires close to the vineyard, this remains a dark, aromatic powerhouse; although there's no smoke, the fire of inspiration is alive and well. Like many northwest 2012s, this offers an abundance of fruit, blackberry and dark plum, and being an Owen Roe wine, the texture is gorgeous, lightly polished yet layered and toothsome. Throw in some dark chocolate, cracked black pepper and memories of distant wildfires and you've got a winner.

Mas de Martin Cuvée Roi Patriote 2012
$14.99/$11.99 by the case
Clearly recognizable by the French Revolutionary dude on the label, this Languedoc red has long been popular in Portland yet is still a curious anomaly. Although his winemaking regime is decidedly old fashioned, Christian Mocci is an adventurous iconoclast in other ways, proudly embracing biodynamic viticulture, creative labels and wines made from non-traditional varietals. Despite being from the heart of the Languedoc just north of Montpellier, this is 50% Cab Sauv, 25% Cab Franc, 20% Merlot, and 5% Tannat. The result is a red that tastes mostly Languedoc with an added mysterious note that keeps the palate interested and guessing. The nose is floral and classic southern French with savory wild herb and a brambly spiciness. The warm blackberry fruit is round, soft and enveloping while the finish gets grippy and darker, trailing notes of cigar ash and macerated plums. Full-bodied and beefy yet mellow, it mixes the cerebral and the wild to great effect.

Manucci Droandi Chianti Colli Arentini 2012
$12.99/$10.40 by the case
There's plenty of mediocrity in the sea of Chianti but when a good one stands out it reminds us why these wines continue to be so popular. Versatile, food-friendly, flavorful yet lively... sure, its fun to try new things but sometimes nothing beats an old familiar friend, like this one. Made organically in the hillside region south of Chianti Classico and imported direct to Portland, this for years has been a go-to high quality Tuscan bargain. Airy and open-knit, the red cherry fruit rolls into dark plum, vibrant and clean, with mild forest floor and spice notes hanging in the background. Tasting descriptors such as classic, really solid, and tasty may seem banal but they suggest a happy comfortableness, and sometimes that's all we need.

2010 Brunello di Montalcino available
"Iconic, vintage of a lifetime, soaring beauty, the new standard in quality"... reviews like this sure are exciting, unless they so over-hype the vintage that the wines disappear immediately. Many of our favorites are imported directly in small quantities and some are already almost sold out (before even arriving). Prices are good despite the buzz thanks to a stronger dollar, making it relatively easy to get in on this legendary vintage. We have pre-ordered many but expect them to sell quickly. Altesino, Casanova di Neri, Campogiovanni, Fanti, Mocali and more. Please call for more details if interested.

Refreshingly Off the Beaten Path

Ca' Montebello Pinot Nero Bianco 2014
$16.99/$13.60 by the case
The name may not ring a bell but hopefully your face will light up when you recognize the bottle. A seemingly unassuming white from Lombardy's Oltrepo Pavese region, this was a huge customer favorite a few summers ago, then disappeared after one vintage. A local importer had discovered it while visiting the area; sadly discord at the winery quickly cut off supply. It appears all is better now because this suddenly appeared last week and it tastes as good as we remembered.

100% Pinot Noir made without skin contact, this drinks mostly like the white it is but enough red fruit notes sneak in to make this a roller coaster of flavors: light apricot and white peach roll through tangerine and dried pineapple before shifting to just-ripe strawberry and cherry. The texture is just as fun: pliant and taffy-like, it shifts from zippy lemon saline highs to creamy gentle tannic lows, while maintaining a crackling fresh personality throughout.

Douloufakis Dafnios Vidiano 2013
$15.99/$12.80 by the case
If a Pinot Noir Blanc from the wilds of Lombardy isn't far enough away for you, take a trip to the Greek island of Crete and feast your taste buds on this, made from the indigenous varietal Vidiano. We (and customers) have had some fun lately with whites from Corsica, and this has a similar vibe. On one hand it is dry yet full-flavored, its gently creamy texture dappled with bread dough and a ripe musk melon fruitiness. Then the bracing sea breeze blows in, carrying with it a brisk salty note that echoes with lemon zest and a wet rock minerality. Rare and generally unknown to everyone except zealous fans of Greek wines, this is a tasty, affordable, adventurous summer fling; if you can't travel to a Greek island this summer, at least you can drink their wine.

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