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Gachot-Monot Bourgogne Rouge 2012
$20.99/$16.80 by case | Regular price $31
The wines of Gachot-Monot are already some of Kermit’s best Burgundy values and with a 33% discount, this is a great opportunity to put some in the cellar. Gachot-Monot is a fifth-generation producer in the prestigious Nuits-Saint-Georges appellation. Confidently working their 40-45 year old vines, they respect the past but also want their wines to be enjoyed by a range of Burgundy drinkers. Kermit sums up their style nicely: it “gracefully manages to achieve suppleness and approachability without sacrificing authenticity, typicity or age-ability”. In this bottling, pretty high-toned raspberry mixes with warm wood notes on the nose followed by dusty dark cherry on the palate. The texture is rounded and supple, ringed with a minerally firm edge, while a vein of hidden underlying acidity provides lift and focus. Enjoyable now with some air or cellar a few years to tease more out of it.

L’O de Joncier Côtes du Rhône 2012
$13.99/$11.20 by the case | Regular price $18
I’m an addict of southern Rhône reds in all their forms; from meaty hearty Gigondas to lighter-bodied daily drinkers, there’s something about this region’s wines that are hard to resist. This end-of-vintage deal falls somewhere in-between delivering a relatively elegant expression of classic southern Rhône flavors. Joncier is one of the top producers in Lirac, an appellation just west across the river from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Winemaker Marine Roussel aims to achieve balance, purity and minerality in her wines and is greatly helped by the quality of her biodynamic terraced vineyards. The alluvial soil and galets roulés mirror those of Châteauneuf, giving the fruit a complexity and fineness not found in other appellations’ heavier soils. Looking for freshness and vibrancy in this 100% Grenache bottling, Marine harvests the fruit earlier than for her other wines. There is a subtle interplay between fruit, earth and light herbal notes while the texture is full smooth and approachable. Dark cherry, fresh strawberry, wild herb...I’m making myself thirsty.

Cantine Valpane Barbera del Monferrato Perlydia 2007
$16.99/$13.50 by the case | Regular price $26
This cool bottling reveals a different personality of Barbera thanks to its age and origin. This comes from Piedmont’s Monferrato region, an area the importer describes as “relatively untamed”, and the wine seems to mirror these surroundings, exhibiting a full-flavored rustic meatiness. Valpane has been winning awards here since the 1800s and has one of the best sites in the appellation. Never one to hurry quality, winemaker Pietro Arditi lets this wine rest for 2-5 years in stainless and cement tanks followed by one year in bottle, releasing it when he thinks it is ready. With a ripe gamey spicy nose, this screams old world and Piedmont (slightly northern Rhône as well). It takes a little while to open up (it is a 2007) but once it does, it delivers aromatics and flavors of dried cherry, spiced plum cake, cured tobacco, fresh mushrooms and more. The texture is smooth but precise and taut, allowing the flavors to stand out.

Twenty Rows Merlot Napa Valley 2012
$14.99/$11.99 by the case | Regular price $26
Amazingly the “Sideways” effect continues. Ever since Paul Giamatti’s character Miles refused to drink Merlot in the 2004 hit comedy, this forlorn varietal has struggled to regain its past popularity. This bottle is a perfect example. Not only is it delicious, it drinks more like a Cab Sauv than what many people still think of as Merlot. If the label said Cab Sauv it would easily sell at regular price. Since it is says Merlot, well, you get a deal! Rich and mouthfilling, this is loaded with all kinds of Napa goodness. The ripe fruit is dark and spicy, shaded from blue to black, and the texture soft and caressing. An almost citrus liveliness weaves in and out giving lift to the otherwise bass note flavors and the finish echoes with caramel and toasty oak.

Gobelsburger Grüner Veltliner Kamptal 2013
$18.99/$15.20 by the case
We were looking forward to February’s Grüner tasting where we explored the highly-touted 2013 vintage and we were not disappointed. Longtime Grüner fans as well as the Grüner-curious showed up and it seems everyone left with a bottle or more. Across the board the wines showed an intensity and complexity that belied their moderate prices. This bottling was the first of the flight and while the others may have been richer, this is a great introduction to the charms of Grüner at an exploratory price. Terry Theise, who imports more than a dozen top Grüner estates named Gobelsburg as one of his two top wineries of the vintage. Tasting this for the first time he admonished the winemaker: “you can’t sell this wine at this price, you’ll spoil everyone. It’s fresh and euphoric, with the lift and polish of ‘13; clear, winsome, “sweet” fruit [it isn’t sweet] and a solid underpinning that isn’t precisely peppery, yet is focused and filigreed...’

White Wine Ramblings

El Corazon Pistolero Walla Walla Valley 2012
$39.99/$31.99 by the case
We haven’t seen this crazy label for a few years and 2012 is a great vintage to see it return. A blend of Malbec, Cab Franc, Carmenère, Merlot, Cab Sauv and Petit Verdot, this is complex, interesting and really well balanced for a Walla Walla big red. Not only are there six varietals, the fruit is sourced from three different vineyards - Seven Hills, Birch Creek and XL -that have different soil compositions even though they are quite close to one another. This has plenty of fruit but also fresh aromatics and a jazzy liveliness that keeps the flavors bopping around the palate. Shades of hazelnut and milk chocolate mix with red and black plum while mild oak and black pepper add dimension on the finish. Just released, this has real staying power; after 2 days it was even better, super smooth and just singing.

Westrey Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2012
$24.99/$19.99 by the case
Many 2012 Pinots in this price range have come and gone so here’s a late release that is worth getting excited about. Normally this bottling is a blend of vineyards but the fruit for the 2012 came from Westrey’s own vineyard, Oracle, which sits next to Abbey Ridge in the Dundee Hills. A Dundee Hills single vineyard 2012 for 25 bucks? Yes please! Its generous fruit profile (courtesy of the vintage) is balanced by great natural acidity, thanks to the vineyard’s location; critic Josh Raynolds called it “quite lively for a 2012” with an appealing “nerviness”. The fruit leans mostly red, heading to black complemented by spicy notes of licorice and clove with dusty floral notes on the finish.

King Estate Blanc de Noirs 2008
$24.99/$19.99 by the case
While I know the above wines were just released, this one I’m not sure - but that is part of the story. Our rep brought it to taste in January (yep, right after New Year’s) but it was the first she had seen of it. Same goes for her colleagues. Any info on the King Estate website? Nada. Whatever the backstory, it’s a secret worth sharing. Meaning no disrespect, Argyle has the Oregon sparkling thing pretty locked up with very little competition; except now for this. 100% Pinot Noir from the celebrated 2008 vintage, this drinks really nicely from the first aromas to leave the glass to the lingering finish. Gentle red fruit flavors strongly suggest its Pinot composition but it stays light on its feet with a lively effervescence that keeps the creamy texture rolling across the palate. Fairly priced, tasty from the word go and adorned with a classy label, this “new” Oregon sparkler is ready to liven up all kinds of occasions.  

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