INSIDER'S PICK: NV TREVERI ROSE COLUMBIA VALLEY ($15.99) NV A.R. LENOBLE CHAMPAGNE 'INTENSE' (Mag 14) $37.99
A New Year's Eve double feature tasting, providing a little something for whatever type of celebration you may be attending this evening. For the more casual party or budget conscious get-together we have one of the most unsung American sparkling wine producers we've ever brought in. For those going a little more formal or doing something more upscale, we have Champagne from a producer that offers great value for the quality they deliver, punching well above the more famous mass marketed names. Whatever your plans are and wherever you're going, one of these is bound to be a crowd favorite tonight. Both of these wines will take the usual Insider's Pick 10% discount over the course of the day.
Treveri is a sparkling wine specialist from Washington, existing outside the more glamorous growing areas of Napa and the Willamette Valley, which allows them to grow and source fruit inexpensively and bring their wines to the table at extremely fair prices. They explore a lot of varieties making their sparkling wines, both traditional and non-traditional, such as with their Rose which uses Syrah blended with Chardonnay to provide the bright ruby color. Dry, but not astringently so, with lots of cherry skin and tart raspberry fruit, and even hints of the cool climate Syrah note of savory meats. Juicy enough on the palate to enjoy sipping by itself, but also substantial and complex enough to marry in with meaty hors d'oeuvres you may be snacking on tonight.
A.R. Lenoble is one of the rare houses in Champagne that is a)family owned and run, b)environmentally conscious ( Haute Valeur Environnementale certified), and c) still provides great deals up and down their lineup. Having picked up a singifigant part of their lineup over the last few months, from Blanc de Blancs to Blanc de Noirs and even a snazzy little Demi-Sec, this is definitely a house we endorse without reservation. The 'Intense' is their flagship non-vintage cuvee, unique in that the family ages the base wine from each growing year in magnum bottles instead of tanks until it needs to be blended, providing a unique texture and flavor component to the wine, as well as providing consumers with an easy way of recognizing a different lot of non-vintage wine.Vibrant white fruit with a touch of skin and bitter almond. Lots of complex white and red fruit on the palate without being exorbitant and over the top, either in style or in cost. A name in bubbly you should definitely get to know.
Whichever of these wines you may choose for this evening, have a safe and enjoyable New Year!
A bit of a double feature today for tasting, as we are also featuring local producer North American Sake Brewery from 2pm onward, with a representative from the brewery in through at least 5pm. Based in the IX Park complex beneath Three Notch'd Brewery, this is an exciting producer with a lot of experience gained in Japan learning the craft. We will be pouring their Junmai, Nigori, and Karakuchi Genshu bottlings (pictured), as well as a brand new release of sparkling sake. Come for the wine, and surprise yourself with quality sake!
There is more than one way to skin a cat, as the old saying goes, and there's more than one way to make a wine from a grape with thick skins. If that isn't a saying yet, then it should, as there are more and more wineries looking to build their wines in less intensive and aggressive styles. Mourvedre is a grape that is traditionally marked for greatness based on the extremes of size, weight, and intensity, usually done so for the wow factor and the potential for keeping in the cellar for decades. And this isn't to disparage wines like Bandol from France of the impressive Monastrells from around Valencia, which are wonderful in their own right. But this is built from the ground up to show more restraint; shooting for lower sugars in the grapes at harvest, less time sitting on the skins so the tannins aren't as harsh, less emphasis on new oak and barrel aging. The result is a wine that's approachable, fresh, and drier on the palate, but no less flavorful.
A deep ruby color in the glass, but not so inky and opaque that it's sucking the light from objects around it, and a surprisingly savory aroma of black skinned fruits, ground pepper and dusty berries. On the palate there isn't even the slightest hint of sweetness or jammy fruit, completely tart and tangy black fruits with a touch of cranberry skin, fine and dusty tannins that give everything a pop of dusty herbs through the finish. Mourvedre has such a strong reputation for making palate staining wines, but this is downright elegant in nature, and doesn't require something equally nassive to pair with it. This is a style that has developed more popularity thanks to the naturalist wine movement, and while the Skinner Vineyards isn't dogmatic about following those methods, this definitely learns some of their lessons, and is a delicious food friendly option to enjoy.
An old friend is back in the store after being absent for a few vintages in Virginia. Pali Wine Co. is like many good names in the Californian wine business, with a focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and sourcing fruit from various sites where they can find them. Over the years they have accumulated quite the inventory of top notch properties to work with, extending from the Sonoma Coast all the way down to Santa Barbara. Where they have been most successful and exciting (at least to us) has been their lineup of value oriented 'regional' wines, blends of several vineyards within specific AVAs. Their choice of site is pretty much impeccable, and their winemaking style is very restrained on the oak and extraction, which allows the regional character to really shine through in each bottling. All too often you find producers with these types of bottlings where the 4-5 'different' regions taste way more alike than not, but the Pali wines always shows a wonderful sense of place to us.
The Huntington is built from 5 vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley and Santa Rita Hills, and is just a picture perfect reminder of how distinct Santa Barbara wines are. Deep ruby in the glass but not thick and saturated, the nose has surprisingly cool black cherry skin aromas, blue and black fruits, a bit of cola and dried spice. Some of the Santa Barbara area wines can have a overly warm streak, but the cooling fog influences definitely show through here to keep the sweeter side of Pinot Noir in check. The palate has a nice mouth-filling juiciness to it at first, lots of black raspberry and cherry notes, but the fine tannins and acidity start to kick in as it sits on your palate, getting more savory and black herbs as well as a touch of fresh tartness that lingers on the finish. Far from an overblown fruit bomb, this is what the 'Sideways' era Pinot drinker was getting excited about back in the day, and what is still exciting about the region now.
In our most recent Select Six email, the write-up on the Laffitte-Teston Madiran makes mention of how the Tannat grape is increasing in popularity among Virginian vineyards and winemakers. Another grape you may see appearing more frequently at local wineries is Blaufrankisch, one of the most popular and important grape varieties in Austria and Eastern Europe. While it can have some issues with early frosts, it tends to be very hearty and thrive in warmer summers, producing dark wines with lots of fruit ranging from juicy and spicy to a bit of savory funk. Wineries looking to make an everyday easy drinking wine may emulate the Hungarian Ergi Bikaver, or 'Bull's Blood', but those looking to make a more intensive red may look to wines like this from Austria's Burgenland region. As one of Austria's warmer climates, the Blaufrankisch here gets about as ripe as possible, and is so well respected there is a 'Cru' designation available for sites and areas to award producers looking to make high level wines.
Inky dark in the glass, the nose is full of black fruits and spice that push right up to the edge of being called 'warm', but still have that cool blue fruit/cola/savory spice note that keep it from showing too jammy. The palate is deep and mouthfilling, juicy almost in the way of a Zinfandel or a Cotes du Rhone but with darker fruit and more natural acidity. There is also a bit of chew from the natural tannins which gives a lot of length and dry currant tones to the finish. There is a lot more muscle and sinew to the fruit than most would expect from a wine this far from the warmth of the Mediterranean, so fans of those types of wines should take notice, maybe mix one in for a meal one weekend.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!