We love our store and how we have it set up to represent the regions the wines come from instead of by the grape variety, because the identity the region imparts on the wine (often referred to by the French term 'terroir') is such a vital factor. But it can cause problems sometimes, as when a great Chardonnay like this comes from an area we don't usually think about when recommending one. We have to force ourselves to not immediately think "Burgundy" or "California" to put wines like this in the customer's hand. Or, we can show it off in the Select Six! This Chardonnay has a lot of the New World earmarks with rich creamy tropical fruit aromas and round melon and oaky textures on the palate, but also carries fine mineralty from the unique shale soils from the base of the Kasteelberg mountain range. An exciting effort that delivers loads of character you would be hard pressed to find under $20 in the 'regular' Chardonnay destinations.
Regular Price $15.99, $13.7/case
2015 JEAN-MAURICE RAFFAULT CHINON ROSE
This is the time of year when Rose really shows its versatility. In day to day life it walks the line between a white wine's refreshing character with a chill on it, as well as a red wine's red fruits and hints of tannin. For us, it means a Rose can work as either a red or white wine option in our Select Six; for June, the Rose option is going red. This offering from Chinon in the Loire has been a regular favorite here for several years now always bringing out all the lovely aromatics the Cabernet Franc grape is known for without any earthy or vegetal edges that can plague the full on reds in some vintages. Pure strawberry leaf and dried cherry skins pop almost immediately from the glass, with savory lavender and subtle herbs unfolding as it opens up or warms a bit. Fresh out of the fridge the flavors are more dried strawberry as the cool temperature brings out the acidity, and as it warms up more of the juicier cherry tones come through. Though Provence and Southern France gets most of the notoriety for making Roses, Loire ones like this provide every bit as much fun.
Regular Price $15.99, $13.79 /case
2014 l'ECOLE #41 SEMILLON COLUMBIA VALLEY
The Semillon grape is a variety that tends to get more attention as a helping grape in blends than it ever does on its own. In White Bordeaux and similarly styled wines it adds richness and heft to the bright grassiness of Sauvignon Blanc, or in Chardonnay to provide a little life behind the butteriness. Flying solo, the variety actually shows very distinctly in Washington State, as the long days of sun during ripening develop the rich fruit while the quick switch back to cool evenings at harvest capture the acidity. l'Ecole 41 has been one of the leading family run Washington estates since they started in 1983, and their Semillon has been the picture of consistency and value. Rich and slightly waxy in texture with just a little bit of oak barrel presence, the smoothness is complimented with lots of lemon curd and stone fruit character. A great match with richer seafood dishes or poultry with lots of citrus influence.
Regular Price $16.99, $14.44 /case,
2014 AZ. AG. DURIN ROSSESE RIVIERA LIGURE DI PONENTE
The steep hillsides along the Ligurian coastline barely have room for towns and roads, much less vineyards. But in typical Italian fashion they have somehow found the least extreme slopes to attach vineyards and make unique and delightful regional wines. Volume is of course minimal, and the wines are scarce outside the region or shockingly pricey. At least until we found this producer, one of the few cooperatives that purchase grapes from a selection of tiny family growers. The Rossese is one of the few red grapes found here, fairly light skinned and producing wine of a color barely deeper than the most cherry colored Rose, but possessing plenty of flavor and structure. Fragrant from the first pour, full of cherry skin, violets and red flowers, as well as a hint of the seaside. On the palate the tannins are very fine and light, allowing more savory red fruits to show through, and a lightness across the finish that calls to mind a Beaujolais in many ways. A very fair comparison, as the wine is locally served with similar sorts of cured meats and light meat dishes. We recommend the same treatment.
Regular Price $17.99 , $15.29 /case
2014 CHRISTOPHE THORIGNY VOUVRAY SEC
Chenin Blanc is one of our favorite 'geeky' grape varieties here, as it can be so versatile making the full spectrum of dry to super-sweet wines, and allowing a distinctive sense of place to come through in each style. Vouvray is one of the great addresses for Chenin, with the distinctive crumbly yellow limestone in the soil called 'tuffeau' that brings out a consistent honeyed aromatic even in the dry wines that doesn't appear in the Chenin Blanc from Anjou about 20 miles downriver. The Thorigny family has been farming vineyards from a single village area of Parcay-Meslay for four generations, and little of their wine leaves the property, but we are lucky enough to have access to this treat. Complex wild honey and rich white citrus and pear aromas that gain subtlety and savory tones as it opens up, and an incredibly lush texture that is about as close as you can get in a wine to the sensation of biting into a piece of fruit. A well polished and beautifully crafted wine that should be in every Chenin Blanc drinker's fridge.
Regular Price $16.99, $14.44/case
2014 YVES GUEGNIARD/DOMAINE DE LA BERGERIE ANJOU ROUGE 'LA CERISAIE'
It is usually difficult to find fans of both Bordeaux and Loire red wines, unless the person is an out-and-out Francophile. Bordeaux tend to be brawnier, more tannic and long lived, even those that don't contain Cabernet Sauvignon. Loire reds tend to be vastly dominated by Cabernet Franc, which makes prettier wines with less aggressive tannins and structure, and Cabernet Sauvignon rarely makes an appearance. This small estate bottling is one of the few instances Cab Sauv is used, and the result is a wine that may well be the crossover hit between Bordeaux and Loire drinkers.Deeper and color than expected, and a noticeable dark cassis aroma behind the pretty red fruits and flowers from the Cab Franc. The biggest difference is on the palate, with a firm tannin and dark fruit that gives the wine a bit more guts. No weedy underripe flavors here, this is as formidable as most Right Bank Bordeaux, able to stand up to any hearty dinner.
Regular Price $14.99, $12.74/case