May 27th, 2015 9:07am - Posted By: Chris Lamson
Saint Andre Figuiére – Rosé Côtes de Provence ‘Magali’ 2014
Alain Combard is a native son of Provence. He learned winemaking at the side of Michel Laroche in Chablis, but eventually decided to return home to make his own wines in the south of France. His children have joined his efforts, with his son and two daughters all playing key roles in the family business. The Cuvée Magali is named for his youngest and most outgoing daughter, who is in charge of public relations. The wine is a blend of Cabernet, Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault, and has a gorgeous carnation pink color. Like its namesake it is outgoing, with a lively nose of honeydew melon, candy corn, and spring rain. It has a creamy mouthfeel and considerable richness to its citrus and red fruit flavors, like a double scoop of orange sherbet and strawberry sorbet. It finishes dry and refreshing, with a nice cut of acid and mineral complexity. The 2014 crop of rosés have us all excited, and not least so because of the terrific range and individuality they are showing. We have a bunch of them—more than anyone else in Colorado—and if you aren’t drinking rosé this summer you’re missing the best part of it.
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May 27th, 2015 9:05am - Posted By: Matej Dolenc
i vini di Jacopo – Schioppettino Friuli Colli Orientali
Seeing as we only have 3 cases of this wine, and it’s almost half priced, and I want to spread the love, there is a 4 bottle limit. This is a red wine, from northeastern Italy, and the varietal is Schioppettino, which is native to the Slovenian-Italian border region where its history goes back to the 1200s. This varietal almost went extinct, but luckily a few diligent growers decided to keep it around. This medium bodied red, with 12.5% alcohol is delightfully vibrant and aromatic, with soft red and blue fruits, and markedly high acidity. Mushroom and soft earth aromas and flavors make this wine decidedly old world, and the finish is marked by a wildness that hints towards sour beers. If this sounds funky it’s because it is, which is exactly the kind of wines I love. No jammy decadent fruitbomb here, just a beautifully nuanced and distinctive red that will please fans of northern Italian reds, cru Beaujolais, or red Burgundy. Light enough to work with fish off the grill, but round enough to pair with meat and pasta dishes, this is a rare grape that anyone who wants to taste as many different varietals as possible should get in their glass.
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May 20th, 2015 9:16am - Posted By: Chris Lamson
Salvard Cheverny Rosé 2014
This family run estate in the eastern part of the Loire valley has been a favorite around here for more than a decade. My predecessor Jeremy was a big fan of their white Cheverny, and I made a lot of money selling it to him as a sales rep. I’m just as big a fan, and that wine is always in prominent placement in our store. Their rosé is a more recent addition, this being the fourth vintage we’ve sold. Its blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Gamay yields a lighter, more delicate rosé than the more common Provençal Cinsault and Grenache grapes. It captures the essence of Cheverny’s chalky, sandy soils as perfectly as the white wine’s Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. In fact its acid structure is reminiscent of Loire Sauvignon Blanc—racy and citrusy, like a lemon sorbet. The similarity ends there, as this wine offers ethereal rosewater and strawberry aromas that echo its light cotton candy pink hue. It is light and bright on the palate and offers tangy rose hip and rhubarb fruit followed by a zippy finish. It serves as a perfect foil for all manner of fish and poultry dishes, and is a surprisingly good match for a plate of BBQ ribs if you are in that kind of mood. Like most rosés, it is wildly versatile as well as being wildly delicious.
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May 20th, 2015 9:16am - Posted By: Matej Dolenc
Domaine Courbis – Syrah VDP de l’Ardeche 2013
On my recent trip to France I had two great days visiting producers in the northern and southern Rhone. These included some of the superstars of the region as well as some smaller, under-the-radar estates, but all were memorable in their own way. The day in the northern Rhone started with a visit to Domaine Courbis in Saint Joseph with Dominique Courbis, who tends the vines while his brother Laurent is in charge of the winemaking. Standing over the steep vineyards of Syrah in Saint Joseph, with the Rhone river and Hermitage in the backdrop, listening to this passionate farmer talk about his vines is something I will not forget soon. Tasting the wines wasn’t too shabby either. In the realm of northern Rhone reds, the Courbis Saint Joseph and Cornas (which we also have) are relative values for around $40, but it is this little inexpensive Syrah that is a true steal. Northern Rhone Syrah is as highly regarded a wine as Barolo or Burgundy in the minds of the wine trade, and just as those wines, the great wines are expensive and produced in small quantities. This is why a wine like this, that showcases all the beauty and distinctiveness of Syrah grown in the northern Rhone, but at an affordable price, is truly a gem. 12.5% alcohol, with distinctive pepper notes highlighting the plum and black cherry aromas, all leading to a deliciously round and gulpable profile, with a complex yet gentle finish. I don’t think you’ll find a more distinctive and likable red for $12.
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May 13th, 2015 9:23am - Posted By: Chris Lamson
Bovale - Bobal Utiel – Requena 2012
Utiel-Requena is a study in how small details can make or break a winemaking terroir. This area a few dozen miles west of Valencia has been the site of grape cultivation since at least 700 B.C., yet it has one of the harshest climates in Spain, with hot dry summers and cold winters. The saving grace is the temperate Solano sea breeze which moderates the temperature to a point where grapes can thrive. The hardy Bobal variety is well suited to the wild climate swings, and thrives here, particularly when planted at higher elevations like the old vines used for this bottling, which grow at 3000 feet. Bobal is the signature variety of this area, and despite its relative obscurity, it is one of the most planted varieties in Spain. It makes a wine that is rich and delicious in a unique way. It has a subtle, transient peaty smokiness, as though someone else in the room were drinking scotch or had a scent of cigar smoke lingering on their clothes. It is a beautiful foil for opulent black cherry fruit which is balanced by an understated acid counterpoint, and finishes with lingering fruit. It’s been a while since I tasted a wine with this much personality, let alone one that sells for $12.
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May 13th, 2015 9:22am - Posted By: Matej Dolenc
Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen – Riesling ‘Eroica’ 2009
Seeing as how I just went to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra performance recently, and as summer is (hopefully) approaching, it’s time to start hyping Riesling, and specifically this beautiful Riesling named after a Beethoven composition. This is an essentially dry Riesling, but with 5+ years of age, it is a stunning example of how wonderfully Riesling ages and evolves. While the current vintage of Eroica is 2013, this 2009 is a library release from the good people at Chateau Ste. Michelle, who partner with Dr. Ernest Loosen, one of Germany’s greatest winemakers and wine personalities, to produce this very special bottling. Silverish/gold in color, and with stunningly vibrant aromatics, this wine is distinctive and delicious as only Riesling can be. Texturally dramatic and complex, with loads of zesty fruit, minerality, and racy acid, this is the wine to have with any spicier Asian or Indian food. Sommelier Paul Grieco, owner of Terroir wine bar in New York City, started Summer of Riesling in 2011, and every summer since there have been many Riesling events around the country and the world to bring to the masses what we in the wine trade all know; that Riesling, in all its incarnations, is simply one of the greatest wines in the world. After tasting this Eroica, you might agree.
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May 6th, 2015 9:30am - Posted By: Chris Lamson
Baracchi – Rosso Toscana O’Lillo 2013
In Cortona, east of Siena and near the eastern boundary where Tuscany transitions into Umbria, The father and son team of Riccardo and Benedetto Baracchi continue a family tradition of growing grapes that began 150 years ago. They grow on a wide range of soils, tailoring their grape varieties to the terroirs of their land. For this blend they use 25% each of Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah. Each is vinified separately in large, old oak barrels, then blended and aged in stainless steel prior to bottling. Fermentation in old oak softens the wine without adding any oak flavor, and aging in stainless steel helps preserve the freshness of the fruit character. Fermenting each varietal separately preserves their individual characters in the same way that a quick vegetable sautée will have more differentiated flavors than a stew. Each grape variety adds its personality; Sangiovese’s elegance is apparent in the smoke, tobacco, and delicate dried flower aromatics. Cabernet adds structure, body, some minty aromatics, and raspberry fruit notes. Merlot adds black cherry and peppery spiciness, and Syrah adds a touch of cocoa, blueberry fruit, and black olive. Super-Tuscan style blends like this are nothing new, but they offer a delightful balance of easy-drinking fruitiness and complex sophistication, and they should be on your short list of go-to wines for just about any occasion.
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May 6th, 2015 9:30am - Posted By: Matej Dolenc
Pelissero – Dolcetto d’Alba ‘Munfrina’ 2012
Seeing as how this cloudy, gloomy weather is supposed to last all week, I figured I’d offer up to you this sweet little red. Not sweet as in sweet tasting, but sweet as in “sweet…dude!” Dolcetto, in Italian, means sweet and little, but the wine Dolcetto is in fact a dry red from one of the world’s greatest wine producing regions. Giorgio Pelissero is one of the top producers of Barbaresco, and we were lucky to have Giorgio pay us a visit earlier this year. It’s always a privilege to meet and taste with a man that makes world class wine, and Giorgio is the typical charming, dapper Italian, who exudes confidence and passion about his wine and his home. While the Barbarescos are truly stunning, it is this ‘everyday’ red that should not be missed. At 13% alcohol and a delicious, medium-bodied personality, this is the red wine that is built to go with pretty much anything. Cherries, mint, herbs, and floral notes are all present on the aromatic profile, which leads to a decidedly grapy, yet plush and smooth palate. The wine has depth, despite being medium-bodied, and the gently mouth coating texture reveals more mineral and fruit notes, all leading to a finish that is gently dry with very subtle tannins and acidity. Fans of Italian wine or Pinot Noirs will enjoy this, and will likely join the growing numbers of wine drinkers that are discovering how amazingly tasty and drinkable Dolcetto really is.
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