© Liner & Elsen, all rights reserved. Availability and prices may have changed since the newsletter date.

DECEMBER 2018 REVIEWS


HOLIDAY SAMPLERS: OREGON PINOT NOIR

The Gold Pinot Noir Case Sampler … 465.00 reg. 520.00
The case contains two bottles of each selection:

  • 2015 Crowley, Cuvee L&E, La Colina Vineyard, Dundee Hills
  • 2016 Evesham Wood, Cuvee J, Eola-Amity Hills
  • 2017 Kelley Fox, Mirabai McMinnville-Dundee Hills
  • 2016 Lingua Franca Vineyard, Avni, Eola-Amity Hills
  • 2011 Phelps Creek, Regina, Columbia Gorge
  • 2016 Thomas, Dundee Hills

The Silver Pinot Noir Case Sampler … 245.00 reg. 275.00
The case contains two bottles of each selection:

  • 2016 Belle-Pente, Willamette Valley
  • 2017 Broadley, Willamette Valley
  • 2017 Fossil & Fawn, Silvershot Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hill
  • 2016 Haden Fig, Freedom Hill Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills
  • 2015 Ken Wright Cellars, Willamette Valley
  • 2016 Vincent, Ribbon Ridge

Our Six-Pack Oregon Pinot Noir Sampler … 160.00 reg. 180.00
The pack contains one bottle of each selection:

  • 2016 Domaine Divio, Willamette Valley
  • 2015 Eyrie Vineyards, Estate, Willamette Valley
  • 2015 Evening Land, Seven Springs Eola-Amity Hills
  • 2017 Fossil & Fawn, Silvershot Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills
  • 2016 Haden Fig, Freedom Hill Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills
  • 2016 Lingua Franca Vineyard, Avni, Eola-Amity Hills


SPARKLING WINES

NV Domaine des Baumard, Cremant de Loire Rose, Brut Extra, Loire Valley, France 29.99/323.89

Baumard’s blend of Cabernet Franc (50%), Grolleau (30%), and Chardonnay offers aromas of blood oranges, dried herbs, and smoky minerals. The wine finishes long and floral, displaying the eastern Loire Valley’s complex, smoky soil signature. A world-class sparkler!
Josh Raynolds, Vinous: 90 points

NV Diebolt-Vallois, Brut, Tradition, Champagne, France 33.99/367.09

Wow! This gorgeous blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier is gonna knock your socks off. Complex aromas of Brioche, blood orange, strawberry, and limestone set the stage for a Champagne that possesses an elegant, velvety palate that offers the finest of bubbles and an exceptionally long finish. A tremendous value.
Wine Spectator: 92 points

NV Simmonet-Febvre, Brut, Cremant de Bourgogne, Chablis, France 16.99/183.49

A delicate and full flavored blend of Chardonnay (60%) and Pinot Noir. On the nose the wine offers hints of light Brioche, Asian pear, and apples. The wine finishes with elegant, lingering hints of toast, lemon mousse, and apparent minerality. Best deal under $20.
Wine Enthusiast: 90 points


RED WINES

OREGON - RED

2017 Evesham Wood, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon (S) 19.99/215.89

The elegant, classic 2017 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir vintage blessed winemakers with gorgeously bright and expressive fruit. Always among the finest region’s choices for quality and value, Evesham Wood’s 2017 Willamette Valley Pinot offers high-toned aromas of raspberries, rhubarb, sour cherries, and wood spice. Brisk and invigorating on the palate, the wine blossoms with waves of pie cherry, cranberry, and red raspberry fruit followed by notes of cinnamon, hibiscus, and dried herbs. Zesty acidity and well-buffered tannins frame the Pinot’s snappy red-fruited core before segueing to a long, tangy finish. Lithe, savory, and impressively balanced, Evesham Wood’s 2017 Pinot is a mouthful of classic Oregon Pinot and an absolute joy to drink. Delicious now, the wine has the balance and structure to gain nuance and complexity with another five to seven years in the bottle. Pair with roast chicken, turkey, duck, chanterelle mushroom preparations, and broiled salmon.

Plus: Our Oregon Pinot Noir 12-case and 6-pack samplers (see above)


FRANCE - RED

2016 Joseph Faiveley, Bourgogne, Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France (S) 23.99/259.09

This is authentic, old-school, soil-driven red Burgundy that’s coiled with energy waiting to unfurl. Burgundy’s legendary Faiveley family is among the largest owners of classified vineyards in the Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beaune, and Cote Chalonnaise. Faiveley’s 2016 Bourgogne rouge reflects a deep ruby robe and complex aromas of cinnamon, smoky oak, black raspberries, Bing cherries, and violets. Brisk and energetic on the attack, Faiveley’s Bourgogne presents elegant red cherry and currant fruit accented by notes of cloves, mustard seed, and bay leaf. The wine finishes long, lithe, and tensile with echoes of spicy cherry fruit, rhubarb, and earthy limestone minerals. Ready to serve today with roast chicken, pan-seared pork chops, and broiled salmon, or cellar the wine to age for seven to ten years.

2017 Pierre et Rodolphe Gauthier, Bourgueil, Jour de Soif, Loire Valley, France (CO) 17.99/194.29

From their certified organic estate, this is the Gauthier family’s fresh, easy drinking cuvee, crafted specifically to be enjoyed in the first year of its life. A translucent purple-ruby in the glass, Gauthier’s Jour de Soif is Cabernet Franc in its purest, most delicious state. A heady bouquet of cassis fruit complicated by classic Cabernet Franc notes of tobacco, herbs, and perfumed limestone soil. Fresh, invigorating, and endlessly delicious, this is a year ’round wine of immense pleasure that will pair beautifully this winter with bean and meat stews, braises, sausages, and pot roast and carry you all the way to next summer where, with a light chill, it will prove an excellent warm weather rouge with dry rubbed ribs, burgers, grilled summer squashes, marinated flank steak, and barbecued chicken. The must-buy red of this newsletter!

2015 Elian Da Ros, Le Vignoble d’Elian, Cotes-du-Marmandais, Southwestern France (B) 19.99/215.89

Elian Da Ros’s wines are the reference standard for their appellation and some of the greatest values in all of France (or the world, for that matter). Working biodynamically, Da Ros combines the traditional Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Franc (50%) and Merlot (30%) with the Rhone’s noble Syrah (20%) to create this delicious, refined, and complex red. The 2015 bursts with sappy, old-vine aromas of black plums, cassis, tar, garrigue, and baker’s chocolate. The wine then fills the senses with a deep, chewy kernel of black fruits, tar, game, tobacco, and menthol followed by soft tannins and delicious barrel tones of toffee and smoke. Its silky texture and plush mouth-feel would not be out of place in a lineup of top-notch St. Emilions and Pomerols. Generous now but with plenty in reserve, the wine finishes Right-Bank-style with gamy black fruits accented by reprises of cocoa and limestone minerals. Buy this wine by the case and enjoy it now and over the coming decade with rib roast, roast lamb, gratin dauphinois, and rich eggplant recipes. Do not delay, as all previous vintages have sold out in short order.

2016 Chateau la Canorgue, Luberon, Rouge, Southern Rhone Valley, France (B) 19.99/215.89

Jean-Pierre and Martine Margan biodynamically farm sixty acres of terraced vines on light, highly mineral soils. Fashioned from a traditional Southern Rhone blend of Syrah (70%) and Grenache, Canorgue’s 2016 Rouge bursts out of the glass with a saturated plum-ruby robe and classic Southern Rhone-Provençal aromas of black cherry skin, tar, black pepper, and herbal garrigue. Vibrant and energetic on the palate, Canorgue’s rouge follows through with a chewy kernel of black plum and black cherry fruit accented by notes of anise, leather, thyme, mushrooms, and savory. Full-bodied and fleshy, yet with the deftness, finesse and focus that we’re seeing in the great 2016 Southern Rhone vintage, the wine finishes long, complete, and oh-so satisfying. Enjoy now and over the coming five years as a lovely foil for lamb roasts, hearty bean stews, braised short ribs, and garlicky ratatouille.

2016 Joseph Drouhin, Rully Rouge, Cote Chalonnaise, Burgundy, France (B) 26.99/291.49

The Cote Chalonnaise village of Rully is renowned for its bold, full-bodied expressions of red and white Burgundies. Immediately to the south of the Cote d’Or, Rully’s reds are celebrated for their chewiness, structure, and ability convey Burgundy’s inimitable limestone goût de terroir. Drouhin’s 2016 Rully rouge radiates a brilliant youthful ruby robe segueing to a lovely nose featuring suggestions of raspberry compote, red currants, lilac and red rose petals. Fresh and sappy on the palate, the wine shows impressively pure red cherry and red currant fruit brightened by a vivid undercurrent of powdered limestone. Long, elegant and totally delicious, this beauty is ready for your table tonight with roast game, pan-seared pork chops, autumn squash dishes and grilled sausages. It will also repay five to seven years’ ageing in your cool cellar. A truly great Burgundy value that satisfies on all levels! Very limited: only ten cases available.


ITALY - RED

2015 Tenuta Olim Bauda, Barbera d’Asti Superiore, Le Rocchette, Piedmont, Italy (S) 20.99/226.69

Sourced from 65-year-old vines on sandy white marl soils, Olim Bauda’s Le Rocchette Barbera sports a lovely black-ruby color followed by opulent aromas of ripe plums, cherries, menthol, loamy earth, and mushroomy underbrush. Bright and vibrant on the palate, the wine presents kirsch and plum fruit alongside complex notes of licorice, button mushrooms, anise, tar, and tobacco. Bracing acidity cuts through the Rocchette’s rich fruit expression and segues it to a long, balanced finish featuring fine tannins, loamy earth, and autumnal suggestions of fallen leaves. Delicious, balanced, and complex beyond its modest tariff, this grand cru old-vine Barbera is ready for your table tonight and over the coming five years with hearty pastas, braises, pizza, marinated flank steak, and eggplant casseroles.

2015 D’Angelo, Aglianico del Vulture, Basilicata, Italy 15.99/172.69

On the base of the ancient Monte Vulture volcano in southern Italy’s mountainous Basilicata province, the rustic but noble Aglianico marries with deep volcanic soils to produce Basilicata’s most revered wine. Opaque crimson-tinged plum in the glass, d’Angelo’s 2015 Aglianico casts aromas of salted plums, dried cherries, violets, and peppery volcanic earth. Firmly tannic, spicy, and appealingly rustic on the palate, d’Angelo’s Aglianico alternates waves of dense plum, fig, and cherry fruit, balsam, Szechuan peppercorns, firm tannins, and spicy volcanic minerals. Chewy, delicious and begging for food, the wine finishes with further waves of piquant earth, dried fruits, licorice, bittersweet chocolate, mesquite smoke, and gripping tannins. This is superb, authentic, and food-friendly Aglianico to buy by the case and serve with hard cheeses, hearty pasta dishes, roast lamb, grilled beef, and rustic eggplant casseroles.


WHITE WINES

OREGON - WHITE

2016 The Eyrie Vineyards, Pinot Blanc, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon (CO) 18.99/205.09

Best known for its elegant, racy expression of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay, Oregon’s pioneering Eyrie Vineyards also fashions what many agree is the finest Pinot Blanc in the state. Eyrie’s Pinot Blanc from the elegant, balanced 2016 Willamette Valley vintage casts a medium lemon-gold hue from the glass followed by aromas of pear skin, lemon pith, apricot, and smoky, mineral-rich soil. Fresh and zesty on the palate, the wine’s crisp, bracing acidity drives deep expressions of yellow apple skin, fennel, and chamomile. Clean and focused, the Pinot Blanc finishes with further sensations of crisp green apples, tart green melon, ginger, and lemon balm. This is a terrific choice to savor over the coming five years with grilled sockeye salmon, halibut, pan-roasted black cod, poultry dishes, and grilled squashes. World-class Pinot Blanc!


FRANCE - WHITE

2017 Cedrick Bardin, Pouilly-Fume, Loire Valley, France 16.99/183.49

Pale lemon-gold in the glass, Bardin’s Pouilly-Fume casts textbook aromas of grapefruit, basil, honeysuckle, chalk, and flint. Lemony on the attack, the Sauvignon’s grassy edge emerges mid-palate along with expressions of juicy white grapefruit, gooseberry, Key lime zest, quinine, and smoky minerals. Long, crisp, and classically structured, Bardin’s Pouilly-Fume finishes clean and citrusy with persistent echoes of grapefruit, basil, green pineapple and flinty minerality. Enjoy this superb and comfortably priced Pouilly-Fume now and over the coming five years with raw oysters, pan-roasted mussels, white-fleshed fish preparations, seared sea scallops, sauteed green vegetables, and fresh chèvres.

2016 Domaine Maurice Schoech, Cotes d’Ammerschwihr, Alsace, France 15.99/172.69

This is Domaine Schoech’s delicious everyday white blend fashioned from primarily Pinot Blanc with a dollop of Muscat, all grown on hillside vineyards situated at the beginning of the valley south of Ammerschwihr. A brilliant lime-glinted lemon-gold color, Schoech’s Cotes d’Ammerschwihr fuses Pinot Blanc scents of pear and green apple with exotic Muscat notes of orange zest, muskmelon, lemongrass, and lavender. Brisk acidity balances the wine’s fleshy yellow plum and apricot fruit expression and lifts floral top notes of lemon verbena, lavender and musky herbs. Schoech’s Cotes d’Ammerschwihr finishes long, crisp, clean, and begging for food. Enjoy now and over the coming three years with tarte flambee, sausages, choucroute garni, sauteed leafy greens, and Alsatian cheeses.

2017 Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis, Reserve de Vaudon, Burgundy, France (B) 33.99/367.09

Drouhin-Vaudon’s biodynamic viticulture and masterful winemaking imbue its Chablis portfolio with authentic terroir expressions and impressive purity of fruit. Brilliant lemon-gold in the glass, the 2017 Reserve opens with brilliant limestone and iodine-infused Chablis notes of lemon curd, pear skin, and flint. Brisk, intense, and energetic on the palate, suggestions of salty citrus fruit and acacia blossom fuse with undercurrents of flinty limestone soil, buttery lemon curd, and quinine. Further waves of saline minerals segue the wine to its long, full citrus and oyster shell-driven finish. Classically structured, intense, and bracingly acidic, Drouhin-Vaudon’s 2017 Reserve drinks well young, but will easily reward five to ten years’ patience in your cool cellar. Pair with all things seafood, vegetable souffles, potatoes au gratin, poultry, and pork. Limited.

2017 Joseph Drouhin, Saint-Véran, Burgundy, France 20.99/226.69

Saint-Veran, in the Maconnais region of southern Burgundy, is the source of delicious Chardonnays laced with Burgundy’s inimitable limestone soil signature. In the gorgeous, generous, and critically acclaimed 2017 vintage, Drouhin has fashioned another immediately enjoyable, soil-driven white Burgundy. The 2017 Saint-Veran sports a lovely lemon-gold color in the glass followed by aromas of sweet cream butter, honeysuckle, apple blossoms, and salty limestone minerals. On the palate, the wine is packed with delicious suggestions of raw hazelnuts, buttery lemon curd, and white flower, amplified by lilting acidity. A vibrant undercurrent of saline oyster shell minerality marks the wine’s long lip-smacking finish. Enjoy this lovely, authentic, reasonably-priced white Burgundy now and over the coming three years with salmon, pork, roast chicken, duck, boudin blanc, and light pork dishes.


HUNGARY - WHITE

2015 Kiralyudvar, Tokaji Furmint Sec, Tokaji, Hungary (B) 19.99/215.89

Kiralyudvar’s Tokaji Furmint Sec is sensational once again in the 2015 vintage, and a testament to the seriousness and excellence of Tokaji’s dry wines. Casting a deep lemon-gold color in the glass, the wine opens to reveal deep aromas of bee pollen, honeycomb, quince, and white meadow flowers. Brisk acidity lifts the core of candied lemon, bitter orange marmalade, and sweet yellow melon fruit enlivened by a riveting flinty mineral undercurrent. A blend of Furmint (95%) and Harslevelu, the wine delivers a fascinating resinous texture on the palate, which follows through to a long, clean, persistent finish suggesting preserved lemons, grapefruit zest, quinine, and nutmeg. We recommend pairing with young and mature goat cheeses, braised pork, terrines, tapas featuring smoked paprika, and assertive Hungarian fare such as goulash.


ITALY - WHITE

2017 Tenuta Olim Bauda, Gavi del Comune di Gavi, Piedmont, Italy (O) 15.99/172.69

Based on the Cortese grape, Gavi is Piedmont’s most celebrated white wine, and one of only a handful of Italian white wines to be honored with full DOCG status. Olim Bauda’s 2017 Gavi opens with a brilliant, green-glinted lemon gold color and fresh aromas of lemon zest, green pineapple, and chalky minerals. On the palate, the wine unfurls with juicy white grapefruit, lemon, and yellow plum notes followed by suggestions of juniper, tarragon, and lemon thyme. Tangy acidity and a sweet floral note segue the wine to its crisp and lip-smackingly delicious finish, which echoes further hints of juicy citrus, lemon balm, and medicinal herbs. Drink this fantastic, affordable Gavi young to capture the wine’s freshness, crispness and zip. Enjoy with golden trout, snapper, soups, vegetable frittatas, sauteed zucchini, clams, and halibut. Delicous wine!


PORTUGAL - WHITE

2017 Luis Seabra, Vinhos Xisto Ilimitado, Branco, Douro, Portugal (S) 21.99/237.49

After a decade as Niepoort’s winemaker, Luis Seabra followed his own star to craft wines using minimal intervention, and the result here is a world-class offering. A blend of 30- to 45-year-old Rabigato (50%), Codega (20%), Gouveio (15%), and Viosinho grown on mica schist 1650-1950 feet above sea level, Seabra’s Xisto Ilimitado casts a brilliant straw gold from the glass followed by aromas of smoky schist-infused pear, yellow plum, and white currant fruit. Performing akin to a premier cru white Burgundy on the palate, the Xisto Ilimitado fuses a pure orchard fruit expression with subtle barrel notes, all buoyed by a persistent mineral undercurrent. Juicy, pure, and utterly delicious, the wine finishes with a haunting floral suggestion of sweet gardenia blossom. Enjoy this delicious taste of the Douro now and over the coming three years as you would a fine Chablis or Puligny-Montrachet, served with oysters on the half-shell, seafood and vegetable tapas, poultry and fish dishes, and rich green vegetable preparations.

2017 Quinta de Porrais, Branco, Douro, Portugal 9.99/107.89

The terraced shale vineyards of the Douro are a sight to behold. Here the vines cling to the precipitously steep hillsides and absorb the plenitude of minerals in the vineyards’ shallow soils. Grown at nearly 2,000 feet above sea level, Quinta de Porrais’s Branco – a blend of old-vine Codega do Larinho (60%) and Rabigato – expresses the intense minerality of the soils on which they grow. The Branco casts smoky, mineral-infused aromas of green pineapple, honeydew melon, acacia blossoms, and hay. Brisk and invigorating on the palate, an acid backbone propels a tart core of green plum and melon fruit. Floral notes emerge to segue the Branco to its long, clean finish featuring waves of smoky shale and schistose minerals. This is a stunning value as an everyday sipper or as a complement to green salads, sauteed zucchini, oysters on the half-shell, sashimi, steamed clams, and seafood tapas.


SPAIN - WHITE

2017 Can Sumoi, Xarel-lo, Penedes, Spain (CO) 16.99/183.49

This is a superb Xarel-lo – the noble variety of Cava – and a world-class introduction to this unique grape. Can Sumoi’s 2017 Xarel-lo opens with a limpid straw gold color and high-toned aromas of Anjou pear, lime zest, linden blossom, and dusty limestone. On the palate, Can Sumoi’s Xarel-lo is incisive, mineral-driven, and marked by nuances of freshly shaved fennel, quince, bay leaf, and champagne-like yeastiness. Rivetingly acidic, the wine finishes taut and tensile with superb cut and a shimmering mineral undercurrent that propels reprises of pear, citrus blossoms, and juicy fennel. Pair now and over the coming four years with seafood and vegetable tapas, paellas, escargots, grilled albacore tuna, and sharp cheeses. The must-try white of the newsletter!


FRIDAY TASTINGS:
First and third Friday of the month
5:30-7:30 p.m. ~Fee~

Dec. 7 - Our Semi-Annual Champagne Blast! Party hats required!

Dec. 14 - Special Event: A comprehensive tasting of great Chateauneufs-du-Pape, plus other Rhone wines.

Dec. 21 - A whole bunch of new Oregon releases: Cameron, Thomas, Eyrie, Lingua Franca, and more!

Jan. 4 - Start with great new Brunello for the new year.


SATURDAY TASTINGS:
Weekly; 12-4:30 p.m. ~No fee~

Dec. 1 - From France: Bardin Pouilly-Fume, Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis Reserve de Vaudon, J. Faiveley Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Pierre et Rodolphe Gauthier Bourgueil Jour de Soif, and Ch. la Canorgue Luberon Rouge.

Dec. 8 - From Iberia: Quinta de Porrais Branco, Luis Seabra Vinhos Xisto Ilimitado Branco, and Can Sumoi Xarel-lo. Plus, from Oregon: Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Blanc, and Evesham Wood Pinot Noir.

Dec. 15 - From Italy: Olim Bauda Gavi, Olim Bauda Barbera d’Asti Superiore Le Rocchette, and D’Angelo Aglianico del Vulture. Plus, selections from our Oregon Pinot Noir Samplers.

Dec. 22 - Great French Wines: Dom. Maurice Schoech, J. Drouhin Saint-Veran, J. Drouhin Rully Rouge, and Elian Da Ros Le Vignoble d’Elian. Plus, from Hungary: Kiralyudvar Tokaji Furmint Sec.

Dec. 29 - Bubbles all day long: Happy New Year!


SPECIAL EVENTS:

Rhone Valley Wine Tasting

Friday, December 14,
5:30-7:00 p.m.

Join us for an informal tasting of great Southern Rhone wines. We will feature Chateauneufs-du-Pape and Cotes-du-Rhone from Dom. Giraud, Dom. de la Janesse, Dom. Marcoux, Famile Brechet, Roger Sabon, and Clos St. Jean.

Reservations are not necessary, but come early! Tasting fee $25.

 


B = biodynamic methods; CO = certified organic; O = organic; S = sustainably farmed
 


© Liner & Elsen, all rights reserved. Information and prices apply during the current month only. Wine availability and prices are subject to quantity on hand. We are not responsible for mispriced items in the newsletter.