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

 

FEBRUARY 2018 NEWSLETTER

 

RED WINES

OREGON

2016 Fossil & Fawn, Pinot Noir, Silvershot Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon 22.99/248.29

Fossil & Fawn refers to the marine sedimentary soils of the Silvershot vineyards located in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, and a nod to the family horse that roamed the area. Employing native yeasts and a minimalistic approach in the winery, Fossil & Fawn’s 2016 Silvershot Vineyard Pinot Noir casts brilliant garnet color in the glass, followed by aromas of tart cranberries, Morello cherries, mustard seed, and loamy earth. Earthy again on the fore-palate, the wine segues to delicious expressions of sappy pie cherry and crunchy cranberry fruit backed by plentiful fine tannins, brisk acidity, herbs, and subtle barrel tones. Deep soil notes and complex suggestions of button mushrooms, blond leather, and sous bois complete the wine and make it both immediately delicious and poised for medium-term evolution. Enjoy this lovely, earthy, natural Pinot now and over the coming five years with broiled salmon, seared duck breast, roast chicken, and vegetarian recipes featuring morel mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, or braised lentils.


FRANCE

2015 Burle, Vacqueyras, Southern Rhone Valley, France 17.99/194.29

A perennial favorite in these pages, Burle’s newly released 2015 Vacqueyras highlights the harmony of the vintage’s perfect growing season with a dense black-plum color and a bouquet filled with notes of plum skin, licorice, parched earth, blood oranges, smoky cured meat, black pepper, and garrigue. The wine then stains the palate with deep, soulful expressions of boysenberries and black cherries framed by chewy tannins and savory notes of menthol, black pepper, lavender, and juniper. Tarry black cherry fruit, black licorice, and lovely mushroom notes mark the long, energetic finish. As with the entire range of wines from the Burle portfolio, this 2015 Vacqueyras is traditionally crafted and an incredible value. Enjoy now or over the coming six years with roast leg of lamb, ratatouille, and recipes favoring rosemary and fresh garlic.

2014 Mas d’Intras, La Cuvee d’Alphonse, Ardeche, France (O) 11.50/124.20

The Ardeche area between the northern and southern Rhone Valleys is a little known region with a long viticultural history. This is a area of experimentation, with traditional Rhone varieties sharing the stage with grapes from Burgundy and Bordeaux. What’s wonderful is that this blend of tradition and progressiveness succeeds, as evidenced by this bottle from Ardeche natives Denis Robert and Sebastien Pradal. The dark ruby-colored Cuvee d’Alphonse is an organically-grown blend of Merlot (65%) and Syrah that seamlessly fuses the plum, cassis, and chocolate notes of the Merlot with the tobacco, pepper, violet, and leather nuances of the Syrah. The result is a delicious, gulpable marvel that’s just the ticket for your winter gatherings. Invite friends over, throw some burgers or chops or Portobello mushrooms on the grill, pour this wine, and celebrate the simple (and affordable) wonders of life.

2016 Chateau Falfas, Cotes de Bourg, Les Demoiselles de Falfas, Bordeaux, France (B) 19.99/215.89

The Right Bank appellation of Cotes du Bourg fashions some of Bordeaux’s most delicious, approachable and affordable expressions of Merlot. Committed to biodynamic principles since 1988 – a rarity in Bordeaux – the Chateau Falfas is considered one of the Cotes du Bourg’s finest vineyard sites. Crafted to be enjoyed in its youth, Falfas’s Demoiselles cuvee is a young-vine blend of Merlot (75%) and Cabernet Sauvignon. A beautiful young claret color, the Demoiselles opens with high-toned aromas of cassis, black raspberries, and gravelly soil. Deft yet silky on the palate, the Demoiselles conveys its natural, biodynamic origins with a hint of wild yeast funk that leads to soil-driven expressions of plum and cassis fruit. Hints of earth, mushrooms, and violets emerge on the wine’s delicious, satisfying finish. This is pure, unadorned, unpretentious, and remarkably versatile Bordeaux that’s ready for your table, served with everyday dishes like burgers, pan-seared pork chops, mac ’n’ cheese, lentils, and grilled Portobello mushrooms. Enjoy now and over the next five to seven years.

2015 Chateau du Hureau, Saumur-Champigny, Tuffe, Loire Valley, France (O) 15.99/172.69

The gorgeous Cabernet Francs of Saumur-Champigny can be expensive and take years to mature, or they can deliver an immediate and delicious mouthful of soul-satisfying Cabernet Franc laced with the Saumur’s inimitable yellow limestone (tuffeau) soil signature. This beauty from Chateau du Hureau lands firmly in the second camp. The Chateau’s Tuffe bottling offers a pure, perfumed bouquet of violets, dusty tuffeau soil, tobacco, herbs, and capsicum followed by a generous palate of tangy black cherry and cassis fruit. Smoky, leathery, both serious and gulpable, Hureau’s Tuffe is ready to grace your table with all the character and perfumed terroir of the Loire Valley’s Saumur sector. This is a ridiculous value selection that promises year-round versatility. Pair in cool weather with roast chicken or hearty mushroom dishes, or give it a light chill in the summer and serve it with grilled zucchini, barbecue chicken, ribs, and fresh chevres.

2016 Thevenet & Fils, Bourgogne Rouge, Les Clos, Burgundy, France 18.99/205.09

This is gorgeous, soil-driven, single-vineyard Pinot Noir from the southern reaches of Burgundy and a steal for its modest tariff. Jean-Claude Thevenet’s superb Macon and Saint-Veran always resonate with our discerning Burgundy clientele. This month we present Thevenet’s sole red wine, sourced from a superbly situated single vineyard in the village of Bussieres. A brilliant garnet color in the glass, Thevenet’s Les Clos presents dusty, soil-inflected, authentically Burgundian aromas of cranberries, black raspberries, earth, and orange peel. Chewy and sappy on the palate, the wine alternates vivid impressions of Bing cherries, tangy raspberries, soft tannins, and dusty limestone soil. Bright minerals, balancing acidity, and appetizing bitter herbal notes carry the wine to its long, savory finish. Pair now and over the next three years with poultry, pork, stews, and rich recipes featuring morel mushrooms.


ITALY

2015 Vallana, Spanna, Colline Novaresi, Piedmont, Italy 18.99/205.09

Renowned for intense, characterful, long lived wines from the Alto Piemonte, Vallana’s Spanna is a 100% Nebbiolo vinified traditionally in cement and aged six months in large oak casks. A beautiful black cherry color in the bowl, swirl the Spanna vigorously to coax its lovely aromas of pomegranate, orange oil, smoky soil, salumi, and white pepper. On the palate, pomegranate and cherry fruit join with plentiful old-school tannins, balancing acidity, and complex notes of orange-scented potpourri, tobacco, mushrooms, and ferrous soils. Long, zesty, and brimming with character, this is a superb and unusually affordable expression of Alto Piemonte Nebbiolo. Pair this beauty with both classic hearty Piemontese cuisine and with everyday fare such as pizza, pasta, burgers, and pork chops.

2014 Rapalino, Barbera d’Alba, Pian Romualdo, Piedmont, Italy 14.99/161.89

Federico Rapalino’s exemplary Barbera is among our customers’ most beloved wines and one of the most successful selections in our newsletter history. Rapalino’s transparent black plum-colored 2014 Barbera casts an earthy nose of blackberries, violets, leather, and dark tobacco. Brisk and vivacious, the wine’s tart blackberry and black currant fruit is complemented by complex hints of tar, leather, tobacco, and button mushrooms. Fans know that Pian Romualdo is one of Barbera’s grand cru sites, and in every vintage Rapalino’s expression confirms the vineyard’s exalted status. Delicious now with braised beef, oven-roasted root vegetables, egg-rich pastas, or grilled pork, the wine will also cellar well for five to seven years. As it matures, the 2014 Barbera’s mushroomy, tertiary notes will blossom and amplify.

2015 Canalicchio, di Sopra, Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 19.99/215.89

This is textbook Rosso di Montalcino; the kind that gives one a clear glimpse into just how fabulous the wines of Montalcino are. We’ve long admired the pure, unadorned, old-school wines made by Franco Pacenti at Canalicchio, and this terrific Rosso di Montalcino is yet another in the long line of successes issued by the estate. Rosso di Montalcino is Brunello’s little brother, a wine made with all the distinctive character that comes from Montalcino soil and the Brunello clone of Sangiovese, intended to be enjoyed at a younger age. The Canalicchio’s 2015 Rosso displays a beautiful, transparent, mahogany-tinged garnet robe and bright, perfumed nose of black cherries, violets, leather, and Medoc-like pencil lead. The Rosso’s pure fruit – unfettered by any oak influence – stains the palate with notes of damson plum, dusty earth, leather, bitter herbs, and chocolate. The wine finishes long and complete, with plentiful fine tannins and just enough acidity to rein in its round, generous texture. It will drink well for three to five years with traditional Tuscan fare, especially hearty pastas, grilled beef, and roast pork.


SPAIN

2014 Ronsel do Sil, Mencia, Vel’uveyra, Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, Spain (S)
18.99/205.09

Grown on steep, terraced granite slopes in far northern Spain, the Ribeira Sacra boasts a winemaking history that goes back to Roman times. The difficulty of working these slopes caused many of the region’s finest vineyards to be abandoned in the 20th century. Fortunately for wine lovers, these terraced slopes are being rediscovered and rededicated to the production of wine. High above the River Sil, Maria Jose Yravedra lovingly crafts a complete portfolio of Ribeira Sacra’s finest wines. Her Vel’uveyra (“gaze at the vineyard” in ancient Galician dialect) is crafted from 100% Mencia grown at 1,000-1,500 feet above sea level. A crimson-tinged ruby hue in the glass, Ronsel do Sil’s Vel’uveyra Mencia casts smoky, granite-inflected aromas of black cherries, licorice, and violets. Light, silky, and transparent in the mouth, the wine balances bright cherry and raspberry fruit with savory tannins, vivifying acidity, and lovely kiss of French oak. Smoky, meaty, and refreshing, the Vel’uveyra finishes with added suggestions of cracked pepper, anise, cinnamon, tobacco, and persistent waves of smoky cherry fruit. This is one delicious and drinkable wine that will make a lovely partner over the coming three years for paellas, tapas, grilled mushrooms and meats, and braised rabbit.



WHITE WINES

AUSTRIA

2016 Nigl, Gruner Veltliner, Freiheit, Kremstal, Austria (S) 18.99/205.09

2016 is shaping up to be a classic Austrian vintage. Nigl, unquestionably one of Austria’s elite estates, crafts focused, chiseled wines of impeccable detail and transparency, and this is their finest Freiheit in years. From the deep Löss soils on which Gruner Veltliner thrives, the 2016 Freiheit conveys the shimmering acidity, transparent clarity, and persistent mineral tension that we so adore. The wine casts a pale green-gold hue followed by crystalline aromas of honeysuckle blossoms, jasmine, lentils, and white pepper. Nigl’s Gruner strikes the palate with pure, mineral-driven green melon, lime, and gooseberry fruit accented by suggestions of sweet snap peas, blond tobacco, and lemon thyme. Brilliant acidity transitions the Freiheit to its long, zippy finish, which features echoing waves of deep Löss minerality and brisk impressions of citrus and melon fruits. Enjoy the wine now or over the coming two years with sauteed green vegetables, grilled zucchini, braised pork, and roast chicken.


FRANCE

2016 Domaine de la Bregeonnette, Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie,
Loire Valley, France (O) 13.99/151.09

Located in Vallet, the heart of the Muscadet zone, Domaine de la Bregeonnette’s organic vines grow on a soil rich in mica-schist, which imparts the wine with great purity, fruitiness, and minerality. Pale green-tinted lemon-gold in the glass, the 2016 Muscadet bursts with classic, briny Muscadet aromas of lemon zest, lime juice, green apple skin, and iodine. Brisk and juicy, the wine layers the palate with mineral-driven citrus fruit accented by hints of lemongrass, menthol, and medicinal herbs. Fresh and invigorating, the wine finishes with vibrant preserved lemon and quince fruit, lemon balm, and pungent schistose minerals. Pair now and over the coming five years with all things shellfish, seasonal squashes, freshwater fish dishes in a beurre blanc sauce, seafood pastas, lightly dressed salads, and braised leafy greens like chard and kale. This is superb, refreshing Muscadet that’s impeccably made and a joy to drink!

2016 Paul Pernot et ses Fils, Bourgogne Chardonnay, Burgundy, France 27.99/302.29

The 2016 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Chardonnay is at once rich, textured, and precise, conveying premier cru intensity and soil transparency rarely found in such an affordably priced Cote-de-Beaune blanc. Fashioned from declassified Puligny-Montrachet vines on the Meursault border, the wine opens with a lemon-gold color in the glass followed by rich, golden, Meursault-like aroma of lemon curd, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and subtle French oak inflections. Long, sappy, and packed with limestone-infused impressions of fresh lemon juice, acacia blossoms, and buttery pastry crust, Pernot’s Bourgogne blanc finishes elegant, rich, and incredibly well balanced. In addition, palpable limestone mineral undercurrent persists from start to finish. Enjoy this beauty now and over the coming decade with roast pork, veal, poultry, white-fleshed fish dishes, and young chevres. Very limited – especially in the short 2016 Burgundy vintage – so be sure to call early to secure your case of this beauty.

2015 Maison Joseph Drouhin, Puligny-Montrachet, Burgundy, France 59.99/615.49

What a treat it is to be able to secure enough of this impressive Puligny-Montrachet to feature it in these pages! Puligny is white Burgundy’s most prestigious village and home to four grand cru vineyards. Drouhin’s 2015 Puligny casts a classic green-gold white Burgundy robe and fills the room with grand cru scents of yellow apples, raw hazelnuts, limestone minerals, and barrel tones of vanilla and toffee. On the palate, Drouhin’s Puligny is rich, intense, and packed with pear, yellow plum, and citrus fruits. Its wonderful, resinous palate texture gives way to a long, luxurious, mineral-infused finish. Secure your case now to enjoy this winter and over the coming fifteen years with roast chicken, pork, halibut, and snapper. Please do not delay, as these 12 cases will be gone in a flash.

NV (2016) Domaine Leon Boesch, Edelzwicker, Alsace, France (B)
15.99/172.69 (1 liter)

The family Boesch are eleventh-generation Alsatian vignerons who adhere to the mystical principles of biodynamics to grow and vinify their exemplary range of traditional varietal wines. A blend of Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, and Muscat, Boesch’s exotic, aromatic Edelzwicker (“noble blend”) combines leftover wines from the domaine’s finest parcels into a delicious, affordable cuvee. Deep green-gold in the glass Boesch’s Edelzwicker casts captivating aromas of muskmelon, passion fruit, pineapple, smoky minerals, lychee, and sweet spices. Fresh and brimming with energy, the wine presents an amalgam of Alsatian goodness with white pepper and botrytis-driven citrus and orchard fruit backed by suggestions of lemongrass, fennel, and freshly grated ginger. Serve this delicious and versatile wine year ’round with pates, terrines, firm and washed rind cheeses, choucroute garnie with sauerkraut, and savory cuisines from Alsace, Germany, and central Europe. Far more serious than most Edelzwickers, Boesch’s beauty sports a laughably low price and is packaged in a handy one-liter bottle to boot!

2016 Domaine du Pas Saint Martin, Saumur Blanc, La Pierre Frite, Loire Valley, France (CO) 15.99/172.69

In the heart of Saumur, Laurent Charrier and his mother run the Domaine du Pas Saint Martin producing an impressive and complete portfolio of central Loire Valley wines. The Charriers’ Saumur blanc La Pierre Frite, fashioned from Chenin Blanc grown organically on silica-rich limestone soils, is given extended ageing on its lees to enrich the wine’s palate texture and express the Saumur’s special terroir. Pale straw-gold in color, the wine shows the incredible purity of the 2016 vintage with aromas of Bartlett pear and honeydew melon complicated by notes of iodine, freesia, and gardenia blossom. On the palate, juicy acidity drives the wine’s core of melon, pear, and kiwi, while brisk acidity amplifies the wine’s smoky tuffeau limestone soil signature. Further notes of green pineapple and Pippin apple flesh complete the wine as it finishes long and complicated by the vineyard’s special flint-and-limestone terroir. This is splendid, expressive Saumur blanc that’s ready to drink now partnered with everything from bivalves to cephalopods to halibut to sauteed zucchini to light poultry recipes.

HUNGARY

2014 Kiralyudvar, Tokaji Furmint, Sec, Tokaji, Hungary (B) 19.99/215.89

Kiralyudvar (kee-rye-oohd-var) is the crown jewel estate of Hungary’s legendary Tokaji region, and their 2014 Tokaji Furmint Sec is simply sensational. Casting a deep lemon-gold color in the glass, Kiralyudvar’s Furmint Sec opens to reveal the high-toned bee pollen, honeycomb, and white meadow flower aromas. Brisk acidity and a generous core of lemon, bitter orange, and white grapefruit grace the palate alongside a riveting flinty mineral undercurrent. A blend of Furmint (80%) and Harslevelu, the wine develops a fascinating resinous texture on the palate, which follows through to a long, clean finish suggesting orange blossom water, quinine, and nutmeg. We recommend pairing Kiralyudvar’s Furmint Sec with young and mature goat cheeses, braised pork, tapas featuring smoked paprika, and assertive Hungarian fare such as goulash. A stunning wine of great character and depth – and a must try!

ITALY

2016 Matteo Correggia, Roero Arneis, Piedmont, Italy (O) 14.99/161.89

A guiding light for the renaissance of quality in the Piedmont’s Roero district, the legacy of the late Matteo Correggia shines brightly with this reference standard Arneis grown on sandy soils northwest of the Langhe. A pale lemon-gold color with green reflections, Correggia’s 2016 Arneis bursts with aromas of juicy peaches, ripe apricots, honeydew melon, sultanas, and jasmine blossoms. Vibrant and fleshy on the palate, Correggia’s Arneis conveys a flinty soil undercurrent wrapped inside deep expressions of ripe melon, apricot, and peach fruit. Notes of dried apricots and peaches re-emerge on the wine’s long, juicy finish leaving the palate lingering with complex suggestions of fresh mint, almond skin, and dusty soil. Enjoy this delightful bianco now and over the coming year and with all things seafood, seasonal squashes, fresh cheeses, and white pasta preparations.

SPAIN

2015 Bodegas Muga, Blanco, Rioja, Spain 13.99/151.09

Perhaps the Bodegas’ most distinctive wine is its resinous barrel-aged Blanco. Muga’s 2015 Blanco fuses Viura (90%) with a blend of Malvasia and Garnacha Blanco, all fermented and aged in oak. Like other great Rioja blancos, the Viura effortlessly absorbs the wood and seamlessly integrates its flavors into the wine. The waxy, honeycomb nuances of the Viura are accented by the exotic, floral notes of the wine’s nominal (but aromatically significant) Malvasia component. This barrel fermentation and aging provides the wine with additional texture, grip, and delicious vanilla and spice accents. Enjoyable now, Muga’s Blanco is poised for another decade of ageing. Perfect for Manchego cheese, tapas, paellas, braised pork, and potato dishes, the wine is a wonder for food versatility. Alongside the reservas and gran reservas from Lopez de Heredia, this Muga is one of the truly great examples of Rioja blanco, and one of our very favorite Spanish wines.

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FRIDAY TASTINGS:

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

Feb. 2 - Two Peas in a Pod: Syrahs from Cote-Rotie and Cornas

Feb. 16 - Barolo… all night long

Mar. 2 - Great Alsatian Rieslings



SATURDAY TASTINGS:

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

Feb. 3 - Great wines from Europe: Bodegas Muga Blanco Rioja, Nigl Gruner Veltliner Freiheit, Kiralyudvar Tokaji Furmint Sec, and Ronsel do Sil Mencia Vel’uveyra.

Feb. 10 - Superb French wines: Dom. de la Bregeonnette Muscadet, Dom. Leon Boesch Edelzwicker, Paul Pernot Bourgogne Chardonnay, Ch. du Hureau Saumur-Champigny Tuffe, and Burle Vacqueyras.

Feb. 17 - Luscious Italian beauties: Matteo Correggia Roero Arneis, Vallana Spanna, Rapalino Barbera d’Alba, and Canalicchio Rosso di Montalcino. Plus, from Oregon: Fossil & Fawn Pinot Noir.

Feb. 24 - Sippin’ through France: Dom. du Pas St. Martin Saumur Blanc La Pierre Frite, Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet, Thevenet Bourgogne Rouge Les Clos, Mas d’Intras La Cuvee d’Alphonse, and Ch. Falfas Les Demoiselles de Falfas.

 

 


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.