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JULY 2022 REVIEWS


RED WINES

OREGON – RED

NV Crowley Wines, Pinot Noir, DH, Willamette Valley, Oregon (S) 23.99 / 259.09

We love Crowley Wines’ elegant expressions of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Tyson Crowley’s creative and inspired side comes to the fore with this brilliant Pinot Noir cuvée featuring a whisper of Chardonnay to add verve and transparency. The DH Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a blend of primarily 2018 Pinot blended with dashes of 2019 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all sourced from the superb Four Winds and La Colina vineyards. The wine casts a translucent plum ruby robe followed by a full-throttle bouquet of black raspberries, Bing cherries, rose petals, barrel smoke, pencil shavings, and mustard seed. Lush and sumptuous on the palate, the wine presents a chewy kernel of cherry, black raspberry, and cassis fruit backed by complex suggestions of bay leaf, thyme, cinnamon, and licorice. Fine, buffered tannins emerge mid-palate and segue the DH to its long, earthy, cherry and currant-tinged finish. This superb and comfortably priced cuvée seamlessly balances the generosity and vinosity of the warm 2018 Willamette Valley vintage with the elegance and transparency of the 2019. Enjoy this beauty now or over the coming five years with sautéed spring and summer vegetables, Chinook salmon, roast chicken, duck, burgers, grilled hanger steaks, and hearty casseroles.

FRANCE – RED

2019 Vignoble Guillaume, Pinot Noir, Vin de Pays de Franche-Comté IGP, France 17.99 / 194.29

Vignoble Guillaume’s delicious, light, and most affordable Pinot is a frequent feature in these pages, and this is the estate’s finest effort yet. The Guillaume family, one of the world’s largest cultivators of vines, places its cuttings and grafts throughout the world’s finest appellations. In the 1980s, Xavier Guillaume began crafting wines from the family’s expansive vineyard holdings between Burgundy and the Jura. Guillaume’s gorgeous, opulent 2019 Pinot Noir reflects a transparent red ruby color followed by aromas of pomegranate, cranberries, pie cherries, geranium, and wood spice. Generous and savory on the palate, the wine’s crystalline core of red Pinot fruit meshes with complex suggestions of Ceylon black tea, Clementine orange, hoisin sauce, and clayey earth. The wine finishes juicy and lip-smacking with layers of crunchy currant and cherry fruit lifted by a persistent mineral undercurrent. Enjoy this delightful red now and over the coming two years with poultry, rabbit, semi-firm cow’s milk cheeses, potatoes au gratin, and light pork preparations.

2021 Domaine A. Pégaz, Brouilly, Beaujolais, France (O) 17.99 / 194.29

The slopes of Mont Brouilly bestow lovers of Gamay with some of the most distinctive and soil-driven expressions of Beaujolais’ famed crus. The southernmost of Beaujolais’ crus, Brouilly features a unique soil type: a blue/black volcanic rock called diorite that is known locally as “cornes vertes.” Jean-Francois Pégaz assumed the helm of this superbly situated 22-acre estate in 2009 and converted it to organic farming and minimalist vinification to better express Brouilly’s distinctive soil signature. Pégaz’s 2021 Brouilly, vinified from 40+-year-old vines, explodes from the glass with a translucent plum-ruby hue and gorgeous, mineral-inflected aromas of red plums, wild strawberries, black cherries, and dusty soil. Savory, lip-dusting, and soil-driven, the Brouilly’s palate expression melds chewy black cherry and cassis fruit with dusty, plentiful tannins and an earthy soil signature. The wine finishes long and delicious with chewy cherry, currant, and blackberry fruit complicated by pungent, earthy minerals. A terrific choice for your warm weather barbecues, pair this beauty now and over the coming seven years with broiled salmon, grilled summer squashes, dry-rubbed ribs, grilled skirt steak, and pan-seared pork loin chops.

2019 Domaine de la Graveirette (Julien Mus), Côtes du Rhône, Rhône Valley, France (B) 15.99 / 172.69

This is really great Côtes du Rhône, and one that will find favor with both newcomers and traditionalists who relish chewy, old-school, transparent Southern Rhône rouges. After completing his viticultural and winemaking studies in Burgundy, Julien Mus returned to his family’s domaine on the outskirts of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Mus converted the domaine to Biodynamic principles and committed his fruit to minimal-intervention, artisanal winemaking. Mus’s beautiful, floral 2019 Côtes du Rhône is composed of Grenache that’s vinified and aged traditionally in concrete tanks. It radiates a beautiful plum-ruby hue in the glass and explodes with warm, inviting Southern Rhône scents of cinnamon, cloves, tart plums, sweet red cherries, five spice, and licorice. At once sumptuous and taut on the palate, Mus’s Côtes du Rhône balances its generous fruit expression with plentiful, dusty tannins, freshening acidity, and classic Southern Rhône touches of licorice, allspice, garrigue, and crushed stones. Enjoy now and over the coming five years with roast lamb, grilled burgers, pork braises, hearty bean stews, and ratatouille.

2020 Domaine du Cros, Marcillac, Lo Sang del Païs, Southwestern France 16.99 / 183.49

A unanimous staff favorite every year, the 2020 Lo Sang del Païs is quite possibly the Domaine du Cros’s spiciest and most compelling vintage yet. Marcillac is home to the wonderfully obscure grape, Fer Servadou, or Mansois in local dialect. Fashioned exclusively from Mansois, Domaine du Cros’ Lo Sang del Païs – the blood of the countryside – casts a radiant ruby hue in the glass followed by head-spinning aromas of Sichuan peppercorns, capsicum, iodine, geranium, and ferrous earth. Spicy, peppery, and brimming with personality, the wine presents a bright, focused, savory palate marked by notes of red currants, tart cherries, black tea, vine smoke, salt, and bay leaf. Plentiful fine tannins and buoying acidity transition the Païs to its long, salty, spicy, mineral-driven finish. Enjoy this beautiful and distinctive Marcillac now and over the next seven years with sausages, burgers, sautéed squashes, braised lentils, and light cassoulets.

ITALY – RED

2019 Col D’Orcia, Toscana IGT, Spezieri, Tuscany, Italy (CO) 13.99 / 151.09

Col D’Orcia is one of the original estates of Montalcino, and now the largest certified organic estate in Tuscany. The estate leverages its strengths and creativity to fashion this superb Toscana IGT – a classic Tuscan mélange of Sangiovese (85%) blended with Ciliegiolo and international varieties. 2019 will surely reveal itself as one of Tuscany’s finest vintages, and Col D’Orcia’s Spezieri exemplifies the harvest’s strengths with a deep plum-ruby robe and dusty, soil-driven aromas of black Italian plums, Bing cherries, button mushrooms, blond leather, and chewy licorice. Suave and precocious on the palate, the Spezieri conveys a core of chewy plum, blackberry, and cherry fruit infused with suggestions of mocha, porcini mushroom, salted plums, and sarsaparilla. Lifting acidity and dusty tannins emerge as the wine segues to its long, savory, saturated, plummy finish. Pair it now and over the coming three years with pizza, meaty pasta dishes, rich Tuscan bean stews, stuffed portobello mushrooms, and grilled porterhouse steaks. We also think this beauty can take a slight chill and work with antipasti, cured meats, sandwiches, picnic fare, and summertime barbecue victuals.

2017 Monsecco, Colline Novaresi Nebbiolo, Pratogrande, Piedmont, Italy 25.99 / 280.69

The Monsecco estate’s classic, long-lived Gattinaras and Barbarescos from the 1950s through the ‘80s are fanatically sought after by collectors. Today the Monsecco estate continues its long track record of excellence with a full portfolio of authentic, traditionally-crafted Alto Piemontese wines. Monsecco’s Pratogrande bottling is Nebbiolo from vineyards just outside the hallowed Gattinara and Ghemme zones. A beautiful orange-rimmed garnet color, the wine casts a classic Alto Piemonte nose of pie cherries, licorice, white pepper, salumi, and smoky soil. Plentiful lip-dusting tannins and juicy acidity frame the Protogrande’s core of wild cherry and plum fruit. Long, zesty, and brimming with character, the wine finishes with complex notes of cloves, cinnamon, tobacco, menthol, orange-scented potpourri, and ferrous limestone. Pair this pure, versatile, and unusually affordable Alto Piemonte Nebbiolo now and over the coming decade with both classic hearty Piemontese cuisine as well as pizza, pasta, burgers, and pork chops.

SPAIN – RED

2020 Hiruzta, Getariako Txakolina Tinto, Basque Country, Spain 18.99 / 205.09

A true rarity: red Txakolina accounts for a miniscule fraction of the wine produced in the Basque Country’s Getariako Txakolina zone. Hiruzta’s Txakolina Tinto is based solely on the Hondarrabi Beltza variety, which is chiefly employed to make the delicious Txakolina rosé. A gleaming ruby color, Hiruzta’s Txakolina Tinto evokes comparisons with savory Loire Valley Cabernet Francs and Mencias of Bierzo, but with a personality all its own. The Tinto opens with fresh, lively aromas of cherry skin, red currants, pomegranate seeds, sweet tobacco, and espelette peppers. Piquant and invigorating, the Tinto layers the palate with red currant and cherry fruit framed by fine tannins and complex suggestions of tobacco, Fresno pepper, dried bay leaf, and pipe tobacco. Floral suggestions of lavender and rose emerge on the wine’s long finish. As the weather warms, we are definitely going to make this beauty our go-to red wine for picnics, barbecues, and festive gatherings. We’ll be pairing with antipasti, vegetable, mushroom and meat tapas (dusted with smoked paprika, of course!), chorizo and other hard sausages, slow smoked brisket and pork, ribs, chicken, hard cheeses, and hearty bean pintxos. Serve chilled, now and over the next two years, to capture the Tinto’s youthful vigor.


WHITE WINES

FRANCE – WHITE

2021 Stéphanie & Arnaud Dezat, Sancerre, Loire Valley, France (S) 24.99 / 269.89

Dezat’s gorgeous 2021 Sancerre casts a pale, green-tinged gold color in the glass followed by aromas of greengage plums, lime zest, wintergreen, gunflint, and dusty, chalky minerals. On the palate, the wine presents a riveting panoply of tart yellow and green plum fruit complimented by clean, classic Sancerre overtones of white pepper, nettles, chervil, mint, and freshly cut grass. Bristling acidity and an undercurrent of chalky minerality carry Dezat’s Sancerre to its long herb, citrus, and limestone-tinged finish. This is a superb, elegant, and authentic Sancerre to buy by the case and enjoy now and over the coming three years with fresh chèvres, poached freshwater fish dishes, oysters, clams, mussels, vegetable risottos, white pastas, and as a top-shelf end of day reward.

2020 Château de Fontenille, Entre-deux-Mers Blanc, Bordeaux, France (S) 13.99 / 151.09

Visionary winemaker Stéphane Defraine is defining what makes the wines of Bordeaux’s Entre-deux-Mers sector so special and so compelling. The name Entre-deux-Mers translates to “between two tides” – in this case, the tides of the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers. Here Defraine selects the coolest gravelly limestone and clay sites for his exemplary blend of traditional White Bordeaux varieties: Sauvignon Blanc (40%), Sauvignon Gris, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. Fontenille’s 2020 Blanc presents gorgeous aromas of pink grapefruit, passion fruit, preserved lemons, and yellow peaches. Sumptuous and ample on the palate, the wine infuses a juicy kernel of grapefruit, pomelo, and green pineapple fruit with gravelly minerals and hints of mint, tarragon, and menthol. Notes of white pepper, basil, jalapeño, gravel, and flint emerge on the wine’s long, refreshing finish. This is superb, affordable, top caliber white Bordeaux that will pair well with shellfish, broiled rainbow trout, sole meunière, sautéed leafy vegetables, creamed spinach, and fresh chèvres.

2020 Paul Pernot et Ses Fils, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Chardonnay, Burgundy, France (S) 33.99 / 367.09

Paul Pernot is a legend in his home village of Puligny-Montrachet. Pernot’s always-delicious Bourgogne Chardonnay – now with the Côte d’Or designation to highlight its superior origins – is fashioned from declassified Puligny-Montrachet vines situated on Puligny’s border with Meursault. Pernot’s Bourgogne Chardonnay, from the superb 2020 White Burgundy vintage, opens with a brilliant pale lemon-gold color followed by rich Meursault-like aromas of lemon curd, pear, and dry-roasted cashews. The wine performs way above its appellation with a creamy, textured palate that conveys unusual intensity and soil transparency for such an affordably priced Côte-de-Beaune blanc. Long, precise, and packed with limestone-infused impressions of lemon juice, yellow plum, orange blossoms, almonds, and buttery pastry crust, Pernot’s Bourgogne blanc finishes elegant, lush, and impeccably well balanced. The wine already drinks well young, but also has the reserve and balance to ensure midterm keeping. Enjoy now and over the coming decade with roast pork, veal, poultry, white-fleshed fish dishes, and young chèvres. This bottling is always very limited, so be sure to secure your case of this beauty.

2021 Arnaud Lambert, Saumur Blanc, Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg, Loire Valley, France (CO) 17.99 / 194.29

Arnaud Lambert is leading a revolutionary movement in the Central Loire Valley appellations of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny. His goal is to spotlight each of his vineyard’s distinct terroirs and to express their potentials through organic viticulture and precise, minimal-intervention winemaking. Tuffeau is the yellow-tinged limestone that was quarried in times past to build the magnificent châteaux in the central Loire. Today, tuffeau’s incomparable soil signature is responsible for the equally magnificent Chenin Blancs and Cabernet Francs grown upon it. Lambert’s Chenin Blanc Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg bottling casts a bright lemon-gold hue and classic Saumur Blanc aromas of Anjou pears, green pineapple, beeswax, and perfumed tuffeau soil. Showing superb cut and tension on the attack, the wine presents a taut mouthful of pear-driven Chenin fruit framed by yellow limestone minerals and electric acidity. Complex suggestions of quince, sweet cinnamon, fresh ginger, lanolin, chamomile, and honeycomb emerge on the wine’s long finish followed by a tactile dusting of salty, lip-coating limestone minerals. This is bone-dry, “grand cru” Chenin for a song. Pair it now and over the coming three years with freshwater fish dishes, aged chèvres, recipes featuring chanterelle mushrooms, and roast pheasant.

2020 Domaine Nebout, Tressallier, L’Incompris du Tressallier, IGP Val de Loire-Allier, Loire Valley, France 17.99 / 194.29

Nearly wiped out by the phylloxera epidemic in the mid-19th century, the historically important Tressallier grape is a rare specialty of the Saint-Pourçain zone just south of the Loire Valley. Today a mere ninety acres of Tressallier survive, but dedicated vignerons such as Julien Nebout are reviving the grape on Saint-Pourçain’s special mineral-rich, alluvial soils. A medium lemon-gold in the glass, Nebout’s L’Incompris du Tressallier opens with aromas of Meyer lemon zest, Anjou pear, yellow apple skin, and smoky limestone minerals. The wine greets the palate with fleshy Golden Delicious apple and Mirabelle plum fruit, vivified by the wine’s firm mineral spine. Crisp impressions of white peach, quince, and ginger layer the palate before yielding to brisk acidity, notes of fresh thyme and sage, and another lashing of flinty minerals. A must-buy for fans of Loire Valley rarities, Nebout's Tressallier will prove a lovely foil now and over the coming three years with herbed roast chicken, broiled white-fleshed fish recipes, fresh chèvres, and lightly-dressed green salads.

AUSTRIA – WHITE

2020 Nigl, Grüner Veltliner, Freiheit, Kremstal, Austria (S) 19.99 / 215.89

In the terrific 2020 Kremstal vintage, Nigl’s Freiheit conveys what makes Grüner Veltliner one of the world’s most delicious, versatile, and distinctive grape varieties. Nigl, unquestionably one of Austria’s premier wine estates, crafts focused, chiseled wines of impeccable detail and transparency. The 2020 Freiheit – hailing from four high-altitude vineyards with the deep Löss soils on which the Grüner thrives – casts a green-gold hue followed by high-toned aromas of Pippen apples, honeysuckle blossoms, green lentils, and white pepper. The wine then graces the palate with pure, mineral-driven green melon, lime, and kiwi fruit accented by suggestions of sweet snap peas, blond tobacco, and sweet fresh marjoram. Brilliant acidity transitions the Freiheit to its long, zippy finish, featuring waves of citrus and melon fruits driven by deep Löss minerality. Enjoy this versatile, comfortably-priced Austrian wonder now or over the coming five years with sautéed green vegetables, grilled zucchini, braised pork and roast chicken.
James Suckling: 91 points

SPAIN – WHITE

2021 Ostatu, Rioja Blanco, Rioja Alavesa, Spain (S) 15.99 / 172.69

Rioja is Spain’s oldest and most famous winegrowing region. The Ostatu estate, located in Rioja’s Alavesa sub-zone, features predominantly clay-calcareous soils which are essential for creating wines of great concentration and complexity. Ostatu’s high altitude, old-vine blend of Viura (85%) and Malvasía casts a pale straw gold color and dazzling aromas of bosc pear, green apple skin, lemongrass, quinine, and calcareous minerals. Vibrant and mineral-driven on the palate, Ostatu’s Blanco layers the palate with waves of juicy pear, Key lime, Meyer lemon, thyme, and limestone dust. Brisk, clean, and driven by its acid and mineral backbone, the wine finishes with a burst of juicy citrus fruit infused with suggestions of chamomile, bay leaf, fresh ginger, and dusty limestone minerals. Enjoy this crisp, riveting Rioja Blanco, served cool but not cold, now and over the coming two years with seafood and vegetable tapas, roast pheasant, and fresh cheeses.

2021 Celler Pardas, Penedès Blanco, Rupestris, Catalonia, Spain (CO) 17.99 / 194.29

This is an outrageously great Penedès blanc and a world-class value. Celler Pardas’ Rupestris (“that which lives on or gets its sustenance from cliffs or rocks”) is old-vine blend of indigenous, massale-selection Xarel-lo (85%) and Malvasía de Sitges fermented and aged for six months in century-old concrete tanks. Reflecting a brilliant lemon-gold color, Pardas’ Rupestris casts evocative scents of white peach, elderflower, chamomile, high-toned herbs, and smoky limestone dust. Brisk and taut on the attack, the wine fleshes out mid-palate to reveal gorgeous impressions of lemon juice, green pears, crisp fennel, and herbs. Chalky limestone minerality emerges and segues the wine to its long, dry, and soil-driven finish, with dissolved limestone minerals seemingly dusting the inner cheeks and lips and persisting for minutes. Pair now and over the coming two years with freshwater fish preparations, shellfish, seared scallops, and sautéed green vegetables.

PORTUGAL – WHITE

2020 Quinta de Porrais, Douro Branco, Portugal 11.99 / 129.49

The terraced shale vineyards of the Douro are a sight to behold. Here the vines cling to precipitous hillsides slopes while absorbing the plenitude of minerals in the shallow soils. Grown at nearly 2,000 feet above sea level, Quinta de Porrais’s Branco – a blend of 65 to 80-year-old Códiga do Lorinho (55%) and Rabigato (45%) – bristles with the energy imparted by these elevated sites. Pale green-glinted lemon-gold in the glass, the wine casts smoky, soil-inflected aromas of lemon zest, green pineapple, quince, acacia, and orange blossoms. Brisk and invigorating, the palate juxtaposes a juicy core of green plum, papaya, and honeydew melon fruit with fresh green herbs, menthol, and pungent schistose minerals. Floral notes and waves of smoky minerals reappear to segue the Branco to its long, clean finish. This is a stunning value as an everyday sipper or as a complement to green salads, picnic fare, sautéed zucchini, oysters on the half-shell, sashimi, steamed clams, and seafood tapas.
Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast: 90 points


ROSÉ WINES

OREGON – ROSÉ

2021 Broadley Vineyards, Romato of Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon (S) 19.99 / 215.89

Broadley Vineyards has a stellar track record of crafting exemplary, critically-lauded Pinot Noirs, and with the 2021 vintage, Broadley has issued its first skin contact Pinot Gris. Broadley’s Romato – given skin contact for three days and aged seven months in neutral French oak – casts a luminous copper-peach hue followed by beguiling aromas of wild strawberries, salmonberries, and nectarines. Juicy and succulent on the palate, the Romato meshes impressions of tart cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, and white peach. Sappy and driven by a brisk acidic spine, the wine finishes long, satisfying, and bone-dry with complex suggestions of orange water, thyme, and bitter cherry skin. The winery recommends that you enjoy this wine on a hot day in the shade with family and friends. This sounds like a wonderful plan to us, but we might venture that you serve this beauty at a cool temperature, and pair it with grilled fare like chicken thighs, marinated mushrooms, summer squashes, and steelhead salmon.

FRANCE – ROSÉ

2021 Domaine de Fontsainte, Gris de Gris, Corbières, Languedoc-Roussillon, France (S) 16.99 / 183.49

The impeccable wines of the Domaine de Fontsainte have been staples of Kermit Lynch’s venerable portfolio for over forty years. The domaine’s beloved rosé is a fascinating medley of Grenache Gris (90%), Carignan, and Mourvèdre grown on the stone-strewn clay, limestone, and silica terroirs of the Corbières region in the center of the Languedoc. Fontsainte’s 2021 Gris de Gris (might we add that 2021 is a stunning Southern French rosé vintage!) shows a pale pink-salmon color followed by aromas of red currants, Rainier cherries, and lavender-scented garrigue. On the palate, the Gris de Gris conveys expressions of tangy pie cherry and currant fruit accented by suggestions of peach skin and spicy cinnamon. Snappy, zesty, and bursting with flavor, the wine leaves the palate refreshed and lingering with impressions of Seville orange peel, dried herbs, and white pepper backed by an undercurrent of stony minerality. Perfect for warm weather sipping and barbecues, it will also work as a fine foil for ratatouille, grilled summer squashes, broiled salmon, and roast quail. This is unquestionably the finest and most complete Fontsainte Gris de Gris in our experience!
A Kermit Lynch selection

2021 Stéphanie & Arnaud Dezat, Sancerre Rosé, Loire Valley, France (S) 24.99 / 269.89

Dezat’s rosé – fashioned from Pinot Noir grown on Sancerre’s incomparable silex and caillottes soils – gleams with a limpid orange-salmon robe followed by textbook Sancerre aromas of gunflint, chalk, grapefruit, tart peach, fresh tarragon, red peppercorns, and rose petals. Crisp, focused, and driven by its mineral origins, Dezat’s 2021 rosé buoys its kernel of red currant, bitter orange, and tart cherry fruit with riveting acidity and a lashing of flinty minerals. Juicy crystalline and ineffably Sancerre, Dezat’s rosé finishes clean and brisk, begging for food. This is simply brilliant Sancerre rosé and a rare treat at its most comfortable price level. Enjoy now and over the coming three years on its own, or ideally as a partner to dry-rubbed grilled chicken, rare ahi, sashimi, sautéed summer squashes, fresh chèvres, light sausages, and beef tartare.



(B) biodynamic methods; (CO) certified organic; (O) organic methods; (S) sustainably farmed

 

 

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