print view

NOVEMBER 2021 REVIEWS



SPARKLING WINES

FRANCE - SPARKLING

NV Domaine Allimant-Laugner, Crémant d’Alsace, Brut,Rosé, Alsace, France 23.99 / 259.09

Folks, this is fantastic sparkling rosé that we would prefer to drink over the vast majority still rosés. A gorgeous pale copper-salmon color, Allimant-Laugner’s Pinot Noir crémant rosé bursts with a high-toned bouquet of wild strawberries, sour cherries, pomegranate, rhubarb, yellow rose petals, and crushed minerals. Fresh and vibrant on the palate, Allimant-Laugner’s rosé conveys impressive harmony between crisp acidity, yeasty richness, and crunchy berry fruit. Long, lingering, and lively from start to finish, the rosé finishes with reprises of earthy red berry fruit, crisp rhubarb, granitic minerals, and rose petals. Tremendously food versatile, pair this terrific crémant rosé with roast turkey, chicken, duck, sushi, light pork dishes, hors d’oeuvres, potatoes au gratin – just about everything!

NV Domaine de la Taille aux Loups, Brut, "Tradition," Loire Valley, France (CO) 27.99 / 302.29

Sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Central Loire Valley is one of the great undiscovered wonders of the wine world. Employing organic viticulture and the traditional Champagne method of secondary fermentation in the bottle, Loire Valley legend Jacky Blot has crafted a phenomenal sparkling wine that has us dancing around the counter. Blot’s effervescent masterpiece reflects a radiant lemon-gold hue followed by gorgeous aromas of quince, yellow melon, Anjou Pear, beeswax, and lemon curd. Softly sparkling, the wine graces the palate with brisk expressions of green pineapple, Golden Delicious apple, and perfumed tuffeau limestone minerality. The wine finishes long and zesty with persistent waves of yellow melon, bee pollen, and yellow tuffeau minerals. Perhaps the world’s finest sub-$30 sparkling wine, we encourage you to buy this by the case for year ‘round enjoyment. And if your holiday table calls for a sparkling wine, this is the perfect choice.
Vinous: 91 points

NV Diebolt-Vallois, Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France 39.99 / 431.89 reg 42.99

Based in the grand cru village of Cramant, Jacques Diebolt fashions a superb portfolio of sleek, elegant champagnes that focus on the greatness of Chardonnay as expressed on Champagne’s incomparable chalk soils. Diebolt’s Blanc de Blancs, the domaine’s flagship wine, is 100% Chardonnay sourced primarily from the chalky Côte de Blancs village of Cuis. Pale gold in the glass, with persistent fine bubbles, Diebolt’s Blanc de Blancs projects clean, laser-focused aromas of citrus and yellow orchard fruit underpinned by bright, chalky minerals. Lithe yet harmonious on the palate, Diebolt’s Blanc de Blancs expresses a juicy core of lemon fruit accented by white orchard and honeysuckle blossoms, crisp sorrel, and crunchy fennel. Long, lingering, fresh, and incisive, this wine is perfect for a top-shelf toast, and will pair effortlessly with most everything but the reddest of meats. Here’s a splendid choice for your holiday table. Enjoy now and over the coming seven years.
Wine Spectator and Vinous: 91 points

ITALY - SPARKLING

NV Guerra Albano, Ribolla Gialla, Brut, Friuli Colli Orientali, Italy (S) 19.99 / 215.89 reg. 23.99

We adore the rare Ribolla Gialla grape, and nowhere does it reach its aromatic apogee and potential for complexity than in its homeland of the Friuli. Even rarer – and more compelling – is employing Ribolla to make a sparkling wine! A brilliant lemon-gold with green reflections, Guerra’s Ribolla Brut bursts out of the glass with persistent, tiny bubbles and aromas of pear skin, white peach, yellow melon, and crystallized ginger. Brisk on the attack, the wine leverages its persistent minerality and effervescence to propel notes of green apples, Comice pear, lemon balm, and menthol. Conveying deft balance and unbridled deliciousness, Guerra’s Ribolla Brut finishes with suggestions of meadow flowers, white pepper, and a finishing blast of fresh ginger. Pair this beauty now and over the coming two years with golden trout, shellfish, sashimi, light poultry preparations, vegetable omelets, and angel hair pasta dressed with lemon cream sauce.


RED WINES


OREGON – RED

2017 Et Fille, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon (S) 23.99 / 259.09

At four years of age, Et Fille’s Pinot is just hitting its stride. Their 2017 Willamette Valley cuvée is a blend of Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon clones from the Yamhill-Carlton and Eola-Amity Hills AVAs. Casting a beautiful pure ruby robe, Et Fille’s Pinot blossoms with gorgeous Willamette Valley Pinot aromas of dark cherries, earthy cranberries, black raspberries, wintergreen, and rose petals. Fresh on the attack with a lovely kernel of cherry fruit, the wine unfurls mid-palate to present loamy soil notes, hints of menthol, and smoky barrel tones. The wine gains grip and energy with aeration and finishes long and clean with reprises of dark cherry and raspberry fruit. The 2017 Willamette Valley cuvée will be a wonderful partner now and over the coming three years with broiled salmon, roast chicken, seared pork loin and vegetarian fare emphasizing seasonal wild mushrooms.

2018 Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Pinot Noir, "Laurene" Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon (S) 69.99 / 718.09

"In many ways, the 2018 Laurène embodies what we love most about wines from the Dundee Hills. Offering beautiful clarity and a garnet color on approach, the aromatics brim with notes of dried red cherry, spice, wild herbs, earth, and subtle oak. Characteristically elegant, the wine evolves on the palate, moving seamlessly from its pomegranate welcome into its detailed lines of clove, white pepper, and cranberry. As always, cellaring the Laurène over the next 5-15 years will be well rewarded.” - Veronique Drouhin

"Super complex and rich with a ripe array of red to dark-cherry and plum aromas, as well as toasted-spice oak influence. This has much to enjoy already. The palate has a very rich, fleshy and intense, layered appeal with a swirling, spicy thread of rich red cherries and long, fine, supple tannins. Drink or hold." - James Suckling: 95 points

"Medium ruby, the 2018 Pinot Noir Laurène opens with pure raspberry, rhubarb and aniseed perfume with accents of bergamot and forest floor. The medium-bodied palate is concentrated, super spicy, firm and very fresh, finishing uplifted and loaded with perfumed fruits. Give it another 2-3 years in bottle." - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: 94 points

CALIFORNIA – RED

2015 Easton, Zinfandel, Amador County, California (S) 18.99 / 205.09

Easton Wines, founded in 1986 by Bill Easton and Jane O’Riordan, crafts a superb portfolio of five distinct Zinfandels which emphasize balance and elegance over ripeness and power. Easton wines are aged in French oak and given further bottle maturation at the winery until Easton and O’Riordan consider them ready to drink. The 2015 Amador County Zinfandel reflects an opaque plum-claret color highlighted by a mature vermillion rim. A vigorous swirl unleashes classic Zinfandel bouquet of brambly blackberries and dried currants complemented by aniseed, licorice, dried orange peel, and black peppercorns. Vigorous and spicy on the palate, the Zin layers juicy black cherry and blackberry fruit accented by hints of wintergreen, star anise, dark chocolate, and smoky soil. Fine tannins sneak into the picture as the wine transitions to its long, spicy, elegant, and classical Zinfandel finish. This remarkably suave wine brilliantly captures Zinfandel’s luscious, spicy black fruit expressions with elegance and polish rare for a Zin at this price point. Now at six years of age, Easton’s 2015 Zin is fully mature and ready for your table with grilled burgers, steaks, dry-rubbed ribs, BBQ chicken, eggplant parmigiana, mac ‘n’ cheese and classic hearty American fare.
The Wine Spectator, TOP 100 WINE #45 and "Smart Buy" - 92 points
The Wine Enthusiast, “Editor's Choice” - 91 points

FRANCE – RED

2019 Joseph Drouhin, Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy, France (S) 16.99 / 183.49

2019 is shaping up to be one of the most delicious and balanced vintages for red Burgundy in ages. The vintage, marked by low yields and small, concentrated berries, resulted in wines of great character, intensity, and terroir definition. Drawing from its portfolio of impeccable sources in the greater Burgundy region, Drouhin’s Pinot Noir Bourgogne Rouge casts a brilliant ruby color in the glass followed by a bright and snappy bouquet of earthy raspberry and red currant fruit, rose-scented potpourri, and Burgundian limestone. The wine is at once both deft on the palate and packed with 2019’s impressive fruit. Fine, suave tannins and complex suggestions of wood smoke, game, and star anise lead the wine to its long, elegant finish. As Burgundy prices continue to escalate – especially in the short and critically-lauded 2019 vintage – Drouhin’s Bourgogne Rouge delivers authentic character, intensity, and soil transparency hard to find at this comfortable price point. Enjoy this beauty now and over the coming five years with full-bodied savory fare such as gratin dauphinois, duck, roast chicken, and pork. Great price!

2019 J.-L. Chave Sélection, Côtes-du-Rhône, "Mon Cœur," Rhône Valley, France (O) 19.99 / 215.89

World famous for their benchmark white and red Hermitages, J. L. Chave Sélection refers to the Chave domaine’s négociant arm, which works with growers who share the family’s dedication to organic farming and utmost expression of terroir. The 2019 Mon Coeur is sourced primarily from superb sites in the prestigious Côtes-du-Rhône villages of Rasteau, Visan, Vinsobres, and Cairanne. The wine’s blend of Grenache (60%), Syrah (30%), Cinsault, and Mourvèdre casts an opaque black plum hue in the glass followed by classic Southern Rhône aromas of black cherries, black plums, violets, tar, and herbal garrigue. Concentrated and intense on the attack, the wine stains the palate with zesty herb-infused black raspberry, plum, and currant fruit lifted by tangy acidity and overtones of black licorice, menthol, and white peppercorns. Notes of tobacco, briny olives, and stony terroir join plentiful, fine tannins as the wine lingers on the palate. 2019 is shaping up to be a landmark vintage for the Rhône Valley, and this beauty can be enjoyed now for its youthful vigor with full-bodied Southern French cuisine. It will also reward five to eight years in your cool cellar. Fantastic Côtes-du-Rhône!

2016 Domaine Les Chênes Blancs, Gigondas, Rhône Valley, France (S) 27.99 / 302.29

Domaine Les Chênes Blancs fashions this fantastic Gigondas from the critically-acclaimed 2016 Rhône vintage. Opaque plum ruby in the bowl, Chênes Blancs’ Gigondas opens with riveting aromas of black currants, black cherries, licorice, peppery game, tangerine peel, and herbal garrigue. Vibrant and sumptuous on the palate, the Gigondas layers the palate with a traditional, chewy kernel of bitter cherry fruit infused with plentiful, old school chewy tannins, vibrant acidity, and suggestions of smoky minerals, tar, sage, English Breakfast tea, and black pepper. Floral and citrus notes reemerge on the back-palate and lead the wine to a long, resonant finish which reprises notes of licorice, dried herbs, game, and black tea. The wine’s impressive complexity, nuance, and old-school charm is the result of an especially long, traditional élevage in cement, enameled steel vats and old oak casks. Sure to thrill old-school Southern Rhône fans, the Chênes Blancs Gigondas will pair beautifully with roast lamb, aromatically spiced stews, squab, and grilled eggplant. Sensational Gigondas!

2016 Château Picque Caillou, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (S) 33.99 / 367.09

The Château Picque Caillou is located in the heart of the Pessac-Léognan appellation, the historic cradle of the Bordeaux region. A close neighbor of both Châteaux Haut-Brion and Pape Clément, Picque Caillou’s 50-acre estate is named for the pebbly soils that originated from sediments deposited by the nearby Garonne River. Picque Caillou’s 2016 – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (35%) and Petit Verdot – shows a violet-plum color and classic Pessac-Graves suggestions of cassis, black cherries, cedar, violets, and gravelly earth. From the superb 2016 Bordeaux vintage, the wine balances a full and lush texture with classic claret tannins, a gravel soil signature, barrel tones, and tobacco overtones. Long, complex, and oh-so-satisfying, the wine finishes stylish, elegant, and harmonious with additional touches of mint, vanilla, and graphite. A perfect match for roast beef and earthy mushroom recipes, this is a smartly priced, top cru claret to buy by the case for enjoyment now, a decade from now, and anytime in between. Only fifteen cases.
Wine Enthusiast: 92 points

2016 Château La Fleur, Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (S) 45.99 / 496.69

In 2002, the venerable Dassault Wine Estates purchased the legendary St. Émilion Grand Cru Château La Fleur with the aim of restoring this marvelous terroir to merit its Grand Cru status. Employing Merlot (75%), Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2016 Château La Fleur lives up to its Grand Cru designation once again. The wine casts an opaque black plum robe before exploding with classic Right Bank aromas of plums, cherries, chocolate, toffee, and vanilla bean. Juxtaposing a sumptuous palate of plum and chocolate, the wine buttresses its generous fruit expression with classical, framing tannins and buoying acidity. Complex, charming, long, and immediately delicious, this Grand Cru Saint-Émilion puts to shame far pricier Right Bank marquee names. Grab a case, uncork a few bottles over the next year or two, then lay down the rest in your cool cellar for another five to fifteen years. Pair this Grand Cru St. Émilion with duck, beef Wellington, roast leg of lamb, rich lentil preparations, and dishes accented by fresh shaved black truffles. Only nine cases.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous: 90 points

2019 Domaine A. Pégaz, Brouilly, Beaujolais, France (O) 14.99 / 161.89

The slopes of Mont Brouilly bestow lovers of Gamay with some of the most distinctive and soil-driven expressions of Beaujolais’ famed crus. Agnès 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 Brouilly, vinified from 40-year-old vines, explodes from the glass with a lovely crimson-ruby hue and gorgeous Brouilly aromas of red plums, wild strawberries, yellow peaches, and smoky soil. Bright and juicy on the palate, the wine fuses sappy black cherry and red currant fruit with fine tannins, buoying acidity, and a dusty, smoky signature. Pégaz’s Brouilly finishes long and delicious with spicy cherry, currant, and bitter orange fruit complicated by dusty dissolved minerals and a haunting suggestion of fresh peach skin. Pair this beauty now and over the coming four years with broiled salmon, grilled seasonal squashes, roast turkey with all the trimmings, or pan-seared pork loin chops.

ITALY – RED

2019 Damoli, Valpolicella Classico, "Morarìa," Veneto, Italy (O) 16.99 / 183.49

Nestled in the small village of Negrar just north of Verona, the Damoli family has tended vines in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico zone since 1623. Damoli practices organic viticulture and minimal manipulation in the winery, ageing their wines in old oak barrique and tonneaux to emphasize the purity and transparency of their exemplary fruit. Damoli’s Morarìa – a classic blend of Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella – shines with a bright transparent red garnet hue followed by a lovely bouquet of red raspberries, wild cherries, cinnamon-scented potpourri, and crushed bay leaf. Bright and bursting with flavor, the wine saturates the palate with a vibrant kernel of pomegranate, red currant, and red raspberry fruit complemented by suggestions of orange peel, sweet spices, and smoky limestone minerals. The long, refreshing finish reprises waves of sappy red fruits complemented by fine tannins and food-friendly acidity, which make it both a joy to drink by itself as well as a natural partner for light pasta dishes, semi-firm cheeses, lasagna with a béchamel sauce, and delicate poultry recipes. Enjoy now and over the coming three years.

2017 Castell’in Villa, Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy 27.99 / 302.29

Chianti Classico does not get any better – or any more traditional – than this. Bastions of tradition, the Castell’in Villa domaine issues a complete portfolio of the most old-school, long-lived Chiantis from its vineyards in Chianti Classico’s southernmost Castelnuovo Berardenga zone. An absolute winner from the moment it’s poured, the 2017 Chianti Classico sports a crimson-ruby hue and warm Chianti aromas of macerated cherries, cedar, woodspice, and leather. The wine continues with a firm red-fruited palate expression accented by an electric current of dusty, chalky soil. Suggestions of Montmorency cherries, pomegranate, and red plums grace the palate before segueing to complex hints of tobacco, sage, licorice, wintergreen, and dried bay leaf. Graceful yet firmly tannic on its long finish, Castell’in Villa’s Chianti announces that it is first and foremost a food wine and should be paired with hearty, rustic fare like rich pasta dishes, roasts of lamb or beef, or long simmered stews. Drink now to reminisce about the way great, age-worthy Chianti used to be, and then age some bottles long enough to last you six to nine years.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous: 92 points

2019 Nada Fiorenzo, Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont, Italy (S) 27.99 / 302.29

The Nada Fiorenzo domaine is one of the leading lights in the Barbaresco commune of Treiso. Bruno Nada’s Langhe Nebbiolo – fashioned from young vines grown in Barbaresco’s prestigious Rombone and Manzola crus – is a splendid introduction to the domaine’s enviable portfolio. Casting a rusty crimson-garnet robe, the Nebbiolo opens with dusty aromas of black cherries, red raspberries, red rose petals, orange zest, and mushroomy earth. Deft on the palate with fresh menthol highlights, Nada’s Nebbiolo tightens mid-palate to reveal plentiful old-school Nebbiolo tannins, juicy acidity, and hints of aniseed, smoke, and calcareous earth. Long, bright, charming, and beautifully transparent, this “baby Barbaresco” begs to be matched with hearty cuisine – especially meaty casseroles, earthy mushrooms, rich risottos, grilled meats, and egg-rich pastas. Buy a case of this lovely, well-priced Nebbiolo to enjoy now and over the coming ten years.

2017 Musto Carmelitano, Aglianico del Vulture, Maschitano Rosso, Basilicata, Italy (CO) 14.99 / 161.89

Elisabetta Musto Carmelitano’s family has been making wine in the Basilicata’s DOCG of Aglianico del Vulture for four generations. Employing old vines and organic farming, Musto Carmelitano is fashioning deep, soulful expressions of Southern Italy’s noble Aglianico grape imbued with Monte Vulture’s deep, spicy volcanic soils. The estate’s Maschitano Rosso – named for the family’s home village of Maschito – casts a transparent rusty crimson-ruby color alongside aromas of dried cherries, red plums, menthol, grilled herbs, and piquant volcanic soil. On the palate, brisk cherry fruit and smoky soil notes merge with firm tannins and suggestions of bitter medicinal herbs before segueing to a long, savory, soil-driven finish that spotlights Vulture’s fiery ferrous volcanic soil. Enjoy this unique soil-driven Southern Italian beauty now and over the coming five years paired with hard cheeses, hearty pasta dishes, roast lamb, grilled beef, and rustic eggplant casseroles.

PORTUGAL – RED

2019 Luis Seabra Vinhos, "Xisto Ilimitado," Tinto, Douro, Portugal (S) 26.99 / 291.49

Following a decade as Niepoort’s winemaker, Luis Seabra founded his own domaine to craft wines “that really tell you where they come from...wines that are true and honest, raw, and pure.” Primarily a blend of old-vine Touriga Franca, Tinta Amarela, and Tinta Roriz grown on yellow schist soil at 1,200-2,000 feet, Seabra’s Xisto Ilimitado casts an opaque plum color in the bowl followed by pungent, soil-driven aromas of bitter cherries, cassis, violet petals, and smoky schistose minerals. The wine’s high-altitude origins impart impressive lift on the palate while also packing a mouthful of concentrated currant, cherry, and cranberry fruit. Zesty, refreshing, and full of flavor, Seabra’s Xisto Ilimitado finishes with a persistent lashing of dusty schistose minerals (hence the name), plentiful, food-friendly tannins, and hints of dried herbs, licorice, and black tea. Enjoy now and over the coming seven years with roast rack of lamb, grilled burgers, braised rabbit, and mushroom and potato tapas. Limited.

2019 Mateus Nicolau de Almeida, Baixo Corgo, "Trans Douro Express," Douro, Portugal (B,O) 19.99 / 215.89

This is a fantastic red wine that fully realizes the greatness of the Douro as a source of world-class dry wines. The Trans Douro Express Baixo Corgo is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Roriz, and Tinta Barroca from predominantly schist soils in the westernmost part of the Douro. The wine opens with a dense black plum robe segueing to a smoky, schist-driven bouquet featuring suggestions of black cherries, cassis, tobacco, and woodsmoke. At once both intense and sumptuous, the wine layers the palate with impressions of Chukar cherries, sassafras, dried herbs, menthol, and smoky soil. Packed with flavor yet impressively deft, notes of leather, herbs, tobacco, and smoky soil join on the wine’s long, delicious finish. Enjoy the Baixo Corgo now and over the coming five years with roast lamb, grilled burgers, braised pork, tagines, and kebabs of either meat or vegetable varieties.



WHITE WINES

OREGON – WHITE

2019 Eyrie Vineyards, Pinot Gris, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon (S) 17.99/ 194.29

From the granddaddy of Pinot Gris in Oregon, the legendary Eyrie Vineyards continues its 45-year tradition of producing the state’s reference point Pinot Gris. Jason Lett carries the torch of distinctiveness lit by his father with this full, rich, and expressive Oregon Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley. Eyrie’s just-released 2019 casts a rich golden color and refreshing aromas of Williams pears, quince, honeysuckle, and spice. On the palate, Eyrie’s Gris conveys rich Alsatian texture with layers of yellow plum and apricot fruit complemented by notes of clover honey, candied ginger, and smoky soil. The wine finishes long and satisfying with complex suggestions of Mirabelle plums, quinine, and white pepper. Enjoy now or over the coming five years with sturgeon, salmon, halibut, oysters, roast chicken, and braised pork preparations.

FRANCE – WHITE

2020 Émile Balland, Côteaux du Giennois, “Les Beaux Jours,” Loire Valley, France (S) 15.99 / 172.69

Hailing from a long line of Sancerre vignerons dating back to 1650, the young and talented Émile Balland started his own domaine in 1999. Situated in the Côteaux du Giennois, north of Sancerre in the eastern Loire Valley, Balland’s Sauvignon Blanc Beaux Jours reflects a green-glinted gold color and casts flint- and cinnamon-infused aromas of Mirabelle plums, canary melon, green pineapple, and jalapeño peppers. Fresh, incisive, and mineral-driven in the mouth, the Beaux Jours’ crisp acid backbone buoys impressions of lemon zest, gooseberries, passion fruit, and yellow plums. Impressions of freshly cut basil, chervil and savory join with juicy citrus and tropical fruits on the wine’s long, zesty finish. Pair this impeccably balanced and oh-so-drinkable beauty now and over the coming two years with sautéed green vegetables, fresh oysters, clams, mussels, freshwater fishes with a beurre blanc sauce, and as a revivifying apéritif after a hard day’s work.

2020 Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon, Mâcon-Villages, Burgundy, France (B) 27.99 / 302.29

Dominique Lafon is an undisputed Burgundy superstar. His exemplary portfolio of Meursault premiers crus and Le Montrachet grand cru is among the most eagerly sought-after white Burgundies worldwide. In the Mâcon, Lafon fashions superb limestone-infused Chardonnays with the same attention and care he affords his prestigious Meursaults. The 2020 Mâcon-Villages reflects a pale gold hue from the glass followed by smoky, soil-driven aromas of lemon pith, toasted hazelnuts, limestone minerals, and barrel smoke. Fleshy yet incisive on the palate, the freshness of the fine 2020 white Burgundy vintage reveals a tensile, coiled kernel of crisp apple and Mirabelle plum fruit. Aged primarily in old foudres, Lafon’s Mâcon-Villages shows impeccable balance and a sappy texture. The wine finishes with floral limestone minerality propelling reprises of lemon juice, apple blossoms, soft orchard fruits, and smoky barrel tones. This is a sensational Mâcon – perhaps Dominque’s finest Mâcon-Villages bottling to date – that can be enjoyed now and over the coming seven years. Decant and serve with broiled salmon, mushrooms in a cream sauce, roast pork tenderloin, boudin blanc, and other mild sausages. Only ten cases available

2020 Philippe Ravier, Vin de Savoie, "Les Abymes," Savoie, France (S) 11.50 / 124.20

Bone dry and oh-so-refreshing, Ravier’s 2020 Les Abymes is simply a glorious – and gloriously affordable – versatile white for year ‘round enjoyment. The cru is named for the broken stones (abimes) that fall from the Alps during avalanches and scatter on the surface of the village’s vineyards. Abymes’ primary grape is the Jacquère, a crisp, light-bodied grape that marries fantastically well with all things seafood. Fashioned exclusively from the indigenous Jacquère grape, Philippe Ravier’s low-alcohol Abymes reflects a gleaming lemon-gold in the glass with green highlights, followed by a lovely bouquet of green pineapple, greengage plums, honeysuckle, iodine, and flinty minerals. The wine enlivens the palate with crisp, crunchy expressions of Pippin apple, lemon and lime juice, quinine, and zesty minerals. An outstanding choice as an apéritif and a natural complement to smoked trout, white-fleshed fish dishes in a beurre blanc sauce, oysters, salads, fondue, and cheese plates featuring cheeses from the Jura, Savoie, and Switzerland. Enjoy now and over the coming year.
Gilbert & Gaillard International Wine Challenge, Gold Medal

ITALY – WHITE

2019 Cantina Terlano, Cuvée Terlaner, Alto Adige, Italy 22.99 / 248.29

In the foothills of the Alps near Italy’s border with Austria, we find the delicious confluence of classic French varieties, Italian boldness, and Austrian precision. Fashioned from a century-old blend of Pinot Blanc (60%), Chardonnay (30%), and Sauvignon Blanc, the Cantina Terlano’s Terlaner opens with a lemon-gold color and resinous aromas of Golden Delicious apples, white peaches, pineapple, lemon balm, matcha green tea, mint, and smoky limestone soil. The Terlaner cuvée conveys impressive breadth and texture, refreshingly fusing Pinot Blanc’s structure and smokiness with Chardonnay’s richness and Sauvignon Blanc’s unbridled herbal nature. Fresh and pure as the Alpine air from which it emerges, the Terlaner graces the palate with nuances of fresh white meadow flowers, crystalline apple, peach and passion fruit, pine nuts, and a bracing spine of smoky, mineral-driven acidity. The wine finishes as clean and complex as it started and will surely wow fans of Alsatian Pinot Blanc, Austrian Grüner Veltliner, Pouilly-Fumé and other racy, incisive white wines. Enjoy now and over the next three to ten years with fresh goat cheeses, brook trout, light pork sausages, roast turkey, asparagus, green vegetable frittata, and myriad seafood.
James Suckling: 93 points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: 92+ points

2017 Fantinel, Ribolla Gialla, "Vigneti Sant'Helena," Friuli, Venezia Giulia, Italy 14.99 / 161.89 reg. 19.99

This is a textbook example of the expressive, rich-textured Ribolla Gialla. The rolling limestone and clay Venezia Giulia hills grow some of Italy’s finest and most distinctive white wines. That terroir includes sunny, high-altitude slopes sheltered by the nearby Alps to allow for long, patient ripening and deep mineral expressions. Fantinel’s impressive 2017 Ribolla Gialla casts a deep straw-gold hue from the bowl followed by aromas of pear skin, peach, yellow melon, and earthy ginger. Brisk on the attack with persistent minerality, the wine conveys impressive extract and thrust on the palate with notes of green apples, pear skin, lemon balm, and menthol. Conveying a deft balance between fruit and minerality, the wine is ready to drink now and over the coming two years with golden trout, sauteed mushrooms, light poultry preparations, lentil soups, vegetable omelets, and lighter pasta dishes. Very limited.

2020 Tiberio, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy 16.99 / 183.49

The Tiberio estate spotlights 60-year-old massale selection, Trebbiano Abruzzese, considered by most experts as the finest and most characterful clone of the Trebbiano grape. The dazzling aromatics of this rare and noble Trebbiano explode as soon as the wine is poured. A limpid gold color in the glass, Tiberio’s Trebbiano segues to stunning, riveting expressions of golden apples, fleshy pears, pineapple, and jasmine. Driven on the palate by brilliant acidity, the wine expresses sappy, old-vine suggestions of apricot, grapefruit, crisp fennel, and juicy tangerine. Tiberio’s Trebbiano finishes fresh, lively, and vibrant with reprises of orchard and tropical fruits infused with iodine and saline minerals. While Tiberio’s Trebbiano can be enjoyed by itself, it begs to be paired now and over the coming three years with the freshest seafood, deep-fried zucchini blossoms, fresh chèvres, and white lasagnas with a béchamel sauce.

2020 Masseria Li Veli, Askos Verdeca, Salento IGT, Puglia, Italy (O) 18.99 / 205.09

Verdeca from the Valle d’Itria was once the principal grape for the production of vermouth. Masseria Li Veli, however, seeks to celebrate this ancient Puglian varietal and has fashioned a smashing dry varietal Verdeca from the grape’s finest subzone. A resinous lemon-gold color, Li Veli’s Askos Verdeca opens with mineral-driven aromas of yellow plums, Meyer lemons, bergamot, fennel, and white pepper. Soft and plump on the palate, the Askos alternates waves of grapefruit, melon, and sweet pear fruit with and insistent mineral undercurrent and herbal suggestions of rosemary and sage. The wine tapers and tightens on its finish, where fleshy pear and citrus fruit notes meet with calcareous soil terroir and leave the palate with lingering suggestions of fennel, juicy grapefruit, and sweet Comice pear flesh. Drink this smashing southern Italian beauty now and over the coming year with dishes featuring avocado and everything seafood – especially calamari, steamed clams and mussels, ceviche, and branzini stuffed with citrus and aromatic herbs. We salute the great Li Veli estate and their gallant efforts to revive and venerate the great historical grapes of Puglia!
Vinous: 91 points

SPAIN - WHITE

2019 Bodegas Casal de Armán, Ribeiro Blanco, “Eira dos Mouros,” Galicia, Spain 15.99 / 172.69

The González family founded the Casal de Armán domaine in the late 1990’s to showcase the exemplary fruit from their high-altitude vineyards. Crafted from Treixadura, Casal de Armán’s Eira dos Mouros (“the medicine woman of the walled terraced vineyard”) opens with a gleaming straw-gold color and opulent aromas of pineapple, quince, lemon zest, and juicy ginger. Spine-tinglingly brisk and insistent on the palate, the Blanco alternates waves of citrus and tropical fruit with an infusion of salty, granitic minerals. The Eiro dos Mouros Blanco finishes long, generous, and persistent with further suggestions of Comice pear, yellow melon, and honeysuckle and jasmine blossoms. Pair this superb Treixadura now and over the coming five years with salty Marcona almonds and other light antipasti, seafood and vegetable tapas, tortilla Española, grilled whole fish, and light poultry preparations.
Josh Raynolds, Vinous: 90 points

 

 

Liner & Elsen Wine Merchants
2222 NW Quimby Street Portland, Oregon

Map and Directions

e-mail

503-241-9463 (WINE)
1-800-903-9463 (WINE)

STORE HOURS:
Tues.-Sat. 10am-5pm

____________

Open for in-store shopping:
We follow current local masking guidelines

Curbside pickup:
available during store hours

Local delivery:
Contact us
to arrange (fee)

Shipping:
Where we ship

Get the newsletter

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


© Liner & Elsen, all rights reserved. Information and prices may apply during the current month only. Wine availability is subject to quantity on hand.