AUGUST 2019 REVIEWS


RED WINES

OREGON - RED

2017 Loop de Loop, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon (S) 21.99/237.49

Loop de Loop winemaker Julia Bailey emphasizes dry-farmed, ecologically conscious viticulture and minimal intervention in the cellar. The result is beautiful Willamette Valley Pinot with impressive clarity and purity of fruit. Casting a lovely crimson ruby from the glass, Loop de Loop’s 2017 Pinot unfurls with cinnamon-tinged aromas of Bing cherries, pomegranate, and red raspberries. Fresh berry impressions continue on the tangy palate alongside lovely accents of rose petals, brown spices, and sarsaparilla. Delicate barrel tones segue the Pinot to its long, crunchy, fresh-berried finish. Only nine barrels of this beauty were made, so please reserve your case as soon as possible. Enjoy now and over the coming three years with broiled salmon, roast chicken, and grilled Portobello mushrooms.


FRANCE - RED

2018 Domaine Celine & Nicolas Hirsch, Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, France (S) 14.99/161.89

Pure, natural, high-toned, and totally authentic, this is Beaujolais that you can’t stop drinking! Celine and Nicolas Hirsch fell in love with the gnarly old Gamay vines on an estate in Chenas. The duo now farms ten acres of old-vine, densely planted Gamay grown on steep, granitic, sandy soils in the Chenas. Their 2018 Beaujolais Villages – crafted from handpicked 35 to 60-year-old vines fermented in cement with indigenous yeasts – is fashioned to be a “vin de soif,” an uncomplicated wine to be enjoyed with gusto and good cheer. A gleaming ruby robe in the glass transitions to gloriously pure aromas of wild cherries, black raspberries, candied rose petals, and smoky minerals. Bright and tangy on the palate, the wine balances juicy cherry fruit with taut acidity and soft, chewy tannins. Give it a slight chill to enjoy this summer, but be sure to buy enough to get you through the year. Pair with burgers, roast poultry, charcuterie, grilled sausages, and sauteed summer squashes.

2017 Domaine du Cros, Marcillac, Lo Sang del Pais, Southwestern France 14.99/161.89

Marcillac, an isolated appellation located east of Cahors in France’s Massif Central, is home to the wonderfully obscure grape Fer Servadou. Domaine du Cros’ Lo Sang del Pais (“the blood of the soil”) casts an opaque black-ruby hue followed by exotic aromas of Szechuan peppercorns, Serrano peppers, crushed herbs, and ferrous earth. Bright, spicy, and peppery, the 2017 Lo Sang del Pais presents a generous, savory palate marked by notes of pomegranate, black cherry, tobacco, freshly ground black pepper, and bay leaf. Fine tannins dust the lips and transition the wine to its long, peppery, mineral-driven finish. Enjoy this beautiful and distinctive Marcillac rouge now and over the next five years with sausages, burgers, grilled vegetables, and cassoulet. A unanimous staff favorite every year, this 2017 vintage is truly glorious and the most delicious, satisfying Pais to date!

2017 Domaine la Fourmone, Vacqueyras, Le Poete, Southern Rhone Valley, France (S) 17.99/194.29

The Domaine la Fourmone draws its roots from word “Fromentum,” Latin for wheat, as depicted in the emblem on the wine’s label. Earning consistent accolades from critics in France, Britain and America, the Domaine la Fourmone’s 2017 Vacqueyras – a blend of Grenache (70%) and Syrah – reflects a translucent ruby robe followed by textbook Vacqueyras scents of black raspberries, licorice, bay leaf, bitter orange peel, and hickory smoke. Warm and generous on the palate, the wine reveals chewy cherry, currant, and plum fruit accented by garrigue, peony, and cured meat. Packed with Southern French charm and warmth, Fourmone’s impeccably balanced Le Poete cuvee finishes bright and spicy with added suggestions of orange zest, licorice, menthol, and sweet cherries. A terrific value in classic, old-school Vacqueyras, it will make a lovely foil for herbed leg of lamb, burgers, grilled eggplant, mushroom ragouts, and hearty stews. Enjoy now and over the coming seven years.


ITALY - RED

2017 San Felice, Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy (S) 16.99/183.49

The great San Felice estate is situated in Castelnuova Berardenga, the southernmost commune of Chianti Classico and considered by many experts to be the greatest of all the Chianti subzones. The finest wines from Castelnuova Berardenga zone possess that elusive balance of power, intensity, elegance, and ability to repay ageing. San Felice’s delicious 2017 Chianti Classico – a blend of Sangiovese (80%), Colorino, and Pugnitello – epitomizes all those traits while being approachable and delicious upon release. A rusty crimson-garnet color in the glass, the wine casts aromas of ripe cherries, black tea, dark leather, violet, and chalky earth. Warm and inviting on the palate, the wine balances a core of fleshy cherry and red currant fruit alongside complex notes of cedar, button mushrooms, leather, smoke, and savory herbs. Plentiful noble Sangiovese tannins segue the wine to its long, tobacco-tinged finish, which will prove to be a wonderful foil for pastas, pizzas, grilled steaks, burgers, eggplant preparations, and mushroom ragoûts. Enjoy now and over the coming five years.

2016 Ronchi di Cialla, Ribolla Nera, Friuli Colli Orientali, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy (S) 20.99/226.69

Ribolla Nera, also known as Schioppettino, is a delicious, versatile red varietal native to the hills of Friuli in northeastern Italy. The great Ronchi di Cialla estate is the varietal’s single most ardent champion. Their Ribolla Nera is a textbook rendering of the grape, showing a translucent cherry skin color followed by fascinating expressions of Szechuan peppercorns, wild blueberries, violets, bitter herbs, and sandalwood. Suggestions of shiitake mushrooms transition the wine from its peppery bouquet to its lip-smacking, savory palate. Fine tannins and enlivening acidity sneak in mid-palate to propel the Ribolla’s complex notes of tamari, green peppercorns, and hoisin sauce. Truly original and versatile at the table, the wine’s delicious spectrum of aromas and flavors positions it admirably for pairing with Asian cuisines. It will also work well with pizza, flank steak, and grilled Portobello mushrooms. Enjoy now and over the coming three years.

2015 Perticaia, Montefalco Rosso, Umbria, Italy (S) 14.99/161.89

This is perhaps the most authentic, complex, and exhilarating Montefalco Rosso in our experience! Fastidiously run by Guido Guardigli, the 37-acre Perticaia estate spotlights an all-Italian blend of Sangiovese (70%), Sagrantino (15%), and Colorino. Perticaia’s Rosso reflects a gorgeous, translucent purple-ruby color in the glass, followed by pungent, earthy aromas of elderberries, wild blueberries, eucalyptus, and licorice. On the palate, the wine seamlessly fuses the dark, brooding, tannic nature of the Sagrantino with the high-toned cherry fruit of the Sangiovese and the richly tannic properties of the Colorino. Perticaia’s Rosso finishes long, earthy, and gripping, with further waves of blackberry fruit accented by complex notes of eucalyptus, tobacco, cinnamon, and licorice. Perticaia’s 2015 is poised for a positive evolution in your cool cellar, but will pair well now with richer fare like pork ribs, salumi, burgers, game, and pasta dishes topped with Pecorino Romano.


SPAIN - RED

2011 Ismael Arroyo, ValSotillo, Crianza, Ribera del Duero, Spain (S) 19.99/215.89

Ismael Arroyo is one of the founding fathers and leading lights of the Ribera del Duero denominacion in northern Spain. Arroyo’s ValSotillo Crianza hails from 100% old-vine Tinto del Pais (Tempranillo) grown near the town of Sotillo del Duero and aged for fourteen months in American oak barrels. Opaque black-plum in the glass, the ValSotillo Crianza opens with deep aromas of fresh blueberries, cassis, Maduro tobacco, coconut, and vanilla. Lush and velvety on the fore-palate, the wine tightens to reveal plentiful chewy tannins, layers of plum and cherry fruit, and sexy barrel notes of smoke, vanilla, coconut, and caramel. Long and lingering, the wine finishes with reprises of dark berry fruit accented by old-school Ribera barrel notes. The wine’s structure begs that you give this youngster a long decant before serving with hearty fare like leg of lamb, pork shoulder roast, potato-based tapas, grilled sausages, and sauteed mushrooms. Enjoy now and over the coming decade. Very limited.



WHITE WINES

AUSTRIA - WHITE

2018 Landhaus Meyer, Gruner Veltliner, Niederosterreich, Austria 15.99/172.69

Landhaus Mayer’s Gruner is sourced from prime vineyards in lower Austria, bordering Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Many of these vineyards are small and in danger of being abandoned in favor of housing and commercial development. Landhaus Mayer works with these winegrowers to ensure that these exemplary sites remain economically feasible. A brilliant lemon-gold in the glass, Landhaus Meyer’s 2018 Gruner offers classic aromas of green pineapple, grapefruit, and lime infused with gentian root, white pepper, and stony minerals. Impressions of tropical fruits, sweet pea shoots, and honeysuckle blossoms emerge on the palate, vivified by zippy acidity and a brilliant mineral undercurrent. Long, peppery, and mineral-driven on the finish, Landhaus Meyer’s vibrant, refreshing Gruner drinks well by itself but will ideally be partnered with schnitzel, goulash, chicken salad, ceviche, veal sausages, antipasti, lightly dressed salads, and braised leafy greens. Enjoy now and over the coming two years.


FRANCE - WHITE

2018 Domitia, Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc-Roussillon, France (O) 11.50/124.20

Your humble servants at L&E adore the “lip-stinger,” Picpoul de Pinet! Domitia’s organic 2018 Picpoul casts a brilliant green-tinged lemon-gold color in the glass followed by mineral-drenched aromas of white meadow flowers, green melon, quince, lemon zest, and sweet herbs. Brisk and bracing on the attack, Domitia’s Picpoul retains superb cut and minerality along with suggestions of freshly squeezed lime juice, Bartlett pear skin, lemongrass, and saline minerals. Clean, fresh and bristling with energy, the wine reprises its pear, citrus, and mineral notes on its pure, energetic, limestone-driven finish. The Picpoul de Pinet AOC overlooks the saltwater lagoon of the Bassin de Thau, where oysters and mussels are farmed. Thus, it’s no coincidence that Domitia’s Picpoul is a smashing partner for raw oysters, pan-roasted mussels, and steamed clams. It will also pair seamlessly with delicate white-fleshed fish dishes, squid a la plancha, grilled and sauteed zucchini, calamari, escargots, and periwinkles. Enjoy now and over the coming two years.

2018 Domaine Riffault, Sancerre, Cortem a Batis, Loire Valley, France 21.99/237.49

Sancerre fans rejoice! We’re thrilled to present a fresh, zesty, authentic Sancerre from a great vintage at a sensible price. Based in Verdigny, the smallest hamlet in the Sancerre appellation, Domaine Riffault presents this crisp, light-bodied wonder that slakes the thirst while electrifying the palate with Sancerre’s stony “caillottes” soil signature. A pale green-gold color in the glass, Riffault’s Cortem a Batis casts textbook Sancerre aromas of honeysuckle, lemongrass, quinine, and flinty gun smoke. The palate follows with a zesty, energetic attack of white grapefruit, freshly squeezed lime juice, Thai basil, gooseberry, and smoky minerals. Fresh, crisp, and begging to be drunk with gusto, Riffault’s Sancerre finishes clean and brisk with lovely waves of juicy citrus fruit and flinty minerality. Enjoy this charming and well-priced Sancerre now and over the coming three years with raw oysters, pan-roasted mussels, white-fleshed fish preparations, sauteed green vegetables, and fresh chevres.

2018 Louis Metaireau, Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie, Petit Mouton, Loire Valley, France (O) 15.99/172.69

This is superb, refreshing, impeccably made Muscadet that gets our vote for the white wine of the newsletter. The Metaireau estate boasts ownership of one of the most prized sites in all of Muscadet, the 23-acre Grand Mouton vineyard in the heart of Muscadet Sevre et Maine appellation. Metaireau’s Petit Mouton cuvee reflects a bright green-tinted lemon-gold in the glass followed by classic, briny Muscadet aromas of honeydew melon, quinine, citrus blossoms, and oyster shells. Brisk and juicy, the wine layers the palate with mineral-driven citrus fruit accented by hints of lemongrass, lime zest, green apple skin, and Mirabelle plums. The wine finishes fresh and invigorating, with notes of vibrant citrus fruit, lemon balm, and saline 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.

2017 Bernard Herivault, Domaine d’Orfeuilles, Vouvray, Silex d’Orfeuilles, Loire Valley, France (O) 20.99/226.69

Few Vouvrays convey the appellation’s gorgeously perfumed soil as vividly as the Domaine d’Orfeuilles’ delicious Silex bottling. A vivid lemon-gold in the glass, d’Orfeuilles Silex cuvee, crafted from old-vine Chenin Blanc, projects beautiful aromas of bee pollen, honeycomb, lemon curd, and gunflint. Imbued with scents of its limestone and flint terroir, the wine unfurls on the palate with gorgeous suggestions of honeydew melon, fleshy Comice pears, white peaches, nutmeg, and vanilla bean. Full-bodied yet chiseled and palpably dry, the wine finishes with persistent notes of melon, beeswax, and pear buoyed by a riveting undercurrent of flinty ("silex") minerals. This is superb Vouvray in the “sec tendre” style, and one of the world’s most thrilling, delicious and terroir-expressive wines. Enjoy now and over the coming two decades with goat cheeses, creamed spinach, and light chicken or freshwater fish preparations. Also pairs wonderfully with mild Indian, Vietnamese, and Cantonese cuisines.

2017 Kientzler, Chasselas, Alsace, France 11.99/129.49

Andre Kientzler and his sons, Thierry and Eric, produce textbook, delicious, character-filled wines from the entire portfolio of Alsace’s noble varieties. Best of all, they are available for extraordinarily modest tariffs. Kientzler crafts one of Alsace’s very few remaining Chasselas wines. Bright green-gold in the glass, Kientzler’s 2017 Chasselas explodes with mineral-driven aromas of green pears, lemon juice, heather, and quinine. Bristling acidity lifts a fresh, zesty palate of yellow apple and white peach fruit before finishing clean, focused, and precise. Perfect as a picnic wine or by itself as an aperitif, the wine will also prove a wonderful partner to traditional Alsatian cuisine as well as vegetables, seafood, light poultry, and pork. Given its sub-$12 tariff and effortless versatility, Kientzler’s Chasselas is a wine to buy a case for enjoyment now and over the coming two years.
Ian D’Agata, Vinous: 90 points


SPAIN - WHITE

2018 Bodegas Albamar, Albarino, Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain (S) 19.99/215.89

Winemaker Xurxo Alba crafts this delicious Albarino that weaves the variety’s citrus, melon, orchard, and tropical fruit characteristics with bristling acidity and tactile saline minerality. From vineyards “al alba del mar,” or next to the sea, Albamar’s Albarino casts a pale green-gold color and classic Albarino aromas of Bartlett pear, passion fruit, green pineapple, honeydew melon, and iodine. On the palate, the wine is packed with chiseled, almost Sancerre-like lemon, lime, melon, and grapefruit expressions backed by riveting acidity and complex suggestions of quinine, salty sea breeze, and white pepper. Showing superb transparency and focus, Albamar’s 2018 Albarino finishes with further waves of citrus and tropical fruits and a final lashing of saline minerals. This is superb Albarino that will delight now and over the coming two years as a partner to prawns, seafood tapas, vegetable tortillas, ahi tuna, swordfish, mahi mahi, sashimi, and mild cheeses.

2018 Mokoroa, Getariako Txakolina, Basque Country, Spain 13.50/145.80

Mokoroa has fashioned a very distinctive, crisp, and refreshing Txakoli, and an outstanding value for its denominación. Situated just outside of San Sebastián on the coast of Basque country, the winery’s seventeen acres of Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza vines are planted in the famous Getariako Txakolina. The Txakoli opens with a shimmering green-tinted lemon color, and offers aromas of lime juice, honeydew melon, green plums, jasmine, and saline minerals. Propelled by a healthy dose of dissolved CO2, Mokoroa’s Txakoli enlivens the palate with suggestions of Key lime juice, green apple skin, gardenia blossoms, and sea spray. The wine finishes fresh, saline, and vigorous with layers of citrus zest, pine buds, quinine, and fresh ginger. It will prove a superb choice for refreshment served now and over the coming year with artichokes, sauteed green leafy vegetables, grilled asparagus, fresh and steamed shellfish, light squid tapas, ceviches, and delicate poached white-fleshed fish dishes.


ROSE AND RAMATO WINES

OREGON - RAMATO

2018 Cameron Winery, Pinot Grigio, Ramato, Dundee Hills, Oregon (S) 23.99/259.09

Ramato, which takes its name from “rame,” the Italian word for copper, refers to a white or light rose wine vinified on its skins like a red. Ramatos have a long and storied history in Northeastern Italy’s Friuli zone, and this is a superb example of the genre with an Oregon accent. Like its maker, John Paul, Cameron’s Ramato is full of personality. Radiating a beautiful copper-tinted salmon color, Cameron’s Ramato casts high-toned aromas of golden raspberries, apricots, peaches, and bitter herbs. The palate is packed with fleshy peach fruit, honeycomb, and hints of Seville orange peel. On the finish, the wine lingers with waves of juicy orchard fruits, light tannins, and beguiling wild yeast funkiness from its indigenous fermentation. Enjoy over the next year or two with salmon sashimi, baby back ribs, barbecued chicken, pizza, salumi, and antipasti.


FRANCE - ROSE

2018 La Bastide Blanche, Bandol, Rose, Provence, France (O) 22.99/248.29

Provence’s Bandol AOC is considered by most experts to be the pinnacle of all rose production zones. Firmly situated at the highest echelon of Bandol domaines is the La Bastide Blanche domaine, whose coveted rose is crafted from over 70% Mourvedre, an extremely high percentage of this noble, site-sensitive and expressive Provençal red grape. The result is our vote for the most delicious and characterful Provençal rose of the season. La Bastide Blanche’s rose casts an orange-tinged copper salmon hue followed by herb-infused aromas of golden raspberries, blood oranges, and bay leaf. Zesty and incisive on the palate, La Bastide Blanche’s rose presents suggestions of nectarine, Rainier cherry, and lavender lifted by zippy acidity and a chalky mineral backbone. Suggestions of pink peppercorns and bitter orange peel appear as the wine finishes persistent and long. Enjoy this beauty now and over the coming two years with sushi, sashimi, broiled salmon, roast chicken, seared ahi, braised and smoked pork, cured meats, and seasonal squashes.
Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate: 90-92 points

2018 Andre Dezat et Fils, Sancerre, Rose, Loire Valley, France 20.99/226.69

Andre Dezat’s rose, fashioned from Pinot Noir grown on Sancerre’s incomparable silex and caillottes soils, gleams from the glass with a brilliant orange-watermelon robe followed by aromas of strawberries, pink grapefruit, candied rose, and gunflint. Fleshy, juicy, and packed with extra verve in this vintage, Dezat’s 2018 rose fuses shimmering acidity with a kernel of tart strawberry, bitter cherry, and Seville orange fruit followed by a lashing of flinty minerals. Juicy and brimming with coiled energy, the Dezat’s Sancerre rose finishes clean, brisk, and mouth-watering. This is a terrific Sancerre rose and a rare treat at a great price. Buy enough to get you through the coming year to enjoy with crab, ahi, sashimi, seasonal squashes, and fresh chevres. We think this is one of the roses of the year!

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

Aug. 2 - An evening of great Chiantis.

Aug. 16 - Taste a bevy of recently arrived brilliant Iberian wines from Spain and Portugal.

Sept. 6 - Superb Burgundy from Chablis.


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

Aug. 3 - From Oregon: Cameron Pinot Grigio Ramato, and Loop de Loop Pinot Noir. From France: Riffault Sancerre Cortem a Batis, and Celine & Nicolas Hirsch Beaujolais Villages.

Aug. 10 - Vive La France: La Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose, Dom. d’Orfeuilles Vouvray Silex d’Orfeuilles, Dom. du Cros Lo Sang del Pais, and Dom. la Fourmone Vacqueyras Le Poete.

Aug. 17 - Tutti Italia: San Felice Chianti Classico, Ronchi di Cialla Ribolla Nera, and Perticaia Montefalco Rosso.

Aug. 24 - From Austria: Landhaus Meyer Gruner Veltliner. From Iberia: Mokoroa Getariako Txakolina, Bodegas Albamar Albarino, and Ismael Arroyo ValSotillo Crianza.

Aug. 31 - French wines to cool the summer heat: Domitia Picpoul de Pinet, Kientzler Chasselas, Metaireau Muscadet Petit Mouton, and Dezat & Fils Sancerre Rose.


SPECIAL EVENT AT L&E:

A TASTING OF GREAT
SPANISH WINES

Tuesday, August 13
5:30-7:00 p.m.

John Kimball from European Cellars will be on hand to showcase some of the superb wines from their Eric Solomon Selections portfolio. No reservations needed. Tasting fee: $10.

~ Wines to be served will be available on our website ~


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.