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DECEMBER 2020 REVIEWS

 

OREGON PINOT NOIR CASE SAMPLERS
Our Top Selections for the Holidays!

The Gold Sampler: two of each selection ... 450.00  reg. 504.00

  • 2018 A.D. Beckham Estate, Creta, Chehalem Mountains (46.99 / 482.12)
  • 2017 Brick House, Les Dijonnais, Ribbon Ridge (50.99 / 523.16)
  • 2018 Cameron, Reserve, Dundee Hills (35.99 / 369.26)
  • 2017 Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Dundee Hills (39.99 / 410.30)
  • 2018 Goodfellow, Long Acre, Whistling Ridge (43.99 / 451.34)
  • 2018 Kelley Fox, Mirabai, Willamette Valley (33.99 / 348.74)

The Silver Sampler: two of each selection ... 265.00  reg. 298.00

  • 2018 Belle Pente, Willamette Valley (22.99 / 248.29)
  • 2018 Evesham Wood, La Grive Bleue, Eola-Amity Hills (25.99 / 280.69)
  • 2018 Haden Fig, Willamette Valley (19.99 / 215.89)
  • 2018 Loop de Loop, Four Winds Vineyard, McMinnville Coast Range (25.99 / 280.69)
  • 2016 Phelps Creek, Columbia Gorge (23.99 / 259.09)
  • 2017 RoseRock (Domaine Drouhin Oregon), Eola Amity Hills (29.99 / 323.89)

 

 

SPARKLING WINES

FRANCE - SPARKLING

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

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

NV Domaine Allimant-Laugner, Cremant d'Alsace, Brut Rose Alsace, France 23.99 / 259.09

This Pinot Noir cremant rose 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 rose conveys impressive harmony between crisp acidity, yeasty richness, and crunchy berry fruit.

N/V Les Vignobles de Jacques, Brut, Blanquette de Limoux, L’Absolue, Methode Traditionnelle. Limoux, France (S) 15.99 / 172.69

If you like the taste of honeycrisp apples with a hint of apricot and a note of Tupelo honey encased in a robe of chalky minerality, crisp acidity, and brioche, this gem from Les Vignobles de Jacques is your kind of sparkling wine. Blanquette de Limoux, located in the greater Languedoc region, is considered the earliest sparkling white wine produced in France, created long before the Champagne region became world-renowned. The Les Vignobles de Jacques L’Absolue is a blend of the indigenous Mauzac grape (90%) and Chardonnay, hand harvested, and made in the Methode Traditionnelle manner. Punching way above its weight class, this Blanquette di Limoux will impress as an aperitif or as a substitute for Champagne.

ITALY - SPARKLING

NV Guerra Albano, Ribolla Gialla, Brut, Friuli Colli Orientali, Italy 23.99 / 246.14

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, pear skin, 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. A beautiful with which to toast – socially distantly, of course – your holiday guests. Limited.


RED WINES

OREGON – RED

2018 Belle Pente, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon 22.99 / 248.29

Belle Pente’s Brian O’Donnell has fashioned a lovely, graceful Willamette Valley Pinot that shows the best facets of the 2018 harvest exemplified by the harmony that superior viticultural practices and skillful winemaking can achieve. Belle Pente’s 2018 Pinot – a blend of Yamhill-Carlton and Dundee Hills fruit – reflects a gorgeous ruby robe segueing to deep aromas of black cherries, cranberries, dried rose, sweet tobacco, and smoky soil. On the palate, cherry, and black plum fruit meshes with firm tannins, crisp acidity, and an elegant, loamy soil signature. Subtle notes of smoke, black cherry, and vanilla emerge on the wine’s long, sumptuous finish. As always, Belle Pente’s 2018 Willamette Valley blend conveys abundant charm and stylishness with a purity of fruit expression rare for its price level. Enjoy this superb Oregon Pinot now or over the coming three to five years with classic fare like grilled salmon, roast chicken, lamb chops, and duck confit.

FRANCE – RED

2018 Domaine la Roubine, Sablet, Cotes-du-Rhone Villages, La Grange des Briguieres, Southern Rhone Valley, France (CO) 15.99 / 172.69

Situated at the foothills of Dentelles de Montmirail, Sablet is revered for its sand and clay soils that produce generous, precocious, mouth-filling wines. Domaine la Roubine’s cuvee of Grenache (70%), Syrah (25%), and Cinsault shines in the fresh, energetic, but very low yield 2018 vintage. Roubine’s Sable casts a saturated rusty plum robe followed by classic aromas of black cherries, cassis, garrigue, and smoke. Juicy and fleshy on the attack, appetizing tannins appear mid-palate to amplify the wine’s dense core of cherry, plum, and black raspberry fruit. The Sablet finishes long, chewy, and mouth-coating, adding firm, gripping tannins and further accents of blackberries, cassis, herbs, tar, leather, and tobacco. This is a terrific, savory, old-school Cotes-du-Rhone rouge to enjoy now or over the coming five years with herb-crusted lamb, grilled burgers, ratatouille, rosemary-scented chicken, and hearty stews.

2018 Vincent Paris Selections, Crozes-Hermitage, Northern Rhone Valley, France (O)
26.99 / 291.49

This is classic, authentic, old-school Crozes-Hermitage – and the red wine value of the newsletter! Cornas superstar Vincent Paris crafts this authentic, meaty, gamy Syrah from 30-year-old organically tended vines from the river-stone laden soils in Crozes-Hermitage. Paris’ 2018 Crozes opens with an opaque black-plum robe followed by classic aromas of cured meats, spicy blackberries, crushed peppercorns, tar, and leather. On the palate, the wine presents pure black plum and black cherry fruit accented by salty, granitic minerals, smoke, licorice, mocha, lavender, and dried herbs. The wine finishes gamy and peppery with vibrant acidity and just enough chewy tannins to frame its chewy kernel of black fruits. Here's a selection that will thrill ardent Northern Rhone fans and perform as a lovely partner to roast lamb, braised rabbit, eggplant casseroles, and everyday fare like grilled burgers and seared pork loin chops. Enjoy now and over the coming seven years.
Josh Raynolds, Vinous: 91 points

2017 Chateau Pey-Bonhomme les Tours, Blaye Cotes-de-Bordeaux-Blave, Bordeaux, France (B) 17.99 / 194.29

On the right bank of the Gironde River, Blaye is one of Bordeaux’s oldest wine producing communes. Here Jean-Luc and Catherine Hubert represent the fifth generation in Catherine's family to own and operate Chateau Pey-Bonhomme-Les Tours. The Chateau’s 2017 – a blend of Merlot (75%), Cabernet Franc and Malbec – casts a beautiful plum-ruby color in the glass followed by old-school Right Bank aromas of black plum, cassis, tobacco, and fresh herbs. On the palate, the wine layers chewy currant and plum fruit alongside a lovely soil signature, silky tannins, and complex notes of bitter chocolate, cigar box, spicy cinnamon, and herbs. An absolute joy to drink, we suggest enjoying it now with cool weather fare like rib roasts of beef, leg of lamb, braised rabbit, or hearty lentil preparations. Or give the wine a decade in your cellar to let the brisk tannins melt into its kernel of cassis and plum fruit.

2017 Jean-Michel Giboulot, Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France (O) 21.99 / 237.49

Established in 1935, the Giboulot domaine based in Savigny-les-Beaune has earned a peerless reputation with its superb portfolio of Savigny premiers crus. Jean-Michel Giboulot assumed the reins of the family domaine in 1982 and by 2010 converted his vineyards to strict organic practices. Giboulot’s 2017 Bourgogne Pinot Noir reflects a radiant ruby hue followed by a gorgeously Burgundian nose that alternates impressions of pure, ripe violet-inflected Pinot Noir and the gamy earthiness for which Savigny is celebrated. On the palate, the wine infuses its kernel of raspberry and tart cherry fruit with fine, toothsome tannins, savory notes, and a healthy dollop of Savigny earth. Brisk acidity and hints of cinnamon lift the wine and segue it to a long, earthy, genuinely Burgundian finish. This is a superb entry to Giboulot’s exemplary portfolio and a terrific value to boot! Enjoy it now and over the next five years with broiled salmon, roast chicken, seasonal squashes, and recipes featuring fall chanterelles.

ITALY – RED

2019 Monte Tondo, Corvina, Veneto IGT, Veneto, Italy 11.99 / 129.49

To create the classic Valpolicella cuvee, the Veneto’s principle Corvina variety is typically blended with other grapes such as Corvinone, Molinara, and Rondinella. Monte Tondo’s Veneto IGT is an extraordinarily rare 100% Corvina wine crafted from vines within the Valpolicella zone. A transparent garnet hue in the glass, Monte Tondo’s 2019 Corvina casts fresh, vibrant aromas of crunchy cranberries, red currants, pomegranate seeds, Seville orange peel, and cinnamon-scented potpourri. Brisk and fresh on the attack, the wine conveys lovely suggestions of pink grapefruit, white pepper, and dried rose petals wrapped around a bright, vibrant core of tart cherry fruit. Savory herbs, blood orange zest, and fine tannins join the wine’s core of red fruits to make this one of the most delicious, versatile, and affordable red wines on the market. Pair it over the coming two years with just about everything but shellfish and oily fish dishes.

2015 Falchini, Paretaio, Rosso Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy 20.99 / 226.69

Complete, elegant, and satisfying, Falchini's 2015 Paretaio gets our vote as the greatest Super Tuscan value on the market. The renowned Falchini estate crafts its superb, barrique-aged Super Tuscan red from blend of Sangiovese (95%) and Merlot grown in the esteemed Paretaio vineyard just north of the hilltop village of San Gimignano. Falchini’s 2015 Paretaio casts a translucent mahogany-tinged ruby color from the glass alongside deep aromas of black cherries, wintergreen, leather, tobacco, and shiitake mushrooms. Chewy vanilla and tobacco-tinged Sangiovese fruit stains the palate accented by delicious barrel tones of toffee and vanilla, backed by noble Sangiovese tannins. Sangiovese’s distinctive leather and savory mushroom notes reappear on the Paretaio’s back-palate and segue the wine to its long, savory finish featuring complex suggestions of black cherries, cured meat, tobacco, and vanilla. Pair now and over the coming decade with pizza, meaty pasta dishes, rich Tuscan bean stews, and grilled Porterhouse steaks.

2019 Il Molinaccio di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano, Il Golo, Tuscany, Italy (O)
18.99 / 205.09

In southeastern Tuscany’s Montepulciano zone, the Sangiovese grape is called Prugnolo Gentile, and the wines are often warmer, friendlier, and more approachable than their brethren from Chianti Classico and Montalcino. Il Molinaccio’s Rosso di Montepulciano casts a translucent black-cherry color in the glass followed by authentic, soil-driven Sangiovese aromas of Morello cherries, blond leather, tobacco, cinnamon, and violets. Fresh, vibrant, and brimming with character, Il Molinaccio’s Rosso graces the palate with fresh pie cherry fruit mingling with dusty limestone earth and hints of menthol, licorice, cinnamon, and tobacco. On the finish, the Rosso’s fine tannins melt on the palate while red licorice notes, brisk acidity, and suggestions of tobacco leave that elusive but much relished sensation of limestone dust on the lips and inner cheeks. This is fantastic, ready-to-enjoy Rosso di Montepulciano that will pair effortlessly with bucatini all’amatriciana, grilled porterhouse steaks, roast pork, sauteed mushrooms, and rich Tuscan bean stews.

2019 Diego Conterno, Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont, Italy (CO) 18.99 / 215.89

This is the most serious and impressive Dolcetto we’ve tasted in eons. Diego Conterno and his son Stefano are rising stars in the hallowed Barolo zone of Monforte d’Alba. Trained by Piedmont legend Beppe Colla at Prunotto, Diego aims to employ Piedmont’s traditional methods to capture the purest expressions of his grape varieties on Monforte’s finest terroirs. Conterno’s 2019 Dolcetto conveys the time-honored old-school style of Dolcetto – the kind we love – with a translucent black ruby color in the glass transitioning to deep aromas of black cherries, black plums, licorice, tar, and crushed rose petals. Balancing chewy fruit with refined tannins and savory herbal tones, the wine layers the palate with impressions of black plums, Bing cherry skin, limestone dust, lavender, and tar. Long, serious, and completely delicious, the Dolcetto finishes with reprises of cherry skin, dusty tannins, herbs, and a haunting note of walnut. The wine drinks well now and will reward five to ten years’ patience in your cool cellar. Pair with hearty fare such as beef braises, egg-rich pasta dishes tossed with a butter and sage sauce, burgers, wood-fired pizzas, and eggplant parmigiana – anything that calls for a robust, versatile red.

2018 Giacomo Fenocchio, Barbera d’Alba Superiore, Piedmont, Italy (S) 18.99 / 215.89

The venerable Giacomo Fenocchio estate was founded in 1864. Their Barbera d’Alba hails from hillside vineyards at 1,000 feet in Barolo’s Monforte d’Alba zone. Opaque black plum in the glass, Fenocchio’s Barbera Superiore casts a textbook nose of blackberries, violets, leather, mushrooms, dark tobacco, and almond skin. Fenocchio’s Barbera is brisk and zesty on the palate with deep impressions of blackberry and cassis fruit complemented by hints of tar, leather, tobacco, lavender, and button mushrooms. Driven by juicy acidity and a persistent limestone soil signature, the wine finishes with fine, buffered tannins and reprises of tobacco, lavender, and mushrooms. Pair this world-class Barbera now with grilled hanger steak, carne cruda, tagliatelle with a rich ragù or mushroom sauce, fritto misto, and vegetable and mushroom risottos. It will also reward seven to ten years aging in your cool cellar to allow its mushroomy, tertiary notes to blossom and its texture to develop and mellow.

NV Cantina Sociale Cooperativa Gattinara, Vino Rosso, Piedmont, Italy 19.99 / 215.89

With its freshness, vivacity, and pure deliciousness, this is the perfect autumnal wine and one to carry you through the cold winter months. Founded in 1908, the Cantina Sociale offers Gattinara’s small winegrowing families a steady path to viticultural independence, economic sustainability, and continued stewardship of the land. The Cantina’s forty member families care for their own tiny plots, which total a mere 37 acres in the zone’s pure volcanic soils. The Cantina’s Vino Rosso is a field blend of Nebbiolo (60%), Barbera (30%), Vespolina, and Uva Rara, as well as some unknown, historical varieties. A transparent cherry color, the Cantina’s Vino Rosso presents delicious aromas of tart cherries, red plums, fresh rose petals, and earth. Vibrant on the palate, red cherry and red currant fruit notes mingle with a firm tannic spine, brisk acidity, cinnamon, and volcanic soil. High toned floral notes emerge and segue the wine to its long, joyous finish. Pair this versatile and unusually affordable Alto Piemonte blend now and over the coming five years with both classic hearty Piemontese cuisine and everyday fare such as pizza, salumi, grilled strip steaks, medium-firm cheeses, pasta, burgers, and pork chops.


WHITE WINES

OREGON – WHITE

2019 The Eyrie Vineyards, Pinot Blanc, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon (CO)
16.99 / 183.49

Best known for their elegant, racy expressions of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay, Oregon’s pioneering Eyrie Vineyards also fashions what is considered by many to be the state’s finest Pinot Blanc. Eyrie’s just released Pinot Blanc from the elegant, expressive 2019 vintage, casts a medium lemon-gold hue from the glass followed by aromas of pear skin, quince, preserved lemon, and smoky, mineral-rich soil. Zesty and vibrant on the palate, the wine’s crisp, cool acidity propels fresh expressions of yellow apples, linden blossoms, and chamomile. Taut, clean, and focused, Eyrie’s Pinot Blanc finishes with further sensations of crisp Pippin apples, yellow melon, fresh ginger, and lemon balm. This is world-class Pinot Blanc and a terrific choice to savor at your Thanksgiving table and over the coming five years with grilled sockeye salmon, halibut, pan-roasted black cod, light poultry dishes, and grilled zucchini and seasonal squashes.

AUSTRIA – WHITE

2019 Nigl, Gruner Veltliner, Freiheit, Kremstal, Austria (S) 19.99 / 215.89

Mark our words: 2019 will prove to be a benchmark Austrian vintage, and this is the finest Freiheit in our experience! Nigl, unquestionably one of Austria’s premier wine estates, crafts focused, chiseled wines of impeccable detail and transparency. In the phenomenal 2019 Kremstal vintage, Nigl’s Freiheit coveys the shimmering acidity, transparent clarity, and persistent mineral tension that we so adore. Nigl’s Freiheit – hailing from the deep Löss soils on which the Gruner thrives – casts a pale green-gold hue followed by crystalline aromas of green apple fruit, honeysuckle blossoms, jasmine, 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 herbs. 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 five years with sauteed green vegetables, grilled zucchini, braised pork, and roast chicken.

FRANCE – WHITE

2018 Paul Pernot et Ses Fils, Bourgogne, Cote d’Or Chardonnay, Burgundy, France (S)
32.99 / 356.29

Paul Pernot is a legend in his home village of Puligny-Montrachet. Pernot’s always-delicious Bourgogne Chardonnay is fashioned from declassified Puligny-Montrachet vines situated on Puligny’s border with Meursault. The wine opens with a brilliant lemon-gold color followed by rich, buttery, Meursault-like aromas of lemon curd, pear, and hazelnuts. The Bourgogne’s palate is at once creamy, textured, and precise, conveying premier cru intensity and soil transparency rarely found in such an affordably priced Cote-de-Beaune blanc. Long, sappy, and packed with limestone-infused impressions of fresh lemon juice, yellow plum, and buttery pastry crust, Pernot’s Bourgogne blanc finishes elegant, rich, and impeccably well balanced. This wine is always very limited, so be sure to call or email early to secure your case of this beauty. Pernot’s Bourgogne already drinks well young but 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 chevres.

2018 Joseph Drouhin, Saint-Veran, Burgundy, France 16.99 / 183.49

Saint-Veran in the Maconnais region of southern Burgundy is the source of delicious Chardonnays laced with Burgundy’s inimitable limestone soil signature. In the ripe, yet fresh and aromatic 2018 vintage, Drouhin has fashioned another immediately enjoyable, soil-driven white Burgundy from this under-heralded region wedged between Pouilly-Fuisse and Beaujolais. Drouhin’s 2018 Saint-Veran sports a lovely lemon-gold color in the glass followed by aromas of gunflint, honeysuckle, apple blossoms, and salted lemon. On the palate, Drouhin’s mouth-filling Saint-Veran is packed with delicious suggestions of raw hazelnuts, buttery lemon curd, and white flowers vivified by crisp acidity and a vibrant undercurrent of saline oyster shell minerality. Reprises of honeysuckle blossoms and flinty minerals mark the wine’s long, lip-smacking finish. Enjoy this lovely, authentic, reasonably-priced white Burgundy now and over the coming three years with salmon, pork, roast chicken, duck, boudin blanc, and light pork dishes.

GREECE – WHITE

2019 Lyrarakis, Assyrtiko, Voila, Crete, Greece (S) 17.99 / 194.29

This is the perfect white wine to electrify the jaded palate! Voila refers to a special viticultural area in eastern Crete where loamy soils at 1,900 feet prove a perfect combination for cultivating Greece’s most celebrated white variety, Assyrtiko. Lyrarakis is one of Crete’s leading wine estates, dedicated to the preservation of Greece’s indigenous varieties using sustainable practices. Lyrarakis’s Assyrtiko reflects a straw-gold color and gorgeous aromas of white peaches, green apples, and lemon thyme. Brisk, bracing, and refreshing on the palate, Lyrarakis’s Assyrtiko delivers impressions of Mirabelle plums, kiwi, gravelly minerals, and marzipan. The wine tenses mid-palate and then releases juicy lemony acidity and a dusting of saline minerals on its long, persistent finish. Bring home the sun and warmth of Crete and pair this singular Assyrtiko with fish and poultry dishes that spotlight lemon and oregano. Enjoy now and over the coming two years.
Wine & Spirits Magazine: 93 points

ITALY – WHITE

2019 Iacopo Paolucci, Trebbiano Spoletino,Il San Ponziano, Umbria, Italy (S)
19.99 / 215.89

Focusing exclusively on indigenous Umbrian varieties, Iacopo Paolucci combines organic winegrowing with gentle winemaking to craft this superb Trebbiano Spoletino. A deep straw gold in the bowl, Paolucci’s Il San Ponziano casts crisp, high-altitude aromas of fresh apricots, persimmon, hops, and iodine. Bright and bracing on the fore-palate, the Trebbiano’s rich texture on the palate reflects the four days spent on the lees, expressing nuances of lime zest, tangerine, Asian pear, and fresh rosemary. A persistent marine mineral undercurrent runs through the wine and segues it to a juicy and lingering finish. Truly delicious, versatile, and filled with character (like their superb Grechetto de Todi) Paolucci’s Il San Ponziano will work fantastically as an attention-grabbing starter white or, ideally, as a partner to prosciutto di Parma, pork pates and terrines, braised lentils, vegetable-based risottos, and linguine with a white clam sauce. Enjoy now and over the coming two years. Fantastic wine!

2019 Tenuta Olim Bauda, Gavi del Comune di Gavi, Piedmont, Italy (O) 17.99 / 194.29

Based on the Cortese grape, Gavi is Piedmont’s most celebrated white wine and one of only a handful of Italian white wines to be honored with full DOCG status. Olim Bauda’s 2019 Gavi, from the appellation’s historical and superior subzone immediately around the town of Gavi, opens with a brilliant, green-glinted lemon-gold color and fresh aromas of lemon zest, white peaches, green pineapple, and chalky minerals. On the palate, Olim Bauda’s Gavi unfurls with juicy Meyer lemon, canary melon, and yellow plum notes followed by suggestions of white meadow flowers, tarragon, and lemon thyme. Tangy acidity and a bright tangerine note segue the wine to its crisp and lip-smackingly delicious finish that echoes further hints of juicy citrus, lemon balm, and jasmine. Drink this fantastic, affordable, and delicious Gavi now and over the next two years served with golden trout, snapper, soups, vegetable frittatas, sauteed zucchini, clams, and halibut.

2019 Andrea Felici, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, Marche, Italy (O) 15.99 / 172.69

Verdicchio (which translates into English as “the little green one”) is central Italy’s most distinctive and important white variety. It reaches its optimal expression in the mineral-rich soils of the Marche’s Castelli di Jesi zone just a few miles from the Adriatic Sea. Andrea Felici’s organic Verdicchio is grown in the Castelli di Jesi’s tenderloin Classico Superiore subzone. The wine casts a radiant green-gold color from the glass followed by textbook Verdicchio aromas of Bartlett pears, green apple skin, chamomile, and flinty minerals. Brisk, zesty, and mineral-driven on the palate, the wine’s green fruit expressions marry seamlessly with a backbone of bristling acidity and delicious impressions of lime zest, honeydew melon, fennel, and white pepper. Long on the palate, the wine segues to a lingering, juicy finish suggesting pomelo, ginger, and sweet almond. Pair this crisp, focused, and versatile Verdicchio now and over the coming two years with light poultry preparations, freshwater fish, steamed shellfish, white pizzas, fried seafood, and recipes featuring zucchini and summer squashes.

2019 Durin, Vermentino, Riviera Ligure di Ponente, Liguria, Italy 15.99 / 172.69

To fashion the Durin estate’s impressive portfolio of Ligurian delicacies, winemaker Antonio Basso tends 259 separate, small vineyards on steep hillsides just three miles away from the Mediterranean Sea. Italy’s noble Vermentino grape inherits an iodine, saline complexity thanks to Durin’s vineyards’ proximity to the sea. Durin’s 2019 Vermentino casts a limpid medium gold robe followed by mineral-driven expressions of quince, yellow melon, chamomile, and sunflowers. Impressively taut on the palate, the wine relaxes on the finish to reveal further expressions of yellow plum and star fruit infused with complex notes of sorrel, iodine, fennel, and quinine. Salty minerals dust the lips and inner cheeks as the wine lingers on its long, brisk, and joyful finish. Distinctive and truly terroir-driven, Durin’s Vermentino demands food and will prove a wonderful choice now and over the coming two years with antipasti, grilled whole fishes, fritto misto, white pizzas, seafood and vegetarian risottos, sauteed zucchini, and pastas dressed in garlicky pesto.

SPAIN – WHITE

2019 Bodegas Albamar, Albarino, Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain 21.99 / 237.49

2019 is proving to be a benchmark vintage in the Rias Baixas, one that places the spotlight directly on the noble Albarino's ability to convey purity, intensity, and laser-like focus. Xurxo Alba of Albamar (“al aba del mar,” next to the sea) crafts this delicious Albarino that wonderfully amplifies the variety’s citrus, melon, and tropical fruit notes with bristling acidity and tactile saline minerality. The wine casts a medium green-gold color and classic aromas of Meyer lemon zest, green pineapple, Crenshaw melon, and salty sea breeze. On the palate, the wine is packed with intense expressions of lemon, lime, tart melon, and passion fruit driven by riveting acidity and complex suggestions of quinine and white pepper. Showing superb transparency and focus, the wine finishes with reprises of citrus, melon, and tropical fruits infused with 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, steak fishes like swordfish or mahi mahi, sashimi, and mild cheeses.
Luis Gutierrez, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: 92 points


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

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