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

JULY 2019 REVIEWS


RED WINES

OREGON - RED

2017 Arterberry Maresh, Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Oregon (O) 24.99/269.89

Third-generation winegrower Jim Maresh is fashioning some of the Willamette Valley’s finest and most sought-after wines. Maresh’s Dundee Hills cuvee, a blend of fruit from superb vineyards in the Dundee Hills AVA, sports a translucent pale garnet color in the glass followed by delicious aromas of wild strawberries, red raspberries, pie cherries, and cinnamon. Don’t let the wine’s light color fool you: its palate is packed with savory wild cherry and red raspberry fruit backed by suggestions of bay leaf, bitter orange peel, loamy earth, wood smoke, savory herbs, and cinnamon-spiked potpourri. Bright and tangy on the finish, fine, lip-smacking tannins emerge to lift the wine’s transparent kernel of red berry fruit and make this beauty ready for your table now and over the next six years. A very elegant example of Oregon’s 2017 vintage and a steal at its tariff, this wine is one to buy by the case to pair with broiled salmon, roast chicken, and grilled Portobello mushrooms.

WASHINGTON - RED

2017 Involuntary Commitment, Red Wine, Columbia Valley, Washington 18.99/205.09

Involuntary Commitment is a recent project from the good folks at Andrew Will Wines. Thanks to a combination of great weather, vine maturity, and a generous harvest, Involuntary Commitment has crafted a wine that shows all the nuances of premier Washington State grapes while drinking fantastically well right out of the chute. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (52%), Cabernet Franc (27%), and Merlot, the 2017 red casts a deep young claret robe and Cabernet Sauvignon-driven aromas of violets, cassis, tobacco, black olives, and dried herbs. Bright, cedary Cabernet Sauvignon meshes with stony, herbal Cabernet Franc and plummy, chocolaty Merlot to achieve a wonderful harmony on the palate. Reprises of red and black fruits carry through to the back-palate and segue the wine to a long, delicious, Left Bank-inspired finish. Enjoy it now and over the coming five years by itself or with roast lamb or beef, burgers, earthy lentils, and recipes spotlighting spring morel mushrooms.

FRANCE - RED

2016 Domaine des Chanssaud, Cotes-du-Rhone, Southern Rhone Valley, France (O) 12.50/135.00

In the great 2016 Southern Rhone vintage, Domaine des Chanssaud has crafted a knockout Cotes-du-Rhone rouge. Opening with a brilliant plum ruby robe, the wine casts aromas of black cherries and red currants deepened with suggestions of lavender and black pepper. Chanssaud’s blend of Grenache (80%), Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvedre from 40-year-old vines conveys mature vine intensity on the palate with a chewy kernel of cherry accented by smoky minerals, mint, licorice, and garrigue. Showing exemplary balance between sappy fruit and lovely herbal notes, the wine is deliciously approachable now. It will prove a lovely companion this summer when paired with dry rubbed ribs, summer salads, grilled eggplant, and summer squashes. The wine’s versatility will continue to shine the rest of the year alongside grilled meats, sausages, ratatouille, and heartier fare. Enjoy now and over the coming three years.

2015 Chateau Lafond, Canon-Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (S) 16.99/183.49

This is one heck of a great Right Bank Bordeaux value! Chateau Lafond is the second wine of Canon-Fronsac’s great Chateau Mazeris. A blend of Merlot (95%) and Cabernet Franc from clay and limestone soils, Chateau Lafond’s 2015 reflects a dense black, young claret hue and charming aromas of sun-warmed cherries, black currants, cola, and bright herbs. Chewy and herbal in the mouth, the Lafond caresses the palate with immediately delicious black currant and plum fruit accented by complex suggestions of wintergreen and sassafras. Notes of licorice, white pepper, and leather emerge on the long finish. Fleshy, satisfying, and ready to drink, enjoy this superb wine now and over the coming six years with roast beef, pork, and poultry. It will also pair well with recipes featuring lentils du Puy, morel mushrooms, and earthy legumes.
- Medaille d’Argent (Silver Medal), Concours General Agricole

2018 Domaine Arnaud Lambert, Saumur, Breze, Clos Mazurique, Loire Valley, France (CO) 15.99/172.69

Complex and satisfying, the 2018 Domaine Arnaud Lambert Clos Mazurique delivers a mouthful of Cabernet Franc goodness! A youthful purple claret color in the glass is followed by aromas of black currants, pencil lead, and rose petals infused with tuffeau limestone dust. Full and vigorous on the palate, the wine explodes with a core of currant and black cherry fruit lifted by complex overtones of orange blossoms, licorice, tobacco, and gravelly minerals. Brimming with energy and Cabernet Franc nobility, the Clos Mazurique finishes with reprises of black fruits infused with floral notes of violets, lavender, and rose petals. Ready to drink today, the wine also has the poise and reserve to reward five to seven years’ ageing in your cool cellar. Pair with roast chicken or hearty mushroom dishes or serve it at cellar temperature in the summer with grilled zucchini, BBQ chicken, ribs, and fresh chevres.

2017 Domaine la Roubine, Sablet, La Grange des Briguieres, Southern Rhone Valley, France (CO) 17.99/194.29

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 small-quantity-to-high-quality 2017 vintage. The wine opens with a saturated black plum robe followed by classic aromas of black cherries, cassis, garrigue, and smoke. Juicy and fleshy on the attack, appetizing, stemmy tannins appear mid-palate to punctuate the dense core of cherry, plum, and currant fruit. The Sablet finishes long, chewy, and mouth coating with further accents of blackberries, sappy herbs, tar, leather, and tobacco. This is a serious, savory, and terrifically affordable rouge that will satisfy the soul of Southern Rhone aficionados and perform admirably in the company of higher priced wines from Vacqueyras, Gigondas, and even Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Enjoy now or over the coming five years with herb-crusted lamb, grilled burgers, ratatouille, rosemary-scented chicken, and hearty braises.

2017 Yves Cuilleron, Syrah, Collines Rhodaniennes, Les Vignes d’a Cote, Northern Rhone Valley, France (S) 18.99/205.09

This is knockout Northern Rhone Syrah that’s polished enough to take to your neighbor’s barbecue while also being authentic and soil-driven enough to please even the most ardent aficionados of old school Cote-Rotie and Saint-Joseph. Cuilleron’s Les Vignes d’à Cote opens with a classic Northern Rhone Syrah black-plum robe followed by delicious aromas of pepper bacon, spicy blackberries, and stemmy herbs. On the palate the wine shows salted plum and black cherry notes mingling with granitic minerals, smoke, lavender, and dried herbs. The Les Vignes d’à Cote finishes bright, juicy with vibrant acidity, and palate dusting tannins that balance its exuberant fruit expression. A haunting note of lavender pastille emerges as the wine lingers on the palate. Enjoy now and over the coming three years with grilled lamb, braised rabbit, eggplant casseroles, and everyday fare like burgers, grilled chicken, and roast pork loin.

ITALY - RED

2017 Monte Tondo, Valpolicella Superiore, San Pietro, Veneto, Italy 14.99/161.89

Frequent readers of these pages know of our love for Monte Tondo’s extraordinarily rare, affordable and delicious Corvina. Take that Corvina, dial it up a few notches, and you’ll have an idea of how terrific Monte Tondo’s Valpolicella Superiore is. A transparent crimson-ruby in the glass, Monte Tondo’s Valpolicella Superiore San Pietro is redolent of violets, Bing cherries, orange peel, cinnamon, and spices. The wine – a blend of Corvina (55%), Rondinella (30%), and Molinara dried in traditional “fruttai” rooms – explodes on the palate with deep impressions of dried cherries, figs, dates, and brown spices infused with chalky minerals. Bitter herbs and fine tannins join the wine’s chewy, red-fruited core to make this a versatile, flavor packed, table-ready red wine. Pair this over the coming seven years with burgers, roast chicken, pan-seared pork chops, hearty lentil stews, and firm cow’s milk cheeses.

2017 G.D. Vajra, Langhe Rosso, Piedmont, Italy (S) 13.50/145.80

The combination of dazzling aromas, fresh, transparent red and black fruits, food-friendly tannins, authentic Piemontese character, and everyday affordability makes Vajra’s Langhe Rosso a customer favorite. This venerable winery’s creative regional blend combines Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera, with deft touches of Albarossa, Freisa, and Pinot Noir to add verve and complexity. Sporting a translucent crimson-ruby robe in the glass, the Rosso casts vibrant aromas of plums, black cherries, black currants, black tea, tobacco, and tar. The core of chewy cherry, loganberry, and cassis fruit transitions to a long finish marked by menthol, tobacco, cola, sassafras, and leafy underbrush. Brisk and bristling with energy, the wine is a lovely choice at the table with pasta tossed with a butter and sage sauce, grilled burgers, salumi, beef, lamb, sausages, pizza – anything that calls for a robust, versatile red. Enjoy now and over the next five years.


WHITE WINES

FRANCE - WHITE

2017 Domaine Labbe, Abymes, Savoie, France (S) 10.50/113.40

The Savoie’s Abymes AOC is named for the broken stones (abimes) that fall from the Alps during avalanches and scatter on the surface of the village’s vineyards. The sole permitted grape in Abymes is the Jacquere, a crisp, light-bodied grape that marries fantastically well with all things seafood. With the delicious 2017 vintage, Labbe’s benchmark Abymes shows the refreshing glacier-like purity that we so love in the best Savoyard wines. Labbe’s 2017 Abymes reflects a pale green-glinted lemon-gold color in the glass, transitioning to gorgeous aromas of fleshy golden apples, honeysuckle blossoms, apricot skin, and dolomite dust. On the palate, juicy acidity propels expressions of Meyer lemons, pink grapefruit, shaved fennel, and green plums. Crisp, zesty, and effortlessly refreshing, Labbe’s Abymes finishes with impeccable balance, palate persistence, and follow-through rare for the appellation and its modest tariff. We suggest pairing this Alpine refresher with oysters, scallops, white-fleshed fish dishes, and cheeses such as Reblochon and Tomme de Savoie. Serve over the coming year in order to capture all the Abymes’ crisp acidity and crunchy minerality.

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, Kientzler’s Chasselas will also prove a wonderful partner to traditional Alsatian cuisine as well as everything across the vegetable, seafood, light poultry, and pork spectra. 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

2018 Cedrick Bardin, Pouilly-Fume, Loire Valley, France 17.99/194.29

Mature vines and complex soil types results in this riveting expression of Sauvignon Blanc from Pouilly-Fume. Pale lemon-gold in the glass, Bardin’s 2018 Pouilly-Fume casts textbook aromas of grapefruit, yellow peaches, basil, mint, and chalk. Juicy on the attack, the wine shows the warmth of the 2018 vintage with tropical expressions of pineapple, star fruit, passion fruit, and guava. Juicy, fleshy and open for business, the wine segues to clean citrus expressions and flinty minerality on its long finish. Enjoy this delicious, complex, and comfortably priced Pouilly-Fume now and over the coming five years with raw oysters, pan roasted mussels, white-fleshed fish preparations, seared sea scallops, sauteed green vegetables, and fresh chevres.

2015 Domaine FL (Fournier-Longchamps), Anjou Blanc, Les Bergeres, Loire Valley, France (O) 19.99/215.89

This is outrageously great bone-dry Chenin for a song. With superb holdings in the hallowed Savennieres appellation and a deep commitment to organic farming and minimal intervention, Domaine FL is receiving widespread praise for the character, purity, and authenticity of its wines. The domaine’s organically grown Chenin Blanc Les Bergeres cuvee casts a pale green-glinted, straw-gold hue from the glass and classic Chenin aromas of Anjou pears, green plums, fresh fennel, tarragon, and smoky minerals. Brisk on the attack, the Bergeres presents bracingly fresh pear and yellow apple Chenin fruit framed by smoky minerals, bitter herbs, and nervy acidity. Delicious notes of quince, white currants, and white pepper emerge on the wine’s long pear and citrus-tinged finish. Pair this great Chenin now and over the coming five years with freshwater fish preparations, aged chevres, roast pheasant, and dishes featuring chanterelle mushrooms.

ITALY - WHITE

2018 Marchetti, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, Tenuta del Cavaliere, Marches, Italy 15.99/172.69

Marchetti’s incredibly expressive Verdicchio Classico Superiore opens with deep impressions of sweet snap peas, apricots, fruitwood smoke, tarragon, and freshly ground white pepper. On the palate, the wine conveys an impressively concentrated kernel of pear skin, yellow plum, and star fruit backed by brisk acidity, a smoky mineral undercurrent, and suggestions of oolong tea, candied ginger, and jasmine. Full bodied and penetrating, yet balanced and elegant, Marchetti’s powerful Verdicchio begs for rich vegetarian recipes and steak-type fish dishes. Pair it now and over the coming five years with hearty fare that calls for a bold white wine. Think swordfish, fresh albacore tuna, rabbit, zucchini gratin, white pizzas, and pastas dressed with olive oil, garlic, and summer vegetables. Very limited.


PORTUGAL - WHITE

2017 Esporao, Vinho Branco Reserva, Alentejo, Portugal 16.99/183.49 reg. 20.99

We love the distinctive dry white wines of Portugal! Esporao’s lovely branco reserva, based on a blend of indigenous Arinto (40%), Roupeiro (40%), and Antao Vaz, opens with a deep lemon-gold color and barrel-inflected aromas of honeysuckle blossoms, yellow peaches, and Golden Delicious apples. Full bodied, rich, and gripping on the palate, the wine fills the mouth with resinous tangerine and blood orange fruit notes accented by barrel hints of coconut, vanilla, and wood spice. With each sip the wine becomes deeper and more complex, adding fascinating suggestions of Grand Marnier liqueur, Darjeeling tea, quince, and yellow melon to its endless array of flavors. On the finish, the wine balances its distinctive tangerine and orange expressions with barrel notes of coconut oil, and vanilla bean. We can’t get enough of the Esporao’s kaleidoscopic complexity and plan to enjoy it ourselves with salt cod fritters, pork and potato tapas, autumn squashes, and sheep’s milk cheeses.

SLOVENIA - WHITE

2015 Rodica, Malvazija, Istra, Slovenia (CO) 14.99/161.89

The picturesque hills near Marezige and Truske are located approximately eight miles from the Gulf of Trieste. Here the Rodica family organically farms terraced, mineral-rich vineyards at 820-1,150 feet above sea level. Radiating a medium lemon-gold from the glass, Rodica’s Malvazija (Malvasia) blossoms with air to reveal mineral-infused aromas of acacia, starfruit, and quince. Dry and rivetingly intense on the palate, Rodica’s Malvazija layers impressions of Mirabelle plums and yellow apples backed by juicy acidity and an uncompromising mineral backbone. Further impressions of yellow peaches, jasmine, and white pepper segue the wine to its long, delicious, and harmonious finish. This is a wonderful introduction to the amazing spectrum of wines from Slovenia. We suggest decanting this beauty 30 minutes before serving at a cool temperature. Pair it with grilled whole branzino, squid, light poultry recipes, pastas with mushrooms, young chevres, and fried zucchini blossoms.


SPAIN - WHITE

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 denominacion. Situated just outside of San Sebastian 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 WINES

FRANCE - ROSE

2018 Andre Dezat & 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 and enjoy this beauty by itself after a hard day’s work, or pair it with crab, rare ahi, sashimi, sauteed summer squashes, fresh chevres, and beef tartare. We think this is one of the roses of the year!

2018 Domaine Morey, Bastide du Claux Poudriere Luberon Rose, Provence, France (S) 15.99/172.69

The Bastide du Claux project was born in 2002 to fuse Chassagne-Montrachet native Sylvain Morey’s traditional Burgundian winemaking aesthetic with Southern Rhone varieties in Provence’s dynamic, high-altitude Luberon AOP. Bastide du Claux’s Poudriere rose hails from 50-year-old Grenache (50%), Cinsault (30%), and Carignan vines planted on sun warmed south-facing slopes. Casting a beautiful pink robe, the Poudriere rose opens with scents of wild cherries, blood orange, and herbal garrigue. On the palate the Poudriere rose layers sensations of dusty cherry, raspberry, and tart orange fruit lifted by crisp acidity and brilliant mineral spine. Notes of wet gravel and lavender-scented garrigue segue the Poudriere rose to its long, elegant, vibrant finish. Pair this soulful Burgundy-inspired rose now and over the coming two years with grilled chicken, eggplant, ahi tuna, and marinated lamb kebabs.

LINER & ELSEN
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STORE HOURS:
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Thursday, July 4th

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

July 5 - It’s time for Rose wine around the world.

July 19 - Rieslings from everywhere!

Aug. 2 - Great Chiantis from Selvapiana, Felsina, Dievole, Villa Calcinaia, and more.


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

July 6 - Loire Valley Delights: Andre Dezat & Fils Sancerre Rose, Cedrick Bardin Pouilly-Fume, Dom. Fournier-Longchamps Anjou Blanc Les Bergeres, and Dom. Arnaud Lambert Saumur Clos Mazurique.

July 13 - European Tour: G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso, and Monte Tondo Valpolicella Superior San Pietro and Marchetti Verdicchio Superiore (Italy); Rodica Malvazija (Slovenia); Mokoroa Getariako Txakolina (Spain); and Esporao Vinho Branco Reserva (Portugal).

July 20 - French Beauties: Dom. Labbe Abymes, Dom. des Chanssaud Cotes-du-Rhone, Ch. Lafond Canon-Fronsac, Dom. Morey Bastide du Claux Poudriere Rose, and Yves Cuilleron Syrah Les Vignes d’à Cote.

July 27 - From the Pacific Northwest: Arterberry Maresh Pinot Noir (Oregon) and Involuntary Commitment Red Wine (Washington). Plus, from France: Kientzler Chasselas, and Dom. la Roubine Sablet La Grange des Briguieres.


SPECIAL EVENTS AT L&E:

Oregon Pinot Noir Tasting
With Jacob Hale from Trout Lily Ranch

Tuesday, July 9, from 5:30-7:00

Trout Lily Ranch is the new name of the historic Adams vineyard, first planted in 1976 by Carol and Peter Adams. Winemaking luminaries Matt Kinney (McKinley), and Russ Raney (former owner-winemaker of Evesham Wood) each got their start at this renowned winery.

Today the winery is making exquisite Pinots Noir, and sales manager Jacob Hale will be here to guide us through a tasting of a variety of vintages, some going back to 2008.

No reservations needed. Tasting fee: $10.

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A Tasting of America’s Finest Sparkling Wine with Hugh Davies from Schramsberg Winery

Tuesday, July 16, from 5:30-7:00

Winemaker and winery partner Hugh Davies will join us to sample and enjoy wines from this historic and prestigious California winery.

No reservations needed. Tasting fee: $10.

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A Sake Seminar with Marcus Pakiser, "The Sake Samurai"

Tuesday, July 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Marcus Pakiser is one of the most knowledgeable, informative, and delightful masters of sake in the United States. He will be on hand to guide us through the intricacies, mysteries, and amazing delights of these world-class sakes.

Seating is very limited, and pre-payment reserves your seat. Tasting fee: $25

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Woodward Canyon Wine Dinner at
At Blue Hour Restaurant

Thursday, July 25 at 6:30

Please join us at Blue Hour restaurant for a wonderful evening of wines from one of the most acclaimed Wallla Walla wineries, Woodward Canyon. Owner Rick Small and his son, Sager Small, will be our hosts.

Chef David Ezelle of Blue Hour will provide a three-course paired menu. Seats are limited, and prepaid reservations required: $125 person all inclusive. Contact us, or reserve your seats online.

 


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

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