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

JUNE 2019 REVIEWS


RED WINES

OREGON – RED

2017 Cameron, Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Oregon (S) 26.99/291.49

The 2017 Cameron Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, blended from Abbey Ridge (70%) and Clos Electrique, is a stunner! The 2017 vintage in Oregon will provide great wines known for their elegance, subtlety, and power – and the Cameron Dundee Hills Pinot demonstrates this in spades. The aromas of the wine are so pretty and enticing, offering a bouquet of roses, black cherries, violets, blood orange, rhubarb, red Dundee clay earthiness, graham cracker, lavender, sage, and thyme. On the palate, black cherry and blood orange lead the way, with touches of both savory and baking spices. The wine shines with elegance, offering fine-grained, dusty tannins, silky texture, and vivid acidity. The finish is long, balanced, with an additional woodsy undertone that complements the luscious fruit. Enjoy this beguiling wine now and over the next seven to ten years. Limited.

FRANCE – RED

2017 Vignoble Guillaume, Pinot Noir, Vin de Pays de Franche-Comte IGP, France 15.99/172.69

Vignoble Guillaume’s gorgeous, soil-driven 2017 Pinot Noir – their finest yet in our estimation – gleams a transparent garnet color from the bowl followed by aromas of earthy cranberries, geranium, rhubarb, and soft limestone minerals. Brisk acidity and savory tannins frame the wine’s crunchy core of red Pinot fruit, which transitions mid-palate to reveal fascinating suggestions of blood oranges, Earl Grey tea, and damp, calcareous earth. Fine tannins sneak in as the wine finishes crisp and crunchy, with layers of bright red berry and cherry fruit lifted by a persistent clay-limestone mineral undercurrent. This is a delicious, light, and affordable Pinot to enjoy now and over the coming two years with poultry, rabbit, semi-firm cow’s milk cheeses, potatoes au gratin, and light pork preparations.

2016 Burle, Vacqueyras, Southern Rhone Valley, France 18.99/205.09

A perennial favorite in these pages, Burle’s newly released 2016 Vacqueyras shows the harmony, balance, and depth of character of the critically acclaimed Southern Rhone vintage. Burle’s Vacqueyras gleams with an opaque black-plum color and a bouquet packed with notes of plum skin, licorice, black olive paste, smoky cured meats, black pepper, and garrigue. The wine then stains the palate with deep, soulful expressions of boysenberries, figs, and black cherries framed by cheek-dusting tannins and savory notes of menthol, cracked peppercorns, lavender, and allspice. Chewy black cherry fruit, black licorice, and star anise notes mark the long, energetic finish. As with entire range of wines from the Burle portfolio, this 2016 Vacqueyras is a great value. Enjoy this traditionally- crafted wine now or over the coming fifteen years with roast leg of lamb, ratatouille, and recipes favoring rosemary and fresh garlic.

2016 Domaine des Hauts-Baigneux, Touraine, Les Pentes, Loire Valley, France (CO) 15.99/172.69

A superb buy in natural, minimal-intervention Loire Valley rouge, Hauts-Baigneux’s Les Pentes is a blend of Cabernet Franc (60%), Gamay (20%), and Grolleau fermented on natural yeasts in concrete tanks. A translucent black ruby color, the Les Pentes opens with the Touraine’s classic limestone-infused aromas of black currants, cherries, rose petals, and cinnamon. Brisk, juicy, and savory, the wine presents a bright kernel of dusty black raspberry and cherry fruit accented by suggestions of pink peppercorns, rose-scented potpourri and herbs. Fine tannins and brisk acidity lift the wine’s pure kernel of berry fruit and segue it to a long, tangy, satisfying finish. Enjoy this rouge now and over the coming two years with pan-seared pork chops, dry-rubbed ribs, burgers, sauteed summer vegetables, and fresh chevres.

2017 Domaine de Brin, Gaillac, Vendemia, Southwestern France (O) 13.99/151.09

In the Gaillac appellation, just northeast of Toulouse, Damien Bonnet is setting the natural wine world on fire with his organic, traditionally made portfolio of brilliant Gaillac wines. Bonnet’s Vendemia is a blend of Gaillac’s fascinating indigenous grapes, Duras (70%) and Braucol (Fer Servadou). Casting an opaque plum ruby robe, the blend opens with high-toned aromas of red plums and black currants backed by piquant soil notes and suggestions of dried herbs. Soft on the attack, the wine tightens mid-palate to reveal firm, polished tannins and brisk acidity, which buoy the juicy kernel of plum and blackberry fruit. Hints of ferrous earth, wild yeast, and a suggestion of dark roasted coffee beans mark the long, lip-smacking finish. Spicy, smoky, and endlessly fascinating, this is a lovely offering to pair with pâtes, terrines, cured meats, roast duck, beef stews, grilled lamb, and eggplant-based vegetarian recipes. Enjoy now and over the coming five years.

2017 Domaine Serol, Cote Roannaise, Eclat de Granite, Loire, France (O) 16.99/183.49

The rare Gamay Saint-Romain grape, a variation of Gamay found only in the Cote Roannaise, is renowned for producing fleshy reds that are deliciously approachable at a young age. Domaine Serol’s Eclat de Granite, fashioned from Gamay Saint-Romain, bursts with scents of Bing cherries, loganberries, and smoky minerals. Zippy, zesty and open for business, Serol’s Eclat graces the palate with insistent waves of crushed berry fruit lifted by an electric acid backbone and superfine framing tannins. Complex suggestions of Maduro tobacco, powdered granite, violets, and Chinese five spice join lingering impressions of fresh red berries on the long, delicious finish. Seriously versatile, Serol’s Eclat will make a lovely picnic or brunch wine, and a natural partner to fondues, light poultry dishes, charcuterie, mushrooms in a cream sauce, and pan-seared pork chops. Enjoy now and over the next two years.

2017 Domaine Bonetto-Fabrol, Grignan-les-Adhemar, Le Colombier, Southern Rhone Valley, France (CO) 15.99/172.69

The Grignan-les-Adhemar appellation, renowned for its steep slopes, is located at the northern edge of the southern Rhone. Working organically, third generation vigneron Philippe Bonetto-Fabrol crafts his Le Colombier cuvee from a blend of Syrah (60%) and Grenache. Bonetto-Fabrol’s Le Colombier blossoms with classic Cairanne-like aromas of black plums, licorice, and herbal garrigue. Fresh and packed with Southern Rhone charm, the Le Colombier wraps a fleshy kernel of chewy cherry and plum fruit with waves of tarry, herbal garrigue, bay leaf, tobacco, oil-cured olives, and fine lip-dusting tannins. Long, lingering, and oh-so-satisfying, the wine begs to be paired over the coming three years with hearty fare such as rosemary-scented lamb, grilled eggplant, ratatouille, burgers, and cassoulet. And at this price tag, it’s an absolute steal for authentic, soulful Southern Rhone goodness.


GREECE – RED

2016 Vaeni, Xinomavro, Naoussa PDO, Greece 11.99/129.49

If you’re looking for a delicious, characterful red wine that drinks great today and has the coil and reserve for a decade’s ageing, this is your pick. Xinomavro is considered Greece’s finest varietal, and Xinomavros from Naoussa are often considered to be Greece’s greatest red wines. Vaeni’s 2016 Xinomavro casts a luminous ruby robe followed by delicious aromas of wild cherries, rose petals, orange peel, and wood spice. Briskly acidic on the attack (Xinomavro translates into English as “acid-black”), the wine gains flesh and texture mid-palate to project impressions of black raspberries, tar, sappy herbs, and limestone soil. Performing akin to an Alto Piemontese Nebbiolo-based wine, the Xinomavro finishes long, clean and with plentiful, fine tannins framing a fresh, zesty kernel of crunchy red fruit. It will pair effortlessly with Greek lamb recipes, grilled beef, zesty eggplant preparations, and hearty pastas. Enjoy now and over the coming decade.

ITALY – RED

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.

2017 Le Cantina di Indie (Tenuta La Favola), Terre Siciliane, Polpo Rosso Sicily, Italy (CO) 13.99/151.09

Emphasizing sustainable and organic philosophies, the Indie Wineries portfolio spotlights artisans making wines that speak of their place and their history. Tenuta La Favola’s Polpo Rosso (red octopus) is crafted from Nerello Mascalese grown in western Sicily. In the glass, the Polpo Rosso reflects a transparent rust-tinged garnet robe followed by spicy aromas of red currants, cinnamon, fruitwood smoke, and licorice. On the palate, the wine presents elegant, transparent wild cherry and tart fig fruit alongside suggestions of dried orange peel, leather, cinnamon, and rhubarb. The long, satisfying finish delivers waves of fresh, clean red berry fruits mingling with sandy minerals and a complex hint of blond leather. A great Sicilian value, the Red Octopus can be enjoyed now or over the coming five years as a lovely complement to dishes featuring rich tomato sauces, pine nuts, olive oil, and fennel.


WHITE WINES

FRANCE – WHITE

2017 Henri Poiron et Fils, Gros Plant du Pays Nantais Sur Lie, Loire Valley, France (S) 11.99/129.49

The Gros Plant varietal allows the briny air of the Atlantic Loire to fuse effortlessly with the region’s amazingly diverse soils. Rarely seen outside its home base, Gros Plant is drunk with gusto in the Nantais, and employed as a proud entry to producers’ extensive portfolios. Pale lemon-gold in the glass, Poiron’s Gros Plant offers bright aromas of straw, white currants, lemon pith, and pungent schistose minerals. Laser focused in the mouth, the wine refreshes and enlivens the palate with brisk citrus and white berry fruit expressions lifted by zippy acidity and persistent minerality. At a cool 11% alcohol, Poiron’s Gros Plant is a phenomenal value that will wow as an economical and delicious aperitif. It will also prove a worthy partner for clams, mussels, oysters, crab, halibut, green squashes, lightly dressed salads, and braised leafy greens like chard and kale. Enjoy now and through 2020.

2018 Gerard Bigonneau, Quincy, Loire Valley, France (S) 13.99/151.09

Gerard Bigonneau and his daughter, Virginie, craft this lovely Quincy that conveys all the goodness of Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc. A brilliant lime-glinted gold color, Bigonneau’s Quincy soars from the glass with textbook Sauvignon aromas of lemon zest, clover, white grapefruit, chives and Thai basil. Zesty and riveting on the palate, the wine conveys juicy fresh lemon and grapefruit expressions infused with a delicious undercurrent of flinty minerals. The Quincy finishes fleshy and delicious with green herbal tones and persistent waves of minerality that propel the wine’s juicy core of citrus fruit. Enjoy this wonder now and over the coming three years with trout amandine, perch in a beurre blanc sauce, pan-roasted clams or mussels, sauteed green vegetables, and light poultry recipes. Superb Quincy and a fantastic value in Sauvignon Blanc from its homeland.

2017 Domaine de Terres Dorees, Beaujolais Blanc, Chardonnay, Beaujolais, France (O) 16.99/183.49

Nobody does Beaujolais Blanc better than the legendary Jean-Paul Brun. From organically farmed, hand-harvested Chardonnay vines planted on sandy, limestone-rich clay soils, Brun’s Beaujolais Blanc casts a medium gold hue in the glass, segueing to a bouquet of lemon oil, almond meal, nutmeg, and pear skin. The wine’s rich, seamless palate adds notes of sweet butter, raw hazelnuts, yellow melon, and tarte tatin. Ripe, lip-smacking acidity sneaks in to impart precision and focus to the wine’s generous palate texture. Hints of pear and lemon pith emerge to lead the Beaujolais blanc to its fresh and lingering finish. Brun’s Beaujolais Blanc is always one of the best Chardonnay values around and a wine that has the rare ability to satisfy wine geeks while having broad, crowd-pleasing appeal. Buy by the case to enjoy now and over the coming two years with pâtes, terrines, broiled salmon, grilled chicken, and sauteed summer squashes.

2017 Paul Pernot & Fils, Bourgogne Chardonnay, Burgundy, France 26.99/291.49

Paul Pernot’s always delicious Bourgogne Chardonnay is fashioned from declassified Puligny-Montrachet vines situated on Puligny’s border with Meursault. Pernot’s 2017 Bourgogne Chardonnay opens with a lemon gold color followed by rich, Meursault-like aromas of lemon curd, Brazil nuts, and subtle French oak inflections. The Bourgogne’s palate is at once rich, 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, acacia blossoms, and buttery pastry crust, the wine finishes elegant, rich, and impeccably well balanced. Pernot’s Bourgogne already drinks well young, but also has 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. Very limited.

GEORGIA (REPUBLIC) – WHITE

2018 Orgo Teleda, Dilao, Rkatsiteli-Mtsvane, Kakheti, Georgia 15.99/172.69

One of the hottest categories in fine wine today is skin-contact white wines – sometimes called orange wines or amber wines – made in large clay amphorae. The Republic of Georgia is, according to most historians, the birthplace of wine and has a long tradition of making wines in this manner. We are delighted to feature Teleda’s Dilao, a superb and affordable example of the genre. Based on the grapes Rkatsiteli and Mtsvane, the wine presents captivating aromas of apricots, pinecones, malted barley, cantaloupe, and bitter herbs. The palate offers apricots, pears, yellow apples, and Mirabelle plums. Rich on the attack and yet light on the palate, the wine compliments its orchard fruit core with dry, savory tannins framing suggestions of agave, dried bay leaf, and acacia honey. Teleda’s Dilao will prove a lovely partner for pan-fried trout, roast chicken, potato tapas, sausages, savory bean stews, and mature cheeses.

HUNGARY – WHITE

2017 Carpinus Family Winery, Tokaji Harslevelu, Tokaj, Hungary (S) 15.99/172.69

This is a truly fascinating wine and a completely different expression of dry Tokaji. Harslevelu translates to “linden leaf” in English, and Carpinus’s Harslevelu lives up to this description with a distinctly floral aroma that reminds one of wildflower honey and preserved lemons. Pale straw gold in the glass, Carpinus’s Harslevelu sports 11% alcohol and riveting palate expressions of lime juice, gardenia blossoms, sweet meadow flowers, and green pineapple. Smoky soil, peach blossoms, and brisk acidity appear as the wine transitions from its exotic palate to a long rose-tinged finish. Enjoy the wine now and over the coming year as a versatile foil for light freshwater fish preparations, broiled salmon, chicken goulash, mild Indian cuisine, and semi-firm cow’s milk cheeses.

ITALY – WHITE

2017 Fantinel, Tenuta Sant’Helena, Ribolla Gialla, Venezia Giulia, Italy 19.99/215.89

This is an impressive and textbook example of 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 killer 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 extract 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.

SPAIN - WHITE

2018 Arregi, Getariako Txakolina, Basque Country, Spain 14.99/161.89

Arregi’s fantastic 2018 Txakoli is in classic form this vintage! Pale green-tinted lemon-gold in color, the wine offers saline-driven aromas of Key lime zest, fresh bay leaf, tarragon, and sea breeze. Fresh, and still sporting an appetizing dose of dissolved CO2, the Txakolina’s bright, zesty palate conveys expressions of green plums, green apple skin, gooseberries, and juniper berries. Brisk and saline on the finish, the wine adds notes of white grapefruit, quinine, and crushed cardamom. This wine shows enough bristling acidity to stand up to even the most wine-challenging vegetables and is a perfect fit for vegetarians who would love to have a vinous complement for their summer market selections. Enjoy this beauty all summer long and into the fall to capture its youthful brightness and vigor.


ROSE WINES

GERMANY – ROSE

2018 Seehof, Pinot Noir Rose, Rheinhessen, Germany 14.99/161.89

Seehof’s superb 2018 dry rose gleams from the glass with pale salmon reflections followed by a limestone-infused bouquet of white currants, earthy cranberries, Rainier cherries, and blond leather. Bone dry on the palate, the rose is impressively light, deft, and high-toned while simultaneously unleashing a delicious mix of tart red apple, green strawberries, and medicinal herbs. We love the wine’s combination of tart, crunchy orchard and berry fruits alongside the transparency, delicacy, and saline freshness that keeps you coming back, sip after sip, glass after glass. Enjoy this beauty all summer long and into fall on its own and as a lovely foil for sushi, sashimi, broiled salmon, barbecued chicken and ribs, and grilled summer veggies.

SPAIN – ROSE

2018 Zudugarai, Getariako Txakolina, Camino Roca Altxerri Rose, Basque Country, Spain 15.99/172.69

Crafted from Hondurrabi Beltza, Zudugarai’s Roca Altxerri rose casts a bright orange-tinged pink color and beautiful aromas of crushed red raspberries, pink peppercorns, and salty sea breeze. Amplified by Txakoli’s traditional blast of dissolved CO2, the rose’s palate shows remarkable freshness and verve with zesty expressions of cranberries, watermelon rind, rhubarb, and salty minerals. The Roca Altxerri’s brisk, saline finish adds notes of tart grapefruit, bitter orange peel and quinine. Here’s a perfect choice to enjoy on its own on hot summer days, or as a lovely foil for market vegetables, sushi, sashimi, grilled chicken, and seafood, vegetable and bean pintxos. Enjoy this beauty all summer long and into the fall to capture its youthful brightness and vigor.


SPARKLING WINE

FRANCE - SPARKLING

NV Les Tuffieres, Vouvray, Brut, Loire Valley, France (O) 22.99/248.29

Next to Champagne, is there any more compelling sparkling wine than the finest fizz from Vouvray? Submitted for your consideration: Jerome Loisy’s Vouvray Brut from hand-harvested, organically grown Chenin Blanc on red clay soils, aged eighteen months on the lees before bottling. We could certainly pontificate about the merits of this insanely delicious Vouvray Brut, but one sip is all that’s needed to convert even the most ardent sparkling wine agnostic. It’s clean, it’s vibrant, it’s dry, it’s affordable, and it’s ready for every graduation, wedding, picnic, barbecue, spring and summer celebration on your calendar. It will also be our go-to bottle for dry-rubbed ribs, barbecue, fried chicken, skillet cornbread, baked whole fish, oysters Rockefeller, grilled summer squashes, broiled halibut… just about everything but beef. Buy a case to drink now and over the coming two years.

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

June 7 - Superb wines from Northern Portugal: Douro Valley, Barraida, Vinho Verde, and more.

June 21 - Start the summer with our Semi-Annual Champagne Blast!

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


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

June 1 - Northern Italian wines from Fantinel, with Kristen Kluivers from Small Vineyards. Plus, French Beauties: H. Poiron Gros Plant, Dom. des Hauts-Baigneux Les Pentes, and Burle Vacqueyras.
 
June 8 - Jarrod Williams pours wines from Oregon’s Ruby Winery. From France: Paul Pernot & Fils Bourgogne Chardonnay, and Les Tuffieres Vouvray Brut.
 
June 15 - Meet Twill Cellars winemaker Chris Dickson. Plus, we pour: Carpinus Tokaji Harslevelu (Hungary), Orgo Teleda Dilao Rkatsiteli-Mtsvane (Republic of Georgia), Vaeni Xinomavro Naoussa (Greece), and Seehof Pinot Noir Rose (Germany).
 
June 22 -
Italian Beauties: Vajra Langhe Rosso, and Le Cantina di Indie Polpo Rosso. From Spain: Arregi Getariako Txakolina, Zudugarai Rose, and Fantinel Ribolla Gialla.
 
June 29 - A trip through France: Bigonneau Quincy, Terres Dorees Beaujolais Blanc, Guillaume Pinot Noir, Dom. de Brin Vendemmia, Dom. Serol Eclat de Granite, and Dom. Bonetto-Fabrol Le Colombier. Plus, Oregon’s own Cameron Winery Pinot Noir Dundee Hills.


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.