Liner & Elsen Wine Merchants • 2222 NW Quimby St., Portland OR 97210
info@linerandelsen.com • 503-242-9493 • 1-800-903-9463


August 2022 Newsletter

 

PRE-ARRIVAL OFFER

2020 Cameron Winery, Abbey Ridge Pinot Noir, Cuvée Renée, Dundee Hills, Oregon (S) 66.99 / 723.49; magnums 164.99
The 2020 Cameron Winery Cuvée Renée (our 22nd vintage) is sourced from a single neutral oak barrel from Coury clones, grown on the Roadblock section of the Abbey Ridge vineyard. The wine is perfumed with complex tones of violets, rhubarb, pomegranate, strawberries, black cherries, blood orange, citrus zest, herbs, Indian spices, and earth notes. The palate has a beautifully supple, silky texture offering snappy, invigorating acidity and complex fruit flavors. A reprise of some of the aromatic notes are evident on the palate, and additional notes of high-toned red fruits, spice, and earth fill out the background. Invigorating and complex, the palate suggests both power and elegance. The alcohol hovers around 12%. From first sip to the long, brilliant finish, this is superb Pinot Noir. While the wine's silky quality and beautiful balance will allow for early consumption, we anticipate it will age effortlessly for two decades.

2020 Cameron Winery, Abbey Ridge Chardonnay, Cuvée LE Blanc, Dundee Hills, Oregon (S) 66.99 / 723.49; magnums 164.99
The 2020 Cameron Winery Cuvée LE Blanc is selected from a single neutral oak barrel of old-vine Draper clone Abbey Ridge fruit. Aromatically, the wine is very complex, showing hints of Meyer lemon, lime, apricots, peaches, and tangerines, mingling with notes of white flowers and herbs. Broad and opulent on the palate, bracing acidity supports the complex fruit with vivacity. Rich and creamy orange sorbet notes are complemented by notes of white strawberry, peaches, apricots, orange/marmalade/ginger, and spicy herbs. The finish is long and energetic, with a distinctive mineral texture and underlying vivid acidity that electrifies the wine and the palate. As scintillating as the wine is now, it will continue to age effortlessly for several decades. Fans of Cameron wines, fans of great Burgundies, and fans of great whites wines: the LE Blanc is not to be missed!

This is a Pre-Arrival Offer with very limited availability; your prepaid order will arrive for delivery in late Fall 2022


RED WINES

OREGON – RED

2021 Twill Cellars, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon (O) 22.99 / 248.29
This is a fantastic early-release Oregon Pinot that gives us a glimpse of the potential of the classical, coiled and beautifully balanced 2021 Willamette Valley vintage. Twill’s just-released 2021 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir shows the amazing promise of this harmonious vintage with a translucent black cherry color and spicy aromas of black currants, cranberries, blood orange zest, and loamy earth. Zesty and vibrant on the palate, suggestions of black raspberries and crunchy Bing cherries join with complex notes of sassafras, bitter herbs, and Ceylon tea. Twill’s firm and energetic 2021 Pinot finishes long and elegant, with savory tannins accenting tart loganberry fruit, a deep, smoky soil signature, and subtle, mocha-tinged barrel tones. Pair this beauty from winemaker Chris Dickson now and over the coming seven years with heartier fare such as roast chicken, duck, chanterelle and morel mushroom preparations, and braised short ribs.

SOUTH AFRICA – RED

2019 Morgenster, Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch, South Africa 15.99 / 172.69
Morgenster is a 300-year-old wine estate in South Africa’s premier Stellenbosch region. The estate’s wine consultant is none other than the world-famous Pierre Lurton, managing director of France's Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateaux d’Yquem. Together with current owner Giulio Bertrand, the team has produced a superb varietal Cabernet Sauvignon that fuses the cedary, curranty goodness of a fine claret with Stellenbosch’s distinctive, smoky terroir. Fashioned from Cabernet Sauvignon, Morgenster’s 2019 reflects an opaque, crimson-tinged claret hue followed by brilliant expressions of cassis, plums, blackberries, cedar, woodsmoke, licorice, eucalyptus, and tobacco. Suave and focused on the palate, the wine’s cedary currant fruit brings to mind a fine Médoc, offering gripping texture, savory cassis fruit, and refined tannins rare for a wine in this price category. The long, cool 2019 growing season in the Stellenbosch imbues the wine with impressive energy and an especially lingering, cedary finish. Enjoy this impressive Médoc-styled Cabernet as you would a fine claret with rib roasts of beef, rack of lamb, hearty vegetarian recipes featuring earthy mushrooms, and braised lentils. Drink now and over the coming seven years.

AUSTRIA – RED

2021 Pfneisl, Zweigelt, Birgit und Katrin’s Zweigler, Burgenland, Austria (1L) (O) 16.99 / 183.49
Sisters Birgit and Katrin Pfneisl craft artisanal wines from the traditional Hungarian and Austrian varieties, Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt, and Zenit. The sisters’ fantastic 2021 Zweigler is produced from Zweigelt grown in Austria’s revered Burgenland zone. The Zweigler radiates a translucent black-plum hue followed by fresh, spicy aromas of Bing cherries and loganberries infused with black pepper, Szechuan peppercorns, and loamy earth. Bright, zesty, and immediately gulpable, the wine dances on the palate with playful expressions of brambly black raspberries, cloves, black tea, and salumi. Fresh, exuberant, and palate-staining, the wine finishes and reprises of peppery berry fruit supported by plentiful, cheek-dusting fine tannins and zesty acidity to frame a chewy kernel of berry fruit. Like Birgit und Katrin’s always-terrific Blaufränker, this is just about the most up-front, unstuffy, and flat-out delicious Zweigelt on the market. Enjoy now and over the coming two years as the ultimate red picnic wine, a surefire winner at your summer barbecue, or at the table with paprika-dusted chicken, beef stroganoff, mushroom-laden vegetarian risottos, goulash, salumi, sausages, and pan-seared pork chops. Priced under $17 for a full liter bottle, this is the value red wine of the newsletter!

HUNGARY – RED

2020 Sebastyén, Kadarka, Szekszárd, Hungary (S) 18.99 / 215.09
The Szekszárd zone is located in the south of Hungary within the country’s larger Pannonia region. It boasts a viticultural history dating back to Roman times and is considered by experts to be one of Hungary’s finest winemaking areas. Its ideal climate and mineral-rich loess soils help Kadarka – Szekszárd’s most ancient red grape variety – reach its apogee. The versatile Kadarka can be fashioned to make wines of opaque, almost black color, as well as light and transparent examples such as this beauty from sister-and-brother team Csilla and Csaba Sebestyén. Gleaming with a Poulsard-like cherrywood hue, the wine casts fresh aromas of tart strawberries, cherries, and smoky loess soil tones. A blend of old-vine fruit for depth and younger vine fruit for energy, the Kadarka layers the palate with a panoply of fascinating sour cherry, raspberry, and red currant fruit framed by gentle, ultrafine tannins, bracing acidity, and a persistent mineral spine. Notes of pomegranate, rhubarb, rose petals, and sweet paprika emerge on the long, focused finish. Enjoy now and over the coming two years with barbecue ribs, chicken, and seasonal vegetables. It will also work well as a red wine to pair with seared ahi tuna, broiled salmon, and mildly-spiced pork preparations. Fascinating wine!

ITALY – RED

2019 Castello della Paneretta, Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy 21.99 / 237.49
The Castello della Paneretta, one of Portland’s favorite Chiantis, has fashioned an absolutely charming and delicious Chianti from its vineyards in Chianti Classico’s Barberino Val d’Elsa zone. A blend of Sangiovese (85%), Canaiolo, and Colorino, Paneretta’s 2019 Classico offers a lovely mahogany-tinged black cherry color followed by bright aromas of sun-warmed cherries, tarragon, wintergreen, leather, and barrel tones of smoke, vanilla, and caramel. The palate conveys a core of cherry and red currant fruit accented by notes of cinnamon, cloves, button mushrooms, star anise, cola, and tobacco. Fine tannins emerge and transition the wine to its long, resonant finish, echoing suggestions of rose petals, vanilla bean, salumi, leather, and underbrush. This is the most delightful and immediately delicious Paneretta Chianti Classico in our experience. Enjoy now and over the coming three years with deep-fried zucchini blossoms, roast pork, pizzas, pastas, and braised beef short ribs.

2021 La Miraja, Grignolino d’Asti, Piedmont, Italy 19.99 / 215.89
The singular wines of La Miraja have heretofore been impossible to find in the United States. Located within the original eleventh-century castle of Castagnole Monferrato, Eugenio Gatti devotes his life’s work to producing 840 transcendent cases of wine each year. Historically, Grignolino was prized by the Savoy aristocracy for its light color and elegant mouthfeel. Like our beloved Poulsard, Grignolino is often too pale to be a proper “red” wine, and too dark to be a classical rosé. The truth is that Grignolino gives an utterly unique and compelling wine that easily serves both purposes. La Miraja’s 2021 Grignolino reflects a transparent crimson robe and gorgeous aromas of Morello cherries, pomegranate seeds, rose petals, and geranium. Fresh and briskly tannic on the palate, the wine reveals freshly-crushed raspberry and cherry fruit lifted by brisk acidity and notes of tobacco, rosewater, menthol, and wintergreen. Suggestions of rose petals, coriander, leafy underbrush, and tart rosehips join an undercurrent of dusty limestone minerality on the long, savory finish. We, like the Savoy aristocrats, are enthusiastic fans of the noble Grignolino, and we encourage you to pair this reference-setting, artisanal rendition now and over the coming five years with vegetable and mushroom risottos, roast chicken and duck, savory vegetable medleys, broiled salmon, and pan-seared pork chops. (Don’t miss out on the Ruché and Freisa from La Miraja as well!)

2020 Angelo Negro, Vino Rosso, Piedmont, Italy (CO) 18.99 / 205.09
The Roero’s great Negro estate traces its origins back to 1670. Owning some of the Roero’s most desirable vineyard sites, Negro is one of the indisputable legends of the region. Giovanni Negro, the estate’s present owner, is one of the first producers in the Roero to be certified organic – a rarity in this sector of Piemonte. Reflecting an unfiltered crimson-vermillion hue, Negro’s Vino Rosso is crafted exclusively from the unheralded Brachetto grape, rumored to be the wine of choice of Cleopatra and brought to her by Marc Antony and Julius Caesar to order to gain her favor. Packed with red cherry, muscat grape, and raspberry fruit, Negro’s Vino Rosso leverages Brachetto’s unbridled aromatic nature to unleash exotic expressions of rose petals, lilacs, violets, juniper, orange zest, Earl Grey tea, bitter herbs, and grapefruit. Utterly delicious, this is your wine to pair – lightly chilled or at cool cellar temperature – with spicy and smoked meats, barbecued chicken and ribs, piquant kebabs, peppery salumi, vegetable antipasti, and marinated mushrooms. Last year’s 2019 was an eye opener; this 2020 is out of this world! The importer encourages you to chill, shake, and serve: sounds like a plan.

2019 F.lli Cigliuti, Barbera d’Alba, Vigna Serraboella, Piedmont, Italy 22.99 / 248.29
From the celebrated 2019 Piedmont vintage, Cigliuti has fashioned a brooding, palate-staining Barbera from vines in the grand cru Serraboella vineyard in Barbaresco’s hallowed Neive zone. Showing exceptional depth and dimension, Cigliuti’s 2019 Serraboella opens with a translucent black-plum color in the glass followed by aromas of salted plums, Bing cherries, cinnamon stick, licorice, and menthol. Suave and silky on the attack, the wine then tenses with traditional Barbera acidity before conveying expressions of black cherry skin, leather, mushrooms, camphor, and clay soil. Plentiful fine tannins sneak in on the back-palate and lead the wine to a long, savory finish that simply begs for classic Piemontese cuisine. Pair this exceptional Barbera now and over the coming five to seven years with grilled hanger steak, salumi, pastas with a rich ragù or Bolognese sauce, fritto misto, carne cruda, rich bean stews, and eggplant lasagna.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous: 92 points

2019 Sella & Mosca, Cannonau di Sardegna, Riserva, Sardinia, Italy 16.99 / 183.49
Cannonau is Sardinian dialect for the varietal better known as Grenache in France and Garnacha in Spain. In Sardinia, it achieves a distinctive expression that stays true to the grape yet conveys a special cinnamon-tinged earthiness thanks to the island’s varied sand, limestone, granite, and schistose soils. The Sella & Mosca estate’s 2019 Riserva – issued only in the finest vintages – opens with a beautiful, translucent crimson-ruby robe followed by a delicious bouquet of loganberries, licorice, mint, tobacco, and orange-scented potpourri. Graceful in weight yet bold in flavor, the Cannonau adds suggestions of cinnamon, tart red plums, bay leaf, fresh thyme, and smoky minerals on the palate. The wine finishes long, vibrant, and driven by its smoky, ferrous soil undercurrent. Balancing tannins and snappy acidity propel delicious notes of cloves, leather, sarsaparilla, and blond tobacco. Fans of southern French Grenache and bold, earthy reds will relish this Cannonau and find it a most comfortable value to be enjoyed now and over the coming six years with dishes featuring tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, lamb, and game.
James Suckling: 93 points

FRANCE – RED

2021 Domaine de l’Idylle, Gamay, 1840, Savoie, France (S) 15.99 / 172.69
Gamay, the great grape of Beaujolais, finds a second home and a compelling, unique expression on the steep alpine slopes of the Savoie in eastern France. The Savoie’s moderate climate and loose, scree-strewn limestone soils vivify the Gamay grape with impressive freshness, lift, and low-alcohol drinkability. Domaine de l’Idylle’s wines are frequent features in these pages, and the domaine’s singular Gamay is again delicious in the great, but woefully short 2021 vintage. The 2021 Gamay 1840 (named for the year the domaine was founded) casts a translucent cherry-ruby from the glass followed by dusty aromas of earthy cranberries, red currants, rhubarb, game, and white pepper. Tart and zesty on the palate, the wine delivers impressions of pie cherries, tayberries, and orange and rose-scented potpourri. Pulsing with youthful energy, the Gamay finishes with reprises of crunchy red berry fruit imbued with notes of cinnamon, black pepper, herbs, and dark limestone minerals. Delicious all by itself, l’Idylle’s Gamay 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.

NV Jean-Louis Denois, Vin de France, Les Garrigues, Languedoc-Roussillon, France (O) 12.99 / 140.29
One of the rising stars of the Languedoc, Jean Louis Denois crafts exciting, world-class wines at the foot of the Pyrenees in the very southwestern corner of France. All of Denois’ wines are made from organically-farmed, low-yielding vines, and vinified with as little interference as possible. The non-vintage Les Garrigues cuvée is a brilliant blend of the four key red Bordeaux varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec – infused with the wild floral and herbal scents of southern France’s garrigue. The wine reflects a classic, saturated young plum-ruby color followed by Right Bank-inspired aromas of plums, black currants, cedar, leather, and mint. Bright and lifted on the palate, hints of cinnamon, wintergreen, and thyme accent the core of saturated cassis fruit. Fine, lip-smacking tannins emerge to segue the wine to its long and oh-so-delicious finish. It’s amazing that M. Denois can handcraft an organic, artisanal, minimal-intervention wine this delicious and satisfying for such a modest price. We encourage you to make this lovely herb-scented claret your barbecue wine (with a slight chill) this summer and your year ’round red for hearty fare such as braised short ribs, grilled eggplant, roast pork, and mac ‘n’ cheese.

ROSE WINES

AUSTRIA – ROSÉ

2021 Schloss Gobelsburg, Rosé Cistercien, Niederösterreich, Austria (S) 18.99 / 205.09
Austria’s Schloss Gobelsburg is home to a Cistercian monastic estate as well as one of the oldest wineries along the Danube. With a documented history dating back to 1171, the estate boasts some of the Kamptal’s most revered vineyard sites. Today, Eva and Michael Moosbrugger guide this great estate with homage and reverence to ancient methods and traditions documented by their predecessors. Always a favorite, Gobelsburg’s 2021 Rosé Cistercien is a blend of Zweigelt, St. Laurent, and Pinot Noir grown in the cooler sites around the villages of Gobelsburg and Langenlois. The wine reflects a pale copper-watermelon hue followed by mineral-infused aromas of wild cherries, red currants, and rosewater. Brisk, clean, and bone dry, the rosé dances on the palate with tart strawberry fruit accented by suggestions of smoky soil and appetizing herbs. Hints of ruby grapefruit emerge alongside bristling acidity to segue the wine to its long, zesty, herb-tinged finish. This versatile rosé will be our go-to selection for just about every occasion, from summertime barbecues to leisurely picnics al fresco, brunches, omakase sushi, and Asian take-out dinners. Superb – and superbly well-priced – rosé!

SPAIN – ROSÉ

2021 Bodegas Muga, Rosado, Rioja, Spain (S) 13.99 / 151.09
Year-in and year-out, the rosé from Bodegas Muga is one of the most distinctive and compelling entries in a very crowded and competitive field. Muga’s rosé, a traditional Riojan clarete (a co-ferment of red and white grapes in large, upright wooden vats) casts a pale watermelon-pink color and beguiling aromas of red currants, Rainier cherries, tart raspberries, jasmine, and chalky mineral dust. Simultaneously crisp and mouth-filling on the attack, the 2021 rosé fuses the rich, resinous texture of Viura (30%) with the brisk acidity of Tempranillo (10%), and the red-fruited juiciness of wine’s dominant Garnacha component. The wine enjoys an impressively long fermentation and a leisurely sixteen-week rest period on its lees in large wooden barrels. The brief sojourn in wood imbues the wine with resinous qualities that contribute impressive texture and dimension. Muga’s rosé finishes with complex notes of blood orange zest, juicy cherries, apricots, white pepper, pink rose petals, and chalky-clay minerals. It leaves the palate clean, refreshing, and impossible to resist another sip. This is truly one of the finest and most distinctive rosés of a great vintage, and sure to be a terrific partner with grilled salmon, ceviches, vegetable tortillas and frittatas, paellas, and rich seafood stews.
James Suckling: 92 points

FRANCE – ROSÉ

2021 Stéphanie & Arnaud Dezat, Sancerre Rosé, Loire Valley, France (S) 24.99 / 269.89
Dezat’s rosé – fashioned from Pinot Noir grown on Sancerre’s incomparable silex and caillottes soils – gleams with a limpid orange-salmon robe followed by textbook Sancerre aromas of gunflint, chalk, grapefruit, tart peach, fresh tarragon, red peppercorns, and rose petals. Crisp, focused, and driven by its mineral origins, Dezat’s 2021 rosé buoys its kernel of red currant, bitter orange, and tart cherry fruit with riveting acidity and a lashing of flinty minerals. Juicy crystalline and ineffably Sancerre, Dezat’s rosé finishes clean and brisk, begging for food. This is simply brilliant Sancerre rosé and a rare treat at its most comfortable price level. Enjoy now and over the coming three years on its own, or ideally as a partner to dry-rubbed grilled chicken, rare ahi, sashimi, sautéed summer squashes, fresh chèvres, light sausages, and beef tartare.

WHITE WINES

SPAIN – WHITE

2021 Arregi, Getariako Txakolina, Basque Country, Spain 15.99 / 172.69
Arregi, Portland’s first and most beloved Txakoli, is absolutely brilliant and classically brisk in the superb 2021 vintage. Pale green-tinted lemon-gold in color, Arregi’s Txakolina features saline-driven aromas of key lime zest, freesia, fresh bay leaf, sage, and sea breeze. Fresh, zippy, and sporting an appetizing sparkle of dissolved CO2, Arregi’s invigorating palate conveys expressions of green plums, kaffir lime leaf, gooseberries, juniper, and lemongrass. Juicy and refreshing on the finish, the wine adds notes of white grapefruit, cardamom, and quinine. Showing enough bristling acidity to stand up to even the most wine-challenging vegetables – like asparagus and green beans – Arregi’s Txakoli is a perfect fit for vegetable lovers and vegetarians who seek a vinous complement for their summer market vegetables. We plan to enjoy this beauty all summer long and throughout the year.

2020 Huguet de Can Feixes, Blanc Selecció, Penedès, Spain (CO) 16.99 / 183.49
Can Feixes’ Blanc Selecciò is once again absolutely superb in the 2020 vintage. The historic Can Feixes estate is situated on gravelly amphitheater-like slopes near the famous Montserrat pinnacle. Only the estate’s finest high-altitude fruit – a blend of primarily Parellada and Macabeo with dollops of Chardonnay, Xarel·lo, and Malvasia de Sitges – goes into their exemplary Blanc Selecciò. The wine casts a pale green-glinted, lemon-gold hue followed by mineral driven aromas of kaffir lime leaf, tart green melon, bosc pear skin, fresh tarragon, and lemongrass. On the palate, brisk acidity and chalky minerals elevate a refreshing core of Key lime, melon, and crunchy pear fruit. The Blanc Seleccío finishes with lingering hints of juicy white grapefruit, quinine, freshly grated ginger, and flinty minerals. Enjoy this crisp, zesty refresher now and over the coming two years paired with oysters, white-fleshed fish selections, scallops, seafood and vegetable tapas, and fresh goat cheeses.

2021 Bodegas Albamar, Albariño, Rías Baixas, Galicia, Spain (O) 22.99 / 248.29
To our palates, the finest examples of Rías Baixas Albariño cast the spotlight directly on the noble variety’s ability to convey purity of fruit, intensity of aromatic expressions, and the region’s special granite soils. Al alba del mar, or next to the sea, Xurxo Alba of the Albamar estate leverages bristling acidity and tactile saline minerality to amplify his Albariño’s special mix of citrus, melon, and tropical fruits. From vineyards featuring decomposed granite soils, the wine casts a pale, green-glinted gold color and classical Albariño aromas of lime zest, green pineapple, Pippin apple, and saline minerals. On the palate, the wine is packed with intense expressions of lemon, lime, tart green melon fruit driven by riveting acidity, and complex suggestions of jasmine, ginger, bay leaf, and white pepper. Showing superb transparency and focus, Albemar’s 2021 Albariño finishes with reprises of citrus and tart apple fruit lifted by riveting acidity and smoky, salty granitic minerals. This is superb Albariño that will delight now and over the coming three years partnered with prawns, seafood tapas, vegetable tortillas, steak fishes like swordfish or mahi mahi, sashimi, and mild cheeses. This Albariño just the way we like it!

HUNGARY – WHITE

2019 Bodrog Bormuhely, Dry Tokaj, Tokaji, Hungary (O) 17.99 / 194.29
In northeastern Hungary, the Tokaji-Hegyalja zone developed the world’s first wine appellation system over a century before Bordeaux. In 2007, Hajdú János and Farkas Krisztián founded the Bodrog Bormuhely (workshop) with the intention of crafting pure, modern, yet classically-inspired dry wines. Today the duo works organically to craft an impressive portfolio from a bevy of Tokaji’s finest vineyard sites. Bodrog Bormuhely’s Dry Tokaj, a blend of Furmint (70%) and Ha´rslevelu?, radiates a pale, green-tinged lemon-gold in the glass followed by a kaleidoscopic aromas of fresh pears, lime zest, smoky minerals, linden leaf, and honeysuckle. Bone-dry on the palate, expressions of fresh lemon, quince, and white peony tea join with a persistent mineral undercurrent and a gripping, tactile saline palate presence. Notes of tart papaya, green almonds, and bay leaf emerge as the wine lingers, clean and dry, on the finish. Enjoy Bodrog Bormuhely’s 2019 Dry Tokaj now and over the coming five years as an attention-grabbing apéritif or, ideally, paired at the table with mild pork sausages, broiled salmon, chicken goulash, pan-fried trout, hearty potato recipes, and savory bean stews.

ITALY – WHITE

2021 ColleStefano, Verdicchio di Matelica, Marches, Italy (O) 17.99 / 194.29
Matelica is one of the two most famous zones for Verdicchio in the Marches region between Umbria and Italy’s Adriatic coast. Inland and boasting some of the Marches’ highest altitude vineyards, Matelica is renowned for Verdicchios that offer exquisite finesse, chalky minerality, and impressive nerve and drive. ColleStefano’s 2021 Verdicchio reflects a pale, green-glinted straw color and deep, limestone-driven aromas of almond blossoms, lemon zest, and green apple skin. Brisk and crystalline on the palate, the wine offers suggestions of Pippin apple flesh, Key lime zest, sweet sage, and freshly grated ginger. Herbal and citrus notes reemerge on the long finish, followed by suggestions of blanched almonds, white pepper, fresh fennel, and wet stones. ColleStefano’s classical and elegant 2021 Verdicchio will prove a lovely choice for sipping by itself or for pairing with all types of seafood and vegetable dishes. Drink young to enjoy all the wine’s brisk fruit and lip-dusting minerality. Our favorite vintage yet!

2020 Ronco Blanchis, Pinot Grigio, Collio, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy 15.99 / 172.69
From high-altitude slopes in the prestigious Gorizia zone on Italy’s border with Slovenia, the Ronco Blanchis estate is crafting exemplary wines. Their gorgeous 2020 Pinot Grigio casts a medium lemon-gold hue from the bowl followed by full-throttle aromas of Bartlett pear flesh, yellow apples, cashews, crushed ginger, and limestone minerals. Full and ample on the attack, Ronco Blanchis’ Pinot Grigio layers the palate with notes of yellow plums, preserved lemon, menthol, and medicinal herbs. Juicy and pixelated, the wine finishes with reprises of fleshy pear and Golden Apple fruit amplified by the insistent minerality of the vineyards’ soils. This is a gorgeous, textbook example of Pinot Grigio – the style that made the grape so famous – as can only be created in most favored terroirs of northeastern Italy. Enjoy this beauty now and over the coming two years with golden trout, medium chèvres, vegetable omelets, and angel hair pasta dressed with lemon-cream sauce and plenty of fresh Dungeness crabmeat.

NV Le Marie di Raviolo, Sant’Agostino, Piedmont, Italy (O) 18.99 / 205.09
Le Marie is a small family cellar owned by husband-and-wife team Valerio and Luigina Raviolo. Located about forty miles west of Alba in the Piedmont’s Pinerolese zone, the Raviolos organically farm twenty-five acres of high elevation vineyards. The low pH of their soils and the marginal climate of the Pinerolese cause stress to the vines, resulting in remarkably fresh and bright flavors in their superb Arneis. A brilliant straw-gold color, the Raviolo’s Arneis Sant’Agostino opens with fresh aromas of acacia blossoms, sunflowers, lemon oil, and smoky soil. Crisp, brisk, and bristling on the palate, suggestions of salted lemons, quince, quinine, Bosc pear, menthol, ginger, and chamomile bring new dimensions to the Arneis grape. Hints of tarragon, menthol, and wintergreen join lip-dusting saline minerals on the long, savory, unlike-any-Arneis-we’ve-ever-tasted finish. The Raviolo’s Sant’Agostino will prove a great partner with vitello tonnato, frito misto, seafood and vegetarian risottos, grilled whole fish, and sauteed squashes. Enjoy now and over the coming two years.

FRANCE – WHITE

2019 Domaine Castéra, Jurançon Sec, Southwest France (B) 17.99 / 194.29
Jurançon is an exclusively white wine appellation which concentrates on two of France’s most fascinating, complex, and underappreciated grapes, Petit and Gros Manseng. Together the two Mansengs form the foundation of Jurançon’s complete spectrum of dry, off-dry, and nobly sweet wines. The legendary Domaine Castéra organically and biodynamically farms steep terraced slopes to craft the full portfolio of classical Jurançon wines. Employing Gros Manseng (70%) and Petit Corbu, Domaine Castéra’s Sec (dry) casts a rich golden color from the glass followed by captivating aromas of ripe pear, apricot, honeydew melon, beeswax, and spicy ginger. Full, rich, and ample on the fore-palate, the mid-palate layers crisp melon and orchard fruit expressions amplified by a brilliant acid backbone, a gripping, resinous texture, and deep, loamy soil tones. Long, intense, and palpably dry, Domaine Castéra’s Sec finishes with hints of wildflower honey, pear skin, honeycomb, and a persistent stony soil signature. Pair this singular beauty now and over the coming decade with broiled black cod, grilled mackerel, rich bean and lentil soups, chicken topped with sautéed morels, and roast ham.

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

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