FUNKY FRESH FLAVOR FEATURE


FRIDAY SIPS
Italian Wines - Camping in Campania
Today January 17 from 1:30 - 6:30
We never camp unless there is wine involved! This week we are throwing down with two outstanding reds and whites from Italy’s Campania region. Surrounding Naples, this area is home to an abundance of excitement and flavor. If you love Italy’s wines then come and enjoy a thrilling experience from outside the normalcy of Tuscany and Piedmont.


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2018 VILLA MATILDE FALANGHINA
$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

The white wines from Campania are some of Italy's finest and possess character not found virtually anywhere else on the sunny peninsula. One of Southern Italy's great names is Villa Matilde and they are especially known for their wines from just outside of Naples. The historic Falanghina grape, which was first recorded almost two hundred years ago in 1825, makes its home in the vineyards of Benevento just outside of Naples. The name Falanghina derives from the latin word ‘phalange', meaning ‘supported by stakes'.

The first word that came to mind when I put this wine made from the Falanghina grape to my nose was, "fresh" and that resonated throughout the whole experience, from start to finish. Gentle, alive and complex aromas of freshly peeled mandarin, anisette, sheer earth and delicate white flower billow out from the glass. Intense and incredibly nervy in the mouth with a great contrast of melon, blood orange and white spice enhances the ravishing mouthfeel. We love unoaked white wines and while this white is Southern Italian, it possesses the minerality and complex flavors found in fine, purely styled whites from the world over. Have it with spicy, tomato-based seafood dishes or grilled swordfish with a salmoriglio sauce.



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2018 VILLA MATILDE GRECO DI TUFO
$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

Greco is the oldest grape varietal of Campania and one of Italy's oldest. Originally imported from the Greek region of Thessaly some 2500 years ago. Regarded as one of Italy's finest white wine grapes, Greco, especially from the Tufo has gained renown for its refined, complex characteristics and Villa Matilde's version is the money.

The transparency of the vineyard's exposed stony soil is immediately evident with jaunting, energetic minerality. Peach, Meyer lemon, honeysuckle, thyme and saline seep up from the glass and excite the olfactory senses. Brilliant clarity and briskness surround a sultry, silky texture that seemingly covers the entire palate. Coats, cleanses, cuts back and then scores! Oceanic flavors arrive on the finish that is poised and seemingly everlasting. Grand Cru Greco?! I see a bowl of piping hot pasta with clams, scallops and calamari dressed in olive oil and lemon in our future.



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2016 VILLA MATILDE AGLIANICO
$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

Not to be outdone by the delicious white wines, Villa Matilde also produces excellent red wines. For both red and white, Villa Matilde has bottling their own wines since the 1960s and they consistently turn out some of the best bang for the buck wines in Southern Italy's Campania region.

The red wine selection here is their ultra-delicious Aglianico. I often equate this grape as being akin to Southern Italian Nebbiolo even though it truly is its own beast. Aged partially in stainless steel, followed by some time in large Slavonian botti, this wine is honest, soulful and never loses its natural beauty. Defying its color, this full wine conjures up wild berry scents that are finely enhanced by undertones of tealeaf, sanguine and chocolate licorice. Bold and firm, this wine is a great introduction to the racy Aglianico grape. Immediately it lets one know that it is a wine for food, not for cocktail-style sipping. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years with sausage-mushroom pizza, slow-roasted lamb or a spicy-tomato pasta dish. Pair with eggplant parmesan or a roasted pork loin done Alla Napoli with tomatoes, garlic, rosemary and green olives.



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2015 PIETRACUPA AGLIANICO 'QUIRICO'
$26.99 BTL./$323.88 CASE

Sometimes letting folks in on secrets is a good thing, but there are moments when it backfires on you. Take for instance, the automobile. In the early part of the twentieth century, the world should have never let the Italians in on the secret of the car and driving. Don't think I am a hater, but have you ever experienced driving in Naples? Minchia! Now when it comes to wine regions the Italians hold many great secrets and the Aglianico grape of Campania is one of them and this is where I am no longer a hater, but instead a congratulator! Pietracupa is a young estate based just outside of Avellino and smack dab in the renowned Taurasi region. This wine could easily be known as Taurasi, Jr. with its nuance and character that is a significant step up from the everyday version from Villa Matilde.

Tar, mineral, smoky strawberry licorice and dried flowers, this is not for those who like ‘em ripe, sweet and fruity, this is as old-school and food friendly as it gets. The texture is well formed, tangy, dry and semi-spicy with a fine and savory finish. Not one to sit around and sip as a cocktail, it is perfect to drink now and over the next 8-10 years with roasted meats with tomatoes or a spicy pasta dish. It is amazing how this wine can cut into chili flakes. WOW!




SPECIAL FRIDAY SIPS
Canalicchio di Franco Pacenti with Special Guest Lorenzo Pacenti
Friday Jan. 31 from 3:30 – 6:00
Two weeks from today!
A special Friday tasting with a perennial favorite and upper echelon producer from Montalcino. Drop by to meet and taste with Lorenzo Pacenti as we highlight three wines from his vaunted Brunello di Montalcino estate.
*2016 Canalicchio Rosso di Montalcino
*2015 Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino
*2014 Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino
*2012 Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva







The Cellar Door's Frogwater Wednesday
Three Southern French Values


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2017 LAFAGE 'TESSELLAE' G-S-M
COTES-DE-ROUSSILLON
$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

Jean-Marc Lafage is an influential producer in the Southern French region of Roussillon. This red is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre from 65-year-old vines planted in schist soils at about 500 feet in elevation.

Comfort wine for comfort food, this chewy red is chock full of accentuated aromas and flavors of spice, lavender, cherry, rhubarb and licorice. Hearty from start to end, and loaded with plenty of hot, exotic spices on the warm and inviting finish. Prepare something forceful, yet inviting with it, the perfect paring is a classic white bean/duck/sausage cassoulet dish that is native to the area but it will also pair beautifully with a simple meat loaf and garlic-spiked mashed potatoes. Enjoy over the next 4-5 years.



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2017 LAFAGE 'TESSELLAE'
CARIGNAN VIEILLES VIGNES
$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

Also from the Roussillon, this wine does not have the Cote-de-Roussillon designation due to it being a mono-varietal wine; however, it is from vineyards in Roussillon’s Agly Valley in the northern section.

100% Carignan grown at 900 feet in schist soils, there is impressive smoothness to this savory red wine. Considerable color and aromas of mure (wild plum – no real English translation), white pepper and aromatic herbs. Classy, ripe and showing stellar old vine intensity, spice, roasted earth and all-around Mediterranean warmth that makes you think that you are on a holiday in the South of France. A perfect accompaniment with a braised shoulder of lamb with aromatic herbes de provence, Texas or KC barbecue (especially smoky ribs), grilled steak or a Szechuan beef dish. Drink it over the next 4-5 years.



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2018 LAFAGE 'MIRAFLORS' ROSE
$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

If you think that it is too chilly or cold to consume Rose, just turn your furnace up to 80 degrees, grab the shorts and flip-flops then go to town with a bottle of this all-season Roussillon Rose!

The usual suspects of Mourvedre, Grenache, etc. make up the blend and provide soulful and confident Mediterranean aromas. Good subtlety and finesse with aromas of strawberry, fennel, rosemary and a prominent "sea-smoke" note. Plenty of flavor, depth and detail all culminating with a lively, very spirited finish. This wine really screams for seafood - steamed mussels with white wine, garlic and parsley or fresh cracked crab just to name two.





FRIDAY SIPS

Italy - Camping in Campania

This Friday January 17 from 1:30 – 6:30

We never camp unless there is wine involved and this week we are throwing down with two outstanding reds and whites from Italy’s Campania region. Surrounding Naples, this area is home to lots of excitement and flavor. If you love Italy’s wines then come and enjoy a thrilling experience from outside the normalcy of Tuscany and Piedmont.

FEATURED WINES:

2016 Villa Matilde Aglianico
2018 Villa Matilde Greco di Tufo
2018 Villa Matilde Falanghina
2016 Pietracupa Aglianico ‘Quirico’







THE CELLAR DOOR'S 'GEOMETRIC ORDER' HOTSHEET
Bordeaux, Montrachet, Montepulciano & more


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2015 AVIGNONESI VINO NOBILE
DI MONTEPULCIANO
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

An importer shift has resulted in a new and excellent lower introductory price to the rocking 2015 vintage from one of Montepulciano’s superb producers. The Avignonesi estate dates back to 1377 and Pope Gregory when he moved the papal estate from Rome to Avignon. One of the families returned and were known as Avignonesi and started this estate, which is one of the oldest in Tuscany.

100% Prugnolo Gentile (Nobile di Montepulciano’s Sangiovese clone) and quite a knockout for 20 bucks. The aromas of this wine are both delicate and intense, with a perfume that is Sangiovese of violet, ripe cherry, anise, and cocoa and espresso bean. Harmonious and balanced with a medium body, fine-grained tannins and a bing cherry finish. A magnet for Italian cuisine, enjoy hearty roasted meats and red-sauced pasta dishes. Drink over the next 8-10 years.



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2018 CANTINE BONELLI
GUTTURNIO SUPERIORE ROSSO
$10.99 BTL./$131.88 CASE

A show of hands, how many of you have ever had a wine from Emilia Romagna’s Gutturnio region? Good, that makes most of us! Right as we moved from 2019 to 2020 I had the chance to sample this wine and was quite thrilled with how delicious it is.

From just south of Piacenza and almost at the border of Lombardy, this is one of Italy’s most recent DOC upgrades as it was separated from the Colli Piacentini region with tighter regulations. This blend of 60% Barbera and 40% Bonarda makes for the perfect weeknight tipple. Smoky aromas of blue fruits, violet and pepper. Tangy, generous and a real spice box with the Bonarda revealing its exuberance on the quite complex finish. A real winner for pulled pork and more. At 11 bucks, drink now and drink lots. This is going to be my go-to lasagna wine.



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2018 EVESHAM WOOD
PINOT NOIR WILLAMETTE VALLEY
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

There is always immense excitement when this wine is released, especially for those of us who love to enjoy a 20-dollar Oregon Pinot Noir. Founded by Russ Raney and not missing a beat since his protégé Erin Nuccio took control, this 5-star producer has put forth a wine that is a mere glimpse into the quality and pedigree of Oregon’s 2018 vintage.

Alluring scents crème du cassis, cherry, violet, cedar, violet and subtle mint entices from the moment that it is poured. This beautiful pinot has great depth of flavor, poise, over-reaching depth and wonderful balance. This fine choice will take you from salmon to lamb to roasted chicken and mushroom risotto.



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2016 VASSE-FELIX
CABERNET SAUVIGNON 'FILIUS'
$23.99 BTL./$143.94 - SIX PACK

Given the recent fires and devestation, I wanted to throw Australia a bit of love and support one of their fine wine selections. One of the least talked about areas for wine in Australia is Western Australia. Forever, most of the attention has been focused on South Australia. This has certainly changed as many top-notch producers have opened up their doors near Perth, and more specifically in the Margaret River appellation. While known for Shiraz, Cabernet and Chardonnay that really tend to excel and the famed Vasse Felix estate always puts forth winners.

The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is alluring right now with deep youthful aromas of red cherry, tobacco, cassis and a heady vanilla-spice note from well-placed oak. Classic, well-made cabernet finesse and silk in the mouth with fine-ripe tannins that add a bit of firmness to the mouthfeel, adding a level of seriousness to all of the creamy fruits on the palate. This is awesome valued cabernet sauvignon sans the big ego and will drink well for a decade plus.



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2018 TERRE NERE ETNA BIANCO
$22.99 BTL./$275.88 CASE

It is difficult to pinpoint a producer from a specific area as being "the best", but more and more that we taste and sell Marc de Grazia's Terre Nere wines from Sicily's Mt. Etna area; we can declare along with the likes of Benanti and Vini Franchetti that these are apex wines on the volcano. Not only are these sultry wines top-drawer, sadly, they are now becoming difficult to get out paws on.

70% Carricante, 20% Catarratto, 5% Grecanico, 5% Minnella and what I love about this wine is that they haven’t mucked around with it and had it suffer in a bunch of new barrels, only stainless steel tanks which preserves the freshness and character of these native grapes. Instant white peach aromas leap from the glass along with underlying scents of quince, anise, subtle spice and mineral. Overflowing zesty aspects shine on the palate, which penetrates quite deeply and possesses ample expansion as well as a lingering, vibrant finish. An excellent choice with many seafood dishes, it has weight and depth to go with salmon but enough vibrancy that will allow it to pair well with sashimi or prawns.



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2016 OCHOA NAVARRA TINTO
$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE

A lovely little 12-dollar number from Spain's Navarra region. 50% Tempranillo, 50% Garnacha and your favorite barbecue wine even though you probably have not tasted it yet! Lavishly toned wild strawberry jam scents play off savory herbs, spices and licorice following into a supple, luscious texture, but possesses plenty of the nice peppery tones that Garnacha brings. Serious BPH (bottles per hour) factor here.



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2016 CHATEAU DU GLANA
SAINT-JULIEN
$54.99 BTL./$659.88 CASE

Located between the towns of Beychevelle and St-Julien, just opposite famed Bordeaux 2nd Growth Ducru-Beaucaillou, Chateau Du Glana has a distinguished history. Founded in 1870 with the original 12 acres being from 4th Growth Chateau Saint-Pierre, Gabriel Meffre acquired the estate in 1961 and enlarged it to 112 acres with the acquisition of plots from 3rd Growth Chateau Lagrange. I have been experiencing and consuming Du Glana's wares since my old Pittsburgh days, cutting my teeth with the 1982 vintage. The wines have always been very fine but in 1999 with the arrival of the late, renowned consultant, Denis Dubordieu has resulted in wines that hit heights that in certain vintages have the potential to perform on the classified growth level.

60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot aged in 40% new oak and coming from the region's famed gravelly soils, this wine kills it and oozes serious class for 40 bucks! Textbook southern St-Julien cabernet notes ride out front with crushed black cherry, gravel, toasty, vanilla-bean character all leading into a succulent texture with excellent volume, definition, and a delicious core of fruit that fills the mouth and adds penetration to the fine tannin structure. Structured, firm and while dense enough to enjoy now, is one that has amazing potential. Given the prestige of the 2016 Bordeaux vintage, there is no problem at all for this wine to age for another 15 (and probably more) years.



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2017 PILLOT CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET
'LE CHENE'
$65.99 - LIMITED!

Unless you have been fortunate to travel with me, you have not had the chance to taste something new from Laurent Pillot. Le Chene is a vineyard that Laurent has a nice sized piece of that sits just below the Premier Cru of Maltroie. This is the lead dog for his village Chassagne-Montrachet but recently he has been culling out a tiny portion to make a special bottling, a Deuxieme Cru perhaps?!?!

The 2017 Le Chene falls somewhere between the Chassagne-Montrachet and his Premiers Crus, probably closer to the Premiers in this vintage. The location of this particular vineyard allows for a bit more amplification than the regular village wine obtains, hence the price jump. Classic aromas that are buxom with plenty of orange peel, butter, hints of allspice and vanilla and a mineral undertow. As it unfolds in the glass for a few minutes, it really shows how formidable that it truly is. Round, broad attack upon entry with good density and spice all building on the palate followed by a firmly dry, but long and expansive finish. There is a hell of a lot of charm here even though it is early days. Enjoy it through 2029.




FRIDAY SIPS

Italy - Camping in Campania

This Friday January 17 from 1:30 – 6:30

We never camp unless there is wine involved and this week we are throwing down with two outstanding reds and whites from Italy’s Campania region. Surrounding Naples, this area is home to lots of excitement and flavor. If you love Italy’s wines then come and enjoy a thrilling experience from outside the normalcy of Tuscany and Piedmont.

FEATURED WINES:

2016 Villa Matilde Aglianico
2018 Villa Matilde Greco di Tufo
2018 Villa Matilde Falanghina
2016 Pietracupa Aglianico ‘Quirico’