THE CELLAR DOOR'S 'NO PUMPKIN SPICE...EVER' HOTSHEET
St. Joseph, Bordeaux, ChiantiSpecial, Washington Zin, 1989 Port & more
2012 CHATEAU BEAUSEJOUR
FRONSAC ROUGE (BORDEAUX)
$11.99 BTL./$71.94 - SIX PACK
Located in close proximity to Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, the tiny and picturesque region of Fronsac is home to some real gems like this offering. Chateau Beausejour is one of the areas fine producers and run by the Melet family since 1870. Now in the hands of 5th generation Veronique Guilhamon, in 2011 the estate brought in famed consultant Stephane Derenoncourt and immediately this selection won a gold medal at the Concours de Bordeaux competition.
Made with the usual Bordeaux suspects and dating back to the 19th century, this red wine announces itself with frontal scents of blue fruits, subtle cocoa, mineral and mulled spices that carry over into a satisfying texture, chock full of flavor and with complexity usually reserved for its neighbors in more famous appellations. Black currants and earth tones come out on the succulent and archetypal right bank Bordeaux finish that has lace and elegance. A beautiful drop for 12 bucks, this wine is excellent to pair with duck, rib-eye steak slathered with shallots slow cooked in butter, mushroom pasta or a nicely ripened Camembert.
2014 GARCIAREVELO RUEDA
$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE
Here's one that's undoubtedly remarkable and not expensive from a fabulous Spanish white wine specialist. For many years Garciarevalo just made one Rueda but years of convincing from many outside sources and friends, a few years back the estate started the separate cuvee.
Tickling you in places that you don't expect, this cool white is 100% of the Verdejo grape and from vines that are 100-145 years old! Aged entirely in stainless steel tanks, one sip of this will give you reason to flash a cheeky grin and continue pouring glass after glass. Lime, mandarin, marzipan and prominent mineral launch from the glass then in the mouth, brisk, enlightening and delicious flavors coat, then cleanse the entire palate. A terrific value that will be cocky while flaunting its personality best with crab, scallops or cod.
2012 CASTELLO DI FARNETELLA
CHIANTI COLLI SENESI
SPECIAL $13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE
Virtually gone are the days of the inexpensive, everyday Chianti. Whether it is producers’ egos or a greedy importer, most Chianti priced below fifteen dollars is usually diluted rubbish. While lamenting these facts, a light bulb went off in our heads and the illumination that resulted was remembering how brilliant the wines from Farnetella truly are.
Farnetella is the legendary Fattoria di Felsina’s Colli Senesi property and the Chianti that comes from these grapes is always a stupendous value. The 2012 is ripe, generous, yet traditionally made, this expresses ample marionberry, cherry, Tuscan herbs, and underlying spice. With fine respect to the flavors, it is dry and hearty with excellent vibrancy and length. Those who love great value-oriented, everyday drinking wines from Tuscany should NOT miss this one! Kudos
2015 AGATHE BURSIN
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE
As is often the case, Alsace is a geology buff’s playground and since 2000, Burgundy/Chablis-trained Agathe Bursin is producing scintillating wines from her 13 acres, which includes just over 3 in the Grand Cru Zinnkoepfle vineyard.
The usual, nobel Alscaienne grapes are planted but Agathe has a love and impeccable touch when it comes to Sylvaner. This unheralded grape has really been taking form with impeccable farming and attention to detail and young producers are making its presence. Agathe’s 2015 Lutzeltal Slyvaner is a spectacular gateway into her wine world. The site is essentially a continuation of the famed Clos Saint-Landelin and is very gravel-dominated with little clay, which results in very fine and sculpted white wines. Chiseled rose-oil scents seemingly tinged with ruby grapefruit, telltale spice and gently placed marzipan. The texture is classy and seductive with vibrant minerality. Complete and well balanced, with plenty of lemony crispness that offsets the wine's natural viscosity; without a doubt, this wine will work with upcoming turkey but it will also pair nicely with spicy Thai food or grilled salmon jacked with ginger.
2012 ETIENNE BECHERAS
$27.99 BTL./$335.88 CASE
In 1971 the appellation of Saint-Joseph was extended from the original 6 villages all the way up to the village of Chavanay which is close to Condrieu and Cote-Rotie. Now encompassing 26 villages, the powers that be capped the appellation in 1994. Given the length of the appellation (35 miles or so) and combined with various microclimates, slopes and soils, the terroirs are vastly different as are the respective wines.
Domaine Etienne Becheras is situated in the central portion of the appellation, specifically in the village of Arras. Polyculture is present at this estate; Etienne grows cherries and apricots on the flat land near the Rhone River and grapes for wine on steep, terraced slopes above the village. At just under 10 acres, this small Domaine is farmed organically and the vines that average just under 40 years of age are in limestone and significant schist and granitic soils. I had the chance to taste 2012 last week and I thought that it had so much Syrah-Soul to it that I ran home to find old Soul Train video cassettes and Earth, Wind & fire vinyl albums! Discreet, harmonious and on the cool side of Syrah, woodsmoke scents along with black raspberry, asphalt, sanguine, leather and freshly-ground pepper, this is essence of Syrah and St-Joseph. No intrusive oaky tones here, just beautiful purity and scents of guttural-sensuality lead into a layered very elegant, high-toned, refined, very food-friendly mouth feel. Grill up some fat pork-chops and watch it sing, or cellar it for 5-7 more and it will go Barry White or Luther Vandross all over ya!
2012 ANGEL VINE ZINFANDEL
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE
Exactly what the world has been waiting for, a very fine indeed Northwest Zinfandel!! Angel Vine is the project of Ed Fus who owns a Pinot Noir vineyard here in Oregon in which he sells the fruit to other producers. To make a complete 180 and do something completely different, this cat has serious passion for Zinfandel and scores some very good fruit from Washington that he sells under the Angel Vine tag. Simply put, these full-flavored wines are flat-out delicious and if you love Zin and local wines, you owe it to yourself to have some in your glass.
As usual, this full-on red brings forth peppery, wind-swept cherry aromas along with underlying, nicely integrated spice-box and anise tones. Typical warmth of Washington really comes out and reveals pure and underlying earth tones. Supple entry and with suave, silky tannins from front to back. Vibrant acidity arrives on the mid-palate. Gains more material, especially on the very classy finish. Drink through 2020.
2013 MASSOLINO BARBERA D'ALBA
$23.99 BTL./$287.88 CASECE
The name Massolino has been an important one within the Barolo village of Serralunga since they arrived in 1896. Since the 1990s, Franco and Roberto Massolino arrived and they have taken this estate to impressive levels with their entire range of wines that can often defy the stereotype of this village.
The Barbera from this apex estate has been produced since day one (1896) and the 2013 is so utterly gorgeous. From vineyard sites within the Barolo zone of Serralunga, this wine is dreamy, soulful and confidentially Piemonte with fresh uplifting red cherry that is quickly joined by camphor and a deep dark earthy, dense clay characteristic that screams Alba. Spice, anisette, porcini and juicy blueberry join in the mouth creating a supple, round and giving glass of real wine. This is the perfect red for all occasions with aged mountain cheeses, grilled meat or mushroom pasta courses. Drinking well right now and will continue to please over the next 4-6 years.
1989 BURMESTER COLHEITA PORTO
$31.99 - HALF BOTTLE
If you ever see Bryan, Karen or Bricco with a new set of dentures and affected English accents, or affected barks in the pup's case, it’s because we've gone on a port binge. If you are gonna binge, then do it properly with one of the top makers of Colheita Port. Colheitas are like Late Bottled Vintage Port. They must be aged at least 7 years before bottling, but may be aged much longer. The long ageing process allows Colheitas to become rich, elegant, light in color, beautiful, dessert wines.
You can buy these delicious, matured, drinkable, vintage dated Colheitas for about the same price as you'd have to pay for young, unmatured ‘vintage port’, then you'd have to wait another 20 years to drink them. Truth be told, many of us don’t have that kind of patience. Fall and winter dictate that we should be imbibing a bit, and these are bottles that aren’t compulsary to be finished in one sitting. Burmester are masters at Colheita and this one is a delight to drink. An array of floral, dried fruit and nut character on the nose and palate. Medium in body and extremely smooth with great balance and a mega-long finish. Perfect on a cold, dark rainy night by a fire with some stilton or chocolate.