THE CELLAR DOOR'S 'ELEVATOR PASS' HOTSHEET
15-year-old affordable Bordeaux, Collectible Oregon Pinot, Red Values under 12, White Burg, Port & more
2002 CHATEAU LANESSAN HAUT-MEDOC
$24.99 BTL./$299.88 CASE
Bordeaux is back and in a major way! Well, it really has never left and one of my strategies is to bring you wines that offer exquisite value, and when possible, have some age on them. Located at the southern border of Saint-Julien and in close proximity to second growth Chateau Gruaud Larose, this estate’s history stretches back to 1793. Listed as a 4th Cru in documents stretching back to 1815, then owner, Louis Delbos decided not submit samples to the 1855 Classification noting it as ‘bureaucratic nonsense’. Over time, history has proved, right or wrong, that Lanessan has excellent terroir that is primarily gravel soil. Best of all is the Chateau’s popularity with very traditional Bordeaux lovers because of its old school stylings along with impeccable values.
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot 1% Cabernet Franc. At 15 years old, the 2002 is peaking and drinking beautifully at the moment. Tertiary scents that are ultra-complex and changing especially as the wine unfolds in the glass. Aged Bordeaux (as well as any aged wine) is not about becoming bigger and fruitier, they are about gaining more elegance, smoothness and dimension. This wine absolutely brings it with dried cherry, tealeaf, earth, cassis and fennel spice. Very resolved with expansive yet subtle flavors that move nicely as the wine flows towards the classy, very traditional finish. One to pop and pour over the next 3-4 years. Serve it with a Sunday roast beef, duck, beef bourguignon or mild, soft ripened cheeses.
2015 FERRANDO CANAVESE ROSSO
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE
The region of Carema and sub region of Canavese are part of Piedmont. In reality, they sit very far north of Barolo and Barbaresco on the border of the Valle D’Aosta about an hour north of Turin. Luigi Ferrando is the unmitigated leading producer of this region, producing some absolutely legendary Nebbiolo wines from Carema but also from the Canavese region which was created only in 1996. Relatively known for white wines, this area has come on quite impressively for its reds as well.
The Ferrando Canavese Rosso is Nebbiolo-based with about 30% Barbera and a dollop of the local Neretta grape. 2015 is ultra-successful as it the conditions provided excellent generosity, but also possesses plenty of crunchiness and zip due to the elevation and cool nights. Very engaging, savory scents of strawberry, mint, licorice and subtle undertones of smoke and herbs lead into a mouth-filling and vivacious texture that oozes deliciousness and a level of depth that is exactly why this producer is regarded as one of the finest in all of Piedmont. Wine with substance, dimension and owning a finish that takes off; there is a ton of goodness here for not a ridiculous amount of money. Enjoy this with beef/pork stuffed ravioli or a risotto done with cheese and mushrooms.
2015 TORREDEROS RIBERA DEL DUERO JOVEN
$9.99 BTL./$119.88 CASE
Always one of the biggest steals for 10 bucks in a region known for high-priced wines. Mouth-filling, fruit-forward Tempranillo with just a touch of barrel aging to soften the wine further and make it ready for drinking now, the nose is fresh and fruity with aromas of redcurrants and raspberries plus a touch of clove spiciness. Lush with flavors of soft cherries, spiced plums and crushed red fruit complimented by a subtly soft and long round finish. Enjoy it with just about anything you want to serve red wine with or as a by itself, weeknight glass of red.
2015 LES HERETIERS DU COMTE LAFON
$34.99 - LIMITED
Owned, operated and made by Meursault Mega maestro Dominique Lafon, the Heretiers du Comte Lafon Macon wines are some of the rarest and finest of the region. When Lafon commenced his Maconnais operation, it brought prestige to the area and elevated many younger producers to improve the quality of their wines as well. In this case, we can quote one of the greatest TV shows ever, The Wire: ‘The King stay the King’. Prisse is a Macon village that encompasses both St-Veran and Macon wines. The Lafon vines are east facing planted on clay soils that sit atop very hard, limestone bedrock and are in the Macon-Prisse sector.
Maybe Macon that wants to be Meursault, the 2015 shows aspects that I refer to as 'stony opulence' along with an intense lemon and apple tone. An ethereal, finesseful yet luxuriously deep offering that has good attack and poise while showing nice expansion and richness; the finish is very electric-mineral and almost cobra-like with its striking capabilities! Awesome juice that should be drunk now through 2022+.
2015 LA PALAZZETTA
$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE
I featured this flavorful value back in January but after a revisit to the wine over the weekend, it is drinking even better at the moment! The DOC of Sant' Antimo was created in 1996 to exploit grapes plated within Montalcino which are blended in addition to Sangiovese. Mainly used as an excuse to add Cab or Merlot to Montalcino Sangiovese, top-level Brunello man Flavio Fanti thumbs his nose at this notion and rebelliously blends this wine with 50% Sangiovese and 50% Colorino as following his steadfast refusal to use small barrels.
Broad and bold are the best two words to describe the Montalcino area’s spectacular 2015 vintage. Combining the dark, hearty black tones of the Colorino and the violet and high-toned red fruits of the Sangiovese, this makes for a very tasty Tuscan wine. Plenty of depth and tangy aspects all while never losing its traditional dry and detailed flavors. Quite expansive yet very deft and elusive for being a classic, full-flavored wine from the home of Brunello and one of its most exciting, non-caricature producers. Drink with hearty pasta dishes based around lamb, pork or mushrooms.
2012 CLAAR CELLARS
CABERNET SAUVIGNON 'WHITE BLUFFS'
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE
Claar Cellars, located in the White Bluffs area of the Columbia Valley in Zillah, is definitely a producer to be on the lookout for now and in the future. Plenty of bang for the buck has been emerging from these cellars and once again, they have pleasantly won me over.
Claar's full-flavored 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon offers up a classic varietal Cabernet profile. This lushly structured and integrated wine shows dark fruit, blackberry, cassis and leather aromas with flavors of ripe plum, bittersweet chocolate, and black cherry on an earthy, spicy finish. Very enjoyable now and over the next 4-5 years.
2015 WALTER SCOTT PINOT NOIR
CLOS DES OISEAUX VINEYARD
$44.99 BTL./$539.88 CASE
Unless you have been living under an Oregon rock you should by now know the prowess of this Eola-Amity producer. The husband and wife team of Ken Pahlow and Erica Landon are long time Oregon wine vets who started Walter Scott, their own wine adventure in 2008. Lately they have been receiving enormous accolades from not only wine critics but also the real litmus test, wine lovers. Their single vineyard wines are very special indeed and should be in any Oregon wine collector’s cellar.
One of the standouts and my personal fave of the Walter Scott roster of single vineyard wines is the Clos des Oiseaux Vineyard Pinot Noir. This site is located in close proximity to Cristom's Jessie Vineyard and the 2015 is rocking. Delivering grace and regal depth of fruit all conjure up harmonious notes of strawberry, licorice, white pepper and cocoa-dust, this wine is quite the seductress. Texturally this offering is concentrated and persistent with plenty of dark tones up front that fan out into a vivid, suave and rich finish. This is top-notch, obsessive farming and winemaking at its pinnacle and while this wine has immense accessibility, there is even more potential lurking, which will undoubtedly unfold with a few years of cellaring. Drink through 2026+. 275 cases produced.
2015 WALTER SCOTT PINOT NOIR
$44.99 BTL./$539.88 CASE
Sojourner Vineyard is located in the southern end of the Eola-Amity area and is situated at 650 feet. Laden with stones, this vineyard has impeccable minerality and almost marine like aspects to the wines that offer immense pleasure and potential and after tasting, I fell in lust, oops, I mean love with the latest release!
If Clos des Oiseaux is a ballerina then Sojourner is a perfectly tuned gymnast with intensely defined muscle and undeniable grace. On the nose, there is a deep concentration of lush ripe blackberry, brooding earthiness, licorice and vanilla spice. There is more of a presence of nutmeg and allspice from thoughtful use of oak on this wine but the rich fruit of and ultimate earthy underlay beautifully brings everything together. Very saturated and mouth coating with a long full mouthfeel that reveals saline and spice, this wine will undoubtedly be something very special. Not inaccessible now if you wanted to try a bottle or two but I would recommend leaving it alone until 2019 and consume it through 2027+. 300 cases produced.
$46.99 BTL./$281.94 - SIX PACK
Smith-Woodhouse is a long time Cellar Door favorite Port lodge. A whole bunch of greatness emerges from these cellars and there is nothing in their range that we don’t feature or sell. One of the specialties is their Colheita Port. Colheitas are vintage dated tawnies aged in cask until bottled and carry the date of the harvest and Smith-Woodhouse's version is aged 13 years in cask, which brings the components together into something very special.
On the nose, nuts and caramel dominate, but in the mouth, enough stone fruits emerge to bring to mind peaches and cherries drizzled with luscious liquid nuts and caramel along with a fine texture, offering rich deep flavor without heaviness. The finish of mocha, chocolate covered almonds and creme brulee are peppered with a roasted, coffee-like note that adds to the complexity of this rare gem. If you want to experience the magic of beautifully aged Port, here is an opportunity to snag one of the best for a fraction of the price of most Vintage Ports. A fantastic way to end a meal with drier salty cheeses such as Aged Gouda and nougat, almond tortes or caramel desserts. The best thing about this bold after-dinner treat is that since it's wood-aged, it won't improve in the bottle and then one doesn't have to enjoy it in just one sitting.
FRIDAY, APRIL 21 FROM 1:30 – 6:30
WASHINGTON WINES FROM GILBERT CELLARS & JB NEUFELD
Special Guest – Gilbert & JB Neufeld winemaker Justin Neufeld
A very special afternoon this Friday as we are proud to welcome Gilbert and JB Neufeld Cellars winemaker Justin Neufeld to pour and discuss five of his striking wines. Yakima-based, these are some of the true rising superstar wines from our neighbors to the north and truly merit your tasting attention.
(Justin will arrive at 3:30, the wines will be ready for tasting at 1:30 for those who like to come early.)
2013 JB Neufeld Cabernet Sauvignon
2013 JB Neufeld Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Dubrul Vineyard’
2013 Gilbert Cellars Syrah
2013 Gilbert Cellars ‘Left Bank’ Red
2016 Gilbert Cellars Rose