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FRIDAY SIPS
A Love Note from Sicily
Today Feb. 14 from 1:30 - 6:30
Although part of Italy, Sicily is an island all its own. Whether it is food, culture, football or wine, the culture of Sicily is quite different from what is seen on the peninsula.

One of the very influential producers, Tasca D’Almerita is eighth generation and possesses five estates. Owner Alberto Tasca and winemaker Laura Orsi put forth excellent wines that are proudly Sicilian. Today we are focusing on indigenous grape varietals from their Tenuta Regaleali site with what promises to be an educational and informative Friday Sips Tasting with high quality wines (2 red & 2 white) for under 20-bucks.


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2018 TASCA D'ALMERITA GRILLO
'CAVALLO DELLE FATE'
$14.99 BTL./$179.88 CASE

A historical Sicilian grape, Grillo, meaning cricket, gained initial notoriety from being the grape of Marsala. Tasca has been making dry wines from Grillo at Tenuta Regaleali for many years and this version is one of the gateway white wines into the world of Sicilian white wines. Even though the area is warm, this grape can withstand high temperatures and combined with the vines located at just under 2000 feet, vibrancy follows very intently.

Lightning in a bottle, sultry aromas grow and build as the wine sits in the glass. A presence of white flowers, lemongrass, peach and peat aromas with a gentle hint of spice on the tail end. A very distinct and fine palate that is substantial, detailed, wiry and full of electricity. The finish is luxurious, lavish and extends for about 10 miles. Break out the swordfish and do it in a salmoriglio sauce.



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2018 TASCA D'ALMERITA
CATARRATTO 'CAVALLO DELLE FATE'
$14.99 BTL./$179.88 CASE

Catarratto is becoming a rarity. A grape that was known as a ‘common’ Sicilian varietal has sadly been pulled up and replanted with grapes that are more ‘profitable’. Tasca D’Almerita perseveres, making a killer version that is grown at 3000 feet.

Aromatically compelling with flirtatious scents of pear, ruby grapefruit and subtle spices follow through to an equally flirtatious texture that is fleeting and shimmering. Surprisingly, this wine broadens and fills the mouth, following through to a delightful, well-balanced finish. Tasca’s Catarratto is a wine for an Italian dinner featuring sea bass, eggplant or grilled prawns.



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2017 TASCA D'ALMERITA
PERRICONE 'GUARNACCIO'
$14.99 BTL./$179.88 CASE

Another of Sicily’s obscure wonders, the Perricone grape isn’t cultivated much in current times. When it is produced, it is often blended in with Nero D’Avola. The Tasca family has been utilizing this grape since 1954 and recently started bottling it on its own. It is human nature to want to compare. To me, given its vibrancy, maybe it is akin to Barbera.

Irresistible strawberry and mulberry shine while undertones of mint, cocoa, licorice and violet join in. Flavorful and harmonious, there is ample vivacity and suaveness to go along with deceptive depth and length. Enjoy this red with grilled lamb or pork drizzled with good olive oil, meat-filled ravioli or hard Italian cheeses.



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2016 TASCA D'ALMERITA
NERO D'AVOLA 'LAMURI'
$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

Since it is Valentine’s Day, and with Lamuri meaning love in Sicilian dialect, we thought it to be appropriate to pour this wine made from Nero D’Avola, the spiritual grape of Sicily. This grape is grown throughout the island but is thought to come from Avola in the SE corner. Various styles of wines are made from this varietal, all with no shortage of depth of flavor.

Truth told all factions of wine drinkers will love Lamuri. Sicily in a bottle, its savory, feral aromas gently give way to pronounced plum, ground balck pepper and warm earth tones. Texturally, it is generous, detailed and dry with excellent firmness, structure and length. The licorice, along with Moroccan-spice and smoke come out on the elevated, refined finish. When tasting this one can tell that winemaker Laura Orsi desires a silkier style with the grape versus an overripe powerhouse. We could not agree more with her thinking and recommend having it over the next 4-6 years with roasted game or hard pecorino-like cheeses.






CELLAR DOOR'S WEDNESDAY WINE
Fabulous French Syrah, Luminous Italian White Wine
Both for 16-bucks


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2018 DIANETTI ‘VIGNAJULIA’
OFFIDA PECORINO BIANCO
$15.99 BTL./$191.88 CASE

Nestled in the southern reaches of the Le Marches, close to the Abruzzo border is the tiny growing region of Offida Pecorino. Having nothing to do with sheep’s milk cheese, the grape of choice is called Pecorino (it’s Italy, go figure). In 2011, this area was elevated to DOCG status due to its terroir but especially for the potential of the white wines made from the Pecorino grape.

The wines from Dianetti are highly regarded and this wine is the symbol of how good Central Italian white wines have become over the last few decades. Provocatively fragrant with multi-faceted aromas of orange, talc, gerber daisies, saline and seashells, it is wiry, nervy, very dry and linear with loads of vibrancy, movement, depth and extension. A magical combination with mussels or prawn dishes slathered in garlic, olive oil, and/or tomatoes.



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2017 MARTHOURET SYRAH
COLLINES RHODANIENNES
$15.99 BTL./$191.88 CASE

Pascal Marthouret started out as a mechanic who happened to fall in love with wine and farming when he started tending his elderly godmother's vines. Soon relatives started asking him to help with their vines and he put down the oily rag in favor of riding a tractor and producing fabulous wines from his small 15-acre estate which also includes St-Joseph and Condrieu.

We have been impatiently awaiting the arrival of the stellar 2017 and it has now arrived. Pascal’s Syrah actually comes from three villages that are entitled to Saint-Joseph status and this is Northern Rhone Syrah grown on granitic soils is all about. Persistent blackberry, graham, and olive/pepper scents shine on the nose. Harmonious, ripe, and sumptuously flavored, this wine is very attractive to throw down right now. High-pitched red fruit flavors lend to its complexity while its finish is lively, smoky and laced with ground pepper aspects. Showing a non-stop finish this Syrah is food friendly and very affordable to drink any weeknight or weekend.





FRIDAY SIPS

A Sicilian Love Note from Tasca D'Almerita

Friday February 14 from 1:30 - 6:30

A Sicilian Wine Education!
Four wines from four native grapes made by Sicilian stalwart Tasca D'Almerita

FEATURED WINES:

2016 Tasca D'Almerita Nero D'Avola 'Lamuri' Rosso
2017 Tasca D'Almerita Perricone Rosso
2018 Tasca D'Almerita Grillo Bianco
2018 Tasca D'Almerita Catarratto Bianco







THE CELLAR DOOR'S 'WE'LL FIX YOU UP' HOTSHEET
96 point Barbaresco Value, Woodward Canyon, Cotes-du-Rhone, Chianti & more


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2016 RODA RIOJA 'SELA'
$23.99 BTL./$287.88 CASE

Founded in the late 80s and prestige and accolades arrived early and often for Roda. Despite its youth as a winery, the vines used for the estate’s wines have an average age of over 50 years. Roda owns twelve separate parcels of land, which vary in exposure, elevation, and soil and meticulous farming, impeccable winemaking and major attention to detail is what makes this awesome Bodega not only thrive but have allowed it to become one of Spain’s finest and most sought after.

Sela is the first Rioja in the lineup of Roda’s superb roster and 2016 is a very important vintage for Rioja. 87% Tempranillo, 7% Graciano & 6% Garnacha, this is the epitome of class in a glass. This wine maintains all of the grace and complexity that one finds in all of the Roda range. Glorious aromas of dried cherries, spice and leather give way to cherry, plum and herb flavors. Cutting a sleek, handsome profile with fine balance, it finishes long and dry, with well-defined, earth accents. Drink now - 2027.



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2017 DOMAINE AGAPÉ
PINOT GRIS ‘EXPRESSION’
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Along with the wine following this selection, we have ourselves an old fashioned Alsace two-step. Domaine Agape is from the mind of Vincent Sipp who left his family’s estate (Sipp-Mack) to follow his own wine vision. Located in Riquewihr, Vincent has excellent land holdings and the grapes that go into this offering are very impressive.

Classic Alsace Pinot Gris that is dry and tender. Beautiful smoky tones that are enhanced by melon, banana and yellow apple. Plush and palate staining, there is fine underlying acidity which allows it to not only pair with salmon but also spicy dishes as well. Drink over the next 4-5 years.



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2016 KUENTZ-BAS RIESLING
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

One of the unsung heroic producers of Alsace is Kuentz Bas. This well run estate has delivered high quality for terrific prices for an eternity. 2016 is no different and in fact, is a vintage where K-B performed mightily. Always a champion of DRY Riesling, this choice is a slam dunk for those who like their white wines clean, brisk and from the stones.

Understated perfume with lovely lime and nectarine qualities. Cracked rock mineral and almost powdery with its components, this is what dry Riesling is all about. Lovely substance up front but gains its firmness, mineral and frame in the middle and on the piercing and pleasure-driven finish. Lots of grapefruit and earth on the finish. A real smashing expression of Alsace to drink over the next 5 years with sole, cod, sushi or simply with bread and a young goat cheese.



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2016 IL MOLINO DI GRACE
CHIANTI CLASSICO
$19.99 BTL./$119.94 - SIX PACK

From Panzano in the northern sector of the Chianti Classico zone, Il Molino di Grace is one of Chianti's hidden treasures and values. It is almost becoming the theme of this week’s musings, once again it is all about the grand scale 2016 vintage. Over 30 years working with Chianti, I am able to count on one hand how many vintages are the equal of this magnificent year.


The newest and most fabulous version of Il Molino di Grace’s Chianti Classico emits terrific aromas of plum and blackberry along with hints of vanilla, sage, smoke and currants. In the mouth, it is a compelling Chianti with excellent chewy flavors, multiple layers and a driving, persistent finish. Drink over the next decade and perfect with Marcella Hazan’s tomato/butter sauce with pasta and Italian sausage on the side.



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2015 SANTA DUC COTES-DU-RHONE
'VIEILLES VIGNES'
$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

From a top-notch Gigondas producer, Yves Gras’s Cotes-du-Rhone is 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre plus a 10% blend of Cinsault, Counoise and Carignan and a fantastic symbiosis of beguiling Provencal scents with a refreshing minerality.

Nose-inducing fullness of fruit, wild blackberries, generous cherries and redcurrants awake the senses. Prominent garrigue notes: laurel, thyme and oregano marry harmoniously with licorice and an enamoring peppery note. Succulently textured with captivating flavors that seem to dance flamboyantly yet maintain a floating smoothness. Drinking exquisitely right now, it is refinement instead of opulence. It is complexity and detail instead of a gob-filled overripe fruit orgy. Truly one of the biggest bargains from a storied Rhone vintage. Drink over the next 3-4 years with lentil soup, roasted chicken, grilled pork chops or a classic steak au poivre.



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2016 GIUSEPPE CORTESE
BARBARESCO 'RABAJA'
$49.99 BTL./$599.88 CASE

Without a doubt, the Cortese family is counted amongst the most profound producers of Barbaresco and they really make their mark with their top wines from the famed Rabaja Vineyard. Grand Cru defined, Rabaja is a site of kings and is one that cellars gloriously. Do take note, most producers versions from this vineyard start at $75 so this is a serious deal indeed.

‘Aromas of underbrush, camphor, violet, dark culinary spices, new leather and dark-skinned fruit lead the way. The structured, full-bodied palate shows juicy red cherry, raspberry, orange zest, ground clove, star anise and truffle alongside fine-grained tannins and bright acidity. It boasts elegance and structure. Editors' Choice – 96 POINTS, WINE ENTHUSIAST MAGAZINE’. Drink 2023 – 2033+.



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2018 SIMONSIG CAB-SHIRAZ
STELLENBOSCH
$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE

An inspired blend from South Africa’s Stellenbosch region that is made with 58% Cabernet Sauvignon and 42% Shiraz. First thing to do when approaching this wine is to get the notion of cheap Australian wine out of your thought process, this wine provides excellent dimension that goes beyond being a fruit bomb.

Flaunting lively blackberry, smoked violet, cherry pit and prominent cracked pepper, this red is luscious, tangy, medium-weight and just a sheer pleasure to drink on an everyday basis. Dry and direct, enjoy it with anything from roasted lamb to a fat cheeseburger!



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2018 WOODWARD CANYON CHARDONNAY
$39.99 BTL./$479.88 CASE

We haven't offered Woodward Canyon's Chardonnay to our list broadly in quite a while. If all Washington Chardonnays were this good, we would be singing their praises weekly. Alas, this is not the case, but the rare versions from the likes of Woodward Canyon, Buty, or Abeja can really send any Chardonnay lover into orbit.

The grapes for Woodward Canyon's Washington Chardonnay are from a blend of their own estate vineyard and augmented with 19% from the famed Celilo Vineyard both of which provide lovely restraint and sophistication. Richness is still abound from all of the sunlight the grapes receive and the oaky tones are well-integrated. Apple, peach and citrus fruit are along for the ride and the finish fans out exquisitely. Lots of harmony and class for a New World Chardonnay. Utterly delicious juice! If you like Chardonnay, you must have a go at this one.




FRIDAY SIPS

A Sicilian Love Note

Friday February 14 from 1:30 - 6:30

Four wines from four native grapes made by Sicilian stalwart Tasca D'Almerita

FEATURED WINES:

2016 Tasca D'Almerita Nero D'Avola 'Lamuri' Rosso
2017 Tasca D'Almerita Perricone Rosso
2018 Tasca D'Almerita Grillo Bianco
2018 Tasca D'Almerita Catarratto Bianco

Special Friday Sips - February 21

Pra Soave Comes to The Cellar Door

Special Guest Diego Corradi, Export Director from Pra
3:00 - 6:30

Drop by next Friday February 21 to taste and meet Pra's own Diego Corradi as he guides us through a range of Soave and Valpolicella wines. An epic producer who we feel holds the title for Tops in Soave

FEATURED WINES:

2018 Pra Soave Classico 'Otto'
2016 Pra Soave Classico 'Staforte'
2017 Pra Soave Classico 'Monte Grande
2018 Pra Valpolicella 'Morandina'
2017 Pra Valpolicella Ripasso 'Morandina'