Hot Sheets


THE CELLAR DOOR'S 'FEEL IT COMING' HOTSHEET
Bordeaux (St-Estephe) & N. Rhone (St-Joseph) Collectible values
Freedom Hill Pinot Noir
Engaging Italian White Wines


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2018 DEVOY-MARTINE LIRAC
'VIA SECRETA'
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

As much as we love the wines from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, there are many surrounding appellations that deliver superb quality at fabulous prices. One such region is Lirac. Situated across the Rhone River from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, we have seen an increase in quality as well as several CDP producers buying land there due to the almost similar terroirs and large stones.

I remember featuring wines from Chateau Devoy-Martine fifteen or so years ago and they were always nice wines. Enter fourth generation, Veronique Lombardo and the wines have taken a noticeable increase in quality, especially the Lirac. The 2018 Via Secreta is a blend of 40% Mourvedre, 20% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 20% Cinsault. The harmony and sophistication on this wine is very special. Devastatingly eloquent, this over-achiever's aromas encompass you and draw you right in. Loads of blueberry, lilac, thyme, plum and white pepper with an underlay of smoked meat, what we have here shows amazing poise and personality. Ethereal, this wine dances through the mouth with impressive depth and spiced earth along with scrumptious, spice-laden finish that is everything that we love about the Rhone Valley. Drink over the next 3-4 years.



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2020 BRANKO CHARDONNAY 'COLLIO'
$23.99 BTL./$143.94 - SIX PACK

Over the past several years we have been featuring the excellent white wines from this excellent Friuli producer. For some reason we have failed to feature their Chardonnay which happens to be hella yummy. Founded in 1950, located in the northern Friuli hills and a mere 250 meters or so from the border of Slovenia, Branko is a small (3700 cases) family run winery, named after patriarch Branko Erzetic, whose son, Igor, runs the operation today.

Over time we have learned that the Chardonnay from Friuli, especially Collio, has its own distinction and is unlike Sancerre, New Zealand, etc., these wines have personalities that adhere to the varietal and this northeastern Italian region’s special terroir. The first thing you may be compelled to ask about Branko's Chardonnay will be, is it buttery like California? Is it French in style? The straightforward answer is that Branko is Branko. Very pretty, restrained aromas of green apples, flowers, and engaging wet stone tones, the 2012 is dry, refreshingly relaxed, yet impeccably detailed and provocative in the mouth. No oak to interfere, just waves of stony flavors supported by a fine core of fruit. Drink it with fresh crab or grilled monkfish or grilled salmon, you will come back thanking us.



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2021 LI VELI 'ASKOS' VERDECA
SALENTO BIANCO
$19.99 BTL./$119.94 - SIX PACK

From a perennially popular, widely known grape to one that is as obscure as they get, Puglia powerhouse Li Veli (former owners of Avignonesi) have committed to the preservation of this white varietal and have had excellent success indeed. Verdeca is rarely seen outside of Puglia’s Valle D’Itria area and Li Veli created the Askos line to preserve these ancient varietals that the region has been blessed to have planted. Askos is also the Greek name of a type of wine container. The name inspired the time when Greeks colonized Puglia and made wine, possibly from the Verdeca grape.

Peach, meyer lemon, honeysuckle, thyme and flinty aromas seep 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. Do up a spaghetti alle vongole, cioppino, or sauteed cod with some savory bacon and peas.



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2017 HADEN FIG PINOT NOIR
'FREEDOM HILL VINEYARD'
$32.99 BTL./$395.88 CASE

If you don't know Erin Nuccio's wines then it is time that you familiarize yourself with them, they are stunners. Along with owning Evesham Wood since 2009, Erin has made wine under his own label, Haden Fig, for several years and if you enjoy refined, classy Pinot Noir then these should be right up your alley.

2017 marked the first release of Freedom Hill for Haden Fig and best of all, it is 2017! This classic vintage requires some cellar time but it is getting close and decanting an hour before drinking, will allow a whole lot of nuances to arrive. Tightly focused aromas of ripe black raspberry, cherry, violet, anise, licorice whip and cardamom, this pinot is aromatically stunning! layered and gripping in the mouth with generosity and great purity of flavor. From a 2-acre plot of Pommard clone vines, the material here is undeniably impressive and the compact finish lingers on and on. Best end of 2023 – 2030+.



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2020 ZENI BARDOLINO CLASSICO
$9.99 BTL./$119.88 CASE

From Italy’s Veneto region, this high-spirited red proves the Venetians are not blind! Bardolino is a light to middleweight red and a Lake Garda specialty. Zeni’s version is a blend 50% Corvina, 40% Rondinella, 10% Molinara.

Cherry pit and red flowers dominate the very cheerful aromas and texture. Lots of cool red fruits, nice lift and earth throughout. Pair with Risi e Bisi. Look up the recipe, especially the Marcela Hazan version. Also delicious with light first courses, especially when this red has a slight chill.



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2019 ALAIN VOGE SAINT-JOSEPH
'LES COTES'
$46.99 BTL./$563.88 CASE

If I had to choose a favorite wine from my recent visit to France that is both a candidate for aging and a value for under 50-bucks, Domaine Voge’s Saint-Joseph could well be the choice. Having taken over from Alberic Mazoyer, his hand-picked successor, Lionel Frasse is kicking ass and taking names with these already legendary wines. The late Alain Voge would be smiling broadly to see his legacy carried on so beautifully. One last thing, Alberic has not entirely disappeared, he still maintains and sells the grapes from his vineyard solely to Domaine Voge and is happy to just working this organic vineyard in an area sans cell phone coverage.

If I had to describe the wine in one sentence, it would best be described as "purity of fruit and earth with minimal influence from oak", but since I have been known to shoot my mouth off for days about these wines, I will expound. Forward and pretty perfume of smoke, black cherries, and white pepper; in the mouth, it is very clean, and silky with lots of red fruit, high toned briskness, and a finish that fans out nicely, not unlike something from Burgundy, even though it is Syrah from the Northern Rhone. This is just a plain delicious bottle of wine meant for the table and is perfect with everything from duck, to rabbit, to venison. Chuck in a few olives, and now you are really talking! Drink over the next 12-15 years.



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2018 CHATEAU MEYNEY
SAINT-ESTEPHE
$46.99 BTL./$563.88 CASE

Given its impressive terroir and locale (next to Montrose and Phelan Segur), one has to wonder why this Chateau was never included in the Classified Growth Selection of 1855. Never mind as much, because it remains a superb value and with the arrival of Hubert de Bouard of Chateau Angelus in 2013, these wines have taken off like a missile.

2018, 19 and 20 are all impressive and rather powerful vintages. The water retaining soils dominated meters of dense blue clay allow for fine water retention in dry, warm years like 2018. 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and a large portion, 18% in fact, of Petit Verdot, the 2018 is impressive at this early stage. Don’t be fooled, this wine will age beautifully. Savory, deep and classic St-Estephe grittiness shines along with sensuous scents of cedarbox, touches of tobacco, violet, cassis and underlying black raspberry. Lavishly texture, especially upon entry then builds up structure and grip to go along with all the fruit and detail. Firms up on the finish, but the loaded material really sticks around and taunts you well after the wine is swallowed. Bounds of excitement in this wine, personally we would give this until the beginning of 2024 and then consume it through 2033.



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2019 ZORZAL MALBEC 'GRAN TERROIRS'
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Zorzal is located at 4500 feet in the sub region of the Uco Valley called Gualtallary just outside of Tupungato. Being at this elevation, Zorzal is the highest winery in all of Mendoza. Aged 12-18 months in 2–3-year-old French barrels, this wine never departs from its origins nor is an oak bomb.

Handsome with an abundance of raspberry, pekoe, chocolate, fig and red earth aromas that keep coming on as the wine unfolds in the glass. In the mouth, it has voluptuousness buffered by cool, zesty tones along with a vertical backbone and a very vinous, broad and seductive finish that soars. Drink this very real Malbec over the next 5-6 years.






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