Hot Sheets

Abeja Cab, 91 point Montepulciano, Gevrey-Chambertin & more

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

One of the fabled, rock star producers, Luigi Cataldi Madonna has been instrumental with the Montepulciano grape as well as to lift this area away from being mere trattoria wines into something more expressive and fine. Over the last decade, the trend in Italy is to return to being a traditional producer. In a desire to display their fine terroir even further, Cataldi Madonna changed their Montepulciano program drastically by eliminating the use of oak and moving solely to cement tanks for aging. The results have taken this wine into the stratosphere, receiving vaunted Tre Bicchieri Awards from Gambero Rosso as well as the 2015 receiving 91 points from Vinous:

‘Deep red-ruby. Perfumed, inviting nose combines cassis, black cherry, licorice, bitter chocolate and an extremely intense note of violet. Wonderfully juicy and fine-grained, offering a lively texture and almost aromatic set of floral and dark fruit flavors. Finishes very long, with a delicate herbal element and outstanding savory lift. This is a truly outstanding entry-level Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, so I’ll be generous in my scoring. Lots of wine for the money: very well done! – 91 POINTS VINOUS’.

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$12.99 BTL./$155.88 CASE

If you could fill your swimming pool with Chinon Rose, your choice would be Coudray-Montpensier. Just because we got a trickle of rain doesn’t mean summer is over yet, the sun and 80 degrees will be back by this afternoon.

A recent arrival, pretty aromas of little red cherries, herbs, freshly cut flowers and citrus define the aromas while brisk, mouthwatering red flavors soar on the palate. Pair it with a plate of charcuterie and cheese and serve it as an aperitif or with grilled shrimp.

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$26.99 BTL./$323.88 CASE

Quite honestly, there are not enough hyperbolic words to describe both the wines of Muga and what this producer has meant to the quality and history of the Rioja wine region. Once again, they deliver and their 2013 Reserva is drop-dead stunning. After fermentation, this selection is aged six months in large vats then transferred to small barrels for a further 24 months of aging, truly traditional practices here.

Mocha-spiked dried strawberries lavishly waft from the glass with Moroccan spices; leather and roasted earth are along for the ride. Captivating, majestic, mouth-filling, very smooth and gaining complexity as it unfolds in the glass. Lots of movement throughout as well as a drawn-out, silky finish with slight peppery tones make this a compelling and collectible wine for under 30 bucks. Drink it over the next 10-15 years with roasted pork or lamb.

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$14.99 BTL./$179.88 CASE

Made by famed high end Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producers, Jim & Bob Varner, Foxglove is their creation of California wines that are unoaked and really launch over the bar when it comes to bang for the buck. Over the last few years, many of you became acquainted with Foxglove's delicious value wines especially their Chardonnay.

It's now time for you to try one of their full-on, ravishing reds and their flavorful, generous Zin is the perfect way to get started. A whole lotta Zin, the 2014 explodes with brazen black raspberry, plenty of cracked pepper, cocoa powder and subtle briar and mineral tones follow through to a texture that is inviting, plush, generous and never ponderous. Have it with barbecued ribs or chicken.

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$23.99 BTL./$287.88 CASE

Located a mere 3 km from the Slovenian border in NE Italy’s Friuli region, brothers Gianni & Giorgio Venica are fourth generation winemakers utilizing 55 microclimates spread out over their 28 hectares of vineyards. The aim here is for purity as well as strength of varietal and for many years the resulting white wines in the bottle have been some of Italy’s terrific finds.

Friulano (the grape formerly known as Tocai Friulano) is a white grape that is native to the Northern reaches of Italy believed to originate in the Veneto region. However, it is neighboring Friuli where this grape and selection thrives beautifully. A unique white wine experience, Venica's version shares gentle herbs with sea-driven, salinous aromas along with quasi-lemongrass and perfumed nectarine aspects. The texture itself is clean, unoaked and provides lots of coverage along with tense, twangy dryness, especially on the vibrant, savory follow-through. Try with Proscuitto di San Daniele, which is a classic match. It will also work well with a smorgasbord of shellfish, too.

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$49.99 BTL./$599.88 CASE

Many of you have enjoyed Abeja's Cabernet Sauvignon in the past, and deservedly so, because upon commencing operation in 2002, Abeja quickly announced themselves as one of the greats of the new generation of Washington wines and they continue to this day.

Lavish, smoky and chock full of violet, cedar, coriander and plenty of black cherry and cassis tones that keep coming on as the wine sits in the glass. In the mouth, it is typical Abeja with its luxurious fruit, excellent structure and velvety tannins. The finish fans out like a peacock's tail and goes on for minutes. This is a mighty impressive performance from the Abeja team and the price is still fantastic. While you would not be committing a crime if you were to uncork a bottle, give it until 2019 and drink it through 2027+ for optimum pleasure.

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$9.99 BTL./$119.88 CASE

The latest entry in our 10-dollar wine sweepstakes is this everyday-drinking dry red from famed Port lodge, Warre's.

As you would expect from a Duoro wine, lots of lush dark berry tones with hints of earth, chocolate and pepper rule the day. Juicy and ripe berries coat the mouth with a soft texture and a touch of spice on the finish. This versatile fun red is perfect for weeknight drinking with cheeseburgers and other good things.

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$69.99 BTL. - LIMITED!

Lately I have been very disenchanted with the American wine media when it comes to Burgundy. It seems as though these cats sit in Beaune at either Hotel Cep or Hotel de la Poste, receive, and only taste samples of the same producers then rinse and repeat. While there are so many that are great ones that are featured in their publications and are part of my over 25 year history with the region of Burgundy, I must pose a question, does anyone else that is up and coming not make good wine? To me their lack of investigation is sheer laziness. A native Burgundian through and through, Philippe Cheron came upon good fortune when lease agreements on his grandfather’s land came up and he took control of them and now has 13+ acres in prime time Cotes-de-Nuits land. The following are my notes from visiting M. Cheron:

Premier Cru site sitting just above the village of Gevrey-Chambertin. Philippe Cheron traded a good-sized parcel of Nuits-St-Georges to obtain these Premier Cru vines. Darker presence. More wild black fruit unfolds with sage-like herbs and cracked pepper. Touch more oak but this is built to age nicely. Violet and mineral start to arrive. Complete Gevrey; androgynous broad masculine aspects along with beauty and sophistication underneath. Finishes extremely long. Wow!! This is quite a value given what many Gevrey Premiers Crus go for. Hold until 2020 and drink through 2030.


This Friday August 18 from 1:30 - 6:30

The Path of Totality

A selection of wines to further stir the frenzy that is the mega-eclipse! Drop buy this Friday to sample four easy drinking selections that will only leave you in the dark if you drink too much of them. Bring your eclipse glasses and drinking shoes!


2016 Hortus Languedoc Rose
2015 Cameron Pinot Noir ‘Dundee Hills’
2013 Perticaia Montefalco Rosso
2015 Yohan Lardy Moulin-A-Vent