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92-Point Malbec for under 15, France & Oregon Pinot Noirs, Chianti & more

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$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

Located a mere 40 minutes east and slightly north of Florence lies the Rufina zone of Chianti and is home to names like Frescobaldi and Selvapiana. This estate has been quite historic on many senses. The entry level wine often can drive us crazy. Some years we avoid it like a Portland traffic jam. Other years like this 2019, we embrace like a cuddly stuffed bear.

Essence of Chianti Rufina with black cherry, black pepper, savory herbs, leather, and smoked meat fragrances. An excellent core of cherry fruit clutches the palate followed by structure that coats the entire mouth. This is very fine, lifting, well-rounded Chianti with complexity, texture and aromas that keep you coming pack for more. Drink now through 2026+.

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$14.99 BTL./$179.88 CASE

92 points – The Wine Advocate… Always a leader when it comes to Argentina’s Malbec wines, Altos las Hormigas once again started a revolution that is spreading throughout Mendoza, which is focusing on terroir and quality of fruit versus beating the hell out of the wines with too much oak.Beginning with the 2012 vintage wines are now aged in concrete and large, untoasted wood foudres, providing the real mission, a renewed focus on terroir.

The newly arrived 2018 possesses a very captivating nose with creme de mure scents and serious minerality to go along with the vibrant cherry pit aspects. A lovely underlay of nutmeg, turned earth and subtle coffee notes follow into a very old-viney texture with high elevation freshness for excellent balance. Takes off like a rocket on the superb, saturated finish. This top-notch, undervalued juice will drink well for 4-6 years. If you need a rating, this has 92 Points from The Wine Advocate.

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$26.99 BTL./$323.88 CASE

The question of the day, the week and the month has to be, when was the last time you found a wine from Alsace ace producer Domaine Weinbach for under 30 bucks?! When it comes to grand-scale white wines in this region, the Faller family must be considered amongst the cardinal pillars, not only of Alsace but also of France. Across the board and with all varietals, this estate makes prodigal wines that are crucial for anyone who loves wine, period.

Coming from 50-year-old vines from the Domaine’s historic Clos du Capucins vineyard in Kaysersberg, this Sylvaner emits so much goodness from the instant it hits the glass. Extroverted scents of tangerine, impressive mineral, subtle exotic fruits, chamomile and finely placed spice tones. In the mouth, the combination of refinement, depth and grace are a spectacle that one must taste to believe. Try this wine with seafood dishes as well as green vegetables, particularly asparagus. Exotic, Asian-inspired fare works as well, particularly yellow curry-based dishes that aren’t extreme in their heat profile.

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$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE

From one of the warmer spots of Spain, this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon offers up forward and lush aromas of raspberry, blackberry, coffee, toasted earth and vanilla. Nice structure and balance on the palate, it maintains freshness along with exotic spice. Perfect with an array of dishes off the grill…a no-brainer...don't think, just drink!

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$34.99 BTL./$419.88 CASE

More and more as we move forward and discuss Oregon Pinot Noir vintages, 2017 is falling into the far upper echelon in the annals. This vintage was very late to start and was drawn out into a classic October vineyard and this reflects on the wines are showing their ability to age very well.

Located in the Eola-Amity region, the Temperance Hill Vineyard is a cool climate site with poor soils that always produces superb wines, especially in years like 2017. Candied mushroom caps, ripe raspberry, freshly turned earth, cardamom and dried flowers echo from the glass and right on to the sumptuous and velvety palate. The tannins are fine and integrated with their structure; quite noticeable on the finish. If you are having some sort of lean meat or mushroom dish, it has accessibility but I would opt to give this wine a couple of years to come together and enjoy 2023 – 2030.

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Onward to another world of Pinot Noir and one of the legendary producers in Burgundy. A highly sought after Chambolle producer although the Clos de la Marechale is quite a fascinating, solely-owned monopole vineyard in the southern portion of the Nuits-St-Georges appellation that has lots of history...and great terroir!

‘The vineyard was purchased in 1902 by my great, great, grandfather. I cannot find the origin of the name, but I found the name recorded first in 1892. The first name of the vineyard was Clos des Fources. An historian found this name recorded in the 1840. The Clos was created in the 1820 and the wall and the house in the middle were built at this time. It appears in the first edition of the Napoleonic record, which was published in 1827. This maps the Clos de la Maréchale with the same shape and dimensions as it has today. From 1902 it was farmed by my family and then from 1950-2003 it was farmed by Faiveley. It is a large rectangle. You can see it from the road. I was a little skeptical of the quality of the vineyard before I started to make it, as it is rather flat and it is right next to the Route 74 which in Chambolle is not a great location. So I thought it would have deep, clay soil, but we have done research and surveys in the vineyard to characterise the soil and it is very shallow, just 50 cm of clay on a solid rock table. The layer of rock is different though – it is oolitic limestone, which is soft and porous, which is a good thing. It actually retains water in periods of drought. To me it is exactly the specificity of great terroir – the capacity to evacuate too much water, but to retain enough for the vines.’ – Jacques-Frederic Mugnier

The alluring perfume is here as well as the exotic spices, which are very pronounced and integrate exquisitely with an array of blackberry, red licorice and pepper/coffee tones from a judicious use of oak. In the mouth, it is still a baby, but the potential is ungodly! Expansive, firm, rich, layered, long and really wants to be a Grand Cru. Still a tad youthful, but some integration and accessible silky tones are starting to creep through. This needs to relax in the cellar for 6-7 more years but it will undoubtedly be very special and drink well up to its 30th birthday or so.