Hot Sheets

The Cellar Door's 'AVERE CULO' HotSheet
Barolo Value, Oregon Pinot for under 20, White Burgundy and more...

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Right now, the entire island of Sicily is exploding with producers, but the question remains, where is the pinnacle region? One of the leading areas has to be Etna. Referred to as a Mediterranean Burgundy, this region which runs through the valleys and hills from the sea to Mt. Etna and many outsiders from Tuscany and other regions of Italy are buying land here due to the burgeoning reputation and early signs of impeccable quality.

One producer who is not an outsider is Benanti. Giuseppe Benanti's grandfather cultivated vines on Mt. Etna in the late 1800s and in 1988, Giuseppe revived the family's passion in creating this fine estate. From the north side of Etna (yes, like the East Coast vs. West Coast hip-hop battles there is debate to which side of the mountain is better), this sterling red is a blend from 2 of Etna's native grapes, 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio. Ruby red in color with a persistent bouquet of mulberries, black cherries, mint, tangy earth and sage. Flavorfully textured, dry with plenty of generous, ripe fruit all carrying over to a lingering and balanced finish. We highly recommend this sensuous Sicilian red with grilled and roasted red meats or hard sheep's milk cheeses.

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$29.99 BTL./$359.88 CASE

One of the hidden gems of White Burgundy are the exquisite wines of Domaine Laurent Cognard. A native of Montagny, Laurent returned and started farming and bottling his family’s wines in 1997. Various Premiers Crus are utilized within the appellation and Le Vieux Chateau is one of the higher positioned, both in location and quality.

Think of being halfway between Meursault and Pouilly-Fuissé in quality and personality. Laurent Cognard’s site for this wine contains the same type of limestone found in Corton Charlemagne. Okay, it isn’t exactly that particularly legendary wine but it is also about $125 less! Elegant aromas of round and creamy pear, white peach, hazelnut and a delicate touch of flowers fill the nose. What stands out on the palate is the incredible texture and lingering mouthfeel, which are perfectly balanced with notes ripe pear fruit, mineral, honey, and that classic hazelnut note that yet again brings to mind the great wines of Meursault but with mineral electricity that is reminiscent of a fine Chablis or Maconnais offering. Very complex, refreshing, and utterly delicious; a gorgeous, world-class chardonnay that is not to be missed! Drink now through 2025 with roasted poultry, lobster, and crab with lots of butter or soft-ripened cheeses.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Based in Walla Walla since 1999, Brett and Denise Isenhower have been everyone’s secret find for years. Quite honestly, the wines from this property are very significant on all levels and offer up robust quality-price rapport. While the top wines are stellar, the ‘i’ Series of wines was created to offer a 20-dollar experience that wine lovers can consume on an early basis; however, there is backbone for them to age a few years.

Sourced from sites throughout the Columbia Valley, this Cab is sheer deliciousness with good substance and without getting silly with just a bunch of wood; this hearty Washington red delivers currants, blackberry, fine herbs and spices that dominate the nose while a prominent core of mouth-filling fruit pleases the palate. A perfect wine to serve with grilled ribs or other fare…and one that will please a bunch of varying palates! Drink over the next 5-6 years.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Not your ordinary Cotes-du-Rhone but one from the great Cornas masters! From the cooler climate, 45th parallel Northern Rhône Valley and 100% Syrah, this fascinating, refined and aromatic expression is typical of the region with miniscule production. Serious business, this offering is so unlike the wines from the Southern Rhone in its profile and projects nothing but sheer poise and grace all while having excellent substance and backbone.

2016 is the second of three in a row of outstanding vintages in the Northern portion of the Rhone Valley. Obscenely fragrant with currants, violets, pronounced smoked meat that is classic to the area. The black pepper is here, but it is a backdrop along with hints of dark chocolate. A refined killer showing expansive layered flavors that creep through the mouth. High-toned grip that moves into red fruits at the end finishing long and over delivering for its price. Drink this sensuous Syrah over the next 5-6 years.

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$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

One will never find McKinlay wines listed in The Wine Spectator, The Wine Advocate or any other wine media publication. The reclusive Matt Kinne refuses to submit samples. Those in the know and who like the stylings of Cameron, Evesham Wood, Thomas or Eyrie, real Burgundian-influenced Oregon Pinot, know the prowess of this cat.

For over thirty years, McKinlay has produced wines that are Pinots for Pinot lovers, very sexy, elegant and aromatic. This wine follows the velvet rule of pinot noir perfectly. Red berry, violet, soft smoke, and elusive herbs and spices are the characteristics of the wine. Given that Matt has placed a bunch of declassified fruit from his Special Selection and Ladd Hill cuvees into this wine it makes sense that there is ample dimension. Beautifully poised and never becoming a caricature, smoker-friendly fruit bomb, this wine is essence of finesse in Pinot. Drink now and over the next 5 years.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

More and more we are seeing excitement from areas of Italy that were not necessarily on the wine radar even as recent as a decade ago. With the hard work of some very well informed importers, wines such as this have shown up in the US. This mouth-watering white from terraced vineyards along the western Italian Riviera is one such delicious example.

The Vermentino grape has been cultivated in Liguria since the Dark Ages. Located in the profoundly picturesque region of Colli di Luni, which is close to Tuscany, the Terenzuola estate produces magnificent wines from small parcels. Illuminating and delicious, this Italian white is extremely compelling with expressive notes of lemon blossom, saline, freesia and minerality on the nose. A luscious entry gives way to a vinous texture is elevated and possessing perky crispness and balance; a total vehicle for fish jacked with anise and Italian herbs.

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$9.99 BTL./$119.88 CASE

Made by a famed, Italian-owned, Mendoza-based Malbec producer, the Altos las Hormigas is a blend of 48% Malbec, 45% Bonarda and 7% Semillon. Savory red aromas and flavors present themselves straight away and entice you to want to drink it at just about any moment. Juicy and supple, it smoothly accompanies anything from pizza to empanadas to grilled meat or veggies.

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$39.99 BTL./$479.88 CASE

Run by sisters Enrica and Elisa Scavino and once known as an ultra-modernist utilizing a swath of shiny new oak, the estate of Paolo Scavino has done a complete 360 and now makes wines that are very classic using what modernity has provided. Their entry Barolo is way more than mere entry because it comes from a selection of the best casks from 7 single vineyards in the villages of Castiglione Falletto (Rocche Moriondino, Vignolo and Pernanno vineyards), Barolo (Albarella, Terlo & Vignane vineyards) and Serralunga d’Alba (San Bernardo vineyard), each fermented separately.

The sisters’ 2015 is sublime and at under 50 bucks is a steal. Big, full and youthful Barolo with lofty aromas of cigarbox, camphor, spun sugar, mushroom, dried flowers, and although generous with an underlying plushness, the fruit is red and very detailed in the mouth. Each flavor is beautifully delineated and there is great harmony in the mouth, which makes this Barolo very lovable and ageworthy. If you want to test-drive one with a meat and mushroom dish, it won’t clobber you but do decant. For best results, drink 2022 – 2030. If one requires score reassurance, The Wine Advocate scored it 93 points.


Syrah Friday

This Friday Oct. 11 from 1:30 – 6:00
(note earlier finish time)

Three Syrah wines, all different regions. Drop by for a fun afternoon featuring interest wines from the Northwest and a French producer.


2016 Gramercy Cellars Syrah ‘Lower East’
2013 Matello Syrah/Viognier ‘Fool’s Journey’
2016 Alain Graillot Syrah ‘Syrocco’