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Amarone, Brunello, Oregon Red & more

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2015 AYRES 'RED'
$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

Something fun from one of our favorite Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir producers. Yes, Brad McLeroy refers to this wine as red, yes it comes from the Willamette Valley. In fact, from a vineyard in close proximity to his estate. But no, it is not Pinot Noir. This flavorful, excellent everyday red wine made from 100% Tempranillo is quite the charmer.

Conditions in 2015 were quite conducive to ripening just about anything in Oregon and this wine shows off the generosity that Mother Nature provided. Highlighted by plum, pepper, nutmeg and undertones of sage and mineral scents, these alluring qualities are also prominent on the palate that reveals fullness, but more importantly, plenty of balance to make one come back for glass after glass. An excellent wine for barbecue or straight sipping.

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$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

What initially brought this Provence Domaine to fame was their renowned dessert wine Muscat Beaumes-de-Venise. All along, dry red wines have been produced here and in 2005, the village of Beaumes-de-Venise was elevated from Cotes-du-Rhone Villages status to full appellation status. A neighboring region of Gigondas and Vacqueyras, Beaumes-de-Venise has its own personality and engaging terroir from their picturesque high-elevation vineyards in the Dentelles de Montmirial.

A classic blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre reveals a commanding, yet very diplomatic and harmonious presence. Raspberry, strawberry jam, lavender, smoke, and all of the Rhone spiciness is well represented in this particular bottle. The texture is giving, mouth filling, balanced and with just a touch of wildness to let you know that it will never be tamed! A plum and pepper driven conclusion, this has superb poise and smoothness well after the wine is swallowed. Buy this one by the trunkload and drink it with anything grilled or braised over the next 3-5 years. Very yummy for the money indeed.

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$26.99 BTL./$161.94 - SIX PACK

Famed Brunello di Montalcino producer Col D'Orcia's owner Francesco Marone Cinzano has an incredible passion for top-flight, classified Growth Bordeaux and in the mid-90s decided to explore an operation far, far away, Chile's Maule Valley to be exact.

Col D'Orcia's greatness is exquisitely carried over to the southern hemisphere nicely. Erasmo's gateway red’s backbone is the 60% of Cabernet Sauvignon from densely planted, high-quality French clones. Impeccably stylish and complex, this is one of the coolest wines I have seen come from Chile. Penetrating aromas kick in immediately with a prominent presence of blackcurrant, graphite, hints of red earth and impressively intertwined undertones of espresso from excellent use of French barrels. Lacy fruit and balance rule the day, but its core of fruit is expressive, chewy and expansive. Firmly formed on the mid-palate then glides into a spice-laden finish that packed with spices like coriander, nutmeg and pepper and lasts and lasts and lasts. At age 6, this is drinking very well and will continue for another 5-7 more years.

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$39.99 BTL./$479.88 CASE

You don't have to adjust your bifocals, or rinse out your contacts; this current release from Kalin Cellars is the 1999 vintage. Terry Leighton is like a mad scientist when it comes to wine. He prefers to make his Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs as if they were done in Burgundy before World War II. On top of that, this man waits and then waits some more until he feels things are at the pinnacle of aroma and flavor before releasing them.

The source of this wine is Demostene Ranch in the Alexander Valley and the Pinot Noir planted here is the oldest in the region and is dry farmed. Here is a wine that will give one an experience of what aged Pinot Noir is about. Bright cherry, underbrush, aromatic mushroom, dried flowers, some exotic spices, anise and followed up with more turned earth. Very umami in its profile, this is resolved, layered, silky and caressing through the entire palate. Unlike many Cali Pinot Noirs, this doesn’t taste like Zinfandel but maintains soul, sophistication, and all in a 13% alcohol package. Drawn out with spice, fruit and earth, this wine is one of the more unique Pinot Noir adventures that and true Pinot Noir aficionado will experience.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

The main grape that is the spiritual soul in Liguria is Vermentino and Punta Crena is one of this small region’s most prolific producers. Pour some of this shimmering white into a glass and it immediately screams summer to you! Vibrant Marzipan, flowers, peach-pit, and an almost cherry scent calmly and gently waft. One can see that Punta Crena is one of Italy’s fine white wine producers with its outstanding finesse, both aromatically and in flavor but its texture and soul are entirely Italy, specifically Liguria.

Creamy, fine fruit tones are enhanced by energetic and lemony briskness, which is very apparent on the mouth-watering, palate-cleansing, thrusting finish. The biggest problem with this particular white is that it goes down excessively easily. This can be accessed alone, before dinner with friends yet it will nicely stand up to cod, salmon, shrimp, green veggies or something drowned in a romesco sauce.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

If you have been afraid of Beaujolais in the past, you need to stop being a Beaujolais-hater and try the real thing. Hell, even the American wine writers are on board with enthusiasm. Check out the Vinous 92 point review for this wine from a producer who happens to be one of my all-time favorites in the entire region!

‘Deep ruby. Heady red and blue fruit, potpourri and fruitcake aromas show excellent clarity and pick up a minerally nuance with air. Combines power and finesse with a deft hand, offering palate-staining black raspberry and boysenberry flavors that spread out slowly on the back half. Shows real intensity and a suave floral pastille quality on the youthfully tannic finish, which leaves a sappy blue fruit note behind. – 92 POINTS, VINOUS

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$76.99 BTL./$461.94 - SIX PACK CASE

"...'scuse me while I kiss the sky" - Lord Jimi Hendrix

That is exactly what you will do when you try this virtuoso Amarone from one of the region's masters. The vineyards belong to the Serego Alighieri family, the oldest family of the area and direct descendants of the poet Dante. Since 1353, when Dante's son, Pietro, purchased the property in Gargagnago, the family has farmed the same vineyards over an uninterrupted span of twenty generations, and has left its mark on Verona's viticultural history. Two factors give this wine its unique character and extreme elegance. First, is the use of a particular clone (the Serego Alighieri clone) of the Molinara grape. The second factor is the system of partial aging in small cherry wood barrels. This process was regularly employed by Amarone producers until some three centuries ago. Now, it is virtually only used by Masi under orders from the Serego Alighieri family who like to emphasize the natural perfume and taste of cherry, typical of the Corvina grape.

Big, full-on, ripe and ageworthy for 20+ years, this hedonistic, buxom offering is loaded with dark chocolate, melted black licorice, dried cherry, dried violet, pepper and hints of cinnamon and vanilla. Chewy, full-on, very cherry and intensely textured, there are plenty of complex, wild-spice and baked plum characteristics that come out. The finish is saturated and superbly long. Think of a big offensive lineman decked out in a tuxedo. Debonair, meditative stuff that can be drunk with substantial fare like red meat or with strong cheeses like parmesan, pecorino or gorgonzola. 2009 is a grand vintage and if you want to drink some yourself on the earlier side, you certainly can do so. If you have a child, grandchild or moment that occurred in 2009, it will also age long enough for those future special occurrences because it cellars impeccably. Drink through 2040.

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$79.99 BTL./$479.94 - SIX PACK

Having been working with, collecting and drinking the Montalcino wines from Caprili for over 20 years, I can boldly state that the 2010 Riserva is the finest wine that I have ever seen come from this producer in their long line of greatness. Unlike the Amarone above, this wine does need to go into the cellar. However, the common trait is that this will age forever as well!

Profound business, even in its youth, this is already complex and special. Red plum, rose, violet, sage and classic amare tones. Typical youthful rambunctiousness, there is top-notch craft, poise and Grand Cru depth here. Graceful, layered and very poised Sangiovese. Firms up, yet maintains elegance and red berry throughout. Becomes introverted on the packed and luxurious finish. The magnitude of this Brunello is endless…Now use your imagination and drink this heavenly red nectar from 2021 – 2037+.