6 pairs of wines. Dolcetto, Rioja, Champagne, Oregon White, Burgundy & Chile

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$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE

Owning 80 hectares in Rioja Alta, the Alesanco estate fashions flavorful and well-nuanced wines that reflect a real loyalty to the region. Both of these wines are blends of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha, and are rich, clean, expressive and exemplary values. Owner/Winemaker Pedro Martinez Alesanco seems to have taken his cue from another neo-classicist, the one and only Alvaro Palacios because there is a freshness and exuberance here that is soooo engaging.

The core of fruit is also impressive, but what most strikes me is it never loses its sense of being a delicious Rioja. Vibrant strawberry and plum tones waft from the glass and enhanced by cinnamon tones and kisses of roasted earth. Crowd-pleasing, generous and full of smoothness, sleek pleasure and all in all, a raging bargain for $12! Drink it now over the next year or two with roasted pork with a fruit chutney.

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$17.99 BTL./$215.88 CASE

Much more serious than the Crianza, the Reserva goes way more deep and complex all while showing beautiful, fragrant aromas of red raspberry surrounded by roasted herbs (rosemary & thyme) and gently placed kisses of mocha. Neo-classical, graceful, and very luscious its fine flavors seduce and assault the palate all at once. Density of fruit shows off the impressive structure, which is submerged by the knockout depth. Firm on the finish with excellent dimension and Rioja detail. This is a real giant killer! Drink through 2021+ and perfect with grilled leg of lamb.

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$14.99 BTL./$179.88 CASE

Delivering something a bit more, the Piedmont village of Dogliani is synonymous with the Dolcetto grape, hence the special notation of its village on the label. Orlando Pecchenino is a prime producer of Dogliani (as well as Barolo) and his single Cru of San Luigi is always a steal. Located close to the Barolo village of Monforte D’Alba, the northern sector of Dogliani produces very distinct wines and differ from the other two maestros of the region, Einaudi and Boschis.

Clay soils bring about a heftier style of Dolcetto, but one that still maintains its poise and mouth-watering qualities. Very purple aromas with solid Morello cherry scents wrapped around chalky, minerally tones which, in true Dogliani fashion, leap from the glass. In the mouth, ravishing, dense and very precise flavors build and move to a long finish with undertones of dark chocolate. The 2016 Pecchenino Dogliani is an engaging wine to pair with antipasti like salami or carpaccio yet full enough to stand up nicely to pork or poultry.

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$23.99 BTL./$287.88 CASE

Along with Einaudi’s Vigna Tecc, Vajra’s Costi & Fossatti and Marcarini’s Boschis di Berri, this is one of the pantheons of Dolcetto and it doesn’t break the bank. From the northernmost portion of the Dogliani zone, this vineyard has exquisite exposure and the wine is aged in large barrels to obtain further complexity, depth and aging potential than the San Luigi.

Ethereal, complex and red fruit dominated with Barolo-village area delicacy and complexity. Loads of suede-like coverage in the mouth, this palate-staining Dolcetto delivers plenty of flavor and character from exuberant start to stopwatch-busting, long finish. Orlando Pecchenino feels that this Dolcetto will have no problem aging for up to a decade, but let's face it this is too irresistible now. Have it with anything that you might serve with Barolo. Try a risotto with some early chanterelles.

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$31.99 BTL./$383.88 CASE

Marechal gets so much out of his wines that come from his humble appellations, yet interestingly, only one is a Premier Cru. Based in Bligny-les-Beaune, Claude Marechal produces 12 different wines from six villages. Bourgogne Rouge is not merely a leftover wine at this estate; it is one of the specialties and receives as much care as the estate’s offerings that are more expensive. 2015 is receiving all sorts of hype and deservedly so, this is a great Burgundy vintage!

It is always admirable when a producer delivers up a great Premier or Grand Cru in Burgundy but the real test is how good is their Bourgogne or village wines. Back in the day, there were certain wine scribes who would declare that one should only drink Premier or Grand Cru, which now has become archaic due to such high quality and attention to detail. Sensuous aromatics suggest lovely wild strawberry, cinnamon stick, kisses of cocoa, pronounced lavender and exotic spice. Dryer than New World Pinot Noir, this wine penetrates deep and is poised and multi-faceted. Complete and very sophisticated for Bourgogne Rouge, it is refined, suave pure and long with pepper and plum dominating the focused finish. Braise some beef and then pour a mushroom sauce over it and get ready to be launched! Drink over the next 8-10 years.

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$44.99 BTL./$539.88 CASE

Marechal’s Savigny-les-Beaune Old Vines comes from three well-positioned single vineyards with vines planted in 1955 and is one of Burgundy’s best-kept secrets. What is always astonishing about this particular wine is just how much material and dimension is present in every vintage. Old vines as well as a friendship and mentorship with the late, legendary Henri Jayer doesn’t hurt too much either.

For the serious Burgundy value hunters 2014 is a vintage that is vastly underrated and is one of impeccable finesse and detail. Kind of reminds me a bit of 2001 which has turned out to be exquisite after 15 years. Discreet and walking lines between hints of dark and red berry, this French Pinot Noir displays prominent red earth tones to go along with fruit along with touches of violet, mineral, subtle smoke and an underlay of anise. In the mouth, it is still a tad young with its exuberance and structure but plenty of depth and transparency let you know that this wine will be fabulous in 2-3 more years. Always an outstanding Burgundy value at this price, you owe it to yourself to have some bottles in your cellar if you love Burgundy and Pinot Noir as much as we do! Drink end of 2018 – 2029+.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Bow & Arrow is one of Oregon’s unique and very individual producers who focuses on influences from the Loire and Beaujolais rather than those of Burgundy. Since the 2011 vintage, we have been on board with owner/winemaker Scott Frank’s wines and have been thrilled to see the progression and quality shoot even higher than it already had been since the initial time we tasted the wines.

Union School Vineyard is located between Eugene and Corvallis and the latest release reveals how wonderful 2016 is as a vintage. Blitzing the senses immediately, this Sauvignon wears its influences on its sleeve yet has its own Oregon twist. Converging with gooseberry, lime plenty of stony aromas that nicely surround lemon and subtle white peach that carry over to a texture is presents excellent fruit, but is also very steely, bone dry and planes nicely into a pure, earthy finish. The obvious combination is shellfish, but it has enough depth and mouth-feel to go along with halibut or smoked salmon.

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$17.99 BTL./$215.88 CASE

We have been proud to feature Bow & Arrow’s Melon since its inception but for 2016, and to quote Scott, ‘he threw the Johan out of the nest’. This has allowed this fine vineyard that has, unlikely for Oregon, granite in the soils to stand out and orate a different tale than his classic Melon Cuvee.

Strikingly pure aromas of peat, lemon zest and a kiss of white peach that shows calibration and clarity. On the palate, it is cut like a diamond, very refined and multi-dimensional with stellar depth of flavor. Bright and linear acidity balances everything out and finishes with extra length. I literally cannot stop myself from gushing about this, but will sum it up in a few words – Rock Star Melon that makes you want to shake your ass down to the fish store and grab a couple dozen of briny oysters. It will also pair very well with steamed mussels, clams and it go well very with chicken in a light sauce or just about any fish done in a beurre blanc sauce.

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$12.99 BTL./$155.88 CASE

From Chile’s Maule Valley, J. Bouchon perennially puts forth killer red blends for 12 bucks. The 2014 Canto Norte is 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc.

Lush, plush smoothed-out juice that possesses fine scents of blueberry, savory herbs and smoke, roses and tangy earth radiate on the nose. The Cabernet Franc and Cab Sauv bring about backbone and zip to the finish and around the edges. An enjoyable offering to uncork on a regular basis or if you want to compare it along with the following wine as an excellent exercise.

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$12.99 BTL./$155.88 CASE

From a different vineyard site in the Maule Valley, this wine takes on different grapes and speaks a different dialect than the previously mentioned Canto Norte.

70% Carmenere, 15% Carignan & 15% Pais, and teeming with cherry pit, tea-smoke, raspberry, clove and cinnamon scents follow into a texture that is mellow, smooth and very poised. Excellent depth, body and length belie its modest price point. Drink this delicious blend over the next 2 years with grilled burgers or grilled eggplant for those who do not partake in carnivorous delights.

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$45.99 BTL./$551.88 CASE

One of my current favorite Grower Champagne producers, Frederic Savart and his family’s bubblies have become quite the force for those who know and love Champagne. As we constantly speak about, this is a Belle Epoque (beautiful era) for the Champagne region with its various styles and philosophies. Savart is a true to form terroir-ist, referring to Champagnes as a “laboratory of terroirs and creator of cuvees”. Based in Ecueil, a mere 20 minutes from the city limits of Reims, these wines from the Montagne de Reims are not only some of the finest, they are also quite scarce – nine different cuvees from a mere 9¾ acres of vines!

L’Overture is the gateway wine into the bubbly world of Fred Savart. A classic Blanc de Noirs, this wine is entirely from vineyards in Ecueil. Made from 100% Pinot Noir and while all Pinot Noir often stereotyped to be Champagnes of power, Ecueil and Savart’s provide some of the silkiest bubbles around. On the nose, there are gorgeous aromatics of lime, yellow apple, chalk, and a touch of classy white chocolate. In the mouth the mousse and creaminess is incredibly regal, with penetrating and almost floating bubbles. Great texture and superb persistence make this a truly exquisite Champagne value. Alas, given the tiny production, these tend to fly and wind up in Champagne geeks’ cellars. If you dig bubbly as much as we do, free your mind and explore Savart’s wines.

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$49.99 BTL./$599.88 CASE

With a lower dosage than the overture and 20% Chardonnay, the L’Accomplie is sensual electricity in a bottle. The grapes come from two villages, Ecueil and Villars-aux Noeuds and the results are a true gourmand Champagnes that not only provide pleasure but also carry over to the dinner table extremely well.

The L’Accomplie owns a lovely nose that is quite perfumed, with subtle, honey-nut-caramel tones beneath sultry floral, powdery lemon and apple fruit and kiss of biscuit. Extremely stylish, the palate clearly shows great potential, first greeting with a wall of zip, but behind there is exquisitely nuanced complexity and honeycomb richness. Thoroughly long, this is awesome Champagne and pairs well with white meats, foie gras, lobster, crab and more.


Washington Red Wines from Andrew Will

This Friday, October 6 from 1:30 - 6:30

In almost 8 years of doing our Friday Sips Tastings, we have never had the opportunity to pour wines from this storied Washington producer who has been producing sought after wines since 1989. Drop by to sample four excellent selections that normally are never uncorked.


2015 Andrew Will Cabernet Franc
2013 Andrew Will ‘Ciel du Cheval’
2015 Andrew Will Merlot
2016 Andrew Will ‘Involuntary Commitment Red