5/11/20 The Cellar Door's 'MULLET MELTDOWN' Hotsheet

Vietti & Volpaia - new wines - Collectible Washington Red & Hermitage - Several Selections under 15

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Five months after this wine arrived, it is now really singing. We made the mistake of uncorking it a week after it landed and of course, it was cranky. Right now, there is quite a change of attitude with this wine as it is friendly and flirtatious yet with cerebral undertones.

As the name Sablet indicates, there are sandy soils that always make this wine a very flattering and endearing choice. 2018 is quickly developing into another superb Rhone vintage and this blend of 70% Grenache, 27% Syrah & 3% Carignan is best defined as being crimson. Aromatic, finely tuned with scents of peonies, underlying red plum and white pepper. The texture here is fabulously full with succulence, balance and engaging depth. Nice expansion and mineral aspects shine on the fine finish that comes together nicely. Drink over the next 4-5 years.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Inspired by several things this morning (printable and unprintable) including hearing Judas Priest play ‘Breaking The Law’, I decided the Italian wine entries of this week’s musings would be one of our consummate Chianti Classico wines and a new white wine from Vietti.

Volpaia is the Don Draper (okay so he is fictional), Frank Sinatra or Beau Brummel of Chianti producers; never would you compare these stylish, smooth wines to someone wearing shorts and flip-flops. 2018 is a more than worthy follow-up to the remarkable 2015 and 2016. Hypothetically, one could merge them and the result would be 2018. Volpaia have long made sophisticated, very handsome Chianti. Traditionally made Chianti, and maintaining the fragrant, perfumed floral traits that are what Radda in Chianti are all about, this wine has provides no shortage of depth and density. Flavorful throughout, the 2018 combines red and black fruit characteristics and a generous, round, sultry finish that has an earthy purity along with roasted coffee notes beneath the surface. Drink over the next decade.

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I liken this new wine by Vietti to a virtuoso musician who has an abundance of experience and greatness then releases something out of the blue that is a masterpiece. Take Joni Mitchell’s Turbulent Indigo or when Bruce Springsteen dropping The Rising, both are mighty impressive so when buzz was going on the Luca Currado was doing research, obtaining land and finally producing a new white wine from an obscure grape from an obscure area of Piedmont, the wine world became abuzz with enthusiasm.

Located at the border of Lombardy, Liguria and Emilia Romagna, the Timorasso grape thrived in this area of Piedmont from the Middle Ages up until Phyloxerra in the late 1800s when it fell out of use and replaced by red wines. In the 1980s, Walter Massa an Andrea Mutti started a reclamation project and saved the grape. 30+ years later, we now have other producers like Vietti exploring this area.

Grown in virtually the same blue marl as Barolo, this thrill ride of an Italian white wine is aged in a combination of stainless steel, ceramic amphora and neutral wood without any malo-lactic fermentation. Scents of acacia, gerber daisies, nectarine, honey and mineral undertones gleam from the glass. Plenty of depth and material along with terrific brilliance and zest. Lots of persistence, this white can age quite well but at the moment, it is so tasty with strong flavors like fish in sauce, grilled prawns with hints of spice, pork tenderloin with a subtle dry rub, asparagus with a mustard dressing and I am very intrigued to see how it would go with salmon.

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$23.99 BTL./$287.88 CASE

Back in the day when Roda started appearing in our area there were several codgers who would taste these wines and dismiss them as not being old school. Returning to the music theme that is permeating this week, look at it like the record company exec who rejected Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, both the wine and album turned out to be dazzling and inspirational. Perhaps these parochial winosaurs as well as the record exec are either now retired or thriving in the custodial arts field.

Sela is the first Rioja in the lineup of Roda’s superb roster and 2016 is a very important vintage for Rioja. 87% Tempranillo, 7% Graciano & 6% Garnacha, this is the epitome of class in a glass. This wine maintains all of the grace and complexity that one finds in all of the Roda range. Glorious aromas of dried cherries, spice and leather give way to cherry, plum and herb flavors. Cutting a sleek, handsome profile with fine balance, it finishes long and dry, with well-defined, earth accents. Drink now - 2027.

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$14.99 BTL./$179.88 CASE

Folk Machine flies under the Hobo Wine Company flag and is the brainchild of Kenny Likitprakong. We have featured several of the lower alcohol California reds in the past but after tasting the Chenin Blanc, I thought this would be an excellent choice for those wanting to branch out with their dry, crisp, white wine experiences.

From the Merritt Island AVA in Clarksburg, this wine tickles, grabs and gropes in many of the palates pleasure points. Aromas of white flowers and white peach waft from the glass. The texture is bone-dry, very fresh and invites you back for glass after glass. Perfect for a white wine sipper, but serious enough to pair with mussels or fried razor clams.

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$14.99 BTL./$179.88 CASE

90 minutes from Lyon in the Alps is this adventurous red wine from the Savoie region in the Alps. Made with 100% of the ever-popular Mondeuse grape, this bursting and fun red is more vinous and complex than one would ever imagine at its modest alcohol 12.5% level.

Planted in calcareous soils, this red is full of unbridled energy. Mountain berries, mountain spices, plenty of mineral and an undertone of rose petal carry over into a texture that is lifting yet mouth filling and chock full of beautiful fruit. If you enjoy the likes of Beaujolais or Barbera, you will love this red. Enjoy with charcuterie, mushrooms, roasted chicken, Chinese dishes and more.

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$9.99 BTL./$119.88 CASE

Los Morros is one of two Chilean outfits owned by Miguel Besoain. A graduate from the Universite de Bourgogne in Dijon, Miguel followed his schooling with 10 years of toiling in wineries in France and Germany before returning home to the Maipo Valley to do his own thing.

The Los Morros winery is designated for value wines. The Carmenere grape was originally planted Bordeaux and is part of the Cabernet family. While virtually extinct there due to it being difficult to ripen in Bordeaux's conditions, it is alive and thriving in Chile. Los Morros’s version is an assertive charmer. Leather, spice, tealeaf, black licorice and black plum shine on the nose and follow through to a texture that is broad, polished and persistent; it is a yummy, full-flavored wine that is perfect for every-evening consumption.

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$59.99 BTL./$719.88 CASE

Commencing in 2002, Washington wine revolutionary Chris Camarda eschewed the American practice of labeling his wines by the name of the grape, instead opting to use the Bordeaux influence and labeling them by vineyard site and blending the grapes thus making these his top wines whereas the varietally-labeled wines are the etry offerings. Andrew Will is in the Quilceda, Woodward, Leonetti league and one whose wines are on many Washington wine collectors’ lists.

Located near Benton City the vines average 28 years old for this 800 case cuvee. Being a warm and torrid site Chris and son Will Camarda prefer to make this wine sans Cabernet Sauvignon due to the loamy soils on gravel beds to reflect the site as well as its Right Bank influences. 61% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Franc, the 2014 reflects the power of Red Med Mountain. Typical of the top Andrew Will's wines are when they are young, they possess the alluring fruit that is abundant in Washington but with ripe structure and cut to keep it honed and very ageworthy. Blackberry combines nicely with cherry pit, dark chocolate, dried herbs and violet. Well-crafted and stacked, this wine will age very well through 2030+.

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$69.99 BTL./$419.94 - SIX PACK

When it comes to Syrah, the name Chave translates to godlike genius! Well, actually, it really doesn’t but for those who admire the greatest of the greats, this family dynasty which goes back to 1481 has been entrenched as standard bearers and in my vision, the security guards to all that is great about the Northern Rhone and Syrah in general. The current leader of the family Domaine is Jean-Louis Chave who is 16th generation. In 1995, he started a negociants business to augment the ultra-level Domaine Chave Hermitage and St-Joseph wines. These days the red Hermitage sells for well north of $200 but if one wants a Chave experience, the Selection wines are excellent.

Farconnet is one of the newer selections and prior to 2007; remaining grapes that did not make it into the grand cuvee were sold off. This selection comes from three distinct climats on the famed Hermitage hill (Diognieres, Peleat, and Greffieux) and is named after the man from whom Jean-Louis’s great grandfather purchased the Bessards parcel. Hermitage is often referred to as the manliest wine of France, and this 2015 is built like a fleet-footed inside linebacker. Even at age 5, do not expect immediate gratification from this wine. The wine is packed, dense and laden with woodsmoke, cassis, violet, hints of gibier and loads of white pepper. Great fruit intensity, full body, but all packed in behind a wall of well-structured grip. This wine should be cellared for another 2-3 years and then enjoyed over the next twenty plus as it will continue to develop, soften and become silky, smooth and ungodly complex. If you have a child born in 2015, this wine will definitely be there for their 21st birthday