2/1/21 The Cellar Door's 'SOUTHERN CHEEKS' HotSheet

Red & White Burgundy Specials, Meritage for 10, Ripasso, Rioja & more

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

There have been Chambeyrons farming in the area in and around Cote-Rotie since the late 1800s but it wasn’t until 1977 that the family gave up planting apricots, cherries and tobacco, which before that time were much more lucrative than grapes. Bernard Chambeyron’s uncle Marius was quite a maverick doing grapes well before 77 but as time progressed, Bernard and his papa Maurice decided to venture into winemaking planting plots in some of the most prized single vineyards in Cote-Rotie and Condrieu. Now joined by son Mathieu, these wines are hidden gems in this small area and are exceptional values.

The Syrah is from plots just outside the border of Cote-Rotie, specifically just above the Chavaroche lieu dit (50 year old vines) and another from the plateau above the appellation (30 year old vines).The fruit for this wine tends to run more towards purple versus red. If you were to equate to music, the Cote-Rotie wines would be Bruce Springsteen while the Syrah is Southside Johnny, very credible, hard-working, diverse yet not quite able to play stadiums and is quite at home in a club. Nicely concentrated, exquisitely aromatic and maintaining fine freshness and vibrancy. An excellent Northern Rhone experience for 20-bucks, enjoy over the next 3-4 years.

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$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

One of Italy, Lombardy and Lugana’s most historic and prolific, the estate of Ca' dei Frati is located in close proximity to the south shore of Lake Garda in Lombardia. Unlike many other quaffing Lugana wines, this wine is dead serious and cerebral as hell.

Made from 100% Turbiana, completely unoaked, and armed with redolent tones of melon, tangerine, lime, and pronounced saline that seemingly go non-stop until the bottle is drained. Filling the mouth with flavor and having plenty of depth, there is ample zesty, crisp acidity that holds it all in balance and extends to the finish that is reminiscent of the soaring outro solo that Dave Gilmour drops on Comfortably Numb.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Non-compromising, what makes Rioja icon La Rioja Alta so unique and special is just how many wonderful wines they produce from top to bottom and due to the fact they make wine for themselves, never straying from their passion for the great tradition of Rioja. Vina Alberdi is the essence of classic blending of vineyards and then aging for two years in barrel. 2015 is a warm but very exciting year for this wine and if you want to experience the finest from Rioja, then this is one that should be in your glass.

100% Tempranillo, this formidable Rioja maintains all of the depth and class that one finds in these great wines. Do not be fooled into thinking this is just class alone, the quality of vineyards and vintage allow it to possess plenty of punch, spine and glorious aromas of dried cherries, spice and leather that open to a mouth full of cherry, plum and herb flavors. Cutting a sleek, handsome profile with fine balance, it finishes long and dry, with well-defined, earth accents. Like Bill Withers’s track ‘Lovely Day’, this is soul personified. Drink now - 2028.

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$24.99 BTL./$299.88 CASE

One of Oregon’s hot-to-trot newcomers and with former Beaux Freres winemaker Grant Coulter in charge of winemaking and vineyards, there is ample buzz about this Ribbon Ridge estate just after a few years. A flaneur is, quite simply, a leisurely wanderer, a worldly explorer, a connoisseur of life, maybe Van Halen trashing a hotel room after playing ‘Unchained’.

A superbly supple Oregon Pinot Noir that does not rely on a bunch of new oak flavorings. Waves of cherry blossom, lavender, black plum and fresh-turned earth/spice billow from the glass and fill your senses; the structure is refined, rich yet maintaining elegance with a drawn-out, cushiony finish. Drink over the next 7-8 years.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Tommaso Bussola is one of the leading producers of Amarone. Originally a stonemason, Bussola took over this estate, having learned some about the business from his uncle, Giuseppe, also a local grower. In general, Valpolicella is a region noted for high quality reds that offer a lot of wine for not a lot of money, having said that, not all Valpolicella is created equally. The inquisitive nature of Tommaso Bussola results in the creation of some the region's most interesting and thoughtfully produced red wines. This one from the Ca del Laito line is steal at 20 bucks.

Made utilizing the Ripasso technique, the unique winemaking practice of Valpolicella, which wine made during the recent vintage is reserved then placed atop the pressed grape skins and lees in the vats just used for Amarone and allowed to ferment further in contact with those skins, thus acquiring additional body and flavor. This version has it all! Dark, lush, dried strawberry, dark chocolate, ginger, and tobacco combine with a full and pleasing texture that keeps up with hearty dishes. The complexity here is inspired by Amarone and unlike Amarone, is one that can be accessed now. If you like big Italian red wines then do not miss this one! Drink over the next 3-4 years. 'Used To Be a Cop' from Drive-By Truckers for this bottle.

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[reg. $53.99]
SPECIAL - $35.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Along with Chateau Fuisse, this elite Domaine are like The Beatles and The Kinks of Pouilly-Fuisse. Both have long histories and are influential, especially in making single plot wines, which have led to the recent development of a Premier Cru system for this appellation. Founded by Jeanne Ferret with the brilliance being maintained by her daughter Collette, this go-to estate did not lose a beat when Louis Jadot purchased it in 2008 after she passed. Currently the female winemaker lineage continues with Audrey Braccini being the guardian of the estates traditions.

2017 is a rock star vintage for the Maconnais and this wine is absolutely in orbit. Playing in the big leagues in Northern Burgundy, this seamless beauty is a combination of top parcels in the PF amphitheater. No new oak is utilized with half brought up in concrete and the other half in 2-5 year old barrels. Unfolding and revealing nectarine, orange and underlying saline and stoniness. Hints of butter come through and add even more. In the mouth, it is lacy and shows impressive graceful movement beneath all of the saturation and depth from the old vines. Serious detail, class and electricity on the everlasting finish. Think a wine like this doesn't age, I just had a 2008 recently, and it was stellar. Enjoy this wine through 2030. I equate this to U2’s ‘11 O’clock Tick Tock’ - chiming, catchy and timeless.

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[reg. $69.99]

Domaine Michelot is one of the stalwart, sturdy producers of the large village of Nuits-St-Georges. A visit to this Domaine is akin to attending NSG University because of the holdings that the estate owns. Various vineyards throughout the appellation have allowed for a true study. Alain Michelot always made excellent wines but in a more rustic, sturdier style. Daughter Elodie took over in 2006 and she has cleaned up rusticity and added a beautiful feminine touch without ever sacrificing Nuit’s depth and terroir. These wines are flying so far under the radar right now and we are proud to be out in front before the prices escalate.

From 55+ year old vines just below the Premier Cru of Bousselot, this wine is simply dreamy. Smoke, herbs, turned red earth and stone all while gaining rose petal and hinds of anise. Gentle red and black plums arrive. 2017 is a great vintage of detail, class and harmony along with no shortage of depth, and in a word, a great Burgundy lover’s vintage. Lengthy, expansive and lingering. There is plenty of backbone here as expected in a young wine. Hold on to this until 2023 and drink through 2032. ELO’s ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ with its 37-part harmonies come to mind for this choice.

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[reg. $79.99]

Champs Perdrix is a single vineyard site with the lower portion being Premier Cru and the upper being a lieu dit. This tiny site, a mere 4 acres in its entirety, is a specialty chez Michelot both this wine and the Premier Cru produced. This site is one of the highest points of Nuits and the wines have a resounding minerality and stoniness to them.

Being in close proximity to Vosne-Romanee, this has excellent aromatic spice and more. Candied ceps, strawberry, allspice, pomegranate, cedar and alluring red flowers with an underlying serious deep sensuality just waiting to be released. Classic and classy red spice, flowers, with a warm and savory note that sets off the cool red tones beautifully adding an extra level of complexity. This is one elegant and sexy glass of pinot that seriously needs a fine dish and preferably a bit more time in the cellar. Drink 2023 – 2033. Bon Iver’s ‘I, I’ in its entirety will get your interest piqued.

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$9.99 BTL./$119.88 CASE

Located in California’s Central Coast region and produced at Clos LaChance, the lineup of wines from this producer offer formidable bang for the buck. No, they will never be the level of Ridge Montebello or Ramey Chardonnay but for 10 bucks, one scores a hell of a lot of flavor and character.

Constructed with four Bordeaux varietals, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petite Verdot, 45% Merlot & 20% Cabernet Franc, this toothsome treat presents boysenberry, dark chocolate, cedar and roasted coffee aromas that follow to a texture that is mouth-filling and full of California smoothness. A perfect wine to serve to a crowd and one that is an excellent cheeseburger choice. Musically, I think of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ for this wine.