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Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir & Tempranillo, Barolo for 40, Gigondas for 30, New Felsina Chianti Release

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$26.99 BTL./$323.88 CASE

The southernmost Chianti Classico village and environs is Castelnuovo Berardenga. This is an area where the Chianti wines are defined by power and the undeniable leader here is Fattoria di Felsina. Having worked with these wines for almost three decades, this estate is consistently on their top form and the very fine and balanced vintage 2019 is no exception.

As usual, Felsina's Chianti Classico is made from 100% Sangiovese. In fact, Felsina's Chianti wines have always been 100% Sangio even when it was illegal to label it as such. Deep, glistening and highly fragrant aromas deliver subtle hints of peonies, thyme, roasted earth, along with overriding chocolate covered red berries. A great balance of velvety-smooth flavors, seamless integration as well as underlying structure and weight from start to finish make for a wine that is very scrumptious indeed yet one that can develop and smoothen out even more over the next 7-8 years. Enjoy with a grilled steak or hearty, meaty pasta dishes. Felsina is a true Tuscan gem and if you have ever traveled to and love the flavors of the region, this Chianti is for you.

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$17.99 BTL./$215.88 CASE

Love & Squalor’s first vintage was 2007 but owner/winemaker Matt Berson has worked in various Oregon cellars since 2003 including the likes of Patty Green and J. Christopher as well as in New Zealand and Germany. It would be too easy to refer to Love & Squalor as Riesling specialists and if were the only wine that were produced, it would still garner a remarkable reputation. Riesling is not the only focus, there are others made here including some damn fine Pinot Noirs.

Crucial, ferocious and thoroughly dry, this Riesling definitely has razor blade teeth and certainly is not the old blue-hair sweet versions from Chateau Benoit from back in the day! Sourced from older vineyards it is a real "sense-tantalizer" with tactile, savory aspects throughout the entire experience. Fragrant peach, hints of grapefruit, talc and smoke tones lead into a blazing texture invigorates and entices all the way through to the livewire finish. A perfect wine for mussels, smoked fish or grilled bratwurst.

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$26.99 BTL./$323.88 CASE

Curiosity is what drives many of us in the wine world, especially with Pinot Noir. How boring would it be to simply state that I only drink Pinot Noir from so and so region? As we know very well, the world’s Pinot Noir growing regions are all very small with many good things to embrace. Argentina’s Patagonia region is an emerging region and we are finally starting to see excellent results. No Malbec here, Bodega Chacra is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay exclusively from this cool climate terroir. Founded in 2004 by Piero Incisa della Rocchetta (grandson of the founder of famed Sassicaia), he stumbled upon some abandoned Pinot Noir vines that were pushing 80 years old. Utilizing these vines along with other fruit from other sites that he found, Chacra has become one of Argentina’s premier addresses.

What we love about this wine is that you can just sit around a smell it for days. Rich scents of ripe raspberry and plum aromas, with a beautiful exotic spice. In the mouth, the berry flavors continue only with more of a presence of wild strawberry, dark cherry, and hint of earth. Here is where you can feel it is from the New World, as its, density take over, yet never sacrifices its elegance. The finish is very impressive and buoyant with underlying ground pepper and dusty earth. Enjoy this superb Pinot Noir over the next 8-10 years.

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$23.99 BTL./$287.88 CASE

Tempranillo time indeed with an inviting and open knit wine that comes from Bertrand Sourdais who was winemaker at Atauta before it was sold in 2009. He soon went back to Chinon and got Domaine Pallus rolling but the sirens of Spain called him back and along with another Atauta alum, David Hernando came up with the antidote…or antidoto.

From 50-year-old vineyards in the eastern sector of the Ribera del Duero region, sunlight combines with cooler climate and at 1000 or so meters; this truly is the ceiling of the area. Seemingly, there is a virtual fragrance and complexity that is Rioja-like that inspires this wine yet is backed up beautifully with the fullness, power and depth of Ribera Del Duero. The natural stanchness of the 100% Tempranillo fruit is massaged into a structure that seduces the palate, caressing the tongue with an almost velvet-like texture. Fresh-cut flowers, mineral, creamy marionberry permeate from the glass following to a savory texture and is chock full of earth and spice. Refined and scrumptious now, it will easily develop for 5-7 years as well.

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$17.99 BTL./$215.88 CASE

Over the years, we have featured Cabernet Franc wines from the Saumur-Champigny region in the Loire Valley and Domaine de Bonneliere is a relatively new producer for us to feature. Currently there are two reds available, one an entry cuvee, and this from the rather prestigious single Cru of Les Poyeaux.

30% of this 100% Cabernet Franc cuvee is aged in 2-year-old barrels with the remainder in tank all coming from clay-limestone soils that lie on top of Tuffeau chalk. Sexy, pure and forward aromas of black cherry pit, smoke, herbs, violet and gravel. Soulful terroir aspects with more sandalwood arriving swirling in the glass, its flavors are tangy and earthy, but with luscious dry fruit on the well-balanced and rather expansive texture on through to smooth, high-toned, mineral-laden finish. Use a Riedel Pinot Noir or Burgundy glass and enjoy with anything ranging from pork chops, venison to duck and steak-frites.

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$29.99 BTL./$359.88 CASE

We highlighted this wine at last week’s Zoom Tasting with Domaine de Cabasse and it was very popular from the moment it went into the glass. From six acres in the Dentelles de Montmirail, this award winning, traditionally produced Gigondas is 80% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre and happens to come from one of our favorite Southern Rhone hidden gem producers.

A potpourri of aromas accentuated with herbes-des-provence, white pepper, red plum and blackberry undertones, this Gigondas epitomizes its suave and sultry side without ever sacrificing its warmth, backbone, depth or detail. Loads of depth and material, plenty of persistence and structure. Black raspberry, lavender, smoke and grenadine scents lead into a provençal palate that possesses ample palate presence yet is buoyant and full of smooth and savory characteristics with excellent fruit and white pepper on the beautifully lingering finish. Drink over the next 10-15 years. This wine pairs best with all types braised fare. Lamb shanks in a tomato-laden sauce, daube de boeuf (think Provence Beef Bourguigon), and Pork Loin roast slathered with olive oil, thyme and rosemary, classic Hungarian Goulash or duck dishes. Some cheese choices: Saint-Nectaire, aged Manchego and while not cheese, owner Benoit Baudry suggests a piece of spicy chocolate.

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$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE

The ancient Dao region has gone from old and passed by to one of excitement and youth. This producer epitomizes this statement brilliantly with this classic blend of 80% Jaen (Mencia), 10% Tinto Roriz (Tempranillo), 5% Alfochiero Preto and a 5% co-fermented field blend of other varietals.

Lively, inviting tones of marionberry, pepper and soft roasted herbs. They all seem to build as the wine opens in the glass and entice you to take a sip, which is pristine, medium-bodied and forward. It also shows wonderful intensity but is also clean succulent and calls you to pour more from the bottle. An excellent choice with everyday fare as well as being a nice red wine for fish.

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$39.99 BTL./$479.88 CASE

Cousin of Enrica and Elisa Scavino of Paolo Scavino, Azelia’s Lorenzo Scavino is ‘e fiamme’ with his wines at his neighboring Castiglione-Falletto Barolo estate. These days, scoring a Barolo for forty-bucks is a rarity, especially for a wine of this quality. A snapshot and tribute to those who once took great sites and made them into one blend, the 2017 comes from Altenasso and Solanotto vineyards in Castiglione Falletto; Cerretta, young vines (55-50 years old) from Bricco Voghera as well as San Rocco, Cerrati and Broglio vineyards, all in Serralunga d'Alba. Superb scion material indeed!

Aged in 5000-liter Slavonian casks, is sort of a Barolo anti-hero, a well-dressed bad guy yet very likable. Still very primary in its personality, the energetic character from Serralunga’s limestone is present with lots of mineral and movement. Dark chocolate, black fruits creep in with underlying scents of porcini, asphalt and mint. Lots of depth and virtual mountainous structure. Serious spine and acidity cuts into the rich texture. This can use another 12-18 more months of cellaring before opening. Best 2024 – 2033+.

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$79.99 BTL./$479.94 - SIX PACK

Jean-Philippe Fichet can certainly be referred as a Meursault magician. In fact, this statement can be placed on all of his wines. Back when I visited in him in 1996, I knew he was going to be a rock star from his early results. In fact, he may be trashing a hotel room in Beaune or Dijon or lighting up a fat spliff as I write this!

Miex Sous le Chateau sits damn near in the village of Meursault! Located under the mairie, west facing and protected from north winds, this site receives its sun and warmth in the afternoon due to its orientation. In the bottom of the vineyard the soil is generous; while the top is stonier. Fichet’s plantings come from 1955 and 1965 and the old vines clock in on all components. As soon as the wine is poured, a creamy, butternut nose that is very classic Meursault entices all of one's olfactory senses. Alluring focus with orange, cereal, hazelnut, lemon and musky spice which morph into pronounced rich flavors that seduce the palate…Overall, this is very relaxed and comfortable but its grip sneaks up on you on the impressively gliding finish. Drink through 2031+.