Hot Sheets

Hot Sheet of Exciting Wine Deals!


Barolo Bonanza, Rioja Special, 2008 Oregon Pinot, Port & more

$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Located just across the river from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, many Rhône players have known for eons the superb price/quality rapport of Lirac’s wines. In fact, we are now seeing a number of famous Chateauneuf producers such as Domaine de Marcoux and Pierre Usseglio obtain holdings, vindicating the potential of the area’s terroir.

For many years we have featured Domaine Lafond’s Tavel Rose and their fine Cotes-du-Rhone. Here we ascend a bit more with their specialite de la maison, the Lirac Rouge. Made with a prototype Rhône blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 5% Carignan and 5% Mourvedre, this is a formidable mouthful of Red Rhone goodness that’s even more prominent due to the stratospheric 2010 vintage. Deep, broad and serious, a nose of lavender, thyme, hot rocks, blackberry, black licorice and pronounced rosemary notes follow through to rich, structured ripe flavors of kirsch and blueberry along with dusty earth undertones. Brilliantly focused with long expansive finish, enjoy this Lirac now over the next 5-7 years with hearty meals such as grilled rack of lamb.

[reg. $21.99] SPECIAL PRICE - $13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

For many of us in the wine trade, reflecting over what we've drank over the past weekend on Monday morning is something of a ritual. On a recent weekend, this old favorite showed itself to be a delicious standout. There may be more expensive and more serious Rioja, but when it comes to one of sheer pleasure, this one's hard to beat, especially when it’s 14 bucks. The Eguren family has proudly produced wines in the most famous of Spain's wine regions since 1870 and consistently delivers wines of substance, class and especially value.

100% Tempranillo and exactly what neo-classical Rioja is all about. Modern fruit-forward tones of strawberry and spicy oak mingle nicely with earth tones. Plenty of voluptuous fruit is present in the mouth with lacey tannins and soft spice enable this wine to carry nicely to the dinner table.

$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

Farming and making wine in the shadow of the active volcano of Mt. Etna must be a tad unsettling so when I met Cottanera owner Enzo Cambria a few weeks back, his intense and focused nature was not a surprise.

Exciting and exact, this entry offering that’s grown at 2300 feet on Mt. Etna proved to be one of the most pleasurable and genuine under $20 Italian wines that I’ve experienced in 2013. The native grapes (90% Nerello Mascalese, 10% Nerello Cappuccio) featured in the blend allow the aromatic tones of red plum, prominent violet and lily, clove and thyme to build and build as the wine unfolds in the glass. Texturally, it shows itself to be very refined and revealing lovely purity and spice without having any of the overripe prune-laden rusticity that can often be associated with the wines of Sicily. Combine this with pastas with light-to medium sauces or lightly cooked, fresh tuna with a tomato-Sicilian olive preparation.

[reg. $29.99] SPECIAL PRICE - $23.99 BTL./$287.88 CASE

John Albin’s day job is director of viticulture at King Estate but he does do some wine on the side from his Laurel Vineyard based in the Chehalem Mountain appellation of the Willamette Valley. Planted in 1981, this site puts forth Pinot Noirs of pedigree and complexity. Like the rest of Oregon, 2008 is a stellar and potentially long-lived vintage. The beauty of the J. Albin wines is that are very distinguished and completely different than what he does at King Estate. Micro vs. Macro! At age 5, John’s version is starting to come up from its sleep and show very well.

Rather sensuous. Lavish, mouth-coating tones of violet, red plum, subtle thyme and pepper with just a sneaky hint of vanilla. Really velvety but with excellent palate presence, this wine has lovely expansion, depth and movement. Starting to unfold now but no problem for this to age another 4-5 more years, too.

$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

Have you seen the prices of Napa Sauvignon Blanc these days? Seemingly everyone thinks they're making the second-coming of Haut Brion Blanc then pricing it accordingly or they’re doing an abundance of batonnage, forcing it to suffer in a bunch of new French oak then making it behave like any Cougar Juice Chardonnay.

In our wine utopia, all Napa Sauvignon would be at this price point and aged entirely in tank, but alas, we don't live in a wine utopia. All in all, this is a Sauvignon steal, and we highly condone stealing from Napa. Taking its own cue Honig has always produced a Sauvignon of purity, individuality and reflective of its Napa origin. Orange, fig, classic mowed-grass and an underlay of mango-spice follow through to a palate that is mouth-watering, mouth-coating and flat out yummy, especially with fish tacos or other Latin preparations.

$31.99 BTL./$383.88 CASE

Having been in existence since 1920, Cabutto has always been a fixture within the village of Barolo, growing and selling grapes to other producers. In the 80s the family decided to start producing their own wines and ever since, have been known as one of the real sleepers of the region, producing delicious Barolo wines that don’t break the bank. From the estate’s Vigna La Volta, this wine expresses the precociousness of the vintage quite nicely.

You’re gonna be hard-pressed to find a Barolo in this price range that’s this credible and as deliciously and dangerously accessible as this. Having been drinkable since day-one this 2007 will have no problem aging for another 4-5 years. Aromatic, frontal and owning delectable notes of dark cherry, blackberry, road tar, licorice, and ripe tannins on the lengthy finish. An extremely fine example of Barolo and while not the pedigree of the following wine, there is imminent pleasure from the moment it’s uncorked. Cook up the osso bucco, crack a bottle of Cabutto, and mamma mia, you will feel like your dining in the hills of Piedmont. Drink through 2018.

$59.99 BTL./$719.88 CASE

Sometimes partiality becomes a difficult thing when it comes to thoughtful producers with whom we’ve developed good working relationships and friendships. Enzo Brezza is one such producer. This friendly, ultra-traditional producer has been on fire with undervalued Barolo wines all which come from the hallowed slopes of his home base of Barolo village. Vintage 2008 is really taking a life of its own, especially since following the likes of 2006 and 2007.

Bricco Sarmassa is a small hill of the Sarmassa area of Barolo and is the most prized of the Brezza holdings. Only produced and labeled as Bricco Sarmassa only in the best years, the vines for this portion are 70 years old. Both the land, grape and traditional winemaking technique all bring together a perfect storm of profundity that for those who love and collect Barolo dream about. Given this wine’s pedigree and while 60 isn’t small change, this wine is a steal when compared to other great sites and producers and could realistically fetch a three-digit price. “The 2008 Barolo Bricco Sarmassa is fabulous. It boasts gorgeous inner sweetness, cool minerality and fabulous perfume. Dark cherries, mint, flowers and spices wrap around the gorgeous, chiseled finish. The Bricco Sarmassa is one of the Barolo’s most under-the-radar wines. This is a prototypical 2008 that captures the very best qualities of the year. Layers of fruit build to the long, vibrant finish. Enzo Brezza did a great job with his Bricco Saramassa in 2008. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2033. Brezza remains one of the best-kept secrets in traditionally-made Barolo. One day people will figure it out, but in the meantime shrewd consumers would do well to pay attention to the best wines that emerge from this small cellar in the center of town. – 95 POINTS – THE WINE ADVOCATE”

$26.99 BTL. – LIMITED!

It is only fitting that the vineyards of the great Douro region in Oporto are classified by their site locations based on a point-system and grade-scale. Sort of like going to school and being graded on and A to F scale. One of the first estates to Domaine bottle in the 1970s, breaking the monopoly of the large shippers, Quinta do Infantado placed themselves in the Port hierarchy immediately. The philosophy here seems to be “only the best”. This credo holds true on all levels because unlike big shipper Port houses who purchase fruit from lower-graded sites for many of their basic Ports, Quinta do Infantado owns only Class A vineyards meaning that all of their Ports ranging from their basic Ruby up to their apex Vintage bottling all hail from the best sites and this offering is no exception.

Late Bottled Vintage Ports can be quite a treat and the wine has already been aged for you. The 2007 has been in cask for almost 4 years vs. 2 for a typical vintage port and then held in bottle before it is released, which allows one not to be obligated to consume the entire bottle in one sitting. As is always the case, Quinta Do Infantado’s LBV port is extremely complex with a wide range of alluring aromas featuring pure raspberry, coffee, toffee, cassis liquor, jasmine and Mexican cocoa spices. In the mouth it possesses depth and classic intensity without overwhelming heavy or burdensome characteristics. The sweetness one looks for in Port is present but the preservation of freshness is tantamount with this estate. Silky, classy and luxurious with impeccable balance, outstanding integration of flavor and a finish that goes on for days, this is dessert unto itself but also becomes magical with strong blue cheeses or bittersweet dark chocolate.