10/4/21 The Cellar Door's 'BE A GOLDFISH' HotSheet

Abbey Ridge Pinot Noir, Zerbina Wines - Red & Dessert, Award Winning White Wines & more

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$23.99 BTL./$287.88 CASE

Last week we highlighted Cristina Geminiani’s Bianco di Ceparano and this week we are following it up with the mighty Sangiovese Riserva. Not only does this influential deliver great white and dessert wines, the red wines are of equal importance and this version will drop kick many 30+-dollar Chianti Riserva through the futbol goalposts of life.

Located in Emilia-Romagna, specifically Romagna, between Bologna and the coast, on the "opposite" side of the Apennines, the influence of the Adriatic Sea plays more of a role, and hence her expressions of Sangiovese are very different their Tuscan neighbors. At age five, this Sangiovese is starting to gain aromatic complexity with notes of dark cherry, black licorice, pepper, tobacco, and earth. Lavish and intense in the mouth, there is suede-like structure and power, but it really comes together as the wine is aerated, especially if you serve it in a Bordeaux glass. Terrific complexity abound, this wine has moxie, class, depth and persistence. We have been experiencing and cellaring this wine since the mid-‘00s and it ages very well indeed. Drink through 2026+.

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[reg. $29.99]
SPECIAL - $19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Vina Olabarri is one of the smallest Bodegas located in Haro, which is the spiritual home for Rioja and the base for the likes of Muga, La Rioja Alta, etc. Before you read any further, the thing to know about this particular Rioja selection is that if you are expecting jammy and overtly fruity, ask for another choice because this is all about the old school meaning it spends quite a long spell in oak and has a brackish color with a fine core of secondary aspects.

The classification on this wine is Gran Reserva, a top cuvee and not produced every year. It also compulsory to be aged in oak for at least 24 months followed by a minimum of 36 more months in bottle before being released. 80% Tempranillo and a 20% blend of Graciano and Mazuelo, this wine shows ruby color with amber tinges and boasts everything expected in a mature Gran Reserva. Insane complexity and finesseful aromas of dry-rub spices, melted cherry, tobacco, mineral, vanilla bean and strawberry licorice. Sensuously textured with ripeness and cushion that are buffered by excellent acidity. At age 10, this wine crawls, teases and pleases throughout the mouth all the way to the long, ethereal brilliant, high-toned finish. Stunning now and will drink well another decade as well. Serve it with a slow-roasted leg of lamb or pork loin slathered in sage and other herbs.

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$17.99 BTL./$107.94 - SIX PACK

t is worth featuring this wine again as it has received the vaunted Tre Bicchieri (three glass) award from Gambero Rosso/Slow Food’s upcoming 2022 wine guide, quite an accomplishment for a wine under 20 bucks. Nestled in the southern reaches of the Le Marches, close to the Abruzzo border is the tiny growing region of Offida Pecorino. Having nothing to do with sheep’s milk cheese, the grape of choice is called Pecorino (it is Italy, go figure). In 2011, this area was elevated to DOCG status due to its terroir but especially for the potential of the white wines made from the Pecorino grape.

Powdery, penetrating and pristine with scents of orange, vitamin, wet stone and a swath of Italian herbs. Upon entry, this blitzes the palate, folds, unfolds, gains tension with its natural acidity, and soars on the finish. One of the ultimate seafood siren songs, enjoy with ling cod in an olive oil preparation and much more.

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$26.99 BTL./$323.88 CASE

Crozes-Hermitage in France’s Northern Rhone is very exciting now due to many young growers coming on to the scene. Like many others, Christelle Betton’s father and grandfather sold their wares to the local negociants. These days, the current generation have stopped this and are now exploring their terroirs and producing wines under their own labels. Christelle has been at the helm in its current status and she is one of the fast rising stars of the region.

Espiegle, meaning playful or mischievous is a perfect name for this wine. It is quite the plucky gateway into Christelle’s wines. Made from grapes grown in alluvial soils with large stones not unlike Chateauneuf-du-Pape, this wine is expressive, full of smoothness, emphasizing Syrah's fine fruit character and above all, displaying rock-star aromatics. Smoky, peppery and chock full of cassis, currants and cracked pepper. Lavishly flavored with resounding burst, this is showing beautifully and complete along with and having an excellent, chiming finish that really goes and does. Try this wine with a grilled filet of beef, a Sunday roast beef, eggplant moussaka or an aged goat cheese.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

The vineyards in the Loire Valley along the river cover over 1000 kilometers stretching from Nantes almost to Clermont-Ferrand in the center of the France, so no wonder it isn’t easy to immediately grasp its 87 different appellations. Located between Angers and Tours is the small and charming city of Saumur and just outside the vineyards there are home to stylish and sometimes quite profound Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Arnaud Lambert is quite the producer making a range of wines that really grab your attention from the moment they are poured into the glass.

The Clos Du Midi Saumur Blanc is made from 100% Chenin Blanc from 40-year-old vines in sand/limestone soils. Magnetism and voltage immediately are the first responses when tasting this dry white wine. Falling into the ABC category, anything but Chardonnay this jaunting white is chock full of explosive quince notes that dominate the nose, but expressive sense of origin allows the minerality and savory herbs to show through as well. Very ethereal and unrelenting, the texture that is linear and buffered by brilliant, rapier acidity along with an underbelly of lime and mandarin fruit and the vinous finish seems to go on for days. Racy, tense and zingy this wine is a mouthwatering match with smoked salmon or mussels, monkfish (or other fine fish) in a butter sauce and young goat cheese.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

When the hell did Zinfandel become so expensive? Lately when I search for them, it seems as though all of them want to be forty-dollar wines and sadly, the majority of them do not merit their price point. Fortunately, we have Peachy Canyon to the rescue. One of the pioneers of the Paso Robles wine region, plenty of deliciousness is always on offer and their Westside Zin is always one of the regions excellent expressions of site and grape as well as being a hell of a value for twenty bucks.

Best described as Energy Drink for Zin enthusiasts, the 2016 shows superb Zin density without being heavy or ponderous. Extroverted with fleshy raspberry, cranberry and cherry tones along with plenty of Provencal herbs, briar, and smoky spice. In the mouth, it is bright, plump and chock full of berries, licorice and pepper. The generosity of 2017 gives off an ever so slight exotic character as the wine moves towards the spice-laden finish. Consistent from start to finish, and really good, too! Drink now through 2026 with a big steak.

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$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE

Is it Rhone or is it Languedoc? Truthfully, who cares because it is just a great soulful Southern French quaffer. Okay, for those who need to know, we will tell you…it is on the west side of Nimes on the Languedoc side near the Camaregues.

A classic Grenache/Syrah blend it is scrumptious and savory, peppery and packed with plum and tapenade notes. Good depth of fruit, no shortage of character. Perfect with ratatouille, burgers or lamb stew.

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$59.99 BTL./$719.88 CASE

Having stepped away from J. Christopher to refocus on making wine on a smaller scale, Willamette Valley lead guitarist and profound winemaker Jay Somers set out on an exciting new venture and we are thrilled to offer a small bit of Jay and Ronda’s smashing Abbey Ridge. The relationship between Jay and Bill Wayne (owner at Abbey Ridge) goes back to pre-1996 when Jay was working at Cameron with John Paul. Whether it is J. Christopher, Cameron or now JC Somers, Jay knows this site and has a magical touch in his own form with the making of wines from the Oregon Grand Cru site.

More akin to a Bolshoi ballerina than a UFC fighter, this pinot is sleek, stylish and possesses plenty of structure for aging. Still fairly youthful and unevolved, it still manages to captivate on the nose with scents of deep raspberry along with an undertow of red cherry, cedar, anise, and red earth. There is no shortage of depth of fruit on the palate; notes of red fruits play off the detailed earth and gentle kiss of oak and ride shotgun with the good backbone of the wine. While not undrinkable right now, this wine will definitely benefit from another three-4 years in the cellar and then will drink beautifully through 2034+. Undoubtedly a Pinot for Pinot-philes, not pinot for cabernet lovers.

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$59.99 - 375 ML BTL. - VERY LIMITED

We happily bookend this week’s musings with Zerbina wines and this one is very appealing to those who love the great dessert wines of the world. Cristina Geminiani has worked in Sauternes/Barsac in France, and you can see that great influence in her work. This is without a doubt one of Italy's and one of the world's most stunning dessert wines. Made from 100% Albana di Romagna grapes that are dried on straw rack, this wine pulls out all the stops! The name scacco matto (checkmate) is a response to those who said that she couldn’t produce a dessert wine from this indigenous grape. Albana has the ability to gain copious amounts of richness through late harvesting but it maintains its high levels of acidity so you are left with a sweet wine that is rich but fresh, clean and impeccably balanced. Cristina says that the botrytis (noble rot) of 2013 was perfect and that is what makes this wine so incredibly intriguing on the nose as well as in the mouth.

Astonishing scents of honey, orange marmalade, coconut, lemon-tart and spice shimmer from the glass. In the mouth, it is glorious, opulent and dramatic with smooth and sophisticated mid-texture and ungodly length and livewire aspects. This wine is extremely appealing now but will easily age and drink well for another two decades as well. This IS dessert, enjoy it with a good Gorgonzola or Roquefort cheese.