9/12/22 The Cellar Door's 'OUT OF NOWHERE' HotSheet

10-year-old Rioja & 8-year-old Oregon Pinot
Pinnacle Malbec & Walla Walla blends
End of Summer Rosé values

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

92 Points – Vinous… Known for super-lux priced wines, this estate has continued to evolve and remains one of the pinnacle producers in Argentina. Even after receiving medals, accolades, near and at 100-point scores, Achaval-Ferrer still puts forth an entry wine that over-delivers for its price point.

One of the best things to happen in Argentina in the last decade or so is that the wines are no longer oak festivals. Achaval’s 2019 Malbec is aged in 3-year-old barrels and is refined and sensual with a slow-building, expansive texture. Whereas former versions were more frontal, this wine crescendos towards a deep and harmonious, middle and seriously extensive and expansive finish. Loads of violet, licorice, espresso from earth and minerality are prominent throughout. Drink over the next 5-6 years with a marinated flank steak doused with a chimichurri sauce.

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$24.99 BTL./$299.88 CASE

Embarking on the journey to find great wines for this week's musings, last week I had the opportunity to taste one of those wines that we know and love but often forget just how much of a kickass value that it really is. 2012 is a terrific, warm vintage in Rioja and this wine exudes what a neo-classic Rioja is all about.

85% Tempranillo, 7% Mazuelo, 6% Graciano & 2% Garnacha, this is the essence of the sophistication and symmetry of Rioja. This nicely aged wine also reveals that 25-bucks can go a long way in Spain! Conde de Valdemar is one of the most underrated producers in Rioja, and this wine maintains all of the class that one finds in these top wines of the area. Do not be misled that this is just elegance alone, being 2012, it possesses plenty of density and glorious aromas of dried cherries, spice and leather which open to a mouth full of cherry, plum, mocha and fine herb flavors. Cutting a sleek, handsome profile with fine balance, it finishes long and dry, with well-defined, earth accents. Drink now - 2026.

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$46.99 BTL./$563.88 CASE

One of the very few positives to come out of the smoky conditions that occurred in 2020 is that a number of Oregon producers re-released library selections. 2014 was one of our warmer vintages but Erin Nuccio dropkicked it through the goalposts of wine with this version that comes from the home, estate vineyard of this stalwart Eola-Amity estate.

Secondary notes of dried cherry, allspice, subtle mushroom, hints of black licorice, jasmine, chocolate and pepper tones arrive and support superb blackberry fruit. Plenty of intensity and depth, this wine has grip and backbone as well as fine acids with hold it together nicely. This wine has immense upward trajectory and will turn out to be one of the longest-lived of the 2014s but at age eight, it is a sensationally complex middle-aged Oregon Pinot Noir.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Domaine Michel Delhommeau is situated in the Cru of Monniere St-Fiacre in the Sevre et Maine area of this region located mere minutes outside the city of Nantes. Awarded the Muscadet Producers' Golden Pipette Award in 2011 (the first winner from his village of Monnieres since 1957), this unassuming farmer is doing everything right with his terrific terroir.

Cuvee Harmonie is made from a single parcel consisting of volcanic gabbro (think basalt and virtually indistinguishable), very little topsoil is here and these vines are farmed pretty much in sheer rock. The 2020 smells like strong peat, seashore, saline, lime and a faint whiff of satsuma. Brisk, sweeping, classically dry, tangy mineral quality. A step up in range from with a superior finish that is akin to being chased by a sidewinder rattlesnake with its striking minerally acidity, yet this wine is so imminently likable. A match made in heaven with oysters, although this wine has enough depth and energy to go with scallops or halibut dressed in a beurre blanc as well. Drink over the next seven years.

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$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

Located in the Alps east of Lyon and not far from the Swiss border, wines from this region are perfect for everyday use as well as to play stump the jock/idiot who fancies themselves a wine expert. Mondeuse is one of the red grapes of choice and Labbe’s is delicious indeed.

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 unoaked Barbera, you will love this red. Enjoy with charcuterie, mushrooms, roasted chicken, Chinese dishes and more.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

From Campania, the grapes for this wine come from of Naples. 100% Aglianico and produced by a legendary estate known for both their whites and reds. Grown within the Avellino district, which has the rare distinction of having both the Fiano di Avellino DOCG and Taurasi DOCG in the same commune, Mastroberardino kills it with their Radici bottlings of both Fiano and Taurasi. Irpinia surrounds Avellino and this version can easily be referred to as ‘Taurasi Jr’.

Full-flavored, complex and jacked with truffle, coffee, black olive and high-toned red fruits, it is robust, structured and mouth filling and not a cocktail kind of red wine, instead it cries out for protein. Have it with a roasted leg of lamb slathered in fresh herbs. Drink through 2026.

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$49.99 BTL./$599.88 CASE

Having been in existence since 1983, L'Ecole No 41, led by MIT-educated Marty Clubb is one of the pioneers of the Walla Walla region. Often times we forget just how great these wines really are, but when one returns to taste them again, the realization of the eloquence of these dreamy red wines returns quickly. In the old world (i.e. Bordeaux) it is traditional to produce the very best wine from a given vineyard site, regardless of which varietal dominates that blend. Since 1993, L'Ecole No. 41 has produced such a vineyard blend from Pepper Bridge Vineyard called Apogee.

The name Apogee is the point in the orbit of the moon that is the greatest distance from the earth; the farthest point or apex, and reflects all that L'Ecole tries to accomplish with the wine, reaching the ultimate in quality. The 2006 is blended with 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 14% Malbec & 3% Cabernet Franc. Boldly aromatic, this wine has spicy aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg, earthy hints of sweet tobacco and leather, and smoky dark fruit packed with a chocolate, mint and cherry finish. Along with the following wine, it is one of the great Walla Walla blends and so fairly priced. Drink through 2032.

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$49.99 BTL./$599.88 CASE

Perigee is the closest point to the earth in the moon's orbit. "Closeness to the earth" is an attractive attribute for the acclaimed Seven Hills Vineyard. Wines from this site are known for earthy structure as well as the environmentally sound and sustainable viticultural practices that are utilized.

A formidable Walla Walla blend, Perigee exemplifies the Seven Hills Vineyard's characteristics with its blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot & 9% Malbec. Cedary, black cherry elegance, especially on the nose. With perfumed aromas of exotic spice, generous blackberry fruit and silky, velvety texture, this wine exudes power and grace on an endless, earthy mineral finish. Perigee is going to require a little patience. Drink this grand Washington blend through 2032.

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$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

From a family on the eastern plain of Corsica, the Stefani has worked this property since 1870. Made from 40% Niellucciu (Sangiovese), 35% Sciaccarellu & 25% Grenache. this pink wine is a merde-load of scent!

Captivating aromas of flowers, currant, citrus and seashells provide lots of dance from the glass, but also show impressive nerve and length. Peppy and vivacious yet with palate-staining qualities along with inconspicuous ginger-spice-herb tones that are woven-in nicely and extend to the zingy, zesty and refreshing finish. This is scrumptious rose for the adventurous wine drinker who is willing to uncork their minds and palates. Exquisite with swordfish or albacore tuna.

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$15.99 BTL./$191.88 CASE

We had pretty much given up looking for another to complement Ameztoi’s Rubentis Rose, so it was a lovely surprise tasting this particular offering and having it pass the audition. Grown in the Atlantic region of the Basque Country, this frothy new favorite comes from Getaraiko, the same region as Ameztoi and whose hills overlook San Sebastien and are some of the most picturesque vineyard views in the world.

A blend of Hondarribi Zura and Hondarribi Beltza this bone-dry, slightly fizzy pink wine has aromas and flavors reflecting sea and soil with peppy and frisky tones of red fruit, salt, stones and citrus. In the mouth, it is a genius roller coaster ride with lively, vivid, super-soaring tones that cry out for shellfish and thrown down in ludicrous quantities.