5/15/23 The Cellar Door's 'Lions, Leeches & 'edge-'ogs' Hotsheet

THE CELLAR DOOR'S 'Lions, Leeches & 'edge-'ogs' HOTSHEET
White Burgundy
97 point Trimbach Riesling
Value Cab
Nebbiolo & Verdicchio

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$26.99 BTL./$323.88 CASE

The White Burgundy with the red name, Maison Rouge takes its name from a red house located at the top of Lucien Thomas’s old vine vineyard that possesses pristine 80-year-old vines. Last year I grabbed another load of 2019 in order to offset the shortage of wine that was upon us. I had tasted the 2020 when I visited but decided to help the Domaine out by holding off and selling a bit more 19….until now! The exemplary 2020 is now here and if you love this wine and white Burgundy, do not miss this, it is even mightier than the 2019!

Initially when poured, one sees that 2020 is a grand vintage for this area of Burgundy. Walking the line between fresh cut nectarine and lemon with exquisite minerality keeping up the pace, this wine has pristine balance. Vinous, very lux and expansive, it has terrific energy and flow. Oranges, lemons and wet stones abound then soaring on the very, very long finish. Enjoy this excellent value with salmon on a cedar or alder plank, grilled prawns or roasted chicken through 2030+.

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$23.99 BTL./$287.88 CASE

One of the great highlights of my recent trip to Italy was a visit and tasting with Massimo Benevelli. Widely regarded as one of the top shooting stars of Monforte D’Alba, this estate was founded by his father Piero in 1978 with a mere seven acres which over the years has been expanded to just over twenty-seven and a mere 4,000 cases in total are produced. The majority of the holdings are focused in three apex Cru sites south of the village, Le Coste di Monforte, Ravera di Monforte and Mosconi. The Langhe Nebbiolo is mostly from these three sites and is a stunning value.

Aged entirely in stainless steel tanks, the 2020 Langhe Nebbiolo displays freshness, sneaky power and lots of clarity that are indicative to this part of the Barolo zone. Aromatic rose-petal, red cherry and mineral carry over into a texture that is classically put together with its firm and wiry character that exudes plenty of dark tones to bring just a hint of softness. This is not a by-itself quaffer, have it over the next 5-7 years with pasta with a hearty sauce or a simply braised lamb or beef dish.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Ground Effect Wine Company is the project of Southern California wine vet John Kochis and harkens back to the old days of California Cabernets that are in fine balance versus those that are sweet and supercharged.

From Santa Ynez Valley and predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with a dollop of Cabernet Franc, this offering brings me back to my days of learning about wine. Black cherry scents surrounded by mint, sage and underlying saltiness and red brick aspects build nicely from the glass. The west end Santa Ynez aspects show on the palate that is balanced with California warmth, finely positioned acidity and spice throughout. Rather lengthy, this wine will pair nicely with just about any comfort food that you want to prepare.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

A signature grape of South Africa, Pinotage is a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsault that isn’t like either varietal. The Backsberg version from the Franschoek region, which borders Stellenbosch and Paarl, is a very scrumptious interpretation.

Deep currants, savory herbs, chocolate licorice and underlying smoky-spicy aspects come and come as the wine unfolds in the glass. Flavorful, generous yet maintaining excellent elevation and balance; mouthwatering and smooth from the alluring entry all the way to the nicely formed finish. Perfect fodder for barbecued ribs slathered in a tangy, spicy sauce.

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[reg. $36.99]
SPECIAL - $26.99 BTL./$323.88 CASE

Committed to Syrah, Morgan Twain-Peterson (son of Ravenswood founder and Zin icon Joel Peterson) and his business/winemaking partner/consigliere Chris Cottrell make serious Syrahs as well as epic Zins and heirloom old vine reds. This offering comes from a blend of Santa Barbara, Napa and Sonoma sites and definitely shows its California fruit, but also a French inspiration because it never feels blasted with oak or thick like many Washington or Aussie caricature versions.

Wily aromas of perfumed black plum, smoked meat, freshly ground white pepper and a hint of cinnamon. Fills the mouth nicely and possesses supple, smooth tannins and a nice backbone as well. Very drinkable now and over the next 8-10 years with a lamb barbacoa, braised short ribs and lean game meats like venison.

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$46.99 BTL./$563.88 CASE

One of the greatest expressions of this venerable Spanish region, La Rioja Alta has more than met expectations in this prime vintage. Incredibly undervalued, the current release is 2016, and is an absolutely brilliant wine that is certainly a throwback in style. Here the color is amber-ruby and the wine is more akin to a fine Barolo or Burgundy than a full-on cab or plush merlot. The hallmarks of the top notch 2016 vintage are balance, suaveness, depth, submerged tannic structure and about a degree of alcohol less than the very warm 2015.

Insane complexity and finesseful aromas of dry-rub spices, melted cherry, sweet tobacco, mineral, vanilla bean and red licorice. Sensuously textured with lovely ripeness and cushion, this wine crawls, teases and pleases throughout the mouth all the way to the long, ethereal brilliant, high-toned finish. Stunning now and will easily age another 10-15 years as well. Serve it with a slow-roasted leg of lamb or pork tenderloin, it is a match made in heaven.

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$13.99 BTL./$83.94 - SIX PACK

One of the few positive things to emerge from the lockdown back in 2020 was the discovery of this skillful Le Marches estate who produces magnificent Verdicchio wines that rock for their price points.

Loomed over by alluring aromas of almond, ripe pear, lemongrass and seashore this superbly terroir-driven white starts off round and fans out on the palate only to tuck itself in and focus on the finish. Plenty of lemon and mineral with great freshness that cleanses the palate perfectly; enjoy this beautiful offering with fried or roasted seafood, a classic minestrone, grilled vegetables or start a meal off right with a glass to jumpstart your taste buds.

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$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE

Cahors is located in the Dordogne and the best way to describe this soulful offering is to say that it smells and tastes very French. Its characteristics are so French that one sniff may send you running for a pack of smokes, a baguette, some pâté and a white flag for purposes of surrender!

Lacapelle-Cabanac's Cahors combines noble, sturdy history with modern, fruity accessibility blended with 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot for smoothness and underlying suppleness. The nose is teeming with tones of black licorice, blackberry, hints of tar, and spices. Very drinkable now, especially with roasted duck, hearty stews, bleu cheese and pâté.

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$99.99 BTL./$599.94 - SIX PACK

97+ Points – Vinous…If there were a hall of fame for Rieslings, Trimbach ‘Frederic Emile’ would be the second Riesling inducted, right after its big brother, Trimbach ‘Clos St. Hune’. Alas, Clos St-Hune sells for north of 350 these days but the Frederic Emile is still something very special indeed. Simply put, when it comes to dry Riesling that can age for eons, there are very few that can enter this realm.

A blend of the Grands Crus vineyards of Geisberg and Osterberg, we are beyond excited to offer one that is seven years old and is just barely starting to drink well. Aromatic, complex, diamond-esque precision, daunting mineral, lime, floral, more flint some and on and on, we were aghast when we had this with a chicken dish slathered in a Dijon mustard cream sauce. The texture is pristine, bone dry and almost like sticking your finger into a light socket that it is so electrically dry. Superbly touches all points of the palate, this wine soars and then folds in and planes out nicely on the finish that you can still feel several minutes after the wine is swallowed. Truly one of the most profound white wines tasted recently and will certainly be on the top five list of 2023. There is still an abundance of potential for even further aging. One of not only France and Alsace’s greatest white wines but also one of the world's finest. Drink through 2040+. One for that special occasion, birth year or any other reason to celebrate 2016. If you need ‘score reassurance’, this has 97+ from Vinous.