Category Archives: Chianti

Enrico’s Chianti – Life’s A Beach!

This year’s visit from the Enrico and Gianlorenzo Show coincided with the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri World Tour’s stop in San Francisco on February 15. Enrico was pouring his wine on the tour and Gianlorenzo Picollo, his friend, fellow winemaker, and traveling companion, came along too. Those two usually travel to the States together, which works out perfectly for us because we get the pleasure of meeting with two of our favorite Italian producers at the same time. I lovingly call their visit a “show” because they remind me of a duo á la Jay and Silent Bob, as Enrico is the talkative one and Gianlorenzo, shy and less sure of his English, taking on the role of the sidekick.

Enrico, Gianlorenzo and David

The “show” begins with Gianlorenzo pouring his fabulous Gavis. Pete wrote about the Rovereto earlier in the year. Since there are only two Gavis and the winemaking here is fairly straight forward, this portion of the show is quick. Next up is Enrico with his line-up from two estates; one from Chianti Montalbano and the other from Carmignano. This can take a while because Enrico is adamant on explaining all aspects of his wine production, not to mention that he is not one to hold back on sharing his opinion on, well, most things. I for one relish these presentations by Enrico. His enthusiasm and devotion to his work comes through with equal parts seriousness and humor. Enrico has a dry wit and delivers it with grand hand gestures and animated facial expressions.

2015 Chianti Montalbano

The first wine Enrico poured for us was the 2015 Chianti Montalbano and it was clear right off the bat that this is one of his finest efforts. Enrico, swinging his arms up and folding them behind his head, explained it this way, “in 2014 you really needed to make the wine, in 2015 it made itself…you could go to the beach”. 2015 was a favorable vintage across Italy and Montalbano was no exception. The Sangiovese fully ripened while retaining all the necessary structure, acid and tannin to make great wine. In general, Enrico’s Chianti Montalbano tends to be fruit-driven and light-to-medium bodied, but the 2015 is noticeably fuller and dense. The vines are now over twenty years old and that also contributes to the quality of the grapes.

Tenute Pierazzuoli

TWH staff and Enrico spoke at length about the challenges of making and selling Chianti. So much of what is produced is what Enrico calls “industrially made”. These mass produced Chiantis are antithesis to the approach Enrico and his family take to making wine. For the Pierazzuoli’s, it is a real family affair. In addition to making wine, they produce their own olive oil as well as other food delicacies like vegetable conserves and fruit jams. They renovated their farmhouse into an agriturismo and most recently converted an ancient hayloft into a traditional Tuscan osteria. Last summer, my niece had the pleasure of staying a night at one of their apartments during a tour through Italy. She and her fiancé had dinner at the osteria. It was the highlight of their trip. I think I’m due a trip there myself! In the meantime, it’ll be bowls of pasta Puttanesca and glasses of 2015 Chianti Montalbano to tie me over until then.– Anya Balistreri

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Le Rote Chianti Colli Senesi

The Chianti sub-zone of Colli Senesi covers a large area, so as a whole, its reputation for quality does lag behind the more famous and narrowly defined Chianti Classico. But discerning eyes and palates know that drawn borders and appellations only tell part of the story. Take Le Rote as an example, located just a mile north of the famous towers of San Gimignano, you might also notice that it is just 16 miles due west of Castellina, the sweet spot of Chianti Classico. The soil, climate and altitude are quite similar to each other.


To continue the story, Le Rote is owned by Massimo Scotti and his family. They run a successful agriturismo business, make olive oil and produce wine. Their wine production is small, most of it consumed by the guests staying at their restored 18th century farmhouse and also sell a large portion of their fruit to off-set costs. Their Sangiovese is grown on a south-west facing hill with a 100 meters of separation from top to bottom. Depending on vintage conditions, they may either harvest from the top, the bottom, or the middle of the slope. Because they can afford to harvest by altitude, their Chianti has incredible consistency. The importer for this wine explained to me that “we’ve never met anyone else with the circumstance and ability to be so surgical in their harvest”. Their enologist, Paolo Caciorgna, who also makes wines nearby for Andrea Bocelli, is a native of San Gimignano and appreciates the approach the Scotti’s take to viticulture. The historic clone Sangiovese grapes are hand-harvested, sustainably farmed and dry farmed. Total production of the Chianti Colli Senesi is shy of 600 cases with yields averaging a bottle a plant.

The 2011 Chianti Colli Senesi from Le Rote is jam-packed with black cherry flavors, some sweet earthy aromatic notes, and a satisfying, easy-going finish. It’s drinking optimally right now and should stay so for months to come. To inaugurate The Wine House’s 39th Anniversary Sale, the 2011 Le Rote Chianti Colli Senesi is now on sale for $14.95 per bottle, down from $19.98. To sweeten the pot even further, we are also offering the enticing special full-case price of $142 – that’s less than $12 per bottle! Now that’s a deal, non ci piove! Take advantage of this deep discount to spread holiday cheer far and wide. A bottle for your neighbor perhaps who pet-sits in a moment’s notice or for the friend who is always available to help out on demo-days? Stashing a case is going to make last minute gift-giving a cinch. Who wouldn’t love a bottle of Chianti?


During my research for this write-up, I felt it compulsory to test out a bottle with a bowl of classic red-sauced pasta. Talk about comfort food. You could put a candle on it and serve it to me in lieu of a birthday cake. No joke. There is something magical about the combination of Sangiovese and a tomato-based pasta sauce. The fruit flavors of Sangiovese waltz seamlessly with the acid of the tomato. A dusting of Parmigiano Reggiano completes the sweet/salty balance to achieve flavor nirvana. Cook up a pot, open some bottles of 2011 Le Rote Chianti Colli Senesi and invite a bunch of friends over for dinner. Do it – it’ll be good for you! – Anya Balistreri

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The July 2016 Dirty Dozen



The Dirty Dozen

As 2016 continues to buzz away, here we are past the halfway mark. July is a great month for oh-so-many reasons. The fourth falls of a Monday this year, and that’s great for those of us who like three day weekends! Baseball’s mid-summer classic is coming up soon, and the long summer days of July are great occasions to get outdoors and enjoy yourself! It’s always good to have some reserves, so we’ve put together a great July Dirty Dozen to keep you prepared for any vinous emergency. Happy July!

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

2014 Screen Porch White, HRW $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Going back in time here with a Napa Valley Chardonnay for $12! Some Pinot Gris was added to the blend to perk up the acidity, making this the ideal, hot weather sipper from the folks at Hendry Winery. We’re told this is a one-off, so enjoy it while its still available. Crisp and crunchy peach flavors abound. Pair with a main course salad out on the veranda.

2014 Sauvignon Delle Venezie, Torre di Luna $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Torre di Luna Sauvignon is a refreshing, simple and delicious white wine from the region of Trentino in Northern Italy. The light – only 12.5% ABV – crisp flavors are especially welcome this time of year as we head into summer’s heat. Chill it down well to accentuate the fresh tropical flavors. Pair with light pasta dishes, pizza bianco, or fresh spring rolls.

2015 Soave San Rocco, Monte Tondo $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Monte Tondo specializes in Soave. Their hilltop estate, not far from Verona, overlooks the valley. The San Rocco is their entry level Soave, but it is by no means inferior to their estate-branded wines. Offering incredible value, this Soave is vibrant and mineral-driven. Tank fermented, try it with bay shrimp stuffed avocados or a Panzanella salad.

2012 Gewurztraminer Rosenberg, Domaine Ehrhart $21.99, $17.59 reorder
Rose petals and lychee nuts are descriptors that follow Gewurztraminer around as the aromas of this variety are definitely marked by these distinct fragrances. This single-vineyard Gewurz is a bit off-dry, as evidenced by the sweetness scale that the Ehrharts use on the back label. Pair this opulent nectar with spicy curry or red beans and rice.


2014 Rosé Les Trois Frères, Domaine Des Aspras $17.59, $14.07 reorder
Every now and then something fancy lands in the DD, and this month, we’ve got a full-fledged Provençal Rosé in the box! Domaine des Aspras is located in the village of Correns, which is an all-organic village. It’s a blend of Cinsault and Grenache, and has aromas of mint, strawberry, peach, and orange blossoms. Pair it with a simple salmon roasted in butter.


2014 Montravel Blanc, Château Calabre $8.95 sale price, $8.50 reorder
Longtime friend of TWH, Daniel Hecquet continues to turn out delicious wines for a song, and his Château Calabre Montravel Blanc is another winner on a long list of winners! Here, the blend is 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon, and 10% Muscadelle just like many whites coming from nearby Bordeaux. Fresh and zippy, pair it with a chicken salad.


2014 Poggio d’Elsa, Bruni $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
This 50/50 blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon hails from the region of Maremma Toscana, a two-hour drive southwest of Florence. Maremma Toscana was only recently promoted to DOC status, though Azienda Bruni has been making wines since the 1970’s. Rustic, spicy with bright tart red fruit, a must for pizza or meaty baked pasta dishes.


2012 Minervois Cuvée Spéciale, Château de Paraza $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Château de Paraza, like many wineries in the Minervois, can trace its history back many centuries. In 2005 the Danglas family purchased the winery with the intent of bringing its reputation back to its former glory. The quality has improved exponentially and has been a favorite here at TWH for the past five vintages. Juicy, robust, supple. Try it with lamb!


2014 Rosso Conero, Marchetti $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Maurizio Marchetti’s Rosso Conero is made with Montepulciano grapes grown along coastal vineyards near the Adriatic Sea south of the seaside town of Ancona. A gentle pressing ensures freshness and supple tannins. A short rest in barrel, maybe 3-4 months before bottling, also aids in making a juicy, delicious red. Serve with chicken cooked under a brick.

2014 Chianti Montalbano, Tenuta Pierazzuoli $13.49, $10.79 reorder
Having visited us earlier in the year, Enrico Pierazzuoli showcased this newly-arrived Chianti Montalbano and our staff happily closed out the day sipping this textbook, 100% Sangiovese with some fresh salumi and provolone. It’s a medium bodied red with fresh acidity making it kind of the utility player of wines … it just goes with everything.


2013 Agrippa, Vignobles Boudinaud $17.49, $13.99 reorder
Thierry Boudinaud doesn’t make his Agrippa every year; the conditions must be just right for this 100% Syrah named in honor of the Roman statesman who oversaw the construction of the famous Pont du Garde. Good thing he’s in southern, Mediterranean France! It’s a concentrated complex Syrah, great for barbecue season, perfect with grilled smoky meats.


2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Vinum Africa $17.99, $14.39 reorder
This Cab Sauvignon from South Africa is a great wine to wrap up this month’s DD. The fruit comes from two prized vineyards in the foothills of Helderberg Mountain, just south of Stellenbosch. It’s a full-bodied Cabernet with a core of red and black fruit, earthy mineral, a hint of herbs, and good grip. This is best served with rack of lamb or a rib-eye.

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Filed under Chianti, South Africa, Stellenbosch, The Dirty Dozen, Trentino, Wine Clubs/Samplers

Chianti, Relationships, And Family Business

Three winemakers from TWH’s Italian portfolio paid us a visit last week. The trio consisted of Giavi’s Marco Cuscito, Ernesto Picollo’s Gianlorenzo Picollo, and Tenuta Pierazzuoli’s Enrico Pierazzuoli. A visit from a producer is a mix of business and pleasure. David drove “the boys” all over the Bay Area, meeting with restaurants and fine wine shops. The trio had also “worked the market” in LA, getting their wines placed on some pretty impressive wine lists. To say the wines were well received is an understatement. Our back stock of their wines have dwindled. David spent several days after they left trying to figure out the quickest way to get more wine imported from Italy!


I had met Enrico in Italy a few months after I started working at TWH. I had planned the trip in advance of accepting a position at TWH and it happened to coicide with this new relationship between TWH and Pierazzuoli. That was nearly twenty years ago! My boyfriend, now husband, and I drove north from Radda to Montelupo and somehow managed to find our way to Pierazzuoli’s estate tucked in the rolling hills of Montalbano. Enrico proudly showed off his new vineyard plantings, the cellar, and a farmhouse that he said he hoped to renovate to make into an agriturismo. Seeing Enrico in San Francisco reminded me of how hard he has worked to make his dreams come true making wine on his family’s estates. I’m guilty of this too, to think “wouldn’t it be great to have your own winery in Tuscany” without considering all it takes to make that a reality especially if you are not being funded by deep pockets. Enrico is a talker and he talks a lot about the trials and tribulations of running a family business in Italy. When it is quiet at the winery, Enrico is out promoting his wine abroad. He comes to the US every year as he knows it doesn’t just end at making great wine…you need to make sure it gets into the right hands.

Enrico Pierazzuoli

Enrico’s 2013 Chianti Montalbano is a great example of a simple wine that delivers charm and purity of fruit. In comparison to most Chianti’s out in the market below $15, Enrico’s Chianti Montalbano offers more delicious fruit and clean flavors. I have been tasting quite of few value-priced Chianti’s lately and I am appalled at the shoddy quality and metalic flavors. Some are downright awful and undrinkable. On the other hand, Enrico’s Chianti Montalbano has fresh-picked, bright cherry fruit flavors. It may lack girth but that is not its purpose. It is meant to be that perfect back drop to your favorite bowl of pasta. For me personally, I adore the Chianti Montalbano with a Bolognese sauce. The tangy, red cherry fruit marries well with the tomato sauce and the acidity level is just right not to overwhelm the dish.

Marco, David, Gianlorenzo and Enrico

Over dinner at the newly opened Fiorella in SF’s Richmond District with Enrico, Gianlorenzo, Marco, David, Tom and I in attendance, stories were shared with much laughter emanating from our table. Those Italian boys are good people and that matters! I left home that evening with a feeling of satisfaction knowing that when I recommend a bottle of 2013 Chianti Montalbano there is a real person who made every effort to make the best wine they could. Tenuta Pierazzuoli is not a label but a family business. I like to think I’m part of that family. So cook up a whole lotta pasta and gravy and invite your family over to share stories, laugh, eat and make sure to serve the 2013 Chianti Montalbano to make it all that much better!– Anya Balistreri

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Pierazzuoli’s 2010 Chianti Montalbano

Enrico Pierazzuoli is a fortunate man, his family owns not one but TWO wineries in Tuscany! At TWH much attention is paid to Enrico’s delicious reds from his estate Le Farnete in Carmignano. Equally delicious is the humble, honest Chianti Montalbano vinified at Enrico’s estate Tenuta Pierazzuoli, formally known as Tenuta Cantagallo, just a 30-minute train ride heading west from Florence. Tenuta Pierazzuoli is a true working farm where vineyards, olive groves, vegetable crops, and preserved woods exist in harmony. Sangiovese plays the leading role, with newer plantings of Canaiolo, Colorino and a few other “international” varietals adding to the possibilities.

 

 


Chianti is probably one of the most recognizable wines in the world. Certainly there are profound Chianti Riservas out there, but practically speaking it is the sub-$20 price point that makes up most of the Chianti market. Much of that is pretty non-descript and un-inspiring, which on one hand is fine, after all sometimes you just want something simple and good to pop open. But then again, why not choose a simple and good Chianti made with integrity and passion by a family that strives to make the best possible wine? Tenuta Pierazzuoli’s 2010 Chianti Montalbano (Montalbano is one of seven sub-zones of Chianti) is made from 100% Sangiovese fermented in stainless steel and then rests in bottle for a few months before release.  I probably shouldn’t admit to this, but with our extensive selection of wines, it is easy to overlook or “forget” about a wine that is a staple. I experienced this short sightedness with the Chianti Montalbano. TWH has been importing this wine for 17 years, so I feel I have a pretty good handle on it. Tisk tisk, I should know better! One day last week, it happened that both my husband and I were working, so my in-laws were kind enough to pick our daughter up from summer camp and generously supplied dinner – rigatoni with meatballs in a Bolognese sauce. At the mere mention of meat sauce I began to crave Chianti. Problem solved, I grabbed a bottle of the 2010 Chianti Montalbano on my way home. The combination of the vibrant cherry fruit and perky acidity of the Sangiovese was so darn good with the food. After a few shovels of pasta followed by a couple glugs of 2010 Chianti Montalbano, I turned to my husband and confessed “you could stick a candle in this and serve this to me for my birthday”. So simple and yet, so perfect. The 2010 Chianti Montalbano shows it’s best side with food as the acidity in the wine compliments tomato-based pasta sauces gracefully. Next time you have a crowd over and you’ve assembled your can’t-miss lasagna, uncork the Chianti Montalbano. Better yet- we’ve got magnums available! So, wipe down that checkerboard oilcloth and enjoy al fresco under the stars! 

 

 

Hitting as many classic summertime activities as possible. Days on the beach, well that’s a given, but also played a round of mini-golf, went to the Sonoma County Fair to look at livestock and to get my free scoop of Clover ice cream, and caught a game rooting on the San Rafael Pacifics as they won their 40th game! It’s been an early harvest for grapes in Northern California, so I’m guessing San Marzano tomatoes will be early too. I’ll have to plan for making sauce accordingly. No doubt, I’ll have some bottles of the 2010 Chianti Montalbano waiting for that meal. Abbondanza! —Anya Balistreri
 

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Montenidoli: 2010 Il Garrulo Chianti Colli Senesi

The 2010 Il Garrulo from Montenidoli is impactful, full of flavor and brimming with textural elegance. This is not the first time I’ve singled out Il Garrulo or the wines of Montenidoli. Working here at TWH, which is the exclusive importer of these special Tuscan wines into California, positions me favorably to appreciate and become not just familiar, but, dare I say, intimate with them. For the past 40 years, Montenidoli has been recognized for their outstanding efforts in the vineyard and in the cellar. The reverence and admiration directed at Montenidoli by writers, critics, colleagues, and ordinary wine enthusiasts who have made the trek to the winery is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. It may be unnecessary to mention, but I will anyway, that such strong emotion is earned and not bestowed arbitrarily.

Il Garrulo is the proprietary name given to Montenidoli’s Chianti Colli Senesi that is fashioned in the traditional way set down in the late 19th Century by Barone Ricasoli to include white grapes. Il Garrulo is comprised of two red grape varietals, 75% Sangiovese and 20% Canaiolo, and two white grape varietals, 3% Trebbiano Gentile and 2% Malvasia Bianca. As you can see, the inclusion of white grapes is only a tiny proportion of the blend, but are vital to the overall sensory expression of the wine. There is real lift with a gorgeous red-petal aromatic that emanates from it. The 2010 is saturated with ripe red cherry fruit. The classic red fruit Sangiovese flavors are concentrated and plush. What is so pleasurable about the 2010 Il Garrulo is the richness of fruit combined with perky acid freshness all wrapped up like a luxurious cashmere throw by fine, plump tannins. This all translates to a versatile red that is not only perfect for traditional tomato-based foods but more exotic, harder to match dishes like Indian curries, Chile Rellenos or Chicken en Adobo. The fruitiness of the Il Garrulo won’t wilt with the heat and the smooth tannins won’t interfere with the dishes. 

The estate of Montenidoli has 24 hectares of vines and 10 of olive trees. We just received in Montenidoli’s newest batch of delicious olive oil – peppery, buttery and with a delightful bite. The estate is perched high above the hills overlooking the medieval town of San Gimignano, surrounded by 200 hectares of woodlands.  My in-laws had the chance to visit Montenidoli back in ’11 and they describe getting to the winery as if on some wild, off-road adventure.

This past February, proprietress and winemaker, Elisabetta Fagiuoli paid another visit to The Wine House. I regrettably was not able to meet with her during her very short stay. Despite her age, Elisabetta comes to San Francisco to work. And she works hard and tirelessly, just as she does at Montenidoli. However, the usually feisty and energetic Elisabetta was not quite herself this time around. It was with great sadness that we learned that Elisabetta’s partner in life, work and love, Sergio Muratori had passed away in the Fall. It would be unthinkable for me to write about Montenidoli without acknowledging Elisabetta and Sergio for Montenidoli is not just a place, or a portfolio of wines, but it is a living testament to their union. —Anya Balistreri

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January 2012 Dirty Dozen

Happy New Year! As the whirr of the holi-daze shrinks away in our rear view mirrors, we look forward to many more vinous discoveries coming in 2012! The new year brings hope and optimism, resolutions, and the NFL playoffs! There’s something going on there for us locals, and for you, how about the January 2012 Dirty Dozen? 12 bottles, all chosen for their versatility, packed in a box, for an incredible price. Go SF!

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2009 Cheverny Le Domaine du Moulin, Hervé Villemade – $14.98 net price, $13.49 reorder
Brand new for us is this white blend from Cheverny in the Loire Valley. Cheverny is located just between the cities of Tours and Orleans and boasts one of the Loire’s most famous chateaux. Certified orgainic, Monsieur Villemade blends approximately 70% Chardonnay with 30% Sauvignon Blanc and the result is a delightful balanced wine that shows ample fruit and a crisp finish. A crab salad works fine here.

2009 Mâcon les Tilles, J.M. Chaland – $19.99, $15.99 reorder
Every now and then the Dirty Dozen gets a surprise visit from some highly esteemed appellation; this time it’s Burgundy! Jean-Michel Chaland crafts wonderful terroir driven Chardonnays from his vineyards in and around Mâcon. The vines for les Tilles are approximately 40-50 years old, and the wine is vinified all in steel tank. Rich, round, fleshy white fruit with a hint of the tropics. Drink with that lobster.

2009 Chardonnay, Lalande – $13.49, $10.79 reorder
Grassa. Yves Grassa. He’s the man behind the wines from Domaine Lalande in Gascogne. Seasoned DD veterans are familiar with the name and the wines, which are delectable vintage after vintage. Oscar Wilde once said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” We imagine Oscar never had a glass of Lalande Chardonnay. We also imagine an open face turkey sandwich with this.

2010 Rosé de Ecuyer de Château Couronneau – $11.99, $9.59 reorder
In Bordeaux, you hear a lot of fuss about the prices of the finest wines, but less often, do you hear about all the production (the famous wines represent around 5% of Bordeaux’s total output). Christophe and Bénédicte Piat are keeping it real for us, proudly sporting the Agricole Biologique banner on their property at Bordeaux’s eastern frontier. This Rosé is fresh and fruity and goes well with bbq.

2010 Scaia Bianco, Tenuta Sant’Antonio – $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Now what do you get when you blend Garganega with Chardonnay? Tom likes to call it a “Super Soave”, and we can’t blame you if you do too as this wine has that soft, fleshy fruit sensation, yet is backed up with a fresh crisp finish. Toss some scampi and serve with pasta.

2010 Montravel Blanc, Château Calabre – $10.99, $8.79 reorder
Next up could very well be the best white wine bargain in the shop! Made just outside Bordeaux in Montravel, Daniel Hecquet blends 50% Sauvignon Blanc with 40% Semillon and 10% Muscadelle resulting in a knock-off White Bordeaux. All steel tank here, the wine is bright and fresh, with plenty of complexity on the palate, and will have you scratching your head as to how it can be done for this price.

2010 Zinfandel, Old Vines, Rail 2 Rail – $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
In Lodi, there is an 82 year old farmer named Andy D’Arrigo. He grows lettuce, prickly pears, and grapes. His Zinfandel vines are more than 45 years old, and he has no intention of selling any of his land because, “I don’t know how to grow buildings.” Surf enthusiast/winemaker Eric Laumann came upon Andy and the result is Rail 2 Rail Zin. Tee this up with a rich pizza with sausage and olives.

2008 Monastrell Hécula, Bodegas Castaño – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Nestled in Spain’s Yecla DO (appellation of origin) you will find Bodegas Castaño. This 100% Monastrell (Mourvèdre) is grown at altitudes of approximately 750 feet on vines 35 years of age or more. We have nothing but praise for this wine, as it outperforms its price point by a long shot. We’re not the only ones; Steven Tanzer says that it could be a Bandol and Robert Parker heaps praise on wine prospector Eric Solomon, saying, “Solomon’s wines are intense expressions of terroir.” This one could use a big juicy t-bone steak.

2009 Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon, The Royal – $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Grab the passport, we’re off to South Africa. Though after one sip of this silky smooth Shiraz/Cab blend, you may think you’ve gone to the land down under, but alas, The Royal is from Africa’s southern tip. Adding 40% Cabernet Sauvignon to the blend gives the spicy Shiraz a blackberry backbone with just a hint of mocha spice. What to pair here? Think Africa. How ’bout ostrich fillet? Yum.

2009 Touraine Les Demoiselles – Domaine des Corbillières – $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Not new to us are the wines from Domaine des Corbillières. What IS new to us is Maurice Barbou’s Les Demoiselles cuvée, which is roughly 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Côt (Malbec), and 30% Cabernet Franc. Ding! Ding! Woot! Woot! Winner! Winner! The wine is an aromatic masterpiece of dark red, purple, and black berries, tobacco leaf, and cracked pepper, all singing around a mineral core. Fermented in tank, it’s fresh and juicy. We have a feeling that this one is a keeper. Enjoy with pasta with red sauce.

2007 Chianti Colli Sinese, Montenidoli – $19.99, $15.99 reorder
Oh wait, that pairing suggestion was meant for this wine! Oh well, we can have two pasta with red sauce wines in the same DD. Tuscan wine royalty Elisabetta Fagiuoli brews up some old-school Chianti using Sangiovese and Canaiolo. The wine is dense and rich with an herbal component that screams Old World. It is a Chianti that can be enjoyed now, but will gain in complexity if cellared properly.

2010 Malbec, Alberto Furque – $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Wine without filtration is the motto at Bodega Aconquija, better known to us as Alberto Furque. Winemaker Carolina Furque does not filter any of her wines. She feels that filtration removes important nuances in both aromas and flavors. Sometimes this may result in a little sediment, but the trade-off is worth it. This Malbec is grown at altitudes of around 3000 ft in the Andes Mountains, which is important for acidity levels in the wines. This wine will shine along side a roast pork tenderloin with chimichurri sauce.

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Filed under Alberto Furque, Chianti, Malbec, Monastrell, Peter Zavialoff, Rose, Southwest France, The Dirty Dozen, Touraine