Category Archives: Anya Balistreri

Introducing
the 2013 Chardonnay El Camino Vineyard Santa Barbara County from Varner

Varner single-block Chardonnays from the Spring Ridge Vineyard up in the Santa Cruz Mountains are undeniably some of California’s most exquisite Chardonnays. They garner high scores from critics who bestow points, are collected by passionate advocates of California Chardonnay, and are universally admired for their rich fruit and restrained balance. My personal take on the wines is that if you champion and appreciate great Chardonnay, Varner should be on your list of wines to drink. So, can you imagine my excitement when I learned that Varner was about to release a brand new wine from a vineyard in Santa Barbara County?!

As Jim Varner explained to me, he doesn’t really like telling people he can’t sell them any more wine. Poor guy has to do this probably all the time, since Varner wines are allocated and in great demand. It makes sense then that Jim and Bob Varner would want to look for a way to use their Chardonnay making prowess to expand their offerings. Jim went on to explain to me that he and his brother were ready to take on a new project and wanted another creative outlet, so the search was on for the fruit. The El Camino Vineyard in northern Santa Barbara County parallel to the Santa Rita Hills was the right spot. The grapes come from a single block (see a pattern here!) of clone 4 Chardonnay. Clone 4…what does that mean? In the beginning stages of a vineyard’s life, clones matter, but over time – 10 years out or so – Jim tells me grapes can lose their clonal distinction as site overtakes influence on the vines.

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Cooking with Varner Chardonnay

El Camino Vineyard is five miles east of the Pacific Ocean with cool, coastal influences, but it is not a windy site. The Varners don’t favor windy sites. The phenolics in the grapes were especially compelling to the Varners and fit in with the direction they wanted to take with this new project. With the 2013 El Camino Vineyard Chardonnay, the Varners de-stemmed the fruit and fermented it in stainless steel tanks. A quarter of the wine was then aged for 6 months in new French oak puncheons, while the rest remained in tank resting on its lees. The intention was to preserve acidity and temper the tropical notes of Santa Barbara Chardonnay, moving flavors towards citrus and apples, convening into “a more tightly coiled Chardonnay in a modern style”.

I must confess, I was taken aback by the wine when I first tasted it because I was expecting another Spring Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay, which it isn’t. I had failed to pay close attention to the tech sheet provided by the winery. This wine is a clear juxtaposition to their barrel-fermented Mountain wines. The 2013 El Camino Vineyard is quick on its feet with pronounced acidity. The tropical fruit notes while not eliminated, play background to the lemony citrus notes. At this stage, none of the oak is detectable. I predict that with some bottle age those flavors might emerge ever so slightly. The tangy acidity and firm structure of the fruit are its dominant features. Jim told me he was under a lot of pressure to release the wine early. I can see why. The quality, price, and the fresh, vibrant style is ideal for restaurant by-the-glass lists, not to mention Varner fans and anyone looking for a different expression of California Chardonnay.

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Jim & Bob Varner

Once I put away my expectations of what I thought a Varner Chardonnay should taste like, I began to appreciate the 2013 El Camino Vineyard Chardonnay on its own merit. Fortunately the night I opened a bottle, I had prepared for dinner a simple quesadilla with caramelized onions and sautéed nopales. The green tartness of the nopales was perfect foil for this crisp Chardonnay. It was also another unseasonably warm winter California evening, so something light and fresh was definitely in order. Its no secret that the entire staff at The Wine House are admirers of the Varners. Both Jim and Bob are uncommonly gracious. They’re a couple of the good guys who happen to also make great wine! Oh and here’s a teaser: a Varner Santa Barbara Pinot Noir is coming soon! So stay tuned.

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Santa Barbara County

Brick & Mortar – In On The Ground Floor

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Brick & Mortar is an exciting new wine project we are betting will be getting more and more attention once their miniscule production levels increase for wider distribution. But for now, only a few select places, mostly top Bay Area restaurants, are able to offer their wines – and we’re one of the lucky ones!

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We were introduced to Brick & Mortar by way of one of David’s tasting groups. The winemaker, Matthew Iaconis, met with us at the store to share his story and pour his wines. By the time he left the building, David and I were conspiring to figure out how much we should buy! The wines are compelling and Matthew’s confidence and enthusiasm convinced us that he is a winemaker we want to get in with on the ground floor, so to speak.

 

Matthew, a native Californian, played football for UC Davis where he was studying Atmospheric Science – he wanted to be an astronaut! It was also at UC Davis that he took an introductory course on winemaking; this changed everything for him. After college, Matthew worked at wineries here and abroad. Most recently, he has worked with the Antinori family in Napa Valley. It is through this connection that he was able to acquire the fruit he needed to start his own project. Working with fruit from Cougar Rock Vineyard, a high elevation vineyard in the Atlas Peak appellation, Matthew achieves balance and finesse with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in what is typically thought of as Cab Country. The elevation and exposition of the vineyard allows for daytime sun and cool nights, perfectly suited for these Burgundian varietals. In addition, Matthew sources Pinot Noir from a vineyard on the other side of the Valley up on Spring Mountain.

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The 2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir is superb. It is quite delicate and subtle in the fruit department, yet the strawberry flavors of Pinot Noir come across. Using the saignée method of bleeding juice off of his two Napa Valley Pinot Noirs, Matthew then places half in stainless steel and the other in neutral barrel. It is a smart approach, preserving both texture and freshness in the wine. The pale, pale pink color, by the way, is divine. (55 cases produced)

 

The 2013 Chardonnay combines texturally rich fruit with a lifted palate feel. Neither overblown nor heavy, this is a composed Chardonnay that showcases sun-kissed fruit in a more discreet fashion. Barrel-aged, but only in a third new oak, this is a citrus-laden Chardonnay that accentuates acidity and stoniness on the finish. (260 cases produced)

 

Rounding out the trio of Brick & Mortar wines is the 2012 Pinot Noir. Put aside any pre-existing notions of Napa Valley Pinot Noir. This is mountain fruit – it has depth and reveals layers of flavors. The 2012 Pinot Noir is reflective of the character of Cougar Rock Vineyard. Matthew uses two blocks within the vineyard that run east/west. The soils are a mixture of gravelly loam and dusty red clay with extensive granite rock strewn about the parcel. For this wine Matthew put the grapes through an extended cold-soak with native yeast fermentation and then aged the wine in once used French oak barrels. His intention was to let the vineyard shine through the wine. We appreciated the soft, rounded texture and savored the deep, red berry fruit that was framed by earthier notes. Like the other two wines of Brick & Mortar, the 2012 Pinot Noircombines a pleasurable fruit presence with elegance. All of the wines sit lively on the palate. (110 cases produced)Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, Pinot Noir

The March 2015 Dirty Dozen

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Could it be that spring is on the horizon? Yes, indeed. The month of March has all sorts of wonderful things to deliver. Think about it. Spring training for baseball lovers, March Madness for fans of college hoops, St. Patty’s Day for amateurs, and the start of spring for those of us who long for warmer weather. This March, why not try out a Dirty Dozen? 12 bottles, all different, all chosen for their versatility, for one low price. The March 2015 Dirty Dozen. Yay!

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Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.

2013 Chardonnay Viognier, Laurent Miquel $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

Thank you Laurent Miquel for elevating the French country wine to such heights! Harvesting at night and fermenting in stainless steel tank make for a fresh, clean wine that offers up the sunny fruit of the Languedoc. Apricots and citrus fruit flavors abound. Chicken, lemon-stuffed and roasted or drowning in Mojo sauce, would do nicely here.

2013 Côtes-du-Rhône Colline Blanc, La Cabotte $12.48 net price, $10.78 reorder

La Cabotte’s vineyards are certified biodynamic and organic. A third each of Grenache blanc, Clairette and Viognier harmoniously blend together to make a classic white Rhône – stone fruit flavors prevail while the finish retains a striking minerality. The quality over delivers for price on this charmer! A brined and roasted pork loin would pair perfectly!

2012 Ranina Mea Culpa, Kogl $13.98, $12.58 reorder

A wine from Slovenia? A DD first! Ranina is considered indigenous to Slovenia. A wild crossing between some Pinot variety and an unknown parent, Ranina is often used for sweet wine. Kogl prefers to ferment their Ranina dry. White-fleshed fruit and subtle floral aromas on the nose combine to make a captivating, delicious white wine. A wonderful choice for heat-spiked foods and fresh water fish.

2013 Touraine Rosé, Domaine des Corbillières $15.99, $12.79 reorder

Now that the days are getting longer and the weather warmer, it just makes sense to have some Rosé handy. Ah, but this is no ordinary Rosé! Hints of citrus blossoms and red berry fruit are noticeable on the bouquet, yet the palate is crisp. Extremely versatile, one can be quite creative when thinking of pairing partners, though a sunny picnic will do.

2013 Hors Saison, Domaine La Hitaire $13.99, $11.19 reorder

In the local dialect, Hors Saison means outdoor season. It is March, and around these parts, March is not just a verb. It is the time of year when windows open, blossoms appear, and fresh, easy-drinking white wines are fashionable. This blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon is light and refreshing. It is ideal to pour with macaroni salad with tuna and mayo.

2012 Gavi di Gavi Rovereto, Ernesto Picollo $16.79, $13.43 reorder

Direct-importation is responsible for this amazing wine to come to us for such a ridiculously low price! It’s all about the crisp dried yellow fruits and minerals here. If you can pair it with halibut puttanesca, you’ll be in Schaeffer City!

2013 Garnacha, Bodegas Filón $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

DO Catalayud is part of Spain’s Ebro River Valley region, where high elevation vineyards seek refuge from the dry, arid Spanish interior. Garnacha thrives in this region, producing sappy, rich reds with notes of mint. Bodegas Filón does a noble job at producing an open-armed, succulent Garnacha. Time to serve up some patatas al ajillo with chorizo!

2012 Peljesac, Dingac $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

An hour drive north of Dubrovnik, the Peljesac Peninsula juts 40 miles out into the Adriatic. In this part of Croatia, the native grape Plavac Mali is commonly planted. This Plavac Mali is fashioned in a locally popular style – the grapes are harvested late giving the wine the quality of sur-maturité. This super ripeness shows on the nose but not on the palate. Plummy flavors with dried herbs characterize the wine. Be adventurous – pair with Korean short ribs or fajitas.

2009 L’Artisan Languedoc, Laurent Miquel $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder

Predominantly Syrah, this is a full-bodied southern French red. Typical of the region, the Syrah impart spice notes of white and black pepper. A tiny touch of Grenache is blended in to give a fruitier dimension. Honestly, this one, because it has had time to settle in bottle, goes with practically any cuisine – all the edges have been smoothed out.

2011 Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Rouge $12.99, $10.39 reorder

Red Rhône wines have to be counted among the most consistent bargains of the wine world. For quality and price, it’s tough to go elsewhere. For this one, Diane Puymorin blends 10% old vine Carignan and 10% old vine Mourvèdre with Syrah and Grenache and the result is quite complex for a wine in this price range. Serve it with sautéed veal cutlets.

2012 Syrah/Grenache, Grange des Rouquette $11.99, $9.59 reorder

Speaking of red Rhône wines, Thierry Boudinaud uses a similar recipe to craft his entry-level red. His Syrah/Grenache receives the added benefit of a little Mourvèdre (10%), which gives the wine a little added complexity. It’s fresh and charming, no problem if you want to pour it on its own, but it will pair well with pasta in red sauce or a calzone.

2012 Pinotage, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder

South Africa’s signature grape, Pinotage was created as a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsault back in the 1920s. Alex Dale’s Winery of Good Hope’s version is all de-stemmed and consists of only the free-run juice, keeping the fruit at the forefront. Serve it with a slight chill, and enjoy with spicy carnitas served on corn tortillas.

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Reg. $156.58On Sale $109.00

 



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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Peter Zavialoff, The Dirty Dozen

2012 Domaine Boudinaud Côtes du Rhône la Boissière

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Boudinaud’s 2012 Côtes du Rhône La Boissière is about half Grenache and a quarter Syrah with the balance divvied up between Mourvedre, Cinsault and Counoise. Yeah, this is a Côtes du Rhône alright. Supple, strawberry fruit merges with spicy white pepper Syrah notes, while the Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Counoise complete the aromatic experience. It is a typical Southern Rhône story here at Domaine Boudinaud, with climate and soil perfectly suited for the varietals. But what isn’t typical is the exceptional quality of the 2012 La Boissière. It is compact and jammy on the palate and aromatically on pointe with the berry notes and whiffs of lavender and garrigue.
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David & Thierry
I’ve been on a Southern Rhône kick. They’re such good values; I find it hard to pass them up. For Domaine Boudinaud, the newly arrived 2012 reds usher in a Golden Age for the winery. Thierry Boudinaud has always made super-value wines – we’ve been importing his wines for a long time, so we know – however his 2012 reds enter an even higher plane of excellence. Admittedly, I fall into wine-writing cliché here, but it’s unavoidable because it is true: the 2012 reds are Domaine Boudinaud’s best wines to date. Like with Couronneau and Pierazzuoli, as the years advance, so has the quality of their wines. Surely they were terrific to begin with, otherwise The Wine House wouldn’t have bothered to import them in the first place, but what you see in these instances over time is the evolution of place and winemaker.

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Which way to Boudinaud?

Have you ever had one of those weeks where a seemingly innocuous playground accident turned into a three hour visit at the doctor’s office, then leaving with your child wearing a cast on her hand? The visit to the doctor, of course, had been further complicated because your husband’s truck was in the shop and had to use your car for the day, so you had to borrow a ride to get to the doctor’s office in the first place? It doesn’t end there – the truck doesn’t get fixed as quickly as promised, therefore you had to get ready even earlier all week so that there was enough time to drive your husband to work before dropping your child off at school and then try to make it to work on time? What about deciding to wake up extra early on that week’s Saturday so that you can take a long, peaceful shower and perhaps linger over coffee while reading the morning paper before heading off to work, only to discover that the dog had thrown-up in the kitchen as well as had pooped all over the floor of the shower? Ever had one of those weeks? I think you know what I am talking about.

Boissiere12After work last Saturday, I brought home a bottle of Boudinaud’s 2012 La Boissière Côtes du Rhône to have with veggie burgers. Given the week I had, I was really looking forward to that glass of wine! But before I could even touch my lips to the rim, my cell phone blew up with texts. Before I could shoot a text back, the texter called up on the telephone- great…something must be up! After quelling this mini-crisis, I returned to the kitchen and was handed a glass of the La Boissière by my husband. I was about to fill him in on the phone conversation, but couldn’t get the words out of my mouth because the aromas of the wine stopped me in my tracks…it smelled so good. In fact so good, I knew I was going to love this wine! And sure enough, I do.

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Cotes du Rhone, Counoise, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah

2012 Scaia Corvina: High Scoring, Everyday Day Rosso Del Veneto

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The 2012 Scaia Corvina from Tenuta Sant’Antonio represents the 5th vintage we’ve carried at The Wine House. There is a good reason why we have and that is because it is a veritable steal for the quality! 100% Corvina sourced from the winery’s young vines fashioned into a supple, un-oaked red beauty.

 

Tenuta Sant’Antonio began twenty years ago when four brothers decided to take their collective wine knowledge and go into business together, purchasing land to augment their familial vineyard east of Verona. A risky venture anywhere in the wine world, but these four had passion and experience behind them and they were determined to make world-class Amarone and Valpolicella. At last week’s Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri tasting at Fort Mason, Sant’Antonio poured their top end Amarone, so the wine world has taken notice of their achievement in making fine wine. A tactic of mine that can bring good results is to seek out high-end wineries that also produce an everyday line such as Sant’Antonio’s Scaia. At best, what I hope to find is top-notch winemaking from quality grapes that from the bottle over-deliver for price. The Scaia Corvina is such a wine.
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I’ve enjoyed the Scaia rosso starting with the 2007 vintage. Many of you may already be familiar with Scaia especially if you’ve been a frequent buyer of The Dirty Dozen; the Scaia goes in nearly every vintage.

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And yet, the 2012 Scaia distinguishes itself from past bottlings. Now the varietal, Corvina, is prominently written on the handsome, newly updated front label and Veneto is identified as the IGT or indicazione geografica tipica. But more importantly, it is the wine that makes the 2012 their finest effort. For a 100% Corvina it is pleasantly dense and rich at the core while still maintaining freshness and light tannins. The fruit is all red cherry with a thread of green, typical of the grape.

From issue #216 of The Wine Advocate comes this review:
The 2012 Corvina Scaia is an unbelievable deal, and a wine that can be purchased by the case-load for those informal occasions at home when a simple glass of red wine accompanies you as you cook dinner or watch television. This is the ultimate downtime wine. The fruit is fresh and bright with white cherry, cassis, sweet almond and freshly milled white pepper. It’s appearance is compact with a light ruby hue.90 points.

 

In the last six months since my father’s passing, I’ve met my youngest nephew hours after his birth and just last night witnessed my eldest nephew announce his wedding engagement to the family.  Life does indeed go on.
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And Pete is right when he wrote, “life’s too short to not enjoy something special at least once a month.” Splurging is good, but if you can’t (or don’t want to) you shouldn’t have to jeopardize quality in order to enjoy an affordable glass of wine. It may take a bit more effort on your part to find such a wine, but that’s why you have us here at The Wine House – to help you find the best possible wine to enjoy at any price.

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Corvina, Italy, Veneto

The February 2015 Dirty Dozen

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February might be the shortest month of the year, but it’s packed with fun stuff to do! There’s Valentine’s Day, of course, but Presidents’ Day and winter break right afterward. That’s reason enough to have a Dirty Dozen handy. Think about it, 12 wines, all chosen for their versatility, in one handy box, for one incredibly low price. So no matter what’s cooking, there’s something in this here sampler that will pair well beside it. Vive la Dirty Dozen!

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2013 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Col del Mondo $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

An old favorite makes a return visit to the DD. These mature Trebbiano grapes are grown on silt/clay soils rich in calcareous elements. Winds off the Adriatic keep temps cool at night, preserving freshness. Meticulous work in the vineyard yields results that over-deliver for the price. Unoaked and yet dripping with sunny, citrusy flavors – delizioso! Serving suggestions include veal Piccata, a bowl of Castelvetrano olives, or a rotisserie Chicken.

2013 Chardonnay, Sean Minor $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

This Central Coast Chardonnay is put together keeping balance in mind as only a portion of the wine is aged in barrel. A Chardonnay that is unapologetically Californian in flavor profile: apple, pear, with nuances of tropical fruit. A rounded, creamy finish will compliment Swiss enchiladas, pan-roasted salmon or it can go solo at your next book club meeting.

2013 Pinot Grigio, Riff $11.98, $10.78 reorder

One of Italy’s most famous producers, Alois Lageder, makes this delightful, delicious and de-lovely Pinot Grigio. Fermented in tank and left on its lees for four months to develop texture, this is far removed from the sea of plonky Pinot Grigio. Depth and pronounced aromas of orchard fruit make this a perennial TWH favorite. Food match-ups are endless here, but to get you started: Oysters Rockefeller, clam chowder, or a grilled Gruyere & ham sandwich. Nice!

2012 Unoaked Chardonnay, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder

English expat Alex Dale has a few labels under his umbrella down Stellenbosch way. His entry-level brand, The Winery of Good Hope doesn’t spend precious resources on new barrels, packaging, or marketing, ultimately keeping their bottle prices über-friendly. Here it is: Lively Chardonnay with no make-up, waiting to be poured with those crabcakes.

2012 Bordeaux Clairet, Château Armurey $9.99, $7.99 reorder

Speaking of the English – They’ve called red Bordeaux wines “Claret” for centuries. Where’d they get that from? In the Middle Ages, light red wine called Clairet (say Klare-ay´) was shipped from Bordeaux to England, and that inspired this now permanent fixture in their lexicon. Not a red wine, not a Rosé, this Clairet is as versatile as it is easy on the wallet!

NV Touraine Brut Rosé, Domaine d’Orfeuilles $17.98 net price, $16.18 reorder

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s a pink sparkler with plenty of nuance and character. Made mostly from Côt (non Loire people call it Malbec), it sports a deep brick-like color, but don’t let that fool you. This fizz is dry and zesty, the fruit pings with freshness, and there is gravelly mineral at its core. Perfect to open with tempura and/or sushi.

2013 Luberon, Dauvergne Ranvier $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

Juicy black cherry and plum flavors are embraced by firm, velvety tannins making this the ideal anytime Rhône red. Two-thirds Syrah with the balance Grenache, this wine captures the easy-to-drink profile of the region. Each sip can elicit taste memories of fruit and Provençal herbs. Try with turkey and hominy chili (make it as hot as you like, this red with handle the heat), lamb burgers or white bean and kale stew for meatless Monday.

2013 Nero d’Avola, Marchione $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

The dark-skinned Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s most important and widely planted grape. This rendition of Nero d’Avola opts to take the fresher route by fermenting the grapes in tank, leaving the acid bright and the fruit intense. A charming Nero d’Avola if ever there was one. It is well suited for tomato-based sauces and dishes, as well as Mediterranean seafood stews like Cioppino or Bouillabaisse. Too much effort? Ok then, a lamb shawarma or carnitas burrito can do in a pinch.

2013 Bobal, Atance $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

One can easily make the case that Spain produces the greatest selection of wine values in the world. Allow us to put into evidence, Atance Bobal. Crusader of Bobal, Toni Sarrion of Bodegas Mustiguillo, makes this wine using grapes from the DO Valencia. A medium-bodied red, the aromatics have an alluring thread of black pepper in tandem with the raspberry fruit. Muy ricos!

2013 Merlot, Domaine de St. Antoine $11.49, $9.19 reorder

Jean-Louis Emmanuel’s terroir in the hills to the southeast of the city of Nîmes have been compared to the terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. He grows Syrah as well, but he found something to his liking by planting Merlot under the hot sun of the Costières de Nîmes. It’s juicy and medium bodied with a hint of the garrigue; great with pasta and duck ragu.

2011 Morgon Côte du Py, Domaine Pierre Savoye $18.99 net price, $15.19 reorder

There are 10 classified ‘Crus’, or growths, in Beaujolais. Though they’re not labeled as such, their recognition suggests each one special, akin to Premier Cru or Grand Cru. The wines from Morgon’s Côte du Py are considered to be some of Beaujolais’ more age worthy. Think bright red cherries and forest floor, this juicy number suits a turkey sando just fine.

2012 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Le Farnete $14.59, $11.67 reorder

Hardly a newfangled ‘Super Tuscan,’ Cabernet Sauvignon has been allowed to grow in Carmignano since Medici times. Blended with 80% Sangiovese, the Barco Reale shows plenty of brightness braced by the sturdy Cabernet fruit. This is a food wine extraordinaire, as it will suit pasta, pizza, stews, barbecue, veal shanks, meatballs; we could keep going!

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Peter Zavialoff, The Dirty Dozen, Wine Clubs/Samplers

2012 Jean-Marie Chaland Macon Villages Les Tilles

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Sneaky – that’s the way I see it anyway. The 2012 Mâcon Villages Les Tilles from Jean-Marie Chaland is sneaky the way its flavors intensify with repeated sips. With an unoaked Chardonnay from the Mâconnais you might not expect much complexity, but this one is different. Once you get past the first refreshing, satisfying swallow, what emerges is a sophisticated expression of classic Chardonnay flavors like apple and pear. jmchaland

Talented winemaker Jean-Marie Chaland, whose swashbuckler good looks make him a shoo-in for a remake of The Three Musketeers, organically farms several old-vine (some darn near ancient) micro-parcels in the villages of Viré and Montbellet. The grapes for the 2012 Les Tilles are mere youngsters at 40-50 years old and come from a single parcel grown on a plateau of clay and limestone soil near Montbellet. Jean-Marie takes a simple approach to vinifying this wine: stainless steel tank fermentation, natural yeasts, no added sugars or acidification. What you taste in the glass, aside from any clever flavor descriptor I can come up with, is the environment in which the grapes were grown (soil, climate, viticultural practices) and Jean-Marie’s gentle guidance of turning the grapes into wine.

 

Jean-Marie Chaland may take a simple approach to making his 2012 Mâcon-Villages Les Tilles but the end result is extraordinary. It is analogous to a chef, someone like Judy Rodgers of Zuni Cafe, who honored ingredients by skillfully preparing them without masking their inherent goodness and flavors. When you have a perfectly ripened garden tomato or a farm-fresh egg, there is not a whole lot you need to do to make it taste better.
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And so to recap, the 2012 Mâcon-Villages Les Tilles:
1) organically grown grapes,
2) grown on clay/limestone soil,
3) 40-50 year old vines,
4) unoaked
and….
5) $19.99 per bottle or $16.99 by the case!
Did I just hear a needle scratch over the record? I must admit, I have tried excellent unoaked local Chardonnay but I can assure you, they don’t cost under $20 a bottle! An amazing value when you consider the material in the bottle.
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Sent my big Bro home with a bottle!

Now for a little sharing – rather than watch the Super Bowl at home with her parents, my daughter opted to spend it at her BFF’s house – they too were having a party. Right after halftime, she called home to inform us that she had eaten dinner. After I assured her that that was fine and that I expected she would have eaten with them, she followed up by making me promise to save some of the Buffalo Wings we were serving for her to eat later! My little foodie!

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Burgundy, Macon

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