In-Store Tastings Thursday-Saturday!
Paso Robles reds, great values from Patagonia and Gris de Gris...
Corbieres Rose "Gris de Gris", Domaine de Fontsainte 2011- $15.99/btl ($12.79 by case or mixed case): Bruno Laboucarie's family has worked the land in Corbieres since the 17th century, and their well-priced, distinctive wines have always been the standard bearers for this superb Mediterranean appellation. And, every year, we wait with anticipation for their outstanding dry rose, the Gris de Gris, a saignee cuvee crafted from the rare Grenache Gris grape. The 2011 version does not disappoint, and it literally bursts with plenty of watermelon, fraise and sea salt aromas and flavors. It seems as though the wine world has fully discovered the pleasures of dry, sophisticated rose, and this bottling is a prime example of just how good it can be.
Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon "Huerhuero Vineyard", Paso Robles 2008- $18.99/btl ($15.20 by case or mixed case): We've finally been able to make room at JWS for a wine that has already achieved legendary status within California, the Huerhuero Cabernet from Vina Robles. And, if you take another look at the price, you're not looking at a misprint; it's indeed well south of the $20 mark...and therein lies the secret of its cult status. Many savvy connoisseurs from both Los Angeles and the Bay Area know that for the investment of a day trip and a tank of gas, some of the finest Cabernet made in the state can be theirs. If you haven't had a lot of experience with Paso Robles wines, here's a great place to start, as this beauty is impeccably balanced, well concentrated, polished (but not dominated) by oak and demonstrates a structure and length on the palate that is not unlike a top cru St. Estephe. In fact, there's a certain black/blue/graphite fruit and minerality to many Paso Robles wines that is reminiscent of the northern Left Bank in Bordeaux. Whatever place this wine transports you to, make sure you take along some lamb, rosemary and a pepper mill.
Friday, May 11:
Pinot Nero (vinified white) "Gugiarolo", Vercesi di Castellazzo, Oltrepo Pavese 2011- $16.99/btl ($13.60 by case or mixed case): Next time you're checking out the fashion shows in Milan or dining at Gualtiero Marchesi in Brescia, be sure to order a glass of this exquisite and unusual white from Pavia. Or, if you're like the rest of us plebes, come over to the store and grab a couple of bottles to down while you watch the Rangers game. Either way, here's a revelation of just how versatile Pinot Noir can be, as the 2011 Gugiarolo is made from Pinot Noir juice that has been quickly pressed off the red skins, not allowed any skin contact (and therefore, there's no color to the juice), then vinified as a white wine. The result is a spicy, pear blossom-scented wine of exquisite freshness and vigor. We have no doubt this will become one of your summertime favorites, whether you're Milanese nobility or one of the hoi polloi.
Ancient Peaks Merlot, Paso Robles 2010- $17.99/btl ($14.40 by case or mixed case): You know we don't like California Merlot. You know we can't stand that greasy, lactic, milk-chocolatey overripeness that plagues so many Napa and Sonoma bottlings. You know that we despise the way many California oenologists assault that chocolate juice with massive exposures to heavily toasted new oak, bizarre color-altering agents and other chemical tricks of the trade in order to grab a 90-point score. So you know that if we bring in a California Merlot and feature it in the weekly e-mail, it can't bear any resemblance to the dead, festering industrial swill we just described. And, this one certainly doesn't. In fact, we tasted this wine at the same time we tried Thursday's Huerhuero Cab from Vina Robles, and the Merlot exhibited a similar structure, balance and reference to Paso Robles terroir as the Cab. Now that we think of it, we're hard-pressed to come up with many better ways to spend $18 in the store. Enjoy this with something fatty, meaty and charred.
Saturday, May 12:
"Picada 15", Bodega NQN, Patagonia 2011- $10.99/btl ($8.79 by case or mixed case): We have always enjoyed the distinctive wines of Argentina's southernmost region, Patagonia, as they almost always exhibit the things we love most about cool-climate wines: zippy acidity, lower alcohols, intense aromatics and food-friendliness. So, when NQN's Export Manager, Santiago Bernasconi, brought us the new vintage of their flagship white blend, Picada 15, we were practically predisposed to loving it. Fortunately, this unusual blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir-vinified white (yes, just like the 2011 Gugiarolo) did not disappoint. This is one for laying in by the case, as we rarely encounter such complexity and concentration in a white wine that sells for well under $10. Wait for the next hot day, then try this with a little backfin crabmeat, cucumber, creme fraiche, lime juice and verbena.
Malbec "Malma", Bodega NQN, Patagonia 2010- $12.99/btl ($10.40 by case or mixed case): Here's NQN's red partner to the Picada 15...and it's an extraordinary answer to the oceans of jammy, alcoholic, overextracted Malbec being vinified in red-hot portions of Argentina that aren't really suitable for noble grape cultivation. You'll instantly be able to identify this as Malbec, but there's a fine minerality, subtlety and an almost racy quality to this wine that may remind you of Malbec from the Loire Valley. Even better, this is one of those rare wines that virtually screams "expensive"...but it isn't!
New Beer Friday
Make particular note of Troegs' Flying Mouflan; it's one of the best, most ageworthy American Barleywines. As always, quantities are limited. We expect delivery of all items by Friday afternoon.
Dogfish Head Tweasonale (gluten-free)- 4 pks
Great Divide Denver Pale Ale- 6 pks
Port Brewing Anniversary (massively-hopped Pale Ale)- 22 oz
Port Brewing Hop 15- 22 oz
Port Brewing Hot Rocks- 22 oz
Rogue Double Dead Guy- 750 ml
Troegs Sunshine Pilsner- 6 pks
Troegs Flying Mouflan- 22 oz
Brenna Wine Queue
So...if you had a choice between getting criminals off scot-free- or drinking great wine all the time- which would you choose? Yeah, right. This week, we're helping Brenna help herself with the following:
Riesling Spatlese (Erdener Treppchen) "Mosel Slate", Monchhof 2009- $22.99
Mendall "Roig-Jose Maria", Laureano Serres 2010- $25.99
Chateau Dalem, Fronsac 2009- $33.99
Ravines Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes 2010- $17.99
Pouilly-Fuisse "Les Crays", Auvigue 2007- $29.99
VDP Cotes Catalanes- Grenache Blanc, Vieilles Vignes- Domaine du Clos des Fees 2009- $34.99
Rioja Gran Reserva, Ramirez de la Piscina 1999- $31.99