Beat the Heat with New Vintages From Luisa, DeForville and Elio Grasso.
Thursday, July 19:
Pinot Grigio Isonzo del Friuli, Luisa 2010 NEW VINTAGE- $16.99/btl ($13.60 by case or mixed case): We couldn't have picked a better week to feature the new vintage of an old favorite Pinot Grigio: Luisa's flavor-packed bottling from the banks of the Isonzo River in Friuli. Connoisseurs of great white wines consider this appellation to be a spot where Pinot Grigio reaches Grand Cru status, as the Isonzo River valley creates a "draw" that allows for the confluence of warming winds from the Mediterranean to meet cooler airmasses from the mountainous regions to the north. Of course, the perfect spot and perfect climate mean nothing to Pinot Grigio if it's overcropped and vinified in a slapdash manner, so we're fortunate that Luisa has established a legacy of fashioning unctuous, concentrated, almost "orange" Pinot Grigio that is a perfect distillation of both grape and terroir. Best of all, Luisa has managed to keep the price moderate, which is no mean feat in a marketplace where top Friulian Pinot Grigio has reached the $25-$30 level.
Colline Novaresi Vespolina "Barbatasso", Monsecco 2010- $18.99/btl ($15.20 by case or mixed case): The Piedmont region of Italy might be our favorite source of wine from anywhere on the planet. The array of first-class whites and reds from the famous appellations- such as Barbaresco, Barolo, Langhe, Asti, Dogliani and Alba- could easily provide a lifetime of incredible tasting experience. However, there's a part of this region that's not as well-known in wine circles- the Alto Piemonte, north of Torino- which offers a dizzying array of Alpine-influenced wines from indigenous grapes, many of which grow nowhere else. We've already introduced one of the great whites of the region- Luigi Ferrando's Erbaluce "La Torrazza"- and we're equally-thrilled to now introduce Monsecco's 2010 Barbatasso, from the Vespolina grape. As with many cool-climate red grapes, Vespolina struggles to ripen, but in the hands of masters such as Monsecco, a vintage like 2010 yields a wine of excellent ripeness and elegance, with a pronounced cherry fruit and a pleasing, mineral-laden tartness that makes this a go-to red on those blistering hot days when classic reds come off as simple, heavy and cloying. As with many of the other cool-climate Alpine reds we feature, this one is a great pick for dining next door at Thirty Acres.
Friday, July 20:
Chardonnay del Piemonte "Ca' del Buc", De Forville 2011 NEW VINTAGE- $14.99/btl ($11.99 by case or mixed case): Today, we go from the Alto Piemonte down into Asti, where the Anfosso brothers at De Forville grow some of the most elegant, aromatic Chardonnay to be found in northern Italy. Many of our clients know the vineyard from which this issues, Ca' del Buc, to be the source of their superlative Barbera d'Asti, but they also have a plantation of old-vines Chardonnay there which they vinify in stainless steel in order to express the maximum possible freshness, concentration and purity. Just as with De Forville's 2010, you'll find this to be almost-Californian...but with a structure and minerality that can only be Piemonte. One thing is for certain: at only $12 the bottle in case purchase, it's one of the best values in the store!
Dolcetto d'Alba, Elio Grasso 2011- $18.99/btl ($15.20 by case or mixed case):While we're featuring wines from Piemonte, there's no way we'd skip opening a great Dolcetto...especially as temperatures approach triple digits. Much like great Beaujolais, this would be fine after a 10-15 minute dunk into an ice bath, as there's plenty of cassis and pomegranate fruit here, along with an attractive undercurrent of bitter almond. This can handle everything from lamb burgers to grilled chicken or quail, and there are no hard tannins to weigh you down on a hot afternoon outdoors. Elio Grasso is one of the rising stars of Piemonte, and this ripe, intense Dolcetto is a great introduction to his non-interventionist style.
Saturday, July 21:
Lumos Pinot Gris "Rudolfo Vineyard", Oregon 2011- $19.99/btl ($15.99 by case or mixed case): If you've had a chance to taste the Luisa Pinot Grigio, this new single-vineyard offering from Lumos merits a return visit. Outside of Friuli or Alsace, the cool, foggy nooks and crannies of Oregon may be the best environment for Pinot Gris. And, as in the best European examples, the Lumos is dry, hazelnutty, rich in texture and substantial without being high in alcohol (only 12.6%). Folks in the Pacific Northwest are partial to Pinot Gris with salmon prepared in all kinds of ways, and we're not inclined to disagree with them!
Cotes-du-Rhone-Villages "Plan de Dieu", Domaine les Ondines 2009- $16.99/btl ($13.60 by case or mixed case): Our friend, Ed Addiss, of Wine Traditions, has struck gold with this outstanding southern Rhone red. Typical of Ed's selections, it's a wine of restraint, refinement and lightness...which are characteristics not normally associated with the often scorching-hot southern end of the Rhone Valley. We taste scores of wines from this region, only to find the majority to be overextracted, reductive and boozy. However, here's prima facie evidence that bottlings of real elegance and finesse can be forged from this savage terrain. A 70-30 Grenache-to-Syrah blend is vinified in tank, a little of the Syrah is matured in neutral oak, and the result is a spicy, racy, lavender-and-kirsch-scented gem that offers ample satisfaction for such an unusual wine of precision and balance. We'd suggest this with your best leg of lamb recipe!
Beer is Good for You!
We have a few exceptional new offerings this week, including a couple of becnhmark Belgian ales from Scaldis and Vanberg-Strubbe. All are offered without obligation and sold subject to availability (arrival should be late Friday):
Scaldis Peche Mel (Scaldis Ale with fresh peach juice!)- 11.2 oz
LambickX, Vanberg-Strubbe 2010-2011 (Lambic perfection)- 750ml
Great Divide Wolfgang (Doppelbock)- 22 oz
Great Divide Rumble (barrel-aged IPA)- 6 pk
Great Divide Belgian Yeti (Imperial Stout)- 22 oz
Dogfish Head Theobroma (cocoa & chile beer)- 750ml
Dogfish Head My Antonia (Imperial Pilsner)- 750 ml
Absent Lawyer Queue
We've just received news that Brenna won her latest trial...actually, she got the judge to dismiss the case when the prosecution couldn't produce their expert witness! Hopefully, she remembered to let the witness out of her car trunk after it was all over. When she gets back to NJ, she can celebrate with the following:
Soave "Turbiana", Filippi 2008- $25.99
Nero d'Avola, Calabretta 2004- $17.99
Opera Prima XVII, Roagna- $38.99
Barolo, Eraldo Viberti 1999- $74.99
Corse Porto-Vecchio Rose, Domaine de Granajolo 2011- $20.99
Rose de Pinot Noir "Sakura", Chevrot 2011- $19.99
Valdeorras Rose, Avanthia 2011- $19.99
Touraine Sauvignon #2, Clos Roche Blanche 2011- $19.99