Great New Wines You Can Enjoy From Now Until After Labor Day.
Thursday, July 26:
Bianco di Custoza, Corte Gardoni 2011- $12.99/btl ($10.39 by case or mixed case): The white wines of Italy's Veneto region are a vinous minefield for even the most careful of wine buyers, as the "prestige" appellations such as Custoza and Soave feature bottlings that run the gamut from undrinkable to sublime. Much of the blame for that can be attributed to the Garganega and Trebbiano grapes that comprise the backbone of these wines, as they are easy to overproduce and tend toward blandness when overcropped in flat, low-lying areas. Fortunately for us, we were recently introduced to possibly the best Bianco di Custoza we've ever tried, the Corte Gardoni 2011. It's got a huge aroma and taste of fresh wildflowers, wet stones and almonds, with excellent acidity and weight on the palate. We've always been partial to pairing this wine with all kinds of shellfish and vegetable risottos, although it would certainly do justice to a whole, salt-roasted branzino.
Terra Alta "Sola d'en Pol", Xavier Clua 2009- $9.99/btl ($7.99 by case or mixed case): The sparsely-populated Catalan region of Terra Alta features a handful of young vignerons who are quietly turning out some of the most incredible wine values we've ever encountered. Almost all the quality wines of this district feature low-yielding, old-vines Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Garnacha...as well as dollops of indigenous grapes such as Ull de Liebre. If you've never tried a Terra Alta red, imagine a cross between an excellent Haut-Medoc Bordeaux and a dusty, herbaceous southern Cotes-du-Rhone. Of course, any wine of this pedigree tastes much better when the tariff is a modest $9.99, and you can confidently serve this with anything from pulled pork sandwiches to a standing rib roast.
Friday, July 27:
Soave Classico "Castelcerino", Filippi 2010- $14.99/btl ($11.99 by case or mixed case): If you were able to stop by on Thursday to taste Corte Gardoni's Bianco di Custoza, here's a reason to come back today. Filippi's "Castelcerino" is as good as Soave gets: it's hand-harvested from shy-bearing hillside vines in the heart of the Classico zone and is the antithesis of the kind of jug wine Soave that has come close to destroying this appellation's reputation. There's incredible richness here, as well as honeysuckle, acacia and an almost sultana-like core of flavor. We've also managed to secure a tiny amount of Filippi's 2008 Bianco Veronese "Turbiana" ($24.99/$19.99), their bone-dry Trebbiano which has been raised under flor, much like an excellent Fino Sherry. It is an absolute "must-have" for fans of exotic, aromatic, naturally-made wines.
VdP d'Herault "Les Heretiques", Iche 2011 NEW VINTAGE- $9.99/btl ($7.99 by case or mixed case): Here's the new vintage of one of France's great red wine values, the Iche family's Les Heretiques cuvee from the Pays d'Herault. As always, it's an ink-dark blockbuster, brimming with Carignane's telltale black and blue fruits, as well as a smoky, black olive component that announces Syrah of the highest order. As much as we love this wine on cold winter nights, it's equally at home with the barbecue or with anything even vaguely Mediterranean. This is yet another of our value-priced reds that will leave you confounded as to how a wine of this quality can be offered at under $10 the bottle!
Saturday, July 28:
Pigato Riviera dei Fiori "Cycnus", Poggio dei Gorleri 2010- $21.99/btl ($17.59 by case or mixed case): Many of our clients discovered how great the wines of the Italian Riviera can be by tasting Poggio dei Gorleri's outstanding 2010 Vermentino. And, as good as that wine is, their 2010 Pigato is even better! Typical of this little-known, misunderstood grape, it features a full body, pine-nut overtones and an unmistakable sea-salty quality that owes to the vineyard's location in a natural amphitheater of chalk, overlooking the Mediterranean. Not surprisingly- given its Ligurian origins- it's fantastic with anything pesto, and great with a wide array of grilled vegetables...especially fennel.
Marche Rosso, Fontezoppa 2008- $13.99/btl ($11.20 by case or mixed case): Now we go from the Ligurian coast to the edge of the Adriatic, in the province of Le Marche. We've featured several other reds and whites from Fontezoppa over the past year, and their 2008 IGT Marche Rosso continues the string of exceptional, well-priced and tasty wines that issue from this excellent property. Much as many of Fontezoppa's other blends, it's Sangiovese-based, with the addition of 40% Cabernet and 10% Merlot. Southern Italian reds have picked up an undeserved reputation over the years as being hot, monolithic and tiresome to drink, but this gem is anything but that. In fact, appropriate to its cepage, it drinks like a dusty, leathery, spicy and sour-cherry-infused little Super Tuscan. However, the modest $14 price tag is definitely NOT Super Tuscan!
Favorite Beers Return
This week, we feature the return of some old favorites, mostly Lagunitas. Their allocations are becoming bigger, better and a little more frequent. Also, check the new Smuttynose, 21st Amendment and Lost Abbey releases.
Lost Abbey/New Belgium Mo'Betta Bretta
Lost Abbey Angel Share Strong Ale
21st Amendment Bitter American
Smuttynose Homunculus Belgian IPA
Lagunitas Pale Ale
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
Lagunitas Censored Copper Ale
Lagunitas Maximus IPA
Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin' Sumpin'
Lagunitas Lucky 13
Absent Lawyer Wine Queue
After her string of sudden successes, we've gotten reports that all Brenna now has to occupy her time is five cases of Funyuns and an entire season of Hillbilly Hand Fishing re-runs. We have promises that she will return to us when the Funyuns run out or she finishes Hillbilly Hand Fishing...whichever comes first. She can dream about these wines while her skin fuses to the Naugahyde couch in her basement:
Chad Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2010- $17.99
Langhe Chardonnay, Elio Grasso 2011- $23.99
Marche Rosato "Piccini", Fontezoppa 2010- $14.99
Verdicchio Spumante Brut, Fontezoppa NV- $15.99
Vermentino Riviera Ligure dei Ponente, Poggio dei Gorleri 2011- $18.99
Colli Maceratesi "Vardo", Fontezoppa 2008- $16.99