Archive for Tasting Notes

Festive French

It is December and the holidays are here.  We’ve stocked up on a few new French wines to match those upcoming special dinners.

2018 Château de la Crée Les Tourelles Montagny 1er  $28
100% Chardonnay
Primer Cru Burgundy at a great price.  This single vineyard wine has aromas are acacia, mayflower, honeysuckle, bramble flowers with notes of hazelnut, white peach and ripe pear. In the mouth, the wine is fresh, young at heart, frisky, alluring, and rich. Refinement and delicacy are harmoniously matched to a durably well-built structure.

2019 Alain Gautheron Chablis  $29
100% Chardonnay
The Domaine Gautheron hews mostly to the style of classic Chablis.  When they use barrels for elevage, they do so with a light touch. The result is wines that show clean, pure, Chardonnay fruit mixed with a stony minerality.

2018 Domaine Jean Royer Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc  $35
50% Grenache Blanc, 30% Bourboulenc, 20% Clairette
Lovely aromatics of nectarine, tangerine, white flowers, and orange pith. On the pallet, it’s fresh and lively, with good body.  The stone fruit and orange citrus flavors pick up a touch of fennel frond as they coat your mouth and a refreshing burst of orange and lime pith and chalky minerality makes your mouth water and gets you ready for the next sip.

2020 Cattin Orange Pinot Gris  $22
Alsace
This Pinot Gris Orange gets a bright orange color due to the long peel + pit contact. In the nose you indeed smell lemon and orange peels and thick spices. In the mouth you taste the full complexity of the same tones but then candy confit, melon, mango and pepper.

2019 Domaine Vincent Paris Granit 30 Cornas  $45
Syrah
The Granit 30 designation refers to the soil, the approximate age of the vines, and the slope on which they are planted.  Aromas are a cloud of camphor, black pepper, lillies, gravel, roasted plums, smoked meat. It leads with pure dark fruit with a smoky mid-palate, and a savory, mineral finish. The tannins have a gentle grip. Prime Northern Rhône Syrah with just enough force to reel you in.  Organic, Biodynamic.

2010 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Saint Joseph Domaine de la Croix des Vignes  $55
Syrah
This 100% Syrah has a nose of crushed blackcurrant, raspberry and blackberry. On the palate the wine is full bodied with clear, brilliant fruit flavors, mineral, spice and earth. Aged and ready.

Holiday Hours
Tuesday-Sunday, 12-6PM

Just when we weren’t looking. . .

We turned our back to cook the turkey and a slew of Italian wines slipped in the door.  Good thing they fit nicely into holiday parties and dinners.

Contrdi Castaldi, Franciacorta Brut  $20
80% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Nero, 10% Pinot Bianco
A fresh, creamy sparkling with attractive aromas of dried apple, lemon zest, honey and candied walnuts. Sharp acidity, balanced by a creamy mousse with lovely almond character on the finish.

Cantina di Sorbara, Lambrusco Salamino  $13
Made from Salamino grapes (yes little salamis).  Beautiful freshness here with freshly soaked blueberries, elderberries, spearmint and rosemary. Dry, balanced and medium-bodied, drawing on a fine thread of bubbles and precise, cutting acidity.

2016 Lunelli, Pietragrande Trentino Bianco  $13
85% Chardonnay, 15% Sauvignon Blanc
From Northern Italy, aromas of white flowers, apples and pears and hints of aromatic herbs. It is lively, refreshing and tangy; mouth-filling, rounded fruit on the front palate gives way to appealing citrus-like notes and mineral hints on the finish.
Was $18 Now $13

2019 Cantina Colterenzio, Alto Adige Gewürztraminer  $19
Enticing aroma of tropical fruit, cloves and cinnamon. It only takes one sniff to know this is not only going to be good but also offer a lot of different layers. The wine tastes thick, luscious and complex. It’s somewhat sweet but carries it remarkably well thanks to plenty of acidity. Citrus and tropical fruit, baking spice, minerality and more await as you sip. It ends dry, with lingering spice and tart fruit.

2017 La Spinetta, Il Nero di Casanova  $18
100% Sangiovese
Aromas of wild cherry, black currant and sweet plum. On the palate, this wine offers silky tannins and a fruity chewy finish as well as lots of cherry with elegant richness. A funky and intense wine.

2016 Campo a Matteo, Chianti Reserva  $15
80% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, 10% Ciliegiolo
A Reserva at normalie pricing.  Savory, full-bodied, black cherries and berries. The supple mouth feel and focused taste of cherry flavors make our Chianti a pleasant and traditional Tuscan wine

2018 San Felice, Il Grigio Chianti Classico Riserva  $20
Sangiovese
This Reserva represents the perfect blend of the traditional and the modern. It spends some 24 months in oak, with about 20% in small barriques, and one year in the bottle.  Black cherries with summer black truffles and dark wood on the nose. A medium-to full-bodied red with medium, round tannins and lovely fruit. It firm and flavorful.

2018 Cesari, Jústo  $14
60% Corvina, 40% Merlot
This wine is an appassimento style wine – the grapes are dried for a short period of time – about 20 days. Notes of ripe fruit and cherry are evident. A bold structure, yet with a smooth and velvety mouthfeel.

2018 Ronchi di Pietro L’Ánime de Nestre Tiare  $20
Schioppettino
A rescued indigenous varietal from Friuli.  Wild berry bouquet, including wild blackberry, raspberry and blueberry. Round and warm taste, full-bodied and with elegant tannicity.

Holiday Hours
Tuesday-Sunday, 12-6PM

Cali

In a land to the South of us is a place where the sun shines and the grapes ripen with little threat of rain.   With all the grapes that we produce locally, we sometimes forget about this place.  Here’s a few wines from there that have recently migrated North and found their way to our shelves.  What better way to spend a grey weekend than to sip a bit of sunshine?
 
2017 Cannonball Eleven, Sauvignon Blanc  $14
Dry Creek Valley
This fruity white is balanced by buoyant acidity. Fermented mostly in stainless steel, it offers defined flavors of lemon, melon and lime.  Was $20 now $14

2018 Trefethen, Dry Riesling  $15
A quality Cali Riesling– Floral aromas of orange blossom and jasmine are complemented by fresh notes of green apple and grapefruit. On the palate, this bright, yet luscious wine evolves with flavors of nectarine, white peach and honey-crisp apple. The minerality and beautiful acidity provide an invigorating finish.  Normally $20 Special Price $15

2017 Trefethen, Oak Knoll Chardonnay  $15
Aromas of lemon, honeysuckle, and pear greet the nose. The fresh palate features more citrus flavors, as well as green apple, and a clean finish. The oak influence in this wine is subtle but important, adding a note of vanilla on the nose and a pleasant roundness on the palate.  Sustainable  Was $30 Now $15

2019 Sandhi, Central Coast Chardonnay  $20
Pretty aromas of citrus flowers and fruit. Notes of limes, lemons and toasty notes from oak. On the palate it will have good structure and plenty of restraint and balance.  Practicing Organic

2018 Flowers, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay  $30
Bursting with fresh, salty acidity, this appellation wine conjures the coast from which it comes, offering beguilingly soft layers of elegant richness. Apple, pear, nutmeg and a whiff of lemon meringue play well on the palate, with plenty of length and breadth to impress.

2014 Mount Peak, Rattlesnake Zinfindel  $20
96% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah
Classic Zinfandel characteristics of Provençal spices, roasted herbs, pepper and oodles of briary black raspberry and black cherry fruit. It cuts a big swath across the palate with loads of glycerin and an unctuous, thick, juicy quality that is provocative.

2017 Experience, Napa Cabernet  $27
92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, and 2% Malbec.
A plush, forward Napa Cab to enjoy with life, now! The winery’s tasting note: “Intense ruby in color, this Cabernet opens with a lovely bouquet of forward fruit, soft notes of oak from the barrel fermentation, some anise and a hint of mocha. Ripe black fruit unfolds on the palate offering cassis, blackberry and black cherry. The finish is long and lingering with a smooth rich texture.”

2017 Sinegal, Napa Valley  $50
82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, 4% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot
This high scoring Napa Cab exhibits elegant aromas of ripe raspberry, plumb and black cherry, with notes of rose petal, cinnamon and all spice. The subtle oak spice tones are well integrated with the fruit and floral aromas in this wine. On the palate there is a silky texture with smooth tannins and long lingering finish. Flavors of candied cherries, and blackberry kirsch are intermixed with secondary notes of vanilla bean, mocha and coca nibs.  Was $100, Now $50

Holiday Hours
Tuesday-Sunday, 12-6PM

Thanksgiving Wines

We have the shop stocked with lots of suitable wines for Thanksgiving day.  The best way to find the one for you is to come in and browse the selections.  But if you want a preview here are a few off the beaten path choices for Turkey day.

We will be open Tuesday the 23rd from noon to 6.  And Thanksgiving day the 25th from noon to 3pm.  We’ll also be open every Tuesday through New Years.  The holiday season is here.

A Cornucopia of Whites

2019 Joseph Cattin, Alsace Gewurtztraminer  $18
A nice perfumed nose with litchi and mango aromas and a delicate touch of rose water. The palate reveals ripe exotic fruits with rose flavors. The style is well-balanced between spiciness and freshness. Super delicious.

2019 Marcel Deiss, Alsace Complantation  $29
This is a co-fermented field blend of Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Muscat à petits grains, Gewürztraminer, Sylvaner, Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Beurot, Muscat Blanc, Rose d’Alsace, Traminer, plus others.  Bright elderflower, mandarin, fragrant pear is stenciled with tangerine pith on a long palate, finishing with a gentle swell of warmth  Lovely harmony here.  Biodynamic

2019 Domaine des Forges, Savennieres Moulin du Gué  $24
Chenin Blanc
A rich yet dry white infused with the distinctive mineral characteristic of the Savennières wines. The creamy texture is beautifully balanced with buttery notes, hazelnut and sweet spice through to a refreshing finish.

2017 Tenuta Santi Giacomo e Filippo Bellantonio  $22
Incrocio Bruni
A unique white from the Marche region.  The nose is abundant with fruit and has complex notes of citrus fruit, tomato leaves with a hint of tropical lychee fruit.  The palate is fresh and vibrant with a near perfect balance of fruit and acidity. Stunning wine.  Organic

2018 Château de la Crée, Les Tourelles Montagny 1er  $28
100% Chardonnay
Premier Cru Burgundy at a great price.  This single vineyard wine has aromas are acacia, mayflower, honeysuckle, bramble flowers with notes of hazelnut, white peach and ripe pear. In the mouth, the wine is fresh, young at heart, frisky, alluring, and rich. Refinement and delicacy are harmoniously matched to a durably well-built structure.

Versitile Reds

2019 Francheso Brigatti, Maria Collin Novaresi  $22
Vespolino
Vespolina is the indigenous grape variety of Alto Piemonte by definition, the wine is deep ruby with violet reflections when young. Floral and red berries are the main aromas and flavors that complement the typical spicy note.

2020 Elena Walch, Schiava  $16
A great summer red you can put a chill on.   A delicate hint of cherry on the nose. On the palate, it is harmonious and elegant due to naturally mild acidity and tannin with a pleasant bitter almond flavor on the finish. An elegant, fruity red wine with good length.

Bubbles

Domaine Bonnet-Huteau,  Nuit Boréale  $18
80% Chardonnay, 20% Melon de Bourgogne
Sparkling French bubbles from Sèvre et Maine appellation, the heart of Muscadet.  Fresh and elegant wine with aromas of white fruits.  Organic, biodynamic

Cantina di Sorbara. Lambrusco Salamino  $13
Made from Salamino grapes.  Beautiful freshness here with freshly soaked blueberries, elderberries, spearmint and rosemary. Dry, balanced and medium-bodied, drawing on a fine thread of bubbles and precise, cutting acidity.

Dessert

2019 Ximénez-Spínola, Pedro Ximénez  $34
A PX made is a Sauterne style.  The aromas of fleshy fruit stand out: peach, apricot and ripe plum but not raisined yet. When the glass is rotated, the pear and the green apple are awakened, with no more than a slight hint of bitter almond given by the French oak wood, which balances the exuberant profusion of its fruity manifestation  –500ml.

Holiday Hours
Tuesday-Sunday, 12-6PM

No Nouveau,

But Good Gamay!

Gamay is a most overlooked and underappreciated grape. Traditionally from Beaujolais, it is a great accompaniment to a wide range of food and doesn’t require the long ageing of Bordeaux or Burgundy.  It also makes a great Thanksgiving wine.  Here are a few we have in stock.

2019 Les Iris Beaujolais  $13
A little value Gamay.  Bright and lively red, this youthful, juicy Beaujolais has plenty of lifted red fruit. Crushed red berries on the palate with floral notes and a dusting of allspice.

2018 Stéphane-Aviron Beaujolais Villages  $13
this tasty organic red is made from 50+ year old vines.  It has an easy drinking and fruit forwards style on this Beaujolais Villages. On the nose, there are abundant notes of macerated strawberries with hints of herbs. The acidity is bright with soft tannins with abundant red fruit on the palate.
Organic

2019 Dupre Beaujolais-Villages  $15
Single-vineyard Gamay from vines planted in 1940. The wine has a good concentration full of red fruit and drying tannins.

2018 2019 Domaine les Gryphées Beaujolais Les Balmes  $17
“Balmes” is a slope.  This steeply-graded vineyard was planted nearly 100 years ago. Aromas of red and purple flowers, cherries and red plums, light baking spice, pepper.  Medium-bodied; smooth tannins.

2019 Piron Coq Leon  $17
95% Gamay, 5% Gamaret
A VDP but the grapes all come from Beaujolais vineyards.  Gamaret is a cross of Gamay with Reichensteiner. There are plots of these vines growing in little known villages in the region and occasionally, as in this case, it is blended with Gamay to make a plump, darker, some would say more fun wine to be enjoyed without fuss with the hearty fare served locally.

2019 Château La de Bottieére Juliénas  $20
100% Gamay
Dark raspberries and wild strawberries, peppered with crushed violets, peonies, star anise, and an undercurrent of dark, stony earth. It is plenty smooth, pretty, and soft, but there is also a nice crunch of acid and tannin which gives the wine its lift and palate persistence.

2018 Domaine de Bel-Air Morgan les Charmes  $20
Some deeper aromas here with darker fruit and mineral notes, leading to a palate that has impressive density and rich dark berries. Long, stony finish. Really rich.
Organic

2018 Maison Guillot-Broux, Mâcan Rouge  $25
A blend of several old Mâconnais vineyards.  The wine is vinified in concrete vats, using indigenous yeasts. Part of the harvest is de-stemmed to bring a bit more finesse and elegance to the cuvee. The limestone terroirs give it its minerality and freshness; the granite terroirs, hints of camphor and dark fruits with has spicy and peppery overtones.

Holiday Hours

Tuesday-Sunday, 12-6PM

Château L’Affordable de Bordeaux

It is hard not to like affordable Bordeaux.  Here are a few that have recently come into the shop.

2020 De Fontenille Entre Deux Mers  $15
50% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sauvignon Gris, 20% Muscadelle, 10% Semillon
A lot more than straight up Sauv Blanc, the Fontenille has enticing aromas of citrus fruit and white peaches, Château de Fontenille Entre Deux Mers displays wonderful acidity and freshness on the palate coupled with exotic fruit and citrus flavors.

2019 Château Cleyrac Bordeaux Supérieur  $10
10 buck Bordeaux.  A juicy, fruity red with currant and floral character. Medium body. Easy finish.  Mystery cepage.

2016 Moulin de Lagut Bordeaux  $13
65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc
Ripe, fresh fruit on the nose, expressive oak with vanilla and toasty notes. Full, round, powerful and aromatic on the palate. An authentic Bordeaux.

2016 Château Briot Bordeaux  $14
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot
From an estate in Entre-Deux-Mers, the Briot shows  pleasant red berry aromas, with a hint of fresh walnut and toasted vanilla.  It is well-rounded and  fruit  driven,  with  an  elegant,  soft  tannic structure and good length.

2014 Dumas Cenot Bordeaux Superieur  $15
Merlot – Cabernet Franc – Cabernet Sauvignon
A good little Bordeaux in an odd bottle and a wooden box.  Expressive smell of matured black fruits, supple tannins with a ripe fruit finish.

Wednesday-Sunday-12-6PM

Two New Elephants

Take a break from the grey and introduce yourself to our two new wines from Elephant Seven. Walla Walla fruit done right.

2019 Elephant Seven. Side E  $22
23% Viognier, 27% Grenache Blanc, 21% Clairette Blanche, 29% Picpoul
Walla Walla
Medium-bodied with candied citrus fruits, apricot, ginger, soft cheese rind, and exotic spices. A crushed stone minerality covers the mid-palate. The finish lingers and is dry, fresh, and zesty with just a bit of natural tannins coming through for extra lift.

2020 Elephant Seven, Cosmic Reflection  $25
60% Mourvèdre, 40% Syrah
Walla Walla
Earthy on the nose with white pepper, dried Provençal herbs, red fruit, Luxardo cherries, and pencil shavings. Medium to full bodied. Briary wild berries, roasted meats, and olive tapenade on the mid-palate. Firm yet well integrated tannins with a long, effusive finish.

Also just in:  Ciel du Cheval from Cadence

2018 Cadence, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard  $45
38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 19% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot
Lots of classic Red Mountain tannins and minerality as well as notes of cassis, currants, dried herbs, graphite, and loamy soil define this beauty, and it’s medium to full-bodied and wonderfully balanced, with a round, expansive mouthfeel and a great finish.

Wednesday-Sunday, 12-6PM

Happy Halloween

Bring the kids to 34th Ave. today for a little Trick or Treat fun. And for a little adult fun, stop in and pick up a wine from the land of the Vampires.

2016 Budureasca Fetească Neagră  $16
Romania
Fetească Neagră; English: Black Maiden is an old pre-phylloxeric variety of Romanian – Moldovan grape,  The Budureasca ia a juicy and full-bodied Feteasca Neagra, fragrant with bright cherry, spice, vanilla aromas on the nose. Dry, vibrant with ripe red berry, dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice and vanilla flavors on the palate.

Wednesday-Sunday, 12-6PM

Treats, No Tricks

Forget what your mother told you about running with scissors.  You defiantly need a little wine to go with pumpkin carving.

2019 M. Chapoutier, Marius  $10
Vermintino
A good value White from the Chapoutier empire, full of citrus and notes of grapefruit and ripe fruit on the nose. On the palate it is refreshing and fruity with lovely notes of ripe fruit, enhanced by a nice acidity, giving the wine good length on the palate.

2019 Nespolino, Bianco  $12
70% Trebbiano, 30% Chardonnay
The perfume is intense: citrus notes of the Trebbiano are blended with riper tropical fruit aromas of Chardonnay, such as pineapple, papaya and mango. The final taste is an overall well-balanced feeling.  Biodynamic,

2017 Trefethen, Oak Knoll Chardonnay  $15
Aromas of lemon, honeysuckle, and pear greet the nose. The fresh palate features more citrus flavors, as well as green apple, and a clean finish. The oak influence in this wine is subtle but important, adding a note of vanilla on the nose and a pleasant roundness on the palate.  Was $30 Now $15

2017 Yamhill Valley Winery, Estate Grown Pinot Noir  $20
All Estate fruit at a great price.  Raspberry, violet, Bing cherry, baking spices, fig.

2020 Mas de Boislauzon, La Chaussynette  $15
Grenache, Syrah
While mainly Grenache & Syrah, this little red has bit of all 13 CNDP varietals.  Attractive red plum and blueberry nose. There’s tannin and structure too. A well-built wine with a chocolate rich mocha like finish that lingers for some time afterwards.

2017 Leone de Castris, Maiana Salice Salentino  $13
Negroamaro
Red intense wine. The nose has fruity hints of plum and spiced of vanilla. In the mouth it is smooth, velvety and nicely tannic.

2018 Lapostolle, Apalta  $15
78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 10% Carmenère
Chile
Elegant, fine and well balanced nose with black fruits such as blackberry and black spicy aromas; palate has a silky attack followed by red and black fruit, coffee and chocolate flavors with good tannins delivering a very good structure.

Wednesday-Sunday, 12-6PM

It’s Spooky!

October is blowing by like dry leaves in the Autumn wind.
Next weekend is Halloween!
Saturday the merchants in Madrona are getting a jump on the Trick or Treating.  Bring the kids and safely swing by the storefronts and collect candy thorough out the day.

In the meantime here are a few treats that have blown in for the adults:

2019 Fernand Engel, Pinot Blanc Réserve  $13
Very intense nose, beautiful evolution, between fruity presence, bush peach, pineapple, tangerine, mineral and floral. Very complex nose presenting buttered nuances, mentholated, balsamic. Nice first sensation silky, then fresh and fruity on notes of pineapple, grapefruit and bush peach, very beautiful density, bitterness pointing out the citrus fruits peel.

2019 Joseph Cattin, Gewurtztraminer  $18
Alsace
A nice perfumed nose with litchi and mango aromas and a delicate touch of rose water. The palate reveals ripe exotic fruits with rose flavors. The style is well-balanced between spiciness and freshness. Super delicious.

2020 Ca’ del Baio, Langhe Nebbiolo  $15
The 2019 Ca’ del Baio Langhe Nebbiolo is made from young vines in their Barbaresco vineyards, A vibrant, medium-bodied red from Piedmont with no oak contact. This wine features bright cherry along with the earth and tobacco finish of good Nebbiolo with zingy acidity and granular tannins.

2019 Domain de Cabriac, Vieilles Vignes Carignan  $14
Corbières
Old-vine Carignan done in cement tank the way God intended. Dark and chewy with lots of cherry fruit.

2015 Finn Hill, Vivant  $15
Rosebud Vineyard Malbec
Single vineyard, Washington State Malbec with perfumed aromas of crushed black and red berries on wet gravel, with hints of molasses and bay leaf. The pour delivers predominant fruit notes of blackberry, boysenberry, red currant, and blueberry. The finish brings mellow plum-skin acidity and tannin. Was $29 Now $15

Wednesday-Sunday, 12-9PM