|We are very excited to be offering the great Burgundies of 2015 from Maison Louis Jadot. A lot of you have already heard the buzz about the 2015 vintage in Burgundy. It is, of course, to soon to really tell but the red wines in Burgundy, particularly in the Cotes de Nuits, look like the most promising in years. with several vintners comparing the year to 2005.
Although yields were low more wine was produced in 2015 than will be produced in 2016 and probably 2017 and 2018 due to the damage done to the vineyards mostly from hail.
This is our offer from Jadot of the reds of 2015. Orders are due by February 10th and will not be confirmed until the Spring for pickup in the fall of 2017. Please e-mail us with your orders.
Prices for the Grand Cru are per bottle. Prices for everything else are for 6 packs.
I was hanging around the Marlboro store when a salesman popped in to taste Joe on some new wines.
When Joe likes something he get’s a little excited and generally brings me in a glass to try and he was palpably excited this morning. I was in the office, and he rushed in, stuck a glass under my nose, and said “Kenny, you’ve got to try this!”
I looked at the wine, it was a beautiful cherry red, slightly opaque, with the unmistakable aroma of Pinot Noir. I knew it wasn’t from California, they just don’t have the climate to succesfully grow this kind of Pinot. And no, I’m not dissing California Pinot Noir. I considered New Zealand, but finally settled on Burgundy. I thought this was one of the better wines from the Cote Chalonaise. Maybe Givry? or Mercury? This wine was balanced and juicy though, without any of the telltale funk of Burgundy.
It was from Oregon, and when I heard the price I flipped! It was a Montinore Estate Pinot Noir 2013. Established in 1982, Montinore Estate is a 210 acre Demeter Certified Biodynamic and Certified Organic estate in Oregon’s Williamette Valley. They believe that exceptional wine is is produced with a combination of soil, climate, controlled fruit, careful fermentation and estate bottling
The thing that really struck me about this wine is the combination of fruit and acid that displays a bountiful punch of flavor. Soft, ripe, and voluptuous flavors marry beautifully with ripe cherry aromas.
And the critics are gushing over this wine! The following is from Eric Asimov, the wine critic of the New York Times.
2013 Montinore Estate Red Cap Pinot Noir
“Every year Montinore manages to release inexpensive pinot noirs from the Willamette Valley that are light, balanced, juicy and simply delicious to drink. What’s more, the grapes are farmed biodynamically. The wine, pale ruby with balanced, lively flavor of spicy red fruit, is proof that even in prestigious regions, moderately priced wine can be made with love and care.”
This wine is not a big, bruising, modern Pinot Noir with a big dollop of Syrah in it. This wine is restrained and elegant. It is classic Pinot.
The regular price of this wine is $19.99. For this e-mail special we are selling 6 packs of this wine for $90.00 or you can buy a full case of 12 for $170.00. E-mail me at email@example.com. We have approximately ten cases left out of 50.
Classic Pinot Noir, from a meticulous producer.
Hi Friends, January 19th, 2016
This is the kind of wine we just love to sell to you. Southern French? Check. Red? Check. Exclusive? Yup. Inexpensive? You bet. Delicious? Yeah, it’s all that.
2013 Chateau Valcombe “Les Hauts de Valcombe” Ventoux Rouge, Rhone, France
The wines of Chateau Valbombe are made by Luc and Cendrine Guénard, a couple that has a great respect for terroir. They studied winemaking under the famous Paul Jeune, owner of Chateau Monpertuis, whose lovely wines have graced our shelves throughout the years.
The vines on their estate are roughly 75 years old. The property is at approximately 1,000 feet, farmed organically, and they produce TRADITIONAL wines.
They have about 28 hectacres of vines, mostly old vine Grenache and Syrah, with a little Cinsault and and Carignan. A little bit of white grapes are also grown.
We tasted this in December, and had it brought in from the New York warehouse of Rosenthal Imports. I have since tasted it over multiple days and it kept getting better and better. We have less than 25 cases.
I should have bought 50.
Our tasting notes.
2013 Les Hauts de Valcombe. A blend of Grenache and Syrah. 13.5 alcohol.
Black cherry aromas leap from the glass as we pulled the cork on this spicy, sappy red. Additional aromas of dried flowers, garrigue, red currant, plums. cinnamon, cracked pepper, pomegranite, leather notes, raspberry, and a great minerality probably due to the large stones (galet) in the vineyard. The wine is medium bodied, with outstanding balance and precise flavors. The finish is long and tangy with smoke, cherries, and lingering blueberries.
I have twice tasted this over a 3 day period and it kept getting better. The kind of wine that when you have the last sip you want to open another bottle.
This is scrumptious wine at a deliciously low price. Retailing in at $14.99, I can sell you a 6 pack for $70.00 or step up to a case for $140.00.
If you like inexpensive Southern French reds, you should take some of this home.
I know I am.
Hi Friends, January 27th, 2015
The first place I ever went to in Spain was Yecla. I was there with some other wine professionals on a tour of the wineries and regions of Spain. You would think we would go to Rioja, or Ribera del Duero, or perhaps Priorat to begin our explorations, but no, we went to Yecla.
And there began my education in Monastrell.
Yecla is a Spanish Denominacion de Origin (D.O.) for wines located in Murcia around the town of Yecla. It is hot and dry and gets a minimal amount of water from it’s 12 inches of rain per year. The province of Murcia is located in eastern Spain and is completely surrounded by the D.O.’s Jumilla, Alicante, and Almansa.
The main (although certainly not the only) grape of Yecla is Monastrell. The grape is also grown in Southern France as Mouvedre and in the United States as Mataro, although the origin of this grape is most certainly Spain. It is the second most important (after Grenache or Garnacha) grape grown in Spain. The vines produce small, sweet, thick skinned berries that generally produce wines that are high in alcohol and flavor. The grape can also, under the right conditions, age very well.
So anyways I was in our Marlboro store last week and our store manager Joseph and I were tasting through some French and Spanish offerings. This wine stopped us in our tracks. The nose was heady and the palate was big and sweet and full and dense and layered with raspberry. The wine coated the tongue with flavor and it felt rich with fruit. Joe, in particular, was almost jumping up and down with excitement about this wine.
I really think this is the pinnacle of relatively inexpensive Spanish winemaking today. This wine is gorgeous. Wait till you see the price!
Castano Solanera Vinas Viejas 2013
The Wine Advocate (Parker) liked this also giving it 92 points. Here’s some of what he had to say –
“Even better is the 2013 Solanera…this blend is 70% Monastrell, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Grenache, aged 10 months in French and American oak… The Solanera, which comes from relatively high-altitude limestone soils at 900 meters, has a dense purple color, a big sweet kiss of blueberry and blackberry fruit mixed with crushed chalk, a full-bodied mouthfeel, beautiful purity, density, and richness. The oak is well concealed by the lavish fruit-the wine just amazing. Drink it over the next 2 to 3 years, as these powerhouses are best consumed in their exuberant and extroverted youth.”
We highly recommend this one if you like big, lavish, New School wine.
Regular Price – $15.99
6 pack – $75.00
Or buy a case of 12 for $140.00. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you would like to receive your wine in Marlboro e-mail email@example.com
Roger and I tried this wine a month ago and were, once again, completely floored by the price/value relationship available in wines from the Maule Valley in Chile.
The Maule River runs directly through the valley. It is amazingly like Bordeaux, where the Gironde cuts through the region. Wines from the north (let’s say Right Bank) are dominated by Merlot much like Pomerol and St Emilion, while grapes planted in the south (let’s say Left Bank) are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, much like the great wines of the Medoc.
Emile Bouchon came to Chile in 1892, and the family has been making wine in the Maule Valley ever since. The current proprietor of the estate is Emile’s grandson, Julio. And he has done a fantastic job with this wine.
I tried this wine last night again and it has taken on even more weight, with brilliant cassis and plum aromas emanating from a fragrant bouquet of raspberries and cherries. VERY structured from the Cabernet in the blend, this wine can go on for years.
Fruit, ripeness, acid, structure, and power. What everyone is looking for in great Bordeaux. Except we have a PRICE from Chile. We have about 15 cases left.
75% Merlot, 15% Carmenere, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine comes in at 13.7% alcohol. I find it to be delicious AND A SUPERB VALUE!
J. Bouchon Canto Norte Maule Valley, Chile 2012
Even the critics are weighing in on the value associated with this wine. This is from Steve Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar; “Spicy cherry and red berry aromas are complicated by pungent herbs and floral oils. Taut and focused on the palate, offering vibrant redcurrant and cherry flavors that turn spicier with air. Finishes with refreshing bite, supple tannins and strong fruit-driven persistence. Outstanding value.” 90 points!
That’s a pretty accurate review IMHO. The words I focus on are “Taut and focused”, “fruit-driven persistence”, AND OF COURSE “Outstanding value” This is EXACTLY the wine that I tried last night.
This wine normally goes for the bargain price of $14.99 (hey, it’s not from Bordeaux, it’s from Chile). For an e-mail special, however, I can sell you a 6 pack of this 90 point wine for the mere price of $65.00 or you can advance to the bonus round and pick up a case for $125.00.
Either way you should tuck a few bottles away. This wine should age very well. E-mail me back please, 15 cases available. Structure and power for $10.42 a bottle!
Acton Wine & Spirit Co.
I was recently conversing with one of our regular wine customers (let’s call him Mike). When the topic of our Grand Wine Tasting was brought up, Mike told me that in the 15 years that he’s been shopping here, he’s never attended it. He occasionally comes to our Saturday tastings, but he confided that he usually wanders around the store until there’s no one else tasting, before he’ll step up to the table. When pressed for a reason, Mike would only say that he didn’t really know HOW to taste and was nervous that he would do something embarrassing. After 20+ years in the business, I tend to forget that there was a time when I felt the same way. The only difference was that I had experienced professionals to “hold my hand” and walk me through it. So, now it’s time for me to try and pass on what I’ve learned.
The following should be a helpful guide for the novice wine-taster; a brief summary of wine tasting technique and an explanation of some basic tasting etiquette.
Just about every wine professional that I have met has different methods for tasting; different idiosyncrasies, different order in which to do things and even some superstitions that they follow out of habit. However, I do find that almost always, everyone’s methods include what are known as the 5 “S’s”; five steps all starting with the letter S. For this exercise, we’ll actually expand that to Seven “S’s”.
See- Ideally you want to view the glass against a white surface. Your wine should be clear unless you have an aged wine with lots of sediment. Note the color. Wines can range dramatically in color depending on the type of grape used to make the wine and how long the wine sat on the skins. As wines age they lose color, so a good look at the color can tell you a bit about how old it is.
Swirl- Hold your wine at the base and lightly swirl the wine in your glass. The swirling process sends oxygen through the wine, expanding the surface area and allowing the aromas to open up.
Sniff- The next step is to give your wine a nice big sniff. Don’t be shy. Stick your nose way into the glass and try to identify the scents. Remember that wine tasting can be subjective and there are no right or wrong answers.
Sip- Take a nice big sip of your wine. Let the wine spread out across your mouth, curl your tongue, and breathe in air through your mouth. This will send air through the wine once again and allow it to open even more.
(Swallow or Spit, Not usually considered part of the 5 S’s )- The latter may sound impolite, but it’s not. In fact, it’s the only way to taste if you are sampling many wines. At most tastings, you’ll find a large bucket for that purpose as well as for any leftover wine in your glass.
Savor- Most wines have a lingering aftertaste or “finish” even after you have completed the actual tasting. Take some time to appreciate the unique flavors of the wine; how they coalesce into a single unique experience.
These five (seven) steps should allow you to experience all facets of a wine that your senses allow. Everything beyond that is extraneous and intended to impress, or more likely someone that doesn’t know what they are doing trying to appear like they do. A few other things to remember when tasting…
—Don’t monopolize the wines or the people pouring them. Get your taste, and then step away from the table to give others a chance to taste as well. If you have a question, ask, but be brief. This also goes for spit buckets. They’re for everyone, not just the people in front.
—Respect the Wine, Don’t Chug It. Whether tasting a $5 wine or a $5000 wine, respect each wine you taste and give it a chance. Whether in a wine tasting room, where you might insult the wine maker, or at a wine tasting party, where you might insult the person who brought the wine, don’t treat any wine like swill.
––Don’t interfere with other taster’s senses of smell. This means that smoking is not recommended at or around a tasting. Also, using any scent (perfume, after-shave lotion, scented hair spray, and so on) in excess is undesirable. These foreign odors can really interfere with your fellow tasters’ ability to enjoy the wine’s aroma.
—Let others form their own opinions. Courteous wine tasters also do not volunteer their opinions about a wine until others have had a chance to taste. Believe it or not, you’re opinion can have an effect on the perceptions of others; it has happened to me on a number of occasions.
The bottom line is that wine tasting should be an enjoyable social experience that can expand the mind and please the senses. A lot of people think of it as a pastime for the wealthy, powerful, and well dressed, but in the end all the bluster and ceremony is unnecessary. It’s just wine.
People in Acton (one in particular) give me a lot of grief for saying that Pinot Noir is my “desert island” wine. In other words, if stranded on a desert island with only one grape to choose from, I would drink Pinot.
That was true when I wrote it a couple of months ago, and it’s still true.
The only problem is most of the Pinot’s that I like, with a few noticeable exceptions, cost at least $40.00 a bottle. Pinot Noir is a notoriously fickle grape to grow, with thin skins, prone to mildew and rot, and quite a lot of the inexpensive ones (sorry, inexpensive California producers) just are not that good.
Now Burgundy is the home of Pinot Noir, and Burgundy is located between 40 and 50 degrees latitude. So is Oregon. Although the wines of Oregon DO NOT taste like the wines from Burgundy (sorry all you wine salesmen) it seems to be that the grape thrives in a cooler climate. Ditto Northern Italy.
But there is somewhere else on the globe that has the same latitude.
Turn the world upside down.
Patagonia in far southern Argentina has the approximately the same latitudinal coordinates as Oregon and Burgundy, (as does New Zealand on the other side of the globe) and is virtually unknown as a winemaking center.
Enter Paul Hobbs.
Paul Hobbs is known as the person who literally brought Argentian Malbec to the fore in his work at Catena, and of late he has been producing some stellar Pinot Noirs from California (at $50.00 and up).
Here though, he has teamed up with Leonardo Puppato to produce a modern Pinot from old vines in Patagonia, Argentina. Fermented in open top stainless steel 18 days of skin contact, and then aged in a combination of stainless steel and French and American oak, this wine pops with acidity and flavor.
And it’s priced like Pinot from Patagonia should be. It does not cost the proverbial arm and leg. Joe and I tried this wine at a dinner a couple of months ago, and have been waiting to get a price on it.
ALTO LIMAY “SELECT” PINOT NOIR
2012 Patagonia, Argentina
Tasting notes: 100% Pinot Noir. 14% Alcohol. Bright Ruby Red color. This is not a delicate Pinot. You can see the 18 days of skin contact here, as well as taste it. Cherries, rose petals, flowers and great lift with a strong acid backbone. A slight hint of vanilla from the oak, this Pinot is distinctly drinkable, with a silky feeling in the mouth, and a dry finish with a firm tannic structure.
This has the stuffing to age well. One can see the work and structure of Paul Hobbs in this wine.
This wine lists at the bargain price of $20.00 a bottle, but for this e-mail special I can sell you a 6 pack for the low price (for good Pinot) of $85.00, or you can step up and order a case for $165.00. Just e-mail me back. There were just 1000 cases produced, so we got around 5% of the world’s supply. This wine will go with foods as diverse as barbecued fish, chicken, or steak.
Just e-mail me back at firstname.lastname@example.org. In stock now.
Everyone loves to complain about their job. Even if they love what they do, they’ll find something to gripe about around the water cooler. If you’ve ever seen the film “Clerks”( a favorite of retail workers everywhere), you’ll already know that those of us in the trade LOVE to complain about our customers. No, not all of them, just a select few. My personal favorite is a customer I like to call Mr./Mrs. Best. The exchange usually goes something like this…
Me – “Hi, can I help you find something?”
Mr./Mrs. Best – “Yeah, I’m looking for a bottle of Chardonnay (or Merlot, or Cabernet, etc.) for dinner with friends. Which one is “THE BEST?”
Now there’s a loaded question. The Best? The best how? The best value? The best balanced? The best match to the food being served? The best purity of fruit? The best expression of terroir? I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
The problem with “ The Best” is that it is a completely subjective term. How do you quantify the quality of a wine? I know lots of wine critics try to with their 100 point scales, or “stars” or “Bicchieri” (Glasses), but what do those scores really mean? It’s just the opinion of one individual (or group) that may have very different tastes than you do. You could ask ten different people what they think “The Best” Chardonnay is and get ten different answers, for ten different reasons. I’m not saying that some wines are not better than others, but to single out one bottle as “The Best” is a bit presumptuous.
However, the solution can be easier than one might think. With just a little more information, we can figure out what wine(s) will match up well with their tastes and needs.
-What are they looking to spend? $200 wines can be wonderful, but so can $20 wines.
-What are they pairing it with? Veal Parmesan? Burgers? Good conversation? Whatever it is, we can find a wine to go with it.
-What do they usually like, or not like to drink? If I’m thinking Malbec and they like Malbec,…we have a winner. If they don’t like Merlot, then I’m not going to recommend Merlot even if it is the traditional pairing.
-Then some fine tuning. We’ve decided on Sauvignon Blanc. Do they like 100% varietal or perhaps a blend, like a white Bordeaux? A minerally bottle from the Loire or one with tons of fruit from New Zealand? Something that’s spent a little time in oak or something fresh from stainless steel?
Just by asking a few simple questions, we can find the wine(s) that are “The Best for you”, whatever your situation may call for. Leave “The Best” for the critics to argue over. We’ll just drink good wines.
For those who do not remember, flash sales are not advertised in the newspaper, only electronic media (web-site, e-mails, tweets). From now until 6 P.M. on Sunday, February 23rd, mix up 12 750 ml bottles of wine and receive 25% off. The only exclusions are Everyday Low Priced wines, Sale wines, and French Champagnes. All of our Bordeaux, California wines, Italian wines, and more is on sale! So come on down and shop till you drop!