Featured Wines

by Russ Anderson on February 6, 2018

1Gaston Chiquet Champagne
One benefit of running an independent wine shop, is “extra” inventory taste incredibly good sometimes. This past weekend, we were lucky enough to share a bottle of Gaston Chiquet Champagne with some friends that more than demonstrated this fact.

First a note on “grower” Champagnes, they truly reward a year or two in bottle after the disgorgement date (often noted on the back of the bottle.) A little bit of time allows these living wines to integrate and broaden on the palate, adding complexity and depth of flavor. With this bottle, you can try an “aged” grower champagne without waiting! When released, I stocked up on this bottling and it has just entered a beautiful drinking window.

Made from 40% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir, the wine is deep, rich and full of ripe fruit, both easy drinking and striking at the same time. Full of notes of dried white fruits (white peach, apricot) drizzled with acacia honey and a hint of lightly toasted cashew on a finish of firm supporting bubbles. This wine is completely delightful on its own as well as a perfect accompaniment to a mezze platter. At $48 it is both a great introduction to “grower champagne” and a delicious bottle. Highly recommended for both the Champagne fan and those exploring the varied charms of this wine segment.

2Bodegas Hornillos Ballesteros – Ribera del Duero
The warm sunny vineyards are Spain are home to wines of value and comforting warmth in the winter time. Great friends, winemakers and owners Miguel Hornillos and Javier Ballesteros are genuine “garagiste” winemakers who have established one of the most artisanal producers in Ribera del Duero. . Eco-friendly vineyard work and a methodical selection of grapes help them craft wines of unique character and quality.

Made from 100% Tempranillo, the wine is aged in stainless steel to maintain a purity of extracted blueberry and black fruit There are notes of chocolate and wild herbs and an impressive lift, depth and length of flavor. A delicious wine for rich winter stews, grilled lamb or sipping on its own. $18.

Champagne for the Holidays

by Russ Anderson on December 29, 2017

In the northeast corner of France, and at its closest, only 100 miles from Paris, is one of the best known wine regions in the world – Champagne. Originally a home for still wines, it is now known almost solely for its sparkling wines, certainly they are the most celebrated.

For much of the production in this region, over 95% comes from four or five ‘houses,’ each producing millions or tens of millions of bottles a year. But in recent years, more offerings from grower producers or “farmer fizz” is making its way to the market. These wines are more wine-like, exciting, unique, and delicious in that they each reflect the personality and style of the individual producers. We are proud to represent many of these producers in the store.

For ease of drinkability and enjoyment, this wine is hard to beat. 60% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir. It is one of the rare Champagnes that has been allowed to finish its malolactic fermentation, just like the great whites from the Côte d’Or. Every bottle is riddled by hand, and all cuvées are aged extensively once in bottle. This is a Champagne of great finesse. Light yellow in color with a faint golden hue, it has a gorgeous perfume with floral, vanilla, citrus nuances and a faint spiciness. Creamy, rounded, and elegant, the flavors have floral, vanilla and spice tinges and the finish is long and crisp. Lasalle Preference – $44

2Pierre Peters Blanc de Blanc
Peters’ 2010-dominated NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Cuvee de Reserve, Disgorged 3/2013 – representing the cuvee that makes up more than 60% of his annual production – features juicy apple and white peach, lime and honeydew tinged with the piquancy of their pip and pit; wreathed in gentian and hyacinth; and supplemented by yeast autolysis that shades into notes of roasted peanut and toasted almond. Silken-textured and expansive, yet buoyant and refreshing, this finishes with a predictable underlying sense of oyster shell chalkiness and saliva-liberating salinity as well as a hint of iodine. Pierre Peters – $58

3Boulard “Les Murgiers”
Montagne de Reims – 70% Pinot Meunier and 30% Pinot Noir, reinforced with older wine aged in barrel. Francis Boulard owns three hectares of vines; he’s the son of Raymond Boulard, a widely respected grower in the northernmost part of the region, who recently inherited part of his father’s domaine. “Les Murgiers” comes from a one hectare parcel of chalk and clay soil in the Vallee de la Marne. This is a blend of 70% Pinot Meunier and 30% Pinot Noir. The wine comprises of three vintages. Boulard makes a vinous and savory style of Champagne that is raised in barrel and shows some of the enticing nutty, mushroom-y character of Pinot Meunier. This is a broad, yet quite dry style of Champagne that is a perfect choice for the table. Boulard “Les Murgiers” – $53

4Billiot Rosé
The NV Brut Rose Grand Cru is a deeply colored, powerful wine that showcases the richness of Ambonnay at its finest. The Rose needs some time in the glass to find its inner balance, but when it does the fruit gains delineation and intensity through to the dramatic, sweeping finish. The NV Brut Rose Grand Cru is predominantly Pinot Noir (including 6% still Pinot) with a dash of Chardonnay from the estate’s oldest vineyards. An undercurrent of minerality supports ripe black cherry and black raspberry flavors, with hints of pastry, cream and candied grapefruit peel. Finely meshed and focused by vibrant acidity. Billiot Rose – $56

5Aubry Le Nombre d’Or
And now, something for the true champagne connoisseur. The golden number, “le nombre d’or,” is a mystical Champagne made with all the grapes available in the region. A party trivia question you can pose to your guests – how many grape varietals can be used in Champagne, and what are they? They are all present in this true jewel of a bottle: 25% Fromenteau and Pinot Blanc, 20% Petit Meslier, 20% Arbanne, 10% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier and 20% Pinot Noir Wonderful chalky nose of minerality. Not much of yeast bread but quite some pineapple and coconut and ripe pears, Aubry Le Nombre d’Or – $64

Bubbles for the Holidays

December 28, 2017

We truly believe bubble should be drunk more often throughout the year, who doesn’t enjoy the lively and fun sound of corks popping and sipping of crisp lively wines, but we fully embrace the fact that they become a more central focus this time of the year. Did you know there’s a whole world of […]

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Fabulous Syrah from Drinkable to Collectible

October 30, 2017

Along the steep, narrow valley that traces the northern Rhône, the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Saint-Joseph take their place among the great wine regions of France. Here Domaine Faury is one of the region’s most artisanal producers. Philippe Faury took control of the winery in 1979 and grew it to 11 hectares. Since 2006, […]

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Featured Wines in the Store

October 30, 2017

Casaccia Spumante This is a gorgeous wine year in and year out. It offers so much artisanal quality it is hard to believe it is so inexpensive. I am thrilled to have it back on the shelf. Casaccia Spumante is 100% Chardonnay. This is a Blanc de Blanc from Italy’s Piedmont region. The wine is […]

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Featured Wines in the Store

October 18, 2017

As many of you know, we truly enjoy a good glass of rosé in the store. And most of you know we stock one of the most extensive offerings in the state. But, did you know we enjoy rosés all year round. We frequently term them a “winter white.” Rosé wines certainly are not as […]

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Two Great Wines

September 29, 2017

As the temperatures cool, I find myself turning to rosés with a little bit more body and structure. This beauty comes from the Southern Rhone region of Gigondas. The area produces delicious reds based around the triumvirate of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre that drink comparably to more expensive Chateauneuf du Papes. Domaine du Gour de […]

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A great wine in from California

September 20, 2017

Many people think I don’t like California wine. While we have focused on the value offered by Europe, there as some delicious wines coming from California as well. It is so easy to keep drinking this wine. Here’s how winemaker Steve Matthiasson describes his red: “Tendu refers to tension, or poise, and we wanted that […]

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Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc)

July 10, 2017

Sancerre is one of the best known wines of France mainly because it is the ubiquitous white wine of the Parisian bistro. This is for good reason. First, the region is close to Paris and secondly the wines are deliciously refreshing in the summer time. Bright, crisp, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc grown in the limestone soil […]

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New Wines in the Store

June 10, 2017

Those who know the store, know we love Burgundy wines. This wine is a great lesson in Burgundy for those just beginning to explore the enticing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines from this region. In fact, it is a mini case study of Burgundy in a single bottle. Volnay and Gevrey-Chambertin are two great regions […]

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