THE CELLAR DOOR'S 'CONTROLLED CHAOS' HOTSHEET
Summer Champagne Special, Woodward Canyon, Produttori Barbaresco & Under 15 Apex Wine Values at the bottom
2013 WOODWARD CANYON 'NELMS ROAD'
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE
Since 1998, many of our friends know that Woodward Canyon’s second label, Nelms Road, consistently brings it for such a great price. In fact, I would be hard-pressed not to say that it is the best 20-dollar Cabernet coming from our neighbors to the north!
2013 is the second of three special vintages for the Walla Walla and Washington in general wine region and the latest version of Nelms Road is a delightful, scrumptious, full-flavored Cab. This warm growing season brought brilliantly focused tones of blackberry, bing cherry and cocoa dust plus kisses of herbs, vanilla and licorice to round everything into its proper place. The back-end to this wine is rather impressive with smoothness, class and persistency. Stylish throughout, there is versatility for it to accompany many different dishes including roasted chicken smothered in herbs or a grilled steak. Drink over the next 4-5 years.
2011 PRODUTTORI DEL BARBARESCO
$29.99 BTL./$359.88 CASE
93 POINTS - THE WINE SPECTATOR
If you missed the 2010 earlier then here is your chance at the ultra-fine 2011! Even though they are a mere 25 minutes apart, Barbaresco and Barolo often get lumped together when it comes to vintage declarations. 2011 was a warm year but Barbaresco wasn’t clipped as much by the late heatwave nearly as much as Barolo, thus you hear how many of the region’s producers prefer it to their 2010s
“A graceful and detailed red, marked by ripe cherry, strawberry, floral and tar flavors, with the fruit intensity persisting on the finish, showing excellent length. This is well integrated and just needs time for the tannins to soften. Best from 2018 through 2030. – 93 POINTS – WINE SPECTATOR”
CHAMPAGNE HENRI GIRAUD BRUT 'ESPRIT'
SPECIAL - $49.99 BTL./$299.94 - SIX PACK
One of the biggest hits at the past weekend’s IPNC celebration were the grower Champagnes from Henri Giraud. I was very fortunate to have dinner with Julien Giraud earlier in the week and become acquainted with the entire lineup and was knocked over. Admittedly, I had very little experience with these bubblies in the past but, wow!!! That’s it, just wow!!
A grower in every sense, these are inspired, gourmand Champagnes that solely come from the Grand Cru village of Ay. This is about as top-notch land in Champagne as it gets and it is definitive Pinot Noir country. Made with 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, the Esprit gives a glimpse at the stature of this house’s greatness, which ranges from this cuvee on up to some serious, limited production offerings. Elevated in oak barrels, the complexity of this so-called entryway Champagne go way beyond that description. A connoisseur Champagne, the richness, dimension and power rule the day here. Full-bodied and well-constructed, with bursting, radiant fruit that bursts from the glass. Expressive, poised scents of apple, nectarine, white chocolate, sea breeze and spice lead into a generous, yet elegant texture with its very fine bubbles and complex, long finish. Enjoy it by itself, with friends or with a memorable meal based around seafood. If you are a Champagne hound like we are then you should, no, you MUST take advantage of this limited time special!
2013 CHARVIN COTES-DU-RHONE
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE
One of the real treasures of the Southern Rhône Valley, big-league Chateauneuf-du-Pape superstar Laurent Charvin's Cotes-du-Rhone is always outstanding. The blend is 80% Grenache and a 20% mix of Syrah, Mourvedre and Vaccarese from 16 hectares of vines that are just outside the border of Châteauneuf and "only" entitled to Cotes-du-Rhone status. Don't be fooled, however, there is much more here than the stereotype Cotes-du-Rhone that one plucks off the grocery store shelf.
An expansive aromatic presence of creme de cassis, lavender, black olive and smoked meat Charvin's 2013 reminded me quite a bit of his fabulous 2004 when I tasted at Domaine Charvin last month when I was in Chateauneuf. Brilliant intensity with energetic, dark, creamy fruit in the mouth along with Thai spices and plenty of backbone. Exhilarating stuff that shows power, finesse and an unmistakable sense of place. Get a big, honkin' porterhouse; encrust it with pepper and herbs, toss it on the grill and you will have a full-on Rhone rock show. Drink now through 2018+.
NAME2014 MENADE RUEDA BLANCOOFWINE
$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE
Spain’s Rueda region is known as one of that nation’s best for white wines. Lately it seems that many producers are misguided in producing explosion wines that have more in common with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc than they do with what brought them into prominence.
Menade is a new find for us and what we love is they aren’t blending anything into the wine and utilizing Verdejo exclusively in their wines. Aged entirely in stainless steel tanks and one sip of this will give you reason to sport a cheesy-ass grin and continue pouring glass after glass. Lime, mandarin, marzipan and prominent mineral lift from the glass. In the mouth, brisk, enlightening and delicious flavors coat, and then cleanse the entire palate. A terrific value that will be cocky and flaunt its personality best with crab, scallops or cod. It’s gonna get hot again this week, so what better choice than this wine to toss back to beat the heat.
2013 SARTARELLI VERDICCHIO CLASSICO
$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE
Sartarelli is one of the supreme producers in this Adriatic region that seemingly has a wine to appease all palates. White wines are only produced at this estate, and the style is unique for Verdicchio in that the they walk the line of depth and body but flirt with brisk and bracing aspects. The nose is bold and expressive with complicated tones of blossom, orange and lots of mineral. Clean and unoaked, a generous entry builds into a crisp, lemony mid-palate and finish. Normally we feel that oysters are a good combination with Verdicchio, but in this case, we recommend something more substantial like baked salmon or halibut.
2014 LAS PERDICES MENDOZA MALBEC
$10.50 BTL./$126.00 CASE
Delicious, forthright, honest and chock full of flavor, this Malbec is grown at about 3300 feet in the Agrelo, Lujan de Cuyo sub-zone of Mendoza and has major-league yum factor for just north of 10 bucks. An everyday gem that showcases expressive bright, fresh red juicy fruit, plum, raspberry and dark currant, with some fresh spice, earth and roasted coffee. More than just a juicy-loosey fruit bomb, there is good structure that lays down the tracks for a fleshy, endowed red with engaging nuances.
2011 CHATEAU VIELLA MADIRAN
$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE
Sometimes it is important to have a wine that you can just drink and shut up. Falling into our mantra of don’t think, just drink, this is a wine with soul that fits that bill. From Madiran and a blend of Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is hearty, opaque red that will make you look like a rock star at your next backyard bash. Forward, deep dark and brooding with black and red plum, roasted coffee, spice, maple and dark cherry. Drink this red throughout the rest of the summer with barbecued ribs, grilled meat and with a plate of hearty cheeses and meats.