Hot Sheets

Bordeaux, Montrachet, Montepulciano & more

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

An importer shift has resulted in a new and excellent lower introductory price to the rocking 2015 vintage from one of Montepulciano’s superb producers. The Avignonesi estate dates back to 1377 and Pope Gregory when he moved the papal estate from Rome to Avignon. One of the families returned and were known as Avignonesi and started this estate, which is one of the oldest in Tuscany.

100% Prugnolo Gentile (Nobile di Montepulciano’s Sangiovese clone) and quite a knockout for 20 bucks. The aromas of this wine are both delicate and intense, with a perfume that is Sangiovese of violet, ripe cherry, anise, and cocoa and espresso bean. Harmonious and balanced with a medium body, fine-grained tannins and a bing cherry finish. A magnet for Italian cuisine, enjoy hearty roasted meats and red-sauced pasta dishes. Drink over the next 8-10 years.

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$10.99 BTL./$131.88 CASE

A show of hands, how many of you have ever had a wine from Emilia Romagna’s Gutturnio region? Good, that makes most of us! Right as we moved from 2019 to 2020 I had the chance to sample this wine and was quite thrilled with how delicious it is.

From just south of Piacenza and almost at the border of Lombardy, this is one of Italy’s most recent DOC upgrades as it was separated from the Colli Piacentini region with tighter regulations. This blend of 60% Barbera and 40% Bonarda makes for the perfect weeknight tipple. Smoky aromas of blue fruits, violet and pepper. Tangy, generous and a real spice box with the Bonarda revealing its exuberance on the quite complex finish. A real winner for pulled pork and more. At 11 bucks, drink now and drink lots. This is going to be my go-to lasagna wine.

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$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

There is always immense excitement when this wine is released, especially for those of us who love to enjoy a 20-dollar Oregon Pinot Noir. Founded by Russ Raney and not missing a beat since his protégé Erin Nuccio took control, this 5-star producer has put forth a wine that is a mere glimpse into the quality and pedigree of Oregon’s 2018 vintage.

Alluring scents crème du cassis, cherry, violet, cedar, violet and subtle mint entices from the moment that it is poured. This beautiful pinot has great depth of flavor, poise, over-reaching depth and wonderful balance. This fine choice will take you from salmon to lamb to roasted chicken and mushroom risotto.

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$23.99 BTL./$143.94 - SIX PACK

Given the recent fires and devestation, I wanted to throw Australia a bit of love and support one of their fine wine selections. One of the least talked about areas for wine in Australia is Western Australia. Forever, most of the attention has been focused on South Australia. This has certainly changed as many top-notch producers have opened up their doors near Perth, and more specifically in the Margaret River appellation. While known for Shiraz, Cabernet and Chardonnay that really tend to excel and the famed Vasse Felix estate always puts forth winners.

The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is alluring right now with deep youthful aromas of red cherry, tobacco, cassis and a heady vanilla-spice note from well-placed oak. Classic, well-made cabernet finesse and silk in the mouth with fine-ripe tannins that add a bit of firmness to the mouthfeel, adding a level of seriousness to all of the creamy fruits on the palate. This is awesome valued cabernet sauvignon sans the big ego and will drink well for a decade plus.

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$22.99 BTL./$275.88 CASE

It is difficult to pinpoint a producer from a specific area as being "the best", but more and more that we taste and sell Marc de Grazia's Terre Nere wines from Sicily's Mt. Etna area; we can declare along with the likes of Benanti and Vini Franchetti that these are apex wines on the volcano. Not only are these sultry wines top-drawer, sadly, they are now becoming difficult to get out paws on.

70% Carricante, 20% Catarratto, 5% Grecanico, 5% Minnella and what I love about this wine is that they haven’t mucked around with it and had it suffer in a bunch of new barrels, only stainless steel tanks which preserves the freshness and character of these native grapes. Instant white peach aromas leap from the glass along with underlying scents of quince, anise, subtle spice and mineral. Overflowing zesty aspects shine on the palate, which penetrates quite deeply and possesses ample expansion as well as a lingering, vibrant finish. An excellent choice with many seafood dishes, it has weight and depth to go with salmon but enough vibrancy that will allow it to pair well with sashimi or prawns.

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$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE

A lovely little 12-dollar number from Spain's Navarra region. 50% Tempranillo, 50% Garnacha and your favorite barbecue wine even though you probably have not tasted it yet! Lavishly toned wild strawberry jam scents play off savory herbs, spices and licorice following into a supple, luscious texture, but possesses plenty of the nice peppery tones that Garnacha brings. Serious BPH (bottles per hour) factor here.

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$54.99 BTL./$659.88 CASE

Located between the towns of Beychevelle and St-Julien, just opposite famed Bordeaux 2nd Growth Ducru-Beaucaillou, Chateau Du Glana has a distinguished history. Founded in 1870 with the original 12 acres being from 4th Growth Chateau Saint-Pierre, Gabriel Meffre acquired the estate in 1961 and enlarged it to 112 acres with the acquisition of plots from 3rd Growth Chateau Lagrange. I have been experiencing and consuming Du Glana's wares since my old Pittsburgh days, cutting my teeth with the 1982 vintage. The wines have always been very fine but in 1999 with the arrival of the late, renowned consultant, Denis Dubordieu has resulted in wines that hit heights that in certain vintages have the potential to perform on the classified growth level.

60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot aged in 40% new oak and coming from the region's famed gravelly soils, this wine kills it and oozes serious class for 40 bucks! Textbook southern St-Julien cabernet notes ride out front with crushed black cherry, gravel, toasty, vanilla-bean character all leading into a succulent texture with excellent volume, definition, and a delicious core of fruit that fills the mouth and adds penetration to the fine tannin structure. Structured, firm and while dense enough to enjoy now, is one that has amazing potential. Given the prestige of the 2016 Bordeaux vintage, there is no problem at all for this wine to age for another 15 (and probably more) years.

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$65.99 - LIMITED!

Unless you have been fortunate to travel with me, you have not had the chance to taste something new from Laurent Pillot. Le Chene is a vineyard that Laurent has a nice sized piece of that sits just below the Premier Cru of Maltroie. This is the lead dog for his village Chassagne-Montrachet but recently he has been culling out a tiny portion to make a special bottling, a Deuxieme Cru perhaps?!?!

The 2017 Le Chene falls somewhere between the Chassagne-Montrachet and his Premiers Crus, probably closer to the Premiers in this vintage. The location of this particular vineyard allows for a bit more amplification than the regular village wine obtains, hence the price jump. Classic aromas that are buxom with plenty of orange peel, butter, hints of allspice and vanilla and a mineral undertow. As it unfolds in the glass for a few minutes, it really shows how formidable that it truly is. Round, broad attack upon entry with good density and spice all building on the palate followed by a firmly dry, but long and expansive finish. There is a hell of a lot of charm here even though it is early days. Enjoy it through 2029.


Italy - Camping in Campania

This Friday January 17 from 1:30 – 6:30

We never camp unless there is wine involved and this week we are throwing down with two outstanding reds and whites from Italy’s Campania region. Surrounding Naples, this area is home to lots of excitement and flavor. If you love Italy’s wines then come and enjoy a thrilling experience from outside the normalcy of Tuscany and Piedmont.


2016 Villa Matilde Aglianico
2018 Villa Matilde Greco di Tufo
2018 Villa Matilde Falanghina
2016 Pietracupa Aglianico ‘Quirico’