2/11/19 The Cellar Door's 'Happily However After' HotSheet

THE CELLAR DOOR'S 'Happily However After' HOTSHEET
Barolo Specials, Rioja, Cali Cab, Cool Whites & more

Click to Order
$14.99 BTL./$179.88 CASE

This is a lot of Rioja for fifteen bucks. Vina Real is one of two sister wineries under the umbrella of CVNE that was founded in 1920. The glaring difference between this selection and the CUNE wines is the blend as well as the introduction of French oak in addition to the traditional use of American oak.

2015 was a warm but not overdone vintage for this wine. 90% Tempranillo, 10% blend of Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano and very typical of Rioja from the Alavesa district. Neo-classical fruit-forward tones of strawberry and spicy oak mingle nicely with earth tones. Plenty of voluptuous fruit is present in the mouth with lacey tannins and soft spice enable this wine to carry nicely to the dinner table. Drink it now through 2023 with roasted lamb or pork loin….PS – it also has a 92-point rating jamessuckling.com if that means anything.

Click to Order
$21.99 BTL./$263.88 CASE

Founded by the late Chris Bilbro in 1979, son Scot has been at the estate for over 10 years and is now fully in charge. Never a shortage of depth and power, this Cab is blended from fruit from Alexander Valley, the Yorkville Highlands, and the McDowell Valley, hence the excellent price. One must wonder if this were to have just ‘Napa Valley’ on the label, just how much it would cost because it surely would not be 22-bucks.

Cassis, cedar, dusty earth, well-integrated spicy oak and kisses of peppermint tones follow through to a sumptuous texture that is concentrated and well balanced. Builds nice vibrancy and texture on the finish that extends beautifully. This prodigal, full-flavored value drinks exquisitely now and will continue to do so for another decade.

Click to Order
$23.99 BTL./$287.88 CASE

The name Pichler is synonymous when it comes to Austria and especially the famed region of Wachau. Whether it be Rudi or FX Pichler, these wines perform on an excellent level and are some of the world’s finest dry white wines. The Federspiel offering was one of the most impressive wines that I sampled last week.

Revved up, multi-faceted scents of powdered lime, peppermint, crushed rock and an undertone of melon build from the glass. Commencing with full, expansive fruit in the mouth, the wine's lightning-bolt crisp, zesty mineral characteristics dominate the substantial, clean, firm middle and gushing finish. One with immense potential. Drink over the next 6-7 years with seafood including sea bass or halibut dressed with greens, Indian cuisine based around curry or mild cheeses.

Click to Order
$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

Domaine Fontsainte is a pioneering estate when it comes to Corbieres. This winery has been influential over the last 30+ years in bringing Corbieres into the forefront with clean, mouthfilling, soulful wines that respect the terroir.

The classic Black Label version is 60% Carignan, 20% Grenache Noir, 15% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah from clay-limestone soil with plenty of gravel and large stones. Forward, substantial with room-filling aromas of ripe strawberry, anisette, garrigue and cocoa tones mingle with cracked pepper and roasted earth. This wine is round, concentrated and luscious in the mouth with tannins that are ripe and integrated. Everything shows off the fruit, which moves right into the lengthy expressive finish with pepper, earth and complexity. Ideal with mushroom quiche, grilled fish, roasted chicken, or braised pork loin.

Click to Order
$19.99 BTL./$239.88 CASE

Demoiselles is the killer Reserve wine from this estate and 2016 is a monumental vintage! Made with 70% Carignan from 100+ year old vines along with 20% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre, the wine completely overachieves for its price point.

Instantly after pouring into the glass, Mediterranean aromas of crushed red raspberry, wind-swept herbs, lavender and pepper along with gentle cocoa notes filled the air. A soulful wine indeed…a truly harmonious ensemble of savory richness and elegance that follows through to the ample dry and vibrant finish. A Corbières of impeccable quality, this can age nicely for 5-7 years. Go ahead and uncork a with some grilled, really thick, Carlton Pork Chops slathered in olive oil, garlic and fennel, we promise, the combination will be a miraculous nuclear explosion! It also goes well with sausage and bean casserole, grilled steak or game. If you cannot tell, I am really excited about these wines. Now somebody hand me a microphone...

Click to Order
$12.99 BTL./$155.88 CASE

Over the years, we have sold incredible amounts of this white. While in no way do we condone following the masses, selling a ton of this wine cannot be a coincidence. It's also no secret that this is one of our favorite best buy white wines. It comes from the Penedes region of Spain, located just south of Barcelona. The blend is from Paralleda, which gives mineral, and detail, Macabeo, which brings flowers and citrus, Chardonnay mixed in for richness and Malvasia for aromatic perfume.

What amazes us most is how it morphs into something different in the spring and summer, but is equally pleasing in the winter. In the summer, it blazes with floral and peachy tones and an undercurrent of mineral. In the winter, it shows its wilder side due to the vines close proximity to the sea. Scintillating scents of seashore (say that 5-times-fast!) combined with more prominent mineral, lemongrass and piquant lime and ginger aromas. Can Feixes cries out for Ceviche, freshly shucked oysters or crab.

Click to Order
$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

Located about 40 minutes north and west of the city of Orange, not far from the Right Bank of the Rhone River lies Domaine des Accoles. Olivier Leriche spent 13 years as winemaker at famed Nuit-St-George Domaine de L’Arlot. In 2011 he amicably departed and along with his wife Florence, set about to acquire vineyards in this adventurous growing region. Safe to say that with his Burgundian spirit and looking for finesse and smoothness rather than sheer heft, this dynamic couple is now staking claim to another up and coming region of France.

100% Grenache, the Rendez-Vous Acolytes is from a terraced vineyard planted on clay and compacted calcareous soils. Definitely on the wild side of Grenache, this is an incredibly delicious, perfumed wine that leaps out of the glass of pure strawberry, Nyons olive, smoked meat and prominent peppery. In the mouth, it shows intensity but given its cooler situation, maintains harmony with ample vibrancy and spice on the chiming finish. Drink this wine over the next 3-4 years with grilled meats or spicy sausages.

Click to Order
[reg. $59.99]
SPECIAL - $42.99 BTL./$257.94 - SIX PK

It is time to share with you all the biggest surprise that I ran across last week. Two Barolo specials from a legendary, very traditional vintage. Somehow, the excellent 2012s have been lost in the midst of the much-hyped 2010 and 2013 vintages. If those are five-star versions then 2012 is surely 4-4.5 star and somewhat on the likes of 2008, vastly underrated. All said, given the high quality of surrounding years, there are some deals to be had.

For those of you who don't know the Barolo wines of Marcarini, open your textbooks and get to learn them! OK, so maybe we are being a little chippy in our approach, but this is one of the most consistent and sublime estates in Piedmont and one that Karen and Bryan have been working with for 25+ years. La Serra is an Apex Cru vineyard located in the Barolo village of La Morra and one whose characteristics are of finesse and aromatics due to the sand-based soils. Do not be fooled, these wines still pack plenty of punch, have impressive spine, and grip for aging. Drink 2020 – 2031.

Click to Order
[reg. $66.99]
SPECIAL - $52.99 BTL./$317.94 - SIX PK

Always a bit more masculine than La Serra, Brunate is one of La Morra’s great Cru sites as well. Most vintages it surpasses the La Serra in quality but in 2012, La Serra is certainly its equal.

Two different stories are being orated with these two wines and the Brunate is very compelling, but very introverted. Lovely density and flavor here, but plenty of backbone and grip that will need some time to resolve and become exquisite. Wiry and redcurrant dominated at the end. A young, superb Brunate and one that should be consumed with earthy truffle and mushroom fare from 2022 - 2029


Spain featuring Rioja, Priorat & Conca de Barbera

This Friday February 15 from 1:30 – 6:30

We’re rocking three terrific red wines from Spain this Friday. Drop by for an exhilerating tasting fiesta!


2015 Vina Real Rioja Crianza
2016 Celler Celilo ‘Black Slate’ Priorat Gratallops
2015 Cara Nord Conca de Barbera Tinto