2/20/19 Cellar Door Piedmont Wednesday

CELLAR DOOR'S Piedmont Wednesday
Elio Grasso Barbera, Dolcetto & 96 point Barolo

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$14.99 BTL./$89.94 - SIX PK

Tucked away in the hills between Monforte d'Alba and Castiglione Faletto is the Cantina and vineyards of Elio Grasso. We have been ardent supporters of these wines for a while now, and it is very clear that the Gianluca Grasso is without a doubt one of the superstars of Barolo. We are very fortunate to have this excellent producer’s wines on a direct relationship in Portland, which definitely holds pricing down very nicely.

Not only does Gianluca kill it with Barolo, he also puts forth marvelous Dolcetto and Barbera as well. 2016 is a prime vintage for the Dolcetto grape and Grasso’s is bursting with classic flavors of crushed red cherries, violet, exotic spice and dark-chocolate covered roasted almond. Beautifully structured with no rough edges and a finish that is long, fresh and uplifting. We know that we are not supposed to wax on about Dolcetto, but if ever there were one to crow about, this would be it. Very much a wine for the table and should be had with hearty winter fare such as baked macaroni and Fontina cheese laced with prosciutto and sage finished off with white truffle oil or a marinated pork tenderloin with a substantial mushroom prep. Buon apetito!

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$21.99 BTL./$131.94 - SIX PK

One of the excellent visits during my trip to Italy last May was into the Monforte D’Alba area of Gavarini to visit the epic Barolo producer Elio Grasso. One of the thrills and something that you all will discover is that 2016 is the next big thing for Nebbiolo, Barolo and Barbaresco. Every producer we met with, including Gianluca Grasso lit up when talking about its quality and potential.

The 2016 Nebbiolo is the finest Nebbiolo value on the market right now. Gianluca gives this wine all of the love and attention that he does to his Barolo wines. Definitely not the power of a Barolo, but a sleek and upscale Nebbiolo expression nonetheless. Aged entirely in stainless steel tanks, the 2016 Nebbiolo Langhe Gavarini is from the Barolo district of Monforte D’Alba and displays freshness and lots of clarity that are indicative to this part of the Barolo zone. Aromatic rose-petal, red cherry and mineral carry over into a texture that is classically put together with its firm and wiry character that exudes plenty of dark tones to bring just a hint of softness. This is not a by-itself quaffer, have it over the next 5-7 years with pasta or a simple lamb dish.

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$27.99 BTL./$167.94 - SIX PK

There are moments when strong terroir transcends and overrides a particular grape varietal. Here is one such example.

This wine is from the Barbera grape, but more importantly, it smells like the Barolo village of Monforte D'Alba, mostly due to it coming from a single Cru vineyard within the famed village. Never straying from its varietal roots in the mouth, the nose reveals dark plum, dusty clay, classic Monforte mushroom, mineral and camphor notes. More aromatically expressive as it unfolds in the glass, it entices you to do what nature tells one to do with Barber and that is to drink the damn thing. Oozing class on the palate, it is a seamless Barbera that is rich, mouth crawling and impressive, especially on the finish that fans out nicely. A significant step-up from everyday Barbera, try with risotto or braised beef. Can easily age 8-10 years as well.

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$79.99 BTL./$479.94 - SIX PK

Only single cru Barolo wines are produced at Casa Grasso. Vigna Chiniera, located within Monforte D'Alba is a south facing vineyard that sits at 320-360 meters from the Gavarini sector. Loosely packed, sandy soil with a limestone base that makes this wine very special. 2013 is a very special, slow aging vintage and is perfect for anyone who has a child born in 2013 and wants something for his or her 21st.

‘The 2013 Barolo Gavarini Chiniera is much showier than the Ginestra Casa Matè. An ample, resonant Barolo, the Gavarini Chiniera exudes richness from the get-go. Macerated cherry, kirsch, wild flowers and mint are some of the many notes that are laced together. Ripe, silky tannins add to the wine's considerable raciness. I am somewhat surprised by how well this gorgeous wine is showing today. Drink 2023-2043. – 96 POINTS VINOUS

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$79.99 BTL./$479.94 - SIX PK

Casa Matè is also within Monforte D'Alba and south facing at about 300 meters. The location is made immensely different due to the soils. This impacts the wines profoundly. Casa Matè's soil does not have sand, but loosely packed clay that supports the limestone base. This brings more roundness, power and structure to the wine along with the telltale richness from this sector of Barolo known as Ginestra. Again, something for a future celebration.

‘The 2013 Barolo Ginestra Casa Matè is powerful and intense, with huge beams of tannin underpinning the fruit. Black cherry, plum, violet, mint and licorice develop in the glass. Today, the 2013 is quite reticent, with tons of power in reserve, but all the elements are in the right place. Not surprisingly, the 2013 is a tightly wound ball of energy. Drink 2023 – 2043. – 96 POINTS, VINOUS'


Three Is A Magic Number

This Friday February 22 from 1:30 – 6:30

Three tasty wines this week. One each from Chablis, Chianti and Washington


2016 Volpaia Chianti Classico
2015 Gramercy Cellars Syrah ‘Lower East’
2016 Lavantureaux Petit Chablis