4/15/19 The Cellar Door's 'RESEARCH & DRINKING' HotSheet

Stellar Value White Burgundies, 97 pt. Chianti, Apex Barbera, NW White & more

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$19.99 BTL./$119.94 - SIX PACK

One of the things about a visit to Piedmont is that one can preview wines that will arrive one, two and three years down the road. Last year while there, I had many revelations, one of which is just how profound the 2016 vintage has turned out. One piece of affirmation remains is just how epic a producer Cigliuti is, and all of their wines including this off the charts Barbera. If you have tasted past versions and loved them, wait until you have a go at this one. Best yet is that the price has remained the same.

Serraboella is a noted Cru in Barbaresco; however, the Cigliuti family also produces an excellent Barbera from this site. From 15-55 year old vines in calcareous soil, Claudia and Silvia Cigliuti’s 2016 is lyrical. Teeming with pure red berry fruit including fresh griotte cherry, raspberry, mixed with nice spice all following to a luxurious texture that has energy and classicism of the vintage along with a long lasting, pleasantly lingering finish. This downright delicious juice can be enjoyed over the next 5-7 years with a wide range of foods from roasted pork to barbecued chicken to risotto jacked with porcini mushrooms.

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$14.99 BTL./$179.88 CASE

Call us super-surprised on this one! Over 20+ years at The Cellar Door and with one visit to the estate, we have been featuring wines from Neil and Andrew Pike’s estate since day one. Located in the cool climate region of Clare Valley in Australia, the brothers really hit us back in the day with their Riesling wines but over the years, their reds have also shown excellent prowess as well.

90% Shiraz & 10% Tempranillo, this wine never goes into that fat fruit and thick and oozing style of wine that Australia became known for exporting. The best part of this wine is that there is absolutely no American oak utilized and the French oak is a minor player as it truly emphasizes the Clare as well as the varietals. Crunchy, spicy black cherry fruit dominates along with earth, subtle cinnamon and dark chocolate. Flavorful but never coming close to becoming a caricature wine, it has warmth and engaging personality, depth and late-arriving brisk red tones and pepper. Beautifully drawn out and beautifully priced, this wine is an excellent choice for upcoming Passover brisket or Easter ham. It also pairs well with burgers or sausages.

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2017 L'ECOLE NO. 41
$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

These days Chenin Blanc has experienced a resurgence not only in the Loire Valley. There has never needed to be a resurgence at L’Ecole No. 41 because they have been making prime time delicious Chenin Blanc since 1987 and the 2017 Old Vines version is off the charts once again.

L'Ecole's grapes for this small production wine come from the three sites, all planted in 1978 and 1979. With its old-vine presence, this wine is obscenely fragrant and flavorful - so much that it jacks your palate and pleasantly takes over! Scents of honeydew melon, mineral and hints of lanolin follow through to a meteoric texture that is cut like a diamond and yet has super-lemony viscosity, especially on the drawn-out follow-through. An amazing northwest white wine that will pair well with halibut or scallops dressed in a nice sauce.

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$21.99 BTL./$263.88 CASE

Like many other Ribera del Duero estates, Finca Villacreces is quite young on paper. In 2004 after being purchased by the Anton family, they revitalized the vineyards all while ending long term contracts to which fruit was sold to other producers. Located in a very respectable neighborhood, this site is bordered on one side by Vega Sicilia and the other Pingus. Not too shabby of an address and one hell of a value.

For this 100% Tempranillo, the robust nature of the fruit is massaged into a structure that seduces the palate, caressing the tongue with an almost velvety texture. The presence of coolness, fresh-cut flowers, mineral, and creamy marionberry permeate from the glass. Texturally, this is typically formidable yet it is succulent, tender and chock full of exotic spice. Refined and gorgeous now, it will easily develop for 7-8 years as well.

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$27.99 BTL./$335.88 CASE

Who says White Burgundy has to be north of fifty bucks? The Cote Chalonnais is located just south of the Cote D’Or and there are some excellent and very individual red and white Burgundy wines produced. Rully is located a mere 15 minutes south of Chassagne-Montrachet and while the wines are certainly not of that particular ilk, they do have very good pedigree, depth, poise and dimension.

Although more known for their Mercurey wines and being one of the leaders there, Juillot makes wonderful Rully as well. This offering comes from vines planted in 1979 and is aged one-third in classic 225-liter barrique (10% new) and the other two-thirds in large 3000-liter foudre. The result is a wine of excellent refinement revealing prominent mineral, yellow apple, kisses of spice and white flowers. Penetrating, classy and with no shortage of jaunting energy from the limestone. Lots of push and very lingering, this wine will surprise how well it ages; however, the problem will be having patience, this wine is very delicious. Enjoy over the next 7-8 years with smoked salmon, halibut in a light sauce, grilled spot prawns and more.

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$29.99 BTL./$359.88 CASE

Another 10 minutes south, we arrive in the village and growing region of Mercurey. Cool name aside, this area has had appellation status for as long as the Cote D’Or. Taking its name after the namesake Roman god who also represented trade, this name is apropos because Mercurey lies on the Agrippa Road between Chalon-sur-Saone and the famed Roman village of Autun. Both reds and whites are produced here, the whites being rarer than red accounting for only 10% of the production.

Like Rully, this is also 100% Chardonnay but there are major differences. Again, back to Mercurey, a bit more sun as well as having marl and hard pebbles on the surface. The wines here are deeper and have more in common with the Cote D’Or but are purely their own beasts. Aged in barriques (20% new) and from three plots of very old vines (planted in 1928, 1958 and 1963) this wine is creamy and layered with ample lemon oil scents along with granny smith apple, white peach, anise, brioche and scintillating earth notes. The finish is very zippy and balanced with insane length. Perfect to appease any white Burgundy enthusiast, it can be drunk now and will continue to develop for a decade years as well. Have it with scallops, fish in butter or pungent, soft-ripened cheeses.

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$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE

Winds prevail from both the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Mediterranean Sea and allow for lots of movement and cooling for the wines that come from this very interesting Languedoc region. Composed of Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, Jouclary's 2016 Cabardes is wonderfully complex with dashing raspberry, red licorice, cassis, lavender and pepper scents that are all wonderfully positioned with fine depth and extension. Serve with a range of cuisine from burgers to pho to ratatouille.

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$17.99 BTL./$215.88 CASE

Located in the ESE area of Austria, the Burgenland region is more known for its red wines than white wines. Highly respected, very inspirational and innovative, this estate was one of the ones to put Austrian red wines on the map.

The Burgenland Red is a scrumptious blend of 80% Zweigelt (a cross between Blaufrankish and St-Laurent, a native varietal linked to Pinot Noir), 15% Blaufrankisch and 5% St. Laurent. Bursting, medium-bodied and promiscuous, this slammable juice is chock full of cranberry and blueberry notes along with the aphrodisiac-like scent of the hard top of a crème brulée that has just been cracked with the spoon. All about unabated pleasure enjoy this versatile, sumptuous red with a piping bowl of pasta, fried chicken, tacos, grilled steak, etc.

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$49.99 BTL./$599.88 CASE

Many of us in the biz talk about "Death Row" wines. What wine from what particular region would you want to drink if it were to be your last bottle? Without hesitation, if it were Chianti, Bryan would resoundingly say, Felsina Rancia. Without a doubt, this is consistently one of the greatest of all Chainti Classico wines and it lives and develops forever. If you want something extremely special, jump on this wine immediately!

'The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is yet another magnificent wine in this range from Fèlsina. Silky, gracious and inviting, the 2016 starts off gradually and then builds, gaining volume and explosiveness with air. A wine of breadth, textural intensity and pure power, the 2016 Rancia is shaping up to be epic. That's pretty much all there is to it. Range: 94-97+, VINOUS Drink 2024 - 2046'.

Also 97 points from Decanter Magazine. One for the kids’ and grandkids’ time capsules.


Special Guest - Haut-Rian winemaker Pauline Dietrich-Lapierre

This Friday, April 19 from 1:30 – 6:30
(I'll open the wines at 1:30, Pauline arrives at 3:30)

Dance Party Number 8 is upon us! Come join us this Friday from 1:30 – 6:30 as we welcome Chateau Haut-Rian owner/winemaker, the ever-lovely Pauline Dietrich-Lapierre as she unveils her family’s new and exciting releases. Drop by to say bonjour as well as to taste our ever-popular and best-selling Bordeaux values.


2018 Haut-Rian Bordeaux Blanc
2016 Haut-Rian Bordeaux Blanc 'Acacias'
2018 Haut-Rian Bordeaux Rose
2015 Haut-Rian Cotes-de-Bordeaux Rouge
2015 Haut-Rian Cotes-de-Bordeaux Rouge 'St-Seunin'