Lambert de Seyssel ‘Royal Seyssel Grand Cru 2012’

Savoie, France

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The Seyssel appellation of Savoie has been making incredible sparkling wine since 1901, with vineyards dating back to the 1100’s. When Queen Victoria was visiting the area, she was known to drink this exclusively. A sizeable Burgundian négociant purchased the vineyard in 1990 and quality suffered greatly. Catherine & Pierre Lambert, along with Olivier Varichon, the great-grandson of the founder, bought the domaine in 2007 and set to recreate the original style in this region. This dry, floral wine is created by using ‘méthode traditionnelle’ and aged three years before it is disgorged.  The remarkable acidity from Molette with the historic Altesse grape make this elegant and vibrant wine that has real aging potential. A pleasant aroma and notes of honeysuckle and pear paired with very fine bubbles will make this delicious to enjoy at any time.

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Malat Grüner Veltliner Furth-Palt 2016

Kremstal, Austria

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Since 1722, The Malat family winery has consistently produced wines from the south bank of the Danube, in the Kremstal district of Austria, Michael Malat, the ninth generation of the Malat clan is making their finest, cleanest wines to date. The 2016 Furth-Palt is a fantastic, well-priced bottling of Grüner Veltliner that perfectly represents the style of the region and everything we love about the unique grape variety. The wine is fresh and light, with a slightly flinty aroma on the attack. Flavors of lemon and typical notes of snap pea and green lentil fill in the mid-palate, while a salty note rounds out the finish. This wine is a perfect match for all things seafood, but don’t miss a chance to partner it with smoked pork, sauerkraut, or serve as an excellent aperitif at your next get together.

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Eugène Carrel ‘Roussette de Savoie’ Altesse 2016

Savoie, France

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I’m excited to feature a 100% Altesse wine from one of my favorite appellations, the Savoie in France. The Altesse grape dates back to 1393, making it the oldest in the region, which is known for its generous aromatics. Scents of white flowers and peach burst from the glass and the brisk, Savoyard mountain air lends the wine a crisp edge. Grown on steep, southwest facing slopes in the village of Jongieux, the vines benefit from afternoon sun. The fruit and fruit intermingle harmoniously to create a texturally rich white wine. Enjoy as an aperitif or with fish, white meat, and dessert. Aging potential five to eight years.

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Château Magneau Graves Blanc 2015

Bordeaux, France

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I was introduced to this remarkable value wine from Bordeaux years ago by a friend who works for the importer. She and her boss comb through Bordeaux, Beaujolais, and Champagne to find tiny, family wineries crafting great wines at attractive prices. This bottle is from the Graves sub-region of Bordeaux, the gravel soil washed down from the Pyrenees Mountains gives the region its name, Graves.  A Graves Blanc wine is made up of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle grapes. The Sauvignon Blanc imparts grapefruit and lemon flavors. Semillon gives the wine more weight, think two percent milk instead of skim. I love to pair this wine with fish tacos, and it also lends itself to dishes with avocado, basil or citrus.

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Fossil & Fawn Silvershot Pinot Noir 2016

Eola-Amity, Oregon

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Jim and Bill Fischer have been farming grapes on their family-run vineyard since 2000.  14 of their 15 acres are dedicated to Pinot Noir and they make wine the hard way, by hand.  They use native yeasts, very little new oak and use the least amount of sulfur as possible to produce a balanced and structured delight. This is a savory wine, made from tiny Pinot noir clusters that are dry farmed from the Silvershot Vineyard (formerly Crowley Station) on the Western edge of the Eola-Amity Hills. The harsh windy conditions coupled with steep rocky slopes result in exceptionally low yields. The three-million-year-old fossil studded sandstone soils produce a complex wine with fabulous minerality and zesty acidity.  This wine is light bodied with a nose of bright red fruits, cherry, raspberry and currant notes.  Pair this wine with salmon now or let the wine unwind a bit over the next three to five years.

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Holger Koch ‘Kaiserstuhl’ Spätburgunder 2016

Baden, Germany

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Holger Koch came back to his family’s estate in Baden, Germany after years of working in Bordeaux. Koch practices careful viticulture by meticulously pruning the vines and following organic principles. Baden is part of the Swabia wine region located in SW Germany. Pinot Noir goes by the name Spätburgunder in this region. Swabia has caught the hearts of Pinot Noir fans that have been priced out of Burgundy. This wine is not sweet but has the most mouthwatering black cherry flavor I have ever found in a Pinot Noir. An area rich with limestone and volcanic soil, an underlying structure of minerals is present throughout.

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La Palazzetta Rosso di Montalcino 2015

Tuscany, Italy

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Father/daughter team Flavio and Tea Fanti produce organic wines in the tiny village of Castelnuovo dell’Abate in the Montalcino region of Tuscany. They are traditionalists who employ only the indigenous Sangiovese (grosso clone). The Fanti family strives to bring us the finest Sangiovese that Tuscany has to offer and use Slovenian and French oak casks to preserve the old-world style. All of this at an eye-catching price, thanks to direct importing from the winery to Portland. A ripe and full-bodied wine offering black cherry, tart cranberry, baking spices, and licorice alongside fine tannins. There is a seductive, floral aroma (violet, iris, rose) that is complicated by eucalyptus and spices. This wine is a winner which can be drunk now, or over the coming three years with all manner of beast, fowl, egg pasta with ragout, and hard cheeses. Awesome wine!

 

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Château Breze ‘Clos Mazurique’ Cabernet Franc 2016

Saumur, France

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Cabernet Franc, I just can’t quit you. I want to branch out to other grapes, but I find myself going back to this Loire Valley staple. Château de Brézé, a favorite amongst royals dating back to the 1600’s, stands out among the plethora of delicious and reasonably priced. The Brézé hill vineyard benefits from the altitude and colder weather to create a wine with refreshing acidity. A strong tannic structure makes this a more substantial Cabernet Franc compared to others in the Loire. A hint of spice, a touch of earth and some stony qualities from the limestone-rich soil make this a household staple.

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Bodegas Acústic Montsant Tinto 2015

Montsant, Spain

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The product of the unique soil types, an extreme climate and traditional winemaking practices of the Montsant region in Spain.The vines for this wine are located 300m to 700m in elevation and are 40-65 years of age. A blend of 70% Carignan and 30% Grenache, the nose is subtle with tones of cranberry, violets, blueberries and dark cherry.  Full-bodied, brimming with blue and black fruit flavors and a touch of spice. An impressive minerality augments the soft tannins and lingering, slightly tart finish. Will drink beautifully over the next 3-5 years.
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Domaine le Galantin Bandol Rouge 2013

Bandol, France

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Brother and sister Celine and Jerome have transformed a small rosé operation into a modern winery. Bandol has one of the longest growing cycles in France, but also some of the lowest yields resulting in muscular wines. Mostly Mourvèdre with a touch of Grenache, this wine is dark purple and concentrated with aromas of truffle and leather. A twenty-two-month period of aging in oak barrels temper the wild nature of this wine. The spicy character and spunky black fruit flavors meld together in harmony. The Bandol terroir creates wines with superior aging capabilities. The firm tannins will stand up to rich dishes such as grilled lamb or game.

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Portal del Priorat ‘Gotes del Priorat’ 2014

Priorat, Spain

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Check out this rich and vibrant wine from the Catalonia region of Spain made by one of the area’s emerging superstars, Alfredo Arribas.  Alfredo is known for producing some of the most elegant wines in Priorat and Montsant.  Wines that are massive regarding flavor and complexity, but diminutive regarding alcohol levels and extraction. The opposite of the overripe, over wooded Priorats of old. This wine greets you with a nose of ripe plum; the body is full of black cherry notes with sweet tannins and a smooth lingering finish.  There is a great acidity that will help the wine mature in your cellar, or you can drink it now with some tasty BBQ, a hearty stew or some slow braised meats.  Enjoy!

KEITH’S PICK

DOMAINE DE BRIN GAILLAC “ANTHOCYANES” 2015

Gaillac, SW France

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70% Braucol and 30% Syrah makes up this inky, stinky soulful sub-twenty-dollar beauty. Organic farming, no filtering, and minimal sulfur levels keep the purity and sense of place right where it should be. This wine is SW France in all its glory: sun-baked black currant, blackberry notes on the rich, unctuous palate, while aromas of the same are met with black pepper, savory mixed grill red and green peppers, and a spicy finish of Sichuan peppercorns. There is a leather note here, reminiscent of nearby Right Bank Bordeaux. Braucol reminds me of Cabernet Franc, and the Syrah brings a smoke and meat element making this the ideal wine for Cassoulet, duck confit, or any hearty winter stew. The perfect foil for the coming spring and summer backyard grill sessions. Get a case for under $200 and keep it around! Drink now through 2022.

NEIL’S PICK