Domaine la Terre de Lune Côtes du Rhône Rosé ($11.99)
Rhône Valley, France
From the producer:
"Vine growing : the vines are planted with a density of 4000 per hectare. The number of treatments is limited to a minimum and depends on the weather. Limited amounts of fertilizers are used, only to maintain a balance in the soil, and when required by the vines. This is based on soil and leaf analysis. The yield is kept at a low level in order to have a high quality of grape. This is done by hedging, leaf-thinning and green harvesting.
40% Cinsault 30% Grenache 20% Syrah 10% Mourvedre
A rosé wine with a light and bright pink colour. A fruity nose of red berries and a fleshy character of peach. Elegant in the mouth with a pleasant freshness and final notes of red currants."
The high Cinsault content of this wine really sets it apart from others in the region, which contain mostly Grenache. In this case the result is a little more delicate floral note to set off the fruit. If you usually drink rosés from Provence, do try this one; there's a little more elegance and character present, and it pairs really well with ham, pasta, salads, tuna, salmon, and spicier foods.
Dominio de Punctum Vaiven Blanc de Noir Tempranillo ($15.99)
Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
From the producer:
"Vaiven Blanc de Noir is made from organically grown grapes in our Estate. We harvest our grapes at night for optimal temperature before pressing. Vaiven is produced by quickly removing the skins from the juice after the grapes have been pressed.
Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, organic and biodynamic wine.
Bright yellow color with pearly iridescence at first sight. Fresh and floral bouquet mixed with red berries aromas. Good acidity, gentle, tasty and full body.
Pairings: salads, all white meat such as chicken with garlic, pork, etc."
Tempranillo is usually vinified as a red wine (if you've had Rioja, you've had Tempranillo), but here we have a unique Blanc de Noir that keeps some of the red fruit notes while also exhibiting floral overtones. It is full-bodied, with just enough acidity to create good balance. This is one of the more unique wines you'll find.
Tzora Vineyards Judean Hills Red 2014 ($33.50)
Judean Hills, Israel
From the producer:
"The Judean Hills rise sharply from the coastal plain, and exhibit ideal growing conditions for growing wine grapes. Man made terraces cling to this rugged area in a multitude of directions as they follow the contours of the steep slopes. Cold winters, sharp temperature drop during the short summer nights and early morning summer mists, as well as variations in soils from rocky limestone outcrops to ones rich in minerals, all contribute to the character, the balance and the great longevity of the wines.
This wine is made from selected plots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Merlot grown on old terraces with top-soil of limestone rich in minerals.
Aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, this wine has wonderful texture and complex aromatic profile of black fruit and hint of earthiness. The finish is fine and fairly long."
Kosher wine has a bit of a bad rap, but there are many fine examples, of which this is one. Israel has some stunningly good areas for wine growing, and Tzora takes advantage of their geography to create really beautiful products. This is their entry-level wine, and it is an excellent example from the region. The vintage I'm selling is 2014, so it should be at peak right now.
Last Week's Tasting Notes (4.5.19)
Von Donabaum Grüner Veltliner ($13.50)
From the producer:
"Volker Donabaum, the founder of Volker Wines, has been in the wine industry practically since birth. He grew up on the Donabaum family estate in the Wachau in Austria, where the family has been making wine since 1833. Volker worked several harvests in Austria before working as an assistant winemaker in California, France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Oregon and Canada. In 2012, Volker moved to New York City, where he imports and distributes wines from around the world, including his Volker Wines.
Grüner Veltliner von Donabaum 2016 comes from a 25 year-old single vineyard in the Austrian village of Röschitz, which is located about 1 hour north of Vienna. The hand-picked and hand-sorted grapes are destemmed before crushing, and, after a cool fermentation in stainless steel, the wine rests for 3 months on its fine lees."
Grüner Veltliner mostly comes from Austria, and is a great alternative to either Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. This one is very dry with green apple on the nose and stony lemon on the palate, undercut by white floral notes. It is a zesty and refreshing wine that is perfect as an aperitif. I was lucky enough to meet Volker, whose wine I am pleased to support.
Tenute Rubino Negroamaro Rosato ($11.99)
Brindisi, Puglia, Italy
From the producer:
"Our heritage is made of the historical local varieties from Salento: Negroamaro, Primitivo and Susumaniello among black grapes, Malvasia between white ones (beside other international and ltalian varieties such as Chardonnay and Vermentino). Tenute Rubino has always cultivated its lands with respect towards the environmental sustainability. Nowadays Tenute Rubino is a company which deals with careful customers, aware of the values expressed by our brand in the production of quality wines from Salento. A single range of wines with many different approaches.
ALCOHOL LEVEL 12,5%
VINEYARDS LOCATION Brindisi
ALTITUDE OF VINEYARDS At sea level
AGEING 5-6 months in steel tanks
COLOUR Clear, intense and brilliant pink.
BOUQUET Pink and red flowers and fruits, roses to violets, cherries and blueberries.
TASTE Fresh, sapid, soft and pleasant.
CHARACTERISTICS Its attractive colour is validated by a soft, fresh taste and rounded off by a long and persistent finish.
FOOD MATCHES Focaccia and pink sauce canapés, friselle, pizza margherita, tomato-based first courses. It goes very well with stuffed squid, stewed octopus, roast veal and white meats."
I am a huge fan of this winery. Many of you have enjoyed their Oltreme Susumaniello, which is made from another indigenous grape. I admire their commitment to working with native varietals, so I'm thrilled to have this wine in the shop for the season. Negroamaro produces a rosato that is refreshing and drinkable, but that stands up to more substantial dishes. This might become your new favorite!
Domaine les Evigneaux Rasteau 2016 ($22.99)
Southern Rhône Valley, France
From the producer:
Benoit and Frederic Lavau have always been fans of Rasteau which became a cru in 2010, and they have been making it for many years. Because of their special fondness for these vineyards whose outstanding exposure they recognize and which they consider to be 'atypical,' they decided to acquire 10 ha in the appellation in 2014. their 12 plots are located in Rasteau’s most emblematic terroirs. these are ideal vineyards for their plans to create a wine capable of delivering all the complexity and power of this extraordinary AOC.
The Syrah vines are planted in the gravel and clay soil of the Quaternary terraces of Bellerive. Located in the south of the appellation, these are sunny and early ripening, providing the vines with perfect growing conditions. The Grenaches are planted to the north in cooler soil, accentuating the variance between day and night time temperatures and thereby enhancing the colour and aromatic intensity of the varietal. the pebble and gravel soil mixed with complex clay allows constant, even drainage and water supply.
'The nose is complex and of great depth, a mixture of blackcurrant, raspberry and vanilla extract. The palate is meaty and develops its intensity and power across the entire length of the wine. The tannins are robust and well integrated, promising a spectacular result after 3 to 5 years’ cellar ageing (if you can wait that long!).'"
Blend: Grenache 50% Syrah 30% Carignan 10% Mourvèdre 5% Cinsault 5%
Ageing: 12 months in new 228L barrels"
I've never met a Southern Rhône wine that I didn't like, and if pressed I admit that the region is, globally, my favorite. Rasteau is an appellation with which I was unfamiliar, so I was eager to try this wine. The blend of grapes is typical to the larger region, but the soil and exposure lend unique traits. This Rasteau shows some boldness of flavor, but its complexity makes it compelling. It's a wine to contemplate for a bit as you taste it. You can certainly enjoy it now, but do consider buying a bottle to lay down for a couple of years.
JB Neufeld "Two Blondes" Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($57.99)
Yakima Valley, Washington
From the producer:
"JB Neufeld produced its first vintage in 2008. The winery is the only of its kind in Washington, focusing exclusively on Cabernet Sauvignon within the Yakima Valley AVA. The winery was created by the husband and wife team, Justin and Brooke Neufeld. The goal of the brand is to not only showcase the diversity of the terroir found in the valley through its vineyard designate bottlings, but to use that diversity to build a more complex and balanced Cabernet Sauvignon by blending sites as well.
The Yakima Valley AVA has the most diverse terroir of all the AVAs in Washington. All the vineyards are located on south facing slopes created by a series of ridges that are oriented West to East, which is a geological anomaly unique to eastern Washington.
JB Neufeld's focus is to preserve not only the qualities of the wine, but also the place and time from which they were made. They aim to build a Cabernet Sauvignon that possesses multiple layers of complexity that reveal themselves as the wine opens up in the glass. JB Neufeld achieves this by having a winemaking style that is dedicated, thoughtful and precise to the terroir of their valley.
Elegant and floral on the nose while also showing rich fruit on the palate. Flavors suggest dried figs, cranberry, and sage. Focused and nuanced, this wine is a superb expression of it’s terroir.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Fermentation: cold soaking with daily punching down and pumping over and macro aeration.
Aging: 22 months in 50% new French oak and 50% in neutral French oak Production: 1,220 bottles per year"
I'd had some good Washington Cab before tasting these wines, but JB Neufeld is in another league entirely. This wine is as bold as a Napa Cab with its own profile that, to me, makes it more compelling. The winemaker, Justin, has visited my shop, and he was a joy to talk to about his technique and his approach to wine. This is their single-vineyard Cabernet, so you get a great sense of terroir (and it's delicious). Especially if you aren't familiar with Washington Cabs, try this!
Scarbolo Campo del Viotto 2015 ($43.99)
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
From the producer:
"An intense deep ruby red color with pomegranate hues. Ripe notes of marasca cherries, sweet tobacco, dark chocolate and ripe wild berries.
Intense on the palate, with soft sweet tannins and spiced persistent finish.
Grapes: 100% Merlot
Fermentation: The first whole clusters harvested are dried out for about 20 days, then the fermentation occurs in small Oak Barrels. After the
fermentation, barrels are sealed and the wine remains in contact with the skins until mid December.
Aging: 2 Years in small Oak barriques; then 6
Months in the bottle prior to release
Production: 850 Cases"
Another wine from Scarbolo that flips the script. Hate Merlot? Think it's an unimpressive varietal? Try this wine. From the partial raisinating of the grapes to the long aging, this takes Merlot to the next level. Elegant and rich. This is the new vintage, and while it drinks beautifully now, it should be STUNNING in a year or two. Buy one for the cellar!
Barr Hill Tom Cat Barrel Aged Gin ($45.99)
"Tom Cat Gin is an expedition into uncharted territories. Once distilled, we age the gin in new American oak barrels in search of a bolder expression. The robust character of the new oak barrel mingles with the coniferous quality of the juniper, yielding an enticing aroma. A touch of raw honey leaves this revolutionary spirit remarkably approachable, whether drinking neat or in a cocktail. When the world called for whiskey, we answered resolutely with gin."
Middle West OYO 100% Red Wheat Whiskey ($45.99)
"Middle West’s flagship wheat whiskey is a unique addition to the crowded field of corn-, rye-, and barley-based (blended) dark spirits. Made from 100% Ohio soft red winter wheat, OYO Whiskey is produced and aged in small batches and offers a one-of-a-kind flavor profile distinctive to its Ohio origins. The distillery uses single-source Ohio grains to emphasize regional 'terroir,' and barrel-ages the whiskey in white American oak cooperage sealed with beeswax."
Copper & Kings Craftwerk Brandy Limited Edition ($40.99)
"Pure Pot-Distilled American Brandy Finished In American Craft Beer Barrels
[Brooklyn Hand & Seal Brandywine-style Ale]
53% Alc. By Vol. | 106 Proof
We are inspired by the imagination & fearlessness of America’s Craft Brewers.
We share their passion for their craft. We are proud to share our American Brandy barrels & share the barrels previously used to finish craft beers to refine & polish the maturation of our craft distilled American Brandy.
Our ambition is to directly infuse the character and personality of the individual beers within the American Brandy with honest authenticity. The brandy is aged for a full 12 months in beer barrels. The spirit proof entering the barrel is a full bodied +/- 130 Proof to maximize flavor extraction. Bottle proof at 111 Proof is chosen to maximize the craft beer flavor profiles by minimizing dilution with just a touch of water to enable the flavors to authentically bloom & soften the heat just a touch.
The brandy is unadulterated by any additives that may impact on the authentic & direct flavor from the barrels - Non-Chill Filtered - which would extract flavor, no addition of boisé - which would muddy flavors with a fake oaky profile, no caramel color - the spirit is the natural color from the barrel."
Copper & Kings Butchertown Brandy ($62.99)
"Copper Pot-Distilled American Brandy
62% Alc. By Vol. | 124 Proof
The Independent Republic Of Butchertown. Bounded by the waters of the mighty Ohio and beautiful Beargrass Creek.
Since 1796 home to butchers, brawlers, bakers and brewers. Artists and artisans, distillers, tanners, orphans and families, and everything else in between.
Home to Copper & Kings’ Butchertown Brandy.
Boom, Boom. Imagine bottling the spirit of john lee hooker – supple, sexy, full-bodied and rhythmic. Imagine bottling the spirit of the modern jazz quartet – elevated, elegant, sophisticated – bluesy with a hint of improvisation.
This is drop dead gorgeous brandy. This is bad-ass brandy. This is not ordinary, everyday brandy. A blend of distiller selected reserve casks. Superb, exclusively copper pot-distilled small batch brandy. 75% aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels and 25% in new American oak.
Non-chill filtered without adulteration by boisé (oak flavor or infusion), sugar or caramel color for an uncorrupted natural flavor and natural color. Some natural cloudiness, faint suspension or sediment may occur, especially at colder temperatures.
We recommend serving over good ice in an elegant rocks glass or with a touch of chilled water to enable the bloom.
Appearance: dark brown, golden mahogany. Slightly viscous.
Aroma: strongly reminiscent of superior whiskey and Kentucky bourbon. Blackberry fruit, with hints of cherry.
Taste: fabulous brandy start, bold, robust, strong whiskey notes with brandy fruit coming forth towards the back end. Rollicking, rock ’n roll almost rye whiskey like on the mid-palate, joyous. Superb structure and backbone.
High proof chewy. Hints of Irish pot-still fruity whiskey. Stone-fruit – peaches, dark cherry in the surround sound.
Finish: slight tannic, oaky dryness, lingers on the tongue. Velvety smooth (and approachable), especially for high proof spirit."
Wild Moon Liqueurs--Chai or Lime ($21.99)
"Uniquely flavored, all-natural liqueurs designed for the professional mixologist and home enthusiast alike. Hartford Flavor has revolutionized the traditional liqueur. Wild Moon Liqueurs are flavor forward, have reduced sugars, and no chemicals; there is nothing else like it on the market.
All natural-Gluten Free-GMO Free"
Bloomery SweetShine Black Walnut Liqueur ($24.99)
"Bravely Bold with a Double Gold!
2015 San Francisco World Spirit Winner
Like our Limoncello this is a traditional Italian digestivo, a straight from the bottle sipper after dinner finishing very smoothly. Unlike limoncello this is not as sweet and offers many spice flavors in the finish. The dark color is from all natural unripe or green black walnuts and a mix of spices creating a unique flavor for you to savor!
The Manhattan has been a perennial favorite but we found a way to truly update this to something very special. Over ice start with 3 oz of bourbon or rye whiskey, add 1/2 oz of sweet vermouth, 1/2 oz of Black Walnut SweetShine and a dash of bitters. Garnish with a cherry. Big City in the name, big flavor in the glass, big smile on your face!"
Copper & Kings Old Fashioned Barrel Aged Bitters ($12.99)
"A luxurious blend of natural herbs, spices, oils & botanical extracts prepared in an alembic brandy base with honey, vapor distilled orange peels and then aged in American oak.
Balanced & harmonious, enhances the flavor and aroma of world class cocktails.
Preservative free, no Artificial Ingredients, Glycerine, Caramel Color. Non-chill filtered."