Tasting notes, Jan. 11, 2020; Bold Winter Wines

Koehler-Ruprecht Pinot Noir Rosé Kabinett Trocken 2018

Pfalz

Regular Price $27.99 

Sale price $21.99

Here’s another of those very traditionally made wines from a house with a 300 year history behind it. They maintain a strict non-interventionist approach. No irrigation, fertilizers, or herbicides are used in the vineyards. There is no chaptalization, use of enzymes, or other manipulations occurring in the cellar. So, is this then a ‘natural’ wine? Well, no one really knows, since the term has no definitive meaning. Therefore, we call  wines made in this fashion ‘wine’. This is a weighty and fresh rosé that can be consumed all year long because it is ‘wine’, which is not seasonal. 

Domaine de Bongran Viré Clessé 2014

Burgundy

Regular Price $54.99

Sale price $43.99

This might just be the coolest wine in the store. Yep, it’s Chardonnay from the Maconnaise, which is not in the least bit unique, but this Chardonnay, from a very small 4.5  vineyard of sustainably farmed vines on chalky clay soils on a limestone ridge overlooking the Saone River, is unusually rich and complex. Picked quite late in the season, the ripe grapes are largely left to their very slow devices and allowed to ferment naturally over a period of two years, before a slow aging in tank followed by a few years in bottle before release.  The resulting wine is full bodied with a touch of sweetness, balanced by persistent acidity and notable minerality. This is really what California Chardonnay wants to be when they grow up.

Feudi di San Gregorio Primitivo  2017

Manduria

Regular Price $22.99

Sale price $17.99

I wrote about this wine some months back, claiming that it drinks like California Zinfandel from the ‘90s. By that I mean, its bright and fruity and cheerful and dense without the oppressively high alcohol levels that ruined Zinfandels after the turn of the century. Try this…tell me what you think!

Patrick Jasmin ‘La Chevalière’  2016

Collines Rhodaniennes

Regular Price $27.99 

Sale price $21.99 

This is the ‘everyday’ Syrah (with just a drop of Viognier) from one of the most respected producers in Cote-Rotie. Subtle and elegant rather than bombastic, with very attractive black fruits alongside of uplifting floral notes, the tannins are well integrated and harmonious. This wine quietly and easily satisfies. 

Domaine de Gros ‘Noré 2015

Bandol

Regular Price $54.99

Sale price $43.99

This is a big, bold and brooding wine made of 80% Mourvedre. Rich and powerful, but it’s not lacking in grace or style is is anything but one-dimensional. It will likely age for 20 plus years and will certainly reward the patient, but today, in its youth, one still finds much to enjoy. Loudly fruity  and exuberant, the herbal and mineral components are nonetheless present and persistent, and while willfully tannic, they are from grape seed and stem, not from wood, thus already integrated in a way that wood tannins seldom are.

Chateau Buena Vista Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Napa Valley

Regular Price $39.99 

Sale price $31.99

The history of Chateau Buena Vista has out shined their wines over the last few decades, however, under the new stewardship of the Boisset family, the wines are beginning to live up to their name. This classic Napa Cabernet, but in a more traditional style. That means it’s not overbearingly sweet and not scarred by new oak and actually has cleansing acidity. Ergo, it’s more balanced and versatile than the hideous monsters that critics think are well made wines. They are not…this is.

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