What’s On The Barrel
Giovanni Menti “Riva Arsiglia”, Gambellara Classico, Soave, Veneto, Italy, 2015
Menti is a family run winery founded at the end of the XIX century in Gambellara. The family cultivates 7.5 hectares and produces a small amount of each wine they make. This example of Garganega is aromatic and full of life. This is technically an example of top Soave (a near-by region using the same grape). it is delcassified from Soave, and into Gambellara in order to cut the final cost of the wine. There is also an obession with minimal effects on the planet, as the wine is bottled into lighter glass to reduce the carbon footprint. These obsessions aside, the wine is a Soave for those who know. Soave wines of this level can run into the same prices at 1er Cru Chablis. This is a wine for insiders who crave Chablis style with all the flavor at an everyday price. $27.95
Weingut Walldorf Silvaner, Rheinhessen, Germany, 2015
Max Dexheimer was born the same year the Probstey Vineyard was replanted: 1992. A mere quarter century old, and he’s already producing some of the most captivating wines in the Rheinhessen. In 2012 he started Weingut Walldorf by leasing small parcels from his parents all around Saulheim. He converted the vineyards to organics and uses certain biodynamic preparations as well (stinging nettle and horsetail tea for instance). The vineyards haven’t been fertilized in ten years now to help restore them to their natural balance. The grapes for the Silvaner come from the town of Saulheim. They are crushed by foot and are permitted to sit on the skins for 8-24 hours. It is then fermented in a combination of 60-year-old 1200L oak cask and stainless steel. Once dry, the wine is lightly filtered before bottling, but no fining agents were used. 12.5% ABV. $29.95
Clos Des Fous “Locura 1” Chardonnay, Los Andes, Santiago, Chile, 2014
Pedro Parra is becoming a rockstar in the world of geology and is a terroir consultant, not a winemaking consultant. He is changing the way people look at vineyard in Chile and Argentina and the results are incredible! This is as close to white Burgundy I have ever tasted from the southern hemisphere. It is terroir driven in every facet. There is no new oak, and no malolactic fermentation. In other words, this is as naked as Chardonnay can get and it is sculpted, precise, and chizzled. You want this in your mouth! $33.95
Porderi Colla, Nebbiolo D’Alba “Drago”, Piedmont, Italy, 2014
This is the definition of a bargain. This wine is built like Barolo. Some might say it is a “baby Barolo”, but there is nothing baby about it. The Colla family has been making wine in Piedmont since the early 1700s, and their current holdings include farms in Barolo, Barbaresco, and this wine’s home in Alba. This wine easily competes with Barolos costing twice as much.If you love Piedmontese wines as I do, jump all over this one! $35.95
Donkey & Goat “The Gallivanter”, California, USA, 2015
This vintage of the Gallivanter is Merlot dominate and it looks like it will stay that way for time to come, with a splash of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. The work this wine does is nothing short of incredible! Sourced from 4 vinbeyards that are never sprayed with any chemicals- farmed biodynamically and organically. The wine sees a minimal sulfur addition prior to bottling of less than 30 ppm (which is essentially nothing). The wine shows off the Syrah with game, black pepper, wet forest floor, red rose pedals, and crushed black berries. This is one of the the most exciting producers we have come across this year and we are always excited when we see what Donkey & Goat is producing. An easy wine to make your house wine. $34.95
Case of the Month
Rabl Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria, 2016
If this is your first time trying the case of the month then you will, if you follow it like some people, find out we love Gruner Veltliner, or Gruve for short. It is one of the most under valued wines on the planet! Native to Austria, this grape is starting to get the recognition it deserves with plantings showing up in New Zealand, BC, Oregon, and California. This is such an exciting wine from Rabl. It is fun, pure in varietal, and expression of place. The striking white pepper, crushed melon, wet volcanic minerality and pure yumminess is the best way to start your year off and fulfill the resolution to drink more better wine like this Gruve.
Giovanni Menti “Rive Arsiglia” Garganega, Soave, Italy, 2015
This is one of the most exciting wines we have tried! It is technically a single-vineyard Soave which tend to run in a higher price bracket. However, Menti wants more people to drink more Garganega. We would argue it is Italy’s most noble white varietal with top expressions rivaling 1er Cru Chablis at a fraction of the price. Grown bio-dynamically, organically, with minimal sulfur addition of less than 30ppm, and the decision to decrease their carbon-footprint by choosing lighter glass for shipping and production. This wine, and this region, will take huge strides this year with Chablis becoming much more expensive and incredibly sought after, Soave makes a great alternative.
Ken Forrester “Petit” Pinotage, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2016
Pinotage is a cross varietal made by Professor Durif (who also made Petit Syrah) by crossing Pinot Noir and Hermitage Cinsault, thus creating “Pinotage”. At the time Cinsault was synonymous with Hermitage in South Africa when Hermitage actually plants Syrah, but let bygones be bygones. It is a varietal that can, and usually does, offend. This is the only Pinotage we have come across that is perfumed (like both Pinot Noir and Cinsault), and what we think Pinotage should taste like. It is floral, bursting with ripe raspberries, strawberries, and hinting at something more along a Cru Beaujolais from Saint-Amour. Ken Forrester uses Champagne yeasts to inoculate (start fermentation) which really allows for the Pinotage to shine. If you are already a lover of Pinotage, please find us one that drinks like this and isn’t over $25.
A Portela Mencia, Valdeorras, Spain, 2013
If you have shopped at Crestwood before then you know we fell in love with Mencia. It has the capability to behave with such Burgundian qualities we can’t believe it isn’t more popular. It is a varietal for those who are in the know and this is a great opportunity to get in the know. This entry level Mencia rivals many village level Pinot Noirs from Burgundy at a fraction of the cost. It is concentrated in terms of power and structure with no oak using vines planted in 1976, showing off a true sense of place.
Tbilvino Saperavi, Kakheti, Georgia, 2015
Saperavi is probably the oldest known varietal having been documented since 3000 BC(E) where it is said in Genesis 9:20 “And Noah, the husbandman, began and planted a vineyard” in what is now the Caucasus Mountains. This varietal and story shows that wine is a part of human history and whenever we get the chance we will want wine around. If you have not had this varietal, it is a red-flashed grape and creates wines of deep purple/blue color with delicate tannin. It is a pleasure to share a part of human history with you.
Domaine La Colliere Cotes Du Rhone, Rhone, France, 2015
Grown and produced by Georges Perrot, the wines which bear his name have always been incredible value. With Southern Rhone regions like Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas exploding every year in price, it is nice to see a true vigneron who is making higher and higher quality wines without raising prices every year. Composed of mostly Grenache with Mourvedre, and Syrah rounding out the rest, this is a powerful wine that is showing us that these wines do not all have to be booze bombs that we are seeing more and more with this wine wearing the 14.5% ABV like a glove.