For Wine, Buy Local
With the challenges retailers and wineries face today, the one thing you can do to help is buy local. Check out the websites of your favorite wineries and buy their wines, this helps keep the winery employees working and keep the wineries going while the tasting rooms are shut down. Many wineries are offering great deals and free shipping. For imported wines, go to your favorite wine shop and buy from them. To help you with this, here is a selection of wines from Esquin Wine Merchants in Seattle and The Thief Wine & Brew Shop in Walla Walla. Both have on line ordering and curbside pickup or shipping available.
Esquin Wine & Spirits (www.esquin.com)
2017 William Fevre Chablis, "Champs Royaux" ($32.99) - Brilliant lemon-gold colored, this possesses enticing aromas of fresh cut apples, white peach, lemon, quince, lemon, apple blossoms and wet stone. The flavors show considerable Chablis Chardonnay character, with notes of peach stone, crunchy apple skin and calcareous minerals. The resonance continues on the back with sensations of Calvados and pêche liqueurs and lemon zest, followed by a crisp, persistently minerally finish. 18.5/20 points.
2017 Domaine Raphet Chambolle-Musigny, Les Bussières ($91.99) - The small parcel, Les Bussières, adjoins the Premier Crus, Les Sentiers in Chambolle-Musigny and La Bussière in Morey-St. Denis. This vintage exhibits a deep brick red color and intoxicating aromas of raspberries, cherries, black currants, crushed roses, tobacco, truffles, violets and sweet incense. The flavors are supple and velvety (a trait of Chambolle-Musigny), yet forceful, with layers of sweet-dry fruits that are infused with licorice root, Belgian chocolate, French roast and calcareous earth and granitic minerals. On the back, the wine gains complexity with sensations of pressed fruits, toasted pecans, kidskin, lanolin and pencil shavings, all flowing into a lingering chewy yet satiny finish, marked by ripe tannins. 19.5/20 points.
2016 Felsina Chianti Classico, Riserva, "Rancia" $64.99) - This is a powerful Chianti Classico. It exhibits a deep ruby-garnet color and intoxicating aromas of semi-dried cherries, black currants, black plums, crushed roast, pipe tobacco, dried orange peel, sandalwood and incense. The flavors are deep and authoritative, with layers if semi-dried fruits that are infused with black licorice, bittersweet chocolate, Italian roast and hillside earth and minerals. The penetration continues on the back with macerated fruits, roasted hazelnuts, recurring dried cherries and fruit confit, followed by a classic Tuscan sweet-dry tannin finish. 19.5/20 points.
2014 G.D. Vajra Barolo, Ravera ($75.99) - This Nebbiolo straddles the modern and traditional styles. It shows a classic nose of semi-dried fruits - cherries, plums, orange peel - with scents of dried roses, tobacco, road tar (a trait of Nebbiolo) and sweet perfumes of violets and incense. The flavors are bold and mouth filling, with layers of dark fruits, licorice, espresso and dusty earth. The penetration continues on the back with roasted berries and nuts, dried cherries, recurring orange peel and graphite, followed by a classic dryish tannin finish. 19+/20 points.
Valdo Prosseco Brut, Treviso ($13.99) - Lynn picked this out as she loves Prosecco sparkling wine. This is a cut above commercial brands such as La Marca and Ruffino. It shows a bright gold color, frothy bubbles and floral aromas of apple, peach, citrus, apple blossoms, acacia flowers and stone. The flavors are fresh and zesty, with touches of cream and toast on the dry true Brut finish. 18/20 points.
Smith Woodhouse Lodge Reserve Port ($24.99) - This is a fine example of a proprietary Reserve Port. Deep ruby colored, it possesses rich aromas of cherry, plum and currant, with scents of roses and wood smoke. The flavors are generous and mouth filling, yet focused, not too sweet, just right, with a pleasing finish. 18.5/20 points.
Ramos Pinto "RP10" Ten Year Tawny Port ($41.99) - Averaging ten years age, this shows a deep ruby-garnet color and rich aromas of black cherries, plums, fig and wood smoke. The dark fruit flavors are rich and generous, yet focused, with notes of chocolate, hazelnut and graphite, followed by a lingering, sweetish, balanced finish. 19/20 points.
See the 17 March posting below for previous reviews of wines from Esquin and watch for next week's posting for more wines.
The Thief (www.thiefshop.com)
2018 Le Peu de la Moriette Vouvray ($18) - This Loire Valley white offers a brilliant gold color and lovely aromas of pear, peach, honeydew melon, pear tree blossoms, honeysuckle, verbena and spiced white incense. The flavors, as well, are appealing, brimming with white fruits that show considerable Chenin Blanc character, along with pear skin and calcareous minerals. The back picks up poire and pêche liqueurs and melon rind, followed by a lightly honeyed, lightly spiced finish. Super value. 18.5/20 points.
2017 Matrot Bourgogne Chardonnay ($26) - Brilliant lemon-gold colored, this possesses floral aromas of apples, white peaches, grapefruit, apple blossoms, acacia flowers and wet stone. The flavors, as well, are appealing, with lively white fruits that are imbued with grape skin, peach stone and granitic minerals. The back picks up Calvados and pêche liqueurs and a twist of grapefruit peel on the way to a crisp, finely fruited Burgundian finish. 18.5/20 points.
2018 Domaine des Chers Juliénas ($20) - This is a charming Cru Beaujolais. Purplish ruby colored, it emits enticing aromas of strawberries, cherries, red currants, red roses, mulberry and whiffs of incense. The medium bodied flavors are deliciously fruit forward, with bright red fruits that are intermixed with red licorice, cocoa and granitic minerals. On the back, the wine thickens, with sensations of pressed fruits, roasted pecans, and fraise and cassis, liqueurs, followed by a ripe soft tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.
2018 Domaine Rochette Morgon, Côte du Py ($27) - This wine received the Medaille d'Or at the Concurs des Grands Vins du Beaujolais. It displays a deep purplish-crimson color and lovely, perfumed aromas of raspberry, cherry, black currant, crushed roses, lavender and sweet incense. The flavors are deliciously alluring with layers of lavish red fruits that are imbued with red licorice, semi-sweet chocolate, medium roast coffee and granitic minerals. On the back, the wine turns velvety yet vigorous, with sensations of pressed fruits, toasted nuts and crème de cassis and No. 2 pencil lead, followed by a lingering ripe tannin finish. 19/20 points.
2017 Equinoxe Crozes-Hermitage ($27) - This is a tasty young Syrah from the North Rhone Valley. It shows a purplish ruby color and ripe aromas of blackberry, black currant and black plum, with scents of crushed roses, lavender and sweet incense. The flavors are generous and direct, with dark fruits that are intermixed with licorice, cocoa, coffee beans and riverside earth and minerals. The back picks up pressed berries, roasted nuts, creme de cassis and touches of kidskin and charcoal, followed by a savory moderate tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.
2016 Domaine Laurent Combier Crozes-Hermitage ($26) - Deeo ruby colored, this wine emits rich aromas of wild raspberries, plums, black currants, crushed black roses, mulberry, tobacco, lavender and spiced incense. The flavors, as well, are attention-getting, with thick black and blue fruits that are intermixed with licorice, bittersweet chocolate, cola, French roast and minerals. The saturation continues on the back with sensations of macerated fruits, framboise and cassis liqueurs and touches of leather and burnt charcoal, followed by a savory moderate tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.
2016 J.L. Chave Sélection Saint Joseph "Offerus" ($43) - Saint Joseph is situated south of Côte Rotie and across the Rhone river from Hermitage. This Syrah exhibits an opaque ruby color and intoxicating aromas of wild fruits - blackberries, black currants, black plums - with scents of crushed black roses, maduro tobacco, juniper berries, anise, black violets and spiced incense. The flavors are thick and bold, embodying varietal purity, with layers of dark fruits that are infused with licorice root, French roast and hillside minerals. The penetration continues on the back with sensations of macerated fruits, creme de cassis, lanolin ("legs") and ground charcoal, followed by a lengthy, grainy sweet-dry tannin finish. 19/20 points.
2017 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas, Vieilles Vignes ($35) - Composed of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre from vines averaging 40 years old, this South Rhone red offers a deep ruby color and and rich aromas of raspberry, brambly currants and orange peel, tobacco, and spiced incense. The flavors are medium bodied yet thick and savory, marked by red licorice, cocoa, French roast and mas minerals. The back picks up macerated berries, roasted nuts and recurring orange peel, followed by a chewy, spiced ripe tannin finish. 18.5+/20 points.
The Tero Estates Virtual Tasting
On Saturday, April 18 at 2:00, Lynn and I watched Tero Estates' virtual wine tasting on Facebook. The Tero Wine Club manager, Rikki Wescott, did the introduction, with a light touch, telling the Tero story and showing the tasting line-up. Then she put co-owner and winemaker Doug Roskelley on. Doug started off the tasting with the 2019 Charbono Rosé, made from a grape originating in the Savoie region of France. Rikki held a glass of the wine in front of a white card before the camera to show the copper-pink color. Doug also made a pitch for my Review of Washington Wines and Rikki flashed my promotional card before the camera. Then Doug went through the single block Cabernet Sauvignons from the Windrow Vineyards, the 2014 Hill Block, 2016 Plateau Block and 2016 Old Block, describing the characteristics of each block's terroir. All very well done. Kudos to Doug and Rikki for putting on such an informative and entertaining virtual tasting. The tasting can be replayed on Tero Estates' Facebook Page. My reviews of the 2019 Charbono Rosé and 2016 Plateau Block and Old Block Cabernets (along with the Hill Block) are in the May issue of the Review of Washington Wines.
For another virtual tasting - with Sleight of Hand Cellars - go to Facebook on Saturday, April 25 at 5:00. The featured wines will be the 2016 Archimage Red and the 2016 Illusionist Cabernet Sauvignon (both reviewed in the January 2020 issue).