We (Clyde, to be more precise) are still finding an occasional 2000 Bordeaux (mostly of the Cru Bourgeois level) floating around from our sources both here and in France, and, in some cases, at very reasonable prices. One positive aspect of these classified lesser growths is that in exceptional vintages like 2000, they will be ready to drink at a much earlier date than the major growths. A perfect example of this comes from a 150-acre, northern Médoc estate, the 2000 Château La Cardonne Blaignan, Médoc ($14.99). Comprised of merlot (50%), cabernet sauvignon (45%) and cabernet franc, this puppy is deeply colored and exhibits lovely, opulent aromatics of black cherries to blueberries with just a touch of cedary oak as a back note. In the mouth, this well-balanced, medium-full bodied Médoc offers tons of ripe fruit, upfront and on through to the finish, soft integrated tannins, good complexity and a warm lengthy finish. Along the same thought patterns as the above, we have just received our third shipment of 2003 Château Souvenir, Bordeaux Superieur ($9.99), also from a very serious vintage. This excellent Bordeaux from Saint-Medard-De-Guizieres, just northwest of the city of Bordeaux, is totally vinified to drink now. A blend of merlot (60%) and equal amounts of cabernet sauvignon and franc, you will discover a wonderful wine that is lush, round and soft, loaded with cassis to blackberry fruit, good length and a very forward appeal. Buy this to drink near-term while you wait for your 2003 classified growths to evolve. One of the most unique and compelling red wines that I can recall tasting of late is the 2004 Domaine L’Attilon Marselan Rouge ORGANIC ($8.99). Marselan is a new grape that is a cross between cabernet sauvignon and grenache, and is being planted in southern France around Aude and Bouches du Rhone. This 2004 organically produced wine from Domaine L’Attilon explodes with currant to blackberry fruit with spicy undertones on the nose and in the mouth. There is a hint of floral tones reminiscent of jasmine, too, with excellent acid structure, excellent firmness and depth of character, and with a long, delicious finish. Anderson has told me that this is most definitely our house red for the month, with the other two in strong contention. Our Burgundy wine buyer, Keith Wollenberg, discovered the Mâcons of Denis Barraud, an extremely small but super-high-quality producer, in 2002. His estate productions have been exceptional, and the 2004 Domaine des Nembrets St-Veran ($13.99) from Barraud is, without a doubt, one of the finest village Mâcons that I have ever put in my mouth. It is very broad, very rich, almost creamy on the palate, yet bright and vibrant and has that classic minerality that comes from the hills of Roche De Vergisson. This is a must buy for those of you who are looking for excellent white Burgundy to buy but do not want to take a second mortgage out on the homestead to be able to afford to do so. If you have any questions regarding these wines, you can email me at email@example.com. Enjoy this month’s selection or else! —Jim, Anderson, & Eby
We are going to push the envelope a bit this month as we have just received some wines that don’t necessarily fit comfortably into our perceptions of German wine, but damn are they tasty! From the Nahe we have a weisser burgunder (pinot blanc) from Paul Anheuser that is simple, fresh and lip smacking. Try the 2004 Paul Anheuser Weisser Burgunder Classic ($10.99) with a salad of lump crab meat lightly tossed with peas, tarragon and fennel for refreshing and invigorating lunch. Keep a stock of this delicious bottle for unexpected guests and those nights when you just need a glass of wine. Fingers crossed, I have submitted this to Jim Barr and his crack staff and hope to get at least 63 cat heads and possibly a house wine designation from the master. Speaking of Jim Barr this next wine is as quirky as he is, though I believe it can hear a little better… In the Rheingau there are some plantings of red grapes, mostly pinot noir and some bits of st. laurent, which Mr. Molitor crafts into this expressive, cheery red. The 2003 Molitor St. Laurent Qba Trocken ($11.99) reminds me a bit of pineau d’aunis, another individualistic wine with its spicy nose of pepper, crushed black raspberries and hints of smoked sweet meats. Like most northern reds it is bright and focused, elegant and subtle, not a blockbuster, a wine best enjoyed with a fork in your hand. I suggest Asian-inspired meat dishes such as Kalbi Kui, Korean short ribs with sweet chili paste, garlic and soy. —Jeff Vierra, lover of Marginal Things
Ahhh, February, without a doubt one of my favorite months of the year, and it has nothing to do with that Valentine’s Day stuff. It’s cold, windy and rainy/snowy, some would say miserable. Not me. It makes me feel alive! It truly brings the kid back into my soul, when I used to jump into puddles just for the fun it or build a snow fort with an arsenal of snowballs to ambush your friends from, since you just called them to come over. The beautiful thing is that I still do this, although I get tired within ten minutes and have to go back inside. BUT THE SPARK IS STILL THERE BABY!!! At least now I can go inside and drink adult beverages, instead of some juice box, start a fire, pour some soul warming wine, cook good food all while making fun of my friends and how old THEY are getting. Let the spark ignite something this winter, even if it only lasts ten minutes, and then enjoy good wine with good people! 2003 Buchegger Grüner Veltliner Pfarrweingarten ($19.99) How can you say no to a wine coming from the Pfarrweingarten, or preist’s vineyard? A richer, tropical wine that reminds me of fresh mango, not yet fully ripened, drizzled with a beautiful, unfiltered Spanish olive oil and then dusted with a small cracking of white pepper. 2004 Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Steinsetz ($21.99) This 2004 Grüner, planted in alpine pebbles that were transported by the primeval Danube and then covered by black and loamy soil, loess and gravel, gives birth to a wine that exudes full-bodied minerality with spikes of peppery acidity that are held together by a creamy core of fruit. 2003 Heidi Schrock St. Laurent Kraxner ($39.99) Are you ready for one of the finest reds in all the land? This is, without question, one of the best expressions of the St. Laurent varietal that I have ever had! Only two words can described this wine: power and grace. A silky caress of sweet tobacco and rich fruits compacted by a core iron depth and mineral salinity that leaves you sitting if you were standing and standing if you were sitting. —Eric Story
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