There has been some new and interesting wine terminology that has evolved the last several years; for instance, the term “Vintnervous: to worry that wine comes from a non-prestigious winery.” With that in mind, I am extremely happy that our group of wine buyers at K&L are not vintnervous when they are scurrying around Europe, South Africa, South America, New Zealand and Australia, finding wonderful wines of incredible quality from some very talented, and, in some cases, obscure producers. I am also extremely happy that our ever-expanding customers have come to respect our buyers’ wine-buying decisions and are not afraid to venture where many vintnervous customers will not, and experience some truly remarkable productions. The first case in point is the fabulous 2004 Maison Champy Bourgogne Chardonnay “Signature” ($14.99) that Keith discovered on one of his buying trips to Burgundy last year. The 2004 whites from Burgundy are breathtaking, wondrous creatures. As one of the oldest houses in Beaune (founded in 1720), this very fine production from Maison Champy is a blend of barrel-fermented (80% new French oak) chardonnay from vineyards from Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault and Rully, and is a pure statement as to the greatness of this vintage. With just a touch of toasty oak, the bouquet erupts with wet-stone minerality intermingled with white peach and hints of honeysuckle. Your tongue will be rewarded with lush, complex, finely honed fruit flavors that offer incredible structure and backbone, and a mouthwatering finish that goes on forever. This is the perfect, everyday chardonnay, and Eby has told me it will be our house white for the month or else (put the claws away, girl; it will be!). The second case in point is the 2004 Château Marjosse Entre-Deux-Mers Bordeaux Blanc ($9.99) that Clyde and Ralph discovered on one of their buying trips to Bordeaux last year. Under the leadership of Pierre Lurton (Cheval Blanc), this new property’s 2004 production is a blend of semillon (85%) and sauvignon blanc. Providing a lovely aroma of lime zest, lanolin and fig, in the mouth, this pretty white offers a nicely framed wine that is clean and crisp, yet with an underlining richness that carries into the finish. The third case in point is the 2003 Château Peyraud Premieres Cotes de Blaye ($9.99), another Clyde and Ralph discovery. This deeply colored wine is vinified to drink now. Aged in tank only with no small barrel aging, it is mostly merlot (90%) with the balance being cabernet. Lush, ripe cassis to currant-like fruit on the nose and in the mouth, this drinking Bordeaux is soft and silky and is perfect to consume for the next three-plus years while you wait for your classified growths to pick up some bottle age in your cellar. Anderson says this will be one of our two house reds for the month. Finally, the fourth case in point is the 2004 Domaine Phillipe Alliet Chinon ($16.99), a Jeff Vierra Loire Valley discovery from one of his buying trips last year. This is one of my favorite red wines in our massive inventory. Deep ruby in color, this exhilarating cabernet franc is flashy and bold on the nose, yet not over-the-top. There is an uncompromising purity on the tongue with this wine showing complete balance, fleshiness, focused dark fruits, terroir, complexity, tons of structure, soft tannins, and a silky, sleek finish. This is a Gem de la Gems, and Anderson and I both agree it will be our house red for however long it is available. If you have any questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy this month’s selection or else! —Jim, Anderson, & Eby
This month, dear reader, I have stumbled (no, flitted) my way onto Jeff Vierra’s German wine page in order to talk about one of my favorite, and in my opinion, most beautiful wines in the world: riesling! Now don’t get me wrong, I do love wines from my old stomping ground of, say, Corbieres, Cornas and Cahors. On the palate these hearty reds can be full of black fruit, beef blood and exhibit a magnificent sinewy texture. But could I, would I, drink these wines all the time? Hell no! Enjoying wine, as with Life, is all about finding balance, and along with the brawn, I absolutely must have beauty to make my wine drinking life meaningful. The 2004 Schmitt-Wagner Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Kabinett ($19.99) is a riesling that puts a smile on my face and a kick in my step. I’ve even been known to start dancing with myself after a glass or two. This ’04 Mosel is so pure and clean, that drinking it makes me feel like a kid again. Young, alive and VIBRANT!! And would you believe that this snappy, zippy, bright, lithe gem of a wine hails from 107-year-old un-grafted vines grown on pure Blue Devonian Slate? Despite all of its green apple and nectarine charm, this assuming kabinett has the structure to last 15 plus years. Have you fallen in love yet? There is a Chinese proverb concerning beauty that encourages the following: When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. Well folks, riesling is my lily, and my world is certainly more rich and beautiful for drinking it. —Mulan Chan
Let us concentrate on a winery that concentrates on red wine, and red wine only. Yes, we will need some concentration from you also! In the Mittelburgenland region of Austria you will find the village of Horitschon and within this village you will find Rotweingut Iby (Red winery Iby). Yes, this wine house grows and produces only red wines of the highest quality possible. There is no outside sourcing of fruit and the vineyard and cellar practices are extremely rigorous. At Iby the goal is a simple one: to produce wines that rich, full and harmonious. Since the beginning of the 20th century Iby has been naturally cultivating vines on there 20 hectares of vineyards. They make multiple passes during the growing season in order to thin and concentrate the yields that will eventually be harvested completely by hand. Depending on the varietal, some will be aged in oak some will not. The following two are un-oaked wines that are great examples. 2000 Iby Blaufränkisch Hochäcker ($14.99) A clean, full bodied wine with ripe tannin and a soft, juicy acidity. The dark ruby color will lead you into a world of fully ripened cherries and dark berries and then linger on your palate teasing you palate into wanting more. I'm sure Jim Barr would be willing to give this nine doggies!!! 2003 Iby Zweigelt Classic ($11.99) If you are wanting something that has a bit more weight and concentration, this could be right up your alley. Some even say this could be the Austrian equivalent to a spicy Cotes du Rhone. A perfect springtime BBQ wine, I think Jim would give this one eight kitty faces!!! —Eric Story
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