Awesome Value in 2010 Rhone!

Domaine La Manarine Cotes-du-Rhone 2010

A stunner for under $14 bucks!

This “petite” domaine was created by Gilles Gasq in April 2001. The vineyards are located within the commune of Travaillan, on a plateau northeast of Orange in the southern Rhone. Gilles is a talented vigneron who has honed his skills working as an assistant to Paul Jeune, the proprietor of the illustrious Domaine Monpertuis in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Domaine La Manarine now encompasses 18 hectares of vineyards situated primarily on what is known as the “Le Plan de Dieu”. For generations, this specific terroir has been recognized as unique. Recent research has identified the particular character of the underlying soil: a deep layer consisting of more than 60% hard limestone “galets” (large smooth pebbles). The climate is typically Mediterranean: relatively hot and dry with an average rainfall of between 600 and 800 mm per year. The rains usually come in the form of thunderstorms in late August which provide the vines with the water necessary to finish the maturation process (which tends to shut down under stressful drought conditions). Grenache Noir is the main grape variety of the region. It performs particularly well on this type of soil and gives wines with more elegance and aroma than is otherwise common. Gilles has recently acquired one hectare of Syrah vines which, when they mature and are used to supplement the Grenache (probably with the 2011 vintage), will then enable the Manarine wines to bear the appellation: Cotes du Rhone Villages – Le Plan de Dieu. Domaine La Manarine practices organic viticulture.

The vineyards are principally devoted to Grenache but include several parcels planted to white grape varieties. This wine is 100% Grenache Noir, and we challenge you to put this in as a ringer in a Premier Cru Burgundy tasting, you would fool (and impress) a lot of people! The very cool start to 2010 particularly influenced the Grenache harvest, producing exceptionally smooth, silky, and seamless Cotes-du-Rhone, especially evident in this 100% varietal bottling.

Sale, $13.99, Reg. $15.99, Save $2.00!

The Great 2010 Southern Rhone vintage strikes again!

After extensive tastings of superlative Rhone wines with many winemakers at various tastings and shows up and down the East coast, the string of GREAT Rhone wines from the spectacular 2010 vintage never ceases to amaze us at Church Street Wine Cellars. Our Burlington, Vermont wine cellar at 2 Church Street, in Burlington, Vermont has always carried a variety of hard-to-get Rhones from Eric Solomon’s European Cellars and other specialty importers.

Case in point, new to the store today: Côtes-du-Rhône, Domaine D’Andezon Rhône Valley, France 2010 From the warmer, southwest part of the southern Rhone delta, this wine is a great choice if paired with the appropriate hearty foods…old vines (+60 yrs), a classic “cool-fruit” (menthol) component typical of older vines…is truly outstanding.  Young & primary now, decant or lay some down for a while, this wine is the “perfect poor man’s cellar” candidate! Reminiscent of better Chateaunuf-du-Pape, I’d grab a case of this while you can and put it in the cellar and forget about it for a few years, you will be amply rewarded. Once again, this is no surprise to us, we’ve been supporting this Syrah-driven wine as a great stylistic counterpoint to (and along with) many of the other Grenache-based Rhone wines we also carry for MANY vintages now.

We say “while you can” because the bane of so many of the wines that we carry is, the higher the press score, usually, the faster they sell out, at both our retail level, as well as the supplier level…so like the 2010 Chateau Pesquie “Cuvee des Terrasses” Cotes-du-Ventoux offering (94 points, Wine Advocate, a few weeks ago) grab it before it’s gone! Not that we don’t love to see the reviews, but our discoveries usually occur BEFORE the press happens, and we often just get a good run going with something, then the big scores come out and bang, it’s GONE! This is one the most frustrating parts of our business.

Hot off the presses from Jeb Dunnuck’s, The Rhone Report, 92 points “Easily the best vintage of this to date, the 2010 Les Vignerons d’Estézargues Côtes du Rhône Domaine d’Andézon is a tank and cement aged blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Grenache. Sporting a deep purple color as well as fantastically good aromas of pure blackberry, licorice, lavender, crushed flowers, and wet stone-like minerality on the nose. Very pure and clean, with superb richness and complexity, the wine is medium to full-bodied and beautifully textured on the palate, possessing a full, rich mid-palate, excellent balance, juicy acidity, and ripe tannin on the finish that adds additional cut and edge to all the fruit. Straight up delicious and a joy to drink, this is an awesome value that should delight for 3-5 years.”

and

Review by Robert Parker, Wine Advocate # 195 (Jun 2011), Rating: 91, Drink 2011 – 2015
“The classic cuvee, which has long been selected by importer Eric Solomon, is their 2010 Domaine d’Andezon, a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Grenache. While there are critics of Syrah grown in the southern Rhone, even the cynics agree that the old-vine Syrah from the Gard has a special character to it. This wine comes from 40+year-old Syrah vines and 60+year-old Grenache vines, bottled unfined and unfiltered after being aged in both tank and concrete. Dense ruby/purple, with a stunning nose of blackberry liqueur and jus de viande (beef/meat juices), its thrilling, intensely pure, full-bodied mouthfeel, good freshness, and striking floral character all combine for one of the very best bargains in dry red wine that readers are likely to find anywhere in the world. This is super and should continue to drink well for another 3-4 years. This co-op, located just south of the village of Chateauneuf du Pape in the sector known as the Gard, has been a perennial top-bargain pick in The Wine Advocate. Importer: Eric Solomon, Charlotte, NC”

Come on in, relax, un-cork and un-wine at Church Street Wine Cellars and see what other great wines we have! Join our e-mail list for notification about Winemaker Dinners, our off-site tastings, and our specialty…free in-store, eductional wine tastings on Friday nights or on Saturday days with the best and most extensive tasting notes in the business for you to take home with you (along with a few bottles).

Celebrating Three Years of Women in Business! Burlington’s only exclusively female owned and operated wine store!

Church Street Wine Cellars Top 100 Wine Spectator Italian Winemaker Dinner featuring Lucio Mastroberardino of Terredora di Paolo!

What: Church Street Wine Cellars presents Top 100 Wine Spectator Italian Winemaker Dinner with Lucio Mastroberardino of Terredora di Paolo S.S. and his wonderfully perfumed Campanian white & red wines!

Where: Three Tomatoes Trattoria, 83 Church Street, Burlington, VT

When: Tuesday, February 28th 6 pm sharp; Call 802-660-9533 for reservations.

$: $65 per person includes tax and service, and FIVE great wines and Chef Shane Lawton’s very special cuisine in the private dining room. For Chef Shane’s menu, click here

Join us on the A16 with Winemaker & Owner Lucio Mastroberardino of Terredora di Paolo for a taste of the Mezzogiorno. The A16, you ask? Why, it’s the autostrada that traverses the center of Campania, known as the “Motorway of Two Seas” connecting the Tyrrhenean coast with the Adriatic, starting outside Naples and passing through Avellino, Taurasi and more.

Let Church Street Wine Cellars & Lucio be your guide to these unique wines! Lucio Mastroberardino belongs to one of Italy’s most illustrious winemaking families. His origins as a winemaker stretch back to the 17th century. Today, his Terredora estate produces some of Southern Italy’s most coveted fine wines.

Terredora di Paolo has been on the forefront of the wine renaissance in Campania since 1978. This is a region that was famous for producing the best wines of the Roman Empire and Terredora di Paolo is committed to re-establishing itself to its former glory. They have been instrumental in reintroducing ancient grape varieties, promoting modern innovation and training the men and women who will be responsible for carrying their vision into the future.

Today, the combination of the celebrated climate, the rich volcanic soils and the top quality local varieties make Campania, and Terredora di Paolo one of the most exciting wine producers of southern Italy.

It is their belief that great wine comes from the balance of natural resources: terrain, varieties used, climate and man’s ability to work with nature. With ample dedication and professionalism Walter Mastroberardino and his children Lucio, Daniela and Paolo, have put this new winery in the elite division of southern Italian wineries.

Even with a plethora of “Top 100“ scores from publications such as Wine Spectator and the like, and Campanian wine production in full affect before Mount Vesuvius buried Pompeii in 79 A.D. has slipped quietly by the radar of all but the “cognoscenti” of the Italian wine renaissance. Come check out the undervalued treasures!

Don’t miss this opportunity to break bread with one of Italy’s top winemakers…seats are limited to 28, join us, call 802-660-9533.
Very special Direct-Import pricing will be available for pre-orders this night only!

Mollydooker, Australian for “Left-Handed”; the top winemaking estates in all of Oz?

At Church Street Wine Cellars we’ve been huge fans of this brand of Australian delicacies for some time now. Mollydooker has been delighting our clientele in our humble brick and stone wine cellar underneath Church Street in Burlington, Vermont with their ripe, rich, but balanced style, not to mention stunning the critics!

For 12 years, Sarah & Sparky Marquis (pronounced Mar-kwis) have been “WOW”ing other wine fans around the world with their award-winning Australian wines made for such brands as Fox Creek, Henry’s Drive, Parsons Flat, Shirvington, Marquis Philips, Integrity, and now Mollydooker.

This dynamic duo has been awarded the title of Australian Winemakers of the Year; is the only husband and wife winemaking team to receive McLaren Vale’s prestigious Bushing Award three times; and is responsible for crafting four of only 24 Australian wines to receive 99 points from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate in the last 10 years.

Starting in 2005, Mollydooker Wines became the only wines that Sarah and Sparky make, an since that time they feel as though they’ve been travelling down an Enchanted Path.

In 2006, The Wine Advocate rated their 2005 Lefty Wines the 1st, 2nd and 4th best value wines in the world under $20, and the Love Wines received 99 and 96 point scores.

In 2007, The Wine Advocate rated the 2006 Lefty wines among the best value wines in the world, and Velvet Glove became the fifth Mollydooker wine to be awarded 99 points. Wine Spectator selected The Boxer as a “Best Value Wine” and ranked the 2006 Carnival of Love as the 8th Best Wine in the World.

In 2008, the Wine Spectator chose the 2007 Velvet Glove as a “Classic” wine, and five other Mollydookers as “Outstanding”. The 2007 Carnival of Love was ranked 9th Best Wine in the World. WOW! A “Top 10” wine two years in a row!

In 2009, The Wine Advocate rated the entire line up of 2008 Lefty wines (the only wines released in that year) ALL 90 POINTS OR ABOVE.

In 2011, the 2010s are by all rights spectacular wines, poised to break further review records, are on order and (many have been presold to you from our recent offer at reduced prices)! Although the just released 2010 vintage has not yet been reviewed, check out this retrospective of reviews from Wine Advocate & Wine Spectator!

Many of you have perhaps heard about the crane accident involving Mollydooker’s Velvet Glove Shiraz where 1/3 of production was destroyed when it dropped from a height of 20 feet in a single crane accident (too bad the container they dropped had Sparky & Sarah’s flagship bottling in it, as the next container contained to be unloaded contained SAND); the state will now only be receiving 3- 3 pks of this wine!

Another point to consider, you may wish to go long and takes some extra cases of the 2010s as in 2011, production was cut by TWO-THIRDS so much less wine will be available. For example, in 2011 the distributor will only be offered 15 cases of the most popular The Boxer Shiraz as opposed to an average of one pallet (56 cs) or more. Again, you may wish to order extra to tide you over the next vintage.

Wine Advocate “Two of South Australia’s leading viticulturists and winemaker’s are undoubtedly Sarah & Sparky Marquis.” – Robert Parker Jr. in Wine Advocate

The New York Times “…another wordless wow.” by SS. FLAIR

Let’s look at some previous reviews…

Wine Advocate 2009 Vintage Reviews
09 Gigglepot Cabernet Sauvignon — 93 pts!
09 Carnival of Love — 93 pts!
09 Enchanted Path — 93 pts!
09 The Scooter Merlot — 90 pts!
09 Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz — 92 pts!
09 The Velvet Glove Shiraz — 97+ pts!
09 The Boxer Shiraz — 91 pts!
09 The Violinist Verdelho – 90 pts!
09 Two Left Feet — 91+ pts!

Wine Spectator 2009 Vintage Reviews
2009 Velvet Glove Shiraz 96 points!
2009 Carnival of Love Shiraz 94 points!
2009 Enchanted Path Shiraz-Cabernet 91 points!
2009 Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz 91 points!
2009 Gigglepot Cabernet 90 points!
2009 Two Left Feet 90 points!
2009 The Boxer Shiraz 90 points!

Wine Advocate 2008 Vintage Reviews
All of the 2008 Mollydooker ‘Lefty Series’ (the only wines released wines) were rated 90 points or above!
08 The Boxer Shiraz — 91 pts!
08 Two Left Feet Blend — 90 pts!
08 The Maitre D’ Cabernet Sauvignon — 90 pts!
08 The Scooter Merlot — 90 pts!
09 The Violinist Verdelho — 90 pts!
All other wines were declassified into Lefty Series in this vintage.

Wine Advocate 2007 Vintage Reviews
The Wine Advocate released the Australia issue, and all of the 2007 Mollydooker’s were rated 90-98 points, and they received the first, second, third, equal fourth and equal fifth highest scores!

07 Velvet Glove Shiraz — 98 pts!
07 Carnival of Love Shiraz — 96 pts!
07 Enchanted Path Shiraz/Cabernet — 95+ pts!
07 Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz — 95 pts!
07 Gigglepot Cabernet Sauvignon — 94 pts!
07 The Boxer Shiraz — 93 pts!
07 Two Left Feet Blend — 93 pts!
07 The Maitre D’ Cabernet Sauvignon – 92 pts!
07 The Scooter Merlot — 91 pts!
08 The Violinist Verdelho — 90 pts!

Wine Spectator 2007 Vintage Reviews
Four Mollydooker’s rated as “Great Australian Reds” & Carnival of Love is “Highly Recommended”. “A First Look at our Editors’ Most Exciting New Wines”.

6 out of 36 wines chosen are the new 2007 Mollydookers!
2007 Carnival of Love ‘Top 10 Wine of 2008′ by Wine Spectator!

2007 Velvet Glove receives 96 Points!
2007 Carnival of Love “Highly Recommended” receives 95 Points!
2007 Enchanted Path receives 91 Points!
2007 Blue Eyed Boy receives 92 Points!
2007 Gigglepot receives 92 Points!
2007 The Boxer receives 90 Points!
2007 The Scooter receives 87 Points!
Wine Advocate 2006 Vintage Reviews
Sarah & Sparky have been awarded an astounding five 99-point scores for their wines in the last six years, including the 2005 Carnival of Love and the 2006
Velvet Glove!

Wine Advocate writer Jay Miller rates 10 of the 2006 wines 90-99 pts!
2006 Velvet Glove receives — 99 Pts!
2006 Carnival of Love receives — 97 Pts!
2006 Enchanted Path receives — 94 Pts!
2006 Gigglepot receives — 95 Pts!
2006 Blue Eyed Boy receives — 96 Pts!
2006 The Boxer receives — 94 Pts!
2006 Two Left Feet receives — 93 Pts!
2006 The Maitre D’ receives — 91 Pts!
2006 The Scooter receives — 91 Pts!
2007 The Violinist receives — 90 Pts!

Wine Spectator 2006 Vintage Reviews
2006 Velvet Glove receives 97 Points!
2006 Carnival of Love – Rated #8 in the Top 100 Wines Wines of the World!
2006 Enchanted Path receives 93 Points!
2006 The Boxer named Wine of the Week & 90 Points!
2005 The Boxer makes Wine Spectator’s Top 100!

Questions, comments or orders? Drop us a line at info@churchstreetwinecellars.com; the 2010s are due in our shop the week of October 24th, 2011.

Church Street Wine Cellars 2010 Loring Wine Co. Vintage Release Pre-Sell

Brian Loring, Loring Wine Company 2010 Vintage–Fall Releases

Check out our offering here in PDF. And as always, take another 10% off for mix and match case sales!

While in college, owner winemaker and self-described “pinot-freak” Brian Loring worked at a wine store in Southern California where one of the owners was a Burgundy fanatic. Brian’s first experiences with Burgundy were from producers he quickly admired like Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer and Domaine Romanee-Conti. Early safaris into the domestic Pinot Noir jungle of the 1980s were unsatisfying until he tried some Calera. Eventually he came to understand and enjoy other California Pinot Noirs like Williams Selyem, Chalone and Sanford. But it was the friendship he developed with winemaker Norm Beko of Cottonwood Canyon Winery that got him started in the wine business. While participating in the 1997 crush, he made two barrels of his own Pinot Noir and the Loring Wine Company was hatched. The name was a homage to Josh Jensen and the Calera Wine Company.

Brian was to be one of the first boutique Pinot Noir producers to enter the field cold so to speak (he was a software engineer). Unimpressed by his own good fortune and success, he has shared his enthusiasm and knowledge freely, and inspired a number of other pinot freaks such as Greg Piatigorski (Alcina Cellars), Jamie Kutch (Kutch Wines), and Andrew Vingiello (A.P. Vin).

His success has been predicated in part on his insistence of acquiring first-rate Pinot Noir grapes from prestigious vineyards. Anyone in the business can tell you that you can’t make great Pinot Noir from inferior grapes (although many try). He never professed to be an experienced winegrower, so he allowed vineyard owners to farm his blocks as they farmed the ones they used for their own label. He began humbly, with 150 cases of Pinot Noir in 1999, increased this to 950 cases by 2002, and crafted 6,000 cases in 2006. This plateau will allows him to devote his energies full-time to make wine for Loring Wine Company as well as consulting on other projects. An investment group who were fans of Loring’s wines started Pali Wine Company and built a large winemaking facility in Lompoc. Brian crafts the Pinot Noirs for Pali in exchange for the use of the new winery for producing his own Loring Wine Company Pinot Noirs.

Fast forward to 2010. 2010 was an EPIC year for California Pinot Noir. Due to the long, cool growing season, they got nearly an extra month of hang time on the vine than in “normal” years. That resulted in awesome fruit and even more awesome wines!

The 2010s are already showing better than the 2009s did at this point. And that’s saying a lot—since the 2009s were the best wines Brian had ever made prior to the 2010s (and utterly delicious). In general, his 2010s are very velvety in structure, with a density and purity of fruit beyond anything we’ve seen—while retaining a graceful feel to them. Hard to describe, but fascinating to taste. While somewhat similar to his 2009s, the 2010s will be a touch deeper and yet a bit more refined. People who loved the 2009s will flip over the 2010s!!

The only real issue is that yields were much lower in 2010. Because of that, Brian was only able to produce enough of the AVA designated wines to cover his mailing list. And if you take a look at the cases produced of the single vineyard wines, you’ll probably quickly figure out that there won’t be a lot of any of those wines to go around—especially considering that his mailing list will be taking a decent chunk from the listed amounts as well. Just see our allocations for yourself, and if you want them, BUY THEM NOW.

Since so many wineries are cutting back on alcohol, oak, and ML for their Chards, he felt there was a void being created for those of us that like the big, oaky, buttery Chards. Of course, not too oaky or buttery —but just right! Think Kistler Chards before they started dialing them back. The Durell and Parmelee-Hill (Durell’s”sister” vineyard) Chards are the silky, oily texture, lower acid Chards that should please anyone who likes the old style Kistler, Peter Michael, or Aubert chardonnays. The Sierra Mar is from Santa Lucia Highlands and is more racy (higher acid) and tropical—with lots of apple notes—but still big and rich.

Single Vineyard Chardonnay
Brian decided to make Chardonnay to sell because it’s getting harder and harder to find the richer style Chardonnays that he prefers in the marketplace. It seems that stainless steel fermentation and non-ML Chardonnays are all the rage these days. Maybe he’s just not “hip”… but he like some buttery, toasty, oaky goodness in Chardonnay. Not gobs and gobs of butter and oak, but enough to add texture and depth. Stylistically he shoots for something like David Ramey makes, but maybe “notched up one step”.

Single Vineyard Pinot Noir
The Fall Release of Brian’s Single Vineyard Designated Pinots consists of the northern most vineyards he sources fruit from: Graham Family, Keefer Ranch, Durell, Rosella’s, and Garys’. In general, Brian’s 2010s are very velvety in structure, with a density and purity of fruit beyond anything we’ve seen—while retaining a graceful feel to them. Hard to describe, but fascinating to taste. While somewhat similar to his 2009s, the 2010s will be a touch deeper and a bit more refined. If you liked the 2009s, you’ll love the 2010s!

With an average of only 4 cases allocated of most wines offered and a track record of a mailing list only clientele, small production (100 to 400 cases of each wine produced) and very high scores from Wine Spectator and others, Brian Loring crafts some of California’s most allocated pinot noir. Velvety, soft and rich, the 2010s were EPIC, but a year with VERY LOW yields. This will probably be your only opportunity to purchase these wines from Calmont Beverage.

Orders are due by next Wednesday, September 28th, and expected delivery is the week of Monday, October 24th. Check out all our cool wine sat Church Street Wine Cellars in our underground brick and stone wine cellar at 2 Church Street, Burlington (top of the block underneath “Sewly Yours, the bridal shop and Top of the Block Sandwich Shop).

Orders or inquiries to info@churchstreetwinecellars.com

CSWCs TYRUS EVAN WARM CLIMATE VARIETAL RED WINES & KEN WRIGHT CELLARS/TYRUS EVAN WHITE WINE Fall 2011 PreSell

Church Street Wine Cellars at 2 Church Street at the top of the block in Burlington, Vermont is pleased to offer you an very limited presell of Ken Wright wines. Orders are due no later than this coming Thursday, September 9th, for delivery the 3rd week of October; prices are listed below by the bottle, ask about our further discounted case sales! Just drop us an e-mail at orders@churchstreetwinecellars.com by this Thursday! All orders are subject to availability and confirmation.

Ken Wright, owner/winemaker of Ken Wright Cellars as well as Tyrus Evan, is intimately familiar with cool-weather grapes. He ought to be; Ken was instrumental in the development of sub-appellations in the Willamette Valley AVA. Ken Wright Cellars is synonymous with Pinot Noir, yet with Tyrus Evan, Ken has done a 180, starting in 2003, focusing exclusively on warm-climate grapes. With great appreciation for his vineyard partners, Ken sources grapes from three distinctive grape-growing vineyards: Washington Red Mountain’s Ciel du Cheval; Walla Walla’s Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills vineyards; and southern Oregon’s Del Rio Vineyard. Tyrus Evan production includes a Claret and Syrah from each region, and a Cabernet Franc and Malbec from Del Rio Vineyard. These are complex wines, intensely fruit-forward with lingering finish — polar opposites of Pinot Noir. Without a doubt, Tyrus Evan adds to Ken’s overall winemaking résumé and rich portfolio of product. Very limited in scope, the Tyrus Evan wines are usually relegated to less than 1500 cases.

Tyrus Evan is located at The Depot, which, for many years, served as the train depot for Carlton. Ken purchased The Depot in 2001 and, following a complete overhaul, opened the renovated space in 2003, christening it Tyrus Evan, a combination of his two sons, Cody & Carson’s middle names. You may notice the words “genius loci” on the label without explanation. In contemporary usage, “genius loci” most commonly refers to a location’s distinctive atmosphere, or a “spirit of place”…classic Ken Wright.

Tyrus Evan Claret “Del Rio Vyd” Rogue Valley, Oregon 2008
—25% Cab Franc, 25% Malbec, 25% Cab, 25% Merlot, all Del Rio $35.49

Tyrus Evan Claret “Ciel du Cheval” Red Mountain, Washington 2007
—52% cab, 31% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 10% Cab Fr, all Ciel du Cheval $35.49

Tyrus Evan Syrah “Del Rio Vyd” Rogue Valley, Oregon 2006 $37.49

Tyrus Evan Syrah “Seven Hills Vyd” Walla Walla, Washington 2008 $37.49

Tyrus Evan Viognier “Del Rio Vyd” Rogue Valley, Oregon 2007 $25.49

Tyrus Evan Chardonnay “Del Rio Vyd” Rogue Valley, Oregon 2007 $26.99

Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Blanc Willamette Valley, Oregon 2010
—cool climate Meredith Mitchell & Freedom Hill Vineyard $23.49

Ken Wright Cellars Chardonnay Washington/Oregon 2009

—73% Celilo Vineyard (Washington), 27% Del Rio Vineyard (Oregon) $26.99

Again, we’ll need all orders wrapped up by this coming Thursday, September 9th, for delivery the 3rd week of October; prices are listed below by the bottle, ask about our further discounted case sales! Just drop us an e-mail at orders@churchstreetwinecellars.com by this Thursday!

Don’t forget our our biggest Direct Import Old World & New World Deep Deal Tasting of the Year at the Burlington Courtyard Marriott Harbor Hotel on the corner of Cherry & Battery Street on Sunday, September 18th from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at our LOWEST prices of the year! Only $15, tickets are limited. Tickets are available at Church Street Wine Cellars in advance only (no tickets will be available at the door).

Quaffable,Wine Advocate Accoladed, High-Quality 3.0 Liter Bag in the Box red wine for under $20???

Yes…Bodegas Borsao “Viña Borgia” D.O. Campo de Borja, Spain 2009
From a vineyard planted at a 1,200 foot elevation in limestone soils, this is an excellent introduction to Spanish wine for the New World wine lover, and Spain represents the best place for your “wine dollar” today!

If you want to try a soft, rich Garnacha (or Grenache)-based wine this is the starting point. It’s perfect for a glass when you get home from work, a BBQ, an evening with friends, or even cooking with. Light, fruity, and pleasant, it’s also a good match for burgers and pizza. Oh yes, It’s also the wine we recommend for those that make their own Sangria.

The 3.0 Liter box = 4 bottles…for the price of the box it is like getting a bottle for FREE, and best of all, it won’t go bad ! 3.0 liter box — Sale $19.99, Reg. $24.99 save $5.00 !
The 2009 Vina Borgia is 100% Garnacha fermented and aged in stainless steel. Purple-colored with a fragrant, fruity nose of fresh-picked cherries, on the palate it is ripe and savory with no hard edges in the finish. Drink it over the next 2 years. Bodegas Borsao has long been known for high quality value-priced wines and the current releases are no exception.” —Wine Advocate

Brought to us by our friend Jorge Ordonez, a several time recipient of Robert Parker’s “Wine Personality of the Year” and a true revolutionary that nearly single-handedly modernized the Spanish wine industry. Jorge and his Fine Estates from Spain is considered one of the most influential wine personalities in America. This is because of his commitment to finding the finest small bodegas in Spain, helping them to perfect their wines and introducing them here in the U.S., often to rave reviews.

Did you know that Jorge Ordonez, his portfolio and Spain:

has the highest elevation in Europe next to Switzerland?

has the oldest average vine age in Europe (30 – 40 years) vs. California (5 – 7 years)?

has a general policy of non-irrigation (which stresses the vines into producing ever finer wines)?

has had a revolution in winemaking, with younger generation of winemakers taking over, much like in Bordeaux with new willingness to experiment with vine varieties, including the “internationals” to match the varied soils and microclimates of western Europe’s second largest country?

has invested heavily for cool temperature, hygienic and controlled fermentations with stainless steel and or investmented in American oak and current technology insists on bottling without fining or filtration resulting in stripped, sterile, mass-produced wines and on shipping in proper refrigerated containers, where their standards are unmatched?

Come check out our other amazing offerings from Spain at Church Street Wine Cellars, with many well-under $10 bucks! Church Street wine Cellars, 2 Church Street Lower Level at the top of the block, Burlington, Vermont. Drop us an e-mail at info@churchstreetwinecellars if you’d like to be included in our e-mail list so you’ll know about our special on and off-site tastings, allocated offerings, winemaker dinners and the like!

From Hooker, Sherman and Hearst to Your Table: History in a Glass from Bedrock Wine Company – Church Street Wine Cellars Bedrock Stock Offering, In-Stock & Pre-Arrival Offer !

JUST BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR, the future Union Generals, Joseph Hooker and William Tecumseh Sherman, planted a vineyard in Sonoma, which was replanted in 1888 by William Randolph Hearst’s father. The vines that Hearst planted are now producing some amazing, and incredibly well-priced, wines under the Bedrock label. This is all due to the passion and skill of Morgan Peterson (the son of Ravenswood’s founder, Joel Peterson), who is methodically restoring to production some of Sonoma’s oldest vineyards.

As you’ve heard from us at Church Street Wine Cellars in years past, Bedrock is one of the most exciting wine projects in America. Please don’t miss these brilliant, and rare, examples of Morgan Peterson’s important work. In a world of “branded” corporate wineries spinning millions of cases of innocuous plonk from souless marketing departments, these wines are stand outs produced by a single individual, by hand, in an old Italian Basket press. Most of Morgan’s releases are in the 300 to 650 cases range (not the 400,000 cases of today’s “medium-sized” California winery).

Click here to see my video interview with Morgan in our temperature & humidity-controlled stone & brick underground wine cellar, Church Street Wine Cellars at 2 Church Street, Burlington, Vermont!

Bedrock “Sherman & Hooker’s Shebang!” Old-Vine Sonoma County White Wine 750 ml Reg. $12.99, CSWC price $11.99 ($11.49 case of 12)
This is a limited-edition, 300 case run of Shebang! white from vines planted between 1896 and 1954 in Sonoma Valley. The lion’s share of the blend is made up of 120 year old, old-vine Monte Rosso Vineyard Semillon that was fermented in stainless tank and then barrel aged in neutral French oak. The remainder is a couple barrels of 2009 Compagni Portis Vineyard (a white field blended vineyard of Gewurtz, Riesling, Trousseau Gris, Beshebang whiterger, Green Hungarian, and other stuff), along with a few barrels of 2010 Pagani Ranch Muscadelle planted in 1920.

Basically you have a delicious, plump, fruit driven white that doubles as a glass of California viticultural history. You can’t get that just anywhere else. Pear, mineral and some almost smoky notes, it has noticeable viscosity and provides a rather intriguing drink for normally a mere $13.

More than a century in the making, we’d suggest grilled fish or herbed chicken as a pairing.

Bedrock “Sherman & Hooker’s Shebang!” Sonoma Red Wine 1.0L Jug Reg. $16,99, CSWC price $15.99 ($15.49 case of 9)
Many of you are already familiar with this gem made from heirloom varietals, a wine is made by Morgan Peterson, son of Ravenswood’s Joel Peterson, from 80 to 100 year old vine Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah from nearby Abbastanza Vineyard, and some wonderful Syrah. The wine, a mix of vintages and was aged in 35% new French oak. This is a unique 1.0 liter Stelvin-closed (screw cap) jug that looks like a maple syrup jug, so it offers 33% more than the usual 750 ml bottle.

Morgan’s wines represent a serious philosophical challenge to agricultural monotony and a look to the past, pre-prohibitionary drinking. Full-bodied, ripe yet serious wine perfect for anything off the GRILL!

Like father, like son. Sherman & Hooker is a project from Morgan Twain-Peterson, the son of Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson. Joel Peterson is one of the most important dignitaries that California wine has seen in the last 50 years! He’s a hall-of-famer, rock star personality who was the key guy for making Zinfandel relevant again in California. He was, and still is the winemaker for Ravenswood Winery in Sonoma, a one-time titan in the world of Zinfandel and a sage of knowledge regarding these heritage vines. His love of old-vine Zinfandel vineyards throughout the north coast put him with a small band of dedicated producers that basically brought Zinfandel back from the dead.

Bedrock itself, is an itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop. Fruit from only the most excellent vineyard sites is hand pitch-forked into the destemmer, fermented in open top redwood and stainless vats using only native yeasts, and are manually basket pressed by winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson (Bedrock’s sole employee) into the sexiest oak from the coldest French forests.

The winery’s objectives are:

* To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.

* To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the North Coast.

* To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.

* To reclaim rosé from the excesses of saignée and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.

* To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.

* To make California Pinot Noir that ages as well as ’74 Swan.

*To dream big but keep production low!

These are a great way to introduce yourself to the wines of Bedrock Wine Co. as Morgan has a CLOSED MAILING LIST with a LONG WAITING PERIOD. CSWC stocks other Bedrock wines, and have pre-ordered from the winery some of Morgan’s top bottlings due to arrive at the store by mid-October (pre-offer below).

Background: Winemaker, Morgan Twain-Peterson

Morgan Twain-Peterson was born at home in Sonoma, Ca. On January 6th, 1981 to Joel Peterson and Kate Twain.

Raised at his father’s Ravenswood Winery, Morgan was exposed to wine and wine tasting at an early age. In David Darlington’s book “Angel’s Visits,” it is noted that “Morgan, at the age of five, could distinguish between Merlot and Zinfandel.” Morgan began making small lots of Pinot Noir at age 5 from fruit given to him by the Sangiacomo family. Motivated by the best wines of Domaine Dujac, he began experimenting with whole cluster fermentation, different types of French oak, and various ripeness points. Vino Bambino Pinot Noir, as the wine was known, was made from 1986 to 2001 and has been featured on the wine lists of Craft, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill, Delmonico’s, Aureole, and Mesa Grill.

While doing undergraduate work at Vassar (whose founder was a brewer of all things), and graduate work at Columbia University, Morgan worked as a wine buyer and salesperson for Arlington Wines and Liquors in Poughkeepsie, and Chelsea Wine Vault and Pet Wines in Manhattan. After receiving his MBA from Columbia, Morgan returned home to Sonoma in 2005 to work harvest at Ravenswood. From there he spent time as a visiting winemakers at Hardy’s in McLaren Vale (where he also spent a few highly educational days with Drew and Rae Noon at Noon Winery), and in the fall of 2006 was a visiting winemaker at Chateau Lynch-Bages in Pauillac.

Morgan is a manager of his family’s Bedrock Vineyards in Sonoma Valley, and is a member of Sunbreak Vineyard Services L.L.C, a vineyard management company. He has also passed the prestigious Master of Wine exam and upon successful completion of the dissertation will become one of the less than thirty American M.W.’s.

Bedrock Wine Co. firmly believes in the philosophy that “diversity is the spice of life. The wines I make are not limited to a single caste or single style. Rather, they reflect my own eclectic tastes and general feeling that a broad palate makes for more interesting gustatory experiences. As such, you will find a range of wines emanating from our humble cellar- from rich and spicy Zinfandel based field blends, to aromatic and sensual Syrah, to dry and lithe Rosé and Graves Blanc blends.” – Morgan Twain-Peterson

To order, just drop us an e-mail at info@churchstreetwinecellars.com

Extremely Limited Bedrock Wine Co. Pre-Offer (arrival is mid-October, Morgan’s wines are released on September 3rd)

When Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wine Company sent out his Fall offering to his closed mailing list last week, it inevitably sold out within the first twenty minutes. Our first thought? Uh oh…we were going to be passed over here in Vermont. Luckily for us, Morgan loves to ski, and thought fondly of us and his small distributor network and had generously reserved an allocation for them. One that would easily be eaten up in a blink in a larger market, and one that won’t go terribly far here in Vermont as a result of his stunning reviews and dedicated following. If you value Morgan’s work, please don’t wait…these are quite allocated.

2010 Bedrock Heirloom Wine, Bedrock Vineyard, Sonoma Valley
“The viticultural gods smiled on Bedrock Vineyard in 2010. While the fierce heat did cause damage to some of the younger vines, the 1888 plantings withstood the withering meteorological assault like the champs they are. I sourced the Zinfandel and mixed-blacks from three separate blocks- each coming into the winery in the 24.5 brix range. I picked the Carignane and Mourvedre separately, and for this year, all of the old-vine Syrah– though picked out vinified separately– has been added to the final blend. The final wine is roughly 55% Zinfandel, 25% Carignane, 11% Mourvedre, and 9% Syrah and the numerous other “mixed-blacks” found in the vineyard. As usual, the wine is dominated by the orange-oil, spice, and perfume of the vineyard. In the range of power, this wine occupies a middle ground between the elegant 2009 and powerful 2008. Though delicious now I think this wine will drink best a few years down the road.”
ONLY 400 cases made. $36.99, CSWC price $34.49

2010 Sonoma Valley Old-Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley
“Despite the difficulty of the harvest for Zinfandel, I feel that the 2010 version of this wine is actually better than the 2009. Why? Because though Stellwagen and Puccini Vineyard, which were slated to be vineyard designates were quite good (to be honest even my father is wondering why I am not vineyard designating Stellwagen), I am just not 100% pleased with the wines. As a result, I am turning the Sonoma Valley Old-Vine bottling into a “super-cuvee” of sorts. The backbone of the wine comes from the 1890’s planting of Zinfandel at Stellwagen, with nearly equal parts of fruit from the 1930’s plantings at Scatena Vineyard (actually a crazy field blend of Zinfandel and the obscure Aubun and Abouriou) and younger vines from steep and rocky terraces of Los Chamizal Vineyard. Add to this a couple dollops of fruit from Kenwood’s Rossi Ranch and a barrel and a half of wine from the 1905 plantings at Puccini Vineyard along with 13% old-vine Mourvedre from Bedrock Vineyard and you have the blend. The wine saw about 18% new French oak from Rousseau, Ermitage, and Orion.

As many of you already know, I prefer Zinfandels that are classically structured—that are not shy on tannin and leavening acidity. Though it was impossible to avoid 15% alcohol given the heat-wave in 2010, the fruit got there from being picked sub-24.5 brix and soaking up, rather than being picked at 29 and watered back (a FAR too common practice these days) which makes a major difference in fruit tone (fresh rather than jammy, bright rather than mute). In short, I hope my Zinfandel’s are close to my fathers from the early and mid-90’s. I love Sonoma Valley Zinfandel for its spice, its ageworthiness, and its lyricism—if Russian River Valley is Miles Davis’s Blue period, Dry Creek his Bebop, Sonoma Valley is his Sketches of Spain. This should provide much drinking pleasure over the next 5-7 years.”
ONLY 650 cases made. $26.99, CSWC price $25.49

2010 Monte Rosso Vineyard Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley
“I have been going to Monte Rosso Vineyard since I was a twelve years old kid. It was 1993 when my father started receiving fruit from the storied Martini vineyard and I still remember his excitement and awe. The soils are crimson red, the slopes are steep, and the vines twist upwards from the earth like Medusa’s serpentine follicles.

For nine years Ravenswood made one of the best examples of Zinfandel from the vineyard—a testament both to my father’s skill as a winemaker (mountain Zinfandel comes with its own set of challenges), and to the block from which he received fruit. Alas, in 2002, following the sale of Ravenswood to Constellation and the sale of Martini to the Gallo family, Ravenswood stopped receiving fruit from the vineyard. In 2007, when I started Bedrock, one of my first calls was to inquire about fruit. Though the Gallo family generously was able to provide me with the ancient Semillon that makes up the backbone of Cuvee Caritas starting in 2008, it was not until last year that I was told they might have some old-vine Zinfandel available.

Now, Monte Rosso is a mammoth vineyard—truly a jaw-dropping Gargantua when you consider it was put in on the rocky side of a mountain in the 1880’s with only dynamite and hand-labor—so I had no idea what fruit I would be receiving. As fine fortune would have it, I was taken to my father’s old block—its beautiful, steep, westerly, aspect and knarled skyward vines looking virtually the same to my 29-year-old eyes as they had 16 years earlier. The 2010 is the best Zinfandel I have ever made. Yes, it is rich and ripe, bearing 15%+ alcohol, but it also carries those things that I love most about Monte Rosso—the mountain spice, the almost claret-like texture, the vibrant red fruits. If you are a tannin maven like me you will like this wine young, but as the many wines I have had from Martini from the 60’s and 70’s show, Monte Rosso Zinfandel has an uncanny knack for aging elegantly for many decades.”
ONLY 300 cases made. $39.99, CSWC price $37.49

To pre-order for mid-October delivery, just drop us an e-mail at info@churchstreetwinecellars.com

The Best Winery In America? : Cristom 2008 “Ladies” at Church Street Wine Cellars

There are some vineyards in the world that you can tell, just by looking at them, produce great wine. Cristom is one of them according to us at Church Street Wine Cellars.

Heading south from the Red Hills of Dundee toward Salem, the Willamette Valley flattens out into a broad, fertile plain. Here perfectly symmetrical rows of hazelnut (filbert) trees stretch as far as the eye can see. From many miles away, to the further south you see a cluster of low, steep hills rising abruptly from the valley floor like volcanic islands. These are the Eola-Amity Hills just west of Salem and the southern-most new AVA of the Willamette Valley.

While sharing similar volcanic soils with Dundee Hills to the north, the Eola Hills would be too warm for the production of world class Pinot were it not for a gap in Coastal Range—the Van Duzer Corridor—which allows cold Pacific air to flow unimpeded from west to east and into the western flanks of the these hills. Many of the area’s most acclaimed vineyards face east to southeast on the leeward side of the hills. These include: Bethel Heights, Witness Tree, Temperance Hill, and on the steepest slope—Cristom.

In 1992 Paul and Eileen Gerrie purchased the abandoned Mirassou Cellars in the Eola Hills west of Salem. They recruited Steve Doerner from Calera where he had been making the wine since 1979. No one in America has more experience making single vineyard Pinot Noir.

John Winthrop Haeger in his new book “Pacific Pinot Noir” has this to say about Steve Doerner:
“Doerner is truly a master winemaker and makes the most engaging, stunningly balanced examples I know of (mostly) whole-cluster fermented pinots in North America. The wines are universally filled with character and are elegant, transparent to both method and terroir, and so impressive that one cannot drink them without pausing to reflect and appreciate.”

The Cristom winery sits at the base of a steep east-to-southeast facing slope. The soils here are the classic volcanic Jory, Nekia, and Ritner. The original vineyard, rechristened in honor of Paul’s mother, Marjorie, was planted in 1982. The combination of older vines and healthy, well-drained soil often generates some of Cristom’s best fruit. The first release from this vineyard was the 1994 vintage. Louise, named for Paul’s maternal grandmother, was the first vineyard established by Cristom, and was planted using new rootstocks and clones. Since Louise is located lower on the slope, the fruit often ripens sooner than the other vineyards. The first release from this vineyard was 1996. Jessie, named for Paul’s paternal grandmother, is Cristom’s steepest vineyard. It is the most diverse of the vineyards because it has the most variable soils and altitudes. The first release was the 1998 vintage. At the top of the slope, with a view to the Van Duzer Corridor to the west, sits Eileen, named for Paul’s wife. Here, the fruit tends to ripen more slowly under cooler conditions. The first release from this vineyard was the 2000 vintage. Collectively, these single vineyards are referred to as the “Ladies”. In total Cristom now has 65 acres under vine.

All four of the “Ladies” as well as the barrel selection “Sommers Reserve” from the exquisite 2008 vintage have now been released. Cristom’s entry level bottling “Mt. Jefferson” from 2009 is also now released. These wines have received extraordinary acclaim from Robert Parker and Stephen Tanzer (full reviews following) No serious Pinot enthusiast should be without these wines, especially in this vintage! Imagine the pleasure and education these wines will provide over the next decade as they evolve individually and collectively! Do this. Buy a few bottles of each—as many as you can afford—and host a Cristom tasting in the next year or so for your best friends. Repeat the tasting in 3-4 years and again in 8-10. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on these exceptional wines.

“THE critics have weighed in from every conceivable angle, and the results seem to be unanimous. The 2008 vintage for Oregon pinot noir is superb.” — The New York Times

What made the vintage so good? An uncharacteristically dry September and October, with warm days and cool nights, allowed grapes to achieve ripeness without sacrificing the freshness provided by good acidity. In contrast to very hot years, 2008 produced alcohol levels that are fairly moderate. The 2008 Oregon wines are as forward as the 06′s and as food-friendly as the 07′s – and they have better balance and texture than both. The 2008 vintage represents a new benchmark for Oregon wine, and according to the Wine Spectator, is a rare 100-point vintage.

2008 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Sommers Reserve Willamette Valley
By Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, Jul/Aug 11
“Vivid ruby. Pungent aromas of red berry and cherry skin, incense and blood orange. Energetic and gently sweet on the palate, offering sappy redcurrant and cherry flavors that turn spicier with air. Tannins build with air and add grip to the long, focused, spice-accented finish. This will age on its balance. 91 points” (CSWC $39.99)

2008 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Eileen Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills
“Vivid ruby. Sexy, highly expressive aromas of red and dark berries, cherry-cola, incense and cinnamon. Fleshy and expansive in the mouth, offering sappy but seamless flavors of raspberry and blackberry. Picks up a smoky note with air and finishes with excellent clarity, power and length. You could drink this now but it’s built to age. 93 points” ($47.99)

2008 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Jessie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills
“Glass-staining ruby. Complex, scented bouquet of black raspberry, potpourri and five-spice powder, with a sexy note of woodsmoke gaining strength with air. Cinnamon- and clove accented red and dark berry flavors show impressive intensity and focus, becoming sweeter on the back half. Dusty tannins add shape and grip to the long, sappy, penetrating finish. This will age. 93 points” ($47.99)
2008 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Marjorie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills

“Ruby-red with a bright rim. Heady aromas of black raspberry, cherry-cola, Asian spices and candied rose, with a vibrant mineral quality and a touch of woodsmoke. Finely delineated raspberry and cherry flavors show excellent depth, with zesty acidity giving shape to the wine. Strikingly elegant and precise pinot with serious finishing cling and persistent spiciness. 94 points” ($62.99)

2008 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Louise Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills
“Full ruby-red. Sexy, high-pitched aromas of red berry preserves, allspice, potpourri and sandalwood. Pliant, densely packed raspberry and cherry-vanilla flavors show surprising energy and pick up licorice and cinnamon nuances with air. Rich but lively, finishing with superb clarity and lingering sweetness. This will be drinkable soon but I’d bet on it aging positively for at least a decade. 94 points” ($47.99)

2009 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Mount Jefferson Cuvee Willamette Valley
“Bright ruby-red. Spice-accented red berries on the nose, with subtle smoke and floral notes adding complexity. Juicy and precise, with good depth to its strawberry and raspberry flavors. Finishes dry, stony and precise, with very good clarity and clinging florality. 90 points” ($28.99)

and from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate:

2008 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Sommers Reserve
Review by Jay Miller, Wine Advocate # 191 (Oct 2010), Rating: 91 points Drink 2012 – 2020
“The 2008 Pinot Noir Sommers Reserve spent 6 months longer in a higher percentage of new oak than the Jefferson bottling. It exhibits a whiff of toast along with meaty black fruit notes, spice box, and incense. On the palate it displays an elegant personality along with intense fruit flavors, good balance, and enough structure to evolve for 1-2 years. It will deliver prime drinking from 2012 to 2020.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, continuity and consistency are the keys to Cristom’s success. The winemaking team led by Steve Doerner rose to the occasion, taking full advantage of the great raw materials provided by the 2008 vintage. ” CSWC $39.99

2008 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Eileen Vineyard
Rating: 92 Points Drink 2013 – 2023
“The 2008 Pinot Noir Eileen Vineyard sports a super-fragrant perfume of earth notes, mineral, underbrush, spice box, black cherry, and black raspberry that jumps from the glass. Dense and layered on the palate, this plush, smooth-textured Pinot has the structure and balance to evolve for 3-4 years. Its drinking window will extend from 2013 to 2023.” CSWC $47.99

2008 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Jessie Vineyard
Rating: 92 Points Drink 2013 – 2023
“The 2008 Pinot Noir Jessie Vineyard is dark ruby red bordering on light purple. It surrenders an aromatic array of balsam wood, rose petal, Asian spices, tobacco, and assorted black fruits. Medium-bodied, dense, and crammed with succulent black fruits, it is already revealing some complexity, but there is more to come with another 3-4 years in the bottle. It, too, will deliver prime drinking from 2013 to 2023.” CSWC $47.99

2008 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Marjorie Vineyard
Rating: 93 Points Drink 2012 – 2022
“The 2008 Pinot Noir Marjorie Vineyard is the most elegant of the Cristom offerings. Medium ruby in color, its enticing bouquet shows off notes of smoke, cherry blossom, cinnamon, clove, cranberry, and raspberry. Intensely flavored, concentrated, and velvety-textured, it will benefit from 2-3 years of cellaring and drink well for a decade thereafter.” CSWC price $62.99

2008 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Louise Vineyard
Rating: 93 Points Drink 2013 – 2023
“The 2008 Pinot Noir Louise Vineyard presents a similar aromatic and flavor profile to the Marjorie Vineyard. A seductive nose of Asian spices, incense, floral notes, and amalgam of red and black fruits is followed by a loaded, plush, silky wine with outstanding volume and balance. This lengthy offering will deliver pleasure from 2013 to 2023.” CSWC price $47.99

Introducing Banshee Wines…or How to Buy a $175 Napa Valley Cult-Classic Cab for less than 38 bucks!

Introducing BANSHEE WINES
We at Church Street Wine Cellars originally got to know our friend, Baron Ziegler when he often came to Vermont while working for Eric Solomon at European Cellars, one of our favorite importers of Southern French and Spanish wine gems.

Well he has recently started his own company along with fellow industry insiders Noah Dorrance, Andrew Crookes and Steve Graf. With their combined experience in restaurant, retail, wholesale and the import businesses, they are uniquely suited to service the distinct needs within each tier of the wine industry, and be the finest stewards for their stable of incredible producers, both foreign (under their import label, Valkyrie Selections, but more on that another time) and domestic.

Banshee Wines is doing the backdoor barrel routine (buying barrels from some of California’s top cult wineries for 15 cents on the dollar) as well making some really GREAT wines. These guys and this brand is absolutely ON FIRE…and you just have to own some of these wines! The QPR value (Quality/Price Ratio) is OFF THE CHARTS!

In Baron’s own words:
“Banshee Wines is not your normal wine company. It is a band of wine industry insiders dedicated to producing benchmark wines without the cult wine prices. We specialize in finding hidden gems in other wineries’ cellars and then blending those barrels to create killer wines. For every barrel we take, we pass on 15 more that don’t make the cut.

The secret is that today, high-end wineries can’t sell all the wine they make and they don’t want to lower prices because they don’t want to diminish their brand. They would rather sell some of their wine to us and protect their luxury prices, knowing that we’ll maintain a strict confidentiality and produce top notch wines.”

Fine by us, and even better for you. You’ll find Banshee on some of the best restaurant lists in the world, in the cellars of select wine cognoscenti, and in only the finest retail shops…you know, those people that tend to know these types of things, like us at Church Street Wine Cellars!

Their goal is to deliver distinctive wines that beat the pants off many costing twice as much. Well know it we do, and we’re true believers in what these guys are doing. We know you will be too.

The Line-Up…

- Banshee Sauvignon Blanc Napa 2010 $19.99
This is a slighty grassy, lemon blossom and citrusy Sauvignon Blanc, with no malo but a rush of melony goodness on the palate. Medium-bodied, this wine has good texture AND acidity, which would come as no surprise if you knew the wine’s source. Banshee gets 98% of the fruit from one of the top Sauvignon Blanc producers in the Napa Valley (maybe you can get it out of us over a glass of wine). Try this with fresh-shucked oysters, a lobster boil or even a Chinese chicken salad. Yum! Everything about this summertime beauty screams “beat the heat”!

- Rickshaw Pinot Noir ’09 Sonoma County $16.99
The fruit is from Sonoma County, the wine is clean, ripe and flavorful and the concept is simple: evolved winemaking. Start with a surplus of quality wine that should be sold for more under a fancy label, select the best and sell for less. Bottle it under screwcap (au revoir, corked wine) in a bottle with a bright and snappy label and you’ve got yourself a fine deal. Nothing could be more natural.

This Pinot from Sonoma County sings from the minute you twist its cap. Full of aromas of sun-ripened blackberry and blueberry fruit, with a pretty cafe con leche note, the nose gives away its serious but accessible nature. Ripe, juicy and full of character, this gets even more impressive the moment it enters your mouth with the dark fruited tones of Sonoma Coast fruit and the soft open knit texture of Russian River Valley. With a likeable streak of oak toast running down the middle of the wine that adds dimension and richness, this is even appropriate for slightly heftier dishes like BBQ and fresh salmon. This speaks of the freshness of spring and the affordability to stock up for summer.

- Banshee Pinot Noir ’09 Sonoma County $24.99
A blend of five prominent vineyards, the 2009 Sonoma County Pinot Noir is a complex pinot with dark cherry fruit and sweet earthen minerality held together by bright acidity and long, ripe tannins. The vineyards utilized include a coveted high-density parcel in the Russian River Valley with Gold Ridge soils, a biodynamically farmed vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA, and a steep hillside location in the Petaluma Gap farmed organically.

100% Pinot Noir, less than 4000 cases made from Sonoma Coast and Russian River AVAs. Most of the wine received a 3-5 day cold soak before beginning a 50% whole-berry, 50% crushed berry fermentation. The wine was then sent to rest in 100% French {Francois Freres, Seguin Moreau, etc} oak barrels, about 35% new, for 14 months. Expensive pedigree for sure, but that’s the Banshee mission!

Oozing class, this beauty does everything that topnotch pinot noir should do…and then some.

- Rickshaw “Red Wine” ’07 Napa Valley $16.99 (60% Merlot, 34% Cabernet, 6% Petit Verdot)
From a GREAT VINTAGE, the 2007 Rickshaw Red Wine is a killer blend of 100% Napa Valley fruit (from a Merlot heavyweight) that punches much higher than its weight class and price suggest. Rich espresso notes mix with refined dark fruits on the palate complimented by an intoxicating pencil lead/anise nose. It would be an amazing deal at $30 but for $15 there is not a better Napa wine anywhere in the world. A delicious blend of 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. This was a one off (IT MAY NEVER BE MADE AGAIN, unless someone is again willing to drop $6000 ton top-quality Napa Merlot for $1600 a ton) – SO GET IT WHILE YOU CAN!

- Banshee Cabernet ’08 Napa Valley $37.99
The 2008 Banshee Napa Valley Cabernet comes from some of the most lauded Cab vineyards in Napa but is priced at wallet-friendly prices. When you taste it, you’re immediately transported to the world of $80+ cult Cabernet, rather than lingering in the $38 price point, which is largely dominated by HUGE production, poorly made Cabs. We can’t drink enough of this stuff ourselves, and we think that you’ll be as impressed as we are. The downside is that there was only 400 cases made and it is sold out at the winery.

About 60% comes from 20 year old vines from the famed Ink Grade Vineyard atop Howell Mountain. The remainder is from the low yielding Cab vines of the famous Stagecoach Vineyard in Pritchard Hill.

After harvesting only 4-6 bunches per vine (a tiny 2.2 – 2.5 tons per acre), the wine was fermented in small temperature controlled steel fermenters and then put in 100% new French oak for 20 months. (Radoux and Demptos barrels).

So suave it makes “The Most Interesting Man in World” blush. It deftly balances flavors of rich espresso, Tahitian vanilla, and black cherry with alluring violet perfumes wafting out of the glass. Rarely does one find a wine that so effortlessly and seamlessly combines the masculine and feminine.

- Banshee “Mordecai” Proprietary Red California 2009 $24.99
It started out as a high class problem. The guys were able to secure parcels from some of the best, and most well known vineyards in California. Places like Whitehawk, Alder Springs, Grist, Parmalee Hill, and, well, we can’t mention any more names – at least they can’t say what they get from where. Suffice it to say, there are some heavy hitters in their possession. That is the high class part.

The problem part was that they didn’t have a large quantity of any one of those wines. So they really didn’t want to bottle 8 different wines with only a handful of cases of each available.

The solution? Make a delicious proprietary red wine by daring to cross a few boundary lines. The blend struts some the best Syrah in California, a Turley single vineyard Zin source, Napa Mourvedre, Grenache from Paso and a few other bits and pieces that worked well with the rest of the blend. Again, why pay Turley or other overly-inflated prices?

Bold with a panoply of dark and red berry fruit but structured enough to be a serious wine, the Banshee Mordecai is like nothing else on the market. Somehow the Banshee boys keep coming across some of the best barrels and highest quality fruit sources around and spinning them into wonderfully affordable delicious wines. In the case of the “Mordecai” they have come up with what we call a kitchen sink blend, a little bit of a lot of things. This is wildly crowd pleasing!

THE SPECIAL OFFER: How do you buy a 97-Point $175 a bottle Napa Valley cult-classic Cabernet Sauvignon for less than $38? Buy it from Church Street Wine Cellars with the Banshee label on it of course!

Banshee Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2007 – the real deal
We just procured a very limited supply of this 97-point spectacular Cabernet from our friends at Banshee, even though they are now sold of their awesome 2008 now (but don’t worry, they bottled their 2009 Cab a week ago Friday and it’s on it’s way to us). Check out the review below…$175 bottle retail (by mailing list), and it can be yours with the Banshee label for only $37.99!

(Winery XXX – Source Vineyard)
Wine Advocate # 186
Dec 2009 Robert Parker 97 Points Drink: 2009 – 2029 $175 (175)

“The 2007 XXXX Cabernet Sauvignon (90% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot aged 20 months in 100% French oak) is a La Mission Haut-Brion look-alike. Burning ember, scorched earth, blackberry, smoked herb, and sweet cassis fruit characteristics are all present in this full-bodied, dense, concentrated offering. With a whopping finish as well as great balance and purity, it should drink well for 20+ years. ”

It deftly balances both rich espresso and black currants with alluring violet perfume. Rarely does one find a wine that so effortlessly and seamlessly combines the masculine and feminine.

Some fun facts:

The winery where this gem was born has a flagship wine that releases for well over $250 a bottle.

It was made by one of the top 3 winemaking consultants in the world.

The winery sold this exact wine with a different label for $175 a bottle.

BANSHEE bought all of the unlabeled bottles they had (after pooling their life savings to do it and writing the biggest check of their lives!) and are offering it for less than 1/4 of the price!

This big Cab was made to go with a grass fed NY strip. Light up the grill baby!