Barcino – Cava “Belle Epoque” Brut NV, Penedes, Spain
Sparkling wine and bubbly lovers in the U.S. have discovered what an incredible value Cava is - a wine made in the same way as Champagne, with a second fermentation in the bottle. If you like bright, zesty, citrus flavors and the fine bubbles of Champagne, try Barcino Cava! Fermented in the bottle and aged for 12 months on the lees before release, this wine is the best of both worlds. It consistently delivers premium flavors and for the price of a regular bottle of Brut non-vintage French Champagne you can take home three or four bottles of this gem.
Barcino is made by the largest vineyard owner in the Penedés region, which only makes wine with the best 40% of its grapes. The vineyards are located a few miles south of Barcelona in the Alt (High) Penedés subregion of the Penedés DO. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at 176 meters (577 ft.) elevation, the vineyards and winery are located in the town of Vilafranca del Penedès. The ancient Greeks introduced vines to this area prior to the 4th Century BC.
This crisp, delicious, dry sparkler has attractive notes of honeyed brioche, poached pear and caramelized grapefruit that jump from the glass of this zesty, light-bodied, exceptionally well-crafted, pure, fresh cava. Great packaging too!
Troupis – “Hoof and Lur” Moscofilero Skin Contact 2019
Troupis represents one of Salveto’s rising stars for sure. In only their tenth vintage, accolades are rolling in. Troupis in now known for their exquisite expressions of Moschfilero, grown on the Mantinia Plateau in the Peloponnese region of Greece. This ancient, aromatic varietal in the expert hands of Yannis Troupis, is the cornerstone of their winery; and they make several different expressions of the grape along with producing Assyrtiko and Agiorgitiko. Hoof and Lur was born of a conversation late one night drinking in the courtyard at Troupis. It represents a look back at more than a thousand years of winemaking, where the wines were fermented on their skins and without inoculation, allowing the native yeasts in the vineyard to work their magic. Many refer to this as “Natural Wine.” Yannis likes to say “low Intervention.” The vines are organically farmed. 2019 graced most of western Europe with perfect weather during the growing season.
In Greece, the wines represent the best we have ever tasted. The third iteration of Hoof and Lur (named after the method of pruning and replating to propagate clonal selections) is simply stunning; heady aromatics of lemongrass, blood orange, and ginger explode from the glass, followed by a crisp, refreshing palate that is both dry and thirst quenching with bracing acidity. The bright pink hue comes from extended contact with the dark pink skins of Moschofilero and it is perfect for the holiday table! Recently featured by Eric Asimov in the New York Times (twice) and Decanter Magazine.
Here is a video Showing the genesis of one of their new vineyards. Check out the color of the skins! Matches what’s in the glass!: Click Here
Radacini – Ampre (Saperavi, Feteasca Neagra and Merlot) 2018
Moldova, a small country near where the Danube river empties into the Black Sea, has a long history of winemaking. From the 14th century on, the main industry and export has been wine. It is ingrained in the culture. Somewhat recently, with the adoption of modern winemaking practices and equipment, the country has gone through a major transformation of the style of wines that it produces.
The wines, as a rule, are well-made and have pure varietal expression. Stylistically, the climate favors wines of medium-to-full body, not unlike what can be done in Washington state. Here are a couple of interesting facts: Moldova has the highest vine density of any country in the world, and is also the home of the world’s biggest and 2nd biggest wine cellars! High-quality wine in abundance, and a nation whose cultural focus is on wine. These are great factors for value seekers!
The Ampre uses a native varietal, Feteasca Neagra; Saperavi, which originates in Georgia; and Merlot from French vineyard origin. The Feteasca Neagra has great ripe-berry notes and spice while the Saperavi lends acid and a pomegranate tanginess. The Merlot pulls it all together with ripe plum flavors. There are note of herbs on this wine, likely also from the Saperavi, that reminds the drinker of the great Cab Francs of Saumur-Champigny. Put it all together and you have one heck of a wine from a wine area in ascendancy.
Here is a video introduction of Moldova and its wines: Click here
Pence Ranch & Winery – Estate Pinot Noir 2018
Pence Ranch Vineyard is located in the far eastern portion of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, across from Rio Vista Vineyard and adjacent Sebastiano Vineyard. The organically farmed Pinot Noir is rooted in clay-based soils with southern and western exposures. Winemaker Sashi Moorman uses open-top concrete fermenters, with a variable-percentage of stem inclusion. Modeled after a California rancho of the Spanish era, owner Blair Pence has established 10 varieties of olives and vegetable plots that supply Italian restaurants in the Los Angeles area, and grows grain on the ranch to feed 40 head of cattle and five cutting horses. This a truly beautiful, diverse working ranch! Please enjoy this short video showing the story and beauty of Pence Ranch: Click here
92 points Vinous – “The 2018 Pinot Noir Estate is expansive and translucent in feel. The blend of nine clones on the property yields a distinctive Pinot that is full of character. Crushed berries, licorice, mint and a touch of whole cluster savoryness give the Estate tons of character to match its translucent personality. This is such an attractive wine. (AG)”
Sleight of Hand – “The Conjurer” Cabernet Sauvignon-based Bordeaux Blend 2018
Yes, that is Neil Patrick Harris on the label! He fell in love with SoH wines drinking them by-the-glass at LA’s famous, Magic Castle, and joined the wine club! He was happy to lend his likeness. 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc, 24% Merlot. and 1% Petit Verdot. The 2018 Conjurer was aged for 11 months in 25% new French oak- and has dark, brooding aromas of plums and Christmas spices, along with an herbal lift on the back end. The wine is richly textured, with an incredibly plush, soft entry that leads to an explosion of flavors on the palate. The palate is dominated by plums, black cherries, and earthy, savory elements like olives, which all lead to a beautifully long finish. The acid profile is tucked away behind the core of gorgeous fruit. Enjoy this beauty (with friends, of course) for the next 12-15 years.
Jeb Dunnuck " “THE STYLE AT SLEIGHT OF HAND, UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF TREY BUSCH, JERRY SOLOMON, AND KEITH JOHNSON, HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY OVER THE PAST 4-5 YEARS AND THE WINES SHOW MORE FINESSE, ELEGANCE, AND PURITY TODAY, WITHOUT SACRIFICING ON FRUIT OR TEXTURE. THESE ARE BRILLIANT WINES, AND I CERTAINLY INCLUDE THIS ESTATE IN THE TOP HANDFUL OF ESTATES IN WASHINGTON TODAY.”
This link will take you to a fantastic podcast called “Wine for Normal People” and their episode with Sleight of Hand. Click here
If it seems like this wine over-delivers for the price, that is because it is made up of the component parts of their Reserve Cab Sauv “Illusionist” and their Reserve Merlot-based Bordeaux blend “The Archimage”. Luckily for value seekers, not every barrel makes it into the blend and The Conjurer is skillfully created from those reserve barrels!