Wine Hotline: New, Novel and Notable
We're excited to announce the new and improved Wine Hotline, featuring a knowledgeable, experienced wine team eager to take your calls and answer your emails. From rooting out rare and collectible wines to discovering new and hidden values, we're ready to talk to you.
Something you probably haven't tried before: 2013 Armas de Guerra Blanco. Its principal grape is doña blanca, usually seen in smaller doses in white blends. Great for spring, this Spanish white is fresh and rich without sweetness. For under $12, you have to try this. Frustrated by recent vintages, many Bordelais are releasing stocks of highly regarded older vintages. Recent arrivals include bottles from 2010, 2005 and 2003, all drinking wonderfully right now. More on this topic soon. For fans of collectible cabernet and those excited about the excellent 2012 vintage in Napa, we just received a shipment of big names. Be on the lookout for Shafer and Plumpjack, plus Plumpjack Group's Odette and Adaptation, both of which just received great critical scores. These won't last long. Keep an eye out for these other big names in 2012: Faust (think baby Quintessa), Stag's Leap Artemis, Frank Family Reserve. These are collectible wines, which of course means they are limited in availability. Didier Dagueneau left a legacy of intensely singular wines that intimately reflect the land of their vineyards. His son, Louis-Benjamin, continues this style. For a thrilling example, see the powerhouse 2012 Dagueneau Silex. The 2011 Altano Douro was a hit, especially after receiving a 91 points and retailing at ten bucks. We're excited for the newly arrived 2012, which has not yet been reviewed, but shares its predecessor's fresh fruit and hefty ripeness. Another great example of why Portugese reds are growing in popularity. For the second vintage in a row, New Zealand's Millton delivers an incredible single-vineyard chardonnay. Texturally Burgundian with notes of apple tart and toasted nuts. If Burgundy drinkers got wind of this, they could save a lot of money. We had to agree with Robert Parker when he said Alto Moncayo's Veraton easily competes with wines priced two to three times higher. 2011 was a short crop, and we scooped up much of the Illinois allocation, so if you're looking for this fantastic bottle, act soon. We liked Champagne Gonet Medeville at $50, and now we love it at $40. Shifts in the supply chain resulted in an everyday 20% price drop. Pinot noir ubergeeks: check out Brittan 2012 Gestalt and Basalt Blocks. Industry veteran Robert Brittan gives intense focus and care from the earth to the bottle, and these bottles are from the near-perfect 2012 vintage. We were allocated extremely limited quantities, so if you're interested, reach out to the Wine Hotline soon. Speaking of Oregon pinot noir, J Christopher's 2012 Willamette Valley bottling is a great example and a relative value. From the ripe 2012 vintage, this wine is built in a graceful, feminine, balanced and elegant style. Also check out 2012's from Penner Ash and Raptor Ridge. Despite what you may have heard, people do indeed still drink merlot. One of the best we've had in a while (certainly the best value) is Barnard Griffin 2012 from Colombia Valley. Soft and easy with plenty of cocoa character, this merlot will please crowds. Try the cab too. At twenty bucks, 2013 Tabali Talinay Sauvignon Blanc might be the most expensive bottle of sauvignon blanc from Chile you will ever buy. But it's so packed, intense and rich, you have to taste it to believe it. Check out the Wine Hotline for new products, events, and industry news!