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Fancy Pants Wines

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JURA DUTY: The Book Kind

jura wine book.jpgA little over a year ago, we sent out a notice about Wink Lorch’s KickStarter campaign to fund her efforts to publish the first ever English language book on Jura wine. Wink has been visiting and writing about the region since 1999 – long before it had made the radar of even the geekiest wine geek. She was convinced (begged, really) to embark on this book project by those of us eager for more info on the mystical, magical place where the white wines challenge your conception of what a white wine can be, and the reds are shockingly light in color but surprisingly big in flavor.

The project was a huge success and the book is here! Consider it Jura duty of the best kind. You won’t find a better, more definitive guide to the region than her simply titled: Jura Wine

Not to get all infomercially, but at $38, it's less than ½ the price of a bottle of the region’s mythical vin jaune. So if you're a looking to learn more, it's well worth the investment.


You haven’t heard of the Jura??? Unless you happen to shop in a handful of wine shops scattered across the country, that’s pretty much expected. The region is a tiny, obscure part of France tucked over near Switzerland. You've probably never heard of some of the region's most important grapes (Savagnin? Poulsard? Trousseau?) And you probably haven’t had anything like the region’s light, ethereal, sneakinly complex reds. Or its slightly twangy, often oxidative whites. Or its top dog vin jaune that ages practically forever. No, unless you’re a wine geek or hang out with them, you probably haven’t heard of these wines. But there's a good chance you'll like them.


BRING ON THE BUBBLES: The Delicious Pink One

pouillon rose.jpgR. Pouillon et Fil Champagne Brut Rose de Marceration Premier Cru NV (Champagne, France):

No need to limit your pink drinks to still wine. We have bubbles too! We’re partial to this one, a rose de maceration from R. Pouillon. Its intense pink color comes by way of 12 hours skin contact on the base wine. Most pink champagnes go pink when a bit of red wine is added right before the final cork is added. But when this pink-making method is used (also called saignée, which is a different sort of saignée than the one involved with non-sparkling rose) the results tend to be more intensity, structure… and yes, color. Technical babble aside, this is a delicious wine with notes of wild strawberries, a bit of biscuit and a lip-smacking freshness that makes it very, very easy to finish the bottle.

Price: $54.99


THE UNICORN HAS LANDED: Chateau Musar Rose 2012

This exists.

musar rose.jpgAnd no, your eyes do not deceive you. This is an actual bottle of Chateau Musar rose.

It's not the Jeune, which we know and love as the deeply colored $20-ish cinsault-based rose. This is not that. This is it's own thing. A very rare creature...... dare I call it a unicorn?  I had heard of it, glimpsed images of it in the background of photos, perhaps seen it in dreams. But it wasn't until I actually visited the actual cellars of Chateau Musar - and had a very wonderful dinner with my traveling group at the home of the Hochar family, that I actually tasted it. And that was about three years ago, fresh of the plane, in the haze of jet lag... did I really taste it? Or did I just think I did?  Since then, I've asked about it, pleaded for some to make its way to the US market. And now it has..... the unicorn has landed.

Some technical details? It's the same base wine as the whites - made from the mystical old vines of obidah and merwah - with the addition of a bit of cinsault for color and a subtle berry note. It's gorgeously textured and subtly fruited. And given the extreme ageability of the both Musar reds and whites, it shouldn't be a surprise that this is a rose that can age as well. So don't be afraid to hide some away.

Price: $51.99



Thackrey Fifi Rose 2013

fifi.jpgFifi is the sexy rose next door. This is the first vintage (we think) of this wine from Sean Thackrey, a man GQ magazine compares to a "well cellared" Robert Redford. (We don't disagree.) He comes from the art world and has carried the same sense of curation to his grapes, all purchased from other growers. Although the man knows his science (thanks to a UC Davis courses) his wines are made with a light touch, left to rest for twenty-four hours under the stars, which may be why they are so wonderful. Or it may just sound good on paper. Starlit dreams aside, let's talk about Fifi. It's the rare new-world rose made from the sangiovese grape - which proves that such roses should be less rare. It's cherry juice, cranberry and smoke with the backbone to stand up against backyard grilling fare. (We’re talking burgers on the grill with a side of charred summer corn structure.). Glou glou.

Price: $33.99


BRING ON THE BUBBLES: The Sneaky Value One

Alexandre Filaine Cuvee Speciale Brut NV
(Champagne, France):

Filaine.jpgUnless you regularly skulk around in the geeky depths of the grower champagne world, you’ve probably never heard of the Fabrice Gass (the winemaker) or Alexandre Filaine (the wine.) But you probably have heard of Bollinger. Well, we’ll let you in on a little secret. Fabrice is involved in both Bolly and Filaine. Not surprisingly, Filaine has a lushness  and opulence that remind us of Bolly. But for a few less bucks. It’s one of those strange miracles of the modern wine world – you can get the tiny production, minimally-messed with bottles for less than the larger production goods. Why? We don’t know. But we’re happy when it works out this way.

Price: $52.99


BRING ON THE BUBBLES: The (Not Really) New One

corbon 1995.jpgLet us tell you about one of our favorite new champagne growers. OK, “new” might not but the right word because the family has been growing grapes in Avize since 1912, but the estate is new to us and to the US market, so we’re very excited to introduce the wines. So, on to the details:

Corbon Champagne is a small estate in the Grand Cru village of Avize, located in the Cote de Blancs. As the name implies, this sub-region is known for turning out excellent bubblies made from the chardonnay grape, and the Blanc de Blancs of Corbon prove this point.

The estate is overseen by Agnes Corbon who returned to the family vines in 2004 after a stint working in the European food business as an engineer and buyer. In the 1970s, her father, Claude, worked up the courage (with a little push from the economic downturn) to keep the grapes and make champagne under the family label. Agnes has continued the work he started, experimenting with organics in the vineyard, and turning out wines that we love and are eager to introduce to a wider audience.

We’re lucky enough to have a range of Corbon wines in stock. And recently, we were even luckier to host a wine dinner featuring some library bottles (a.k.a. older and straight from the estate cellar) that prove how well the wines can age.

Corbon Blanc de Blancs Brut 2004 (battonage) – there's also a non-battonage cuvee, but if pressed, we'll admit we prefer this one - it's the richer of the two, showing more biscuit notes and texture. Price: $59.99

Corbon Blanc de Blancs Brut 1995 MAGNUM – absolutely gorgeous. Showing the toffee and rich brioche that comes with age, while maintaining an underlying freshness. Price: $280 (that’s essentially $140/bottle for gorgeously aged bubbles direct from the estate cellar)

To purchase, go to our WINES pages and search on CORBON.



anna - long.jpgWhen picking out wine for customers, I’m often asked, “what do you like?” And I’m always reluctant to answer, because it’s not about ME… it’s about YOU! But sometimes, it is about me. Like when I ponder the shelves on a grey mid-week day and dream about what I'll drink on (hopefully) sunnier weekend days. And this wine is that.

I came across this wine while I was in London a few months ago. I was wrapping up dinner with college friends at the natural-ish wine bar Remedy, when on the way out, I noticed a gorgeous electric ruby bottle of wine sitting on someone’s table. I couldn’t resist popping over and asking what it was. And what it was, was the Vino di Anna Palmento Vino Rosso 2012 from the slopes of Mount Etna on Sicily. Deeper than a rose. Lighter than a regular red. I stopped short of pouring myself a glass (it’s one thing to ask strangers what they’re drinking, it’s another thing to help them drink it!) but I just knew it would be delicious. Somehow I tracked it down to US shores where it would be imported by one of my favorite small distributors, Indie Wineries.  Fast forward to yesterday, when my rep brought me a taste of the just arrived wine. And it was awesome:

Made from the nerello mascalese grape (and maybe a couple other varieties in the mix), foot pressed in the old palmento on the grounds of their old winery, no SO2 added, juicy red fruits with a structure and savory note that elevate it beyond your usual pink stuff. Or light red stuff. Or whatever you want to call it. (I just call it delicious. Or really… I just call it EMPTY!)

Price: $27.99

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