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Fancy Pants Wines

Feeling flush? Won the lottery? Looking for something special? Our commitment to great value doesn’t stop at a certain price point. Let us make a few suggestions.

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LAST YEAR'S ROSE: The Worth-the-Splurge One


JUTTA.orli.jpgJutta Ambrositsch Rosa Ambrositsch 2014 (Vienna, Austria):

 

Jutta won’t believe how beautiful this wine is! OK, groan-worthy puns aside, Jutta Ambrositsch’s rose really is beautiful wine. When not in the vineyard, she’s a graphic designer, so the attention paid to the details isn’t all that surprising. A gorgeous shimmery pink in a lean, tall bottle with a clean, minimal label, this wine is beautiful to look at. And it’s beautiful to taste. It’s striped down, elegant, with crystalline berry notes and subtle minerality. Layers are there if you’re looking for them. Or just gaze on the beauty of the bottle. Either way, it’s worth the splurge.

 

Price: $39.99

 
 
 

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.

What?

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.

 
 
 

Look What the White Rhone Fairy Left!


Souhout Blanc.jpgHerve Souhaut Blanc 2012 (L'Ardeche, Rhone, France):

Silky and lush, yet supple and lifted. This elegant wine from arguably, one of the best wine producing regions in the world is laden with pear and fig notes, as well as extremely balanced minerality without any added SO2.

Who would have expected this delight from from vines that are considered ancient in the winemaking world: between 50 and 100 years old!

Price: $29.99
 
 
 

The Hills are Alive... with Altesse!


Altesse2.jpgLes Grangeons de l Albarine Altesse en Paradis 2013 (Bugey, France):

If there were ever a moment for personification of a grape, it is when describing the Savoie / Bugey beauty Altesse. She is the fresh air that graces the valley, gazing upon the alps. She is graceful and innocent. She wears cranberry silk slips and strappy kitten heels and a flatteringly floral fragrance formulated just for her in a fancy Parisian parfumerie. Imagine Maria, from the Sound of Music, post-nunnery, on a trip to post-war Paris.

Or forget all that and just trust us - this is lovely, lovely wine. 

It's made from the altesse grape, grown in Bugey (which is not the same thing as the Savoie), made by young vigneron Luc Bauer in a converted barn in the Albarine Valley. It is unmanipulated: farmed organically, fermented spontaneously, with very low additions of SO2. It's rolly poly but light on its feet. Silky with crunchy minerality and bright, fresh yellow apple notes with a textured, lasting finish. It's one of our favorite things. (OK, OK, enough with the Sound of Music references.)

Price: $29.99

 
 
 

BRING ON THE BUBBLES: The Old School One


Clouet Champagne (2).jpgPaul Clouet Champagne Grand Cru Brut Cuvee Prestige NV (Champagne, France):

Lush fruit meets bold balance. This is opulence in a glass, with excellent balance and a wealth of fruit. The "cool kid" champagnes of the moment may be all about screaming acid and zero dosage - and while the best of them are excellent, it's hard to pull off. And the prices.... up up up! Meanwhile, I will shout loud and proud that I love the old school stuff. Rich, brioche-laden bubbly goodness with the dosage wonderfully balanced and firmly in place. (For those asking "do-what???", dosage is the bit of sugar juice that's added before bottling to finish off the wine and balance out the wine's naturally high acidity. "More" doesn't necessarily mean "sweeter." Well, yes, it does, technically, but some wines with a higher dosage can appear less sweet than those with lower dosage - it's all about the balance.) Tech lessons aside, this wine is definitely, 100% not sweet, so don't be scared. What it is - lush, opulent, sexy stuff. Old school Champagne? I will always love you.

Price: $64.99
 
 
 

A Very Pretty Bouzy Rouge


Bouzy Rouge.jpgBenoit Lahaye Bouzy Rouge NV (2012) (Coteaux Champenois, France): Bouzy Rouge… absolute best wine name ever. Try to say it without smiling. Nearly impossible. Yes, it’s Bouzy, (a village in the Montagne de Reims area of Champagne) not ‘boozy.’ But it sounds the same. It’s a Coteaux Champenois – a catch-all for "still wines made in what would otherwise be called Champagne if they were sparkling."

I will admit, I am a bit obsessed with these wines, and Benoit Lahaye’s is the one that set me off. It was probably over five years ago (oh how time flies!) that we had one at the shop in a line-up of random bottles brought over by John’s friend from France. There were some stunning wines open, but the Lahaye Bouzy Rouge was my favorite. It was delicious – gorgeous red Pinot Noir fruit with a bright, firm core of minerality. The elegance, purity, and focus of Burgundy combined with the liveliness and drinkability of really good Beaujolais. There was also a certain element of wanting what you can’t have: like all Coteaux Champenois, this one is made only in tiny quantities, and it wasn’t currently for sale in the US market.

Fast forward to now, and there’s a quiet buzz building around Benoit Lahaye’s bubbles. (Google him, and you’ll find plenty of background, including an early piece by Champagne-sage Peter Liem.) And his Bouzy Rouge? Two years ago I managed to beg, plead, and pester dear importer Jeffrey Alpert into getting me five cases. Last year, with interest in Lahaye and Coteaux Champenois building among the wine retail set, I managed to get one case. This year, I pulled rank and snagged two. We couldn't resiste opening a bottle at the shop and it's as delicious as ever.

So if you’re looking for something special and value rarity, a good story, and sheer deliciousness, then this is your wine.

SALE PRICE: $59.99

 
 
 

A Taste of Heaven, From a Place Called Hell


enfer.jpgJust in - the newest vintage of one of our favorite wines: Danilo Thomain Enfer d'Avier 2014 (Vallee d'Aoste, Italy).

It's from a tiny sub-region high up in the Valle d'Aoste where it can get hot during the day. As hot as hell... or in this case, as hot as enfer. A classic Alpine wine - all brambly, wild berries, with a rough and tumble rustic richness, balanced by classic Alpine freshness. And as with past vintges, it's one of those wines that may even be better the second day...even the third day. Maybe for an eternity, which would be handy if you actually find yourself in the Dante-esque scene depicted on the label. So grab a bottle, pop it open, and try really, really hard to make it last past day one. (We can't promise you'll make it to heaven, but you can at least have a taste!)

At $29.99, it may not be the least expensive bottle you'll ever buy, but you still won't have to sell your soul to get it.

 
 
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