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Winter Wine Highlights

Happy New Year! Cheers to one and all, and here’s to wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2016. Now that holiday madness has subsided, let’s catch up on some items that you may have missed. Here are a few winter wine favorites.

2012 Cadence Red Camerata Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain ($56)

“Vibrant, focused and aristocratic, centering on generous plum, currant, blackberry and floral aromas and flavors that play out against well-modulated, crisp tannins. Shows presence and excellent length. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2017 through 2025. 225 cases made.” –Wine Spectator, 95 points.

2012 Colene Clemens Margo Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains ($34)

Winemaker Steve Goff was the assistant at Beaux Frères for many vintages; now he makes wine for Colene Clemens, one of the hottest new Oregon wineries. “Lithe and expressive, shading black cherry fruit with glints of mint, loamy earth and walnut. Fine tannins underline a long, dancing finish. Best from 2016 through 2022. Top 100: 2015, Rank: 45.” –Wine Spectator, 93 points.

2006 La Fleur de Bouard Lalande de Pomerol Bordeaux ($34)

“At present, this estate is the reference point for high quality wines from Lalande de Pomerol. A blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sensationally rich, with abundant quantities of blue and black fruits, spring flowers, graphite, licorice and hints of espresso roast as well as toasty oak, it is supple enough to be drunk now, or cellared for a decade.” - Robert M. Parker, Jr., 91 points.

2014 Daou Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon San Luis Obispo Central Coast California ($20)

“I think even a step up over the killer 2013, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is loaded with notions of black raspberry, cassis, spice and licorice. More textured, voluptuous, layered and concentrated than all of the previous vintages. Located at one of the highest spots in the appellation, it’s worth noting this tiny microclimate of this estate and it has more in common with Napa Valley than Paso Robles. Drink 2017-2020. ” –Wine Advocate, 91-93 points.

2011 Château Laffitte-Teston Rouge Vieilles Vignes Madiran ($17)

This is a burly, bloody, rustic full-bodied—a “winter wine.” Needs fully braised meats, stews or casseroles. Made from the grape variety of the appellation, Tannat. The vines are about 70 years old and are harvested by hand, for low yields that make this wine its flagship wine. A fine wine, harmonious, where one crosses small black fruit, plum, vanilla and roasted notes. On the palate it is robust, concentrated and fleshy, with a remarkable finish.

2012 Domaine de la Rablaís Rouge Touraine Chenonceaux ($16)

“Our family vineyard has been handed down from generation to generation since 1790 and is located in the heart of the Loire Valley. Attacks with a fresh note and ends with a red fruits-flavored nose. It is fresh and light, low in tannin and with a peppery mouth. 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% CÔT (Malbec).” –Winery notes.

2013 Fattoria Selvapiana Vendemmia Chianti Rufina ($15)

“Elegant and fragrant, this opens with aromas of pressed rose, crushed violet, wild berry and a whiff of baking spice. The vibrant, focused palate delivers juicy red cherry, raspberry, white pepper, cinnamon and dried herb. It’s well balanced, with supple tannins and bright acidity. Drink through 2018.” -Wine Enthusiast, 93 points.


Kenneth Benner, a Seattle area native, is a trained chef and has worked in such restaurants as Barbacoa, B.O.K.A. Kitchen + Bar, and Dahlia Lounge. Ken is the wine buyer at Leschi Market. He has a passion for learning, a meticulous palate, and a tenacity for searching out the best for his customers while offering some of the most highly coveted wines in the area. His wine column is intended to inspire and explore new choices in wine, learn about wine with his readers, and share his knowledge and experiences in the wine world. Check out the latest at or request to be added to email updates or send questions, comments, or suggestions to and follow the wine department directly on twitter at

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