Love is in the air. This month we feature two categories of wine. First, you’ll see a few high-end, high scoring, rare behemoths that you could cuddle up with on a cold, gray day. Second, intriguing new Italian imports that have captured our heart. Usually the offering is a Hot Seven list, but I figured since this February has an extra day, why not throw in an extra wine and make it a Great Eight list!
2012 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains ($58)
“Taut and vibrant, the 2012 Chardonnay is one of this winery’s finest. This tiny winery in Saratoga is one of California’s underappreciated treasures. Mount Eden is a labor of love, producing small amounts of Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Chardonnay comes from two shy-bearing parcels on the mountaintop, giving a mix of ripe and structured cuvées that spend a year in French oak and undergo full malolactic fermentation. The wines are styled to age for 10 years or longer.” -#5 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2015, 95 points.
2013 Brick House Pinot Noir Les Dijonnais Ribbon Ridge ($51)
“Fresh and expressive, soft in texture, this offers generous flavors of cherry, raspberry and clove that linger effortlessly against velvety tannins. Drink now through 2023. 517 cases made.” –Wine Spectator, 93 points.
2012 Baer Ursa Columbia Valley ($37)
“The core glows with ripe blackberry, dark plum, mint and floral flavors, gliding over lightly prickly tannins into the long and compelling finish. Feels almost weightless, but has tremendous depth. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Drink now through 2020.” #28 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2015, 94 points.
2011 Reverdito Barolo ($22)
Michele Reverdito is what they call a “rising star” winemaker in Barolo. “The best deal in Barolo I’ve ever found. Any fan of Nebbiolo, and really any fan of Italian wine, should not miss out on this. All the character of Barolo is in here—complex aromas of licorice and rose, dark red fruit on the palate. This will be a staple at my house given its ridiculous quality-to-price factor and the fact that I can pop the cork and drink it. Why settle for simple Langhe Nebbiolo when you can drink Barolo any night of the week?” –northwest-wine.com.
2013 Struzziero Irpinia Dry White Coda di Volpe Italy ($14)
100% Coda di Volpe (foxtail), named for the shape of the cluster. Coda di Volpe is a white Italian wine grape varietal that has been historically grown in the Campania region around the town of Naples. It has rich and intense scents of fruit and flowers with notes of orange. Fresh and soft to the palate, it has tones of citrus fruits and quince.
2013 Tenute Rubino Susumaniello ‘Oltreme’ Salento Puglia ($13)
Made from native grape Susumaniello, this conveys aromas of charred earth, mature plum and a hint of coffee bean. The soft, dense palate offers juicy black cherry, pomegranate, licorice and a note of black pepper alongside ripe, velvety tannins. Drink through 2016. New item
2014 Monte Tondo Corvina Rosso Veneto Italy ($11)
Corvina is the great grape of the Valpolicella region, but it is almost always blended with other varietals to create the classic Valpolicella cuvée. Monte Tondo’s Corvina is extraordinarily rare. It is redolent of pie cherries, Seville orange peel, pepper, and crushed stones. Bitter medicinal herbs and fine tannins work alongside brisk acidity to make this one of the most versatile and table-ready wines.
ALSO! Stay tuned for next month when we unveil the 2nd installment of the Leschi Market Wine Awards. The Top-10 wines of 2015 as well as several other smaller awards mixed in. Always a fun read and recap of the last year’s worth of wine.
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 www.LeschiMarket.com or request to be added to email updates or send questions, comments, or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow the wine department directly on twitter at twitter.com/leschimarket.