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Holiday Wine Recap

Happy New Year Leschi! Everyone at the Market wishes you all a happy and healthy 2019. This month the Top-10 wines from December are featured: seven reds and three whites. Arranged here by price, however their inclusion to this list is based upon sales numbers from the month prior.

Before we dive into the Top-10 December Wines (that will nicely restock your cellar by the way), there are a couple of announcements regarding the growing popular Leschi Cellars! We all have been floored by the response to our own wine project. Syrah, Unoaked Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc were great additions during 2018. This coming year, Leschi Cellars has plans to release an Oregon Pinot Noir, and anticipates the long awaited return of Lakeside Reserve (100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla) and Rosé! Stay tuned for individual announcements as they become ready for release!

Now, on to the wine!

Top Reds

2016 Quilceda Creek Red Wine “CVR” Columbia Valley ($56)

“A combination of all our vineyard sites and represents a great value. It is the best version of this wine to date displaying highly aromatic black and blue fruits with nuances of anise, smoke, forest floor and minerals. This blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot will be best enjoyed over the next 15 years.” ~Paul Golitzin, Director of Winemaking.

2016 Brooks Pinot Noir Willamette Valley ($25)

“Blackberry, sandalwood, marjoram, damp moss, sassafras aromas. Umeboshi plum, graphite, fresh currant, lavender, garam masala on the palate. Deep fruits and vibrant acidity lead into elegant floral notes, broad tannins and a long resinous finish. Exhibits both lively freshness and ample structure for extended aging; great value!” ~Winemaker notes.

2017 BTR Cellars The Chief Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley ($24)

“The 2017 Chief shows immense complexity, with Cabernet Sauvignon’s cedar aromatics and black currant at the forefront. Fresh violets combine with flavors of blackberry and silky vanilla, and subtle chocolate notes. It has a broad finish, with a balance of acidity and tannin.” ~Winemaker notes.

2017 Garage Wine Co. Paris “215 BC Ferment” Chile ($18)

“The wine is super fresh and clean and is also softer, more floral, less rustic and with more finesse than the 2015 I tasted next to it. The quality of the tannins is superb.” ~Wine Advocate, 92-points.

2014 Serre dei Roveri Nebbiolo d’Alba Piedmont ($17)

“A bright and delicately fruity wine with lemon, cream and light spices. Plum and berry undertones. Vibrant acidity. Drink now.” ~James Suckling, 90-points.

2017 TAMI Rosso Nero d’Avola Italy ($16)

Powerful aromas of black cherry and blackberry, kirsch and a hint of smokiness. A joint effort between young-gun, biodynamic producer Ariana Occhipinti and her local wine-centric amici, TAMI produces world-class, organically grown Nero d’Avola that’s about half the price of Occhipinti’s estate wines.

2016 San Felice Chianti Classico Italy ($14)

“It often delivers outstanding quality at a great price. It comes from the company’s Castelnuovo Berardenga estate where the rocky vineyards sit roughly 1,200 feet above sea level. The wine is 80% Sangiovese, 10% Colorino and 10% Pugnitello.” ~#19, Wine Spectator Top Wines of 2018, 94 points.

Top Whites

2017 Domaine Cherrier Père & Fils Sancerre ($21)

Domaine Cherrier was founded in 1930 and since then four generations of the family have run the estate. The estate has limestone and calcareous clay soils that wonderfully influence the character of the grapes grown there. The Sancerre is consistently delicious, with citrus, chalky mineral and light floral notes. Its dry finish complements seafood and cheese beautifully.

2017 Domaine Pierre Riffault Sancerre ($20)

From this small 20-acre domaine, comes one of Seattle’s hottest Sancerres. 100% Sauvignon Blanc vines from both caillotes and Terre belanche terroirs produces wonderfully aromatic and fragrant Sancerre with invigorating pink grapefruit, elderflower and gooseberry flavors. Don’t wait; 2017 was a very short vintage so there won’t be much of this delicious wine to be had.

2016 Altarocca Arcosesto Orvieto Classico Superiore Umbria ($14)

“Altarocca at 350m above sea level has a longer ripening season. Using classic Umbrian varietals, such as Grechetto and even Procanico, it has a deep respect for tradition, but also a highly modern approach to winemaking, using low yields, sustainable methods and the best technology. This wine is bright and sunny, with citrus and granite overtones.” ~Small Vineyards.

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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