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Wine at Willamette

Jim Colby, Willamette Wine Steward, has a simple life philosophy, “I surround myself with good wine and good people.” From customers to wine producers, Jim spends his days celebrating all that is wine. Readers can find his opinionated take on wine, beer and coffee here.

'They truly say, as years expire
A lake of wine is drunk up quite
By summer glade or winter fire.'

2015-09-15 16.37.32Get them while you can! Rosé weather is departing our area and my selection is correspondingly getting smaller. Although most of these may be enjoyed year round, during the winter months fewer are imported and local rosé will need to make room for more robust reds.

That said, I want to focus on two very nice end of summer whites:
Ressò 2014 Catalunya Garnacha Blanca. Sourced from the Terra Alta region on slopes high above the Mediterranean, the vines are exposed to a climat of hot summers and cold winters, low rainfall, calcareous soils, and the near constant impact of the “garbì wind(from offshore)” or “cers wind (from the interior)”. Fermented in stainless, low sulfur, and light filtering. White peach, floral, mineral driven in the mouth and a touch of citrus round out this delightful package! 7.99/750.

Long absent from our market, and one of the wines I cut my teeth on while I was wine buyer and sommelier at the Village Green in Cottage Grove, is Dr. H. Thanisch Berncasteler Doctor 2012 Riesling Kabinett. The Doctor vineyard is perhaps, with the Wurzgarten above Urzig, justly regarded as one of the most outstanding white wine vineyards in the world. Situated on nearly vertical slopes of weathered argillaceous schist peppered with stones. Vines are up to 80yrs old and face south-south west for maximum solar exposure. Carved into the hillside rock 350 years ago is the ‘Doctorcellar’ where the wines are still vinified. The cellar maintains a constant temperature of 8-9° Celsius, ideal for storage and maturation. Manual harvest, lightly crushed with 2-4 hours maceration at low temperature. Spontaneous slow fermentation in stainless with controlled low temps, no additives and maturation in traditional 1000L Mosel barrels. These barrels, called Fuder, are made from German oak and are given a much lighter toast than French barrels. Green gold in the glass, lovely floral bouquet with notes of peach and orange. Layered flavors emerge on the palate: peach, apricot, kumquat, lemon curd propelled by excellent acidity underneath that keeps it lively, and keeps you guessing what will show up on the next sip! 39.99/750.

Fattoria San Lorenzo ‘Il Casolare‘ 2014 Marche Rosso 50% Sangiovese and 50% Montepulciano. Fermented in concrete, 20 days maceration, 100% malo, natural yeasts, 3months in concrete on the lees, 3months in bottle with filtration. A declassified Rosso Piceno. Bright bing cherry bouquet, satiny in the mouth with some salty notes bracketing the fruit. 13.29/750. Certified organic.

Domaine du Tauch 2012 Fitou. 40% Carignan, 30% Grenache, 30% Syrah. Partially organic. Fitou is located in the SW Mediterranean corner of France near Perpignan. The Domaine comprises 250 growers and was established as a cooperative in 1913. Very dark in the glass. Tight bouquet opening out after a few minutes. Cherry and lavender. Lightly tart on the attack with current, prune, and pepper midpalate. Finishes strongly with lingering black pepper. 14.99/750.

Burgundy Presale:
FaiveleyDomaine Faiveley 2013:
Mercurey Blanc.
Outstanding. Not seen very often. Mercurey is in the Cote Chalonnaise and is better known for red. This is powerful mineral driven chardonnay. Ripe, asian pear with underlying chalk and firm acidity. Subtle melon and scone touches kept creeping in as I sampled over several appetizer courses. . Regular: 34.99/750ml. Pre sale price: 28.49/750ml.
Mercurey ‘La Framboisiere”(Monopole) Rouge. Lovely fragrant fresh raspberry perfume. Raspberry, with interweaved subtle rose, sweet fig, Seville orange and underneath a hint of steel. Long finish. 37.69/750.
Gevry Chambertin. Powerful attack. Front palette assaulted with a multitude of flavors: orange, fig, plum, notes of savory, just a hint of chanterelle. Lordly tannins, sinewy, vice like on the finish. Whoa! Liked this one a lot. 69.99/750.

Wines arriving soon.

Other highly recommended:
Domaine Couron Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2014 Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc. 13.99/750.
Jean Touzot Macon Villages 2013 12.99/750.
Clos Chanteduc Côtes du Rhône 2012 16.99/750.
Fattoria Del Cerro Vino Nobili Di Nontepulciano 2011 18.99/750.

Upcoming Events:
Only a few seats remain for our next event. We will be hosting Ridge Vineyards with a representative from the winery to present their current bottlings, followed by a vertical tasting of the iconic Monte Bello Red Blend. We will be sampling 6 vintages:

The tasting will be held in our Community Room at 5:30pm Wednesday Nov. 4th, accompanied by light hors d’oeuvres. Seating is very limited. Payment in advance will guarantee a seat. $50/seat. All participants will be given a 15% discount on purchases.

We will host our annual charity event “The Great Taste” to benefit the Relief Nursery on August 20th. In addition to great food, there will be beverages, which means, there will be wine! Market of Choice wine stewards will be there, serving up some personal selections. As a precursor to this fine event, I will be providing you a sneak peek at the wines I’ve selected to pour. I hope you have an opportunity to come and try them.

Bertrand Stehelin Gigondas 2012

This Grenache-heavy blend brings dark fruit along with a peppery finish. This may be even more impressive in the next five years – however, after a bit of decanting, it’s very approachable now. A nice accompaniment to a rib eye would serve its offerings well. $34.99/750ml

Vaona Rosso Veronese IGT “Castoroto” 2011

A unique Italian wine with varietals that are not very common make this selection unique. Intense red fruit is accompanied by spicy notes. This is a wine that will be well-suited for any pork dish, as well as some tuna. $31.49/750ml

William Rose Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2013

This is a classic white Bordeaux blend that has a balance of light fruit and solid acidity. It has a dry finish that allows it to pair well with seafood, as well as any dish with a variety of spices and varying degrees of heat. $28.49/750ml

Valdespino Tio Diego Amontillado Sherry

This Sherry will give people a chance to embrace a truly wonderful style of wine. The appearance is amber in color and moderate intensity. Many a Sherry fan will often advise when trying Sherry, it is a wise idea to pair it with food due to its strength. A great pairing would be Marcona almonds. $22.99/750ml

Celebrate the end of summer with me at Heritage Courtyard in Eugene. Tickets to The Great Taste are now available.

Trotereau nwWe just received our container of Eric Solomon Wines – great wines and ever-greater values. These will sell out quickly, so please don’t hesitate. Remember, there is a 15% discount on case lots.

Novellum 2013 Chardonnay: Pays d’Oc IGP. 92pts Wine Advocate. 14.99/750ml. If you can find a better, let me know! Made by Domaine Lafage outside the village of Perpignan. Sourced from three vineyards spread throughout Rousillon.

Herencia Altés 2013 Garnatxa Negra,
10.99/750ml. This one is loaded with burly, prickly berries, notes of blackpepper, and juicy intense tannins. Vines for this cuvee were planted in 1915. 90pts Wine Advocate.

Castaño Solanera 2012: a powerful blend of Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Garnacha Tintorera from the Yecla area of southern Spain. 10 months in French and American oak. An incredible 16.99/750ml. 94pts Wine Advocate.

1548If you haven’t scored any of the Trotereau Quincy 2012 yet, don’t wait. Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t get much better than this. Vines are grown on sandy, silex soil underlain with pink limestone. Unique. 30 year old vines, indigenous yeasts, stainless steel fermentation, no malo. 11.99/750ml. Bravo Pierre Ragon.

Alain Jaume ‘Les Gelinottes 2013 Ventoux: 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah. Aged in stainless and bottled 6 months after harvest. Packed with ripe strawberry and black currant. Medium body, soft tannins make for an easy late spring quaffer. 15.79/750ml.

Rubus Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi 2013: 98% Zinfandel, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. 9 months in French oak. Raspberry, cedar, blackberry. Medium body and prickly tannins, long finish. Quintessential California Zinfandel. 15.99/750ml.

On my recent buying trip to the East Coast I was treated to some extracurricular excitement, courtesy of Mother Nature. Flight cancellations. Snow in Dallas, Texas. 4° temperatures in VA. Perseverance paid off, though!

Fran Kysela always puts up a stellar lineup of value wines and more expensive limited production wines that are a joy to taste at his trade show Mondovino every year. In addition, he provides some very tasty food to accompany the wines, including freshly shucked oysters, game (wild boar and venison), and imported cheeses. Some highlights:Wine

Southern Rhone.

Domaine de la Mordorée 2013: Lirac Reine des Bois Blanc. Initial attack on the palate lively with peach, apricot, and pear. Chalk underneath. Flavors evolve nicely into a long finish. 92pts WA. Pricing on arrival.

Alain Jaume Ventoux Les Gelinottes 2013: A favorite of mine. 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah. Aging in stainless. Very dark purple in the glass. Juicy, with a taste ranging from fresh berries to dried currant. Tannins are amicably soft and satiny. Great paired with grilled meats and vegetables, mild cheeses, and fruit. Pricing on arrival.


Albert Gessinger Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett 2012: Gold with green highlights. Ripe peach, notes of pepper spice with peach, honeydew melon and a luscious finish. Pricing on arrival.


Rubus 2013 Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel: Those of you who shop with me regularly will be familiar with the last vintage: burly, combative attack, notes of anise, wet earth, blackberry (with seeds) and currant jelly. Chewy finish. Well, here we go again! Price has come down, though. Even better! 15.79/750ML.


Giacomo Fenocchio Roero Arneis 2013: Honeycrisp apple aromas. Stony, apply, with notes of grapefruit. Nice complexity. Persuasive. Vines are planted in sand. Stainless fermentation and aging in bottle. Pricing on arrival.

Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo 2010: A great vintage, a great wine! Haven’t seen this in the market for some time now. A baby now, this will develop very nicely over the next 15 years. Nose opens out with green tea notes and violets. Power on the initial assault: salty tannins, earth, lapsang suchong, hints of fig and prune. Persistent and powerful finish. I tried this twice, the second time to give it breathing space and it had developed additional complexity and nuance! Pricing on arrival.


Ecard Savigny les Beaune 1er Cru Serpentères 2012: Focused, Bing cherry, compote, underpinning of chalk. Pricing on arrival.

South Africa.

Lismore Chardonnay2013:  A real treat. Aged in 225-300 liter, used French barrels. Regular battonage, no malo. Lively notes of lemon, apple, and melon. Fresh baked scone. Wet stone on the bottom notes. Pricing on arrival.


Diaz R 2014 Cabernet Franc: Ever since this appeared in the Washington Post, I’ve had enquiries about availability. Well, you saw it here first! Made in honor of Antonio Diaz R, a pioneer in agro-industrial and wine development in the province of San Juan at the beginning of the 20th century. 6 months in American oak. Herbal and spice notes with nicely integrated oak flavors and lots of fruit.14.99/750ml. 

Recommended wines, new and in stock:

• Tillia 2013 Bonarda: Smoky, brambly, dark fruit with medium grip. 9.99/750ml.

• Domaine Montrose 2013 Côtes du Thongue Rouge: A lively blend of Merlot, Syrah and Grenache from the Languedoc. Juicy, satiny tannins with some hints of peppermint and clove. 11.99/750ml.

• Altaroses 2012 Montsant: 100% Garnacha. Certified Organic. Big and full-bodied on the attack with substantial tannins and alcohol. Layered blackberry and boysenberry with stewed prune interlacing and underlain with gravelly chalkiness. Grip on the finish. 16.99/750ml.

• It’s definitely been Rosé weather lately, and it looks as if that’s not changing soon. Get them here while you can! This one sold out quite rapidly last year: Elk Cove Rosé of Pinot Noir 2014 14.99/750ml. Dry, bright strawberry with notes of orange. Perfect!

Collector and allocated wines:

Didier Dagueneau, back in stock!

2012 Blanc Fume de Pouilly 80.99/750ml.

2012 Pur Sang 110.99/750ml.

2012 Silex 140.99/750ml.

Brunello di Montalcino Tasting:

Thanks to all of you who attended. What wines! Outstanding. Keep your eyes here for our next sit-down tasting!

For those of you that follow the wine world and read the press, you already have heard of the excellence of the 2010 vintage in Italian reds. Well, those wines are starting to finally be released to the public, and we are starting to see them on our shelves here at Market of Choice. I recently had a chance to taste through some of these wines, and I am in full agreement. They truly do come through with great complexity, finesse and fruit, with wonderful tannins to bring it all together. Some have a few years to go, while some are ready and waiting for your wine glass.

For the Piedmont/Barolo region, the season was near perfect for wines with both strength and finesse. One fine example is the Rocca Ravera di Monforte Barolo 2010 ($39.99/750 ml)(93 pts WS). The smell comes across with deep cherry and red berry, with tar and smoke on the finish for a wonderful balance and fine tannins. This one would be fine to drink now or wait for 10+ years.

For those of you who enjoy a nice Tuscan wine, the 2010 season was a little bit trickier. Late rains and some early hail storms made for tough work in the field, but for those that paid attention, it worked out beautifully. One great example is the Marco Capitone Orcia Rosso 2010 ($19.99/750 ml). At 80/20 Sangiovese/Merlot blend, this is the first wine that I’ve seen from this producer. It did not disappoint. Ripe berries on the nose, including blackberries and cherries. Deep spice and some oak and tobacco, this finishes with supple tannins that linger on. This wine is at a great value and ready to drink now or in the next 5 to 10 years.

It’s always a wonderful part of my job to find new and interesting wines for our customers. These wines speak of both the vintage and the terroir of the place and time. They exhibit the hard work of the winemaker, and do it for a reasonable price. Both are available now and ready for your palate. Enjoy and, as they say in Italy, salute!

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Willamette Wine Blog Listing