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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.

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!

Domaine le Sang des Cailloux 2011 Vacqueyras Doucinello: 35 to 40-year-old vines. 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% each Cinsault and Mouvedre. Manual harvest. Vinified in 450L barrels, aged 12 months in 1 to 3-year-old oak. Unfined and unfiltered. 90pts Wine Advocate. 22.99/750ml. down from 33.49/750ml.

Cascina Chicco Barbera D’Alba Granera Alta 2012: Grapes from an old vineyard planted in the 1700’s. Manual harvest. Stainless steel fermentation with aging in neutral French oak for 9 months. One of the Wine Spectator’s top 100 Wines of 2014. 23.49/750ml.

150115azienda foto2Primitivo Quiles Cono 4 Monastrell: 100% Monastrell from Alicante in Valencia. Southeast corner of Spain featuring a dry climate. Couldn’t find a lot of information about vinification techniques. Cellar treatment is in used American oak for 11-12 months before bottling. Very quaffable, lots of berry fruit and nice balanced notes of leather and subtle flinty aromas. 10.49/750ml.

Castaño 2013 Monastrell Yecla: Dark ruby robe, chewy plum with peppery notes and substantial tannins. 9.99/750ml.

150115garnacha-bodegas-alto-moncayoAlto Moncayo Veraton 2012: 30-50yr old vines. 100% Garnacha. 16 months in barrel. 93pts Wine Advocate. 31.49/750ml.

Alto Moncayo Moncayo 2012: 100% Garnacha from 40 to 70-year-old vines. 20 months in new oak. 92pts Wine Advocate. 49.99/750ml.

Chakana 2013 Red Blend: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec, 20% Syrah. Fermentation in stainless with controlled temperatures. 10 months in French oak. 29.99/750ml.

Crowley 2012 Entre Nous Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: 70% Four
Winds Vyd, 30% Laurel Hood Vineyard. 19months in wood, 20% new.

150115sierraDomaine Gramenon ‘Sierra du Sud’ 2011 Cotes du Rhone: Clay, limestone, galets roulés, sand. 15 to 30-year-old Syrah vines. Gravity fed cuves. Aged in oak demi-muid or foudres. No fining or filtering. As little sulfur as possible. Tasted yesterday: Mushroom, forest floor, old hay waft from the glass. Gutsy attack, palate is assaulted with a multiplicity of flavors knotted together by woodsy tannins and acidity. Long, long finish. 24.99/750ml.

Domaine Sarrail Esprit de Sarrail Cité de Carcassonne Blanc 2013: 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Columbard. Vines grown in marl, sand and gravel with an average age of 30 years. Lively, citrus bouquet. Hint of spritz, dry minerally in the mouth. Lively. Very nice finish with some breadfruit notes. 9.99/750ml.

Pre-buys coming soon. Get your requests in as these will be sought after.

Francesco Rinaldi 2010 Barolo Cannubi 69.99/750ml.
Francesco Rinaldi 2010 Barolo Brunate 65.99/750ml.
Francesco Rinaldi Barbaresco Normale 2011 51.39/750ml.

From the great 2010 vintage in Tuscany:
Canalicchio di Sopra 2010 Brunello 84.29/750ml.
Castello di Romitorio 2010 Brunello 75.99/750ml.

From Campania:
Cantine Lonardo Taurasi 2008: 100% Aglianico. “Impeccable…these wines are about as good or great as it gets!” 93pts Wine Advocate. 45.99/750ml.
Cantine Lonardo Taurasi Costi: 2009 71.49/750ml.


Chateauneuf du Pape

paul-avril-rouge-vigneClos du Papes Chateauneuf du Pape 2012 is sourced from 31 hectares of red wines within the Chateuneuf AOC owned by the domaine. Hand-harvested in the vineyard followed by further sorting on a table. Fermentation for 3 weeks at controlled temperature, then stored for 12 months in foudres. No new oak is employed. “I want to taste the grapes and the soil, not the oak!” – Paul Avril. Grenache is the dominant varietal, with no more than 10% Syrah and 20% Mouvedre. 139/99/750ml. 97pts WS, 65-98pts WA.

Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf du Pape 2012: Formerly Domaine de la Relagnes. Henri Boiron sold Relagnes in 2006, the properties were split and 80% went to Chateau Calissane in Provence. Olivier bought the remaining 20%. The wines are cellared in Sorgues in a building shared by Olivier, Henri Bonneau and André Brunel. 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mouvedre, 5% Cinsault. 93-95 pts WA. “A lineup of wines that just blew me away, these stunning efforts are made by Olivier Hillaire and should not be missed by any Southern Rhone lover. They’re massive, rich and textured wines, so not for the faint of heart, yet they offer thrilling drinking experiences. Count me a fan.” – Jeb Dunnuck. 54.99/750ml.

Domaine Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape 2012: One of my favorites. I’ve been working with this wine since around 2005. vieux donjonNamed for the view of the old castle keep, opposite the family home. Situated on the Route de Courthézon, between Cabrieres and Mont Redon; 13 hectares of red vines and 1 hectare of white. Vinification is traditional with one cuvée of red and one of white. Rouge is 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mouvedre, and 5% Cinsault. Aging for 6 months in cement tanks and 12 months en foudres. 69.99/750ml. 91-94pts WA.

Cotes du Rhone Villages

Bertand Stehelin Gigondas: 70- to 90-year-old vines planted on NW-facing slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail at an altitude of  between 120 and 330 meters. Terraced slopes of clay and limestone with alluvial scree. Cepage 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 5% Mouvedre. Elevage 24 months in oak. 34.99/750ml. 89-91pts WA.

Bertrand Stehelin Sablet: Same blend as above, but from younger vines around the village of Sablet. 40-60 year old Grenache and 25-30 year old Mouvedre and Syrah grown on sandy loam and clay soils. Destemming with vinification in stainless steel followed by 11 months in concrete vats. 24.99/750ml.


Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 H3: 92 pts Wine Spectator Insider for October 22. “Dark and spicy, billowing with plum, currant and white chocolate flavors, picking up pear and white tea notes as the finish lingers with refinement. The tannins are submerged. Drink now through 2018.” 11.99/750ml.

the royal chenin blanc old vines steen bottleTenuta del Priore Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2013: 100% Montepulciano. Soil type is silt and clay with calcare; SW exposure with an altitude of 150 meters, fermentation in 10,000 liter cement tanks; 100% malolactic; seven months in cement before racking and bottling. Notes of peppermint on the nose. Focused black cherry with underlying backed scone and some saltiness. This is a steal at 9.29/750ml!

Altadonna 2011 Pinot Nero: Vineyards located in North Central Italy, south of Milan. Vines are planted in clay and calcare at an altitude of 50-150 meters; manual harvest.; vinification in stainless at controlled temperatures with an additional 10 days of skin contact; full malo and 1 year of aging in steel tanks. Filtered and fined and given an additional month of cellar aging before bottling. Lively, bright cherry with a bit of clay on the underside; medium body. 12.29/750ml.

BeaucastelThe Royal Old Vines Steen (Chenin Blanc) 2013: FromWestern Cape South Africa, this 100% Chenin Blanc comes from vines grown and maintained sustainably. Fermented in stainless steel. “One of the greatest buys I have tasted this year is this under $10, 100% Chenin Blanc from the Western Cape. A super flowery-scented nose includes notions of ripe honeydew melons and pears. This medium-weight, fresh, fruity, crisp, dry, textbook Chenin Blanc will provide immense pleasure over the next 12 months.” – Robert Parker. 90pts. 9.99/750ml.

Vintage Beaucastel Tasting

Taking reservations now for our first vertical tasting of Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape. We will taste vintages from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. This is not to be missed. Seating is limited. Cost is $40.00/seat, and you will have the opportunity to purchase these wines at a discount. The tasting will be held in our Community Room at the 29th & Willamette Street store Thursday, Dec. 4, from 5 pm – 7pm. payment required in advanceto hold a seat. R.S.V.P. at the Willamette store wine bar.

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