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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.

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.

Southern Rhone Valley, Chateauneuf du Pape 2012
Part the FirstSouthern Rhone      
2012: “Surpassing 2011 and producing rich, fruit-loaded and moderately concentrated wines, 2012 was a sunny, dry vintage that should slot in beside, or slightly behind, 2009, in terms of quality. Coming closest, in my mind, to a lighter styled 2010, the wines possess pretty, dark fruit and mineral-styled aromatics, medium to full-bodied richness and good, not great, concentration. The majority of these will be approachable on release, yet have graceful aging curves as well, with the top releases having 15-20 years of evolution. Alcohol levels are down, and the wines have good to moderate acidity with fine, polished tannins and overall approachable profiles. While a number of vignerons reported that the 2012s were hard to taste early on (and I found a number seemingly closed and aggressively tannic), they are increasingly liking how they're showing with additional time in tank and barrel. If the wines continue to gain mid-palate depth (and I think the best will), this could turn out to be a strong vintage. While Grenache fared well, it was a difficult vintage for Mourvèdre due to lack of water. While not a flat-out great vintage for reds, it is a great vintage for the whites. Showing beautiful purity, they're fresher than the 2011s, and while they lack the deep, concentrated richness of the top 2010s, they will deliver immense pleasure over the coming 2-3 years.” – Jeff Dunnuck in the Wine Advocate Oct 31, 2013

• Domaine La Consonnier Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 47.99/750ml. 90-92pts WALafond Roc Epine
• Le Cote de l’Ange 2012 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 49.99/750ml. 91pts WS.
• Domaine Lafond 2012 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Roc Epine 49.99/750ml. 91-94pts WA.
• Domaine Hillaire 2012 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 54.99/750ml. 93-95pts WA.
• Tour Saint-Michel La Tour du Lion 2012 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 64.99/750ml. 91-93pts.WA
• Chateau Sixtine 2012 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 69.99/750ml. 91pts WS, 91-94pts WA

• Marcarini Barolo Brunate 2010 57.29/750ml. 91pts WA.
• Fontodi Chianti Classico 2010 43.99/750ml. 92pts WA. Good to see this in the market again.

• Kistler Chardonnay 2011 McCrea Vineyard 77.99/750ml. 91pts WS, 93pts WA.
• Kistler Chardonnay 2011 Vine Hill 55.79/375ml. 91pts WS, 95pts WA.

These are not all on the shelf. I, or one of my trained staff members, will be happy to assist you in purchasing any of these wines; simply ask us about them.

• Domaine Graveirette Cotes du Rhone 2012 100% Grenache. Lovely concentrated fruit with length and breadth. 15.29/750ml.
• Chateau de Fontenille Entre-Deux-Mers 2013: 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sauvignon Gris, 20% Muscadelle and 20% Semillon. Limpid, green-gold. Lively with citrus and creaminess in the mouth. 13.99/750ml.
• Planeta La Segreta Sicilia Blanco 2013. 50% Grecanico, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Viognier, 10% Fiano. Vines are wholly owned by Planeta and planted on mixed yellow and dark clay with fine limestone soil in Menfi. Vinification and aging in stainless. 89pts WS. 9.99/750ml.
• O’Reilly’s Pinot Noir 2013 Oregon, from Owen Roe. Sourced from Anna’s Vyd, Chehalem Mtn AVA, Merrimam Vyd. Yamhill/Carlton, and Lenne Vyd. Yamhill/Carlton. Very pretty cherry/raspberry nose with abundant fruit in the mouth. Medium length. 16.99/750ml.

On Thurs. Sept. 18, Market of Choice will present the The Great Taste, an annual event that benefits Eugene’s Relief Nursery. In addition to great food, there will be beverages, which means there will be wine!

Stewards from your favorite Market of Choice stores will be there, serving up some of their personal selections. As a precursor to this fine event, I will provide a sneak peek at the wines I have personally selected to pour. I hope you have an opportunity to come by and try them.

2013 St. Innocent Pinot Blanc
A varietal that is a bit underappreciated, this wine will show its acidity and balance with any creamy or seafood dish. It has a sophistication that differentiates it from some of its competitors in the category of Pinot Blanc. $22.99/750ml.

2010 Chateau La Haute Borie Monbazillac
This sweet Bordeaux white, delivers honey-like sweetness with a freshness of acidity that gives this wine balance. Though often drank as an aperitif, it will complement sharp cheddars and goudas with its soft touch. $22.99/750ml.

2011 J. Scott Petite Sirah
Oregon wine producer J. Scott provides this petite syrah with a fruit-filled beginning, followed by a black peppery finish. This style is known for its big structure and abundance of tannins, and this wine doesn’t disappoint. The easy pairing with a wine such as this, is steak, however it will also pair well with heavily spiced pasta dishes. $24.49/750ml.

2011 Chateau Vernous 
This Cabernet Sauvignon heavy Bordeaux blend offers a bold wine that softens on the finish with its Merlot and Cabernet Franc accompaniments. The lush fruit and complex nose round out a strong showing of the Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine will go well with braised lamb and a spicy bean salad. $24.49/750ml.
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