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The Underground Wine Project: The Underground Wine Project is a
collaboration between Washington wine makers Mark McNeilly (Mark Ryan
Winery) and Trey Busch (Sleight of Hand Cellars). Mark and Trey are close friends of nearly 14 years and have both have word) with Pearl Jam and Mark has a love (not nearly as strong as Trey’s) for the band as well. The first wine from Underground Wine Project was called ‘Idle Hands’ after a Gutter Twins (Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees and Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs) song of the same name. “My eyes have seen, they have been shown, This is an occupation to stand alone”- Idle Hands by The Gutter Twins.
And Why am I Mr. Pink Rose: Since its debut in 2015, Mr. Pink has captured the hearts and palates of Washingtonians. Its popularity has now gone nationwide with the 2017 vintage taking the #70 spot in 2018’s Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys. The 2018 vintage was just recently rated by Seattle Magazine as the Top Rose Wine for their Top Washington Wines of 2019. 2018 had one of the coolest Aprils and then one of the warmest Mays on record. Temperatures went from almost two weeks behind to a bit ahead by June. Bloom began in late May and conditions were ideal. July and August were warm with temperatures cooling off resulting in near perfect conditions through harvest. 2018 gave us all the right weather in the right order. We loved the wine so much that we think even Steve Buscemi would be happy with the name, and if he bought a bottle at Vertical he may even leave a tip!!!
Varietals: Undisclosed percentages: Sangiovese & Syrah
Tasting Notes: Packed with flavors full of fresh Rainier cherries, crisp watermelon and pomegranates, with lip smacking acidity that balances out mouth-watering fruit.
Food Pairings: Pork, often referenced as the other white meat, can be a great Rose pairing, as can salmon, white fishes, turkey, or chicken. Think picnic fare on a hot summer’s day: sandwiches and salads, summer vegetables, crab or spinach dips, shrimp, seafood, and even some lightly smoked meats. Always a good option for vegetarian or vegan dishes!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich yet elegant makes this a perfect summer sipper. Great served with charcuterie and cheeses or antipasti.
Wine Club Member HOT Deal: 2018 Chateau la Genestiere Tavel Rose. This Grenache & Syrah stunner is from the original Rose region in France’s Southern Rhone Valley. This dark and delicious Rose, that often appeals to the red wine drinker that may be reticent to step outside their comfort zone, is a great addition to any summer patio party!
Wine Club Member Price $19.99
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Les Maitres Vignerons de la Vidaubanaise: Translated to English means, “The Master Winemakers of the Vidaubanaise.” Is a cooperative located in Provence, France. Established in the town of Vidauban in 1922, the Maîtres Vignerons de la Vidaubanaise today controls 600 hectares of vines in the heart of the Appellation Côtes de Provence. The vineyards are located on the limestone foothills of the Maures massif in the southern Var, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps. The terroir benefits from the Mediterranean climate and allows for traditional southern varietals such as Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Carignan and Rolle to flourish to their full potential. The various vineyard parcels are vinified separately, allowing for more character and complexity. Wines from the Maîtres Vignerons annually win numerous awards at competitions such as the Mondial du Rosé and the Concours General Agricole, as well as receiving regular references in the French wine press such as the Guide Hachette. Le Provençal is our selection from the highest quality cuvées produced by the Maîtres Vignerons.
About Le Provencal 2018 Rose: The grapes are grown in vineyards under sustainable farming practices with light, sandy soils on ancient limestone terraces. The vines are from 10 to 30 years of age covering 600 hectares in the Var of the Cotes de Provence appellation and yield around 40hl/hectare. After harvest, a portion of the grapes undergo a cold maceration at various temperatures and lengths of time according to the grape variety, in order to extract a broader array of aromas. The remaining grapes are vinified by a direct pressing; the traditional method of vinifying rosé in Provence. The wines are blended, the cuvées selected, and élevage is in stainless steel tanks until early February, when the young rosé is bottled for maximum freshness.
Varietal: Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan, Syrah & Mourvèdre
Tasting Notes: Inviting bouquet of red currants, strawberries and melon. At once it is delicate yet flavorful on the palate with a long, refreshing finish. Perfect for a warm summer’s day!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: It wants to be white; light and fragrant with zippy acidity, lively and fresh. Best served with cold seafood or pate.
Wine Club Member HOT Deal: Yet another stunning vintage of Lorenzo’s Podere Ciona Rose is waiting for you to help it find a home! Made from Podere Ciona’s estate vineyards in Gaiole in Chianti, the 2017 Rose is 100% Sangiovese and is a perfect foil for this month’s classic Provence Rose! Wine Club Member Price $14.99, Salute!
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Purple Star Winery: In 2008 winemaker Kyle Johnson and his wife Amy set out to start a winery with a specific vision: to embody the soul of wine from vineyard to bottle to table. Our philosophy is that wine should be accessible, approachable, and affordable. But most of all, they believe a wine’s purpose is to bring together family and friends! With 10 years of viticulture and winemaking experience in Washington State, they know a thing or two about making wine. For starters, Purple Star’s varietal blends are grown from some of Washington State’s finest appellations; including, Wahluke Slope, Yakima Valley and Red Mountain. With grapes handpicked at their optimal flavor profile and juice fermented at cooler temperatures for longer periods, their wines exhibit softer tannins and retain more varietal character..
From Keith and Amy: As a family we find ourselves blessed with good health. Our good fortune comes with a realization that others are less fortunate. As a result we have chosen to donate 15% of Purple Star Wines’ proceeds to Seattle Children’s Hospital to benefit uncompensated care—a gesture we hope will lighten the financial burden of families overwhelmed by the expenses associated with critical medical care. It’s our way of “paying it forward.”
Purple Star Syrah: Grapes were destemmed and lightly crushed, retaining 60% whole berries. Punch downs and pump overs by hand for 8-14 days, depending on lots. Aged for 14 months in 100% French Oak barrels with 1036 cases produced. The fruit was sourced from three of Washington State’s best Syrah vineyards: 75% Weinbau-Wahluke Slope,
16% Red Heaven-Red Mountain, and 9% Kiona-Red Mountain.
Varietals: 100% Syrah
Alcohol: 14.5% (6.4g/L Acidity, 3.84PH, .03g/L Residual Sugar)
Tasting Notes: Black berries, plum and smoke aromas lead to black raspberry and pepper. Followed up by moderate acid structure and fine grained tannins, this wine will age well over the next few years, but is very approachable now.
Food Pairings: Syrah in general pairs very well with roasted leg of lamb, vegetables, wild game, beef stew, mushrooms, and barbequed meats; especially, BBQ chicken, smoked pork, or BBQ spareribs. On the charcuterie board, Syrah is best with salami, chorizo, and pastrami as well as with aged hard cheeses like Cheddar and Gouda. One of the best uses for Syrah, other than drinking it, is in the kitchen is as a demi-glaze reduction.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Rich, opulent and loaded with black and red fruit makes it lush with a long and lingering finish. Best served with braised beef short ribs or beef kabobs.
Wine Club Member HOT Deal: Also from Washington State, we are featuring Sleight of Hand’s 2016 The Spellbinder. This enchanting and charming medium-bodied red blend, which Keith Johnson had a “hand” in making, casts a spell on the drinker with its blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Cabernet Franc, 12% Syrah, and 18% Merlot. Wine Club Member Price $24.99…Take this magical bottle home before it disappears!!!
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Foxglove is the value label from twin brothers Jim and Bob Varner. “The idea,” says Bob Varner, “is to be as simple as possible.” At the core of Foxglove is Bob Varner, also the winemaker at Varner Wines. Starting from their first vintage in 1991, Bob sources his Pinot & Chardonnay from a variety of places, all of which are in Edna Valley. The resulting wine has Central Coast appellation pricing, and is full of the complex fruit flavors that the Edna Valley appellation is known for. Edna Valley, a relatively small appellation, grows mostly Chardonnay on about 1000 acres. The entire acreage is tightly controlled by a few owners employing the most up-to-date vineyard practices that give the valley impressive evenness. Located just south of San Luis Obispo, its vineyards are some of California’s closest to the Pacific Ocean. Mild winters, cool, foggy summer, and clay-loam soils produce a combination of flavors that have been described as “textbook Central Coast.” Bob and Jim Varner are best known for the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir they produce under the Varner label, but Foxglove has become one of the great value labels made in California. The Foxglove wines are selected from several sites located in the Central Coast and are made with the same care and dedication as the Varner wines. The warm climate and ocean influence create wines that burst with fruit but have plenty of vibrancy and freshness. The use of oak is minimal and the Chardonnay is non-malolactic. While Chardonnay is the best know varietal from Foxglove, the Cabernet and Zinfandel have slowly gained an equally strong following.
Food & Wine picked the 2015 Foxglove Zinfandel as an exceptional bargain bottle for under $20: “The juicy wild berry and herb flavors in this great-value Zinfandel finish with tart acidity” August 7, 2017. Sourced from the Northern area of Paso Robles, the vines have an average age of twenty-five years. The vines are planted on rolling hills with loam soils at 900-1,000 feet of elevation. 100% destemmed, pressed at dryness, and malolactic completed after pressing. The use of stainless on the Foxglove Zin keeps the ripe fruit from being too dark.
80% Zinfandel & 20% Petite Syrah
Offering up pretty aromas of strawberries, blackberries and spice, the 2015 Zinfandel is medium-bodied, supple and velvety, with melting tannins and a juicy core of fruit. This is a delicious Zinfandel that represents amazing value.
Zinfandel wine is happiest when paired with anything from the meat aisle, from barbeque pork ribs, leg of lamb or a big, hearty meal. Think Pork, Beef, Lamb, Italian Sausage, Spare Ribs, Brisket, or Venison. You can also enjoy Zinfandel with bold, hearty soups, as well as your favorite kind of pizza. If cheese is your thing, try Foxglove Zin with Parmesan, Aged Cheddar, Aged/Smoked Gouda, Asiago, or Dry Jack. All-in-all, Zinfandel is a versatile wine for pairings!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:
Textbook Zinfandel: Purity of flavor, loads of spice and tart cherry!! Big back bone and a long lingering finish; best served with BBQ or Grilled Meats!
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Domaine Lafage is a leading estate in the Roussillon region in France. Winemaker Jean-Marc Lafage is one of Europe’s most highly regarded winemakers and has worked as a consultant in multiple countries. The domaine makes dry wines of all hues under the Côtes du Roussillon AOC along with sweet Maury, Rivesaltes, and Muscat de Rivesaltes wines. In recent years, various wines in the portfolio have received strong marks from Robert Parker in the Wine Advocate. Prices are very modest for the level of acclaim and therefore the wines have become highly sought-after. In fact, Parker called the 2011 Kerbuccio, a Syrah/Grenache/ Mourvèdre blend “one of the top wine values I have ever tasted”. Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage farm 160 hectares of vines located just south of the capital of French Catalonia, Perpignan. Some of their vineyards are situated very close to the Mediterranean, while others can be found in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Benefiting from a warm, dry climate, the estate is farmed organically. They grow primarily Grenache (Blanc, Gris & Noir), Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay with a significant proportion of the vines well over 50 years old. The soil is weathered, alluvial gravel, while in the higher elevation sites it is predominantly schist. They harvest by hand and the winemaking approach is minimalist, with stainless steel, concrete, and small amounts of French oak, and demi-muids. The Lafage cellars are located just outside Perpignan, though it has also has vineyards at Les Aspres and Agly. Domaine Lafage has around 160 hectares (400 acres) of vineyards with vines that are as much as 100 years old. For well over a decade Eric Solomon has worked with Jean-Marc Lafage at his estate in the Roussillon, and across the border in Spain where he consults on several projects.
The Bastide Miraflors is a custom cuvée for Eric Solomon’s European Cellars and a joint project with Jean-Marc Lafage. Bastide Miraflors is a cuvée created from Grenache grown on rocky, alluvial clay soils resembling those of the Rhône Valley combined with Syrah grown on schist in the village of Maury. After a long maceration of six weeks the wine ages for 12 months in concrete (Grenache) and 600L French oak demi-muids (Syrah).
70% Syrah & 30% Vielles Vignes (Old Vine) Grenache.
Tasting Notes (from Robert Parker):
“This wine is almost too good to be true. A blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was brought up in concrete tanks (Grenache) and demi-muids (Syrah), the 2015 Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes reminded me of a mini Syrah from California’s Manfred Krankl (yes I just compared a $14 Syrah to Sine Qua Non). It’s a ripe, sexy, heady beauty that exhibits a deep, purple color as well as killer notes of smoked meats, chocolate, blackberry and black raspberries. Deep, unctuous, open knit and layered, it continues to change in the glass, has a seamless and silky profile, and not a hard edge to be found. It’s a sensational value that needs to be tasted to be believed. Drink it anytime over the coming 2-4 years.”
Think early fall comfort foods: Savory sage meatloaf, lasagna, Rosemary herbed potatoes, BBQ/smoked pork loin, country style spare ribs.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:
The best Syrah based wine you can buy for the money! Rich, yet elegant, on the palate with a silky and satisfying finish…WOW, what a wine!!!
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Klinker Brick Winery:
The folks at Klinker Brick Winery believe that great wine begins with suitable climate and soil; both of which are found in Lodi. Sandy loam coupled with the hot and cold temperature exchange that graces Lodi from day to night creates the perfect environment to cultivate warm weather varietals like Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. A certain level of skill, attention to detail, and harvest accuracy is a requirement for the vintner as well. What once began as a grape growing community from the early 1900’s until the late 1980’s, Lodi is now a thriving wine-producing region adorned with dozens of wineries, including Klinker Brick. Steve and Lori Felten, fifth generation grape growers in the Lodi region, continue the tradition of cultivating “Old Vine” Zinfandel vineyards that their ancestors planted in the early 1900’s.With roots in Germany, Russia and later the Dakotas, the family settled in Lodi, first producing watermelons. Recognizing that the soil and climate were ideal for growing grapes, they began to plant varieties that included Zinfandel, Tokay, Carignane, and Alicante. For over one hundred years, the family has cultivated the land with the aim of producing top quality fruit. Zinfandel was one of the first grape varieties to be planted in the Lodi appellation, although it had also been established in other parts of California. The Felten Family own and manage fifteen individual vineyard blocks of “Old Vine” Zinfandel that range in age from 40 to 120 years old. Each vineyard is planted in sandy loam soils in the Mokelumne River Appellation of Lodi and the Clements Foothills.
Part of the extended Felten Family includes their winemaking consultant, Barry Gnekow, who was responsible for crafting the wines from the inaugural vintage. Barry, a Davis graduate with over 25 years of experience of winemaking, has a unique ability to bring the best of the vineyard into the cellar, year after year, assisting in producing wines of distinction for Klinker Brick. Joseph Smith joined Klinker Brick in 2008 after starting his career in the nineties as an apprentice with Gnekow Family Wines. From there he worked under Barry at Hahn and also Michael David as a cellar master and ultimately our full time winemaker. Joseph has been producing wines of exceptional quality for Klinker Brick.
38% Grenache/30% Carignane/24% Syrah/8% Mourvedre. Harvested in August of 2017
Old World style meets New World Fruit. Pleasant flavors of ripe strawberries, grapefruit and subtle watermelon coupled with a dry composition, gently caress the palate. The finish is incredibly clean with light, bright acidity.
Light salads, light pasta, and rice dishes; especially good with seafood, raw and lightly cooked shellfish, and grilled fish and goats’ cheeses. If you are looking for a good BBQ pairing, try it with a Turkey Burger topped with Avocado and Manchego Cheese (Google: ‘Perfect Turkey Burgers Food Network’ for a great recipe!!!); perfect for hot weather drinking!
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:
Rich and full flavored…not a wimpy rose here! Long on the palate, a perfect summer and early fall sipper, and great with anything on the BBQ!
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Family owned and operated, the Piqueras family is now in their fourth generation to oversee the property since its establishment in 1915. The winery is located in Almansa, 40 miles from Alicante and the Mediterranean Sea. The vineyards are located inside the Almansa DO which is characterized by its low fertility soils and low rainfall which together with the semi-arid climate combine to create the ideal conditions to produce richly aromatic wines of intense color and flavor. Bodegas Piqueras brings passion to their winemaking. They also take quality very seriously with every step of the winemaking process, and so they keep a close eye on everything. Having grown a lot in recent decades, they still pay the same attention to detail they always have over the generations, without losing sight of the mystique of winemaking that takes a good producer to convey. With state of the art equipment and technology to help with grape picking, pressing, filtration, bottling and labelling, The Piqueras family believe you really have to listen to the wine; to sense its development, to create the perfect blend from each vintage, they can’t rely on automated procedures. They have to be right there on the spot, alert in body and mind, to choose the precise moment to harvest the grapes and make the wine. To achieve this requires patience, being there, knowledge and a whole lot of passion.
The Piqueras family believe that a good wine is born in the vineyard, which is why they carry out meticulous plant selection, careful pruning, monitoring of vine health and overall quality control. The family is the body of Bodegas Piqueras, but the heart and soul of their wines comes from fruit & land. The Syrah grape has adapted perfectly to the Almansa climate. It is uses it to make spicy wines that are full of color and flavor. The Monastrell grape, known as Mourvèdre in France, is one of Spain’s most important wine grapes, celebrated for its capacity to produce strong, tannic wines that can be high in alcohol. They vineyards are 30-35 year old bush vines which are dry farmed at 750-850 meters elevation in limestone rich, nutrient poor soils that see little rainfall. Harvest began in mid-September then vinification from spontaneous wild fermentation with gradual increases in temperature up to 29º C to obtain good color, and then a gradual decrease to 23 ºC to preserve the primary aroma of the fruit. Racking by gravity feed, 4-6 months in medium toast, fine grain American & French oak barrels (300L).
50% Syrah & 50% Monastrell (Mourvèdre)
Ripe red cherry, raspberry, crushed boysenberry, red plum and a touch of vanilla spice on the nose. Medium-bodied and deep in color with well integrated fine juicy tannins, persistent and soft on the palate with a silky fruit-forward finish.
Enjoy this smooth red by itself or with grilled, roasted or fried dishes, barbecued red meats, rice and pasta dishes, cured salted meats (jamón, chorizo) and semi-cured cheeses.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:
A spice box loaded with spicy flavors, sage, and fresh herbs; big intensity and flavor. Best served with lamb or beef.
Our Pricing :
Regular price —> $39.99
Case Price ( 12 bottles per Case) -> $34.99
Appellation: Russian River Valley/CA
Blend: 100% Syrah
This wine is from a small hill-top vineyard, nestled among oaks and madrones, in the Russian River Valley on Westside road. Philosopher Bruce Russell has produced a wine as deep and complex as a platonic dialogue and as easy to like as a baby goat. Hints of berries and vanilla, round and supple. In vino, veritas.
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Regular Price -> $169.99
Case Price (12 Bottles Per Case) $149.99
Region: Walla Walla Valley
About This Wine:
(94-96) Points. The 2014 Syrah En Cerise was a touch more streamlined and reticent on this occasion, yet still offers beautiful black cherry and cassis fruits, underbrush and a hint of espresso roast in a full-bodied, silky, elegant style. Like all of Christophe’s wines, it will benefit from short-term cellaring.
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Imported Wine: 2013 Domaine Forca Real, Mas de la Garrigue
Domaine Força Réal: The origin of the Domaine dates back to 1258 under the reign of the king of Aragon and Majorque with the signing of the military treaty of Corbeil, which stipulated the border between France and Catalonia. Força Réal, translated “Royal Castle,” lost its strategic significance a few years later and was ultimately destroyed in 1693. Returned to nature, the property is now attuned to the growing cycles of vines and olive trees. In 1989 Jean-Paul Henriquès bought the property near the village of Millas with an unbeatable view (from the plain of Perpignan, with the sea stretching to the horizon to the peak of Canigou) and replanted a majority of the property with Syrah & Mourvedre. Among the existing vines he retained only the Malvoisie, a variety for which he has great affection, as well as the old Grenache & Carignan vines. He optimizes the 40 hectares in production by elaborating three cuvées corresponding to the general soil types; Clay, Limestone, and Schist. In 1998, his son Cyril took up the torch to continue producing great wines of The Côtes du Roussillon-Villages.
About: Domaine Força Réal Mas de la Garrigue comes from manually harvested grapes grown in clay and limestone soils at an altitude of 100 meters. They are placed in small crates to avoid destruction and oxidation of berries and then sorted both before and after destemming. Traditional vinification methods lead into extended cold maceration where the temperature is kept below 62 degrees. Maturation occurs in steel tanks for eight months with malolactic fermentation.
Varietal: 60% Old Vine Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Old Vine Carignan
Tasting Notes: Aromas of sage, marjoram, and white pepper with red berry fruits. Blackberry and melted chocolate are underlined by silky tannins with a touch of sea salt and a puff of tobacco smoke.
Food Pairings: Think pork, smoked pork with rosemary potatoes, fennel sausage, BBQ meats, or chili con carne or Tuscan style bean dishes.
Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts: Herbaceous & rustic, yet rich and succulent; Bravo to the winemaker! Best served with chicken or roasted pork.