Closet, Clos de papillon, Savennieres, 2002

Deep golden color, slow-forming legs. On the nose bruised and baked orchard fruit mingles with butterscotch, toasted almond, honey and ginger. Quite botrytis-forward in appearance and aromatics. The wine is full-bodied and just melts on the palate; creamy, borderline decadent but balanced by a long, slightly bitter finish. Incredible texture, this wine should be enjoyed with rich, earthy dishes. It can even hold its own with gamey meats and stews. Definitely comes with a price tag, but a real beauty in its prime. Will hold up nicely for another 8-10 years but it’s hard to imagine this wine ever drinking better than it does right now. W.M.

Lafon-Rochet 2012, Bordeaux

Bordeaux “second wines” are great for inspired sipping at an “everyday” price point. Beautifully ripe cassis fruit mingles with dusty mineral earth and anise on the nose. Intensely aromatic. Bold and structured; core of black fruit and bitter herbs; long, drying finish. In its early prime, will be delicious with grilled meats for years to come. W.M.

Dolcetto D’Alba, Bruno Giacosa 2016

Stumbling upon any of the late Barbaresco genius Signor Giacosa’s bottlings for under  30 at a wine shop should get a whole bunch of neurons firing in the brain of any wine lover. This beauty of a Dolcetto lives up to all the hype that comes with the name on the label. Deep ruby color with bright reflections. Blue and black frutti del bosco meet woodsy aromas of underbrush, mulch and drying violets. Medium-bodied, very dry but lush with fresh berry fruit, velvety tannins and a mouthwatering acidity. The finish is long and slightly bitter, making this an ideal food wine. Pair with churrasco-style hangar steak, sausage and peppers, firm cheeses and cassoulet. W.M.

Kumeu Village Chardonnay 2014

This is some of the best New Zealand has to offer for serious, food-friendly Chardonnay at an “everyday drinking” price point. The flinty, Chablis-esque nose entices with subtle aromas of crisp green apple and wet stones; as well as not-so-subtle aromas of aged sheepsmilk cheese. Concentrated but mineral-driven and bone-dry. Slightly spritzy feel on attack indicating lees contact and unoaked ageing environment, but balanced otherwise. Drink right away with oysters and cream sauces. W.M.

Les Dionnieres Hermitage 2015

Decant this one for an hour or two before drinking; at this point in its development it needs time. Complex bouquet of blueberry/blackberry jam, cured meat, violets and dark chocolate. New oak is evident. Medium-full-bodied, velvety and spice-laden. Dark, brooding and tightly knit on the palate. Drinks great in its youth but will cellar very nicely. W.M.

Batroun Mountains Riesling 2015

Pale gold color, aromas of bartlett pear, pineapple and honey. Layered fruit on palate with rather rich, round mouthfeel and lifted acidity. Surprisingly ripe and juicy. Minerality very neatly interwoven; nothing tart or sour on this dry Lebanese mountain Riesling. Enjoy with brie or lobster bisque. W.M.

Sleight of Hand, The Sorceress. 2015

Killer juice from one of the great producers of Rhône varietals in Walla Walla. Don’t let the cartoon-y branding fool you; the team at Sleight of Hand makes some of the most seriously delicious and food-friendly wines in WA State. This blend is sourced from old vine sites in the Columbia Valley. Pale ruby in the glass, with an intense nose to be fawned over. Kirsch, raspberry/blackberry jam and violet aromas intermingle with pepper, smoke, herbs and black olives. Ripe and rich but graceful on the palate with a nice open-knit feel and spicy finish. Truly a wine of character and terroir. Definitely pay a visit to SOH if you’re ever in Walla, it’s the only tasting room I’ve been to where one can sip world-class wine and jam out to Soundgarden in a backdrop of wine-stained barrels and vintage concert memorabilia. Rock ‘n’ roll lives at Sleight of Hand! W.M.

Barbaresco Moccagatta 2011

Medium-concentrated garnet color with long, slow-forming legs. This is as “modern” as it gets in stately Barbaresco. Intense aromatics, dominated by sweet oak, coffee and cedar, but also showcasing raspberry jam, morello cherry, anise and moss. Big, rich and mouth-coating, with grainy tannins and a long warming finish remeniscent of mint and bitter herbs. This is wine meant for slow-roasted meats and cream sauce pasta. This definitely puts the lie to the myth that Barolo is always the bolder of the two famous Piedmont Nebbiolo appellations. W.M

Chablis Villes Vignes 2016, Domaine George

The Estate’s Petit Chablis is made from a plot with Portlandian soil of aged limestone that lies in the shadow of the great Montmain vineyard. The Chablis, Vieilles Vignes and Montmains ‘Butteaux’ wines are grown in Kimmeridgian soils comprised of limestone, clay and marine fossils (from the area’s history as a sea floor). 
VARIETAL: 100% Chardonnay
VINEYARD: 50 year old vines; in Courgis, considered one of the most mineral areas of Chablis, with Kimmeridgian soil (Jurassic period)
WINEMAKING: Traditional fermentation with native yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks
AGING: 12-18 months in stainless steel
TASTING NOTES: Pale yellow color with green reflections. Clear and pure nose that develops as the wine ages. The mouth is well balanced with the typical minerality of Chablis well represented. 

Groth Sauvignon Blanc 2017

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Valley Floor Sauvignon Blanc from one of Oakville’s top grower/producers. Medium straw and star-bright. Mandarin, lime and grapefuit aromatics intermingle with tropical fruit, grass, wet stone and asparagus. Very energetic on the palate. Full-throttle citrus attack, followed by a seemingly soft midpalate leading to a crisp, herbaceous and bitter finish. Lipsmackingly fresh and DYING for food. Think goat cheese, halibut and beef stroganoff. W.M.