When one is pouring for guests during this summer season (heck, during any season for that matter), one always likes their guests to think their generous hosts spent way more than they did on the liquid pleasure being offered. Or if you’re bringing a special bottle along to dinner it is always good to know those who are fortunate enough to be asked to partake are impressed with your wine largesse. I can promise you that all of the wines below will exceed expectations at their most modest asking prices. I am exceedingly excited about all three of these beautiful examples of the winemaking art. I know you will be, too! And be sure to check out our special mixed case offering on four bottles each of all three that follows the descriptions….
2012 PASCAL AUFRANC Chenas
$14.95 bottle/ $144.00 case
Memo to domestic winemakers who think their gamays are worth $20+ (also to be sent to an alarming number of importers who think their producers wines are worth that lofty asking price. I’m talking to you Kermit Lynch): please taste this incredibly rich Cru level bottle from Beaujolais that frankly blows away anything you’ll have from Oregon and most other French winemakers and then explain why we shouldn’t be drinking this undervalued beauty by the gallon, and saving some serious coin while we do it! As big a gamay lover as I am, even I was shocked at how good this bottle of gamay from the village of Chenas (one of seven Beaujolais villages considered “Cru”, or top level) is. Made from 75 year old vines, this is so complex with ripe bing cherry, mineral, raspberry, floral spice, and a light smokiness, this is intriguingly deep and intense owing to the age of the vines. The acids and tannins are in such harmony here that this is virtually impossible not to love, with its bright, fresh finish that will keep you coming back, happily, for more. Cru Beaujolais is such a great wine for summer sipping as it is a perfect pairing with anything from picnics in the park to sizzling bits off the grill. Plus, at 12.5% alcohol it is also surprisingly light on its feet considering the richness of flavor. Tremendously rewarding to drink, and a wine made to be shared. An absolute Best Buy!
2011 TOMMASI “Rompicollo” Sangiovese-Cabernet
$15.95 bottle/ $153.00 case
Forget all those overpriced “Super Tuscans” that somehow have their $40+ price tags rationalized. Wouldn’t you rather drink something that you can actually afford to slurp regularly that is absurdly satisfying and is a stunning match with food? I was frankly shocked that this was selling for this price considering the quality level. Sangiovese (60%) and cabernet (40%) grown at Tommasi’s “Poggio al Tufo” estate in the Maremma along the Tuscan coast, this is a sure fire “Wow!” wine that everyone will love. Great now with years of life and improvement ahead of it should you be the patient sort. It also garnered this rather glowing tribute from those know-it-alls at The Wine Spectator, who in this case I have zero quibble with: “Presents a whiff of blackberry, bacon and ink, followed by dark berry, black pepper and spice notes. Rich and supple, with ample structure for support and a long, fruit-, spice- and mineral-filled aftertaste. Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. 92 points.” This is super buy that I highly encourage you to take advantage of!
2010 CHATEAU COUSTARELLE Cahors
$13.95 bottle/ $134.00 case
You want to see someone’s eyes light up? Pour this wondrous bottle of French malbec for someone who has only experienced Argentinean malbecs. They’ll have one of those “Holy cow, I didn’t know it could be like this!” moments, I promise. Heck, I’ve had gallons of Cahors in my years flogging wine and I was shocked at how good this one is, especially at this price. Coustarelle is a small, family run winery in this tiny appellation a bit southeast of Bordeaux. This is an impeccably made red, a blend of 80% malbec and 20% tannat (a thick skinned, dark grape that adds so much texture/color). Inky dark, chewy, densely packed with layers of blackberry, earth, espresso, and pepper that come booming out of the glass. It has amazing presence and character. Wines like this, traditionally made, bottled unfiltered, speak so much of the place they’re from. When my rep poured this for me I fully expected him to tell me it would wholesale at $15 a bottle. Being able to sell this gem for this sort of price is why I love coming to work!
## More Bang, Less Buck Case: get a mixed case of four bottles each of the three wines listed above for just $151.00 per case (the math: a very moderate $12.58/btl)!!