March 5, 2013

The Nebbiolo Experience:
I am often asked what my favorite wine is.  While that depends on the mood that I am in at the moment, the wines that I crave most often are fully mature Barolo and Barbaresco, which are made with the Nebbiolo grape variety.  The complexities that come from the Nebbiolo grape in Barolo and Barbaresco wines take some planning ahead to drink.  You need to buy them young, and cellar them until they are at least 10 years old before drinking.  They are not inexpensive wines either, so it is not easy to get people started buying and drinking these wines for the first time.  That is where Langhe Nebbiolo comes in.  While Barolo and Barbaresco needs all that time in the cellar, Langhe Nebbiolo is ready to drink when it is released, and usually about half the price of the winery’s Barolo or Barbaesco.  What Langhe Nebbiolo is essentially Barolo or Barbaresco that is produced from younger grape vines in the vineyard.  The fruit from 5-10 year old vines will not benefit from years of aging in small oak barrels before bottling like Barolo or Barbaresco, but in order to carry those appellations on the label, there are minimum barrel aging requirements from the Italian government.  If you fall below that minimum, you must de-classify to the Langhe Nebbiolo designation on the label.  Cantina del Pino makes a Langhe Nebbiolo from predominantly their famous Ovello vineyard in Barbaresco.  The 2010 Cantina del Pino Langhe Nebbiolo ($27.99 – 90 points Wine Advocate) is a very enjoyable way to experience Nebbiolo now and about half the price of the Ovello Barbaresco, which will not be ready to drink for many years.  If you would like to reserve a bottle of this wine, please contact me at

wine del pino2wine del pinoSauvignon from Burgundy
Most people think of the Burgundy region as producing Chardonnay for white and Pinot Noir for red.  The little known sub-appellation of Saint Bris at the northern edge of Burgundy is made from Sauvignon Blanc.  It is a crisp, non-grassy style with a citrus fruit flavor up front and a mineral finish.  It is similar in style to the more famous Sancerre wines of the Loire valley, which are also made with Sauvignon Blanc.  While Saint Bris wines are excellent quality, the fact that they are so little known in the USA can make them a slow cellar.  Simmonet Febvre, a high-quality producer that is mainly known for their Chablis, has decided to close-out and pull the Saint Bris from the U.S. market and focus on selling their other wines.  I am a fan of Saint Bris wines, so when I saw it was on a deep-discount close out list, I bought all that remained.  The 2009 Simmonet Febvre Saint-Bris (Reg. $19.99) is now on sale for $5.99 each while supplies last.  This wine will be sold on a first come, first served basis.  No reservations.    Please call 616-942-2980 to check current availability.

wine saint bris

2009 Simonnet Febvre Saint-Bris
Sauvignon Blanc
Regular $19.99
End of Vintage Close-Out
Sale $5.99
A crisp, dry white with a nice citrus and mineral character from
the Burgundy region of France.

March 4 – March 9, 2013
Wine of the Week
Mendoza, Argentina
2011 Trapiche Oak Cask Red Blend
Regular $11.99
Sale $7.99
A full-bodied, dry red blend of
Malbec, Bonarda, and Syrah with a black current
and blackberry fruit character.
Great Value!

Won the International Wine & Spirits Competition Award for Best Producer 2011