You ever walk down the aisle of a wine shop and the shelf/box/slot for the wine you really wanted to try is empty? Ever repeat that process three or four times and just leave? Seems like there’s tons of blowout prices out there, but who wants another b-flat wine, even if its cheap. As the t-shirt says, life is too short to drink bad (or even just boring) wine. I want the good stuff.
A lot of what we do at the store is look for wines that go in those interesting wine slots – the wines that winery insiders are buzzing about, or a local-made party slurper at a killer price, a bit of something super popular that got overlooked in the warehouse, or the new release that’s already sold out at the winery. We’re featuring one of each online this week. Without having to drive and park and walk and get no satisfaction.
1 – The Buzzy Walla Walla Syrah – PB Wines Yakima Syrah 08 $25.88 any 12.
I firmly believe that Billo Naravane is a genius. And that Rasa Vineyard is one of the biggest “next big things” in Washington wine. We opened a bottle of his PB Yakima Syrah for our friends from Houston yesterday, serious wine guys who’ve tried ‘em all, and it turned all the heads in the room. Ah, his Rieslings, his upcoming Dubrul Cab (!!!!) and the one I love, the VOX Mourvedre.
You have a favorite wine memory? A wine with that indefinable little something extra that made it unforgettable? I have a few, and one of them is Billo’s Rasa VOX. It’s a Mourvedre, but unlike any I’ve had from the northwest before. Smoke and mystery – meaty and sophisticated – big and intricate. It’s a study in opposites and is just completely different.
Above, Pinto and Billo Naravane.
2 – The local slurper – Grochau Red $14.35 any 12.
John knows his audience, and and he’s always got his A-game on. Try to get this wine outside of Portland. It’s the “gotta have a case or two for summer” red that rocks. When it comes to red party-wines, GC has nearly everyone beat. Even wine snobs like Marcus will put this down their gullet.
3 – The Orphan – Evening Land The Table Cabernet Sauvignon 07 $17.50 any 12.
Evening Land owner Mark Tarlov is one for the grand gesture. He likes his vineyards Famous, his Sommeliers World Famous, his winemakers Stellar Famous, and yes, Evening Land is well on its way to Fame, after only three vintages.
A few years ago, Mark put together a program for Sommeliers and Chefs to blend their own wines. This one was blended for Thomas Keller’s Boucon Bistro, across the road from the French Laundry. I suspect that a glass of it there will set you back about twice what this entire bottle costs.
4 – The new release that’s already sold out - Guardian Cellars “The Wanted” 08 $35.05 any 12. Former narc and law enforcement officer Jerry Riener’s monster reds are made in the style of his friends Mark McNeilly (Mark Ryan) and Chris Gorman. Our job is to grab them as they go flying by and make sure the slot isn’t empty. Right now it’s full and we’re restocking regularly.