October 2017 Chairman’s Selection reviews

Greetings!   Lots of solid values in the latest Chairman’s haul – hope you find something interesting!

Maison Aguila Cremant de Limoux Brut NV
Limoux, France 
PLCB Code# 78624 (In stores now)

“Yeast and toast on the nose. Apple and citrus, with elegant mouthfeel and caressing bubbles.” Steve Pollack, wine buyer for the Chairman’s Selection® program

Why this is good value: Situated in the southeastern corner of France very close to the Spanish border, the Limoux region is known for sparkling wines and some claim created their production method more than 100 years prior to the Monk Dom Perignon created Champagne.  Historical claims notwithstanding, this sparkler (containing 65% Chardonnay, 25% Chenin Blanc, and 10% Mauzac) provides more floral nose than expected and a bursting mouthful of sharp green apple and undercurrent pear/citrus flavors supported by laser-cut acidity and persistent finish.  Might pass for much more expensive sparkler in blind tasting! 91 Points Jack Brice  



Terra Corsa Rose 2016
Corsica, France
PLCB Code# 78723 (560 cases expected in October)“Pale orange.  Warm red fruit and orange pith scents and flavors are accompanied by a subtle herbal flourish.  Smooth and broad, offering good heft, solid punch and a touch of peppery spice on the finish.” 88 Points Vinous Media, August 2017
Why this is good value:  A very interesting rose wine made from 85% Niellucciu (an indigenous Corsican grape, thought to be closely related to the famous Tuscan grape Sangiovese) and 15% Grenache.  The nose features light berry aromas leading to flavors of strawberry, cherry and citrus – all packaged with intensity and solid acidity (much like what one might expect from a Sangiovese-based rose produced in Tuscany).  Perfect inexpensive rose for the remaining warm days of the Autumn (or Thanksgiving turkey!).  88 Points Jack Brice



Sokol Blosser Pinot Gris 2014 
Willamette Valley, Oregon 
PLCB Code# 34629 (1,000 cases in stores now)“Dense and textural, this immediately displays a strong minerality, in its mouthfeel and racy freshness. It further amplifies the tart, tight fruit flavors of apple and citrus, grapefruit and pineapple.” 90 Points Wine Enthusiast, August 1, 2016
Why this is good value: Yellow in the glass with distinct tropical aroma – this Pinot Gris delivers smooth new-world-style tropical and candied pineapple flavors in lush medium body with slight orange rind finish.  89 Points Jack Brice





Olivier Lebrin Chateau de L’Aujardiere Muscadet Sur Lie 2016 
Loire Valley, France 
PLCB Code# 78690 (1,500 cases in stores now)“Crisp and clean with citrus and sea salt flavors.” Steve Pollack, wine buyer for the Chairman’s Selection® program
Why this is good value: Light straw color with intense bright citrus aromas – lightly textured with slight creaminess wrapping around fresh lemon and mineral flavors.   Other good quality Muscadet wines are currently for sale in the Chairman’s program, this is one of my favorites. 89 Points Jack Brice





Cave de Beblenheim Oscar Truschel Particuliere Riesling Reserve 2015

Alsace, France
PLCB Code# 78632 (800 cases in stores now)

“Pretty apple and lemon drop. Perfect acid balance in a refreshing, crisp finish.” Steve Pollack, wine buyer for the Chairman’s Selection® program

Why this is good value: Light straw color, lots of aromatic citrus in the nose.  Light but intense mouthfeel with trademark Riesling apple and citrus flavors showing light sweetness in the mid palate, followed by balanced acidity at the finish. Don’t let the long name intimidate… this is a nice example at a good price.   90 Points Jack Brice





Clos LaChance Chardonnay Pure 2016 
Monterrey County, California
PLCB Code# 78673 (2,000 cases in stores now)“Lemon and citrus flavors, quite rich and ripe.” Steve Pollack, wine buyer for the Chairman’s Selection® program
Why this is good value: Solid yellow color, with aromas of Meyer lemon – this is not a shy or subtle wine!  Medium to full body, the smooth and viscous mouthfeel may lack complexity but delivers tons of baked apple pie and citrus flavors – solidly new-world in style, this Chardonnay imitates more expensive California Chardonnays and provides lots of flavor for a modest price.  89 Points Jack Brice





The Tradesman Chardonnay Dionysus Vineyard Columbia Valley 2016

Columbia Valley, Washington
PLCB Code# 78687 (1,700 cases in stores now)

“Peach, apple, pear and mineral notes, pure and elegant in the mouth.  A really special Chardonnay.” Steve Pollack, wine buyer for the Chairman’s Selection® program

Why this is good value: Light yellow, clear color in glass, with reluctant mineral and lemon aromas.  Flavors start with a juicy burst of apple and finish with citrus and a little oak spice – all nicely balanced and more sophisticated than expected at this price point.   90 Points Jack Brice





Jean Cavaille Apremont Cep Noir Vielles Vignes 2016

Savoie, France
PLCB Code# 78524  (800 cases ETA October)

“Stone fruit with fresh acidity and bright citrus flavors.” Steve Pollack, wine buyer for the Chairman’s Selection® program

Why this is good value: Produced in France’s Savoie region, so close to Switzerland the ‘Swiss Cross’ is regularly included on the wine labels.  100% Jacquere grapes are used to create this light, interesting white wine.   Delicate aromas of lime and lemon with complex flavors of white fruits and almonds – a sophisticated wine, great to be enjoyed with lighter fish dishes.   90 Points JackBrice





Di Giovanna Nero d’Avola 2015

Sicily, Italy
PLCB Code# 78718 (600 cases in stores now)

“Dark plum and black fruits combine with a licorice and cherry spice note. Balanced and quite rich. Outstanding price!” Steve Pollack, wine buyer for the Chairman’s Selection® program

Why this is good value: Wow – Dense, dark color with black fruit aromas and some spice.  Flavors are black fruits with textured chalky cherry notes.  This wine delivers firmly structured Nero d’Avola flavors and mouthfeel with tannin on the finish – more depth than expected at this price.  Another wine value from Sicily!   90 Points Jack Brice





Sogrape Silk and Spice Red Blend Portugal 2015

PLCB Code# 78675 (In stores now)

“This blend of wines from Dão, Bairrada and Lisboa is ripe, full of black fruits and with subtle signs of the wood aging. Named to celebrate the Portuguese mariners who sailed to the spice islands of the East Indies, it is warm with its own spiciness as well as a juicy aftertaste. Drink now.” 90 points and a ‘Best Buy’ Wine Enthusiast, June 1, 2017

Why this is good value: Dark and dense like many Portuguese reds with plum and vanilla aromas.  This red is soft in the mouth with sweet mid-palate grapey fruits that remind me of many inexpensive central coast California wines (so popular by-the-glass in restaurants).  Smooth finish – easy drinking and inoffensive (in a good way)!  88 Points Jack Brice




Rock Point Pinot Noir 2015

PLCB Code# 78686 (600 cases in stores now)

“Brambly with dark plum and cherry cola with layers of red fruit.  Soft and elegant.” Steve Pollack, wine buyer for the Chairman’s Selection® program

Why this is good value: Dark red color with aromas of ripe red fruits.  Mouthfeel is smooth and lush with flavors of sweet cherry and spice on the finish.   A good price for a solid Oregon Pinot Noir.   88 Points Jack Brice





Domaine Les Verrieres Red Languedoc 2014

Languedoc, France
PLCB Code# 78653 (2,000 cases in stores now)

“Sinewy and savory, with dried strawberry, apricot and raspberry notes underpinned by herb, earth and spice notes. Shows power and focus. Syrah, Grenache, Carignan. Drink now through 2020.”  90 Points Wine Spectator, Dec 16, 2016

Why this is good value: Among so many red wines defaulting to weight over finesse and power, here is a pleasing red wine that won’t outweigh the food (but certainly not a wimpy wine!).   This is an earthy red blended from typical Rhone grapes (noted above), the raspberry and floral red fruit notes flow through to a balanced and slightly savory finish.  Nice not-too-heavy red!  90 Points Jack Brice




Pezat Bordeaux Superieur Reserve 2014

Bordeaux, France
PLCB Code# 20759 (In stores now)

“Lovely nose here with orange rind, mushrooms and hints of licorice. Juicy and round with silky tannins and a bright finish. Drink now.”  90 points James Suckling, February 2017

Why this is good value:  Produced by big-name proprietor of iconic Bordeaux wines, this is the Maltus value-market wine.  Created with typical Right-Bank Bordeaux blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. This offering shows red fruits on the nose, juicy attack with classic Bordeaux earthy flavors in a light to middle weight frame.  Fresh, slightly tannic finish with even tempered flavors throughout.  What is lacking in weight is compensated in juicy, earthy fruit flavors!  88 Points Jack Brice




Familia Zuccardi Q Malbec 2015

Mendoza, Argentina
PLCB Code# 78697 (2,400 cases in stores now)

“…There is good ripeness and depth here, a mixture of red and black fruit with some spiciness and hints of rockrose and wild herbs.  The palate is medium-bodied, with very nice balance, fine-grained tannin and very good length.”  91 Points Wine Advocate, Dec 30, 2016

Why this is good value: Malbec is still a popular restaurant by-the-glass wine due to its low cost and consistent quality.  Zuccardi’s Q Malbec offering provides dark fruit aromas with slightly floral, inky, black fruit flavors bordering on olive/savory notes.   Finish is solid with some tannin.  If looking for a Malbec, this is a good target.  90 Points Jack Brice




Chateau Malbec Bordeaux 2014
Bordeaux, France
PLCB Code# 31966 (Specialty Stores)

“Superb intense and very inviting aromas of sweet cassis black fruit, warm spicy oak and coffee. Lovely, mouth-filling palate of glossy delicious black fruit and well judged oak giving an appealing spicy undercurrent. Superb wine.” Platinum Award Winner 95 Points Decanter Magazine

Why this is good value: Despite the Chateau Malbec name (named after a regional Governor family of the late 1700s… not the grape) this wine contains only 5% Malbec – but that is ok, since the wine turned out very well!  Dark purple in the glass with spice aromas, the wine contains 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and the aforementioned 5% Malbec with 50% of the wine aged 14 months in oak prior to bottling.   Medium bodied, this red delivers broad flavors of polished black fruits leaning toward savoriness and cassis flavors flowing into a spicy finish.   All elements are in fine balance which makes the wine most satisfying.  92 Points Jack Brice



Z’ivo Pinot Noir Eola Amity Hills 2012

Willamette Valley, Oregon
PLCB Code# 78695 (850 cases in stores now)

“Sleek and vibrant, with floral and beet overtones to red berry and plum notes.  Shows presence and pretty flavors that linger.  Drink now through 2020.”  91 Points Wine Spectator, Feb 28, 2015

Why this is good value: Rich plum-red color in the glass, with red floral fruit aromas – flavors are full of rich red fruit and cherry, raspberry and light spice notes, the finish holds well.   A fine value wine from Oregon’s famously successful 2012 vintage.  90 Points Jack Brice




Precision Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2014
Napa Valley, California
PLCB Code# 78717 (700 Cases in stores now)

“This wine is medium to full-bodied, brimming with flavors of black cherries, blueberries and plums along with notes of bramble, violets and vanilla.” Winemaker’s notes

“Elegant and Polished.”  Steve Pollack, wine buyer for the Chairman’s Selection® program

Why this is good value: Lovely Napa Valley Cabernet characteristics – brambly nose with some violet notes – flavors are expansive and lush featuring blackberry, currant, cherry, oak and vanilla finishing with sweet tannin.  Exactly as one expects from modern Napa Cabernet!  91 Points Jack Brice


Havens Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain Napa Valley 2013
Spring Mountain, Napa Valley, California
PLCB Code# 78664 (250 Cases in stores now)

“A sexy offering from Havens, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain has a ruby/purple color with sweet creme de cassis fruit and floral notes. The wine is medium to full-bodied, luscious, elegant and pure. Drink it over the next 10-12 years.”  91 points Wine Advocate, December 31, 2015

Why this is good value: Spring Mountain district is famous for wines of significant depth with accompanying higher cost due to the relatively small production from the steep, difficult to farm, slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains above Napa Valley.   A Spring Mountain Cabernet is a treat – this one, offered by Havens from purchased fruit delivers on the expectations.  Deep color and violet aromas with super dense flavor packed into a medium to full structure, all nicely in balance.   Very nice wine, better in 2-5 years.  92 Points Jack Brice

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