New Customers Save $20 off $100+* with code AUGUSTNEW
New Customers Save $20* with code AUGUSTNEW
*For new customers only. Order must be placed by 8/31/2017. The $20 discount is given for a single order of $100 or more excluding shipping and tax. Some exclusions may apply. Promotion code does not apply to certain Champagne brands, Riedel glassware, gift certificates, fine and rare wine and all bottles 3.0 liters or larger. Promotion does not apply to corporate orders. No other promotion codes, coupon codes or corporate discounts may be applied to order. Not valid on Bordeaux Futures.
Chateau de Lancyre La Coste d'Aleyrac 2007
Syrah (50%) Grenache (40%) Carignan (10%)
A cuvee of Syrah and Grenache with a bit of Carignan first essayed in 2000, the Lanceyre 2007 Coteaux du Languedoc Pic Saint-Loup La Coste d'Aleyrac – due to have been bottled in February – is full of ripe black fruits to be sure, but offers more herbal, carnal, and mineral dimensions than the corresponding 2006. An impression of saline, marjoram-laced beef bouillon with cherry and purple plum extend to a long, satisfyingly juicy, clear, faintly and stimulatingly bitter finish. Look for this exceptional value to offer pleasure for another 3-4 years. Range: 90-91
Pic Saint-Loup has justifiably garnered a reputation as the Languedoc's best wine district. Vineyards are 15 miles inland from the Mediterranean and are almost 2000 feet above sea level. Summer days are blazingly hot (103°F!), but night-time temperatures almost always drop to below 60°F - sometimes even below 50°F! Syrah (the principal grape in Pic Saint-Loup) is usually picked in early October, and not in late August, as it is in many Languedoc and Southern Rhône vineyards, so stylistically, the wines are closer to those of the Northern Rhône than their Southern Rhône counterparts (think Hermitage/Côte Rotie, not Châteauneuf-du-Pape).
Is Lancyre the top wine estate in the Languedoc? Probably not. But they are one of the best, and their wines sell for 1/3 to 1/2 of the price of wines from the top handful of Languedoc estates. Equally important are the facts that a wide range of wines are produced, and that they are produced in substantial enough quantities and are readily available in most markets. For savvy wine consumers, it doesn't get much better than this.
A source of reliable, budget-friendly wines and, increasingly, more premium bottlings...
A source of reliable, budget-friendly wines and, increasingly, more premium bottlings, Chile is one of South America’s most important wine-producing countries. Long and thin, it is largely isolated geographically, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Andes Mountains to the east, and the Atacama desert to the north. These natural borders gave Chile the very favorable benefit of being the only country to avoid the disastrous phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s. As a result, vines can be planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted. Though viticulture was introduced to the country by conquistadors from Spain, today Chile’s wine production is most influenced by the French, who emigrated here in large numbers to escape the blight of phylloxera. These settlers have invested heavily in local vineyards and wineries.
Chile’s vineyards, planted mainly with international varieties, vary widely in climate and soil type from north to south. The Coquimbo region in the far north contains the Elqui and Limari Valleys, where minimal rainfall and intense sunlight are offset by chilly breezes from the Humboldt current to produce cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Aconcagua region contains the eponymous Aconcagua Valley—hot and dry and home to full-bodied red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot—as well as Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley, which focus on light-bodied Pinot Noir and cool-climate whites like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Central Valley is home to the Maipo, Rapel, Curicó, and Maule Valleys, which produce a wide variety of red and white wines. Maipo in particular is known for Carmenère, Chile’s unofficial signature grape. In the up-and-coming southern regions of Bio Bio and Itata, excellent cool-climate Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir are made.
Dark, full-bodied, and herbaceous with a spicy kick...
Dark, full-bodied, and herbaceous with a spicy kick, Carménère has found great success in Chile, far from its birthplace of Bordeaux. Although Carménère once accompanied Malbec and Petit Verdot as a minor blending grape in Bordeaux, it is now virtually extinct there, though it has been thriving since the mid-nineteenth century in Chile. Originally mistaken for Merlot, it is now successful of its own accord and plantings continue to increase. It is bottled both on its own and as part of Bordeaux-inspired blends.
In the Glass
If not fully ripe, Carménère is often marked by a green, herbaceous character (think green bell pepper and green peppercorn), and expresses flavors of red berry and black pepper when just ripe. With additional hangtime at the end of harvest, it is reminiscent more of blackberry, blueberry, and dark plum, with rich and savory notes of chocolate, coffee, smoke, and soy sauce.
Carménère can easily overpower lighter fare, but makes a great match for a hearty steak or barbecued red meat. It can also work well with white meat when prepared with a richer sauce such as mole.
Perhaps Carménère’s herbal character can be explained in part by familial relations—due to the strange nature of grapevine breeding, Carménère is both a progeny and a great-grandchild of the similarly flavored Cabernet Franc.