March 22 Bargain Club

Ercole Bianco

les sept chênes entre-deux-mers blanc
ballade gascony blanc
Grape Abduction red
delta Pinot Noir
les sept chênes Bordeaux rouge
Luzon Verde Monastrell

Ercole Bianco

Ch. Les Sept chênes entre-deux-mers blanc  (Sustainable)

Entre-Deux-Mers is the largest sub-region in Bordeaux and is so named (between two seas) because of its location between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers.   By French law, only white wines can carry this appellation, and the wine must be primarily Sauvignon Blanc with allowed Semillion and or Muscadelle added to the blend. 

Les Sept Chênes is typical for a wine from this region – crisp, refreshing, and very easy to drink.   The blend is 85% Sauv Blanc and 15% Semillon (which adds some backbone and ageability). 

Beautiful pale golden color. A fragrant and lively wine with rich aromatic intensity. Notes of grapefruit, boxwood, blackberry leaf, and citrus jump from the glass. On the palate, this wine is round with flavors of dry fruits, almonds, and honey. A lovely crisp, dry white that should be consumed young. Pairs well with poultry, shellfish, grilled fish, and pasta with cream sauces. 

lorelle pg

Ballade Gascony Blanc (Sustainable)

Domaine de Ballade is located in the heart of Gascony, the birthplace of d’Artagnan, the famed hero of the Three Musketeers. Gascony is located at the border of the Lot and Garonne and the Gers. Hidden away in the heart of the AOC Armagnac, Gascony has been called the “new Tuscany”. Thanks to the light soils and amicable oceanic climate, the different grapes can reach their full flavorful potential for your pleasurable enjoyment.  

The Morel family looks after the vineyards,, winemaking and distillation, as they have for almost 100 years.  Their vineyard extends over 190 acres of vines. The light grounds and oceanic climate offer the optimum maturity for their various grapes: Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc & Gris, Ugni Blanc, Petit & Gros Manseng. These grapes produce very fruity and dry white wines, with flavors of exotic fruits and white flowers.  

When quizzed on the great Sauvignon Blanc producing regions of France, even a seasoned wine professional might take a few minutes to work their way down the list with Gascony, the region more known for Armagnac than wine. But this is a matter of prestige more than a reflection of the wine itself – a little Gascon Blanc, often Sauvignon blended with a little Columbard as in this case, is a revelation in hot weather!

Among the lightest-bodied whites in all of France, Gascogne Blanc doesn’t sacrifice personality for weight at all. Lemon-lime zestiness and fleshy fruit appeal is the name of the game here, and as we get into some of the hottest days we’ll have all year, you’ll be glad you have a chilled bottle of Ballade on hand!   

“Seriously herbal and very crisp, this is an intense epitome of a perfumed, grassy wine from Gascony. Young acidity gives a taut character that contrasts with hints of creamed apple and yellow fruits at the end.”- Wine Enthusiast

moulin gassac pino

Grape Abduction Blaufrankisch (Organic/natural)

This Slovenian red wine has it all – juicy, crunchy, red berry fruit, frown and made naturally, and all dolled up in a fun 1-liter bottle!   A cosmic ruby red color with pungent aromas of blackberries,
cranberries, soft dark spices, and warm red currant notes. On the palate, this natural Blaufränkisch is pure, jammy, and lively with a very smooth mouthfeel and a long, fruity, and spicy  finish.  Serve slightly chilled, with grilled meats, hard cheeses, or light fare. 

100% Blaufrankisch, single vineyard, fermented and aged in stainless tank.  

olianas cannonau

Delta Pinot Noir – organic

Delta, meaning change, was founded in 2019 by Matt and Alexis Iaconis with the goal of making wines for environmental change. The Iaconis’s, one of California’s young winemaking couples that have quickly risen to success with acclaim for their winery Brick & Mortar, continue to focus on making elegant, pure expressions of California wines while partnering with organizations dedicated to having a positive impact on the environment.

For each bottle sold, Delta will donate $1 to an organization that pursues an effort to help the planet thrive for future generations, such as cleaning oceans to reducing CO2 emissions. Two of the biggest recipients of donations are The Cool Effect and the Surfrider Foundation.

What a killer value this is!   It tastes like Oregon Pinot used to; e.g.:  lower in alcohol (13.5%), lighter in overall profile, with vibrant acidity to balance it all out.  Sourced from cool-climate sites along the California coastline (this vintage all from a single vineyard Anderson valley site – all organically farmed).

Bright, ripe fruit. Silky smooth tannins.  Just a hint of juicy cherry cola, in the best way possible.  Crushable!  Natively fermented and aged in a mix of new and neutral barrels.   Black cherry, baked strawberry, cocoa nib, lavender, rose petal.


Ch. Les Sept chênes Bordeaux rouge (Sustainable)

Here in California and other non-European wine-producing areas, one can plant whatever type of grape they wish wherever they might wish to do so, and generally, the wines are named after the grape and place (Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, etc.).   

Not so in the European Common Market (which produces 2/3rds of the wine consumed globally), where the appellation laws are strict as to what grapes are allowed to be planted in very specific geographic areas.  This makes sense, as when we see the word Champagne on a label, we know that the bottle will contain sparkling wine made from specific grapes, grown in the Champagne region of France, and that Rioja-demarked red wine will never contain any Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, rather an assemblage of several allowed grape types, grown and produced in the Rioja D.O. of Spain.

So, when red grapes are planted in the Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux, the wine that is produced there cannot be called Entre-Deux-Mers Rouge, rather Bordeaux Rouge, even though the grapes may be planted in the same vineyard and made in the same facility as their white counterparts.  This is because the Entre-Deux-Mers appellation is for white wines only.  

Having said that, there is a lot of Bordeaux Rouge made in Bordeaux, which can be from anywhere in the 150,000-acre appellation.   (Bordeaux produces over 431 million bottles of wine every year, 80% of which is red).

This elegant red Bordeaux is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet (60/40) and starts off with a dreamy scent of dark cherries, intense black currants, and the finest vanilla.  Red fruits such as cassis, Maraschino cherry, and blackberry dance along the palate, scaffolded by nice, mouthwatering acidity and silky fine tannins.   Impressively long and characterized by strong elegance, the cuvée ends in an aromatic finish.  It is a steal for the price point.Lascaux Back Label

Luzon Verde MonastrelL (Organic )

Jumilla DO is in southeastern Spain, part of a region known as Murcia. a small region on the Mediterranean coast of southeastern Spain. The Jumilla viticultural area, which is sandwiched between Yecla in the north and Bullas in the south, is considered to be Murcia’s most important in terms of quantity and quality. It is also the region’s oldest, established in 1966.

Like other wine regions of the area, Jumilla specializes in wines based on the Monastrell grape variety, also known as Mourvèdre, which accounts for around 80 percent of vines. It is well suited to the harsh climatic conditions here, and the best wines demonstrate a varied flavor profile. This includes lively fruits and earth and mineral notes when young, developing into complex aromas of matured fruit, coffee, and oak spices with extended barrel aging.

Since the 1990s, when the region’s potential to produce quality wines came to the fore, Jumilla has attracted a lot of outside attention. Producers from other Spanish regions as well as foreign companies have set up wineries here. As a result, plantings of varieties such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot have steadily increased, mainly to add body and character to the Monastrell-based reds.

This blending approach has worked wonders for the status of the region’s wines. It is now seen as a benchmark among similar styles produced in this part of the country. A Jumilla Monastrell red wine must include at least 80 percent of the named variety.

The landscape of Jumilla is characterized by wide valleys and plains, interrupted by the serrania (mountain ranges) that cross Murcia between the sea and the Meseta Central (central plateau) of Spain. Hot, dry and harsh is the best way to describe the zone. Despite these seemingly adverse conditions, vines have been grown here since Roman times, when the region had quite a reputation for its full-bodied red wines.

The wine industry in Jumilla received a big boost when the phylloxera plague struck neighboring France in the late 19th Century. This resulted in demand for Jumilla wine soaring. Despite escaping the major outbreak, Jumilla was struck down by the pest in 1989. This offered the DO a chance to modernize and refocus on lighter, more elegant wines. Jumilla’s climate is best described as arid and continental, with Summer temperatures of 104°F not being uncommon. This, along with the scant rainfall, makes the region a theoretically harsh grape-growing area. 

There are two main factors that act as saving graces. Firstly, there is a healthy amount of lime in the soil, which helps in retaining vital moisture, and secondly, the elevated central plateau. Elevations range between 1300ft – 2600ft, providing some respite from the intense heat. Nevertheless, frosts, violent storms, and torrential rains still pose real threats to vines.  

Bodegas Luzón is one of the leading producers and exporters of quality wines from Jumilla (Murcia), and this cuvée is produced with organically grown grapes.

Look for notes of back pepper, ripe plums and smoke aromas round out this wine’s full-bodied blackberry and herb flavors – a natural with roasted or grilled mushrooms, meats, and sausage, braised short ribs, and rich pasta sauces.  

91 points, James Suckling:  “Bark, mushroom, dark-fruit and dried-flower aromas follow through to a medium body, easy tannins and a medium, fruity finish. Vegan.” 

90 points, Decanter: “Intense cherry red color with purple background. On the nose, very intensive aromas of red ripe fruit and floral hints. Very fruity and fresh on the palate, smooth, glyceric, and tasty. Sweet and mature tannins, balanced acidity and good persistence.”

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