Lazio’s Cooperativa Agricola Cincinnato

cincinnato_vineyards with view
The region around Rome is known as Lazio, and it’s full of grapes and subregions> you’ve most likely never heard of. I can remember traveling in Italy with my sister in the summer of 1987 and landing in Frascati with the son of the proprietor who ran the little hotel we were staying at in Rome and his friend, Dario. They took us in a tiny, navy blue Fiat up to this lookout point in the hills surrounding Rome. It was sort of a cross between a German biergarten (with the hanging lights and picnic tables) and lots of delicious Italian food trucks. We loaded up on several share plates, got a pitcher of Frascati and had dinner overlooking Rome… one of the best memories of that trip! It’s only now that I’m in the wine business, that I know that Frascati is in Lazio and that it’s smack in between Rome and Cori, a village about an hour and a half southeast of Rome.

Most wines from Lazio don’t make it out of Lazio (including Frascati!), but J. Strecker Selections (our direct import company) has a new line from a co-op in the village of Cori and the surrounding vineyards. All three wines are lesser-known indigenous varietals (Bellone, Nero Buono & a Nero Buono blend) showing off the wonderful work coming from this area.

wine folly_lazio

First a little on Cori and this co-op:
Located about 90 minutes southeast of Rome (1 hour on the highway), the ancient town of Cori (with urban structures dating from the 5–6th centuries BC) is set among the olive groves and vineyards in the foothills of the Lepini Mountains. The village of Cori is pictured above; the winery, also located in Cori, is pictured below. As you can imagine, this town is permeated with ancient and medieval history. The winery gives the two wines in this month’s club the symbolic names of Castore & Pollùce in honor of the Temple of Castor and Pollux.


Using the stamp: CINCINNATO MCMXLVII, Cooperativa Agricola Cincinnato was formed by a group of local farmers on the 13th of June 1947, with the purpose of processing and selling their own production. They named themselves in honor of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who led the Romans in battle against the Aequi in 458 BC. Following his victory, he refused honors and public offices in Rome, preferring to return to his land, which is said to have been in this area of Lazio.

Cincinnato currently has 550 hectares of land (100 of which are certified organic), and 130 member families committed to growing native grapes. The winery is also renowned for its environmental efforts including organic methods in the vineyards, a solar power system for independent power generation, and local distribution using natural gas-fueled vehicles.

Here’s a little about the 3 new wines:
Cincinnato 2017 “Castore” Bellone
Lazio, Italy // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

100% Bellone. This white grape is grown in volcanic-clayey soil in the hills around Cori. It’s a brilliant straw yellow color with a delicate fruity nose, full of yellow peach & hawthorn. Fresh with mineral notes on the palate, it’s a delicious refreshing sipper (while you cook) or enjoy it with pasta and seafood dishes. Drink now to 2 years.

cincinnato_nero buono
Cincinnato 2016 “Pollùce” Nero Buono
Lazio, Italy // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

100% Nero Buono (vineyards pictured). Similar to the Bellone, the vineyards are located on the lavic hills around Cori. Aged for 12 months in stainless steel tanks then refined in bottle for 6 months before being released. Ruby red in color. Intense, fragrant nose full of red fruits — strawberries, red plums, bing cherries. Faint notes of leather and earth bookend the pleasant fruitiness of this wine. It’s not too acidic nor too tannic. Wonderful to sip and equally delicious with food. Enjoy with Bucatini all’Amatriciana, dishes with Roman gnochi, artichokes, oxtail stew and more. Drink now to 3 years.

cincinnato_nero buono_v2
Cincinnato 2016 “Raverosse” Cori Blend

Lazio, Italy // Reg $18.99 | Mixed Case $15.19

This wine is a blend of 50% Nero Buono di Cori (vineyards pictured) – 30% Montepulciano – 20% Cesanese. Note: Cesanese is a red grape variety originating in the Lazio region, featuring medium-sized, compact clusters with small berries. It yields a fragrant, velvety smooth wine. The blend has intense aromas of blueberries, raspberries & plum. Ripe aromas of blackberries, plums & Italian herbs. Medium-bodied and silky smooth. Ripe blue and black fruit flavors with peppery notes. Finishes long with hints of balsamic and herbs. Fine tannins. Jens says you can’t start the year with a more interesting wine! Pairings? Wouldn’t overpower a delicious homemade spaghetti alla carbonara but it could hold its own with something meatier such as oxtail stew. Drink now to 5 years.

These wines are great way to go wine exploring in the new year!

Cheers to 2019!
Julie Howe, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

Holiday Gift Picks // 2018

This year Jon, Julie & Jens are picking the wines they’d like to get this holiday season. Here they are with a little tidbit as to why:

Holidays 2018_paper_10_pointsettas_JENS
JENS:  There are a lot of wines that I would happily drink this holiday season, but these would be top of my list:

Holidays 2018_Philippe Charlopin_square
This wine is a splurge, but it’s without a doubt the best wine I’ve tasted in the last several years. We originally got 24 bottles in from France in August. We have 15 left:
Philippe Charlopin 2013 Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée Vieilles Vignes
Burgundy, France // Reg $139.99 | Mixed Case $111.99

Holidays 2018_Seehof Riesling_square
Weingut Seehof 2016 Riesling

Rhein-Hessen, Germany // Reg $21.99 | Mixed Case $17.59
Easy drinking, great food wine. Citrus, stone fruits, chamomile, terrific acidity. What a great combo. Great price, too!

Scopone 2012 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
Tuscany, Italy // Reg $52.99 | Mixed Case $42.39
Great value for small production Brunello. Ready to open & drink.

Bethel Heights 2015 Estate Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon // Reg $36.99 | Mixed Case $29.59
Family-owned. Low-key. Old vines. Fuller-bodied, smokey notes, lush red & black cherries.

Holidays 2018_Lubanzi_square
Lubanzi 2017 Chenin Blanc
Swartland, South Africa //  Reg $18.99 | Mixed Case $15.19
80% Old Vines. Both fresh & complex. “Sliced November figs, ripe nectarine and freshly peeled satsumas. In the background is the hint of rosemary.” Round and fleshy in the middle. Creamy on the finish. A big yes!!

Bodegas Langa 2016 Frenesi Red Blend
Calatayud | Aragon, Spain // Reg $15.99 | Mixed Case $12.79
A certified organic blend of Merlot, Garnacha, Cab and Shiraz. Darker fruit flavors, with a minerally character & spicy overtones (vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, clove). Silky tannins on the finish. This wine can run with the big boys!

Abeja 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley, WA // Reg $59.99 | Mixed Case $47.99
Pretty much every year I list this wine as my pick from WA State. That’s because I think it’s the best one out there… still.

Holidays 2018_paper_10_pointsettas_JULIE
JULIE:  Here’s my list. Hope you enjoy:

Holidays 2018_Franchetto Ripasso_square
Franchetto 2015 Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 

Veneto, Italy // Reg $28.99 | Mixed Case $23.19
This wine sold out so quickly last year, that I hardly got to enjoy it. Thus the wish… Cured cherries, black pepper, spices, bodacious summer fruit (blackberries, cherries). Lush. Delicious.

Kevin White 2016 Fraternité
Yakima Valley, Washington // Reg $34.99 | Mixed Case $27.99
I’m a Southern Rhône girl, and so this Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah blend has a lot of appeal. Medium-bodied, good red fruit (“strawberries, raspberries, kirsch, violets, spice”). Smooth. Great with food, but not necessary.

Château des Eyssards 2016 Cuvée Prestige Sec
Bergerac, France // Reg $19.99 | INSIDER $16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59
Beautiful winter white blend. Jasmine & ripe stone fruits on the nose. A full, richer style with spicy notes on the finish from the Muscadelle which adds a lovely complexity & character to the traditional blend of Sauvignon Blanc & Sémillon.

Holidays 2018_Mas Velo Priorat_square
Bodegas Maset 2016 Mas Viló
Priorat, Spain // Reg $29.99 | Mixed Case $23.99
Elegant, complex red blend of Garnacha and Mazuelo (Carignan) from old vine vineyards outside of Barcelona. Ripe raspberry and blackberry fruit aromas with soft minerals and a touch of balsamic with fine tannins on the finish. Wonderful food wine.

Penner-Ash 2015 Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon // Reg $53.99 | Mixed Case $43.19
Big, full-bodied Oregon Pinot. Ripe summer plums, figs, black cherry & baking spice. Not for the faint of heart.

I have many other delicious wines tagged in the shop… Pomerol, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Bandol Rouge, Ruchè from Monferrato in Italy’s Piedmont, Merlot from WA State, Cab Franc Crémant from the Loire Valley & more. Stop by!

Holidays 2018_paper_10_pointsettas_JON
JON:  I’d be happy with any of these wines on my table this season:

Ridge 2016 Lytton Springs 
Sonoma, California // Reg $49.99 | Mixed Case $39.99
Blend of Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Carignan & Mourvedre. Winemaker’s notes say it all: “Jammy raspberry fruit with pepper, mint and sweet toasted oak. Brambly fruit on the palate, sensuous, well defined tannins and balanced acidity.”

Holidays 2018_W.T. Vintners Mourvedre_square
W.T. Vintners 2014 Mourvèdre

Yakima Valley, Washington // Reg $52.99 | Mixed Case $42.39
I think WA State Mourvèdre is nice, rich, full-bodied red for the holidays – “pure plum, red fruit, game, black pepper, fresh green herbs, cranberry”. 70 cases produced.

Holidays 2018_Pavese Ermes_square
Pavese Ermes 2016 Blanc De Morgex et de La Salle

Vallee D’Aoste, Italy // Reg $36.99 | Mixed Case $29.59
100% Prié Blanc (indigenous grape, certified organic) from the highest vineyard site in the world. Amazing minerality.

Holidays 2018_Southern Right Pinotage_square
Southern Right 2017 Pinotage

Walker Bay, South Africa // Reg $31.99 | Mixed Case $25.59
Named after the Southern Right whales that swim off the coast of the vineyards. Pinotage is full of rich fruit and smokey, bacony flavors. This would be a great gift for someone who loves big reds but hasn’t yet branched out to South Africa.

Elderton 2014 Estate Shiraz
Barossa Valley, Australia // Reg $25.99 | Mixed Case $20.79
Huge wine. Black forest fruits, mocha & chocolate with a distinctive note of dried herbs. Great gift for someone who likes to tuck wine away for a few years.

Burgum Novum 2013 Lagrein Riserva
Alto Adige, Italy // Reg $46.99 | 25% OFF SALE = $35.24 (no volume discount)
Aged 15 months in French oak. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla & violets on the nose. Flavors of dark berry, plums with soft tannins.

Holidays 2018_Nottola Anterivo_square
Nottola 2011 Anterivo Toscana Rosso
Tuscany, Italy // Reg $45.99 | Mixed Case $36.79
50/50 blend of Prugnolo Gentile & Merlot. Bold, extracted rich black cherries, black berries with complex tannins. A hedonistic Super Tuscan.

Alvear 1927 PX Solera (375ml)
Montilla-Morilles, Spain // Reg $34.99 | Mixed Case $27.99
98 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate — ” The NV Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927 is non-vintage, but does have some 1927 material in it. This is totally dark brown/amber with notes of figs, toffee, caramel syrup, molasses and coffee. It is dense, super sweet, intense, rich and an amazingly, unctuously textured, thick beverage to consume slowly and introspectively after a meal. Drink now through 2050, or even longer.” (RP)

And the list goes on…. Check out our tasting schedule> as we’ll have fancy wines open throughout December to taste. It’s the benefit of shopping with your local wine merchant — our wines are hand-selected with you in mind. Hope to see you soon to help you with your holiday wine needs!

The Portalis Team
Jon, Jens & Julie


Turkey Dinner in 4 Wine Lessons

Ryan Kirby's Time Lapse of the Wild Turkey Painting_Double Date
Art Credit: Ryan Kirby, “Double Date”

It’s not the bird as much as what we eat with it (sweet potatoes & heaven-forbid marshmallows, cranberry sauce, fruit salad, etc.) that causes the wine challenges with a turkey dinner. Many of these sweet & salty combos can make wines taste tart. Here’s your down & dirty guide to a wine that tastes great with a traditional turkey dinner:

Langa_cava bottles_Darrin Ballman Photography
Photo credit: Darrin Ballman Photography // Bodegas Langa Cava

#1 — Bubbles
Well-made sparkling wine always has good acidity, and acidity is an asset when a food is salty (imagine an anchovy on top of an hors d’oeuvre), sweet (tastes great with chocolate or dessert or sweet dishes such as sweet potato soufflée), and rich foods (cuts through the fat of a cream puff or foie gras or pork rillettes). It can be rosé or white, and any style of sparkling will work with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner: Champagne, Crémant, Prosecco, Cava and more! We recommend:

Pascal Ponson NV Champagne 1er Cru Brut
Champagne, France // Reg $45.99 | Mixed Case $36.79

Philippe Deval NV Crémant de Loire Rosé

Loire, Italy // Reg $23.99 | Mixed Case $19.19

La Farra Prosecco Superiore Brut

Veneto, Italy // Reg $17.99 | INSIDER $16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59

Bodegas Langa Cava Reyes de Aragon Brut Nature

Calatayud, Spain // Reg $17.99 | Mixed Case $14.39

Bruno Zanasi Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro

Emilia Romagna, Italy // Reg $17.99 | INSIDER $15.99 | Mixed Case $12.79

FB_Wines of Alsace_Alsatian Riesling
Photo Credit: Wines of Alsace // Alsatian Riesling

#2 — Round Whites
This style of white is fuller-bodied with nice fruit (not too dry), some acidity for balance but not highly acidic like a Sauvignon Blanc, and key — little to no oak! Round whites can can also be off-dry, meaning that they have a slight sweetness in the middle, off-set by good acidity. This type of wine pairs well with spicy foods (especially ethnic foods such as Thai or Mexican), foods with some sweetness (it’s Thanksgiving, so I’ll return to sweet potatoes!) and rich food (a fuller-body, fuller-flavored wine can balance a richer food). Examples of varietals that fit into this group are: Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Sémillon, Kerner, Viogner, Chardonnay (stainless steel aged or with less oak), and many more! We recommend:

Lobo Hills Dry Riesling
Yakima Valley, Washington // Reg $28.99 | Mixed Case $23.19

Illahe Estate Grüner Veltliner
Willamette Valley, Oregon — Reg $19.99 | Mixed Case $15.99

Domaine Moltès Pinot Gris Tradition

Alsace, France // Reg $21.99 | Wine of the Month = 25% OFF = $16.49

Weingut Castelfeder Kerner

Vigneti della Dolomiti, Italy // Reg $22.99 | Mixed Case $18.39

Domaine Haut de Mourier Viognier

Languedoc, France) // Reg $15.99 | Mixed Case $12.79

FB_Loire Valley Wines_Rose_v2
Photo Credit: Loire Valley Wines

#3 — Rosé

Rosé has never meet a food it doesn’t like. FULL STOP. We recommend:

Domaine de Frégate Bandol Rosé
Provence, France // Reg $29.99 | Mixed Case $23.99

Ozilhan Côtes du Rhône Rosé

Southern Rhône, France // Reg $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19

And although this wine is not technically a rosé (which is made from red grapes), it sure acts like one! Made from Pinot Grigio which has been left to ferment for a longer-period with its grey skins:

Santa Clerissa Pinot Grigio Ramato
Veneto, Italy // Reg $17.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99


#4 — Juicy Reds
Reds are where this meal can be especially tricky because tannic wines go sour with a sweet food and reds that are too big overpower the bird. Juicy reds can be described as lighter or medium in style with good fruit, good acidity, but NOT too tannic! Varietals that fit the bill are: Pinot Noir, Gamay, Grenache, Schiava, Zweitgelt, Zinfandel & more. We recommend:

J. Christopher Volcanique Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon//  $32.99 | Mixed Case $26.39

Orr Grenache
Columbia Valley, Washington // Reg $28.99 | Mixed Case $23.19

Bodegas Maset Monastrell
(aka Mourvedre)
Catalunya, Spain // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $14.39

Weingut Prechtl Reserve Red
(Zweigelt/Blaufränkisch/St. Laurent)
Weinviertel, Austria // Reg $19.99 | Mixed Case $15.99

Le Plan des Moines 2016 Les Charretons Châteauneuf du Pape 

Southern Rhône, France // Reg $54.99| Mixed Case $43.99

Don’t want to think about it this much? Stop in & we’ll get you set up!

Happy Thanksgiving,
Julie + Jens
Owners, Portalis Wines

Fernando & his Camino de Santiago

A lovely gentleman named Fernando Rojo (the star of this show!) sells Jens several lines of Spanish wines for J. Strecker Selections, our local import company. For the last couple of years he has made parts of the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, a lifelong dream of mine. I had so much fun following him this year on Facebook, that I decided to do a blog post of his trek with a little about the nearby wine lands as a side note.

[By the way, Fernando will be visiting the Seattle market from October 31-Nov 2, so stay tuned for tastings so that you meet him, hear his stories and taste his wines!]

UNESCO_World Hertiage_Camino de Santiago
For background on this historical pilgrimage>

In 2003, Fernando walked from O Cebreiro to Santiago de Compostela (7 days // 190 kms). Last year, he started in France (Saint Jean Pied de Port) and finished in his hometown of Burgos (10.5 days // 290 kms). This year, he did the middle section: Burgos to O Cebreiro (12 days // 360 kms), for a total of 29 days & 840 kms (approx 522 miles). Wow!

Here’s is story in pictures and a few words:


August 12 // Day 1:  Burgos – Hontanas (approximately 30 km)
“Here I go again. Hoy no aparqué mi polo en una zona no regulada para salir corriendo con las maletas y coger el autobús 🚌 con destino el aeropuerto. Hoy comenzó el tercer y último capítulo…”

Translation: Here I go again. Today I didn’t park my Polo (it is my car, my 21 year old Volkswagen Polo) in a unregulated area to run out with the bags and catch the bus 🚌 with the airport as my destination. Today started the third and last chapter…


August 13 // Day 2:  Hontanas – Boadilla del Camino (~ 30 km)

“Hoy me duele todo, pero aún no me he preguntado: pero qué coño hago yo aquí? Hoy con un campo de visión de más de 50 kms me he sentido el único ser vivo del planeta 🌍🌎”

Translation: Today everything hurts, but I haven’t asked myself yet: What the fuck am I doing here? Today with a field of vision of more than 50 kms, I felt like I was the only living being on the planet 🌍🌎


August 14 // Day 3:  Boadilla del Camino – Carrión de los Condes (~ 30 km)

“Al que no madruga Dios le da ración triple de vitamina D. Me compraría el paseo junto al Canal de Castilla. Qué bonito puede llegar a ser el silencio.”

Translation:  I didn’t wake up early, and sadly I didn’t catch the worm. I now have to walk many hours under the sun. But this may be God’s way of giving me a triple vitamin D ration. I would pay to walk next to the Canal de Castilla. How beautiful silence can be.


August 15 // Day 4:  Carrión de los Condes – Ledigos (~ 30 km)



August 16 // Day 5:  Ledigos – Bercianos del Real Camino (~ 30 km)

“No vuelvo a quejarme por la estar 12 horas sentado en un avión…”

Translation: I’ll never complain again about sitting 12 hours on a plane…


August 17 // Day 6:  Bercianos del Real Camino – Mansilla de las Mulas (~ 30 km)

“Ya vamos a más!”

Translation:  I feel better, I feel stronger!


August 18 // Day 7:  Mansilla de las Mulas – Valverde de la Virgen (~ 30 km)

“Primera semana completada. Que mal empecé el día, que dolores. Ya superé los 200 kms…”

Translation:  First week completed. How badly I started the day, what pains! I’ve already walked more than 200 kms…”


August 19 // Day 8:   
Valverde de la Virgen – Santibáñez De Valdeiglesias (~ 30 km)

“Hoy el radar me cazó…”

Translation: Today the radar hunted me…


August 20 // Day 9:   Santibáñez De Valdeiglesias – El Ganso (~ 30 km)

“Día amargo y no por el sabor de los antiinflamatorios: mi compañero tuvo que parar y visitar urgencias. Ya queda poco.”

Translation:  Bitter day and not for the taste of anti-inflammatory drugs: my partner had to stop and visit the ER. I am near the end.


August 21 // Day 10:   El Ganso – Molinaseca (~ 30 km)

“Si hay purgatorio hoy lo he cruzado. Más de 30 kms, con 18 bajando puro barranco. El demonio vino a visitarme…

Translation: If there’s purgatory today I’ve crossed it. More than 30 kms, with 18 down pure ravine. The Demon came to visit me…


August 22 // Day 11:   Molinaseca – Villafranca del Bierzo (~ 30 km)

“Si Dios quiere mañana completaré el Camino. 29 kms y un desnivel de 1.000 metros faltan”

Translation: If God wants tomorrow, I’ll complete the way. 29 kms at 1,000-meters still to walk.


August 23 // Day 12:   Villafranca del Bierzo – O Cebreiro (~ 30 km)

“Día 12 de 12. Hoy es nuestro día. Estuvimos juntos en 2003, 2017 y 2018…”

Translation: Day 12 of 12. Today is our day [talking to his t-shirt]. We were together in 2003, 2017 and 2018…

Fernando_Camino de Santiago_t-shirt_2018IMG_2930IMG_2931IMG_2932IMG_2933IMG_2934IMG_2935

“Gracias Camino!”

Translation: Thank you pilgrimage!

And thank you, Fernando, for sharing your trek with us! See you at the end of the month in Seattle!

Here are the wine regions along his “camino”:

Wine Folly_Spain_v3_square

Navarra and Rioja in orange, the northern part of Castilla y León in green including Bierzo and then Rias Baixas (home to Albariño) in pale blue on the Atlantic Coast. If the best you can do to experience the trek is learn about and drink wine from the lands from whence they came, then we support the effort!


Julie, co-owner with Jens
Portalis Wines & J. Strecker Selections


Fresh Herbs + Wine

Greg's herbs_Sep 2018
Our neighbor and long-time customer, Greg, brings us herbs from his garden in summer. They are so beautiful and smell and taste so good, that it inspired us to do a food blog on dishes that show off fresh herbs… and the wines that go with them!

Greg's herbs_Sep 2018_Tarragon
TARRAGON (Greg’s beautiful gift pictured) — Here’s a terrific (and long!) list of recipes from Bon Appetit that include tarragon, a sweet, supple herb full of licorice flavors and used most often with chicken, fish or tomato dishes. Our suggested wine pairing for Tarragon is our September Wine of the Month: Castelfeder Wine’s Pinot Bianco. Delicate fruity and floral aromas on the nose. Flavors of ripe apples with citrus flowers & fresh pears linger under the minerality. Oh so good. Other varietals that would work: unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay, minerally Pinot Grigio, Grüner Veltliner and lighter reds such as Pinot Nero/Noir, Gamay, Zweigelt & plummy Merlot.

Greg's herbs_Sep 2018_Sage
SAGE – Strong and earthy, this herb pairs well with richer meats, often pork (and pork sausages), although when fresh and well-integrated, it can add the je ne sais quoi to something as simple as scalloped potatoes — See Scalloped Potato Skillet Gratin with Gruyère, Leeks & Black Pepper from Dinner: Changing the Game (page 258) by Melissa Clark. Killer! Wine pairing for sage? Riesling would be great for a white. Good reds would be Merlot blends (Bordeaux), Southern Rhône, reds with some good earth.

Greg's herbs_Sep 2018
ROSEMARY – Get ready to be walloped with fresh rosemary. It’s a robust, piney forest flavor that can over power (and kill wine) if you’re not careful. It’s most commonly used with grilled meats, especially lamb, and sometimes potato or egg dishes. Your wine should have some body and acidity to hold its own! Try: Riesling, Marsanne/Roussanne, Kerner or an Oregon Pinot Gris for a white. For red, go with a Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Zinfandel or Syrah/Shiraz. A nice, fuller-bodied Côtes-du-Rhône would be a delight. Sparkling would also pair well!

Greg, the giver of these beautiful herbs, recommends a recipe from Patricia Wells’ Food Lover’s Guide to Paris (1984) to put (a lot!!) of your rosemary to good use:

Rabbit or Chicken with Rosemary
1 fresh rabbit, 2½ to 3 pounds, cut into serving size pieces
1 cup dry white wine
1 quart water
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
4½ cups fresh rosemary on the stem, or 1 cup dried rosemary
1 cup creme fraîche (or heavy cream)
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

In a large skillet combine the rabbit (or chicken), wine, water, onion, carrots, bay leaves, thyme, salt, grated pepper and 4 cups of rosemary. If you are using dried rosemary, use the entire amount. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes. Remove the meat and set aside to cool. Strain the liquid into a medium-sized saucepan, discarding the herbs and vegetables. Over high heat, reduce the liquid to 2 cups. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the bones and cut the meat into bite-sized chunks. (You may do this up to several hours before serving.) Stem the remaining fresh rosemary. In a large skillet combine the reduced stock with the creme fraîche (or heavy cream) and the peppercorns. Simmer and stir until heated. Add the stemmed rosemary and the meat. Cook over medium heat until the flavors have blended and the meat is hot. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve with rice or pasta. Yield: 4 servings. While traditionally made with rabbit, you may also use chicken thighs in lieu of rabbit.

Greg's herbs_Sep 2018_Thyme_v2
THYME – Oh, sweet thyme… peppery, woodsy, lemony & minty flavors most often used in Mediterranean cooking, but easy and flexible across the board to add a little zing to vegetables, salads, pasta dishes and more. Wines? Try: Inzolia (a Sicilian white grape), Pecorino, or a Bordeaux blend (Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon) for a white. Prefer a red? Try Nero d’Avola, Barbera, Primitivo, Sangiovese or Garnacha. Here’s Bon Appetit’s list of recipes featuring thyme.

Greg's herbs_Sep 2018_Marjoram
MARJORAM – Floral & earthy. Subtle enough to use in vinaigrettes & salads, or roasted on fish, chicken, lamb & vegetables (especially mushrooms & eggplant)! Bon Appetit has a great list of recipes for marjoram. For the wine, it will of course depend on the meal, but try not to overpower it: Sauvignon Blanc for a white, Pinot Noir for a red.

Found a great webpage for info on herbs:
Quick Guide to Every Herb & Spice in the Cupboard>

Enjoy while these herbs are still fresh out of the garden!
Julie // co-owner
Portalis Wines

Summer Sale 2018

SUMMER SALE_2018_square_v2

There’s no theme to this list of sale wines except we need their places at the shop. Enjoy!

Label_FR_Nalys Blanc_squareDomaine de Nalys 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc
Southern Rhône, France // Reg $45.99 | 25% OFF = $34.49
This wine is at its prime, and we’re on our last case. We’ve been direct importing Domaine du Nalys since 2011. A year ago, they kindly gave us notice that they had been purchased by a much bigger winery, so Jens went about looking for a replacement. Our new line is waiting in the back room for a spot on the shelf. In the meantime, you can enjoy this wonderful wine at a killer price. Or buy it and save it for the holidays — Thanksgiving would be perfect (if you can wait)!! Complex notes of citrus & white flowers with a lovely minerality.

Label_FR_Adrien Vacher Abymes Jacquere_square_V3Adrien Vacher 2016 Abymes
Savoie, France // Reg $17.99 | 25% OFF = $13.49
From the French Alps! 100% Jacquere. Floral & fruit notes with traces of lemon, grapefruit & pineapple. Tart & lively with lush notes of honeysuckle. A hint of herbal spice on the finish.Go exploring!

Adrien Vacher 2016 Mondeuse
Savoie, France // Reg $19.99 | 25% OFF = $14.99
Black cherries with hints of currants and forest
Palate: Lighter in body, but full of flavors! Macerated raspberries, currants, cherries and black berries soaked in bay leaves and black peppercorns. Hints of sour red plums peek out from the grippy tannins but does not override the sense of oregano & thyme.

Label_FR_Haut de Mourier Viognier_square_v2Domaine Haut de Mourier 2015 Viognier

Languedoc, France // Reg $15.99 | 25% OFF = $11.99
Bouquet of apricots, peaches and violet. Peach, apple, pear, lavender and honey on the palette. Round and soft, fresh and well-balanced. Light sweetness and spicy fragrance.

Château du Grand Caumont 2015 Cuvée Tradition Corbières Blanc
Languedoc, France // Reg $14.99 | 25% OFF = $11.24
Flinty gold in color. Ripe yellow apples, white flowers on the nose. Rich baked summer apples, oil and lime citrus. Full-bodied. Wonderful food wine: white or red meat, barbecues, delicatessen meats, fish and shellfish, mixed salads, poultry, pizzas, fruit salads, summer desserts.

Label_FR_Grand Caumont Rose_squareChâteau du Grand Caumont 2016 Cuvée Tradition Corbières Rosé
Languedoc, France // Reg $14.99 | INSIDER $11.99 | 25% OFF = $8.99
Blend of Cinsault, Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc. Salmon pink in color. Refreshing summer raspberries on the nose. Round. Fresh. Citrus, flowers, rose and white pepper notes.

Domaine de Herbauges 2014 Muscadet Côte du Granlieu Sur Lie
Loire Valley, France // Reg $14.99 | INSIDER $13.99 | 25% OFF = $10.49
Scents of light white flowers. Rich body with lemon oil as well as lemon and lime citrus, minerals and acidity.

Label_FR_Bigotiere Muscadet 2016_squareChâteau de la Bigotiere 2014 Muscadet
Loire Valley, France // Reg $14.99 | 25% OFF = $11.24
This drier style Muscadet has fresh light fruit notes with some stony qualities. Hints of lemon citrus. Oysters! 2009 Gold Medal Paris

Secret de Berticot 2016 Sauvignon Blanc
Côtes de Duras, France // Reg $13.99 | 25% OFF = $10.49
Fresh citrus- lemon, lime, grapefruit and litchi notes. Refreshing!

La Togata 2014 Barengo Toscana Rosso
Tuscany, Italy // Reg $23.99 | 25% OFF = $17.99
A baby Brunello! 100% Sangiovese. Scents of rose petals, ripe black berries. Rich and silky with notes of luscious dark cherry touting hints of tobacco and cedar box.

Label_IT_Scopone Rosso di Montalcino_squareScopone 2013 Rosso di Montalcino
Tuscany, Italy // Reg $23.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | 25% OFF = $11.24
BIG. Open the day before you want to drink it to enjoy scents of vanilla, rose petals, ripe black berries. Rich and silky with notes of luscious dark cherry fruit.

Giuseppe Savini 2016 “Rondineto” Pecorino
Abruzzo, Italy // Reg $12.99 | 25% OFF = $9.74
Luminous straw yellow. Floral with tree fruit notes. Delicate apple and pear fruit balanced with citrus with a fresh, mineral roundness.

Label_IT_Savini Montepulciano_squareGiuseppe Savini 2012 “Colleventano” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Abruzzo, Italy // Reg $15.99 | 25% OFF = $11.99
Violets, currants, light spice on the nose. Rich cherries , currants with light earthiness on finish. Pizza!

Palazzo Malgara 2016 Inzolia
Sicily, Italy // Reg $15.99 | 25% OFF = $11.99
Bouquet of white flowers, lemon citrus. Rich, good structure, subtle herbs, kiwi and lemon fruit.

Label_CA_Wish Cab_square_v2Wish Wine Co. 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
North Coast, California // Reg $16.99 | INSIDER $15.99 | 25% OFF = $11.99
Black and red currants, black cherry fruit with savory characteristics including tobacco, cedar, mint and espresso.

Wish Wine Co. Red Blend
North Coast, California // Reg $16.99 | INSIDER $15.99 | 25% OFF = $11.99
Boysenberry, Asian plum and red currant. Integrated and balanced.

Wish Wine Co. 2013 Zinfandel
North Coast, California // Reg $16.99 | INSIDER $15.99 | 25% OFF = $11.99
Red plum, blackberry and blueberry, subtle tannins and refreshing acidity. This wine pairs beautifully with salty-sweet dishes such as BBQ.

And more…

Hope you can stop by & take advantage of these killer prices!
Julie & Jens, owners
Portalis Wines

Australia 2018

My girls are taking part in Panpapanpalya (one of the world’s largest gatherings of dancers, dance educators, and artists of all ages) through their Kaleidoscope Dance Company, and luckily for me, it takes place this year in Adelaide, Australia… handily an hour or less from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, and Adelaide Hills wine producing regions. So… let’s go:

Wine Folly_Australia_South Australia
map credit:  Wine Folly

Barossa Valley // Monday, July 9, 2018
First stop: Elderton
Elderton owner, Cameron Ashmead, (in black) // Winery history>
Elderton winemaker, Richard Langford (in green)

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Next up: Kalleske 
Kalleske, est. 1853 // Biodynamic wines. Best value/quality producer

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Last stop: Henschke Winery
Henschke, one of the most prestigious wineries in the Barossa Valley

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McLaren Vale // Tuesday, July 10, 2018
First stop: D’Arenberg
The Cube is D’Arenberg’s info center. Also, the craziest urinals I’ve ever seen! The sheep are at work grazing, weeding & fertilizing the vineyards!

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Stopped by Maslin Beach with Mark (one of the other dancer dads) on the way back to Adelaide:

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Cleland Wildlife Conservation Park // Wednesday, July 11, 2018
A day off dance meant a trip to see the local wildlife! A kangaroo scratches its back on the ground just like a dog, btw!

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Adelaide Hills // Thursday, July 12, 2018
First stop: Shaw+Smith Winery
David LeMire, MW, was our host.

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Next stop: Sidewood
Pinot Noir vineyards with emus! Plus Seth Piszczuk, tasting room manager and our host. 

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On the way home: Largs Bay, Western Adelaide on the coast:
Many thanks to WineAustralia for setting up these tours! We’ve had a wonderful time!!

One more day to come… Barossa Valley again on Saturday, July 14. Stay tuned…