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


Wines for Spring!

Mona Anastas_Daily Art_021718_Sun

The sun is out. The evenings are warm. The gardens around Seattle are at their height of bloom and beauty. If you aren’t sitting in some fresh air enjoying a glass of wine, you should be! Need some suggestions? Here’s a great spring varietal list from Wine Folly> for under $20 a bottle. Or stop by, and we’ll hook you up — Grüner Veltliner, Malbec, Soave, Gamay, unoaked Chardonnay, Zweigelt, rosé… the list goes on!

Label_ROSE collage_2018x16

First & foremost… ROSÉ:
We have quite a list in stock ranging from local producers to high-end Bandol rosé from Provence. Here are our new arrivals:

Chateau Rivière Minervois Rosé 2017 // Languedoc
Domaine de Frégate Bandol Rosé 2017 // Provence
Domaine du Petit Romain Vieilles Vignes Rosé 2017 // Southern Rhône
La Malière Rosé Côtes de Provence 2017 // Provence
Ozilhan Réserve Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2017 // Southern Rhône
Paul Blisson Costières de Nîmes Rosé 2017 // Southern Rhône

In addition, here are some great spring white varietals with our specific recommendations:
Grüner Veltliner – Aromatic white flowers. White peach, poached pear, lime blossoms, with a nice white pepper finish. Try: Weingut Prechtl 2016 Alte Reben aus Löss Grüner Veltliner // Austria (vineyards pictured)
Prié Blanc – From the highest vineyard site in the world (a few minutes from Mont Blanc), this indigenous grape is full of minerality & delight: Pavese Ermes 2016 Blanc De Morgex et de La Salle // Valle d’Aoste, Italy
Vinho Verde – light, fruity with a slight effervescence and low alcohol! Try: Vinha das Margaridas 2016 Vinho Verde // Portugal
Garganega – This white is better known as Soave, but that’s the DOC (region), not the grape… which is full of citrus blossoms, warm apples & apricots held together by refreshing acidity! Try award-winning: Franchetto 2015 Soave “La Capelina” // Veneto, Italy

And spring reds varietals:
Bonarda lightens up the Malbec in this terrific, organic blend: La Puerta 2016 Alta Malbec/Bonarda // Argentina
Zinfandel – Its trademark velvety fruit makes this varietal a wonderful accompaniment to BBQ and other grilled summer fare. Try: Wish Wine Co. 2011 Zinfandel // North Coast, California (vineyards pictured)
Zweigelt – Lighter in body, but full of flavor: blackberries, tart dark cherries & spices! Try: Weingut Prechtl 2015 Satzen Zweigelt // Austria

La Farra_countryside with vineyards_2_20%
AND… don’t forget the bubbles! Go light & freshing with La Farra Prosecco — Brut, Extra Dry, Rosé & their Prosecco Superiore DOCG Valdobbiadene. Tree fruits & citrus with lively gentle bubbles! (vineyards pictured)

We’d be delighted to help you with any of your spring wine needs! Just stop in…

Julie & Jens, Owners
Portalis Wines

Art credit: Mona Anastas, owner of Two Owls in Madrona

New Tasting Series: Grape Varietals A-Z

A-Z_logo_Jan 2014
Kicking off a new year, we thought it would be fun to do a comprehensive tasting series featuring as many single grape varietals as we carry in the shop. We counted them up. (There are 60+!) We put them in alphabetical order. And we’re ready to go! Here’s the schedule.  If you make a good chunk of these tastings, you will have tasted the vast majority of single grape varietals grown around the world today. We’ll offer a little educational overview on each grape including tasting notes & where it’s grown. The rest is up to you. Ready, set, go:

Tastings run every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday from bar open (4pm) to 8pm:
Tue, 14-Jan – Albariño ~ pictured above in the Outon vineyards in Rias Baixas, Spain
Wed, 15-Jan – Aligoté
Thu, 16-Jan – Arneis
Tue, 21-Jan – Barbera
Wed, 22-Jan – Blaufraenkisch
Thu, 23-Jan – Brachetto
Tue, 28-Jan – Cabernet Franc
Wed, 29-Jan – Cabernet Sauvignon
Thu, 30-Jan – Cannonau
Claude Nouveau_grapes_chardonnay_banner
Tue, 4-Feb – Carmenère
Wed, 5-Feb – Chardonnay (France) ~ pictured above in Claude Nouveau’s vineyards
Thu, 6-Feb – Chardonnay (California)
Tue, 11-Feb – Chenin Blanc
Wed, 12-Feb – Cortese
Thu, 13-Feb – Dolcetto
Tue, 18-Feb – Garganega
Wed, 19-Feb – Garnacha Grenache
Thu, 20-Feb – Grauvernatsch (Schiava Grigio)
Tue, 25-Feb – Grüner Veltliner
Wed, 26-Feb – Inzolia
Thu, 27-Feb – Kerner
Tue, 4-Mar – Lagrein
Wed, 5-Mar – Malbec
Thu, 6-Mar – Melon de Bourgogne
Tue, 11-Mar – Merlot
Wed, 12-Mar – Montepulciano
Thu, 13-Mar – Moscato
Tue, 18-Mar – Muscat
Wed, 19-Mar – Nebbiolo ~ pictured above in the Pelassa vineyards of Piedmont, Italy
Thu, 20-Mar – Nerelo Mascalese
Tue, 25-Mar – Nero d’Avola
Wed, 26-Mar – Pedro Ximenez
Thu, 27-Mar – Petit Verdot
Claude Nouveau_grapes_v2_banner
Tue, 1-Apr – Petite Syrah
Wed, 2-Apr – Pineau d’Aunis
Thu, 3-Apr – Pinot Bianco
Tue, 8-Apr – Pinot Blanc
Wed, 9-Apr – Pinot Grigio
Thu, 10-Apr – Pinot Grigio
Tue, 15-Apr – Pinot Noir (France)
Wed, 16-Apr – Pinot Noir (Oregon)
Thu, 17-Apr – Pinotage
Tue, 22-Apr – Primitivo
Wed, 23-Apr – Prosecco
Thu, 24-Apr – Riesling
Tue, 29-Apr – Sangiovese
Wed, 30-Apr – Sauvignon Blanc (France)
BLOG_Jens in Australia_Shiraz grapes from Beachworth_Victoria_v4
Thu, 1-May – Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)
Tue, 6-May – Semillon
Wed, 7-May – Shiraz ~ pictured above from Jens’ trip to Victoria, Australia
Thu, 8-May – Syrah (Old World)
Tue, 13-May – Syrah (New World)
Wed, 14-May – Tempranillo
Thu, 15-May – Torrontes
Tue, 20-May – Verdejo
Wed, 21-May – Vernaccia
Thu, 22-May – Viognier
Tue, 27-May – Welschriesling
Wed, 28-May – Zinfandel
Thu, 29-May – Zweigelt

This should be a lot of fun! Look forward to seeing you there!
Julie, Jens & the Portalis team

Comfort Wine ~ What’s it to you?

On first impression, Provence evokes thoughts of food, savory herbs and perhaps a nice bowl of bouillabaisse.

To me, however, it just reminds me of being a kid.

One of the earliest memories I have is sitting at a table on my great-great-grandmother’s porch in Pégomas. I was fresh off my first disastrous experience with fois and I remember being given a very small glass of white wine for what my aunt declared as my “French lesson”.

As an American kid growing up on Coca Cola, this was equally as disastrous.

It occurs to me now that all the memories I compiled during these early forays into French culture, like that of the fois, were perhaps too vast for me to truly appreciate at the time.

I’m now 24, and what I wouldn’t give for the opportunity to revisit these places of my youth; to discover the vast culinary prowess of the region, a glass of rosé and a bowl of ratatouille.

There’s just something about wines from the old-world regions, something almost book-like. They have the ability to transport you miles on a taste like an author on a word.

With my eyes closed and a sip of Chateau Barbanau L’Instant (rosé from the village of Roquefort, east of Marseille) in my mouth; I can almost imagine the words roaming back toward me over the lavender covered hills: “Matt! Get down from that rock before you break your neck!”

It’s comforting.

Most people would probably consider a “comfort wine” to be something big, a brooding Cab or a Malbec. To me, however, a “comfort wine” is just a wine that puts you in a good place and makes you happy.  To me, this is a Provençal wine and Barbanau fits this criteria.

What’s it to you? What’s your favorite “comfort wine”?

Some notes on the liquid inspiration here: Chateau Barbanau 2011 L’Instant Rosé
It’s definitely something light and crisp with a nice balanced acidity and fruity (perhaps even melony) flavors. It would compliment a fish dinner or something with a bolder flavor like a citrusy roasted chicken.


Get to know a lesser-known: Cabernet Franc

Label_WA_Owen Roe Rosa Mystica Cab Franc
I noticed that Cabernet Franc was used in a lot of red blends, but it got me thinking “Does this grape have the potential to be used alone?” There are quite a few grapes that are either too overpowering, or not overpowering enough to be considered viable options for a single varietal wine, but I thought that perhaps Cabernet Franc just wasn’t getting the amount of press it deserved. It must not be too strong since in some blends it can amount for 50% or more if the wine. Thus, I decided to investigate.

Cabernet Franc is one of the major grape varietals grown throughout the world. It prefers a cooler climate, and is relatively thin skinned (meaning less tannins in the wine). Cabernet Franc is considerably lighter in body than its relative Cabernet Sauvignon (Cabernet Franc is an ancestral grape for many varietals as it turns out). It adds spicy, violet aromas and finesse to wines along with flavors of raspberry and black currant. Definitely sounded like Cabernet Franc could make up a wine completely solo, and turns out that there are quite a few already produced.

Chinon, Bourgueil and St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil are not only three of the most famous Loire Valley wines, but they are almost always created using just Cabernet Franc. The best wines from each of these areas are soft and elegant, but have the full flavors of cabernet franc come through the wine. It is of course also planted widely in Bordeaux as it is used in blends throughout the region.

In North America, Cabernet Franc is used to make icewine (mostly in Canada and New York State), Napa Valley has won multiple awards for its Cab Franc wines, and in Washington state, Cabernet Franc is the fourth most planted grape (it is much more robust against cold weather than other grape varietals).

Label_FR_Roche de Feu_Chinon Cab Franc_with frameAt Portalis, we carry a variety of Cabernet Franc wines (as well as Cab Franc blends). This wine not only is easy to drink, but is easy to pair with food. Cabernet Franc can be paired with vegetable dishes, poultry, red meat, pizza, sharp cheddar or bleu cheeses, and pork. You can try the Roche de Feu Chinon, 100% Cab Franc from AlphaLoire, a producer from the Loire Valley, at the bar as a glass pour. It’s medium-bodied, has a lot of earth & is a fabulous food wine.  We also carry Paul Buisse 2005 L’Exceptionnel Bourgueil, another Cab Franc from the Loire Valley. If you’d prefer to try something local, we have the Owen Roe 2010 Rosa Mystica Cabernet Franc, a beautiful, fuller-bodied Cab Franc from WA’s Yakima Valley.  It’s pricier, but it’s well worth the splurge!


Staff “Dream Picks” for the 2012 Holiday Season

Three years ago I asked this question: If you could have any wine in the shop as a gift this December, which one would it be & why?  I decided it was time to pose the question again…

BLOG_Staff Dream Wines_2012_Gina_445
Gina: What I wish Santa would bring me?? Pelassa 2007 Barolo! Why? I have such fond memories of my visit to this beautiful region and the gracious family that toils over the land to produce this world-class stunner! It has hints of rich balsamic in the nose with layers of black cherry & elegant tannins. A refined Barolo young, but what keeps you smiling with every sip is that you can taste its potential down the road…it is anything but tame! Plus ~ it would drink just dandy with our Christmas meal : ) So please Santa…

BLOG_Staff Dream Wines_2012_Karli_445
Karli: The most religious of all wines: Chateauneuf du Pape! I’d pick: Domaine de Marcoux 2010

BLOG_Staff Dream Wines_2012_Sky_445
Sky: The biggest one you’ve got from Australia: John Duval!

BLOG_Staff Dream Wines_2012_Tracey_v2_445
Tracey: You know what I’m going to pick; the same thing I picked 3 years ago: Champagne. If I could have any bottle, I’d go with:  Michel Turgy NV Reserve Champagne Blanc de Blancs

BLOG_Staff Dream Wines_2012_Jens_445
Jens: I’m going with Bordeaux. I could pick any wine I wanted to import via J. Strecker Selections and I picked: Château Franc Grâce-Dieu 2009 St-Emilion Grand Cru.  To be honest, I didn’t know its pedigree.  I was tasting through a lot of wine last spring when I was in Europe and I knew immediately this wine was killer for the price. But just in case you’re into predigree, it has a 300+ year history of winemaking and is located near Château Figeac (truly one of the greats in my opinion) and 2 kilometers down the road from Cheval Blanc. It’s prime real estate, and this wine with its lightly toasted flavors overlaying black currant & blackberries with a touch of pencil lead, ceder. Complex, well-balanced. It is a fantastic wine!

BLOG_Staff Dream Wines_2012_JJ
JJ: Wow, that’s a tough one! Well, I really am in love with the Castelfeder Lagrein for obvious reasons, but if I get to step it up a notch, I’d go with the Sineann Pinot Noir! I love a lot of the Sineann wines for their relatively small production, hand harvesting of old vines, and their tremendous passion for producing a consistent high-end product.

BLOG_Staff Dream Wines_2012_Travis_445
Travis: Red Burgundy. Gérard Raphet 2006 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru. The perfect food wine; fruit & acid are well-balanced.

There you have it!

Happy holidays & cheers,

Demystifying Côtes-du-Rhône

The Rhône Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in France, and one of the most complicated. It is located in between Provence (to the south) and Burgundy (to the north) just west of the Alps. The northern Rhône usually produces single varietal wines whereas the southern Rhône generally produces blends. So, what makes it so complex? The classification process.

First off: what wine is classified as just “Côtes-du-Rhône”?  Côtes-du-Rhône wines are the most basic wines of the Rhône region. There are white, red, and rose wines from the Rhône. Most reds/rose wines are made using grenache, syrah, mouvèdre, and cinsaut (it can vary) and most whites are made from the roussane, marsanne, vigonier, grenache blanc or clarette grapes.

So… what technically is the region of Côtes-du-Rhône Villages?  Côtes-du-Rhône-villages is an additional AOC region INSIDE of the Côtes-du-Rhône region.

Ok, that must make Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages as the top wine AOC in that area then, right?  -WRONG, in addition to the label of ‘Villages’, there are several communes in the AOC region that are allowed to label the wine with their additional local appellation, these appellations are called the ‘Crus’ of Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages. There are only 18 named villages out of the 95 communes that make up the Côtes-du-Rhône region. Within these 18 named villages, there are 15 “Crus” villages.

Here’s a list of all the recognized Crus: Beaumes-de-Venise, Chateau Grillet, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Condrieu, Cornas, Cote-Rotie, Crozes Hermitage, Gigondas, Hermitage, Lirac, Rasteau, Saint Joseph, Saint Peray, Tavel, Vaqueryas, Vinsobles.

And of course the most important question: what Côtes-du-Rhône/Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages do Portalis carry?

Domaine Clavel 2007 Syrius Côtes du Rhône Villages St. Gervais
Regular: $19.99 | Insider: $17.99 | Mixed Case: $15.99

Andrieux & Fils 2007 Gigondas
Regular: $27.99| Insider: $25.99 | Mixed Case: $22.39

Domaine de la Vieille Ferme de l’Eoune 2009 Rasteau
Regular: $19.99 | Insider: $17.99 | Mixed Case: $15.99

Le Gravillas 2009 Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône Villages
Regular: $17.99  Insider: $15.99 |Mixed Case: $14.39

Domaine De Marcoux 2009 Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Regular: $84.99 | Mixed Case: $67.99