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!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Wine Tour of Southern Italy

Wine Folly_Italy_cropped to Southern Italy_croppedAre you ready for an adventure? It’s a new year- time to expand the horizons! Southern Italy hosts beautiful, lesser-known varietals (and regions) at reasonable prices (on both accounts). From the Amalfi Coast to the “heel” of the boot to the bounties of Sicily, Southern Italy has so much to offer with wine, cuisine, culture and travel.

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photo credit: science.howstuffworks.com

Southern Italy does not include Central Italy. Southern Italy begins at Campania and Puglia as the demographics change with Mt. Vesuvius (pictured above) and the impact of the Ionic sea and Amalfi coast. Gorgeous. One of the most dynamic and most beautiful aspects to Southern Italy is embracing that it is greatly influenced by the migrations that occurred through Greece (Rome) and the Arab eras. The cuisine, the culture, the cultivation of wine- everything began here- THEN migrated north.

Differences in cuisine begin with sardines, oil, beans, cured meats, livestock and the curing of dishes. It’s all in the transport. The southern tip has a mild Mediterranean climate which is excellent for vacation and travel; however, the land is supposedly infertile and best for wine, livestock and creativity. Why else would I pick it? Here are a few top picks for my dream adventures for 2018:

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Campania– A region perhaps more noted for art, culture, history, and cuisine …but the wine! If only I could eat pizza in Naples! But, rumor has it they make an amazing rabbit dish and some beautiful fish dishes. If I could get my hands on Massimo’s rosato again, we would enjoy that with colatura di alici. But as many of you know, my go to is that killer Aglianico! Massimo makes other classic wines from Campania, including the white wine Falanghina, known for flavors of citrus minerality combines with fleshy tree fruits and the lesser-known Peidrosso, more like Pinot Noir, just more dirt! [Note: Massimo Setaro (pictured above) is the owner/winemaker at Casa Setaro . We hosted him for a wonderful tasting at Portalis in 2017.]

Casa Setaro_vesuvius gravel
This is the Vesuvial gravel that makes up the dirt in Massimo’s vineyards.

Casa Setaro Falanghina
Reg $19.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
Casa Setaro Piedrosso
Reg $19.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

Wine Folly_Puglia

Puglia– the “heel” of Italy’s boot. Nothing could be farther from the truth when you discover the quality, diversity, the amazing cuisine and the gorgeous coastline. Salice Salento is a sub-region within Puglia that offers native plump bombastic Negroamaro or the killer Rosso that you can blind test with your Chianti Classico besties to see if they know the difference. It is not Sangiovese! It’s Malvisa Nero. And that is just a subregion. Puglia, and Southern Italy, are known for Primitivo. A varietal that has been dna proven to be related Crljenak Kasteljanski from Croatia to Zinfandel (grown in California). Puglia is HOT with Mediterranean influences… why would it not be just as killer as California if not better?

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Photo credit: nuvomagazine.com

Palazza Malgara Negroamaro
Reg $14.99 | INSIDER $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19
Palazza Malgara Primitivo
Reg $15.99 | Mixed Case $12.79
Palazza Malgara Rosso del Salento
Reg $14.99 | INSIDER $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19

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Sicily– The give and take of war, culture, struggle, life and wine… wait, not just Sicily? Truth, most wine regions are filled with this dynamic. Sicily is an island constantly in the midst of cultural transition. Most know Sicily for Marsala or the Italian Mafia… times change and Sicily has embraced change. The late ’90’s brought infrastructure to embrace clean winemaking techniques. Grillo, the base for Marsala, is clean, rich and refreshing. Excellent with sea bass, poultry, and rich cheeses. Inzolia, a classic native, is a bright ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. The fruits are freshing yet warm- ripe apples, soft melon, with subtle citrus. Nerello Macalese– a light bodied, hedonistic leather bomb with the abilty to convert lovers of old school Burgundy to try something new. It iss unique and worth the adventure. And many of you know my favorite Boulliabaise pairing- Nero d’Avola– not a light weight contender, nor is that dish.

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Vineyards at the Planeta estate, Sicily

Palazza Malgara Grillo
Reg $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19
Palazza Malgara Inzolia
Reg $15.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.19
Palazza Malgara Nerello Mascalese
Reg $15.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
Palazza Malgara Nero d’Avola
Reg $14.99 | INSIDER $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19

As with any region- culture, history, cuisine and transition- all go hand in hand to tell a vivacious story. This one is not to be ignored, and on top of that it’s affordable- for now.

I may not make it to Italy this year, but I will definitely be in Seattle soon.

Cheers!
Jaci

https://www.tripsavvy.com/the-geography-of-italy-4020744

Off the Beaten Path Varietals: Kerner

Castelfeder_Vernatch harvest_2014
Developed in 1929 in Lauffen, Germany by German grape breeder August Herold, Kerner has quickly become a popular varietal throughout Germany, Austria, and parts of Northern Italy. Herold crossed the varietals of Trollinger (also known as Schiava Grigia or Grauvernatsch depending on what part of the world you’re in; photo: Castelfeder Vernatsch harvest, 2014) with the classic Riesling grape.

Herold named his invented varietal after the poet Justinias Kerner, known for composing classic German drinking songs. Released for general cultivation in 1969, Kerner is one of the youngest commercially available varietals. It was firstly introduced to Germany, followed by Austria, Switzerland, and Italy (where it was introduced in the early 1970s). It’s now planted throughout the world in such places as: South Africa, British Columbia, England and Michigan.

Kerner is a very aromatic varietal and is easily paired with foods much like Riesling wines tend to be. This grape tends to be much more robust than Riesling however, making it a much more appealing grape to plant. Kerner has been known to survive temperatures below freezing in the winters and usually has larger yields. Kerner wines tend to have similar taste characteristics as Riesling wines (refreshing, with aromas of exotic fruits, strong spicy notes on the palate, and fruit forward), but it can have much lower acidity and a more rounded body than is typical of Riesling wine.

While easily paired with most dishes, Kerner is best served alongside light appetizers, salads, seafood, poultry, asparagus, or mild cheeses. Not surprisingly, Kerner is not easy to find in Seattle. We carry a lovely example from the Giovanett family of Weingut Castelfeder in Northern Italy. Ines Giovanett will be in Seattle at the end of February, and we will most assuredly taste this wine, so stay tuned for dates.

In the meantime, here are tasting notes for:
Label_IT_Castelfeder Kerner_no frame
Castelfeder Kerner Vigneti dell Dolomiti DOC “Lahn”

ALTO ADIGE (ITALY)
Reg $22.99 | INSIDER $21.99 | Mixed Case $17.59

Originally founded in 1970 by A. Giovanette, then taken over by his son, Günther Giovanett in 1985. Continuing in the same tradition as his father, Günther still has close contact with winegrowers, careful selection of the best production areas and well-aimed cultivation of choice varietals

Involved in every aspect of the winery: this passion for winemaking begins in the vineyard with the planting of the vines, advising and working with the winegrowers and continues through the harvest and gentle pressing of the grapes in the cellar up to the vinification of the wines and finally to their marketing. The result of this difficult but rewarding job is wine to be proud of.

Grapes: 100% Kerner
Viticulture: After a short skin contact period (4-8 hours) the grapes are pressed, decanted, and finally fermented separately in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures to retain classic regional qualities.
Alcohol: 13.5% vol.
Appearance: Straw yellow with green reflexes
Palate: Fresh & aromatic. This wine has a high acidity & a spicy aftertaste.

A Walking Tour of Sicily

As we are surrounded by the cold, dark, rainy days of Seattle in winter, I thought it would be a good time to enjoy the photos of a trip to Sicily that my parents (ardent supporters of Portalis and lovers of food & wine) took with some couple friends of theirs last spring. It was a walking tour, so every day they’d take a 4-6 hours hike (primarily through the countryside) and then they’d return to their guesthouse for a wonderful meal of local foods & wines.

Here’s the itinerary (which you can follow on the map) with photos from each day:
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Day 1: Arrival in Syracuse with a walk through Syracuse Archaeological Park and a historical tour of Ortygia

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Day 2: Noto & Oasi Naturale di Vendicari

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Day 3: Mount Etna
This hike was moderate to challenging with an elevation gain/loss of 2200 ft.

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Day 4: Necropolis of Pantalica

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Day 5: Mount Ganzaria with a visit to Villa Romana del Casale, which is considered the most important Roman archeological site in Sicily.

Day 6: Parco Naturale Regionale delle Madonnie followed by a cooking class

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Day 7: Walking tour of Cefalu, a beachside resort, followed by visits to the towns of Segesta and Erice, and the hilltop Castle of Venus.

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Day 8: Riserva Naturale di Monte Cofano, plus a wonderful night of dinner and drinks at Planeta Estate and Vineyards

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Day 9: Selinunte archaeological site; “La Dispensa” winery and vineyards

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We carry several wines produced by a large Sicilian co-op. Interested in experiencing some of the wines from this beautiful land? Let us know and we’ll hook you up:
Palazzo Malgara Inzolia
Palazzo Malgara Nerello Mascalese
Palazzo Malgara Shiraz
Palazzo Malgara Nero d’Avola

Cheers!
Julie, Co-owner
Portalis Wines & J. Strecker Selections

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:

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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
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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
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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
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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)
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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

A Day with the Giovanett’s & Castelfeder Winery

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We arrived in the Cortina village square at dusk after driving over the Brenner Pass in Austria and then down through the Alps, over Bozen (Bolzano). There was an old castle ruin on top of a mountain peak every turn of the way. We were in the northern Italian region of Alto Adige, but the look and feel of the landscape and the architecture was Germanic.

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The next morning we met Ines Giovanett, daughter of Günther & Sandra Giovanett, the proprietors of the estate and sister of Ivan Giovanett, winemaker. She took us on a tour of their vineyards on the eastern side of the valley:

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Castelfeder_Aug 2013_Ines in wineyards with dog

The tour included such Castelfeder label landmarks as the stone on the “Rieder” Lagrein label and the bridge on the “Glener” Pinot Nero label (on our next shipment):

Castelfeder_Aug 2013_label_stone on fence

Castelfeder_Aug 2013_Annelie on the bridge_square

After our morning tour, we met Ines’ (very fit 90+ year old) grandparents who live in a house on the property, and then we settled down to lunch on the terrace.

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After melon & parma ham, garden tomatoes with mozzarrela & basil, vitello tonnato (thinly sliced veal with a tuna & anchovy sauce, spaghetti with tomato sauce, pasta with homemade garden pesto, and ice cream for dessert (and tasting through the wines in their lineup!!), we headed out through the apple orchards on the valley floor to their winery, just off the main village square in Cortina.

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Ines gave us a great tour, finishing in the Castelfeder cellar:

Castelfeder_Aug 2013_Ines in cellar

After saying good-bye & many thanks to Ines, we returned to our hotel for dinner…

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…and took some silly photos to remember the day:

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And then we ended our wonderful tour, full-circle, admiring the beautiful village square at dusk:

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We direct import (close to) the full Castelfeder line as well as their premium Burgum Novum line. All of the following wines are available at Portalis. As well, lovely Ines Giovanett will be in Seattle next week, so join us for a tasting next Thursday, October 24 (RSVP>) to hear the details of this extraordinary land & the wonderful wines it produces!

Castelfeder Pinot Biance “Vom Stein”
Castelfeder Pinot Grigio “15”
Castelfeder Kerner “Lahn”
Castelfeder Grauvernatsch/Schiava “Kegl”
Castelfeder Lagrein “Rieder”

Burgum Novum Pinot Nero Riserva
Burgum Novum Cabernet Riserva
Burgum Novum Lagrein Riserva

Cheers!
Julie, Co-Owner
Portalis Wines & J. Strecker Selections

Take a Wine Trip to Tuscany with Gina

It’s your big chance! You’ve heard about these wonderful wine tours to Italy with Gina at the helm. Now is the perfect time to join in for her fall trip.  Below are pictures as well as a sample itenerary for what you’d get to do if you decide to sign up. Photography © Red Box Pictures

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PREMIER VINEYARD TOURSFALL TOUR 2013
Saturday, October 5th – Saturday, October 12th

Be our guest for an exquisite weeklong winery tour to Tuscany, Italy. Your tour includes: • Pick-up and drop-off from Florence airport, • 7 winery tours, cooking class, & ground transportation • Breakfast and lunch included. Most dinners included, with two dinners on your own. Tour cost is €3,200 per person (airfare not included).

Below is a sample itinerary of the extraordinary week you’ll enjoy as a guest on one of our exclusive personal tours. For a detailed itinerary visit www.premiervineyardtours.com or email us at info@premiervineyardtours.com to book your tour today!

Day 1 Arrival and check in by 4pm – Welcome reception and visit to a local winery in San Gimignano for tour, tasting and light appetizers. The evening ends with a welcome dinner in the historic center of San Gimignano.

Day 2 Our adventure begins with a visit to the Chianti Classico region for winery tour and tasting at one of the oldest family-owned wineries in Tuscany and picnic lunch. Dinner will be a multi-course family meal prepared at the villa.

Day 3 We head south to the Arezzo Chianti wine region for a vineyard tour and tasting plus lunch at a very small, family owned organic winery followed by a visit to historic Siena to dine at local wine bar.

Day 4 Travel to the famous Brunello region of Tuscany for a full day of touring. We will visit two area wineries with a lunch, al fresco, over looking the beautiful valley. Upon our return to San Gimignano, there is dinner at a lovely osteria in Saint Agostino piazza.

Day 5 We stay local with an all-day, hands-on cooking class at family operated agriturismo. Learn local recipes and after each course is prepared, enjoy the dishes along with the typical wines of the region.

Day 6 Today, we visit one of Chianti’s most impressive wineries and tour the family’s beautiful castle gardens & private cellar followed by a multi-course lunch at the winery especially designed to highlight their wines.

Day 7 Unwind with a leisure walk and lunch in the famous commune of Volterra; known for its Neolithic history and Etruscan walls. The evening ends with a farewell celebration dinner in one of the areas best ristoranti.

Day 8 Checkout of villa by 10am.

You can book your tour at www.premiervineyardtours.com . Hope to hear from you soon!

Ciao,
Gina, Co-owner
Premier Vineyard Tours