Portalis Explores! ~ Wine Club Archives

portalis explores_logo_2019
MAY 2020 // Languedoc Rosé & Rouge

We’re going to hang out in France for another month… and for a very important reason! It’s the beginning of rosé season with the new vintages starting to roll in. A sure sign that spring is here! For well-priced rosé, we’ll head down to Languedoc along the French Mediterranean (near the border to Spain), and there we will also find a delicious, easy-drinking red blend, perfect for spring as well. Great wines, both. Hope you enjoy!

La Croix Belle_wine garden_square
Domaine La Croix Belle 2019 Carignole Rosé
Vin de Pays d’Oc, France // Reg $12.99 I Mixed Case $10.39

Françoise and Jacques Boyer are the current owners of this estate which they manage with their two sons (family pictured below). They are natives of the Languedoc region, with generations of their family having lived and worked this wine estate in Puissalicon (20 minutes north of Béziers) for over two centuries, dating back to 1794. The photo (above) is their wine café.

La Croix Belle_Boyer family

They are proud of their rich, flavorful wines which flourish in the clay, limestone, gravelly soil. Lots of Languedoc sun gets tempered by sea breezes from the Mediterranean and cool night winds from the Mistral. The grapes for this wine come primarily from their estate but include grapes from other winegrowers, who are “friends of the appellation”. All of their wines are certified Terra Vitis.

Tasting Notes: A 50/50 blend of Syrah/Grenache. Pale pink in color with intense aromas of fresh roses and ripe red fruits. Refreshingly acidic. Really, it’s a delightful rosé, especially for this price. Enjoy with salads, grilled meats, and spicy dishes, especially those with a Mediterranean flair. Drink now to 1 year.

FR_Minervois_Chateau Riviere
Château Rivière 2017 Cuvée Prestige Rouge
Minervois, France // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

This old estate (pictured) is located in Peyriac, about 25 minutes northeast of the famed fortified city of Carcassonne. The vineyards have old schist and limestone soil on south-facing terraces. Current owners are Philippe and Michel Agnel whose family has been involved in viticulture in Languedoc for 5 generations.

Tasting Notes: 60% Syrah / 40% Grenache. Easy-drinking, medium-bodied blend with flavors of blackberries, dark Rainier cherries (but not overwhelmingly so) and raspberries with a pleasant finishing note of hillside herbs & spice. Enjoy with rotisserie chicken, salmon, legume salads, summer charcuterie & more. Drink now to 2 years.

This is the third month now with no pickup tasting. We are so sorry about this. Despite not being able to gather and taste your wines ahead of time, we hope you enjoy them at home (as there continues to be plenty of time for that!). Take good care. I hope you love these wines and come back for more!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019
APRIL 2020 // Spring Wines from France

It’s that sunny, rainy, blustery, pelting hail time of year, but when the weather settles down, the hummingbirds zoom about and the colors and smells of spring are around us. This month’s selections were picked with spring in mind: an easy-drinking Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine (for your first days sitting outside) and a pleasant Bordeaux rouge. Hope you enjoy!


Gibault_Patrick and Chantal Gibault & team
Vignobles Gibault 2018 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc
Loire Valley, France // Reg $17.99 I WINE CLUB $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

Patrick & Chantal Gibault (back row right & 3 from the left) own and run this 30-hectare vineyard that extends over 2 designations: Valençay and Touraine. Their vines flourish (buds pictured above) on the age-old terraces of the Cher, drawing up the goodness of two soil types: flinty clay and clay containing sand, silt and pebbles. The Gibaults take an environmentally-friendly approach to tending the vines. (Their estate is certified Terra Vitis.) This sub-region is bathed in a continental climate under oceanic influence, so the vines are able to thrive amidst mild spring temperatures, plentiful summer sunshine and reasonable rainfall all year round.

Tasting Notes: Grapefruit pith, pomelo & a note of cooked jalapeño on the nose. Clean, fresh citrusy flavors with nice length on the finish. Enjoy as an aperitif, with asparagus, seafood and goat cheese. Drink now to 2 years.

Saint Seurin Bordeaux_vineyards near Roquebrune in Gironde_v3
Château Saint Seurin 2016 Rouge
Bordeaux, France // Reg $15.99 | WINE CLUB $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

Perfectly situated near Roquebrune just north of the Garonne River, Château Saint Seurin is a well-known, local estate dating from the 15th century. Today, Renaud & Claire Jean operate this 75-hectare estate located in the AOC Bordeaux & Bordeaux Supérieur appellations. The old vineyards include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grown in clay-loam soil.

Tasting Notes: 60% Cab, 40% Merlot. Aromas of small ripe red fruits, spices and vanilla. Round in the mouth with ripe tannins and the classic hints of black currant typical of fine wines from this area. Fuller-bodied with good length in the mouth. Excellent with beef or lamb stew, duck breast and cheeses (Camembert, Brie, Roquefort). Drink now to 3 years.

Sadly, due to the coronavirus shutdown, we will not host a pickup tasting this month. Take good care & stay well.

Also, we will continue to be open during the shutdown as long as we are able. You can call in orders for pickup (we’ll run your wines to your car) or local delivery (everyday between 4-6pm). Call for details.

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections


portalis explores_logo_2019
MARCH 2020 // Pacific Northwest Wines

In celebration of Washington Wine Month and the good work coming out of the PNW, we are featuring a Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley and a Pinot Noir from Oregon for this month’s club. It’s not easy to find wines from Washington & Oregon that meet our club criteria — delicious AND less than $30 total for both wines. These two fit the bill. Hope you enjoy!

Christopher Michael_PNW
Christopher Michael 2018 Pinot Noir
Oregon // Reg $13.99 I Mixed Case $11.19

In 2009, brothers Ryan & Eric Harms (pictured) started Christopher Michael. Their motto is that they’ve never allowed geographic boundaries to define what they put into a bottle. And so it is that the grapes for this wine come from Applegate Valley (48%), Umpqua Valley (41%), Willamette Valley (9%) & Walla Walla Valley (2%) respectively with the goal of being “fresh, approachable and ready for any occasion.”

Tasting Notes: Aged 8 months in French oak (20% new). Light in body and fresh in flavor. Pleasantly tart cherry, black currant & plums with a note of cocoa & spice on the finish. Not too acidic. Easy sipper (and low in alcohol at 13%). Wouldn’t overpower white fish or a spring veggie dinner. Would also be great with roasted chicken and dishes with mushrooms. Drink now to 2 years.

Milbrandt Vineyards Malbec
1851 Cellars 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley, Washington // Reg $15.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

We blended this wine in collaboration with the Milbrandt’s and Wahluke Wine Company to craft a Washington Cab that was excellent value for the price. (Their Malbec vineyards pictured above.) I am pleased with how it turned out. It’s been one of our best-selling wines over the years.

Tasting Notes: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cab Franc, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. 16 months in barrel (25% new American, 75% used American and French). Aromas of dark Rainier cherries, blueberry and blackberry compote with a note of baking spice & coffee. On the palate it’s full of black raspberries and cherries with subtle tannins and black peppercorn notes on the finish. Enjoy with meats off the grill, chili, stews, burgers, grilled portobello mushrooms. Great easy sipper for enjoying with friends. Drink now to 3 years.

Your pickup tasting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 to taste & learn about your wines before enjoying them at home! Hope you can make it.

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019
FEBRUARY 2020 // Spanish Tempranillo

Tempranillo is grown across northern Spain from Toro to Ribera del Duero, up to Rioja and over to Catalunya. The grape is medium- to full-bodied depending on where it’s grown, with lovely flavors of cherry, dried fig and spice. It’s also a dry grape, but the tannins get mitigated through the Spaniard’s savvy use of oak. The oak smooths out the Tempranillo and adds lovely nuance to the flavors in the wine: toast, spice, licorice, tobacco, leather and more. Both wines in this month’s club spent at least a year in barrel. Enjoy the goodness! They are terrific, both.

Bodegas Alvia 2015 Mileto Tempranillo Crianza
Rioja, Spain // Reg $17.99 I Wine Club $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

This modern winery is built near the village of Vintosa (Rioja Alta, about 15 minutes southwest of Logroño) alongside the ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago. The estate’s vines are located in the high areas of Rioja that are influenced by an Atlantic climate, protecting them from extreme weather conditions.

Tasting Notes: 85% Tempranillo with Mazuelo & Garnacha blended in. Aged 12 months in American and French oak barrels. Good fruity intensity on the nose with nuances of cherry, strawberries, licorice and woody notes. Medium-bodied. Well-balanced acidity & structure with a nice, long finish. Enjoy with spicy fish dishes, game hen, braised beef and lamb. Drink now to 3 years.

Bodegas Maset 2015 Gran Roble Tempranillo Reserva
Penedès, Spain // Reg $18.99 | Wine Club $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

This wine comes from Bodegas Maset (Tempranillo vines pictured), a large family estate with properties in Penedès, Priorat, greater Catalunya and Rioja. Their Penedès winery is located in La Granada, about an hour due west of Barcelona. The climate is mild in winter & hot in the summer without being extreme. This Tempranillo is a wonderful, interesting example of a more elegant style coming from coastal vineyards. Roble means oak, and Gran Roble are these huge oak vats used to age the wine. Reserva means aged for a minimum of 2 years with at least 1 year in oak. That’s a lot of aging for a wine at this price point! Enjoy.

Tasting Notes: 100% Tempranillo. 1 year in oak, 3 years in bottle before release. Intense aromas of red and black fruit (red cherry and dried fig), dill and spices (white pepper) which blend with the roasted aromas of ageing (vanilla and chocolate). Soft and sweet, with a long, pleasantly bitter aftertaste. Enjoy with lamb, beef stew, roasted chicken. Would also be delicious with earthy vegetarian dishes. Wouldn’t overwhelm. Drink now to 3 years.

Both of these wines would be great with a fun Valentine’s dinner at home! We hope this triggers the Tempranillo lover in you (if you aren’t already). Your pickup tasting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 12 for you to taste & learn about your wines before enjoying them at home! Hope you can make it.

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019
JANUARY 2020 // Obscure Varietals

We are kicking of the New Year with a little wine exploration! Enjoy two bottles made from grapes you probably haven’t tried and may have never heard of, starting with Ruchè from Piedmont (in northwest Italy) and a blend of Petit Verdot & Tannat from Aragón (in north-central Spain). Absolutely different wines and delicious both! Hope you enjoy them.

Luca Ferraris_vineyards_Oct 2018_v2
Luca Ferraris 2016 Ruchè Clàsic DOCG
Piedmont, Italy // Reg $23.99 I INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

Luca Ferraris_wine bottles in cellarFrom the small (40 ha.) and highly specialized appellation of Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG (vineyards pictured at top), this grape is like nothing you’ve ever tasted! Luca Ferraris (pictured) is the owner & winemaker at this estate, which originated in the early 1900’s and has grown to be the largest family-owned agricultural company in the seven municipalities of the Ruchè-growing region.

Tasting Notes: 6-9 months in oak barrel & 3 months in bottle, unfiltered. This highly aromatic wine is full of forest woods and floral aromas. Flavors of spice, rose petals, ripe raspberries & summer cherries. Medium-bodied with medium acidity and tannins. Enjoy with the foods of the region: truffles, game, medium-aged cheeses, roasted pork & especially mushroom risotto! Drink now to 5 years.

Chapillon_harvest 2014_v2
Chapillon 2017 Harmonie Cuvée
Aragón, Spain // Reg $18.99 | Wine Club $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

For those of you who were in the club last year, you’ll recognize this winemaker from last month and his more traditional Tempranillo. This month we’re going hog with a blend of 90% Petit Verdot (full of velvety fruit, body & tannins) & 10% Tannat (an even fuller-bodied grape from Uruguay — unctuous dark fruit with a note of licorice & soft herbs). Absolutely not traditional, but oh-so delicious. Christophe Chapillon, winemaker, is a Frenchman who transplanted to the Aragón region of Spain more then 20 years ago. He sources his grapes from growers in the area and then uses the facilities at Bodegas Langa to make his wines.

Tasting Notes: 12 months in oak. Organic, biodynamic, indigenous yeasts & vegan. Intense and quite spicy on the nose with ripe blackberry fruit & a touch of leather. Vigorous dark fruit. Lightly smoky from the oak. Firm natural tannins with some sweetness from the fruit. Not as crazy over-the-top as you would think for the descriptions of the individual grapes. A very pleasant, fun wine. Enjoy with grilled red meats, roasted chicken, portobello mushrooms, stews and cheeses. Drink now to 5 years.

Happy New Year! We hope these wines help you kick off 2020 with some curiosity & wildness of heart! Our pickup tasting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 15 for you to taste & learn about your wines before enjoying them at home!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections


portalis explores_logo_2019
DECEMBER 2019 // Festive Wines from Spain

With the holidays and the New Year in mind, we have included an excellent bottle of Cava in this month’s club. The second bottle is a super easy to drink, fuller-bodied Tempranillo from Aragon. Would work great on a weekday or at a celebration dinner! Hope you enjoy!

Maset_white grape harvest
Bodegas Maset Cava Brut
Penedès, Spain // Reg $15.99 I INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

Cava is the premier bubbly from Spain. It’s made using the Champagne method (meaning the last stage of fermentation takes place in the bottle) but using Spanish varietals: Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Parellada. This delicious selection was aged 12 months in oak and has 11% alcohol. It’s a beautiful golden color with fine bubbles. The bouquet has pleasant citrus and soft flowers. The palate is soft, fresh and dry with a hint of tart apple. Enjoy with appetizers (Spanish olives are particularly delightful), salads, paella, seafood dishes & desserts. Would make a wonderful wine for your New Year’s Eve toast… if you can wait that long!

Chapillon 2018 Cuvée Paul & Rémy
Aragon, Spain // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
This wine comes from Christophe Chapillon (pictured), a Frenchman born in 1970 in Tours who transplanted to the Aragon region of Spain more then 20 years ago. He makes his wines in collaboration with César Langa of Bodegas Langa and together they are killing it!

Tasting Notes: 100% Tempranillo with 6 months in oak to round it out. It is fresh and fruity with good body. The nose is full of intense black fruit & spice. The palate is luscious with slightly toasty notes but not heavily oaked. Super pleasant sparkly tannins on the finish. This wine is flexible! Sip while making dinner or enjoy with beef, roasted pork or chicken, ham, pasta dishes as well as heartier grain salads.

We hope you enjoy these wines as you close out the year. Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! Hope to see you at our final pickup tasting of 2019: Wednesday, December 11 for you to taste your wines before enjoying them at home!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019
NOVEMBER 2019 // Thanksgiving Wines

The most wine sold in the US on any given day in the year is the day before Thanksgiving. And there’s a reason for that — it’s a special meal with family and friends, and the food of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner pairs beautifully with wine. Roasted turkey, dressing, cranberry relish, sweet potatoes, cauliflower gratin, peas, green beans, fruit salad… whatever you choose, these wines will taste delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Domaine Moltès 2016 Tradition Pinot Gris
Alsace, France // Reg $19.99 | WINE CLUB $15.99

Out of every wine in the shop, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a better pairing for a Thanksgiving dinner than Alsatian Pinot Gris, and this one by the Moltès family is outstanding. We’ve put it on sale for wine club members so that you can get the experience of this wonderful wine!

Moltes_Estate_jstrecker web_update 2016
Antoine Moltès founded this winery in 1930 in the village of Pfaffenheim. Today, his grandsons Stephane and Mickael run the estate. Certifed AB organic since 2015, the brothers say this method of farming has given their wines improved authenticity and minerality.

Tasting Notes: 100% Pinot Gris. Lemon yellow in color. Poached Bosq pear, thyme and white floral notes on the nose. Flavors of golden plum, whispers of dried honeycomb, pear pith with river rock minerality that fills the palate, yet dry on the finish. Drink now to 2 years.

Grape_Nero d'Avola
Palazzo Malgara 2016 Nero d’Avola
Sicily, Italy // Reg $14.99 | INSIDER $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19
Pinot Noir is traditionally the go-to wine for Thanksgiving, but it tends to be expensive, so we looked for a counterpart that would be in budget, and we decided to go with Nero d’Avola. Nero d’Avola can be fuller-bodied, but often it’s medium in body and smooth easy drinking. This wine falls into that category, and along with Zweigelt, Barbera and others, it’s highly recommendable as a Thanksgiving food pairing alternative.

Tasting Notes: 100% Nero d’Avola, this wine has lovely, soft notes of black cherry, tobacco and earth. It’s a beautifully balanced wine — fruit, acid, tannins in harmony. Enjoy with most foods available this time of year including your traditional Thanksgiving feast. Drink now to 3 years.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! We hope you enjoy the wines which are ready for pickup at your convenience. If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday,November 13 for your pickup tasting.

Hope to see you then!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019
OCTOBER 2019 // Bordeaux Blends

I have a funny story about the term “Bordeaux blend”. We direct import from a winery in Bergerac, technically a part of the South West France region, but located just to the east of Bordeaux. Years ago we posted a tasting on Facebook for their red: Château des Eyssards Cuvée Prestige Rouge, calling it a Bordeaux Blend. We got an immediate response from the winemaker, letting us know that it wasn’t a Bordeaux blend, that his winery was in Bergerac. What he didn’t understand is that in the US, we use the term Bordeaux blend to describe a red wine from anywhere in the world — Washington State, South Africa, California, wherever — that uses traditional Bordeaux grapes in the blend: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and/or Petit Verdot.

The two reds in this month’s club are both Bordeaux blends, one is from Bordeaux proper and the other is from the Côtes de Duras sharing a eastern border with Bordeaux. Hope you enjoy. Both are perfect fall reds.

Laborde_Alain Duc
Château de Laborde 2015 Rouge
Bordeaux, France // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

Château de Laborde has a long and rich history. The cellar is housed in a magnificent stone building from 1610. The current owner is Alain Duc (pictured). His family has been farming the estate for 4 generations, soon to be five as his daughter Karine will take over for him in the next years. Alain says: “I work in the vineyards as I do in my cellars, with rigor and conviction. I optimize my farming with only natural products. I am proud to present this intense, dark red colored Brodeaux, which is round, well balanced and elegant.”

Tasting Notes: 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc. 6 months in oak. 13% alcohol. This wine is a glassful of plummy goodness! Full of dark fruit with a little note of black currant and a little vanilla from the oak. Fuller-bodied, round, not too dry. Crazy-good for the price. This is a classic Merlot-heavy everyday Bordeaux rouge. Enjoy with roast beef, lamb, poultry & cheeses. Brink now to 3 years.

Le Petit Berticot Cabernet Sauvignon
Secret de Berticot 2016 Côtes de Duras Rouge
South West France // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

Berticot is a co-op that represents 118 winegrowers spread across 1000 hectares of land in South West France. AOP Côtes de Duras is an appelation that falls within South West France. 55% of its vineyards are in association with Berticot.

Tasting Notes: 57% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc. Intense, complex black fruits on the nose. Palate is medium-bodied, full of black berries and ripe summer plums. Nice complexity. Juicy. Very soft tannins. Enjoy with grilled veggies, casseroles, meatloaf, stews. Drink now to 3 years.

I hope you enjoy both of these reds. I am a big fan of Bordeaux blends, and I hope you become one, too (if you aren’t already). Your wines are ready for pickup at your convenience. If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday,October 16 for your pickup tasting.

Hope to see you then!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019
SEPTEMBER 2019 // Azienda Agricola Franchetto (Veneto)

Woman winemaker and sustainability-trained enologist Giulia Franchetto explains in her own words about her family and their philosophy of winemaking:

ProWein 2017_Giulia Franchetto_v2“We are a family run winery, located in Terrossa di Roncà, a little village situated between the provinces of Verona and Vicenza – in the Veneto region. Our company has peasant origins from 8th Century but it is in 1982 that we have taken up the road of winemaking. Antonio Franchetto, my father, founder and owner, understood the fortune to have vineyards in this great land and decided to start his big adventure: transform his own grapes into wine. In the year 2000 we created the brand Franchetto and we started to bottle our wine. It’s been a quite long road to arrive to the wine that Antonio had in his mind. Today, by our philosophy, the wine has to tell about the terroir that it comes from, without contamination; it is for this reason that our main vines are Garganega and Durella: two indigenous vines with strong roots in this beloved area.

From 2016, I, Antonio’s oldest daughter, Giulia, have run the winery with the support of my parents. I graduated in enology in 2015 and have worked in the family’s winery since 2012. Today, at 27, I am like-minded with my parents – aware of the importance of their vineyards and soils.”

This quote is taken from an interview that Jaci did with Giulia in the spring of 2017. That was also the year she released her new line of reds from Valpolicella, including Valpolicella DOC, Valpolicella Ripasso & Amarone della Valpolicella. This wine club has a red from her second release and a delicious Pinot Grigio from her original family property.

Franchetto_vineyards_Jan 19 2019_v4
Franchetto 2016 Pinot Grigio
Veneto, Italy // Reg $15.99 | 25% OFF = $11.99

Pinot Grigio can be a nothing-burger of a grape, drinkable but nothing to write home about. But good Pinot Grigio is great! It’s a go-to wine for us when someone needs a well-priced crowd-pleaser, because when it’s well-made, it’s delightful — refreshing, full of flavor, enjoyable with or without food. Giulia’s Pinot Grigio definitely falls into the latter category.

Tasting Notes: Ethereal, fragrant and slightly floral yet fresh and persistent. Minerality, sliced apples, white pepper, Bosc pear and ample acidity. Enjoy as an aperitif, seafood salads, fish-based first courses, shellfish main dishes, summer salads, rotisserie chicken, pork chops off the grill. Drink now to 1 year.

Franchetto 2017 Valpolicella
Veneto, Italy // Reg $19.99 | WINE CLUB $17.99 | Mixed Case $14.39

Valpolicella reds are a blend of Corvina, Molinara & Rondinella, and the wine in this month’s club is the little sibling to the world famous Amarone della Valpolicella. It’s made from the same grapes, just younger vines and not using the special drying technique that gives Amarone its intense, concentrated flavors. Valpolicella reds are the table reds for this part of Italy and are known for being medium-bodied wines, complex with flavors of dry cherries, herbs & and some structure.

Tasting Notes: Giulia makes a lovely, feminine red with a little more fruit than some, but not heavy handed. Enjoy cherries, red currants on the nose. Elegant balance of tannins, cherries and baking spices on the palate. She says to enjoy with risotti, white & reds meats and fresh cheeses. Drink now to 2 years.

Giulia Franchetto is lovely and so are her wines. She’s got a vision and finesse, two things that serve a winemaker well! I hope you enjoy them both. Your wines are ready for pickup at your convenience. If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, September 11 for your pickup tasting.

Hope to see you then!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019
AUGUST 2019 // Portugal

Over the last year or so, Portalis customers have been talking more and more about travel to Portugal and subsequently the interest in Portuguese wines has grown. I support the effort! The wines are excellent, and you get a lot of wine for the money. Since it’s summer, we’re featuring a delicious Vinho Verde from northwest Portugal — a light, effervescent white made for seafood and fun — and a red from the Dão region in central Portugal, where reds rule. For a fun Portuguese wine primer, we recommend this overview from Wine Folly. And for a little more on your particular wines, details are below. Enjoy!

Vinhe Verde Wines_FB_03
Vinha das Margaridas 2018 Vinho Verde
Minho, Portugal // Reg $11.99 | Mixed Case $9.59

Vinho Verde is a light, refreshing, low-alcohol and well-priced white. This wine is well-crafted by experienced winemaker Álvaro van Zeller. Produced and bottled on the farm, this Vinho Verde exclusively uses grapes grown on the property, and it is produced and bottled on the farm. The farm is approximately 34 hectares, of which 25 hectares are Loureiro, 5 are Alvarinho and 2.5 hectares planted at the entrance of the farm are Arinto, known locally as Pedernã.

Tasting Notes: Notable is the alcohol level of 11%. Grapes are Loureiro, Arinto. Aged in stainless steel, the wine is a very light green color. Aromas of citrus and light, white flowers. Refreshing, slightly sparkling with flavors of lemon, lime, grapefruit citrus on the palate. Great food wine. Pairs especially well with seafood, shellfish and salads. Drink now to 1 year.

Portugal_Quinto de Cabriz
Quinta de Cabriz 2015 Colheita Seleccionada Tinto
Dão, Portugal // Reg $12.99 | Mixed Case $10.39

The Dão is known for its quality. Not as full-bodied as reds from the Douro (to the north), Dão reds are well-balanced with good fruit, good acidity and pleasant tannins. The vineyards are located between 400 and 700 meters on plateaus with schist and granite soils surrounded by pine forests. The area enjoys a continental climate with long, rainy winters and warm, dry summers. Osvaldo Amado (pictured right) is the estate’s winemaker joined by Professor Rogério Castro (left), their vineyard consultant.

Tasting Notes: 40% Alfrocheiro; 40% Tinta-Roriz. 20% Touriga-Nacional. 6 months in French oak barrels. Fresh red fruits, forest fruit jam, spices and toasted notes on the nose. Fruity, smooth, silky, elegant and harmonious on the palate. Ideal with soft cheese, delicate fish, white and red meats and especially dishes featuring Mediterranean, Asian, Indian and African cuisines.

I am a big fan of Portuguese wines in general, and these wines in particular are outstanding for the money. Your wines are ready for pickup at your convenience. If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, August 14 for your pickup tasting.

Hope to see you then!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019
JULY 2019 // Minervois & Corbières

Summer reds from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon… it’s a beautiful thing! This club we’re showing off red blends from two of the more famous subregions: Minervois & Corbières. Languedoc-Roussillon runs along the Mediterranean from Montpellier to the Spanish border and is home to the oldest vineyards in France.

Minervois sits due north of Corbières and is the less dramatic of the two. Corbières is larger (easily twice the size) and is scruffier with more variation in altitude and wildlife. It’s also known for its Carignan, a varietal pretty much exclusively used in blends, imparting a distinct cran-raspberry flavor with notes of tobacco, herbs and cured meat. Minervois makes a more standard, juicy blend of Syrah & Grenache. Hope you enjoy these summer reds. I think they’re interesting and delicious!

Tourril_vineyard workers_square
La Tour du Tourril 2017 Cuvée Angela
Minervois, France // Reg $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19
From the winery: “Chateau Tourril, a family vineyard located between the Canal du Midi and the fortified city of Carcassonne (both on UNESCO’s World Heritage List), is a small 16ha jewel nested in clay-limestone corrie surrounded by shrub-land and garrigue. Its name comes from an ancient gallo-roman tower standing on the heights of the estate. The whole production process is conducted organically with no pesticides. The vineyard is under AB certification since 2016.”

Tasting Notes: 80% Grenache & 20% Syrah. Medium-bodied, this juicy red blend has aromas of fine black currant, ripe cherries and a little spice. It’s a soft wine with a warm finish and silky tannins. Made for food, this wine is flexible. Enjoy with meats and veggies off the grill, rotisserie chicken, eggplant gratin and more. Drink now to 2 years.

Grand Caumont_workers in field_v3
Château du Grand Caumont 2018 Cuvée Spéciale
Corbières, France // Reg $15.99 | Mixed Case $12.79
Owned and run by Laurence Rigal after inheriting it from her mother several years ago, Chateau du Grand Caumont is one of the larger estates in the area. We deal directly with Laurence to buy these wines, and truly she is the salt of the earth. Lovely, easy, accommodating (especially when we send guests from Seattle to visit her winery). The estate has old vine Carignan, and you will get to enjoy some in this blend!

Tasting Notes: Syrah 50%, Carignan 45%, Grenache 5%. Medium in body, intense in aromas and flavors: red and dark fruits & jammy berries, red currants, coffee, baking spices with a little hint of gaminess in a lovely-you-want-more kind of way! Pairings include charcuterie, grilled red meats & game, lamb …and the winery suggests enjoying the wine with red fruit pies for dessert!

I hope you enjoy these wines and come back for more! Your wines are ready for pickup at your convenience. If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, July 10 for your pickup tasting.

Hope to see you then!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019
JUNE 2019 // South Africa

I had the great pleasure of visiting South Africa (as a medical intern working in a hospital in Soweto) during the spring of 1994, the year Nelson Mandela was elected president. It was a crazy, interesting 4 months, that I topped off with a trip to Cape Town and the surrounding wine country — without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. South African wines have a special minerality that you’ll get a hint of in both of these wines. Delicious and great value, both!

Wine Map of South Africa>


Ashbourne 2016 Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay
Walker Bay, South Africa // Reg $16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59
Tim Hamilton Russell founded Hamilton Russell Vineyards in 1975, looking for a cooler, maritime plot in Hemel-en-Aarde (on the coast southeast of Cape Town). His son, Anthony Hamilton Russell took over in 1991 and still runs the winery today. Ashborne, founded by Anthony in 1996, is a 64 hectare property (pictured above) on the eastern border of the Hamilton Russell estate.

Tasting Notes: This unique blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc & 20% Chardonnay tastes uncannily just like both grapes — fresh, vibrant, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc, rounded out and enriched with unoaked Chardonnay. It’s refreshing, great with food, delicious! Drink now to 1 year.

Boekenhoutskloof 2017 Wolf Trap Red
Franschhoek, South Africa // Reg $12.99 | Mixed Case $10.39
The Boekenhoutskloof farm was established in 1776, located in the furthest corner of the beautiful Franschhoek Valley. Vineyards were planted in 1993 including Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Semillon & Viognier. (Estate vineyards pictured.) Boekenhoutskloof has developed into a Syrah specialist, making premium wines under their main label. Boekenhoutskloof also makes The Chocolate Block (a Syrah based blend that has been one of South Africa’s most successful wines in recent years) and in 2003 launched the Wolf Trap, a line of Rhône blends.

Tasting Notes: Syrah 91%, Mourvèdre 8%, Viognier 1% — Similar to a Rhône blend but a little more rustic, brambly, with aromas of violets and ripe plums and flavors of dark berries with a note of licorice & sweet tobacco. A lovely little wine and simply killer for the price! Drink now to 2 years.

I hope these wines give you a little hint of the great land of South Africa and the delicious wines coming out of that region. Your wines are ready for pickup at your convenience. If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, June 12 for your pickup tasting.

Hope to see you then!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019
May 2019 // Burger Wines

Burgers — beef, bison, a roasted portobello mushroom or a delicious homemade black bean burger! The wine protocol is basically the same: reds should be juicy (not too heavy or tannic or oaky), whites are more flexible (zingy to round to off-dry… all good) and rosé is a you-can’t-mess-it-up-sure-shot!! Hope you enjoy our two selections. Happy grilling!

Chef Tracey's Recipes_Buffalo Burgers_July 2015_square
Réserve de Générac 2018 Costières de Nîmes Rosé
Southern Rhône, France // Reg $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19
Tasting Notes: Syrah/Grenache blend. Raspberry and red currants on the nose. Flavors of summer raspberries and cherries. Finishes with a note of white pepper and lingering hillside herbs. Refreshing acidity makes this a delicious, flexible food wine. Drink now to 2 years.

Costieres de Nimes_FB_beehive on grapevine

This is a beautifully made co-op wine, thus the great price. It is this year’s new vintage, straight off the boat. The vineyards for these grapes (pictured below) have large smooth stones from alluvial deposits (from the Rhône and Durance Rivers) on a clay-limestone subsoil. They also sometimes have amazing beehives!!

Altos Las Hormigas_01
Altos Las Hormigas 2016 Malbec Clásico
Mendoza, Argentina // Reg $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19
In 1995, Tuscan winemaker Alberto Antonini and entrepreneur Antonio Morescalchi (both Italian) made a trip to Argentina to checkout the budding wine region. They were deeply wowed by the vineyards thriving in the high altitude and dry climate of Mendoza. As well, they liked the cultural influence on the wines. They went back to Italy, found investors and headed back — deciding to only cultivate Malbec (unlike other start-ups at the time interested in more internationally known grapes such as Cab & Merlot.) Their bet was a good one. Today, Argentina is world-renowned for their Malbec. Pictured are estate vineyards (1,300 meters above sea level) during the February 2019 harvest with the Andes in the background.

Tasting Notes: 100% Malbec. Fruity nose, full of raspberries, fresh plums & soft spiced notes. Medium-body, lovely juicy fruit with light tannins on the finish. You know what to pair it with!! Would be great with other foods off the grill as well — chicken, sausages and more. Drink now to 2 years.

Both wines are great to kick off spring with burgers of every sort off the grill! As well, both are perfectly good sipping wines for an evening on the patio. Your wines are ready for pickup at your convenience. If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, May 15 for your pickup tasting.

Hope to see you then!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections


portalis explores_logo_2019
APRIL 2019 // Spring in France

The weather has starting warming up. Trees are budding. Forsythia is in bloom. Spring is here! This month we have selected two French wines with spring dishes in mind! Both wines are excellent food wines in general, but specifically, the Viognier would be a wonderful choice with asparagus (which can be tricky with wine) and other spring vegetables (green beans, fava beans & more). The red wine is a Merlot/Cab blend from Bordeaux and would be an excellent selection with lamb, but it’s flexible with food and would be delicious with legumes, mushrooms, root vegetables, cheeses & more. Hope you enjoy!

Wine Folly_France_square_900

Haut de Mourier 2016 Viognier
Languedoc, France // Reg $15.99 | APRIL SALE 25% OFF = $11.99
Tasting Notes: 100% Viognier. Bouquet of apricots, peaches, floral notes & a little spice. Flavors of peach, apple, pear, lavender and honey. Round and soft, fresh and balanced with good acidity. Enjoy with spring vegetables (asparagus!) as well as spicy foods (Asian dishes in particular) and dishes with smoky notes — smoked trout, smoked nuts, smoked meats and more. It’s a great food wine in general. Drink now to 3 years.

The Bouix family is on their fifth generation of winemakers. They own and harvest their own vineyards in the village of Nages-et-Solorgues, just southwest of Nîmes (in the Southern Rhône, so the estate is located just over the border in Languedoc). They work 12ha of Viognier, 8 of Merlot, 2 Syrah and 1 Cinsault.

Gravieres_estate vineyards

Château des Gravières 2014 Graves Rouge
Vignobles Labuzan_Chateau des Gravieres Graves_Thierry and Denis LabuzanBordeaux, France // Reg $17.99 | Mixed Case $14.39
Château des Gravières is located in the village of Portets in the AOC Graves. Its vineyards stretch along the left bank of the Garonne River, making up some of the best gravel terroir in the appellation. It has enjoyed the care and attention of the Labuzan family for 7 generations. Current owners (and brothers) Thierry (winemaker) & Denis (viticulturist) Labuzan pictured. One of their estate vineyards is pictured above. Current estate is 45 hectares.

Tasting Notes: 85% Merlot & 15% Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Garonne gravel on 30-year old vines. The nose is full of rich, ripe red cherries with flavors of black cherries, summer plums, baking spices and integrated tannins. Enjoy with lamb and other roasted meats, cassoulet, aged & aromatic cheeses and mushrooms dishes.

Viognier and Bordeaux red blends are standbys for me as flexible & delicious food wines, and both of these wines are great value for the money. Hope you enjoy! Your wines are ready for pickup at your convenience. If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, April 10 for your pickup tasting.

Hope to see you then!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019
MARCH 2019 // Monastrell (Mourvèdre)

Your March club features the grape varietal: Monastrell. This grape is indigenous to Spain, but gained its notoriety through the ages as a component of Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre blends in the Southern Rhône. This month, though, we’re going back to its roots — Spain — where it is regularly showcased as a single varietal wine. Thick-skinned, this grape needs powerful heat to ripen, and it gets that in both Catalunya and even more so in Jumilla where the resulting wine is fuller-bodied and bolder in flavor. Both of these wines are wonderful examples and quite different from one another. Hope you enjoy!
Juan Gil_Monastrell_harvesting grapes_square
Juan Gil 2016 Monastrell
Jumilla, Spain // Reg $16.99 | WINE CLUB $15.99 | Mixed Case $12.79
Jumilla is an inland subregion in the greater area of Valencia. Intensely hot summers, long, cold winters, almost no rain and dry, stony ground are the conditions that (while strenuous) are perfect for this grape.

Juan Gil Jiménez built the original winery in 1916. His son and grandson, Juan Gil Guerrero and Juan Gil González, improved and consolidated the winery. Today, the fourth generation manages the daily operations focusing on the technological advances available in winemaking today. Estate Monastrell vineyards pictured above. Estate Monastrell pictured top.

Tasting Notes: Explosive aromas of ripe currant, red berries and smoked notes. Rich, powerful and voluminous — a huge mouthful of crème-de-cassis. Silky, juicy fruit in the middle with a a long spicy well-balanced finish. The winery encourages you to enjoy this wine with paella, stewed meat, stewed vegetables, mushrooms, poultry, smoked seafood, blue cheese and roasted & grilled red meats. Versatile! Drink now to 3 years.

Maset_Monastrell_La Plana vineyard
Bodegas Maset 2016 Monastrell
Catalunya, Spain // Reg $14.99 | INSIDER $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19
The Monastrell for this wine comes from winelands in the greater region of Catalunya (estate Monastrell vineyards pictured above), southwest of Barcelona. It’s not nearly as hot and dry as Jumilla (much milder in winter) and subsequently, this wine is not as full-bodied nor as fruity and doesn’t have as much oak to manage the tannins. Alcohol at 14% versus 15.5% is notably lower.

Tasting Notes: Rich dark cherries on the nose. Complex flavors of black raspberries, black berries, balsamic and toasted oak. Enjoy with venison, roasted meats, squash, polenta and spicy dishes. Drink now to 3 years.

Bodegas Maset is a large, family-held estate in Penedès. Their primary production is Cava, but they have a whole host of red and white whites from vineyards throughout Catalunya and Rioja. Estate Monastrell pictured above.

This was a fun club to do, and we hope you enjoy trying this varietal if you haven’t already. Your wines are ready for pickup at your convenience. If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, March 13 for your pickup tasting. Hope to see you then!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

portalis explores_logo_2019

FEBRUARY 2019 // Valentine’s Day in Northern Italy

We’re going to the Land of Love for two Valentine’s Day selections: — a Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige (Italy’s northernmost region, where there’s a castle ruin on every hill top – see photo above from our trip there in 2013) and a beautiful Barbera d’Asti from Piedmont (not as mountainous as Alto Adige, but just as romantic — hills, fog, hazelnuts, truffles). Enjoy these wines with the one you love… or as a yummy everyday selection in the next couple weeks.
Wine Folly_Italy_Alto Adige & Asti circled

Weingut Castelfeder 2016 Pinot Grigio 15er
Alto Adige, Italy // Reg $18.99 | WINE CLUB $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
Without a doubt, the loveliest Pinot Grigio that we sell at the shop — complex, with deep minerality and beautiful flavors of pear & apple. The grapes from this wine come from the “15er” vineyard with vines from 10-50 years old. Aged 5 months on lees in tanks prior to bottling. Wonderful with fresh water fish, scallops, vegetarian dishes, roasted chicken, salmon, you name it… a terrific example of Pinot Grigio! Drink now to 3 years.

Castelfeder_oompa band

A little about from whence it came… Alto Adige was a part of Austria (Südtirol) until the end of World War I when it became a part of Italy. When we asked Ines Giovanett (daughter of proprietor Günther Giovanett) how much connection she has to Austrian culture (outside of speaking German as her first language), she said with a smile: “I wear a dirndl; I eat knödel!” So there you have it! Pictured above is the church in the village square of Cortina, where the winery is located. Ines’ grandparents (founders of the estate) still live in a little house on the property. Günther spends most of his time working on local commissions to promote wines from Alto Adige, and Ines and her brother, Ivan (now the winemaker), run the everyday operations of the business.

Luca Ferraris_winter ruche vines_square

Luca Ferraris 2017 del Martin Barbera d’Asti DOCG
Piedmont, Italy // Reg $15.99 | WINE CLUB $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
100% Barbera. 9 months in French oak; 3 months in the bottle, unfiltered. A beautiful nose of violets, herbs and spices with a palate of silky fruit — ripe black raspberries, macerated cherries — enhanced by notes of spice and balanced acidity. Enjoy with game, roasted pork, pasta dishes and more. A very flexible food wine. Drink now to 5 years.

Luca Ferraris_speaking 2018_square

Luca Ferraris (pictured) is the winemaker and proprietor of the business his grandparents started in the 1920’s. Today, Agricola Ferraris makes its name with the lesser-known Ruchè grape from the small DOCG Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato. (We carry two of his Ruchè wines, so ask about them if you’re curious.) They have grown into the largest family-owned agricultural company in the seven municipalities of the Ruchè-growing region. Currently the estate produces about 130,000 bottles of wine (about 50,000 of Ruchè) from 18 vineyards covering 25 hectares.

Happy Valentine’s Day! We hope you enjoy these February selections. If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, February 13 for your pickup tasting. Hope to see you then!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections