Portalis Explores! ~ Wine Club Archives

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

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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!

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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

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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!

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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.

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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!!

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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


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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!

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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.

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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

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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!
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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.

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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

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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


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JANUARY 2019 // Cooperativa Agricola Cincinnato

The region around Rome is known as Lazio, and these two new J. Strecker (direct import) arrivals are wonderful examples of wines from this area — lesser-known indigenous varietals (Bellone & Nero Buono) showing off the wonderful work coming from this area. I’m just flat out psyched about these wines!

cincinnato_view of cori from vineyards
First a little on Lazio, Cori and this co-op:
Located an hour southeast of Rome, 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.

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.

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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.

Happy New Year to old and new members alike! We wish you all the best for 2019 and a lot of fun with this wine club! If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, January 16 for your pickup tasting! Hope you can make it.

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


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DECEMBER 2018 // Winter Reds

These reds have fireplace written all over them. They are rich, fuller-bodied red blends to give you strength and solace as we head towards the darkest day of the year!

Old World_Lebkuchen tins_FULL RENDER

It wasn’t on purpose, but it happens that both bottles are from the Old World, in fact both wines are from the Iberian Peninsula — one from Aragón (in between Barcelona and Ribera del Duero in north central Spain) and one from the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. They are both terrific values at $15 (which is the special wine club price). Enjoy with food or as sippers by the fire.

Langa_vineyard worker in winter
Bodegas Langa 2016 Frenesi Red Blend
Calatayud, Spain // Reg $15.99 | WINE CLUB $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
Founded in 1867, Juan and César Langa Gonzalez are the 5th generation of the Langa family to run this winery. Their vineyards include 100-year old vines, and their name is emblematic for winemaking in the area. In 1967, their family was a founding member of the DO Calatayud, and they are historic members of the Cava Board of Aragón. Estate vineyard pictured.

Tasting Notes: Aside from being certified organic and a beautiful bottle, the wine is killer! A blend of Merlot, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz, the nose has a minerally character with spicy overtones such as cinnamon, pepper and clove. Dense body with good tannic strength and silky fruit. Enjoy with all kinds of meats, stews and game. Drink now to 3 years.

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Alves de Sousa 2014 Vale da Raposa Reserva Red
Douro Valley, Portugal // Reg $18.99 | WINE CLUB $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
Domingos Alves de Sousa and his son, Tiago, run this family estate, and I think their work is out of this world! Tiago has visited Seattle before. Hopefully he’ll come again. He’s a lovely guy. Estate vineyards pictured.

Tasting Notes: A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Touriga Franca, enjoy violets and pine tree on the nose. Bold, rich flavors of cherries & plums with layers of dark chocolate and espresso. Delicious with roasted poultry, beef, lamb, charcuterie and hard, strong cheeses. Drink now to 5 years.

We wish you all the best this holiday season! If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, December 19 for your pickup tasting! Hope you can make it.

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

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NOVEMBER 2018 // Thanksgiving Wines

Thanksgiving_Turkey_imagekindcom_orange turkey
This month’s club features two wines that would be great with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Here goes:

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La Farra Prosecco Brut
Veneto, Italy // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

Prosecco is bubbly made in the Veneto region of NE Italy, and this beautiful Prosecco is made by the Nardi family (vineyards pictured). Brothers Innocente & Guido are passionate viticulturists who both studied at the oldest oenology school in Italy: Scuola Enologica di Conegliano. Their sister, Adamaria, runs the business.

La Farra is comprised of 20 hectares of vineyards located along “Prosecco Road” in Farra di Soligo deep in the area that produces DOCG Prosecco Superiore: Conegliano Valdobbiadene. This prime location allows the winery to produce superior quality grapes which best combine the floral scents associated with the land of Valdobbiadene and the flavors typical to those of Conegliano.

Tasting notes: Crisp Gala apple with a little note of citrus and fine persistent bubbles. Soft and delicate. Perfect for your Thanksgiving toast and maybe even better with your dinner. The acidity in bubbly pairs beautifully with sweet, salty and rich foods… sounds like roasted dark turkey meat with gravy, cranberries, stuffing and sweet potatoes. This prosecco could even manage some marshmallows if they were involved. Drink now to 1 year.

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Domaine Les Espérières 2015 Côtes du Rhône Villages Rouge

Southern Rhône, France // Reg $15.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

So what exactly is a Côtes du Rhône Villages wine? Côtes-du-Rhône wines are the most basic wines (white, red & rosé) in the Rhône region. Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages is an additional AOC region INSIDE of the Côtes du Rhône region and a step up on the pyramid (so to speak). These vineyards are higher ranked, and the wines tend to be a little more complex. Next up on the pyramid is Côtes du Rhône Villages + [the name of the village]. At the pinnacle of the Rhône pyramid are the Cru-Villages wines where just the village is named. There are 17 crus, with Hermitage & Cornas (in the Northern Rhône) and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas & Vacqueyras (in the Southern Rhône) being a few you might recognize.

Tasting notes: 70% Grenache / 30% Syrah. This red is lighter in body. Fragrances of wild strawberries and raspberries framed with light spice. Fresh, full and silky flavors of wild fruit and garrigue (low growing shrubby herbs common on rocky Mediterranean terrain). This wine would be wonderful with roasted turkey and the fixin’s MINUS the marshmallow. That level of sweetness would make this wine go tart. Consider yourself forewarned! Drink now to 3 years.

Thanksgiving is next week, so we will have both wine club wines open (5 total) for your pickup tastings on Tuesday & Wednesday, November 20 & 21. If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at Thanksgiving (or any time thereafter), stop by on one of those two days. Hope you enjoy this month’s club!

Jens Strecker, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections
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OCTOBER 2018 // Chile

This month’s club features two reds from the Colchagua Valley (pictured above) in central Chile, an east-west oriented valley with the capital city of Santiago to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes Mountains to the east.

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Francisca Bravo is our local Chilean importer and, as a landscape designer, she has an emphasis on natural and minimal intervention wines from award-winning winemakers in her home country. Both of this month’s wines come from Puente Austral and winemaker José Ignacio Maturana (pictured below). Here’s a great video> of him, showing off his family’s vineyards and giving you his perspective on winemaking. I hope you enjoy these wines! I think they are fabulous, especially for the price.

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Puente Austral 2014 Reserva Privada Carménière

Colchagua Valley, Chile // Reg $12.99 | Mixed Case $10.39

Almost exclusively grown in Chile, Carménière was originally used as a blending grape in Bordeaux. It is medium in body, full of plums and red and black fruit with a notable herbaceous, green peppercorn flavor. This wine is a little lighter in body with a nose of black cherries and plums. Fruity, round and full of flavor with good acidity and soft tannins. A very flexible food wine, you can enjoy it with spicy dishes including spiced meats off the grill and vegetable dishes including herbal, slightly bitter veggies such as kale. Drink now to 3 years.

Puente Austral 2014 Gran Reserva
Colchagua Valley, Chile // Reg $16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59

70% Cabernet Sauvignon / 30% Syrah. Elegant aromas of ripe red fruits with mild undertones of black pepper & tobacco. A fuller-bodied wine with firm tannins. Nice long finish. Perfect for meat dishes: roast beef, burgers, steak or an Argentinian chorizo steak. (That’s what the winery recommends!) Drink now to 3 years.

If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, October 17 for your pickup tasting! Hope you can make it.

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

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SEPTEMBER 2018 // Spain

This month’s club features two reds from Spain — a Cab Franc from Calalunya in northeast Spain (near Barcelona) and a Tempranillo-Syrah blend from Méntrida in central Spain (near Madrid). Both of these wines are unbelievable deals for $15. Hope you enjoy!

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Bodegas Maset 2016 Cabernet Franc
Catalunya, Spain // Reg $15.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
Bodegas Maset has produced quality wines & cavas for over two centuries in the DO Penedès region. It is situated between Barcelona & Tarragona, bordered in the north by the Montserrat Mountains and in the south by the Sitges and Tarragona coast. The composition of the land is varied, ranging from clay-limestone areas to sandy soils. The climate is mild in the winter and hot in the summer, without being extreme. Both photos above are from the Maset estate. In the top photo, you can see them using sheep for weed control and fertilizer!

Specific to this wine, the winery says: “At the foot of the Pre-Coastal Range, under the majestic cliffs and mined gorges on limestone rock, one of our most delicate, aromatic varieties is cultivated. An environment scented with Mediterranean pines, rosemary and precious red orchids. An isolated site where Cabernet Franc vines benefit from a cooler climate (Mediterranean with continental tendencies) ideal for their development. These characteristics provide us with a wine with a unique identity.” Tasting Notes: Red and blue fruit mélange. Deep, complex, elegant. The balance of fruit, acidity & tannins is phenomenal. Absolutely killer for the money. Drink now to 3 years.

Bodegas Tavera 2016 Tempranillo-Syrah
Méntrida, Spain // Reg $15.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
DO Méntrida is a wine region in the province of Toledo, about 45 minutes southwest of Madrid. Bodegas Tavera was established in 2005 by the González López family who has a history rooted in generations of wine growing tradition. Their oldest vines were planted in 1921.

This blend of 55% Tempranillo & 45% Syrah comes from sandy-clay soils with an average loose consistency. The soils are poor in nutrients, but they retain the available moisture well. The climate is continental (long hot summers & cold winters) with extreme temperature variations over the course of the year. Tasting Notes: Complex aromas of blue and black berries with a faint smoky note. A pure delight on its own, it shines even more with food. The winery says to pair it with light appetizers and delicious mini tapas and light cheese. Drink now to 3 years.

If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, September 19 for your pickup tasting! Hope you can make it.

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

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AUGUST 2018 // Château du Grand Caumont

Located in the Corbières region of Languedoc-Rousillon, Château du Grand Caumont is one of our most beloved J. Strecker direct imports. The Cuvée Tradition and Cuvée Impatience (both red blends) were on our very first shipment in 2011 and have remained favorites at the shop ever since.

Grand Caumont_entrance gate

The estate is currently run by Laurence Rigal, who inherited it from her mother. With 100 hectares of planted vines within the 140 hectare estate, Château du Grand Caumont is one of the largest wine estates in Corbières. The rugged stony clay-limestone soils of the terraced vineyards create excellent filtration for the vines. Their red blends often contain Carignan, which gives the wines from this region their je ne sais quoi …minerality? herbs? It’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted within the deep, dark, fuller-bodied fruit.

Grand Caumont_vineyard workers

The two wines in this wine club are second labels for the estate with grapes sourced from vineyards within Languedoc, but outside of AOC Corbières. Details below. Hope you enjoy!

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Domaine du Grand Caumont 2017 Syrah
Vin de Pays d’Oc, France // Reg $14.99 | INSIDER $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19
Per the map above, vineyards marked Vin de Pays d’Oc IGP can be located throughout Languedoc in areas that are not further specified as AOC vineyards. These grapes are grown in a Mediterranean climate where it’s very windy and dry in the summer. The vineyards have alluvial soils. This 100% Syrah is light and smooth with a little spice on the finish. Delicious with red meats, grilled meats, boneless rolled loin of lamb, duck with cherries, blackberry or raspberry tarts. Drink now to 3 years.

Domaine de Mougin 2017 Rouge
Vin de Pays de L’Aude, France // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
IGP Vin de Pays de L’Aude is more specified, located in the area northwest of Minervois. It’s also very windy with very dry summer periods. The soils are composed of gravel and clay-limestone on terraces. This red is a crazy, rich blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir, Carignan, Cab, Merlot & Marselan. The grape varieties are vinified separately, then blended at the end of winter. The wine should be served at 15-17°C, so slightly chilled in summer. It’s full of red (strawberry) and dark berry fruits with the special herbal note from the Carignan. This wine is fuller-bodied than the Syrah, but it has similar pairings: red meat, grilled meats and red fruit-based desserts. Drink now to 3 years.

I am dee-lighted with these wines, and I hope you are, too! If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, August 22 for your pickup tasting! Hope you can make it.

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

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JULY 2018 // Italy… North & South

This month features two summer picks from Italy. The first is a quaffable white from Soave, located about half an hour due east of Verona, and the second is a red from Puglia, Italy’s heel of the boot.
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Franchetto 2015 Soave “La Capelina”
Veneto, Italy // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
The grape is Garganega, but its known by the name of the DOC: Soave. On the east side of Soave is the village of Terrossa, where the Franchetto family has lived for over a century. Antonio Franchetto continues his family’s long history of cultivating the traditional grapes of these lands (harvest pictured). His daughter, Francesca, is the winemaker, whose training includes “Magis certification” in support of sustainable farming techniques.


Tasting notes: Citrus blossoms and warm apple aromas with flint, ripe lemons, apricot and elderflower on the palate. The Franchetto family says you should enjoy this wine with fish-based first courses, risotto with peas, pumpkin or fish, soppressa veneta and white meat main courses. Drink now to 1 year.


Palazzo Malgara 2016 Primitivo di Manduria
Puglia, Italy // Reg $15.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
This wine comes from a co-op that makes a line of great value, single varietal wines from Sicily and Puglia. Robust, ripe blackberry, plum skins and cassis with subtle black pepper and rich body. Related to Zinfandel, but Italian style- a bit more acid. Perfect for pairing with burgers, grilled chicken, pork chops off the grill or just sit in some open summer air and enjoy! It’s a great, versatile example from Southern Italy! Drink now to 2 years.

If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, July 18 for your pickup tasting! Hope you can make it.

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

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JUNE 2018 | Bordeaux & Burgundy …sort of

Bordeaux_French vineyards in the Bordeaux wine region of Blaye_Michael Clarke

We don’t often find wines from these two appellations that fit our budget for this club. This month we’re featuring a white blend from Bordeaux’s Entre-Deux-Mers and a red from Beaujolais. Beaujolais is often considered a sub-region of Burgundy, but technically it’s not. We said Burgundy for the purposes of this wine club, because if we said Beaujolais you’d groan as you conjured up memories of the Kool-Aid like drink released under that name. Beaujolais-Villages is the intermediate classification of wines from this area — lighter in body, full of flavor (currants, blackberries), low in tannins, higher in acidity. 100% Gamay. Wonderful food wine. Beloved in France. Enjoy!

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Château La Galante 2016 Entre-Deux-Mers
Bordeaux, France // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
Entre-Deux-Mers is the sub-region between Bordeaux’s Left Bank (Garonne River) and Right Bank (Dordogne River). Almost exclusively whites are produced in this area, and usually a blend of Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon. This wine has a small amount of Muscadelle added in for a little bit of spiciness & fullness. Citrus aromas, lemon peel on the nose. Flavors of fresh citrus- lemon and grapefruit. Delightfully refreshing yet soft. Enjoy with shellfish, seafood, grilled pork, salads, paella, light pasta dishes. Château La Galante is the property of Monsieur Christophe Pinard. Drink now.

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Chevalier Clerget 2014 Beaujolais-Villages
Beaujolais, France // Reg $23.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
I love this wine, but no matter what I say, Beaujolais is associated with the punch-like drink released on the first Thursday of November each year. Please note: this wine is a totally different animal. Full of currants and strawberries on the nose. Flavors of bright black raspberries, juicy strawberries, black currants. Soft tannins and delightful acidity. Enjoy with roasted chicken, pastas, baked brie. Drink now to 2 years.

If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, June 20 for your pickup tasting! Hope to see you then.

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

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MAY 2018 | Wines for Spring

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

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! And this month’s wines are excellent selections to do just that. Hope you enjoy!

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Château Rivière 2017 Minervois Rosé
Languedoc, France // Reg $13.99 | Mixed Case $11.19
Located in the heart of Minervois, Château Rivière has south facing slopes with clay-limestone soil. For five generations the Agnel family has consistently produced this elegant and expressive rosé. A blend of Grenache & Syrah, it’s full of intense raspberry, strawberry & red currants with faint fresh herbs and a little white pepper on the finish. Fleshy. Delicious. Never met a food it doesn’t like. Drink now.

Nottola 2016 Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG
Tuscany, Italy // Reg $16.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
Located in the picturesque countryside of Montepulciano, Nottola was founded in 1992 by Cavaliere Anterivo Giornarelli with the dream of making the highest quality local wines. Enjoy flavors of blueberries, black currants, black raspberry & mixed berries, elegant tannins and expressive hillside herbs. The blue notes in this wine make it a perfect pair with cured meats and pork dishes. Think sausage pizza with the fixings! Medium in body & smooth, it’s a pleasure to just sip as well. Drink now to 2 years.

If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, May 23 for your pickup tasting! Hope to see you then.

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

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APRIL 2018 | Southern France

If you have a look at the French Mediterranean, vineyards are not far away — Provence is directly on the sea, with Southern Rhône just to the northwest, and Languedoc-Rousillon runs from Montpellier down to the Spanish border. This month’s wines are selections from two of these areas. Both wines are well-crafted, but they are made by co-ops as opposed to independent vignerons. This is one way that the little guys can scale… and it’s to your advantage! Increasingly we’re seeing bio-dynamic certification from co-op vineyards. And without a doubt, these wines are great value for the price. I hope you enjoy both selections. I think they’re great!

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Louise Dubois 2014 “Ma Belle Réserve” Côtes du Rhône Rouge
Southern Rhône, France // Reg $16.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
100% certified organic Syrah/Grenache from vineyards near Roaix. (Above is the one and only photo we got from the producer for this wine!) This little jewel is full of ripe fruits aromas with figs and spicy notes. A fuller-bodied wine than some Rhône table wines with a long finish. Enjoy this wine with stews, roasted meats including chicken, and meats off the grill including burgers! Drink now to 2 years.

Château d’Hautpoul 2013 Grand Réserve Minervois Rouge

Languedoc, France // Reg $17.99 | INSIDER $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
This wonderful wine was named after the Fortress of Hautpoul, the ruins of which now sit above the village of Mazamet in the heart of Minervois, a sub-region of Languedoc known for the meaty flavors of Carignan (an often used grape). This wine, however, is a Syrah/Grenache blend (just like the first wine), so it’s a smoother festival of dark fruit — blackberry & black currant, a hint of licorice & silky tannins with a full, textured body. Perfect paired with red meats, game & specialties from the south of France: confits, cassoulets and more. Drink now to 3 years.

If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, March 21 for your pickup tasting! Hope to see you then.

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


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MARCH 2018 | North Central Spain

Langa_garnacha in hands
Winefolly_Spain Wine Map_Rioja & Calatayud circled
Spring is here! The transition from winter to summer is delightful- and the food and wine we enjoy even more so. Enjoying warm cooked stews may still be on your menu, as well as fresh vegetables, starts and imported fruits. Hearty reds and rich whites still play a big role in early spring pairings. This month, we focus on North Central Spain- the wines are rich, but not baked like Southern Spain. The fruit is fresh and managed meticulously.

Langa_estate entrance

Bodegas Langa
Cataluyd is south of the Rioja region, west of Penedes. The Los Yermos vineyard can be found between the mountain range La Sierra de Armantes and the River Ribota, near the town of Torralba de Ribota . The stony material and clay originating from La Sierra de Armantes, means that the soil on which these vines are grown is ideal and has been used for vine growing for many centuries.

Langa_Chardonnay_2014 harvest_square

Bodegas Langa 2016 Mítco Chardonnay
Calatayud, Spain // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
100% certified organic and biodynamic. Bright fresh fruit- apples, melon, guava with hints of herbs, honey and toasted oak. Pair with poultry, stews, rustic, hedonistic cheeses and pasta dishes. Drink now to 2 years.

Alvia_estate entrance_square

Bodegas Alvia
The winery, located on the Camino de Santiago, uses a traditional handmade process to make Rioja wines, using grapes from their own vineyards, with some vines over 100 years old.

Bodegas Alvia 2015 Mileto Joven
Rioja, Spain // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99
Fresh black raspberry, black currants, and soft summer cherries layered with simple earth notes. Delightful. Drink now.

If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, March 21 for your pickup tasting! Hope to see you then.

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

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FEBRUARY 2018 | Tuscany… Land of Love

February holds Valentine’s Day, so we always try to find wine club wines to suit the mood… and what could be better than Tuscany! Located in the central region of Italy on the Tyrrhenian Sea, Tuscany is a coastal region with endless rolling hills dotted by country roads and villages. The climate is warm with coastal notes, yet inland areas vary and create unique winemaking areas.


Tuscany is not only a wine region but a cultural cuisine hub for Italy. Tuscan cuisine is based on simplicity and utilizing local ingredients to add character. It’s a fertile area, producing most of its means to a delicious, bountiful end!

Tuscany_Santa Lucia_harvest 2013

Santa Lucia
The Scotto family has owned vineyards in Maremma (the southern most tip of Tuscany) and has been producing wine since 1898, but Luciano Scotto (the current owner) didn’t began bottling under the brand Santa Lucia until 1980. Since then, the winery has grown, thanks to the passion and love for Maremma given by Luciano to Lorenzo and Luca, his sons. They grow Morellino di Scansano, Sangiovese (red grapes) as well as Vermentino (white). Pictured above is their 2013 harvest.

Santa Lucia “Brigante” Vermentino
Reg $17.99 | INSIDER $10.99 | Mixed Case $8.79
100% Vermentino produced in stainless steel tanks. Golden hues with aromas of candied lime peel and brine. Bright lemon acidity with olive oil and minerality in the balance. The richness of earth hides the saline components. Vermentino was made for seafood. Here are some pairing ideas> Drink now.

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Tenimenti Andreucci
Located in Pienza, southeast of Siena in the heart of the Tuscan wine region, this small family winery has had a vineyard in the region for over 200 hundred years. The unique wine label honors the family’s legacy by including a copy of a bill of sale from Napoleon, who the Andreucci family supplied wine to. Today, Flavio Andreucci (pictured above) labors to produce the best quality wine combining modern technology, superb vines and a remarkable terroir.

Andreucci “Giobatti” Chianti Colli Senesi
Reg $17.99 | Mixed Case $14.39
Chianti Colli Senesi means Chianti from around Siena. The blend is primarily Sangiovese with a touch of Canaiolo Nero. Aromas of black cherry, orange peel and dried violets. Macerated cherry and plum including the skins with a balanced tannin approach. New World for Chianti, but not missing the character. Try this wine with your favorite salumi, ragu or a grilled steak. Drink now to 3 years.

Hope you enjoy these wines with some good food and a good kiss!

If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, February 21 for your pickup tasting! Hope to see you then.

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

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JANUARY 2018 | Treasures Around Bordeaux

Over the last two decades we have seen an expansion of Bordeaux wines that are affordable. We have also been cursed with some “Bordeaux” labeled wines, but they were nothing of the sort. Thankfully over the last decade, France has been proactive! Investment in lesser-known areas around Bordeaux has allowed us to see new regions with amazing wines (in their own right, not just knock off Bordeaux) come on the international scene.

MAP_FR_South West France_Wine Folly

As you know, we are big fans for Bergerac (top section of the orange). The area is riper and bolder than Bordeaux, and this month’s featured producer even more so! On a 38 hectare estate just southwest of the town of Bergerac in France’s Dordogne Valley, winemaker Pascal Cuisset (pictured below – a character!!) uses the assets of the land & climate along with new winemaking technology to produce beautifully full wines in the Bordeaux style with traditional Bordeaux grapes.

Ch des Eyssards_winemakers

Château des Eyssards 2014 Cuvée Prestige Rouge
Bergerac, France // Reg $19.99 | INSIDER $16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59
This red is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc. Bright red ruby in color with aromas of red berry fruits, plum, black cherry and a hint of cedar & dried herbs. Well-balanced, with firm tannins on its velvety body. Flavors of bright raspberry & red cherry. A touch of black pepper spice lasts through the long smooth finish. Enjoy with a richer meal such as steak, lamb or cassoulet. The tannins in this wine will do a great job of cutting the fat for a perfect pairing! Enjoy now to 3-4 years.

For your second treasure, we’re featuring a wine from Côtes de Duras (most southern section in orange on the map) in the region Sud-Oest or South West France. Berticot is a co-opertiave in the area doing excellent work, and we are pleased to help them expand their US market! Berticot represents 118 winegrowers spread across 1000 hectares of land (55% of the AOP Côtes de Duras). The co-op has a cellar equipped with modern equipment, capable of making 50,000 hectoliters of wine. It has become a renowned brand in France, Europe and awarded in all top competitions.


Secret de Berticot 2016 Sauvignon
Côtes de Duras, France // Reg $13.99 | INSIDER $12.99 | Mixed Case $10.39
This white is an excellent winter wine as it’s a littler bit fuller than traditional Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy lovely citrus flowers on the nose. Flavors of fresh citrus- lemon, lime, grapefruit and litchi notes. It’s a delicious food wine. Enjoy with pastas, poultry, shellfish & fish dishes. Drink now.

If you would like to taste your wines prior to enjoying them at home, stop by on Wednesday, January 17 for your pickup tasting! Hope to see you then.

Let this be a year of expansion and exploration! Happy New Year!

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