Selections for August 2017

Holy S---!!!                 

2015 CHATEAU DE SEGRIES ‘Cuvée Réservée’ – Lirac, Southern Rhone, France

Hoping this is more titillating than offending, I can’t help suggesting with a wink that you closely examine this bottle’s label.  Have fun with that, and in the meantime I’ll describe the fun happening within!

Lirac is a village next to Tavel and across the Rhone River from Chateauneuf du Pape.  This particular producer has long been important to us, providing a slam-dunk Rhone drink vintage after vintage.  This is a small, family-owned concern with family ties to Mordorée, the winery featured in this month’s World Class Wine Club. 

50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, and 10% Mourvèdre are your only ingredients, besides the clay / limestone soil and the Mistral-blown herbes.  NO oak happens here; only large-format cement tanks are called upon for storing the pre-bottled wine. 

Ah, but there’s ONE more “ingredient” making this one of the most deliciously sappy Segries Liracs we’ve ever brought in:  Vintage 2015.  Here is an ultimate example of the goodness of this particular year.  We’ve been waiting since 2010 – maybe even longer – for this kind of thing to happen in our mouths.  I strongly suggest you drink a bottle of this immediately with some thoughtfully-grilled fare.  We predict it will make you as happy as the lady on the label! 92 points from Robert Parker


“BAM!”  done right

2015 THORN-CLARKE ‘Terra Barossa’ Shiraz – Barossa Valley, Australia

Both of this month’s Wine Adventurer Club offerings were discovered by the same importer, Francis Kysela of Kysela Pere et Fils.  To know that this wine finder is responsible for the bottle in your hand just flip it over:  Like all the Kermit Lynch imports, there’s a very identifiable company logo to be found on the back label.          

Fran’s finds have appeared on our shelves for years now.  Whether a Kysela pick comes from France, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Germany, or – in this case - Australia we’ve come to expect an endearing fruit expression along with “truth of place.”  That assurance of quality and value keeps us allied, and what also preserves a sense of grateful loyalty to this provider is the exposure he’s afforded me in the form of trips to Portugal, France (twice), Argentina, and Spain (twice as well).  Many of the wines and associated tales I’ve shared with you over the years were accumulated this way. 

On top of that:  Nearly every year Fran hosts a grand tasting for industry members at his Winchester, Virginia warehouse.  I’ve been lucky to attend this “Mondovino” affair no fewer than ten times.  Dozens of the producers he represents fly in from all parts of the wine world to pour nearly four hundred different offerings (great beer and sake happen, too).  Spending five or six hours under that warehouse roof has me tasting 135 of these on average and scribbling anote or two about each.  These are reviewed and enlarged upon as I fly back to the Bay Area, and then I incrementally order my faves for our shelves, special events, and wine clubs such as yours.

Now, not every Kysela wine is a TWS preference.  I get it:  Different markets have different tastes and Fran aspires to appease them all.  – So you worthy patrons have two levels of screening going on here.  HE chooses lots of things which are good for lots of different people.  Then WE choose from THAT selection per what we think most of YOU will like.

This Shiraz hasn’t decorated our shelves in many a vintage but used to be a frequent offender here.  Thorn-Clarke does the rare job of delivering Barossa Valley generosity while barely containing it.  The Wine Spectator awarded this 91 points, saying: 

“Fresh earth, toasted cumin and black tea flavors are dark and dense, with black licorice and thick tannins forming the backdrop to blackberry and plum compote notes. Persistent on the finish. Drink now through 2028.”

To that I’d add, “Yum!” and “Nice find, Fran!”