Tim Atkin Loves Our Argentinians!

We are very pleased to announce that Tim Atkin has given high marks to wines from Las Compuertas Project and Marchiori & Barraud in his May 2018 Argentina Report. Las Compuertas Project's Malbec 5 Suelos 2016 and Cordisco 2017 were awarded 95 and 92 points, respectively, while Marchiori & Barraud's Malbec "Cuartel Dos" 2015 and Malbec 2016 received 95 and 91 points. 

PLC-pts_TimAtkin copy.png

las compuertas project

MALBEC 5 SUELOS - 95 POINTS

5 separate parcels of centennial vines are cared for based on their soil type as identified by extensive testing and vinified separately in cement eggs before a final cut is made. 

CORDISCO 2017 - 92 POINTS

First Mendoza wine made from this varietal native to Abruzzo (Italy). Fermented in cement eggs with native yeasts.


Marchiori & Barraud

MALBEC 2016 - 95 POINTS

MALBEC 'CUARTEL 2' 2015 - 91 POINTS

Andrea Marchiori & Luis Barraud come from families with long winemaking traditions in Argentina. Their grapes are grown organically and hand harvested. In the winery, spontaneous fermentation takes place with native yeasts and no winemaking additives are used. 

 

Marchiori Cuartel 2 no vintage w:outline.jpg

W&S Gives Anella Crianza 2014 92 Points!

This month, our Anella Crianza 2014 from Ribera del Duero received 92 points from Wine & Spirits Magazine! 

 
 
It’s a vibrant crianza wine, focused on refreshing red-fruit flavors...that throbs with energy...radiant and fresh...
— Wine & Spirits Magazine
Anella Crianza bottle image.jpeg

Anella is a family owned winery located in Fuentelcesped at 2,800 feet altitude. Their limestone rich soils provide excellent growing conditions for their Tempranillo vines, 30% of which are old vines, including some ungrafted pre-phylloxera plots (the oldest is from 1865). The winery practices biodynamic farming, the grapes are hand-harvested and fermentation takes place with native yeasts. Learn more about Anella here.

Josh Raynolds - 90 Points to Vignoble Bodillard's Morgon Tradition 'Cuvée Alexia' 2016

Bio Logo high rez.jpg
 

"Vibrant, mineral-tinged red/blue fruit and allspice flavors show very good clarity and a building floral note."

-Josh Raynolds

We are very pleased that Josh Raynolds of Vinous has given Vignoble Bodillard's 'Cuvée Alexia' 2016 90 points.

Located in the heart of the Beaujolais region, the Vignoble Bodillard Estate has been cared for by the Bodillard family for 5 generations. Today, vigneron Renaud Bodillard cares for the family vineyards and has converted to organic farming methods, with biodynamic principles. The vines are 20-100 years old and each plot is worked according to it's topography, age and soil.

The family, true vignerons, execute or oversee every step of the process, from vine to bottle. 

More Love for Marchiori & Barraud - 90 Points From Wine Enthusiast!

We are so pleased to announce that Michael Schachner from Wine Enthusiast Magazine has given our Marchiori & Barraud Cabernet Sauvignon 90 points. 

Marchiori Cab label no vintage.jpeg
 
...deep palate that’s loaded with...wild berry and plum flavors...

Andrea Marchiori and Luis Barraud come from families with long winemaking traditions in Argentina. Together they make a small amount of wine in pursuit of expressing the best of the terroir for each varietal. Their grapes are organically grown and hand harvested. In the winery, spontaneous fermentation takes place with native yeasts and no winemaking additives are used. Learn more about their Cabernet Sauvignon here!

6 Holiday Cocktails to Make Your Party Bright

 
Party cocktail 3.jpg
 

Tis the season for PARTIES! And with parties come COCKTAILS! “A cocktail post from a wine importing company?!” you say? Well, take another look at our portfolio and you’ll realize that we actually have a great lineup of options that will have your guests asking for more (and the recipe).

The best part of taking your cocktail cues from a wine company? Most of these recipes have lower alcohol content, which means you can enjoy and still keep up with refilling the canapés.

Many of these are also batch-able, meaning you can make a lot at once, then sit back and enjoy your party. Cheers!

1) The Adonis

We found this classic on The Straight Up. It’s from the late 1800s, when cocktails were having their first big wave of popularity. Named after the first Broadway musical to run for more than 500 performances, it’s low alcohol level and clean flavors make it great as a before dinner drink…or to sip all night…

In our version, the dryness of Bodegas Robles' Organic Piedra Luenga Fino plays off nicely against the light, layered sweetness of the Iris Vermouth Dorado.

Here's what you'll need:

 

For instructions, head over to The Straight Up, where you can also read more of the story behind the drink (and see quite a nice pair of 19th century legs).

 

To batch this cocktail, simply pour 12 oz each of the Fino and Vermouth into a clean, reseal-able 750 milliliter glass bottle and add 16 dashes of orange bitters. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

*You can also experiment with the Piedra Luenga Organic Oloroso or Iris Blanco and Rojo

2) Slow Cooker Mulled Wine

This recipe is from Sue over at The View from Great Island and it’s brilliant. Simply combine your ingredients in a crock pot an hour or so before your party, set on low until the wine simmers, then switch to ‘keep warm’ and leave it.

Here’s a shopping list, including the star of the show, Primmo Malbec Magnum.

 
 
  • Cardamom pods
  • Vanilla bean
  • Fresh nutmeg
  • Cranberry juice
  • Whole cranberries
  • Fresh Rosemary

Head over to The View from Great Island for proportions and instructions –don't forget to multiply the ingredients by two, to make with our handy 1.5 Liter Primmo Malbec.

3) Sidra Ponche

Imbibe Magazine found this elegant Sidra cocktail at Bar Casa Vale in Portland, OR. Created by Daniel Parker Guidry, the slight sweetness of brandy, balanced with the fresh Piedra Luengo Organic Fino and lightly tart, earthy Bere Aran Natural Cider will have your guests asking for more. Get your shaker ready!

 
 

Head on over to Imbibe for assembly instructions!

4) Negroni Sbagliato

For those of you who can’t let go of your Negronis (don’t worry, we’re with you), here’s a festive version! Translating roughly as ‘Bungled Negroni’ (is there any such thing??), this twist on the classic comes to us thanks to Michael Dietsch at Serious Eats. Simply swap Forchir Prosecco in for the gin in your Negroni and get partying.

Here’s your shopping list, for construction instructions, head over to Serious Eats!

 

 

*To scale this drink up for a crowd, simply mix up a bigger batch of Vermouth and Campari, chill, pour 3 ounces of the mixture into each flute and top with Prosecco!*

5) Under the Mistletoe Punch

Up your Punch game with this beauty from Epicurious. With our Piedra Luenga Organic Fino (or Oloroso, depending on your sweetness preference) and Iris Vermouth Blanco as the base, this is another one with a low ABV, allowing you to enjoy while juggling hosting duties. Cheers!

 
 

Syrup:

  • Raw Sugar
  • Allspice berries, cracked
  • Whole Cloves
  • Cinnamon Sticks

 

Punch:

6) Red (Velvet) Cake

Okay, you caught us, this is not a cocktail. It’s a cake. But it’s a chocolate cake. With WINE! RED WINE! So you can’t really go wrong, right? We found this recipe from pastry chef and author of Brave Tart, Stella Parks, once again on Imbibe. As it turns out, red velvet cake originally got it’s characteristic color from a chemical reaction between the raw cocao and acid…which can be provided with, you guessed it, red wine.

Here’s the ingredients list; head over to Imbibe for the full recipe.

And while this isn’t a cocktail, we do recommend you wash it down with our Amaris Sweet Red or Robles PX.

Whatever type of soirée you throw this winter (including parties of one, on your couch, sporting your best sweatpants), we hope you'll invite one (or more) of these tasty recipes to the party. And may you have warm, wonderful holidays, a happy new year and an ever-full glass! Cheers!

91+ Points for Marchiori & Barraud!

This month, Malbec Cuartel Dos 2015 from Marchiori & Barraud received 91+ points from Vinous! 

...Intense and penetrating but youthfullly bound up; offers lovely density and grain, not to mention definition to its backward dark berry, licorice, bitter chocolate and mineral flavors.
— Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

Andrea Marchiori and Luis Barraud come from families with long winemaking traditions in Argentina. Located in the Perdriel area in Mendoza, the vineyards are handled with exceptional care and great attention to detail. Together they pursue the best expression of their terrior only by producing small amounts of wines. Learn more about Malbec Cuartel Dos 2015 here

Domaine Begude Etoile 2015 AOC Receives 95 points from Decanter!

 

At this year's Decanter World Wine Awards, Domaine Begude Etoile Chardonnay was awarded Gold earning 95 points. 

The winemaker, Laurent Girault is a native of Limoux and raised in a family of winemakers. The aim at Domaine Begude is to "make excellent wine from long established high-quality terroir... wines reminiscent of the new world, but with the elegance of the old..." The winery organically grows their grapes and is devoted to environmentally sustainable practices. 

Etoile Chardonnay has a classic, complex style. With aromas of honey and fresh fruit that lead to a long mineral acidity with a creamy texture.  

Las Bas Gewuztraminer and Sommos Premium Selected to Represent the Somontano Appellation

On Wednesday March 1, Las Bas Gewuztraminer and Sommos Premium were two of eight wines selected to represent the entire region of Somontano. The event was held at Amada Restaurant in New York City outpost of award winning chef, Jose Garces. Wine Enthusiast, The Somm Journal, The Tasting Panel magainze, Nacho Monclus, Head Sommelier at Amada, amongst others were in attendance. We were very excited for the opportunity to share these wines from Bodegas Sommons!

93 Points for Aguijón De Abeja Malbec Reserva 2015 from Wine Enthusiast!

We are very excited to announce that the Aguijón de Abeja Malbec Reserva 2015 has received a 93-point rating from Wine Enthusiast!

Hector and Pablo Durigutti are two of the best-known young winemakers in Argentina today. Their wines are organically grown and display a beautiful balance of New World fruit with Old World elegance. You can learn more about the Durigutti brothers and the Aguijón de Abeja wines here.

Jordi Miro’s Ennak Earns a 90 from Vinous!

We are very pleased to announce that Vinous recently gave Jordi Miro’s “Ennak” 90 points! This spice-accented wine from Terra Alta is described by Josh Raynolds as having “very good focus and lift to the bitter cherry and dark berry flavors.”  Click here for full review.

Closes long and silky; rounded, slow-building tannins add shape to the persistent dark fruit.
— Josh Raynolds

A third generation winemaker, Jordi combines the traditional knowledge passed down from his family with a modern touch to create silky, fresh wines that frequently earn high marks. Learn more about the Jordi Miro winery here.

What's in a name?

A LOT!

We often get asked about the meaning of the names of our wines and labels.  Our wines definitely have very interesting names and back stories.  Here is just one example:

Besadien

The label from our Besadien Pinot Noir from Oregon came about because we wanted a label to depict the beauty and nature of the Willamette valley.  We were actually searching for something related to trees or a forest when we came upon Kristo Dagorov's artwork (lips series).  We thought this was the perfect label to depict the wine's complexity.  The word, Besadien, is a play on the Spanish word beso, which means "kiss," which fit the label perfectly!

 

Food & Wine Magazine Picks Commuter Cuvée as Wine to 'Drink Now'!

Holy smokes - Grochau Cellars is once again in the spotlight! We are very happy to announce that Food & Wine included Grochau Cellars' Commuter Cuvée Pinot Noir in their 'Trendspotting' list, 'Drink These Wines Now.'

Author Ray Isle calls the wine an 'unusually fragrant, elegant Pinot' in the November 2016 issue of Food & Wine magazine and advises the reader to buy 'by the case.' An excellent plan for the upcoming holidays. Cheers!

See the full list here, or to read more about Grochau Cellars, check out their page on our site

 

"An unusually fragrant, elegant Pinot for the price that comes from a small Willamette Valley winery."

- Ray Isle, Food & Wine Magazine November 2016

Commuter Cuvée Pinot Noir Picked for New York Times' 20 Under $20 List!

Grochau Cellars is once again making waves. The Commuter Cuvée Pinot Noir 2014 has made Eric Asimov’s much loved 20 Wines for Under $20 list! Asimov looks for ‘exciting and distinctive’ wines to fill his lists, an excellent way to sum up the Commuter Cuvée.

Read an excerpt below, or read the full article here. Additionally, you can learn more about Grochau Cellars, and its devoted founder and namesake, John Grochau here

"That rare treat: budget-priced pinot noir from good terroirs, grown and produced conscientiously. Commuter Cuvée shows bright aromas of red and black fruits intermingled with herbs and flowers." -Erick Asimov, NYT Oct. 6, 2016

Viñabade Albariño Featured in Somm Journal!

Our very own Viñabade Albariño has been featured in the August/September 2016 of Somm Journal! "The Albariños of Rías Baixas: An Overview Refresher Course" takes an in-depth look at the land, people and history of the grape and the region. 

Sommelier Allyson Gorsuch note's the Viñabade winery's 'deep, collective experience, acquired over more than 50 years in the wine industry" and says the wine "...offers a citrusy, clean palate."

You can read the profile on Viñabade here or check out the full article here

90's for Lunar Apogé's CDR & Lirac Red from Wine & Spirits Magazine

Lunar Apogé’s Côtes du Rhône and Lirac Red scored high marks with Wine & Spirits Magazine recently! Each earned 90 points - the CDR was noteworthy for its “vibrancy…seeming to radiate energy,” while the Lirac was “bold and juicy, a riot of wild cherry, spice and floral flavors.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

You can learn more about this pioneering, biodynamic winery on their webpage. For the complete reviews, please read below. Cheers!

CDR: "This wins on vibrancy, the wine seeming to radiate energy with its glowing red fruit. A blend of grenache, syrah, mourvèdre and cinsault, all of which Christian Leperchois farms under biodynamics, this holds its freshness for days after opening, the red berry fruit tangy, spicy and clean."

Lirac: "From the 37 acres Christian Leperchois farms under biodynamics in Lirac, this is bold and juicy, a riot of wild cherry, spice and floral flavors, with a hint of sweaty animal in its midst. Its energy is invigorating, and inviting when there’s a roast leg of lamb on the table."

90 Points for Gran Gesta Cava Reserva Especial!

Exciting news - Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave our new Gran Gesta Cava Reserva Especial 90 points! Author Michael Schachner says that "Direct flavors of apple, herbs and white pepper don't mess around..." You can read the full review here, and learn more about the winery on their page

"...stone-fruit and apple aromas arrive prior to a crisp, whole palate. Direct flavors of apple, herbs and white pepper don't mess around...a finish that's tight as a drum." 

- Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast

92 Points for Quinta de Pancas Reserva!

We are very excited to announce that Wine Enthusiast Magazine has given Quinta de Pancas Reserva 2012 a 92 point rating! Author Roger Voss describes it as "...a powerful wine, dense and full-bodied." We couldn't agree more and think it would pair beautifully with a perfectly grilled steak, an earthy mushroom dish - or you could always cellar it for that next special occasion. 

FrontQuintaPancasReservaNoVintage.jpg

 

Learn more about the 518 year old Quinta de Pancas winery on their webpage, or check out the full Wine Enthusiast review here

Make Your Gifting Bright

The holiday season is well underway – lights are up on shrubs, gables and fire escapes, department store windows are dressed to the nines and party invites are flooding in. 

Of course, all of this means that the pressure is on to finish up (or start!) your holiday shopping. This won't come as a surprise, but we at The Artisan Collection are firm believers in the gift that keeps on giving – WINE! 

Have no fear, we've put together a quick roundup of suggestions for even the toughest person on your list. And please, if you you’ve still got someone who’s stumping you – write us a message in the comments section! 

 

The Resident Sweet Tooth - Bodegas Robles Organic Piedra Luenga PX

We are so pleased to have added Bodegas Robles to our portfolio this year. This fourth generation Montilla-Moriles winery is the only one in the world to offer a full line of fortified wines, from Fino to PX. The Piedra Luenga organic PX is a beautiful deep amber with a light, floral sweetness and is absolutely heavenly with blue cheese. The elegantly etched glass bottle makes it even more of a treat.

 

 

 

DE MULLER VERMOUTHS

 
 

This one won’t be joining us until 2016, but boy is it worth the wait. (And gift certificates fit so neatly into stockings!) Recently named “Best Vermouth in Catalonia” and given a gold medal by the Vinari Awards, this wine’s secret recipe includes 150 herbs and spices and spends a year aging in oak barrels. Even more exciting, this is one of very few Spanish Vermouths currently available in the USA. And who doesn’t enjoy being able to say they “tried it first”? 

The Beer Lover - our Sidras

Fourth generation cider maker, Aitor Bereziartua, demonstrates his escanciar technique.

Fourth generation cider maker, Aitor Bereziartua, demonstrates his escanciar technique.

We offer two delicious Spanish natural ciders – Ramos del Valle from Asturias and Bere Aran from the Basque region. Dry and delicious, these Sidras both pair beautifully with food (even Martha Stewart Living agrees). Their effervescence is caused by a pouring method called "escanciar" in which the cider is poured in small quantities from high above a wide-mouthed glass. With a little practice, we're sure this can be your favorite beer lover's big party trick for this holiday season.

 

Something to Celebrate? - Gran Gesta Brut Reserva

Gran Gesta Brut.jpg

 

To be clear, we categorize just about any accomplishment as "something to Celebrate," including making it through your week! Cava is made using the "Methode Traditionelle Champenoise," the same method used to make that most famous of sparkling wines, Champagne. Gran Gesta Brut Reserva is made from the top 5% of the fruit from the vineyard and only native yeasts are used for fermentation. All of this leads to fine bubbles that pair well with any occasion. So go ahead, give that special someone a cork to pop for whatever celebration life brings their way!

 

 

 

Maisulan & Honoratus Aurum A Hit With Vinous

We are very happy to announce that five wines from Bodegas Vinaspral received top marks in Vinous' "The Many Facets of Rioja" (November 2015), by Josh Raynolds. 

"Smokey dark berries, licorice...on the assertively perfumed nose. Juicy, spicy and focused..."  90 points  - Josh Raynolds, Vinous

"Smokey dark berries, licorice...on the assertively perfumed nose. Juicy, spicy and focused..." 90 points - Josh Raynolds, Vinous

The word "Maisulan" means "good hard work" in the Basque language. In this case, it has been well rewarded. Raynold's gives 90 points to their Maisulan 6, calling it "Concentrated but lively, with very good finishing thrust and length."

He found Honoratus Aurum, their aged white Rioja "Fleshy and dry, offering concentrated lemon and peach flavors" and scored it a 90. 

The Maisulan Crianza, Sobremoro, and Los Lagos wines also garnering 91, 93 and 92 points, respectively. You can check out the full reviews here.

"This weighty, classically dry wine finishes with strong finishing thrust and length..." 90 points - Josh Raynolds, Vinous

"This weighty, classically dry wine finishes with strong finishing thrust and length..." 90 points - Josh Raynolds, Vinous

Husband and wife winemaking team, Luis and Eva, craft the Maisulan and Honoratus wines in the mountains of Rioja Alavesa. They cultivate their families' vineyards following biodynamic practices and aim to make wines that fully express the character of the place they both know and love. To read more about this hard working pair, please check out their page on our website.