Last call on 2015 Bordeaux, plus our favorite value Vermentino for Springtime

This offer is available from Friday, 12 April 2024 to Monday, 15 April 2024, or as supplies last.
First come, first served on all wines. All wines are sold through Solo Vino Wine Shop in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Quick overview of this week’s offer

Two wines. Two incredible, fantastic, awesome, guaranteed-to-make-you-dance wines.

One is the last of the 2015 Bordeaux we’ve found in the wholesaler’s warehouses. There are a couple more out there that we’re trying in the next month, but this is BY FAR the best price on a 2015 you’ll find. Read below regarding this vintage and why we love it so much.

The other, in light of the beautiful weather and the sudden arrival of Spring/Summer (and to celebrate that Coho Salmon is on sale at Fresh Thyme Market for only $5.99 a pound … you read that right!) we present our favorite and most consistent Vermentino.

The joy of a properly aged wine: 2015 Bordeaux

When we teach about wine, sometimes we explain flavor development in three stages.

Primary aromas and flavors are from the vineyard. The weather conditions, the temperatures, the soils, etc. In other words, the terroir. The moment the cluster of grapes is cut off the vine, primary flavor development ends.

Secondary aromas and flavors are from the winemaker. This would include fermentation yeasts (or wild yeasts), fermentation temperature, racking, pumping, handling, aging in barrels or tanks, etc. Secondary flavor development ends when the wine is put in the bottle and corked or capped.

Tertiary aromas and flavors come with age and provenance. As white wines age, they gain pigmentation. As red wines age, they lose pigmentation. All wines age toward orange and brown hues. Tannins soften, aromatics develop, and for many wines a smoothness or soulfulness comes through. Of course, all of this is dependent on the provenance of the aging. If it’s a bottle in a warm room hit with sunlight, it will deteriorate much faster. If the bottle is in the dark, in the cool cellar, it may age like a tortoise.

Sidenote: very few wines are made to age and improve with time. This doesn’t mean that they can’t last for a few years or even a decade, but many wines (I’m going to say at least 90%) are designed for immediate gratification so that you want to return to the store and buy more. It depends on many factors: the grape varieties, the vintage qualities, the history of the estate, the knowledge of the winemaker, and many more factors.

And why some wines age well and some do not is sometimes a mystery. Zinfandel is not particularly well known to hold up well over the long term. But for reasons nobody can really figure out, the Zinfandels of Ridge Vineyards (along with the Ravenswood wines of the 1980s and early 1990s) age beautifully.

Go figure!

The joy of a properly aged wine, for me, is a combination of aromas you can’t get any other way (think about how an antique shop smells), flavors that become more smooth and seamless (which is impossible in a young and sassy wine), and the opportunity to think back on your life and realize everything that has happened since that wine was made.

For our offering today, we have a 2015 Bordeaux, a vintage that I love. When I hold the bottle and look at the year, I can’t help but remember when Obama was in the White House, when Spencer was in college in Chicago, and how Angela’s mom and my parents were all still alive. I remember many gatherings on Mom and Dad’s deck in Bloomington, laughing and chatting until well into the evening, always with good wine at the table. Thinking about things like that before popping this cork helps give perspective, consciousness, and humanity to the wine.

What was your life like in 2015?

Overview of the 2015 Bordeaux vintage

From James Suckling:

After tasting about 1,300 Bordeaux 2015 in France, my team and I concluded that the 2015 vintage has lived up to its great potential in every sense of the word. Red, white or sweet, the wines show wonderful harmony, intensity, structure and freshness. Exciting and exquisite, the best of 2015s benefit enormously from this freshness quality, which derives from the slightly higher acidity and lower alcohol levels. In comparison to the wines produced in other highly rated years, such as 2009 and 2010, the 2015 vintage’s new gained freshness helps carve out a classic structure and form.

It is also interesting to note that most great vintages in Bordeaux of the new millennium comes in fives: 2000, 2005, 2010 and now. In terms of nature and quality, I think that 2015 is reminiscent of 2005. Both vintages produced exceptional wines with beautiful balance and finesse, as well as wonderful brightness and transparency.

Looking at the vintage in a historical perspective, I would like to think of 2015 as a new version of some classic years from the 1970s or 1980s, such as 1970, 1971 or 1985, which all share the same balance, structure and freshness. Though I have been professionally tasting Bordeaux since the 1982 vintage, I still vividly recall the tastings. There’s indeed something that strikes a familiar chord about these wines. However, the precision and transparency of these wines can only be considered as very modern.

https://www.jamessuckling.com/wine-tasting-reports/bordeaux-really-back-2015/

Chateau Roquetaillade “la Grange” 2015

This wine is firing on ALL CYLINDERS, RIGHT NOW! It’s developed the tertiary aromas I mentioned earlier (tobacco leaf, dried fruit, tea leaves, old bookstore) but has held onto all the delicious red and black fruits of its youth. It’s at a wonderful and perfect spot, right now, and will drink great throughout 2024 and probably 2025.

Under 40 bottles are left, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Also note: the pricing on this wine is not only a great deal but is also based on PRE-INFLATION pricing. When then 2024 vintage finally hits the market, it will be at least 2X the price, if not 3X.

60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot. Family produced by the three Guignard brothers on a vineyard that has been planted continuously in Bordeaux since the 14th Century!


MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH VERMENTINO

In our constant search for great wines, one white that we’re coming back to often is Vermentino.

It’s the great white grape of Sardinia (where this is from) and is perfect with seafood and shellfish (note the very subtle hint on the front of the bottle).

From Wine Folly:

If you love Sauvignon Blanc then Vermentino is your friend.

Despite the typical light-bodied character of Vermentino, it’s actually quite complex to taste. This is because Vermentino has higher levels of phenols which contribute to its subtle bitterness on the finish–a taste often described as green almond. A glass of classic Sardinia Vermentino will offer up lively aromas of pear, white peach, lime and pink grapefruit with subtle notes of crushed rocks and citrus zest. On the palate, Vermentino is almost always dry and somewhat oily with flavors of grapefruit and citrus, with a crushed rocky minerality and saltiness. On the finish, it can be a bit snappy with bitterness similar to the taste of grapefruit pith or, if it’s on the riper side, fresh almond.

https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/vermentino-wine-guide/

From Neal Family Vineyards (who planted Vermentino in Napa Valley!)

Vermentino is a wine with so many faces, and yet only one identity. Many recognize it for the very intense, but not yet aromatic, bouquet, based on citrus fruits, white flowers, aromatic herbs such as thyme and basil and not too ripe yellow fruit. Above all, one will find the call of the sea inside this noble white wine, a true Mediterranean flair.

Unique in history and taste, Vermentino is a late-ripening grape and thrives better in a warm dry climate. It can adapt to different soils but in granite and rocks is where it performs the best. Vermentino, depending on the style, can be well paired with raw seafood, light or semi-cured cheese, up to stir fried white meat or fish in tomato sauce. Hence it can be good as an aperitif, light meal or even good to enjoy on its own, especially in the warm season. 

Vermentino,  nowadays, has gained international consent and fame as one of the top white wines.

https://nealvineyards.com/a-look-at-vermentino/

The Aragosta Vermentino

In true Sardinian, salt-of-the-earth style, 326 growers in plots surrounding the city of Alghero contribute to this wine. Dry, crisp, and lively, it has white peach, green apple, citrus, saline minerality, and a floral note in the finish. This is classy wine that is GULPABLE, and oh so good with anything involving seafood.

Buying advice

We’re offering these wines through Solo Vino as single bottles, a four pack, and a six pack (three bottles of each). The pricing and discounts get progressively better with the packs, and the six pack is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Three bottles to pop on the deck, and three bottles for a special occasion with steaks on the grill. This will be the last chance to get 2015 Bordeaux of this quality at this price.

Happy shopping, and thank you again for supporting what we do!

Jason Kallsen
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education


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