Saturday, April 01, 2023

ADVERTISING: Advertorial — Spring arrivals II: The reds

by GEORGE BALLING/the dinner party
| May 12, 2021 1:00 AM

A couple of weeks back I wrote of all the new white wine arrivals this spring. This week we will cover the reds, with a great lineup of new things that have come into the shop. Supply chain issues have us working harder than ever to find new wines for you all to enjoy as some of our regular favorites become more difficult to get.

One of our newer distributors in the area, Tastevin, has brought to the table a great book. A large wine company with several bottlings within the corporate structure is called Gil, and Tastevin represents all those brands. We are thrilled to have them. Gil makes wines from within and areas surrounding the Jumilla appellation in Spain, one of our favorites. The 2019 Shania red is unique, not only for being 100% Monastrell, which is called Mourvèdre in other parts of the wine growing world, but also for coming in a three liter box ($32, Wine Club Box $28.80 3L box)! The great thing about the packaging is it completely eliminates oxygen exposure to the wine, giving it great longevity after it is open, for up to three months. The best part about the wine is it’s delicious. Classic Mourvèdre is very dark in color with great aromas and palate flavors of blue fruit, with a very juicy, ripe mid-palate and a dry tannin finish. I understand skepticism on box wine, I have felt the same way, but I also have to admit this is great wine and perfect packaging for everything — from parties to camping — with an average cost of the 750 ml bottle of just $8.

Also from Gil is one of our new best sellers, the 2018 Blau red wine ($18, wine club price $16.20). This wine is crafted from all Carignane grown just outside Jumilla in Montsant. The wine is highly aromatic with notes of blueberry and blackberry, the palate follows up with a juicy presentation of crushed berry jam. The finish is dry and lengthy, with layers of fruit well balanced and framed by ideal tannins.

Finally from Gil is the 2018 Como Loco red ($15, wine club price $13.50). This delightful wine is a blend of all Rhone varietals, also from the Montsant region. Translation of the name is “How Crazy,” and the label is adorned with a fun and colorful rendering of a chicken. The wine is equally fun and easy drinking and priced perfectly for your large gatherings. The wine has soft integrated tannins and ample fruit flavors from start to finish.

The 2014 WesMar Pinot Noir ($70, wine club price $63) is a spectacular Russian River Valley Pinot Noir that has aged beautifully and is in a real sweet spot in its life cycle. The palate is lush and silky, with ample cherry flavors and a long-sophisticated finish. The aromas are classic RRV all the way, showing ripe Bing cherry notes and morel mushroom earthiness. While new to us, this Pinot shows all we have loved about the varietal and the appellation dating back to our time working in “the Russian.”

For the first time in the 14 years we have had the shop we received an allocation of the 2018 Chorey les Beaune red Burgundy from Domaine Tollot-Beaut ($80, wine club price $72). We had the opportunity to taste this top-notch Burgundy before we brought it in, and our reaction was simply WOW! The wine is not only ripe and ready to go in its youth, but shows the restraint Burgundy is known for as well. Fruit flavors are all cherry focused throughout and are matched by lovely, earthy aromas. While drinking great now, the tannins show that the wine will age well, and we predict it will be as impressive 20 years from now as it is today. The wine should not be missed.

As the Chorey les Beaune shows, 2018 was a great year in France and the 2018 Crozes-Hermitage from Maison le Alexandrins ($40, wine club price $36) confirms the caliber of the vintage. This bottling of 100% Syrah is nothing short of spectacular, with meaty, savory aromas backed by notes of smokey maple. The palate brings all the fruit flavors we can ask for, with ripe cherry and dark berry flavors all the way to the finish that is gently framed by near perfect tannins. Rhone Valley enthusiasts will love the wine and further entrench their affection for the region.

Finally, we were thrilled to find the 2016 Clairault Cabernet ($33, wine club price $29.70) from the Margaret River appellation of Australia. Australia continues to emerge from the not-so-great shadow of Yellow Tail and Fish Eye, with delicious bottlings like this. The wine has ample structure, balanced oak and seriously big fruit flavors for a rich and full-bodied Cabernet. The aromas are heightened with some Merlot and Petit Verdot that are added to the mix for a wonderful “Cab” for all those full-bodied enthusiasts.

New wines arrive every day, so be sure and stop in the shop to check them out!

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George Balling is co-owner with his wife, Mary Lancaster, of the dinner party, a wine and gift shop in Coeur d’Alene by Costco. The dinner party has won the award for best wine shop in North Idaho twice, including for 2018. George is also published in several other publications around the country. After working in wineries in California and judging many wine competitions, he moved to Coeur d’Alene with Mary more than 10 years ago to open the shop. You can also follow us on Facebook at!/dinnerpartyshop.

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