Darrin’s Send-Off Wine Musings – 3/29/18

I’ll start with the big news: This is my last weekend as a full-time retail wine guy. I am going to attempt to make a living at one of my other passions – woodworking. You’re still likely to run into me around the store sometime as I will be teaching occasional wine seminars in the NLWS cellar. Doug Hultgren (a.k.a. “Tall Doug”) is returning to the NLWS staff and will be taking over this blog (with plenty of other staff members participating). He’s really passionate about wine and has many fresh ideas, so do give his posts a thorough read.

We’ve got a ton of cool deals in and arriving this week; a couple of distributors seem to be serious about getting their inventories under control and you get to reap the benefits.

The Walt Pinot Noir Clos Pepe 2014 (94pts WA & WE, $85/bottle on release, NLWS Sale Price $42.99) always ranks as one of the great Pinots we try each year, but the “fame” of the producer hasn’t necessarily matched their price tag. But at this half-priced deal, we couldn’t resist. As Doug put it, this is “Steakhouse Pinot Noir.” It is really full, dark and meaty with exotic blue fruit and smokey, fine-grained oak. Only 10 bottles remain!!!

The 2012 and 2013 Luigi Einaudi Barolo “Cannubi” (2012 94pts JS, 2013 not yet rated, but this is a top vintage, reg. $104.99 , Sale $82.99) are both outstanding. This is a great opportunity to start a Barolo section in your cellar featuring its most revered Cru (vineyard).

The 2009 Abbona Barolo “Terlo Ravera” (93pts WS, Reg. $79.99, Sale: Inquire) is well on its way to “the pocket” of prime drink-ability. It would be nice to give it another 7 or 8 years, but it is really enjoyable right now, walking that nice line between primary fruit and leather/tobacco notes.

Terre Nere Etna Rosso Feudo Mezzo 2012, (94pts JS, Reg. $49.99, Sale $24.99, only 6 bottles available) is another exciting entry from Sicily. It is usually the brute in the lineup from Terre Nere, requiring a bit more ageing, but all accounts I’ve seen suggest this one should be good to go from 2016-2022 at least. We on the staff had the 2011 “Guardiolla” bottling from Terre Nere open last week and it was sublime; that one has unfortunately just sold out.

Duval Leroy has become the standard-bearer for value true Champagne in this market in recent years. We have the current Non Vintage Brut Reserve at a better-than-normal deal (reg. $45.99 , Sale: Inquire , 91pts WS)