Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Italian Arrivals

Italian wines are something new for Millesime. Compared to Spain or even France, one has to look a little harder to find the good deals. I've found three wines to get our Italian book started which arrived safely today!

SCOPETANI - This winery is located in the prestigious Rufina district of Chianti, and produces wines with pure sangiovese character.

2003 SANGIOVESE TOSCANA IGT - This wine is more than a match for many available Chiantis at an incredible price.
2003 CHIANTI - This wine is packed with brambly fruit and plenty of terroir. Priced well below market value.

MASSERIA PEPE - This Puglian winery has turned many heads in the press for their modern, densely packed primitivos.

2003 PRIMITIVO DEL TARANTINO "PORTILE" Easily one of the best primitivos available. Super-concentrated and rich, but with exquisite balance and class. Very high-toned fruit and very elegant which is a major rarity from this region of Italy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

April Arrivals from Spain

Incredible values from Spain have arrived! The wines are all showing well and I invite you all to come to Millesime and taste them on Monday, the 25th of April. There are some old favorites but also some new blood too. Here they are:

NINO JESUS - A US exclusive for Millésime with a real cult following. NJ has some of the oldest grenache vines in Spain, with great natural balance and power! I got in on the ground floor with their second vintage (2001) so am able to offer to offer these incredible wines. 2002 was not up to the winery's standards and was sold off in bulk, but those of you who have tasted any of the 2003s know that they are stellar. This time around, we have:

2003 ESTECILLO TINTO JOVEN - A blend of 85% Garnacha and 15% Tempranillo. It has major extraction and depth, with stunning length of finish. There are a number of good wines now available from Calatayud (many more than last year when I started with Niño Jesús), but I don't think any of them are up to the level of this Estecillo.
2003 ESTECILLO "LEGADO" VINAS VIEJAS - Pure old-vine grenache from high-altitude vineyards, the finest block of vines in all of Calatayud create this utterly breathtaking wine. Those of you know and love the 2001 will be blown away by the 2003. The first of several shipments of this truly memorable wine.
2000 ESTECILLO CRIANZA - 2000 was the first ever bottled by the winery, and apparently they had some left as they shipped it instead of the 2001 that I had ordered. The oak is swallowed by intense fruit and spice.

NAVARRO LOPEZ - A Millesime discovery from Valdepeñas. Those who remember the excellent 1999 will be pleased to see the wine back in stock with a better vintage.

2000 LAGUNA DE LA NAVA CRIANZA - A radical departure from the 1999, more color, intensity and extraction.

PEREZ CARAMES - Millesime gets in on the Bierzo craze.

2002 CASAR DE VALDAIGA TINTO DE MENCIA - This extremely pretty wine shows off the 'pinot' side of the mencia. Very bright and pure, with a box that has to be seen to be believed.

BODEGAS BLEDA - Millesime is again ahead of the curve with this awesome Jumilla winery.

2003 CASTILLO DE JUMILLA MONASTRELL - This is the best entry level mourvedre wine that I have ever seen. The proof that southern Spain is best suited to this 'difficult' varietal.
2003 MONTESINOS SYRAH - Those who remember the 2002 will be very happy with the 2003 - better color, more depth and richness. Simply the best syrah for the price that I've come across. The French can't do one this good for the price.
2002 DIVUS MONASTRELL - The high end wine from Bleda is I think the finest expression of the mourvedre for the price. I have never had a Bandol that I liked better than this wine.

BODEGA VIRGEN BLANCA - This Co-op produces the best "Merlot" that I have ever seen for the price.

2003 MERLOT "LERIN" - There is no merlot from anywhere that is more for the money! The color is a completely opaque black, and the fruit is utterly decadent.

CAVAS HILL - These cavas can easily stand against many available Champagnes at a fraction of the price. They are toasty, doughy, very rich, and bone-dry!

RESERVA ORO BRUT NATURE - This stands up to champagnes more than twice the cost.
2001 RESERVA ATESANIA BRUT NATURE - The vintage version offers up even more 'Bolly' style dough with an incredible creamy texture.

Friday, April 01, 2005


Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that to be an "importer" means that you IMPORT the wines from out of the country, not as is so often the case that you purchase IMPORTED wines from some agent or broker in America. Perhaps they should call themselves "import distributors" to differenciate themselves from those of us who do it the hard way. I am proud to proclaim that Millesime sells only wines that it purchases directly from the people who make it. Please look at the importer information on the bottle when you shop or dine out, usually grouped with the government warning on the back. On every import bottle that I sell, you will see the name Millesime. This means that I do the work of finding the wines to buy, not some agent. I do the logistical and legal work of getting the wine to Seattle, not some broker. What this means for you is that those agents and brokers don't have their hands in the price of these wines. It will remain that way until I decide to devote my energies to being an agent or broker myself (hey a guy has to make a living)! Come to think of it, it would still be my name on the back of the bottle...