1. HugelWeine Gruner Veltliner, Austria 2018
This is a young family-run winery located in the northeast of Austria, in Ketzelsdorf-Poysdorf. The owners Sylvia and Martin Hugl aim to produce fruity, full-bodied wines that are typical of the region and the soils. They use of the experience of their parents and combine it with their know-how to create high-quality wines. Grüner Veltliner represents about 70 % of the winery’s vineyards.
Education: Grüner means “green”, which reflects the variety’s yellow-green berries that typifies Grüner Veltliner. Veltliner – a name shared by several European grape varieties – is thought to be a reference to the varieties’ possible origins in Valtellina. Valtellina is an alpine valley in the far northern region of Lombardy, Italy where it has been producing wine for over 2000 years.
Taste Profile: This is an intense and concentrated wine offering pleasant citrus and grapefruit aromas, exotic tropical fruits with a hint of freshly ground white pepper; it is full-bodied with a firm mineral backbone, giving it the strength of character to work well with many cuisines.
Cooper’s Price $14.99
2. Division Villages Rose of Gamay Noir, Willamette Valley 2018
Division Winemaking Company is Portland, Oregon based urban winery founded in 2010 by Kate Norris and Thomas Monroe. Inspired by the wineries of Loire, Beaujolais, Burgundy, and the Northern Rhône in France (where they first learned winemaking and viticulture). Tom and Kate have a passion to work with organic and/or biodynamic vineyards. Division Winemaking Company represents a new generation of winemakers that are looking beyond the status quo to create unique styles of wine, with a purpose, a story and without barriers.
Education: Gamay (Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc in full) is a grape variety that is most famous for producing the light, fruit-driven red wines of Beaujolais. It arrived there (most likely from Germany) in the 14th Century and initially received an unenthusiastic welcome. The ruling dukes of Burgundy, France even tried to outlaw the variety, distrustful of its unfamiliar taste and texture.
Cooper’s Price $18.99
3. Valravn Sonoma County Cabernet 2017
Owner Baron Ziegler began buying Bordeaux futures at the age of 15, the sale of which later funded the down payment for a Boston condo while in college at Boston University. At 18 he was hired by Food & Wine Magazine’s 2012 “Top Sommelier” Peter Eastlake, to work in his wine retail shop where he worked “under the radar” for three years. By 21, he was managing three stores and purchasing wines by the container. Baron deferred medical school to work for award-winning wine importer, Eric Solomon. After ﬁve years, he took over the role of national sales director, where he ran all aspects of sales for the next ﬁve years. Baron moved to California in 2007, two years later Banshee Wines became a reality followed by Averaen (Oregon), Valravn (Sonoma) and Requiem (Washington).
Taste Profile: 100% Cabernet – “Refined and well defined with a lovely play of savory and sweet. Cassis, black cherry and blackberry fruit is accompanied by opulent notes of dark chocolate, espresso roast, and graphite. Silky tannins with amazing richness on the palate.”
Kevin’s Notes: I worked with Baron Ziegler for three years buying multiple containers directly from Spain to the tone of 12,000 cases a year. Consequently, I am not surprised at the stunning quality and the over-the-top value of this Cabernet.
Cooper’s Price $29.99
4. Clos Pons Jan Syrah/Grenache, Costers del Segre, Spain
Education: Costers del Segre is a DO (Denominación de Origen) wine region located in Catalonia, on the north-eastern coast of Spain. The name means ‘Banks of the Segre’ – a river which originates in the Pyrenees mountain ranges.
Catalonia (Catalunya in Catalan and Cataluña in Spanish) is an autonomous community in the north-east of Spain. The capital of Catalonia is bustling Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain and home to one of the biggest ports on the Mediterranean Sea.
Kevin’s Notes: For quite some time, I’ve been searching for outstanding Spanish reds for the money and this is one of them. This a full-bodied, rich red wine with integrated North African spices.
Great wine for the BBQ, Mediterranean foods, and lamb – Tremendous Value!
Cooper’s Price $14.99