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The Thief

Our blog was created to help make the world of wine and beer easier to understand and fun to navigate.  There are a million things to know in this industry, we just want to help you understand the latest news and trends from around the globe.  So sit back with your favorite sip and let's go on an adventure.

 

Allan Crum
 
September 21, 2020 | Allan Crum

Into the Outback: Hip Australian 3-Packs for Autumn

Pack #1 – McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley & Eden Valley, SHOP HERE

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Dry Riesling 2018

  • Eden Valley, South Australia
  • Winery founded in 1847
  • Sandy loam
  • 30-year-old vines
  • Native yeast
  • Stainless steel fermented and aged
  • 3.1 ph, .9 g/l residual
  • 94 points JS, 92 points WE
  • Dried grapefruit, peach, sorrel

 

Bink Wines ‘Sergeant J’ Red Wine 2018

  • Barossa Valley, South Australia
  • Solo project from Koen Janssens of Yetti and the Kokonut
  • Grenache
  • Native yeast fermented
  • Unfined, unfiltered
  • Sour cherry, red currant, red clay

 

S. C. Pannell ‘Smart Vineyard’ Grenache 2017

  • McClaren Vale, South Australia
  • “This is a label which is quite certain to become thoroughly iconic in the years ahead.” James Halliday
  • 80 year old bush vines
  • Red clay loam with iron and quartz
  • 100% destemmed
  • 10 days on skins
  • Aged 11 months in 2500l foudre and 500l puncheon
  • Unfined, unfiltered
  • 93 points WE
  • Red cherry, fresh strawberry, Thai basil

Pack #2 – Punk as...Ochota Barrels, SHOP HERE

‘The Green Room’ Grenache 2019

  • Mclaren Vale
  • 82% Grenache, 18% Syrah
  • Planted 1946
  • Limestone and schist
  • 85% whole cluster fermentation
  • 28-88 day maceration
  • Aged 2 months
  • Unfined, unfiltered
  • Red plum, black cap, thyme

‘From The North’ Mourvedre 2018

  • Barossa Valley
  • Sand
  • Planted 1869
  • Biodynamic viticulture
  • 100% whole cluster
  • 5 day cold soak, 12 day fermentation
  • Aged 3 months
  • Unfined, unfiltered
  • 20 ppm SO2
  • Black cherry, smoked tea, anise seed

‘The Mark of Cain’ Pinot Meunier 2019

  • Adelaide Hills
  • Clay
  • Planted 1985
  • Named after a punk band Taras Ochota once toured with
  • Half carbonic maceration for one month, half whole cluster traditional ferment for 6 days
  • Unfined, unfiltered
  • 20 ppm SO2
  • Red grapefruit, rhubarb, rose hips
Time Posted: Sep 21, 2020 at 3:52 PM
Allan Crum
 
September 15, 2020 | Allan Crum

More Joy, Less Stress Italian Red 3-Pack

More Joy, Less Stress Italian Red 3-Pack, SHOP HERE

 

Feudo Montoni Nero D’Avola 2016

  • Cammarata, Sicily
  • Clay and sand soils
  • Certified organic
  • 35-year old vineyard
  • Fermented in cement
  • Aged 20 months in cement, followed by 4 months in barrel
  • Red cherry, raspberry, star anise

 

Rocca di Frassinello Le Sughere di Frassinello 2016

  • Maremma, Tuscany
  • Collaboration between Castellare and Lafite Rothschild
  • 50% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2008 vintage made Wine Spectator Top 100 list
  • Fermented in stainless steel
  • Aged 12 months in 50% new barriques
  • 93 points WS, 91 points JS
  • Black currant, rosemary, iron

 

Iuli Umberta 2018

  • Monferrato, Piedmont
  • Limestone and clay soils
  • Certified organic
  • Vineyards planted from 1940-1999
  • Native yeasts
  • Fermented in concrete with a 20-day maceration
  • Aged in concrete for 10-11 months
  • Unfined, unfiltered
  • Blackberry, black plum, fennel seed

More Joy, Less Stress Italian Red 3-Pack, SHOP HERE

Time Posted: Sep 15, 2020 at 11:29 AM
Allan Crum
 
September 11, 2020 | Allan Crum

Enfant Terrible: Didier Dagueneau

Scroll Down for Links to Shop

“France’s most physically messianic winemaker…” “Dagueneau glared at tasters; he poured samples with studiedly curt swiftness; all questions were met with monosyllabic replies. He would rather, one felt, have been racing huskies in Finland (as he did for three months the following winter). His wines smelled not of Sauvignon Blanc, nor of gooseberries or asparagus or of micturating felines, but of......Spring. Sipping the Buisson Renard was like standing beneath a waterfall: the flavours were clean, limpid, eerily palpable, a soft shock. The Silex was not the parody flintlock of popular myth; it was pure, sappy, soaring, rich, finishing with just a hint of stone after rain. I had not been expecting this calm and majestic retreat from the varietal. I learnt something new.” Andrew Jefford, The New France

“Due to a titanic level of work in the vineyard, his pure-bred Sauvignon Blancs act like a terroir sponge.” Michel Bettane, Le Grand Guide des Vins de France

“I had a few scores to settle with the family,’ he said. ‘So, I decided to make wine, to make better wine than them. That was my first motivation. So, I decided to make the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. Not at all pretentious for someone who’s been making wine for two years.” Didier Dagueneau, in Decanter

“In my opinion, 80% of the growers are thick and lazy.” Didier Dagueneau, to Jancis Robinson

Exacting. Motivated. Perfectionist. Iconoclast. Daredevil. Hirsute. Didier Dagueneau looms over the Loire Valley appellation of Pouilly-Fumé 12 years after his death, as famous for his strutting rejection of conventionality and his neighbors’ still ruffled feathers as for his transcendent Sauvignon Blancs. In an era of chemical farming and overcropped, watery wines, Dagueneau demanded parsimonious yields and delicate, labor-intensive handwork in the vineyard, employing one worker for every 2.5 acres (the same ratio as Domaine Romanee-Conti). He forsook his family domaine in favor of establishing his own, forging a reputation for both brilliantly expressive single parcel cuvees and brutally frank opinions. Finally, he rebuffed the orthodoxy that Pouilly-Fumé and other Sauvignon Blanc based wines were meant for early consumption. His first wines from the mid-80’s are still (reportedly) drinking quite well.

After a short career as a motorbike racer (he retired after two severe crashes), he turned to winemaking, establishing his domaine with rented vineyards beginning in 1982. He would slowly add cuvees throughout his tenure, beginning with his flagship Silex (named for the siliceous terroir it is planted on) in 1985, and continuing until his 2006 acquisition of a small plot in the storied Sancerre vineyard of Monts Damnes, overlooking Chavignol. Didier’s winemaking idols included legendary producers Edmond Vatan of Sancerre and Henri Jayer of Vosne-Romanee, vignerons renowned for marrying transparent site expression to a singular house style.

Dagueneau, forever restless, experimented over the years with native yeast fermentation, extensive battonage, a low sulfur regime, and various types of oak, but the domaine’s core principles always remained the same. It began with massal selection vines pruned very aggressively, producing less than half the total yield allowed by the appellation. A practitioner of organics and biodynamics (though not certified; Didier did not mix well with bureaucracy), herbicides were eschewed in favor of plowing, whether by horse (he was one of the first growers to revive the practice, well before DRC adopted it) or tractor. At harvest, Dagueneau’s late harvesting and rigorous selection led to phenologically ripe wines without the damp heaviness of rot and botrytis. Elevage always took place in oak, though the vessels’ size and shape varied considerably over the years. Didier is famous for pioneering the use of 350l oblong “cigar” barrels with very low levels of toast, which allowed the piercing minerality and Satnav terroir of his cuvees to shine.

“A chip off the old Silex”

When Didier Dagueneau died following an ultralight plane crash in 2008, many assumed that his domaine was doomed. Louis-Benjamin Dagueneau, having studied with biodynamic Loire luminary Francois Chidaine and Olivier Jullien of shop favorite Mas Jullien, was ready to strike out on his own, much like his father before him. Instead, Louis-Benjamin took up his father’s considerable legacy, expanding upon the domaine’s fame with a string of successful vintages that have left some wondering if the son has surpassed the father. The vineyards are cared for with the same laborious intensity, and the work in the cellar has only become more precise and translucent. Methinks his father would be proud.

“Didier was more than a light, he was a natural phenomenon, a storm, a commotion and a celebration in a world that is often too dull and glum.”...“Yes, he was bigger than life. But Dagueneau was a man who didn't suffer fools and clichés lightly.” Joe Dressner

Dagueneau wines currently available at The Thief:

Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly 2016

Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly 2017

Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex 2015

Didier Dagueneau Buisson Renard 2016

Didier Dagueneau Le Mont Damne 2017

Didier Dagueneau Le Mont Damne Chavignol 2016

Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Pur Sang 2017

Didier Dagueneau Jurancon Les Jardins de Babylone 2009

 

 

 

Time Posted: Sep 11, 2020 at 7:40 AM
Allan Crum
 
September 1, 2020 | Allan Crum

Pinot Noirs Perfect for Hot Summer Days and Cool Summer Nights

PINOT NOIR 6-PACK, SHOP HERE

 

Thorne and Daughters Copper Pot Pinot Noir 2018

  • Cape South Coast, South Africa
  • Shale and sandstone soils
  • Native yeast fermentation
  • 60% whole cluster
  • 18 days on skins
  • No additives other than SO2
  • Aged 9 months in neutral French oak
  • Raspberry, satsuma, Ceylon cinnamon

 

Soter Vineyards Planet Oregon Pinot Noir 2018

  • Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • 100% Pinot noir
  • LIVE certified
  • Salmon-Safe
  • Fermented in small, open-top stainless steel
  • Aged in French oak
  • Portion of the proceeds donated to the Oregon Environmental Council
  • 90 points VM, 90 points WE, 90 points JS
  • Dried strawberry, rhubarb, forest floor

 

Mckinlay Vineyards Pinot Noir 2018

  • Willamette Valley, Oregon
  • Dry farmed
  • Organic viticulture
  • Native yeast ferment
  • Up to 25% new French oak, depending on vintage
  • Unfined, unfiltered
  • Wild strawberry, rose, cola

 

Patient Cottat Le Grand Caillou Pinot Noir 2016

  • Loire Valley, France
  • 100% Pinot noir
  • Clay soil
  • 15-20-year-old vines
  • 4 ton/acre yields
  • 7-day cold soak
  • 7-day fermentation
  • Cherry pit, bergamot, button mushroom

 

J. Mourat Rouquin de Jardin 2019

  • Loire Valley, France
  • 100% Pinot Noir
  • Certified organic
  • Rhyolite, clay, and schist
  • Fermented and aged in stainless steel
  • Cranberry, red cherry, seaweed

 

Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2014

  • Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Clay and silt over gravel
  • Handpicked
  • Native yeast fermentation
  • Fermented in small bins
  • Aged 11 months in oak barrels
  • 92 points WS
  • Raspberry, violet, white truffle

PINOT NOIR 6-PACK, SHOP HERE

Time Posted: Sep 1, 2020 at 10:16 AM
Allan Crum
 
August 10, 2020 | Allan Crum

On Muscadet...and Deep Summer Deals for Deep Summer Days & Nights

 

Jo Landron, Muscadet vigneron and prominent moustache owner

 

On Muscadet...

Muscadet might just be the summer wine. Unlike more aromatic varieties, it shows well with a serious chill. It is always refreshing, low in alcohol, and thirst-quenching. It is also (usually) very reasonably priced, so you can afford a couple bottles to get you through a sweaty summer evening.

Where is it from?

Muscadet is in the far western part of the Loire Valley, north of Bordeaux. It abuts the Atlantic Ocean, which contributes greatly to its maritime structure and salty flavor. Nantes, the nearest city, is a bustling, rainy tech hub that has been called France’s Seattle.

What is it made of?

Melon B., formerly Melon de Bourgogne. For a more thorough history of the grape, including its unceremonious banishment from Burgundy, please refer to this earlier Thief blog.

What does Muscadet taste like?

Melon, a neutral grape, often tastes of orchard fruits such as green apples or pears, with a lean structure built around citrusy acidity. Muscadet’s proximity to the sea causes a distinctly saline, minerally finish that makes your mouth water. Some producers age their Muscadets on lees for extended periods, providing extra weight and creamy autolytic flavors like baking bread (similar to Champagne).

What should I pair with it?

The classic Muscadet pairing is fresh oysters with mignonette, though they provide an excellent foil for nearly any seafood (particularly raw or light preparations). They also play really well with green vegetables, which can be a difficult pairing. Well-made examples pick up some golden weight as they age, allowing them to be paired with richer foods like chicken in a cream sauce or leeks au gratin.

When should I drink it?

Fresh Muscadet is delicious, salty, and quaffable, the kind of wine to drink on your porch tonight. Aged Muscadet can hold for 10 years or more, growing weightier and more complex as the years roll by. So, I guess the answer is, you should’ve been drinking Muscadet this whole time!

Ch. Thebaud, Famille Lieubeau


DEEP SUMMER DEALS for DEEP SUMMER DAYS

Muscadet 3-Pack, SHOP HERE

 

Chateau de la Ragotiere Muscadet Sevre et Main Sur Lie 2018

Lemon and the lightest texture are lifted by intense acidity and a lively, fresh aftertaste.

  • Country/Region: Loire Valley, France
  • Appellation: Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine
  • Varietal: Melon de Bourgogne
  • Vine Age: 25-years old on average

Domaine de la Fruitiere Cru Clisson 2014

Sourced from profoundly granitic soils that are some of the oldest in France, these wines have a lash of savory acidity and remarkable longevity. 

  • Country/Region: Loire Valley, France
  • Appellation: Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine
  • Varietal: Melon de Bourgogne
  • Vine Age: 50-years old
  • Certified organic
  • Vinification: Hand-harvested, basket press, natural yeast fermentation in tank
  • Aging: 24 months in tank on lees

La Berriere Muscadet Sur Lie 2018

The wine is fresh and has unusual depth and minerality. Thanks to its exceptional terroir, the wine is very floral and will develop fuller flavors with aging.

  • Country/Region: Loire Valley, France
  • Appellation: Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu
  • Varietal: Melon de Bourgogne
  • Vine Age: Up to 60-years old
  • Vinification: 7 months on lees with batonnage 1x each month

 

Vins de Vacances 6-Pack, SHOP HERE

 

Joseph Drouhin Rully Blanc 2016

A wine full of charm! The color is a beautiful white gold, with a ravishing purity and brilliance.

  • Country/Region: Burgundy, France
  • Appellation: Rully, Côte Chalonnaise
  • Varietal: Chardonnay
  • Vinification: Hand-harvested, aged in French oak (20% new) for 6-8 months.
  • Certified organic

St. Cosme Little James Basket Press Pays D'OC Blanc 2018

Chateau de Saint Cosme is the leading estate of Gigondas and produces the appellation’s benchmark wines.

  • Country/Region: South of France, France
  • Appellation: Pays d’Oc
  • Varietals: 50% Viognier, 50% Sauvignon Blanc
  • Vinification: Stainless steel

Ingrid Groiss Gemischter Satz Braitenpuechtorff 2018

The oldest wine-growing districtus in Austria, the Weinviertel DAC, is where Ingrid Groiss calls home.  Hailing from the town of Breitenwaida, in northeast Austria, near the border with the Czech Republic, Ingrid crafts wines expressive of terroir, keeping with her family’s long tradition of winemaking.  She is supremely passionate about her wines, with sustainable practices in the vineyard and minimal interference of modern technologies in the cellar.

  • Country: Austria
  • Appellation: Neiderosterreich
  • Varietals: Rare white blend (Chardonnay, Frühroter Veltliner, Grauburgunder, Grauer Vöslauer, Grüner Veltliner, Hietl Rote, Müller Thurgau, Neuberger, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Roter Veltliner, Rotgipfler, Sämling, Silberweisse, Welchriesling, Wiesse Vöslauer, Zierfandler)
  • Vinification: Hand-harvested, 7 hours maceration, 4 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks

Peyrassol La Croix des Templiers Rosé 2019

The name of the estate is the first indication of its long, illustrious past. Located in the heart of Provence, near routes traveled by Crusaders in the early Middle Ages, the Commanderie de Peyrassol was founded by the Knights of Templar who were dedicated to protecting the Crusaders en route to, and in, the Holy Land. 

  • Country: France
  • Appellation: Provence, IGP Mediterranee
  • Varietals: Cinsault and Grenache

Domaine de la Patience Rosé Nemausa 2018

This family estate located in the Costières de Nîmes takes its name from a wild, aromatic herb “La Patience” that can be found throughout the vineyard. 

  • Country: France
  • Appellation: Costieres de Nimes
  • Varietals: Grenache and Cinsault
  • Vine Age: 20 years
  • Vinification: Fermentation in stainless steel, aging in concrete vats
  • Certified organic

Figuiere Mediterranee Rosé 2019

Over a period of 25 years, the Combard Family has grown Figuière to its current size of 210 acres. Additionally, Figuière produces an entry-level tier of wines called "Méditerranée" using meticulously selected grapes sourced from négociants. The perfecting touches of maturing and blending are carried out in the domaine’s cellars.

  • Country: France
  • Appellation: Provence
  • Varietals: 40% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Vine age: 10 – 15 years
  • Vinification: Stainless steel fermentation

 

Time Posted: Aug 10, 2020 at 6:05 PM
Allan Crum
 
August 3, 2020 | Allan Crum

Sparkling Wine Style Guide & Info About the 6 Battle Bubbles Wines

BATTLE BUBBLES 6-PACK - SHOP HERE

Sparkling wine labels can be confusing as heck. Traditional method, Charmat method, brut, extra dry, Prosecco, Cava, Champagne, BLAARGH...I just want bubbles in my glass!!! Here’s a handy guide to help you find the right bottle the next time you’re celebrating a promotion, an anniversary, or even a Tuesday.

Traditional Method - The method used for Champagne, Cremant, and other fine sparkling wines around the world. First, the grapes are picked and pressed, just like regular white wine. The juice is then fermented, usually in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels depending on the winemaker’s preference. The highly acidic still wines that are produced are called the vin clairs. These are blended with reserve wine from previous vintages (unless the producer wants to make a single vintage wine) before being bottled with a small amount of yeast and sugar. As the yeast ferments the sugar, it produces carbon dioxide. This trapped CO2 from the second fermentation stays in the bottles. Blammo, we’ve got bubbles.

As the yeasts die, they drop out of the wine and form sediment in the bottle known as lees. The amount of time a sparkling wine spends on the lees has a huge impact on its aroma and flavor, contributing notes of baking bread or roasted nuts which round out and soften the wine.

After the lees are removed through a process known as disgorgement, the wine is dry and still very tart, so a small amount of sugar is often added to balance the wine. This is the dosage, and it determines the finished sweetness of the wine. Brut is the most common level (~12g sugar), but drier styles have become more popular recently, with some producers choosing to forgo this step in favor of brut nature or zero dosage wines (more on that later).

Cava - Spanish (Catalonian) DO that produces traditional method sparkling wines, often based on Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo. Often excellent quality vs price.

Prosecco - Italian DOC or DOCG in the Veneto and Friuli (northeastern Italy), often produced from the Glera grape (itself formerly known as Prosecco, recently renamed to avoid confusion). Made in the Charmat method, where a wine is refermented in tank, rather than in each bottle as with the traditional method. The lower production cost allows Prosecco to be sold at very reasonable prices.

Sweetness - The sweetness of a sparkling wine is determined by the residual (unfermented) sugar. In the traditional method, the winemaker will often add a dosage of wine and sugar after disgorgement. In the Charmat or tank method, a dosage is often added after sterile filtration.

Here are the sweetness levels for European sparkling wines:

Brut Nature - 0-3g/l. No added dosage, the driest of the dry.

Extra Brut - 0-6 g/l. Not to be confused with Extra Dry.

Brut - 0-12 g/l. The most common sweetness level. Still drinks fairly dry because of sparkling wine’s high acidity.

Extra Dry - 12-17 g/l

Demi-Sec - 32-50 g/l

Dulce - 50+ g/l

If you’d like a sparkler with more perceptible acidity, a drink to pair with a full meal from salad to main course, head for drier climes. If you prefer a softer, fruitier sparkling wine, or you need something to pair with dessert, aim for the sweeter end of the spectrum. Most importantly, taste a range of styles and learn what you prefer. After all, bubbles are about enjoying yourself!


BATTLE BUBBLES 6-PACK - SHOP HERE

Juve Y Camps Reserva de la Familia Cava Brut Nature 2016

  • Cava
  • 40% Xarel·lo, 30% Macabeo, 20% Parellada, 10% Chardonnay
  • Full malolactic fermentation
  • Traditional method
  • Aged on lees for 36 months before disgorgement
  • Brut nature, meaning zero dosage
  • Orange peel, white grapefruit, almond

Camp Viejo Cava Brut Rosé NV

  • Cava
  • 100% Trepat
  • Traditional method
  • Aged on lees for 9 months
  • 9g/l sugar
  • 89 points WW
  • Raspberry, strawberry, tarragon

Clos Lentiscus Rosé Brut Nature

  • Penedes, Catalonia
  • 70% Carinyena, 30% Xarel-lo
  • Certified organic vineyard
  • Zero So2 added
  • Native yeast fermentation
  • Traditional method
  • Unfined, unfiltered
  • Brut nature, meaning zero dosage
  • Plum, red cherry, jamon

Cleto Chiarli Vecchia Modena Lambrusco di Sorbara 2018

  • Lambrusco
  • 100% Lambrusco di Sorbara
  • Charmat or tank method
  • No malolactic fermentation
  • 2 months on lees
  • 8g/l sugar
  • 93 points JS, 90 points WE
  • Orange rind, tangerine, ginger

Sommariva “Il Rosa” Spumante Brut Rosé

  • Veneto
  • 90% Raboso, 10% Pinot Noir
  • Clay soil
  • Handpicked
  • Fermented in stainless steel
  • No malolactic fermentation
  • Charmat or tank method
  • 12g/l sugar
  • Raspberry, rainier cherry, lemon basil

Bisol Jeio Brut Rosé NV

  • Veneto
  • 50% Merlot, 50% Pinot Noir
  • Cold maceration for 36 hours
  • Cold fermentation for 15 days
  • Charmat or tank method
  • 10g/l sugar
  • 92 points JS
  • Cantaloupe, dried strawberry, cherry pit

BATTLE BUBBLES 6-PACK - SHOP HERE

Time Posted: Aug 3, 2020 at 5:39 PM
Allan Crum
 
July 27, 2020 | Allan Crum

Sicilian Scirocco (Not just a bunch of hot air) & Info on our Etna Whites 3-Pack

We love the pyrotechnic wines of Mt. Etna, but it would be a shame to forget about the wines from the rest of Sicily. The shop just received a large shipment from one of our favorite Sicilian producers: COS. This is the hottest week of the summer so far, so it seems appropriate to daydream about olive trees, fried eggplant, and spicy wine.

COS was founded in 1980 when three friends purchased an old estate in Vittoria, in southeastern Sicily. At the time, they were the youngest producers in the region. Sicilian wine was just beginning to wake from its post-phylloxera, post-war slumber, and its wines were often marked by a tarry rusticity that is the hallmark of inelegantly made Nero d’Avola. COS quickly established a new paradigm with fragrant, energetic wines based on two local red varieties: Nero d’Avola and Frappato.

Nero d’Avola is the darker varietal of the two. Giusto Occhipinti (the O in COS, and Arianna Occhipinti’s uncle) likens it to Syrah. It has many of the same structural and aromatic qualities, with dark plummy fruit, black pepper, and violets, as well as the ability to retain acidity in Sicily’s warm Mediterranean climate. Frappato is lighter, with red berries (especially strawberry) and intense florality, reminiscent of Cru Beaujolais.

COS bottles several monovarietal renditions of Nero and Frappato, but the varieties really shine when they’re blended. Sicily’s only DOCG, which COS was instrumental in establishing, is Cerasuolo di Vittoria (“cherries of Vittoria”), which must be a blend of 50-70% Nero d’Avola and 30-50% Frappato. Nero d’Avola provides structure and density while Frappato brings lift and aromatic potency. This inherent balance, especially when combined with limestone soils and COS’s attentive organic viticulture, makes for a sun-kissed, unabashedly Mediterranean wine with surprising vivacity and freshness.

Their pursuit of freshness does not end in the vineyard. COS was one of the first wineries in Italy to revive the ancient practice of fermenting and aging wines in unlined terracotta amphora (that’s big clay pots to you and me). The amphoras are neutral vessels that allow the wine’s fragrance to shine without the obstruction of oak, while their porosity provides small amounts of oxygen (as opposed to an anaerobic stainless steel tank).

The wines of COS are distinctive and iconic (much like their squat, old-timey bottles), and they have helped to revive the winemaking industry in Sicily. Fry up some eggplant, boil some pasta, and enjoy a bottle or two as the summer heat shimmers.

Click red names to shop:

COS Pithos Rosso Amphora 2016

COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico 2015

COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico delle Fontane 2012

Azienda Agricola COS Contrada Nero D'Avola 2011

 

Some of our other favorite Sicilian producers -

Arianna Occhipinti - the student becomes the master. Arianna formed her domaine at 22, after helping her uncle for several harvests. Her wines share many qualities with COS’s, from organic viticulture to cutting edge winemaking. Her Frappato is frankly Burgundian.

Arianna Occhipinti Frappato IGT 2017

 

Feudo Montoni -  a new addition to the shop. Value priced, well-made wines for a Tuesday pasta.

Feudo Montoni Lagnusa Nero d'Avola 2016

Feudo Montoni Vigna del Masso Catarratto 2017

 

Il Censo - Another organic producer, inspired by Umbrian legend Paolo Bea. Deep, dark, Syrah-y Nero d’Avola perfect for roasted lamb.

Il Censo Provvido 2016

 

Colosi - a shop favorite, punches well above its price. Screams for anything with grill marks.

Colosi Nero d'Avola 2018

 

Planeta - wonderfully floral Frappato makes a great red wine pairing for lighter fare, including rich seafood.

Planeta Frappato Sicilia Vittoria DOC 2017

 

Tasca d'Almerita - Salty, spicy Grillo from near Marsala. A maritime white for squid, shrimp, or even, gasp, green vegetables.

Tasca d'Almerita Mozia Fondazione Whitaker Grillo 2018


Volcanic Etna Whites 3-Pack, SHOP HERE

“Etna is like an immense house cat who quietly roars and sometimes wakes up, yawns, with sluggish stretching and, of a distracted paw, now covers a valley now another, erasing villages, vineyards and gardens. And just as Eliot's cats have three different names: Etna, Mongibello, and the third secret. Immense. " Leonardo Sciascia

Tenuta di Fessina Erse Etna Bianco 2016

  • Named for the Greek goddess of dew
  • 80% Carricante, 20% Catarratto and Minnella
  • Volcanic sand
  • 50-100 year old vines
  • 3,000 foot elevation
  • Fermented and aged in stainless steel
  • 91 points WE, 90 points VM
  • Lemon, green pear, verbena

Benanti Etna Bianco 2018

  • 100% Carricante
  • Volcanic sand
  • East and South Etna
  • Fermented and aged in stainless steel
  • 2,000-3,000 foot elevation
  • 20-60 year old vines
  • Green apple, white flowers, smoked salt

Tenuta de la Terre Nere Etna Bianco 2018

  • 60% Carricante, 25% Catarratto, 10% Grecanico, 5% Minnella
  • Volcanic sand
  • North side of Etna
  • 25-60 year-old vines
  • Certified organic
  • Fermented and aged in stainless steel
  • 93 points JS
  • Dried apple, preserved lemon, sea spray

SHOP HERE

Time Posted: Jul 27, 2020 at 4:54 PM
Allan Crum
 
July 22, 2020 | Allan Crum

Walla Walla Valley Summer Celebration Wine Packages

Walla Walla Red Wine 3-Pack, SHOP HERE

Vital Wines Quintessence Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Vital is a non-profit winery founded by Ashley Trout of Brook & Bull working for better healthcare for vineyard and cellar workers. Many of the materials are donated by Washington state vineyards and wineries.

Time & Direction Syrah 2017

Time & Direction is a boutique, Rhone focused winery run by one-man-show, ex-sommelier, and former Thief employee Steve Wells. His Syrahs have already received high accolades from several wine publications, and he is just getting started.

Prospice Merlot 2017

Prospice Wines consists of the winemaking duo Jay Krutulis and Matt Reilly. Their first shared project was a WWCC Merlot, and now years later they continue to produce fantastic “f@#$@$% Merlot!” Take that Miles.

Walla Walla White Wine 3-Pack, SHOP HERE

itä 2 of 2 Semillon 2019

itä Wines is a new winery from WWCC Enology program graduate Kelsey Albro Itämeri. She crafts elegant, balanced wines from high elevation vineyards on Walla Walla’s east side.

Rotie Cellars Grenache Blanc 2018

Rotie’s Sean Boyd has been a driving force in Walla Walla’s Rhone scene for more than a decade, producing wines with power and finesse from some of the region’s finest vineyards.

Aluvé Estate Chardonnay 2018

Kelly and JJ of Aluvé Winery use estate-grown fruit from the vineyard adjacent to their home for this succulent, ripe Chardonnay. After 20+ years in the Air Force, harvest is a breeze.

Celebrate Rosé! Walla Walla 6-Pack, SHOP HERE

Lagana Pinot Noir Rosé 2019

Jason Fox sources the Pinot Noir for his rosé from Breezy Slope Vineyard, one of the highest elevation vineyards in Walla Walla. The elevation helps this notoriously finicky variety hold its acid, making it perfect for refreshing rosé.

Grosgrain Blush 2019

This dry, concrete fermented Grenache rosé from Matt and Kelly Austin is a cheeky nod to the California Blush wines of the past, though it’s done in the light, refreshing house style of this new winery.

Smak Summer Rosé 2019

A local rosé pack is not complete without one of Fiona Mak’s delicious bottles. Her label is rosé exclusive, with releases reflecting the changing seasons. Rosé all year!

Hoquetus Cabernet Franc Rosé 2019

Advanced Sommelier Robert Gomez’s new label, with its striking artwork and thoughtfully crafted wines, has quickly become a shop favorite. He hit it out of the park with this rosé from Blue Mountain Vineyard.

El Corazon Red Frog 2019

El Corazon is a party, and Spencer Sievers is the MC/DJ/disco ball/Winemaker. This Malbec rosé will cool you down like a lake in July. Rbbbbt.

The Walls Cruel Summer Rosé 2019

This blend of Grenache and Syrah from French Creek Vineyard is always one of our favorite rosés, and the new vintage has not disappointed. Consulting winemaker Todd Alexander has produced an aromatic, fresh pink to beat the Walla Walla heat.

Time Posted: Jul 22, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Allan Crum
 
July 15, 2020 | Allan Crum

Brunch Drinks Pack a Punch

Brunch Sippers 3-Pack, SHOP HERE

There are some wines that are meant for contemplation, for decanting and incanting, for polished goblets and crystal flutes, for making new friends and for shaming your enemies - wines that scoff at crudité and salads, that demand steaming hunks of beef like a demi-god demands at a sacrifice.

These, however…these are decidedly not those wines. These are wines for a pool, or a boat, a sprinkler in the backyard, or a sprinkler in a pool on a boat. These are wines for grass and sunshine. These are wines for brunch and prolonged brunching. Brunch isn’t just a meal, it’s your own personal holiday, and you get to pick the date.

These wines are gulpable and unpretentious, the perfect base for a brunch drink, or brunch punch, if you will. Try one of these out the next time you’re tired of mimosas. Heck, try them out when you’re sick of orange juice – we won’t tell.

Zardetto Bellini

2 ripe white or yellow peaches

1 bottle Zardetto Private Cuvée Brut

Blanch peaches for 1 minute in boiling water. Remove to ice bath. Peel peaches, then cube, removing pit. Blitz in food processor or blender. In a flute, combine 1 part peach puree with 2 parts Zardetto. Presto!

Cappelletti Rosé Spritz

1 part Cappelletti (can substitute Aperol or Campari)

3 parts Rosé Limé

Serve with a slice of lemon or orange. Put on a caftan and pretend you’re in Miami.

Bugey Cerdon Sorbet Float (don’t you dare judge me)

Valpolicella lovers in need of a summer beverage – this one is for you! Add a small scoop of Colville St. Patisserie rhubarb sorbet to a mug of ice-cold Raphael Bartucci Bugey Cerdon. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own watermelon-orange sorbet.

Watermelon-Orange Sorbet

½ ripe watermelon, cubed

Zest from one small orange

Warm water, as needed

Place watermelon cubes on a lined baking sheet. Freeze for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight. Place frozen watermelon chunks and orange zest in a food processor or blender, allowing 5 minutes to begin thawing. Blend until smooth, pressing down with a spatula and adding warm water in small increments to facilitate smoother texture. Santé!


Brunch Sippers 3-Pack, SHOP HERE

Zardetto Private Cuvée Brut

  • Located in Prosecco
  • 60% Glera, 25% Chardonnay, 15% Moscato
  • Fermented and aged in stainless steel
  • 12g/l residual
  • Navel orange, white peach, orange blossom

Rose Limé

  • Entre-deux-Mers, Bordeaux
  • Popular in the cafes and brasseries of Paris in the 1950’s
  • Red fruit and citrus aromas
  • Touch of fizz
  • Lemon, grapefruit, cherry

Raphael Bartucci Bugey Cerdon

  • Savoie
  • 95% Gamay, 5% Poulsard
  • Certified organic
  • Taught by Pierre Overnoy and Marcel Lapierre
  • No added sulfur
  • Native yeast fermentation
  • Method ancestral - bottled before primary fermentation has finished. Trapped CO2 provides effervescence.
  • Disgorged
  • Off dry
  • Strawberry, plum, dried orange

Time Posted: Jul 15, 2020 at 2:04 PM
Allan Crum
 
July 7, 2020 | Allan Crum

The Thief Staff's Favorite Pairings for Grilling

The staff of the Thief likes to eat nearly as much as we like to drink wine. Spicy Spanish red wines are a no-brainer when you’re grilling, but here are a few more ideas to get you through the summer.

(Click name in red to shop)

Emily - Argentine-style steak with chimichurri sauce paired with Laurel Priorat.

Karin - Chipotle marinated flank steak and grilled tomatillo salsa with Lapostolle Carmenere.

Matt (that’s Curly to you) - Peppered ribeye with Produttori del Barbaresco Montestefano 2013, or coconut grilled shrimp with Pichot Vouvray.

Devin - Honey-cider vinegar glazed pork chops with Château d’Orschwihr Riesling.

 

As for me (Allan), I recently wrote about a great experience with slow-grilled pork brisket and lightly chilled Beaujolais-Villages from Foillard, but I also love harissa grilled lamb with Hervé Souhaut Syrah. I’m kind of surprised no one called for steak and Champagne!


Spanish Reds for BBQ Season 3-Pack, SHOP HERE

 

Primitivo Quiles Raspay 2012

  • Alicante
  • 100% Mourvedre (Monastrell)
  • 80 year old vines
  • Destemmed, lightly crushed
  • Aged 24 months in neutral American oak barrels
  • 91 points VM
  • Dried cherry, raspberry, leather

  

Vegas Altas Tempranillo 2018

  • 100% Tempranillo
  • Extremadura
  • Biodynamic viticulture
  • Clay soils
  • Native yeast fermentation
  • Fermented and aged in stainless steel
  • Unfiltered
  • Dried strawberry, cranberry, licorice

Camins del Priorat 2018

  • Priorat
  • 40% Garnacha, 20% Samsó (Carignan), 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, plus others
  • Alvaro Palacios
  • Regional blend of 101 blocks from 8 villages
  • Organic viticulture
  • Destemmed
  • Fermented in stainless steel, cement, and large format oak
  • Aged in barrels and wood vats
  • 94 points JS, 91 points WA
  • Raspberry, fennel, slate
Time Posted: Jul 7, 2020 at 10:08 AM

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