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Follies Touriga Nacional / Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $9.99

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

This is by far one of the best values that I've come across since opening Craft & Curd. If you like your wines big, bold and a bit chewy this is for you. Listen to the 91 point review from Wine Enthusiast magazine:

"Concentrated and powerful, this is a rich and intense black-fruited wine. Notes of spice, herb and dark chocolate mingle with the flavor of black plum juice and firm, dry tannins. The result is a wine that needs several more years to age."

Well it is drinking great now. It was being sold for $14.99 by a big online retailer so we're proud to be able to offer it to you at $9.99 or $8.99 by the twelve bottle case. I'm able to pass it along to you at such a great price because the distributor was looking to move it out to clear space. We have 5 cases in stock now. You can reserve some by responding to this email or just stop by the store to pick some up. We'll have it open today, Friday and Saturday (as long as we don't sell out) if you'd like to taste.

Domaine Chignard Fleurie

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

Most of the best Beaujolais comes from what are called the 10 crus of Beaujolais. The term cru translates into 'growth' but think of it like a small area or village. You typically won't even see the term 'Beaujolais' on the label of one of these wines but instead the cru which it comes from. Cru Beaujolais often has very little in common to their more generic counterparts besides sharing the same grape variety: Gamay. The best wines made in one of the 10 Crus will have more in common with Burgundy proper to the north (Beaujolais is considered part of Burgundy). 

Fleurie is often described as producing the most feminine wines out of the crus. Yet, right to the northeast of Fleurie sits the cru of Moulin-à-Vent, which is said to produce some of the region's sturdiest, most masculine wines. The lovely producer Domaine Chignard has their main vineyard, Les Moriers, running directly into Moulin-à-Vent. The vines in this vineyard are on average over 60 years old so their extensive root stocks run deep into the granite soil imparting greater structure and (in my opinion, although it's debated) minerality into the wine.

When you taste their principle wine Domaine Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers it has the beautiful floral nose you would expect of Fleurie but on the palate the wine is much sturdier than you would think. There is something else fascinating about the nose, perhaps a whiff of potting soil that is sometimes associated with the much more illustrious Burgundy village of Chambolle-Musigny whose entry level wines sell for three times this price of this gem.

 I've said it before, the cru of Beaujolais are not only phenomenal wines, they're undervalued wines. Given that the prices are already too low for what they are when distributors come with additional deals on these wines, I jump on them. I know what I'll be drinking on Sunday afternoons especially once we get into the fall.


The Wines of Sandhi

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

Raj Parr is a legendary figure in the wine industry. He is known for his remarkable ability to identify wines blind (often down to the exact vineyard and vintage) and for writing the excellent book Secrets of the Sommeliers (I highly recommend this book even if you have no interest in becoming a sommelier). Raj was the national wine director for the Michael Mina group overseeing the wine programs for his restaurants in places like San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami and what would have been St. Petersburg for him but Raj decided to focus on his winery projects full-time before the opening of Tampa Bay's Locale Market.

Enter Sandhi.

Raj has a handful of winery projects going on but Sandhi is the one where he touches the most people. The vineyard sources are within Santa Barbara but when you taste the wines Burgundy is what comes to mind. They are very much in 'the new California wine' style and are prominently featured in Jon Bonné's book by the same name. I'll pull a quote from Sandhi's website to give you a better idea of their style and what they seek to avoid:

"Sandhi is dedicated to making wines of finesse, minerality, acidity, structure and balance. Wine achieves power and beauty through the seamless integration of these qualities, and this is the inspiration for Sandhi. Wines exhibiting extreme ripeness, alcohol, oak, and other discordant exaggerations cannot truly express a specific vineyards terroir."

Raj has some great partners to help him gain access to top vineyards in the area, Charles Banks, former owner of Screaming Eagle, and winemaker Sashi Moorman to make sure those vineyards express themselves fully.

Sandhi is one of those producers that fly under the radar in our state of Florida versus markets like NYC or San Francisco. That often benefits us in the form of better pricing and availability. We currently have in stock their 2012 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay and 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir.

We will feature these 2 wines from Sandhi at our tasting this Friday July 17th, 2015 from 6:00 to 8:00 and offer them at a special price.

We also have access to some of their other Chardonnays which can be special ordered:

2012 Santa Rita Hills

2012 Sanford & Benedict

2012 Rita's Crown

2012 & 13 Bentrock

Contact for pricing. Special orders of 6 bottles of individual types can obtain the very best pricing however we can arrange for smaller orders.


Buying Top Beaujolais is Theft

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

If I had to choose one type of wine to drink for the rest of my life, without a doubt it would be Beaujolais. I'm not talking about that bubble gum banana juice stuff that the French dump on us every year around Thanksgiving (say 'no' to Nouveau). What I'm talking about are some of the purest, most beautiful, most alive, exotically perfumed wines you will ever come across. They are Beaujolais but will have names of the village they come from on the label like Moulin-à-Vent or Morgon. 

The man credited with developing the quality Beaujolais market in America is the famous importer Kermit Lynch. The man credited for suppressing prices of quality Beaujolais by promoting the hell out of Beaujolais Nouveau causing consumer confusion into thinking that all Beaujolais is something sickly is named...I won't name names but I think you know who I'm talking about. The point is this consumer confusion benefits the people in the know by enabling us to buy wines that in all honesty should be priced many times higher than what they sell for.

Kermit Lynch is known for importing a group of Beaujolais producers which came to be known as the 'Gang of Four'. This 'gang' consists of Lapierre, Foillard, Thévenet & Breton. Here is a great description from the Kermit Lynch website on what united this group "[they] called for a return to the old practices of viticulture and vinification: starting with old vines, never using synthetic herbicides or pesticides, harvesting late, rigorously sorting to remove all but the healthiest grapes, adding minimal doses of sulfur dioxide or none at all, and refusing both chaptalization and filtration." Their guiding star was a legend in the region, a man named Jules Chauvet, who made wine himself but whose main mark was left imparting his philosophies to other producers of the region. Because of this movement and because of the mentioned suppression of prices we are fortunate to be able to scoop up some of the best wines made anywhere for $40 and under.

I work closely with the distributor of most of these wines so whatever is not available in the store I can easily special order with no minimums.

We currently have one of the best wines I've tasted this year: Jean Foillard Morgon 'Cote de Py'. This magical slope (pronounced: coat duh pee) produces some of the greatest wines of the area that can be dense yet with endless finesse. The grapes for this cuvée come from vines that are up to 90 years old. Soon we will also carry Foillard's "Cuvée Corcelette" 2013 but in the meantime it can be special ordered for $39.99.

Also in the store: 2012 Jean-Paul Thévenet Morgon "Vieilles Vignes" which is of a bigger and even cloudier style. These are the last remaining 3 bottles available, the 2013s have arrived with the distributor. We can special order magnums of their Morgon "Vieilles Vignes" for $69.99.

Guy Breton is most known for making a Morgon and another village called Régnié. The Régnié typically costs slightly less than the Morgon and I (and others I know) typically find it just a bit more special. Only their 2012 Morgon ($34.99) is available for special order at the moment as their 2013s are set to arrive.

Email if you have any questions or would like to special order any of these wines. Another tip: maybe it's a personal thing but these wines just seem to taste the best on a nice Sunday afternoon.

All wines mentioned are very limited in quantity so subject to availability and price changes.

My Favorite Portfolio of Wines

Posted by Tom Kisthart on

I'd like to introduce you to a micro wine distributor that happens to represent some of the best small wineries in the world. Two years ago I was taking a break from my 9 years living in Tampa working for the famous Park Avenue shop Sherry-Lehmann. I was plotting on how to get back to Tampa when I saw a job listing for a distributor called Florida Wine Company. No they don't sell Florida wine but do represent 2 of the best European wine importers: Kermit Lynch and Neal Rosenthal. Then I looked at their California portfolio and was equally impressed. I had just finished a book by the excellent writer Jon Bonné called The New Californian Wine. The Florida Wine Company portfolio seemed to contain all of the high profile wineries featured in this influential book. Names such as Chanin, Copain, Lioco, Hirsch, Peay & Matthiasson. These are producers that are widely sought after in cities like San Francisco, New York and Instagram ;-). Yet here in Florida, excluding Miami, they don't hold the same recognition. Yet...

As luck would have it, I got the job with Florida Wine Company and made it back to Tampa with a new found love of my favorite city in the world. I spent nearly a year acquainting myself with some of the best wines I've tasted and was fortunate to have the opportunity to open Craft & Curd where I continue selling these wines.

In a part two of this post I will dig deeper into their California portfolio and then will cover their impeccable European selection (which now also includes the legendary  grower Champagne, German and Austrian wine importer Terry Theise).

In the meantime, a copy of their portfolio in excel format can be downloaded here. You can special order through us with no minimums, the prices listed are what you pay plus sales tax. We receive deliveries from FWC every week on Thursday, the cut off for delivery is Tuesday. The list is up to date as of June 5th 2015 but things sell out and prices change so confirm with us first. (we are not responsible for any errors in price and availability). I'd be happy to offer you a personalized guide of the portfolio if you need help picking out certain wines.