October, '21

Forest Hill Vineyard Shiraz

Western Australia, Australia

If you think you don’t like Australian wine, allow me to introduce these beauties. Much of what gets offered to us in the States ends up being incredibly over-blown, or incredibly over-priced. The state of Australian winemaking as a whole, though, is incredibly exciting, with lots of small-production, well-balanced examples of what these wines are truly meant to taste like. Lucky for us, and thanks to a new importer of exclusively Australian wines, we’re able to offer this line of beauties from Forest Hill Vineyard in Western Australia, for the first time in Colorado. Some of the most innovative winemaking in the country is happening here, or with their compatriots slightly further north, in Margaret River. The wines are expressive, bold, and rich, but still exhibit a sense of restraint, and a refreshing amount of structure and complexity. This Shiraz is just that, bold dark fruits like blackberry and pomegranate, with a trademark herbal undertone and balanced tannins. Perfect for fatty cuts of beef, lamb, or a trademark barbecue in the bush.

Forest Hill Vineyard Chardonnay

Western Australia, Australia

I love proving people wrong about Chardonnay. There’s Chardonnay-aphobia around these parts for good reason, they’re often too rich, buttery, and over-the-top for most casual consumption. There are a few examples, though, that are fresh, lean, and incredibly well-balanced. This wine is absolutely lights-out. The fruit is delicate, nuanced, and elegant, and the winemaking ethos is certainly about balance and restraint, creating layers of complexity, though keeping the wine eminently drinkable. If you love Chardonnay, prepare to fall even deeper. If you’re on the fence, this is the wine that will make you reconsider all of life’s most basic questions: Is Chardonnay my favorite wine grape? Is Australia the most underrated winemaking country in the world? Should Steve Smith really have been stripped of the Australian Test Cricket Team’s captaincy after the sandpaper scandal?

Drink this with whatever.

Forest Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Western Australia, Australia

If you’ve never had Western Australian Cab before, you’re in for a treat. Some of the highest quality Cabernet in Australia is coming out of here these days (even more so than classic appellations like Coonawarra). These wines are very, very good. All the luster of rich, dark fruits, some of the trademark eucalyptus that Australian Cabernets are known for, but none of the overbearing qualities that lower end expressions are known for. They’re almost Bordeaux-like in quality, but a bit riper and a bit softer. A really palatable Cabernet that’s suitable for a whole mess of fare, like filet, pork loins, or even a sausage sizzle outside of a Bunnings Hardware store.

September '21

Chateau Franc Baudron “Recto” Rouge

Bordeaux, France

Ah, the simple joys of Bordeaux. One of the most famous examples of blending in the world, and for good reason. The Cabernet-dominated styles from the left-bank in particular are notorious, while the right-bank Merlot-driven styles remain a bit of an insider. We’re staunch defenders of Merlot at Mondo Vino, and firmly believe that right-bank Bordeaux is some of the most elegant, perfumed, and delicious expressions of it in the world. Chateau Franc-Baudron has been a family-run estate since its inception in 1923 in Montagne-Saint Emilion. The current generation, led by Sophie, her husband Charles, and her brother Vincent have worked to convert all of the vineyard sites to biodynamic and self-sustaining. They still strive to create quality Bordeaux that tastes like Bordeaux, elegant and yet powerful. This 100% Merlot cuvée showcases the pride and joy of this satellite appellation. Dark fruited, very rich tannin structure and a hint of spice.

Chateau Franc Baudron “Verso” Blanc

Bordeaux, France

White Bordeaux is seriously slept-on. We can’t seem to keep the Sauvignon Blanc shelves at Mondo stocked, and yet white Bordeaux often sits on the wayside, like a forgotten step-child. These wines, however, are incredibly versatile, and often some of the most beautiful expressions of Sauvignon Blanc around. Thanks to it often being blended with Semillon, white Bordeaux tends to have all the characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc we know and love (citrus-forward, a bit grassy, and bright acidity) while also having a bit more weight and richness. Chateau Franc Baudron’s 50/50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon is a perfect example of this, with aromas of white peach, a bit of citrus, and a bit of spice. Absolutely gorgeous with richer seafood dishes, and any chicken.

Chateau Ferran Saint-Pierre Bordeaux Supérieur

Bordeaux, France

A counterpoint to the Franc Baudron, we though it would be fun to side-by-side a 100% Merlot offering with a more classic Bordeaux blend, to show how these varieties all play together. Chateau Ferran Saint Pierre is a 100% biodynamic estate located in the Entre Deux Mers, making fresh and approachable expressions of Bordeaux showcasing different styles of winemaking. This is a Merlot-dominant blend, with a heart dose of Cabernet Franc and a pinch of Cabernet Sauvignon to add a bit more structure, herbaceousness, and some hints of red fruit. A beautiful cuvée that works well with any richer proteins.

August '21

Jelu Estate Pinot Noir

Patagonia, Argentina

While Malbec may be the most popular wine being made in Argentina, Pinot Noir is certainly some of the highest quality. Though much of the country is arid and warm, high altitude vineyards (like those in Patagonia) are where cool-climate grapes like Pinot thrive. The warm days and cool nights allow Pinot Noir to ripen fully, but preserve the acidity and brightness that it’s known for. These Pinot Noir grapes in particular are picked early, in January (the southern hemisphere’s July) with a focus on preserving the acidity and preventing the wines from becoming flabby, boring messes. This wine is an extremely nice find, with all grapes grown either organically or biodynamically, and aged for almost a full year in large oak barrels. Mushrooms or light proteins for this one!

Pie de Palo Viognier

Mendoza, Argentina

Why don’t we drink more Viognier? It fills a hole in our hearts that we seem to have reserved only for rich Chardonnays and white Rhone blends. But Viognier from places like Mendoza can be so beautiful and extremely great value (especially when you compare them to their expensive relatives in places like Condrieu). Viogniers are typically rich and floral, with soft acidity and a decadent, mouth-coating texture. Pie de Palo’s is verging on tropical, with flavors of juicy apricot, guava, and pineapple. A bit lighter than some, but still rich enough to hold up to poultry dishes or heartier seafood.

Pie de Palo Malbec

Mendoza, Argentina

There’s a reason that people drink Argentinian wine so ferociously, and it’s Malbec. Though we originally wanted to abstain from any Malbec in the club, we didn’t feel it was right to represent Argentina without their flagship. This is about as classic as Malbec gets from Mendoza; it’s fresh, low in tannins, and bright fruited. It’s all stainless-steel aged, to preserve the fruit profile and keep it lean and vibrant. This works well with leaner cuts of red meat, or fleshier poultry like duck.

July '21

Piazzano Ciliegiolo

Italy is home to hundreds and hundreds of indigenous grape varietals (that we know of), and they’re all unique and interesting in their own ways. When it comes to importing wines, a lot of the same familiar faces always dominate the market, so we decided to feature some lesser-known Italian grapes for this month’s club. “Ciliegiolo” is genetically linked to Sangiovese, though it remains to be seen exactly how. It’s somewhat similar, but is made in a swath of styles across Italy. The Tuscan style (like Piazzano’s) is typically richer, with bright acidity, and red cherry fruit. This one also features a fair amount of spice, leather, tobacco, and fresh flowers. Drink me on pasta night.

Curatolo Arini “Paccamora” Catarratto

If you asked everyone at Mondo for their favorite wine regions, you’d get a lot of different answers. Sicily, however, is probably in EVERYONE’S top-five. Sicily features plenty of grapes grown almost nowhere else, in a variety of styles. Catarratto is one of these, and no one catarratto is like another. Some are extremely rich, almost creamy, and ripe, while others are lighter, leaner, and more delicate. This one is the latter, extremely fresh and salty on the palate, with aromas of bright peaches, lemon zest, and white flowers. Seafood not included.

Antonelli Montefalco Rosso

Sangiovese, but with a twist! Montefalco is known for its production of Sagrantino, another indigenous red grape, but works with a lot of Sangiovese as well. For those lovers of Tuscany out there, this one is definitely worth checking out. Montefalco is a touch warmer and lacks the coastal influence of Tuscany, allowing for an extra bit of ripeness. This wine is dry and intense, yet pretty fresh fruited. Rich Sagrantino does shine through in the blend.

June '21

Roterfaden & Rosswag Co—op “Terraces” Red

The uniqueness of this wine is multi-layered, from the producer, to the region, to the wine. Based north of Stuttgart, near the French border in southwestern Germany, the small village of Rosswag tends to work in a co–op style, with ~99% of the grapes grown being made in to simple, village level wines. Producers like Weingut Roterfaden, however, are the other 1%, and work with the village to create organic and biodynamic wines from these ancient terraced vineyards. This blend of Lemberger (Blaufränkisch), Trolliger, Regent, and Schwarzriesling is light, fresh, and layered with hints of spices. Soft cheeses, mushrooms, and light fare are perfect for this one.

Enderle & Moll “Müller”

An estate of just two guys, a couple hectares in Baden, and a tiny winery is producing wine that even Jancis Robinson is assigning “cult” status to. Known for their earthy and complex Pinot Noir, Florian Moll and Sven Enderle also make finessed, racy, and delicious whites from classic German varietals. “Müller” is 100% Müller-Thurgau from both Baden and Mosel, delivering a high-toned, vibrant white with racy acid. Perfect for light fare and a variety of cheeses. Biodynamic.

Les Athletes du Vin Gamay

A bit of a break from the German theme, we wanted to emphasize a variety of lighter, summery wines just in time for the heat, and just couldn’t pass this one by. 100% Gamay from Les Athletes du Vin, a négociant project based on finding high quality and affordable organic and natural wines from the Loire Valley. This Gamay is classic; tart, dark cherries and blackberries, with great acidity making it a perfect porch wine. Definitely chill this one down, and serve with a variety of snacks, lighter foods, or on its own.

May '21

Esporão Colheita Red

A classic Portuguese red blend from Alentejo, located in the south of the maritime country. Featuring Touring Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet, Aragones, and Touriga Franca, this wine certainly has some muscle, but not at the sacrifice of freshness. The wine is fermented and aged in concrete vessels, allowing the fruit profile to stay ripe, and the structure youthful. Portuguese wine is truly a hidden gem in terms of its price point, and the quality of what’s being made. Dark fruit, a bit of jam, and some herbaceousness. Pair me with heartier springtime fare.

Ameal Loureiro

Not your average Vinho Verde. This 100% Loureiro plays on Vinho Verde’s acidity and crispness, but leaves the spritz and the residual sugar by the wayside. The wine is clean, citrusy, and relatively light, making it a perfect pairing for seafood of all kinds. A distinct mineral backbone, along with a pinch of saltiness and a hint of grass adds layers to this already impressive wine. The winemaker, Pedro Araujo, has created a winemaking environment so starkly authentic to place, and works 100% organically.

Esporão Reserva Red

A bit of an experiment here for the club. We wanted to highlight a specific producer and their winemaking techniques, and felt Esporão was a perfect catalyst. Their “reserva” is the same blend as their Colheita, but a year older, and sees different aging and production techniques. The wine is fermented in a combination of concrete and stainless steel, but is aged for twelve months in a blend of American and French oak. The result is a wine that is a bit more savory, dark, and round than its younger counterpart. Worth tasting them side-by-side to see the difference!

April '21

Finca Torremilanos “Los Cantos” Ribera del Duero

If Rioja is a sports car, then Ribera del Duero is all muscle; the warmer climate leads to Tempranillo-dominant wines that are dark, structured, earthy, and rich. “Los Cantos” ticks all of those boxes, with notes of dark fruit, black peppercorn, and an intense mouthfeel. Pair me with steak, barbecue, and anything salty.

Granite Post Albariño

Rias Baixas is unlike anywhere else in Spain; its cooler, maritime climate lends itself to white wines like Albariño, known for their ripe acidity, citrus and stone fruit flavors, and extremely aromatic presence in the glass. Granite Post fires on all cylinders, with notes of white flowers, apples, citrus, and a touch of stone fruit. Pair me with anything that reminds you of summertime.

Paraje de Titos Garnacha

The warm climate of La Mancha, Spain is perfect for Garnacha. The heat allows the grapes to fully ripen and produce pronounced spicy fruit aromas, full body, and high alcohol. Parade de Titos’ variation is a bit darker than some other Spanish garnacha, with notes of blueberries, plums, baking spice, and a structured finish. Perfect for spiced meats and hearty sides.

Club Lux — March 2021

Red 1 – Chateau Pécot Cahors Malbec

Unlike its juicer, softer Argentinian counterparts, French Malbec is known for its leanness, muscularity, and dark fruit flavors. Cahors, near Bordeaux, is where French Malbec is most prominent and renowned. Chateau Pécot’s is no exception to the rule, featuring a plethora of red and black fruits, firm tannins, and balanced acidity, making it the perfect companion for heavier proteins.

Red 2 – Mary Taylor Beaujolais-Village

A timeless, classic expression of Beaujolais! This 100% Gamay carries unmistakable notes of fresh red raspberries, banana, and vibrant acidity. All grapes are hand-harvested and are carefully selected, before fermenting in neutral vats to maintain their fresh, fruit-forward character. Thanks to Gamay’s high acidity, this wine pairs well with many different foods, or can be enjoyed on its own, with good company.

White – Mary Taylor Anjou Blanc

This delicious expression of Chenin Blanc comes from one of the Loire Valley’s most well-kept secrets. It displays the high, racy acidity that Chenin is known for, while also maintaining a rich, luxurious texture. A beautiful wine, with flavors of Apricots, honey, and lingering minerality. Perfect for lighter fare, or drinking on its own as a small taste of spring.

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