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Smart Buys – Go To Wineries for Excellence and Affordability

Wine Spectator
February 2018

Excitement in the wine world comes in many forms. New wineries create a buzz, established wineries innovate and diversify, emerging regions serve up new flavors, rare wines offer the thrill of the hunt. But what about the excitement of finding a distinctive and well-priced wine you can reach for with confidence time and time again? And what if you knew of such wines from dozens of regions and from a versatile variety of grapes?

Maison L’Envoye

Mark Tarlov wrote speeches for Chief Justice Warren Burgerand produced movies in Hollywood before he became a vintner. In 2005, he joined with partners to launch the highly regarded Evening Land winery, leaving in 2012 to start Chapter 24 and Maison L’Envoye, the latter in partnership with US-based Australian importer Old Bridge Cellars. Louis-Michel Liger-Belair, whose Burgundy holdings include La Romaneé parcels and other Vosne-Romaneé parcels, acts as consulting winemaker; Chile-born winemaker Felipe Ramirezis hands-on in Maison L’Envoye’s cellar (as well as at Chapter 24).

Ramirez harvests from a range of sources around Willamette Valley, and together with Liger-Belair puts together distictive blends and a few good values like Straight Shooter and Two Messengers. Both of those are sleek, with rich fruit, making for great drinking right away.

92 pts Maison L’Envoye Two Messengers Pinot Noir 2015

A blend from eight vineyards across three appellations (Eola-Amity, McMinnville and Yamhill Carlton) this complex, light-footed red offers floral strawberry and cherry aromas and sleek flavors, with mineral and savory spice details.

90 pts Maison L’Envoye Straight Shooter Pinot Noir 2015

The name Straight Shooter describes this wine to a T. Without a lot of fuss, it offers floral strawberry aromas and crisp yet velvety cherry and spicy cinnamon flavors that glide delicately on the finish.

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