Wine Club Taster's AdvantageTo make changes to your membership or to create a wine club account click HERE.

A GIFT FOR YOURSELF, A SPECIAL SOMEONE, OR BOTH....

Each month, these selections are sure to bring a smile to both the aficionado and novice.

Why? Because nobody is more qualified than the Wise Buyers at Hi-Time Wine Cellars who have been scouring the globe to seek out wine treasures for more than 50 years.

No long-term commitment: Simply choose the program and let us know when you want to stop and we'll take care of the rest. We'll send an announcement to the gift recipient along with background information and tantalizing tasting notes on each wine.


March Taster's Advantage

March Wine Club Gold 1 SelectionGold Selection Plan 1 $24.95 Wine Club Sign Up

 2 Bottles of red wine (tax & shipping not included)

Cotes du Rhone 2018 Le Clos des Lumieres

Grape Variety: 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah

Origin: Rhone, France

We are excited to announce our Wine of the Month for March. We tried numerous wines before selecting the crowd-pleasing Clos des Lumieres Cotes du Rhone. This is a fantastic wine and amazing value, boasting stunning purity with oodles of fruit in a medium to full-bodied frame. The Grenache brings a lovely round, silkiness to the red-fruited character while the Syrah brings gentle spice and darker fruits into play. This is a joy to drink with absolutely no hard edges!

A classic blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, Le Clos des Lumieres delights both nose and palate and is a great fit for this month as we move from Winter to Spring. As the days begin to grow longer and our menus move from heartier to fresher and more vibrant fare, we like a wine that can handle both-- something to sip during the still-chilly nights with rich foods while being equally at ease for sunny Sunday brunches. This is it!

Domaine le Clos des Lumieres is a 50-hectare family farm founded in 1946 by the grandfather of the domaine's current vigneron, Gerald Serrano. The ambitious and talented winemaker is solely responsible for the recent ascendance of this estate - Prior to taking things over in 2003 Gerald's father was selling all grapes on the estate to the local cooperative. Having grown up on the property, Gerald is intimately familiar with the terroir here. The oldest vines now edge 60 years in age and this land really seems to "pack the character in."

Clos des Lumieres is a delicious wine and an amazing value.

The nose is rich and layered with dark red fruits leading to citrus, earth, incense, spice and sweet red plum. The mouth is viscous and rounded with soft acidity and balanced tannins that bolster the flavors of mixed red fruits and berries (red plum and blueberry stand out), light earth and Rhone-y spice, pepper, garrigue and a finish of salted plum and kirsch. Very comfortable in its skin and offering quality that's way out of its price point, Lumieres is certainly a bright spot on the wine landscape and easily deserves the spotlight this month.

Wine Tip: It is easy to make an overly big and extracted wine. There is a ton of wines like that on the market. Le clos des lumieres picked a different path toward elegance and finesse instead of pure power. The result is seamless and easy to drink.

Cobblestone 2013 Te Mura Pinot Noir

Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir

Origin: Martinborough, New Zealand

We have a great deal for fans of intensely aromatic, lithe-bodied wines! This is no gimmick, just really good wine that tastes of its place. It's the Cobblestone 2013 "Te Muna" Pinot Noir, previously retailing for more than $30, but which we're able to offer at the no-brainer price of $11.95!

New Zealand has been a hotspot for Pinot Noir for some time now, from the more concentrated Central Otago style to the often lighter, everyday drinkers of Marlborough. But on the North Island, the Martinborough region has developed a somewhat quiet reputation for New Zealand's most complexly perfumed Pinot Noir, often said to be more "Burgundian" after the variety's spiritual & physical homeland in France. The road that cuts through some particularly great vineyards here (Te Muna, meaning "secret place") is the address for a number of lauded vineyards and wineries such as Escarpment and Craggy Range.

It's here that California winery, Cobblestone, found a second home in which to make some Pinot Noir with New Zealand's hallmark intensity of aroma and flavor, and racy brightness in the mouth. At six years, the 2013 Te Muna Pinot Noir is in peak form, beaming out the variety's distinctive savory and forest floor qualities, ripe red fruits and citrus, along with subtle, well-meshed oak that enhances with woodsy accents. Supple, juicy, and with just a dusting of tannin on the palate, it finishes on a ripe but refreshingly bright cherry note. At $11.95, it's definitely a must buy, especially with a well-matched dish like cedar-plank Salmon. You might find a new house wine (while it lasts)!

JAMES SUCKLING 91 POINTS - "A more cedary oak influence here. Woody, savory complexity with blood oranges, red cherries and a slightly smoky thread leading into the palate. Plenty of ripe, fleshy cherry flavors. Glossy, ripe tannins to close. Drink or hold."

The family-run Cobblestone winery was founded in 1971 in Monterrey County, expanding to Atlas Peak in Napa in 1997. They began their New Zealand enterprise in 2008.

Wine Tip: Pinot Noir is arguably one of the best grape variety, and one of the most expensive. The entry level production usually lack depth and structure. This shows a great balance between new world and old world. Enjoy!

 


 

March Wine Club Gold 2 SelectionGold Selection Plan 2 $24.95 Wine Club Sign Up

1 Bottles of red wine and 1 bottle of white wine (tax & shipping not included)

Cotes du Rhone 2018 Le Clos des Lumieres

Grape Variety: 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah

Origin: Rhone, France

We are excited to announce our Wine of the Month for March. We tried numerous wines before selecting the crowd-pleasing Clos des Lumieres Cotes du Rhone. This is a fantastic wine and amazing value, boasting stunning purity with oodles of fruit in a medium to full-bodied frame. The Grenache brings a lovely round, silkiness to the red-fruited character while the Syrah brings gentle spice and darker fruits into play. This is a joy to drink with absolutely no hard edges!

A classic blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, Le Clos des Lumieres delights both nose and palate and is a great fit for this month as we move from Winter to Spring. As the days begin to grow longer and our menus move from heartier to fresher and more vibrant fare, we like a wine that can handle both-- something to sip during the still-chilly nights with rich foods while being equally at ease for sunny Sunday brunches. This is it!

Domaine le Clos des Lumieres is a 50-hectare family farm founded in 1946 by the grandfather of the domaine's current vigneron, Gerald Serrano. The ambitious and talented winemaker is solely responsible for the recent ascendance of this estate - Prior to taking things over in 2003 Gerald's father was selling all grapes on the estate to the local cooperative. Having grown up on the property, Gerald is intimately familiar with the terroir here. The oldest vines now edge 60 years in age and this land really seems to "pack the character in."

Clos des Lumieres is a delicious wine and an amazing value.

The nose is rich and layered with dark red fruits leading to citrus, earth, incense, spice and sweet red plum. The mouth is viscous and rounded with soft acidity and balanced tannins that bolster the flavors of mixed red fruits and berries (red plum and blueberry stand out), light earth and Rhone-y spice, pepper, garrigue and a finish of salted plum and kirsch. Very comfortable in its skin and offering quality that's way out of its price point, Lumieres is certainly a bright spot on the wine landscape and easily deserves the spotlight this month.

Wine Tip: It is easy to make an overly big and extracted wine. There is a ton of wines like that on the market. Le clos des lumieres picked a different path toward elegance and finesse instead of pure power. The result is seamless and easy to drink.

Mad 2015 Tokaj

Grape Variety: 100% Furmint

Origin: Tokaj, Hungary

WINERY NOTES - "Our aim is to produce some of the finest white wines of the world. We have all the potential. The unique, high profile local variety, the Furmint, and the world’s most complex mineral bedrocks providing unique taste and structure for the wines produced in the right philosophy. Everything is happening in the vineyards. The target is to harvest perfectly ripe healthy grapes which express the particular character of the growing area. We apply strict yield control therefore minerality can be expressed. For fresh style we avoid oxidation from harvest to ageing thus the wine in the bottle is capable to show the unique character of the vineyards of Mád."

Wine Tip: Tokaj is mostly famous for their sweet wines. But this beautiful region produces some of the best dry whites on the planet. Dry white wine named after its appellation, Mád village, which is surrounded by vineyards known among the best growing areas of the Tokaji wine region. This unoaked, lively white wine is able to express perfectly the minerality of the terroir of Mád. The refreshing acidity is driving the citrusy palate, with a touch of volcanic minerality in the finish.

 


 

March Wine Club Platinum 1 SelectionPlatinum Selection Plan 1 $49.95 Wine Club Sign Up

2 Bottles of red wine (tax & shipping not included)

Ghiaccio Forte 2017 Morelino Di Scansano

Grape Variety: 85% Sangiovese, 15% Syrah

Origin: Tuscany, Italy

From the innovators at Castello Romitorio (makers of another of our featured wines, "IL TORO") comes this modern take on the rustic coastal Tuscan winescape. The Maremma coastal region is well known for its sunshine, beaches, verdant Mediterranean hills, and of course its "Super-Tuscan" wines featuring French grape varieties. The native Sangiovese, though, has been growing for at least a few hundred years around the inland town of Scansano. Just like the other Sangiovese hotspots, it goes by its own local name, which in these parts is Morellino ('little dark berry"). It's here that the Romitoro folks set up their second winery, Ghiaccio Forte (ghee-AH-choh FOR-tay). Wines going by the name Morellino di Scansano are made with at least 85% Sangiovese, and Ghiaccio Forte makes full use of this flexibility, partnering it with Syrah.

Scansano wines are known for being particularly "rustic" in style, though this one from Ghiaccio Forte has its edges softened a bit by that dollop of ripe, round Syrah. The mellow perfume combines the savory, violet, and dark-berry accents of Syrah with the sour cherry, plum, and dried herb character of Sangiovese, and very subtle coffee and woody notes from well-seasoned oak. The wine fleshes out with air, balancing the mouth-filling, chalky tannin with a plump, full-bodied "vinosity" that grows with time in the glass. The character of the nose carries into the mouth, with a mouth-filling combination of ripe fruits, dried herb, and licorice root, which are given more life by the brightness that Sangiovese is known for. Those qualities, along with the grippy finish from ripe tannins make this a great match for Italian-style pizza and rustic pasta sauces, especially with sausage!

"The name [Ghiaccio Forte] derives from an ancient Etruscan settlement five minutes from the cellar and translates to mean 'strong ice', a term probably deriving from the fact that nearby caves were filled with packed snow and used as ancient refrigerators in the summer months."

Wine Tip: An obscure name, an unusual blend, the label is probably not the best looking but … what a wine ! it is going to need some air to really shine but this full body treat shows some gorgeous ripe fruits and perfect chewy tannins. Complex, approachable and hedonistic.

Mazzei 2016 Ser Lapo Chianti Riserva

Grape Variety: 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot

Origin: Tuscany, Italy

The 2016 "Ser Lapo" makes an immediate impression, offering a distinctive and expressive collage of well-defined aromas and a bold, engaging mouthfeel. The perfume combines a spicy, woody, and resinous perfume (balsam) with ripe cherries, Seville orange peel, and a touch of plum, making for an exotic and warming nose. In the mouth, the brightness lifts the mouth-filling sweet & spiced fruit into a juicy counterpoint to the moderate level of fleshiness from the skins. Along with the medium-full body and slightly rustic chewy tannins, this all makes for an ideal pairing for dishes like moderately aged cheeses and thick-cut salami, Florentine style steak, or citrus-marinated pork loin with an herbed sour cherry sauce.

The Mazzei family has a long history dealing with vines and wines. In fact, the name "Ser Lapo" is an homage to their ancestor by that name whose 1398 sales contract (reproduced as a wrapping for the bottles of the "Sero Lapo" wine) serves as the earliest reference to a wine as being from the region of Chianti!

The wine is made from 90% Sangiovese with the remainder being mostly Merlot, and aged for a year in smaller French oak barrels (half of them new). While enjoyable now, this is a wine that will be even better in 3-5 years, so be sure to pick up some to age!

DECANTER 97 POINTS - "This is a stunning wine with a complex cherry, prune, herbal, leather and balsamic bouquet. Excels on the concentrated and succulent palate, with lovely mouthfeel and lots of spicy, smooth, fleshy tannins, superfine acidity and great length. A classic gourmand style per eccellenza perhaps but remarkable from any angle."

WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "A vibrant yet brooding red, with bracing acidity driving the cherry, currant, iron, tobacco and almond flavors. Complex and intense, this needs a few years to absorb the tannins. Delivers fine presence and length. Sangiovese and Merlot. Best from 2022 through 2043. 10,000 cases made, 1,500 cases imported"

JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Bright aromas of sliced cherries and hints of strawberries with some orange peel. Full body and super fine and ripe tannins. They melt into the wine. Delicate yet energetic. Crisp finish."

Wine Tip: This is the second wine from Tuscany this month.  It will be fun for you to taste different variation of the same grape variety and compare them.

 


 

March Wine Club Platinum 2 SelectionPlatinum Selection Plan 2 $49.95 Wine Club Sign Up

1 Bottle of red wine and 1 bottle of white wine (tax & shipping not included)

Ghiaccio Forte 2017 Morelino Di Scansano

Grape Variety: 85% Sangiovese, 15% Syrah

Origin: Tuscany, Italy

From the innovators at Castello Romitorio (makers of another of our featured wines, "IL TORO") comes this modern take on the rustic coastal Tuscan winescape. The Maremma coastal region is well known for its sunshine, beaches, verdant Mediterranean hills, and of course its "Super-Tuscan" wines featuring French grape varieties. The native Sangiovese, though, has been growing for at least a few hundred years around the inland town of Scansano. Just like the other Sangiovese hotspots, it goes by its own local name, which in these parts is Morellino ('little dark berry"). It's here that the Romitoro folks set up their second winery, Ghiaccio Forte (ghee-AH-choh FOR-tay). Wines going by the name Morellino di Scansano are made with at least 85% Sangiovese, and Ghiaccio Forte makes full use of this flexibility, partnering it with Syrah.

Scansano wines are known for being particularly "rustic" in style, though this one from Ghiaccio Forte has its edges softened a bit by that dollop of ripe, round Syrah. The mellow perfume combines the savory, violet, and dark-berry accents of Syrah with the sour cherry, plum, and dried herb character of Sangiovese, and very subtle coffee and woody notes from well-seasoned oak. The wine fleshes out with air, balancing the mouth-filling, chalky tannin with a plump, full-bodied "vinosity" that grows with time in the glass. The character of the nose carries into the mouth, with a mouth-filling combination of ripe fruits, dried herb, and licorice root, which are given more life by the brightness that Sangiovese is known for. Those qualities, along with the grippy finish from ripe tannins make this a great match for Italian-style pizza and rustic pasta sauces, especially with sausage!

"The name [Ghiaccio Forte] derives from an ancient Etruscan settlement five minutes from the cellar and translates to mean 'strong ice', a term probably deriving from the fact that nearby caves were filled with packed snow and used as ancient refrigerators in the summer months."

Wine Tip: An obscure name, an unusual blend, the label is probably not the best looking but … what a wine ! it is going to need some air to really shine but this full body treat shows some gorgeous ripe fruits and perfect chewy tannins. Complex, approachable and hedonistic.

Sancerre 2018 Vincent Pinard

Grape Variety: Sauvignon Blanc Organic

Origin: Sancerre, Loire, France

Vincent and Cosette Pinard’s 15 hectare Domaine extends over steep limestone slopes around Bué. The excessively low yields, hand harvesting and modern winery, complete with temperature-controlled vats, result in enticing, aromatic and intense wines. 100% tank-fermented and aged. As the name suggests this cuvée is very floral. Fine, crisp and very classic, there is plenty of fruit here: lemon, lime and grapefruit zest with a ripe juicy acidity; a strong complex terroir dimension is obvious, too, with its chalky, mineral touches.

Wine Tip: Vincent Pinard is a very respected winery in France. Not only for their whites but also for their reds. We have a few Sancerre rouge (made out of Pinot Noir) in the shop if you fell in love with this producer and want to try his reds.

 


 

March Wine Club All White SelectionAll White Selection No More Than $45 Wine Club Sign Up

2 Bottles of white wine (tax & shipping not included)

Mad 2015 Tokaj

Grape Variety: 100% Furmint

Origin: Tokaj, Hungary

WINERY NOTES - "Our aim is to produce some of the finest white wines of the world. We have all the potential. The unique, high profile local variety, the Furmint, and the world’s most complex mineral bedrocks providing unique taste and structure for the wines produced in the right philosophy. Everything is happening in the vineyards. The target is to harvest perfectly ripe healthy grapes which express the particular character of the growing area. We apply strict yield control therefore minerality can be expressed. For fresh style we avoid oxidation from harvest to ageing thus the wine in the bottle is capable to show the unique character of the vineyards of Mád."

Wine Tip: Tokaj is mostly famous for their sweet wines. But this beautiful region produces some of the best dry whites on the planet. Dry white wine named after its appellation, Mád village, which is surrounded by vineyards known among the best growing areas of the Tokaji wine region. This unoaked, lively white wine is able to express perfectly the minerality of the terroir of Mád. The refreshing acidity is driving the citrusy palate, with a touch of volcanic minerality in the finish.

Sancerre 2018 Vincent Pinard

Grape Variety: Sauvignon Blanc Organic

Origin: Sancerre, Loire, France

Vincent and Cosette Pinard’s 15 hectare Domaine extends over steep limestone slopes around Bué. The excessively low yields, hand harvesting and modern winery, complete with temperature-controlled vats, result in enticing, aromatic and intense wines. 100% tank-fermented and aged. As the name suggests this cuvée is very floral. Fine, crisp and very classic, there is plenty of fruit here: lemon, lime and grapefruit zest with a ripe juicy acidity; a strong complex terroir dimension is obvious, too, with its chalky, mineral touches.

Wine Tip: Vincent Pinard is a very respected winery in France. Not only for their whites but also for their reds. We have a few Sancerre rouge (made out of Pinot Noir) in the shop if you fell in love with this producer and want to try his reds.

 


 

March Wine Club Champagne SelectionChampagne Selection No More Than $44.95 Wine Club Sign Up

1 Bottle of Champagne (tax & shipping not included)

Agrapart Sept Cru Brut Champagne

Origin: Avize

Grape Variety: 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir

Disgorgement Date: November 2019, Dosage : 7 GRAMS PER LITER

JOHN GILMAN VIEW FROM THE CELLAR 92 POINTS - "It had been a few years since I last tasted a bottle of Agrapart’s lovely “Les 7 Crus” cuvée. The wine is really lovely, offering up a pure and complex bouquet of apple, tart pear, chalky minerality, citrus zest and fresh-baked bread. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a lovely core, elegant mousse, fine focus and a very long, zesty and perfectly balanced finish. This is one lower dosage bottling that is drinking with style and grace in its youth."

The Winery :

Grape grower – winemaker (does not purchase grapes) in AVIZE, Côte des Blancs.

Our 12 hectares vineyard is mainly spread out in Grand Cru villages planted with Chardonnay, a white grape picked and pressed with great care by us.

Our winegrower’s approach is natural. Our vineyard soils have always been maintained through ploughing and every year we add compost made from local ingredients to vineyard. The organic life of the soil assures the health and productivity of the vineyard.

Our Champagne wine are neither fined nor filtered. They are bottles at the domain and are hand riddled.

Our entry level wine. This cuvee is a blend of 2 vintages of 7 different villages. 4 Grand Cru villages: AVIZE, OGER, CRAMANT and OIRY.

2 Premier Crus villages: AVENAY VAL D’OR, COLIGNY and VAUCIENNES.

Wine Tip: I had the chance to study in the village of Avize in the middle of the “Cote des blancs”. It was such a great feeling to be surrounded by all this amazingly talented winemakers. If you visit the Champagne region, you need to make a stop in Avize.