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Greetings from the Wine Cellar:

I want to pass along to my Newsletter readers what I believe is some very good news:

“The U.S. government has suspended all current tariffs on French, Spanish and German wines, bringing economic relief to European winemakers and American merchants and wine consumers, at least for four months. The mutual four month suspension of all tariffs by the European Union and the United States, announced by the Office of the United States Trade Representative today, is intended to ratchet down tensions as the U.S. and the European Union attempt to negotiate a solution to a long-running fight over government subsidies to airplane manufacturers.”

To give everyone a little background, the dispute over government aid to Airbus and Boeing stretches back more than 15 years. In October 2019, the previous administration imposed a 25% tariff on all wines under 14% alcohol from France, Spain and Germany to put more pressure on the EU to reduce its subsidies to Airbus. When the EU responded with its own new tariffs last year on a wide range of U.S. products, including orange juice, ketchup and tractors, the U.S. government retaliated by extending the 25% tariff to all French and German wines.

“This is absolutely thrilling news” said Ben Aneff, president of the U.S. Wine Trade Alliance. “Suspending these tariffs will bring tremendous relief to millions of small businesses around the country. These tariffs have done significantly more damage to U.S. small businesses than their targets overseas. In the end, American consumers pay the increased cost of the wines.”

I couldn’t agree more. It has never seemed fair to me that American wine consumers, retailers, importers and restaurants should be penalized because our government and the EU can’t seem to resolve a fight over government subsidies to aircraft manufacturers. So far, I haven’t seen the prices of very many of my European import wines in the Cellar increase dramatically, mainly because I think many importers have been simply eating the extra costs of the tariffs for now rather than passing them on, so as not to lose market share. But it can’t go on forever. If these tariffs don’t go away for good, I really think we’ll see some dramatic price increases on most imported European wines fairly soon.

So here’s to hoping this four month “cease-fire” does the trick, and our government and the Europeans finally work this out so that American wine consumers and small businesses don’t get caught in the crossfire. I think we can all drink to that!


Livio Felluga 2017 Friulano Friuli Colli Orientali (Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy) $22.99

Friulano is one of Italy’s most distinctive white varietals, producing a fragrant, floral and elegant wine. Generous aromas of stone fruits, melon, pear and saffron lead into flavors of Golden apple, dried fruit and vanilla fused with balsamic accents of sage and thyme.

Castillo de Monséran 2016 Garnacha (Cariñena, Spain) $11.99

Spanish Garnacha (aka Grenache) is peppery, zesty and loaded with fresh raspberry fruit. This version exudes fresh aromas of black cherries and crushed raspberries. In the mouth it’s soft and round, with ripe red raspberry and cherry fruit plus a light touch of toasty oak.

Angeline 2018 Reserve Merlot (Paso Robles) $15.99

This Merlot opens with flavors of fresh blackberries, elderberries and dark plums that lead into black cherry on the mid-palate. Balanced with the rich fruit are soft, supple tannins, backed by complex notes of chicory and clove, finishing with a hint of cocoa dust.

Ancient Peaks 2018 Zinfandel (Paso Robles) $17.99

This Paso Zin offers enticing aromas of raspberries and white pepper. The palate is chewy and fruit-packed, with flavors of blackberry jam and dark cherry plus complex notes of vanilla, caramel and cola. Spice notes mingle on the rich finish.

Zenato 2016 Valpolicella Ripassa (Veneto, Italy) $32.99

This wine opens with aromas of juicy black plums and coffee-scented spice. In the mouth, a ripe core of juicy currant and black plum fruit is accented with elements of spice and toasted oak. It’s a rich and mouth-filling red, with fruit-drenched tannins and a lingering, spicy finish.


Terlato Family Vineyards 2015 Angel’s Peak Red (Napa Valley) $34.99

Anthony Terlato’s Angels’ Peak is a powerful, enchanting wine. Aromas of ripe black fruits –blackberries, currants and figs – intermix with savory accent of spicy oak, wood smoke, cedar and truffle that delve deep into the palate and develop into a silky, elegant finish. It’s built like a true Pomerol, with all the massive intensity and structure, yet in a perfectly defined balance.

Bernardus 2018 Chardonnay (Monterey County) $24.99

The 2018 Bernardus is a textbook example of Monterey County Chardonnay. Fragrant aromas exhibit scents of peach and lychee accented by caramel and toasty oak notes. The texture is nicely rich and well-focused, showing rich, vibrant flavors of ripe tropical fruits and citrus supported by bright acidity.

Carlos Serres 2011 Rioja Reserva (Rioja, Spain) $15.99

This classical, sleek and polished Reserva is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano. It underwent the Reserva regimen of two years aging in French and American oak plus three more in the bottle. It’s classic Rioja – ripe berry fruit with forest floor nuances, sweet spice notes and accents of balsamic and tobacco.

Second Chance Brewing CoCo Rasa Coconut-Chocolate Porter (San Diego) $5.99

CoCo Rasa is brewed with cacao nibs, vanilla beans and toasted coconut. This beer is plenty rich and decadent, yet not too sweet. The striking flavor profile brings to mind a Mounds Bar or a piece of German chocolate cake, yet it’s perfectly dry and roasty, all about toasted-coconut-and-cocoa goodness.


Mike Shelhamer
Old Town Wine Cellar
265 S. Main Street, Suite E
Yuma, Arizona 85364

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