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June 2014 Wine Club Selections

June 2014         Wine Cub Selections

The white for this month is the Chateau Vrai Caillou 2012 ( $ 12.99).  The chateau’s name literally translated means ‘The True Chateau of Rock’. Firstly ‘caillou’ means ‘pebble, stones or rock’ and you can find examples of chateaux named after pebbles dotted across Bordeaux – an example of a Grand Cru Classe so named is the Second Growth Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou (meaning ‘beautiful pebbles’). Why name a chateau after rocks you might ask? Because the stony ground it sits on is vitally important for growing the vines – most great vineyards lie on slopes or hillsides of gravelly or limestone based soils as vines need good drainage. Chateau Vrai Caillou lies on around 200 acres of clay-limestone and is located in the small village of Soussac in the Entre Deux Mers, on the high plateau of the range that divides waters between the Dordogne and the Garonne rivers. Chateau Vrai Caillou sits on the slopes of Butte de Launay, the highest point in the region.

Secondly the reason Chateau Vrai Caillou is known as ‘The True Chateau of Rock’ stems from the fact that centuries ago it was originally known as Chateau Caillou. Since 1863, Chateau Vrai Caillou has been owned by the Pommier family and its wines were noted in the famed Bordeaux wine directory Cocks & Féret in 1879. As was common in this period in time the chateau grew other crops as well as vines but when the Pommiers decided to concentrate on wine making as their sole industry in 1920 they discovered that another chateau had registered the name of Chateau Caillou, in Sauternes. Rather than change the name of their chateau Odette Pommier’s response was: “Ah! Yes, is there another Caillou? Then, mine will be the true (Vrai) one!” And that is the story of how the chateau got it’s name.

The Entre Deux Mers is one of those regions that is undervalued nowadays but in the past it was a hive of activity and wine making. It is criss crossed with Roman roads (one runs through Soussac) and the landscape is peppered with historical forts and Medieval châteaux, mills, churches and monasteries. Wine production here dates back to Gallo Roman times but it was the Benedictine Monks in the Middle Ages who helped to create the reputation of this region and its wines.

The bouquet shows peach, pear and melon scents along with smoky, citrusy, floral and herbal nuances. The flavors are zesty and bright with a minerally-clean freshness that defines good white Bordeaux. The palate-pleasing peach and melon fruit elements are enhanced by nuances of pear, herbs and smoky spice. The finish is dry and clean with an intriguing twist of citrus and spice.

The red is the Chateau Rousset-Caillau 2011 Grand Vin de Bordeaux  ($ 15.99).   Rated 91 by Wine Enthusiast, the wine is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet.  This wine will age up to 10 years from the vintage date.  The grapes are harvested at optimum ripeness. Traditional vinification methods with maceration at low temperature to extract the best of the fruit. Slow extraction of tannins and aromas, wine for aging. Breeding both traditional tanks and barrels for 12 months minimum.  Dense ruby, chunky, it has a surprising personality for a wine in this price. The attack is full of volume, a complex and delicate wine loaded with notes of caramel, cassis and violet, yet shows some maturity in vanilla notes followed by silky tannins, melted and a long finish. Wine of character developed in the Bordeaux’s traditions.

Connoisseurs Club

The white for this month is called  2012 Blindfold (“White Prisoner”) $ 32.99.  Rated 93 by Robert Parker!  Made by The Prisoner Wine Company, this blended white is an absolutely amazing wine. Created to provide the perfect white wine companion to The Prisoner, Blindfold is bold and intriguing. In establishing our own spin on a white blend, winemaker Jen Beloz and her team sought out interesting Rhône and aromatic varietals that would nicely compliment a classic Chardonnay base.  Through partnering with growers who are dedicated to cultivating alternative varietals in their outstanding vineyards throughout California, the result is a wine that is complex and delicious.  Aromatic and inviting, the wine opens up with subtle notes of mandarin and meyer lemon zest, complimented on the palette with delightful flavors of Anjou pear, roasted marshmallow, spiced apple tart and a hint of minerality . The finish is rich and creamy with bright, balanced acidity. The blend 35% Chardonnay 60% Rhone Whites (Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc) 5% Aromatics (Semillon and Riesling) is aged in 25% New oak (combination of French and Hungarian), 60% neutral oak and 15% stainless steel for 10 months.

The red for this month is the Bishop’s Peak Pinot Noir San Luis Obispo County 2012 ($ 19.99).  Rated 90 by Stephen Tanzer, ” Fresh red fruits, flowers and spicecake on the highly perfumed nose.  Juicy and precise, offering vibrant raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a hint of blood orange.  Finishes long and sweet, with gentle tannins and lingering floral and spice notes.  This pinot delivers very good value and makes a gently priced introduction to the Talley style.”  Made by Talley Vineyards, the Talley family has farmed in the Southern San Luis Obispo County. The tradition began in 1948 when Oliver Talley founded Talley Farms and started growing specialty vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley. During the 1970s extensive planting of winegrapes began in the neighboring Edna Valley and Santa Barbara County areas.  After observation and extensive analysis, Oliver’s son, Don Talley, was convinced of the potential to grow high quality chardonnay and pinot noir on the steep hillsides above Talley Farms.  Don planted a small test plot in 1982 on the west hillside of the Rincon Vineyard that included chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling, sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon. Over time the varietal and clonal selections were refined and planting expanded to a total of 165 acres in the Arroyo Grande and Edna Valleys.

May 2014 Wine Club Selections

May 2014            The Oconee Wine Club

Both wines this month come from Australian winery called Wild Oats.  Wild Oats Wines are produced by premier Australian winemakers, the Oatley family. Well known for their sailing and tourism pursuits, the Oatley’s first major venture was in fact wine, where Bob Oatley and his three children Andrew (Sandy), Ros and Ian planted their first vineyard in the Hunter Valley in the late 1960’s. Their children, Bob’s grandchildren, comprise the third generation of Oatleys in the Australian wine business today.

Having endured a five year hiatus from winemaking, but continuing to grow grapes on their Mudgee properties throughout, the Oatley family reemerged in 2006 as Robert Oatley Vineyards, based on their family-owned vineyards in Mudgee and purchased the neighbouring historic Montrose and Craigmoor wineries in which to make and market their new wines, the first of which was Wild Oats. Their state-of-the-art winery is the region’s largest, where the team make an outstanding array of wines from Mudgee-grown grapes along with parcels from other specialist Australian regions around the country. James Halliday, Australia’s most highly regarded wine critic, elevated Robert Oatley Vineyards to prestigious FIVE STAR status in his 2011 Australian Wine Companion

Wild Oats Shiraz ($14.99 Retail) continues the Oatley family history of fine craftsmanship. In selecting a number of richly flavored parcels of grapes from our vineyards in the Central Ranges of NSW, and with quality French oak influence, our winemakers have created a sumptuous and velvety red wine with complexity and some spicy characteristics. It tastes of berries, plums, baking spices and a touch of mocha on the lasting firm finish.

Wild Oats Chardonnay ($ 14.99 Retail) continues the Oatley family history of fine craftsmanship. Blending a number of parcels of grapes from our vineyards in the Central Ranges of NSW, with various components undergoing a combination of tank and oak ferment our winemakers have created a terrific example of modern Australian chardonnay, where fruit and texture are the vital components, with oak playing a supporting role. Lovely pineapple and fresh fig flavors, creamy, spicy oak with a touch of vanilla and a long, textured finish.

Connoisseur Club May 2014

Laguna Russian River Chardonnay 2012 ($ 26.99)

Nestled in the heart of the Russian River Valley, Laguna Ranch Vineyard has been home to world-class Chardonnay for the past 30 years. An elegant expression of its namesake vineyard, Laguna Chardonnay is an exceptionally well-balanced and luxurious wine.

” Abundant pineapple, mango and honeysuckle notes intermixed with a hint of background oak jump from the glass of this 2012 Chardonnay. There are 19,000+ cases of this lovely white that should drink well for 3-4 years. It is an excellent example of a classic Russian River Chardonnay.” (Robert Parker)

Il Grigio da San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva 2009 ($ 26.99)

Agricola San Felice is a multi-faceted enterprise with activities spread over various locations:  above all, of course, the tenute, or farm estates, with their prized vines and olive trees;  the Vitiarium, where most of the scientific research is carried out; the winecellars, where all of the production takes place, from vinification to maturation in barriques and bottling; the frantoio, or olive-oil press; the borgo, the company headquarters and retail enoteca, but, in particular, a medieval hamlet transformed into an elegant hotel complex; and, finally, the livestock operation, centered on raising prized local breeds.

Produced from carefully-selected sangiovese grapes, Il Grigio represents the iconic elegance of the traditional Chianti Classico, exhibiting the steely temperament, the dynamism, and the ability to surprise typical of the adventurous, all qualities eminently characteristic of the noble variety that yields Il Grigio.

93 Rated by Robert Parker, “A pure expression of Sangiovese, the 2009 Chianti Classico Riserva Il Grigio shows the inner warmth and richness that is characteristic of the Castelnuovo Berardenga subzone of the famous Tuscan appellation. Balsam herbs and eucalyptus oil appear at first and slowly give way to black fruit, cherry cola, violet and Spanish cedar. It shows an extremely polished feel in the mouth. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2028.”

 

 

February 2014 Wine Club Selections

February 2014                                     Oconee Wine Club

Norton was founded by Edmund James Palmer Norton, an English engineer, in 1895. Norton bought the estate and land in Perdriel, Lujan de Cuyo, and planted vines creating a winery soon thereafter. Bodega Norton is the first winery in Argentina south of the Mendoza River.  In 1989, Austrian businessman Gernot Langes-Swarovski (of the famed crystal-making family) acquired the winery convinced of the high potential of Argentina.

The Bodega Norton Malbec Reserve 2011 was rated 92 by Wine Spectator and was #36 in their Top 100 Wines of the Year for 2013.  What a find this wine is for only $ 19.99 a bottle! A deep red color with hints of purple, this Malbec is expressive on the nose with notes of ripe black fruits, violets, and tobacco.  “Toasty yet ripe, showing ample mesquite and mocha notes to the raspberry ganache and rich plum fruit. Silky tannins line the dark, cream-tinged finish. Drink now through 2018. 60,000 cases imported.” Wine Spectator.

The Bodega Norton Chardonnay 2013 comes from Mendoza, Argentina.  Fresh with crisp green apple and tropical fruit, this Chardonnay is well  structured and balanced with a long finish. Ranging from golden yellow to greenish tones.  This wine pairs great with seafood, pasta with light sauces and grilled chicken.  What a great value at only $ 9.99 a bottle!

Connoisseurs Club

The red for this month comes from a winery in Lodi, California called Klinker Brick called Bricks & Mortar 2011 ( $29.99).  Bricks & Mortar is a unique red wine blend comprised of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Petite Sirah and 10% Old Vine Zinfandel.  This delicious wine has aromas of currant and plum, coupled with botanical garden notes of mint and thyme.  Dense flavors of cassis and spiced plum layer the palate with a silky, rich texture.  If you are a Prisoner fan, then this wine will be right in your wheel house.

Great wine begins with a suitable climate and soil, both of which are found in Lodi.  Sandy Loam soil coupled with the hot, cold exchange
that graces Lodi from day to night creates a utopic environment to cultivate warm-weather varietals including Zinfandel, Cabernet and Syrah.
A certain level of skill, attention to detail and harvest accuracy is required from the vintner as well.  What once began as a grape-growing
community from the early 1900’s until the late 1980’s, Lodi is now a thriving wine-producing region adorned with dozens of wineries, including
Klinker Brick.

The white for this month is the Chimney Rock Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($ 29.99). The Chimney Rock estate began to take shape in 1980, when Hack and Stella Wilson purchased a 180 acre parcel – which included a golf course – situated on the east side of the Silverado Trail. They built their country house based on Cape Dutch-style architecture and started planting vineyards shortly afterwards.  The first 59 acres were planted with a combination of red and white grapes, and the premiere vintage of Chimney Rock estate wines was produced in 1989. In the early 1990s, the Cape Dutch-style winery building (with the massive allegorical frieze of Ganymede, cupbearer to the gods) and the tasting room were added to the estate.

This wine exibits aromas of white peach, citrus and pear.  The taste is bright with crisp acidity balanced by rich texture which results from the lees stirring.  Great with seafood such as oysters and sushi.

August 2013 Wine Club Selections

August 2013                                         Wine Club Selections

There are a lot of exciting things going on this month at The Oconee Cellar!  We will be celebrating our 15 year Anniversary of being in business in the Lake Oconee area.  Stop by on Saturday August 17th and help us celebrate!  Dock 103.9 FM will be broadcasting live from the store from 10:00 – 1:00 pm, free refreshments will be served from 11:00 – 1:00, lots of really good sales on some of the most popular Wine & Spirits, giveaways, and much, much, more.  You don’t want to miss it!  It is a great time to stock up for Labor Day Weekend.

On Monday August 19th we will have an Italian Wine Tasting at Da Corrado’s.  We have had 5 consecutive sell outs at our tastings, so if you are interested in attending stop by The Oconee Cellar and pay $25 per person (optional $10 per person to raise funds for Theo Griswold) ASAP!  Theo has been cleaning the floors here at the store since 2002.  He retired from the Georgia Department of Human Resources in 2000 after 32 years of service and has owned his own business in 1989.  He lost half his leg in March after undergoing what was supposed to be a simple procedure to correct an aneurysm in his lower leg.  Corrado and I have teamed up to give away a Six Course Wine Dinner for 10 at his restaurant to help raise money for Theo’s hospital, medical, and doctors bills and to help him get the prosthesis he wants so he can continue to have an active lifestyle.  Raffle tickets are on sale at The Oconee Cellar for $25 to win a chance at this great dinner.   We will pick the winner at the September wine tasting.  Cash donations are also being accepted.

Both of the August wine selections come from Dry Creek Vineyard, which is one of the few remaining family owned wineries left in California.   With more than 40 years of grape growing and winemaking experience, their efforts continue to focus on the quality of wine in the bottle.  When founder David Stare started Dry Creek Vineyard, he began the winery with a single-minded effort to offer the highest quality wine possible at a reasonable price.  Dave realized that the success of the winery hinged upon providing that “something special” in the bottle to keep customers coming back for more.

Today, the second generation continues to build upon those early-established values.  Dave’s daughter, Kim Stare Wallace and her husband, Don Wallace, are wholly committed to the quality of wine produced at Dry Creek Vineyard.  With an eye toward the future, Kim and Don continue their passion to produce high quality wines while being mindful of the original vision of the winery.

Dry Creek Chenin Blanc 2012  Retail $11.99

This wonderfully crisp, incredibly refreshing dry Chenin Blanc perfectly represents our love for this classic grape variety. At first swirl, fragrant aromas of tropical stone fruits such as white peach, melon, and citrus leap from the glass. A few minutes in the glass reveal the wine’s signature mineral characters, and even some chalky notes, which are an ode to the variety’s Loire Valley roots. The palate expresses soft apple flavors along with zesty citrus and, overall, an excellent sense of balance and freshness. A perfect patio sipper, Chenin Blanc is summertime in a bottle!

Dry Creek Heritage Zinfandel 2010   $ 15.99

This wine was first released in 1997 as Heritage Clone Zinfandel. Using old vine budwood grafted into a new vineyard, the Heritage bottling represents the best of a young vine Zin with distinctive old vine characters.  The 2010 vintage may go down as one of the more difficult, challenging vintages of the last decade. With varied growing conditions, it was incredibly important to stay on top of the vineyard ensuring that the canopy was well managed. Late spring rains, a cool summer and then several heat spikes before and during harvest added to the challenge. However, our winemaking and vineyard team really came through, keeping a cool head and bringing in fruit that achieved full ripeness, flavor and balance.

The 2010 vintage of Heritage Zinfandel presents an excellent cool vintage aroma profile of blueberry, red currants, earthy dustiness and mineral nuances. The low alcohol nature of this wine shines through immediately with silky smooth tannins and a firm grip of natural acidity and balance. The fruit is substantial with layers of black cherry, mixed berries, currants and allspice. This Zinfandel is superbly balanced and satisfying, repeating the earthy, mixed berry theme while also carrying forward subtler hints of white and black pepper. The finish lingers on creating a mouth-watering.

90 Rating by Wine Spectator!

A lively, zesty Zin, with raspberry and fresh sage aromas and appealing cherry, pepper and mineral flavors that finish with ripe and briary tannins. Drink now through 2017. 13,495 cases made. –TF

Connoiseurs Club

Chateau St. Jean, with its gracious style, elegant architecture and inviting gardens and tasting rooms, is the quintessential Sonoma winery.  The winemaking estate is located at the foot of Sugarloaf Ridge in the Sonoma Valley near Kenwood, California.   Founded in 1973, Chateau St. Jean has long been recognized as a leader in Vineyard Designated wines.  Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren uses her 30 years of vineyard and winemaking expertise with Chateau St. Jean to highlight the best of each vineyard in the wines.

In 1999, Chateau St. Jean was the first Sonoma winery to be awarded the prestigious “Wine of the Year” award from the Wine Spectator Magazine for its 1996 Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon, a Bordeaux-style blend of “five varieties.”  The winery received high acclaim again when it received the “#2 Wine of the Year” from Wine Spectator for its 1999 Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chateau St. Jean Robert Young Vineyard Chardonnay    $ 27.99       92 Rating Wine Spectator!

Graceful and understated, with delicate, fragrant floral, white peach, honeydew melon and smoky oak notes, all beautifully proportioned, offering a long finish. Drink now through 2019. 8,554 cases made. –JL

J Dusi Zinfandel Dante Dusi Vineyards 2010  $ 29.99

The Connoiseur Club red J. Dusi Wines Dante Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel comes from small producer/farmer in Paso Robles called Janell Dusi, who was born and raised on the Dusi Vineyard where his grandfather Dante taught him the old world Italian style of winemaking.  His family’s heritage dates back to the early 1920’s, where grape growing has been a craft that has deep roots in the Dusi family.  The farming practices that were implemented by his great-grandparents eighty years ago, are still the standard that we follow today.  The unique, hand crafted quality of J Dusi Wines results from his intimate involvement in every step of the process: working in the vineyard, driving the tractor, hand picking my own fruit, crushing the grapes and fermenting the juice from the bins to the barrels to the bottle.

The intense flavor profiles of the “Dusi Fruit” are characteristic of the land’s unique micro climate and the family’s old-world, handcrafted grape growing techniques.  This 100-acre estate is located just south of Paso Robles.  A region that features the greatest day-to-night temperature variation of any appellation in California, providing ideal conditions for vibrantly flavored yet exceptionally balanced wines.  The vineyard has been sought after by many fine wineries such as:  Turley, Four Vines, Cypher, Tobin James, and JC Cellars.  These local wineries have been purchasing the fruit for many years, creating their own versions of Dusi Vineyard designated Zinfandels.  If you are a big fan of nice full bodied reds with lots of spice and character that you can enjoy by itself or with grilled meats, then this is a wine for you!  Big, ripe, and jammy with lots of blueberry, raspberry, and spice.   Just plain good!

Who Says 13 is an Unlucky Number?

[postgallery_image width=”300″ id=”0″ height=”225″ shadow=”shadow-medium” slidesetid=”13th Anniversary” imageeffect=”shadowreflection” align=”alignleft” animation=”fade” tween=”linear” timeout=”5″ /]Not Matt Garofalo, owner of The Oconee Cellar. He counts his lucky stars every time he opens the doors to his store. Last weekend, The Oconee Cellar, celebrated its 13th Anniversary in the lake Oconee area.

Being a teenager is a wonderful thing for a small business owner to celebrate. “I have been coming to Lake Oconee for about 25 years and have lived in the area for close to 14 years now and have seen a lot of businesses come and go. I feel very blessed to continue to service the Lake Oconee area with all their fine wine, liquor, cigars, and beer needs.”

[imageeffect type=”shadowreflect” align=”alignright” width=”300″ height=”225″ shadow=”shadow-small” alt=”” url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/dock.jpg” ]Matt’s passion for wine really shows when you stroll through his vast inventory organized by Country. “We have customers walk in for the first time and tell us our selection is better than a lot of stores in Atlanta”, says Matt. “We really strive to find wines that over deliver for the price.”

When it comes to Spirits, The Oconee Cellar prides itself on being on the cutting edge. “ If a new product comes into the market and I believe in it, I will put it into the store. Liquor buyers don’t usually stray far from their brands, but we make trying something new fun by educating our customers. People appreciate the education we provide to them.”

[imageeffect type=”shadowreflect” align=”alignleft” width=”144″ height=”92″ shadow=”shadow-small” alt=”” url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/rewardscard2_sm.png” ]The fun began on August 13th, 2011 with Dock 103.9 FM broadcasting live from the store while free refreshments were served.T-Shirts given away and there were huge discounts on customer favorites. “It’s our way of saying ‘Thank you’ to all our loyal customers”, said Matt. Also, The Oconee Cellar has started a new free Rewards Card program that allows customers to take advantage of great deals on new and popular items.

If you would like to sign up for The Oconee Cellar’s newsletter text the word “Cellar” to 2282. A special discount will be given to new customers that enroll.