January 2017 Wine Club Selections

The Oconee Wine Club

Winery founder Bruce Cohn was introduced to the music industry at an early age. Prior to moving west from Chicago, Illinois, his father sang Italian Arias and his mother was known to have sung with Frank Sinatra in the Chicago nightclub scene. In 1956, the family relocated to the Bay Area and settled in Sonoma County. While at college, studying broadcasting and communications, Bruce became intimately involved with the San Francisco music scene, running a music rehearsal studio by day and serving as a television engineer at night. It was around this time, in 1970, that Bruce met and became the manager of the Doobie Brothers, which he managed for 45 years as they climbed the charts into Rock-n-Roll stardom.

B.R. Cohn Cabernet 2014 Retail $19.99
A bold, rich Cabernet with aromas of cassis, black cherry, mint and violet combine with a bouquet of pungent oak, anise, and warm vanilla. On the palate, lush cherry, caramel, and clove are wrapped in smooth tannin and a long juicy finish.

Excellent with corned beef and cabbage, bacon wrapped fillet mignon, or old fashion spaghetti and meat balls in marinara. Also serve with strong cheese and flat bread on your next vineyard outing or pair with your favorite dark chocolate.

Blend: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot
B.R. Cohn Chardonnay 2015 Retail $15.99
This Chardonnay is sourced from select vineyards in the acclaimed Russian River Valley region of Sonoma County, where the cool climate allows the grapes to develop ripe, rich flavors, while maintaining a bright and refreshing acidity.

Connoisseur’s Club

The Martinelli family has been growing grapes in the Russian River Valley since the 1880’s. At the ages of 19 and 16, Giuseppe Martinelli and Luisa Vellutini eloped from their small village in the Tuscany region of Italy, making their way to California looking for land to farm and start a winery. Giuseppe had been a winemaker in Italy and with his viticulture knowledge he was hired to plant a vineyard for a farmer in Forestville. Within two years he earned enough money, and borrowed some from a local wood cutter, to purchase land of his own. Working side by side on a 60 degree slope, Giuseppe and Luisa planted a small area of Zinfandel and Muscat Alexandria vines, which later became known as the Jackass Hill vineyard. Over 100 years later, this south easterly exposure remains the steepest non-terraced vineyard in Sonoma County.

To this day, the Martinellis still sell more grapes then are used to make their own wines; about 90% of the grapes they farm are sold to other Sonoma County wineries. Lee Sr. and his two sons, Lee Jr. and George, continue the proud legacy of care-taking the land, and you may meet one of the Martinelli daughters, Julianna or Regina, on the road at various events or at the winery.

Martinelli Bella Vigna Russian River Pinot Noir 2013  $ 39.99

The 2014 Bella Vigna Pinot Noir is sure to become your go-to wine. This approachable wine is bright and fresh, with wonderful aromas of plum, red apple and hibiscus tea. Flavors include juicy cherry pie, currants and hints of cinnamon and vanilla.

Martinelli Bella Vigna Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2012 $39.99

90 Points Wine Spectator!

The Chardonnay grapes are picked between 24 and 26 degrees brix to ensure mature ripe fruit flavors. The wine is 100% barrel fermented with wild yeast, resting in 50% new French oak for 10 months before bottling. The wine is neither heat nor cold stabilized, and is un-fined and un-filtered, clarified only by racking before bottling.

Case Production: 495

The 2012 Bella Vigna Chardonnay has aromas of wet slate, lemon oil, lychee and vanilla. The palate is nicely balanced with flavors of green apple, creamy lemon, and touch of minerality.

 

New Location for Oconee Cellar Now Open!

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The Oconee Cellar has finally made the move to their new location, which will ensure that they continue their ranking as “The Best Wine & Spirits Store in Georgia’s Lake Country”. 15 years to the day, The Oconee Cellar moved to their new location on the other side of the Publix Supermarket next to Subway. As soon as you walk into the store, you will notice a much more user friendly, wide open floor plan, beautiful LED lighting, new tiled floors, highly visible glassed in wine cellar, walk-in beer cave, and much more!

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“We have been talking with Publix for over 2 years trying to make this move happen, and on November 1st it finally became a reality. I believe it is a real positive for The Oconee Cellar and my customers. We were able to fix all the things that troubled us in the old location and really use my 18 years of experience to create an improved consumer-friendly shopping experience. I am so happy and proud of the new store.”, says owner Matt Garofalo.
“It took a lot of great people to make this project a reality. From my realtor Ted Baker, my builder
Ed Blume, interior decorator Maryln Alea, the entire Oconee Cellar staff, my wife Daniela, my parents, my architect Steve Kippels, and so many more, I am eternally grateful for all their contributions.”, states Matt.
Stop by their new store and see why The Oconee Cellar seems to be well on their way to 20 more years of continued success in The Lake Oconee area.

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April Wine Club 2016

Oconee Wine Club Selections

alamos

Both wines this month come from the Alamos winery located in the Mendoza region of Argentina.  The renowned Catena family began making Alamos in 1993. Its name is derived from the poplar trees that line the high altitude vineyards of Mendoza, Argentina (Alamos means “poplar” in Spanish) and protect the vineyards from the mountain winds. Alamos notes that it is among “The Wines of Catena.” This is significant, because the Catena family is considered the “first family” of vintners in Argentina. The vineyards of Mendoza, where this wine comes from, are among the highest elevations in the world planted with vines, as they stretch up the foothills of the Andes Mountains and enjoy the temperate climate that comes along with this location.

There are many levels of vineyards in the vast Mendoza region, which happens to be the world’s largest wine region. This wine comes from some of the highest planted vineyards, above 3,000 feet, giving the wine a dry, exotic touch, whereas malbec from the valley floor can be more fruity and less complex.

This is an interesting wine that, based on its concentration and flavor profile, is an excellent alternative to more traditional cabernets and merlots normally found in the area. It might need about an hour out of the bottle before consumption, but should then provide immense drinking pleasure and will be good for the next five years or so.

Alamos Torrontes 2015   $10.99    90 Rated by Robert Parker!

A delightful expression of the high elevation Salta region, our Alamos Torrontés has bright floral aromas of orange and jasmine blossom. On the palate, this wine offers citrus and peach flavors that lead to a crisp finish.

Although Malbec and Mendoza are the best known names in Argentine winemaking, Torrontés is taking center stage a few hundred miles to the northwest, in the Cafayate region of Salta. It is believed that Argentina’s flagship white varietal was brought to the country by Spanish Jesuits in the 18th century. Torrontés is found in the world’s highest vineyards, resting at 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level in Argentina. The high altitude growing conditions translate beautifully to bright floral aromas and delightfully crisp acidity in our Alamos Torrontés wine.

In 2013, the Salta region had an excellent vintage. Cooler temperatures allowed for steady ripening and maturation, creating a great balance between acidity and sugar with great aromatic complexity. These conditions enhanced the fruity and floral aromas in our Torrontes, offering an ideal complement to the crisp acidity.

2014 was a good vintage for Torrontés in Salta, and the 2014 Torrontés from Alamos feels a little like a dry Riesling from Germany as it offers that mixture of lime and white flowers with subtle minerality and pungent, fresh flavors plus spiciness in the palate (curry). This would be ideal for Asian food that is not too hot. It would be interesting to see how this wine behaves with a couple of years in bottle as this has very good stuffing and acidity. Very good value for this quality Torrontés. Some 250,000 bottles produced.–Robert Parker 90 Rating!

 

Alamos Seleccion Malbec 2014

The pinnacle of our portfolio, the Alamos Selección Malbec has enticing ripe black fruit characteristics of plum and blackberry. Intense aromas of violet and dark berry jump right out of the glass and extend to the palate, where they are complemented by hints of brown spice and pepper from oak aging. This full-bodied Malbec culminates in a deep, luscious finish.

Tucked under the massive shoulders of the Andes Mountains in west central Argentina, the province of Mendoza is renowned for housing some of the best winegrowing regions of Argentina. The character of Mendoza wines is forged in high altitude desert vineyards irrigated by mineral-rich snowmelt from glaciers and snowfields. Altitudes range from 1,000 feet to around 5,000 feet, where the foothills rise steeply toward the Andes’ peaks. High altitude means cool temperatures and clear air, and clear air means more sunlight for building flavor in the grapes, helping to make Mendoza the source of Argentina’s well-earned reputation for top quality, unique wines.

Connoisseur Club

With encyclopedic knowledge of the wines and terroirs of the Rhône as well as his native Costieres de Nîmes, Michel Gassier is a restless and innovative vigneron. Usually inquisitive personalities like Michel start as outsiders. Such is not the case with Michel, whose family has been growing grapes and making wine in the Costieres de Nîmes for four generations. Together with his wife Tina, they are helping to establish a new level of quality for Costieres de Nîmes without forsaking the uniqueness of their terroir.

They have achieved this through nurturing their land, farming organically, promoting biodiversity, and respecting their employees as much as their vines. They are proponents of indigenous varieties and taking advantage of the diversity of climates to make wines that are dense and pure but elegantly balanced. Cercius is made in partnership with Eric Solomon and Philippe Cambie from several sites throughout the Rhône valley. Nostre Païs is the epitome of the terroir of the Costieres de Nîmes while Lou Coucardié represents the aspirations of Michel and Tina through conversation with the land and its history.

Mostre Pais 2013 $ 32.99

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A blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Bourboulenc planted in red clay, gravel, & sand.  The vines are hand harvested organically and the wine is aged in 50% stainless steel tanks and 50% French Oak barrels for 6 months before released.  The past two vintages have been rated 92 and 93 respectively by Robert Parker.

 

 

Lou Coucardie 2011  $21.99

It’s dark color, almost black, announces a wine of great concentration. Powerful and extremely complex, the nose displays a wide array of aromas such as dark berries, spices, eucalyptus and vanilla welded in great harmony. Rich and velvety, without being heavy, this wine pulls its finish in a aerial display of fresh fruits and ripe tannins.

Blend: 48% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache and 22% Syrah

The Wine Advocate – “The richest and most concentrated cuvee, the 2011 Costieres De Nimes Lou Coucardie, which was bottled earlier in the year, offers up aromas and flavors of ripe black fruits, chocolate, graphite, licorice and hints of smoked herbs. A blend of 48% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache and 22% Syrah that spent 12-18 months in French oak, it is a serious, layered and textured effort that was hard to spit. While hard to resist now, it should have a broad drink window as well. “