January 2015 The Oconee Wine Club Selections
Valentin Bianchi Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 $ 16.99
Bodega Valentin Bianchi is one of the oldest and most important wineries in South America. It is a symbol of tradition, nobility and quality in Argentine wines. Started in 1928 by Don Valentin Bianchi, they have won world attention and acclaim since 1934 starting with the “Maximum Quality” honor in Mendoza. On August 12, 1968, Don Valentin Bianchi passed away. However, the tradition that he firmly established continues to live on in his successors.
Today, Valentin Eduardo Bianchi and Ricardo Stradella Bianchi have brought the winery into the modern era. Valentin is the President of the winery while Ricardo is the Chief Financial Officer. Recently, they enlisted the aid of California winemaker, Robert Pepi. He has helped them refine some of their techniques and the new wines show the style that this new breed of management exemplifies. Pepi believes that Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon are the future of this winery.
90 Rating Wine Enthusiast!
Wine Enthusiast – “This is a superb value Cabernet. Black-fruit aromas come with touches of licorice, herbs and marzipan. The palate has an elegance to it, while flavors of berry fruits, cassis, chocolate and fig finish smooth and long. Bianchi has always made good Cabernet, but this one is better than usual. Best Buy”
Leyda Sauvignon Blanc 2013 $ 10.99
89 Rating Best Buy!
“Tropical more than green and pungent, this fragrant wine offers powdery, sweet notes and stronger coastal ones. It’s lean and angular in feel, with oceanic flavors of nettle, tangerine and lemon. A light green flavor and a chalky feel make up the finish.”
The grapes were harvested between March 21 and April 15, in different stages, with 20.8-22.8º Brix, depending on the exposure of the parcels and the clone. The 2013 harvest stood out as the coldest season ever, leading to lower pH levels, higher acidity and juiciness, and a powerful aromatic expression. At the winery, the grapes were macerated in a pneumatic press at low temperatures for eight hours in order to enhance aromas and flavors. Afterwards, the wine was cooled to controlled temperatures (46º F) before being clarified to 60-120 NTU. Alcoholic fermentation was carried out at low temperatures (54-55°F, finishing at 60°F) in stainless steel tanks for 18 days. The wine was aged on its lees for five months to round it out and improve the texture on the palate.
Showcasing expressive minerality, the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc is marked by a powerful aromatic intensity and a wide aromatic spectrum, with herbal, citric and tropical notes. It is fresh on the palate, offering a crisp, tangy acidity and a juicy, citric finish.
Pair with crab cakes, chicken tarragon or mussels.
Chateau Ducla 2012 White Bordeaux $ 18.99
Acquired by the Mau family in 1920, Chateau Ducla comprises some 80 hectares in the heart of the Entre Deux Mers region. The château combines longstanding authenticity and tradition and today offers wines that embody the Bordeaux tradition. Production area encompasses the Castets, Saint Hilaire, &Saint Exupéry. The appellation is in the Gironde region with Semillon and Sauvignon grapes, Bordeaux white are fruity, scented, and perfect served with seafood. The soil is silt-clay-limestone grown on the hillsides.
88 Points Wine Enthusiast
Tangy and fruity, this is a lively, bright wine that has added weight from light wood aging. Citrus and apple flavors show strong and bright to give a crisp, textured aftertaste.
Emeritus Hallberg Ranch Russian River Pinot Noir 2011 $ 36.99
93 Rating Wine Spectator #26 in The Top 100 Wines for 2014
“Impressive, offering richness, vibrancy and subtle charm, marked by snappy blackberry, red berry, spice, sage and underbrush notes. Ends with a minerally edge that holds the flavors. Drink now through 2021. 11,100 cases made. ”
In 1999 Emeritus was born when Brice Cutrer Jones closed on the purchase of Don and Marcia Hallberg’s prime apple orchard in the heart of the Russian River Valley. The 115–acre parcel, the Hallberg Ranch, is located two miles north of Sebastopol, on both sides of the Gravenstein Highway and directly on the Gold Ridge—the ten-mile long ridge that bears the name of the predominate soils of the area.
After acquiring the Hallberg property in 1999, Emeritus cleared the land over a three-year period and established a Pinot Noir vineyard with rootstocks and clones specifically chosen for the soils and orientation. The first few harvests were sold to various wineries in the area while Emeritus experimented with small lots of Pinot, and began to outfit the Hallberg barn with fermentation vats, barrels, and environmental controls. Then, in 2004, Brice finally convinced longtime Pinotphile, Burgundy–trained winemaker Don Blackburn to join the team. Don came aboard the day before the first harvest of the William Wesley Vineyard and established the hallmark style of Emeritus—that of elegance and charm. We lost Don to a brief but serious illness after the ’08 harvest, but his protégé, Nicolas Cantacuzene, stepped into his shoes and continues his quest: to produce an authentic wine of great distinction, one that represents its vineyard heritage, a wine of great balance, elegance and charm.