November Wine Club Selections 2013

Oconee Wine Club November 2013

Kings Ridge Pinot Noir 2011   Willamette Valley   “Perfect Turkey Wine”  $ 18.99

Kings Ridge Wines is owned by Union Wine Company, a partnership created by two veterans of the Oregon wine industry brought together by a personal passion for well valued wine and a joint philosophy that the best wines are a union of gifted winemaking skills and precise farming techniques in the vineyard.

Their flagship Pinot is hard to beat. A combination of rich red fruit flavors with freshness and vibrancy unique to Pinot Noir grapes grown in our beloved Willamette Valley, this wine truly reflects the character of this region.

Tasting Notes: Raspberry, cherry and chocolate

2010 – 91 Points, Best Buy A touch of cinnamon and smoke lead in this compellingly vinous red, with red cherry flavors and an earthy savor in the tannins.  It feels dry, structured and elegant, a steal at the price.

– Wine Enthusiast

Kings Ridge Pinot Gris 2012     “Great way to start off the Thanksgiving Day”  $ 12.99

Pinot Gris often gets left out in a place where its close cousin, Pinot Noir, gets all the hype. But we think you’ll love this richly textured white, crafted from carefully chosen vineyards in the coolest parts of the Willamette Valley.

Tasting Notes: Peach, melon and pear

Connoisseurs Club November 2013

Talley Vineyards Chardonnay 2011 Arroyo Grande Valley    $24.99

Light golden yellow in color, this chardonnay has a vibrant and fresh bouquet of lemon peel and lime zest with subtle creamy aromas.  On the palate, this wine has layered flavors of citrus fruits and nuttiness that are balanced by a bright acidity leading into a long, elegant finish. This chardonnay pairs well with delicate white fish and shrimp dishes.

92 Points. Vinous, by Antonio Galloni, July 31, 2013. The 2011 Chardonnay Estate, from Briam Talley’s estate’s vineyards in Arroyo Grande, is supported by gorgeous veins of graphite, crushed rocks and minerals. An intriguing wine, the 2011 stands out for its mineral-drenched energy and length, while more typical varietal fruit notes lie in the background. Layers of fruit continue to build as the broad shoulders fill out in a Chardonnay endowed with tons of personality and pure class. Best of all, the 2011 Chardonnay Estate is a fabulous value.

Talley Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir Arroyo Grande Valley  Retail $ 32.99

On the palate, this medium-bodied wine has a plush mouthfeel with concentrated flavors of red fruit and mineral balanced by a fresh acidity characteristic of the Arroyo Grande Valley.

This pinot noir has an enticing bouquet of raspberry, cherry, rose petal, and cola. On the palate, this medium-bodied wine has a plush mouthfeel with concentrated flavors of red fruit and mineral balanced by a fresh acidity characteristic of the Arroyo Grande Valley.  This wine pairs well with roasted lamb and seared duck breast.

93 Points. Vinous, by Antonio Galloni, July 31, 2013. The 2011 Pinot Noir Estate wafts from the glass with exquisite aromatics and weightless, articulate fruit. Bright, nuanced and wonderfully delineated, the 2011 is all about understatement. Clean, saline notes support the bright finish. The partial use of whole clusters works very nicely here. This is a drop-dead gorgeous wine from Brian Talley.

 

October Wine Club Selections 2013

Yalumba The Strapper Grenache, Shiraz, & Mataro 2010    $19.99    91 Wine Spectator!

Yalumba was founded in 1849 by Samuel Smith, British migrant and English brewer, who had brought his family to Angaston seeking a new life. After purchasing a 30-acre parcel of land just beyond the southern-eastern boundary of Angaston, Smith and his son began planting the first vines by moonlight. Samuel named his patch “Yalumba” – aboriginal for “all the land around”.

Yalumba wines have a style all of their own and each have been influenced by a diverse range of elements. Elements Yalumba likes to call ‘the controllables’, such as the Yalumba Vine Nursery and on-site cooperage – as well as other factors that cannot be emulated by any other winery. Yalumba’s history and tradition combined with a reputation for innovation.

The three varieties are picked separately for this wine and fermented in small batches – some in oak vats and some in stainless steel. The subsequent wines are aged in a mixture of large oak vats, small oak vats, puncheons and smaller oak barrels, to allow the wines to develop without the influence of a lot of oak flavour, but to increase in textures and complexity. Parcels of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro are chosen from Barossa vineyards that show vibrancy and depth of fruit.

The varieties G, S & M were created to go together, blending harmoniously in the bottle and glass. This is a wine that is layered and supple – like spiced red and black berry fruits, drizzled with chocolate. Finishing with rustic yet velvet tannins. Delicious with slow braised beef cheek or lamb shanks, garnished with crisp smoked Schultz’s bacon and served with roasted root vegetables.

Oxford Landing Estates Chardonnay 2011  $ 9.99 

In 1958, South Australian entrepreneur and winemaking visionary Wyndham Hill Smith took a spade and sank it into the riverside dirt. He believed this place of fertile red soil and bountiful sunshine would be ideal for growing premium grape varieties, and Oxford Landing Estates was born.

With 650 acres under vine, they could never call Oxford Landing small but they act like they are. They micro-manage 130 five-acre blocks as separate ecosystems so we become intimately familiar with each block and can give the grapes exactly what they need to achieve optimum flavour. ‘Small vineyard’ techniques such as detailed pruning, canopy management and crop thinning give them ultimate control in expressing the individuality of each block. They are nimble enough to harvest small batches of the fruit as soon as it ripens, so not an ounce of freshness is lost.

The ‘small scale’ approach continues in the winery with methods usually reserved for boutique winemaking. These include using wild ferments native to the vineyard and back-blending with barrel-aged wines. Minimal handling of the juice also means less chance for error or contamination, so the fruit is processed gently yet quickly. Thinking small does make a lot more work for us, but we take pride in working hard to craft quality wine.

A tantalisingly creamy yet crisp, clean Chardonnay. Pale golden straw in colour with vibrant green hues, it has lifted aromas of freshly cut white peaches, citrus and honeydew melon. Underlying hints of nougat, nutmeg and cinnamon spice add complexity to the bouquet.

Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Cabernet 2010   $ 29.99   90 Rating Wine Enthusiast!

Ideally located in Sonoma Valley, Kenwood Vineyards – from its very first vintage – has been committed to producing premium varietal wines that reflect Sonoma County’s finest vineyards in their character and style.  Kenwood Vineyards was founded in 1970 when wine enthusiasts from the San Francisco Bay Area refurbished and modernized the former Pagani Brothers Winery, originally established in 1906.

The winery produces classic varietal wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon and has earned the reputation of producing consistent, quality wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon thrives at Jack London Vineyards due to the optimum balance of warm morning sun and gentle cooling afternoon breezes, in combination with well-drained, deep, rich soils. The resulting wine from this Sonoma Valley appellation is rich and complex with aromas of boysenberry and fig combine with aromatic notes of cigar box, mint and a touch of vanilla. The wine has a rich, full-bodied mouthfeel with an excellent finish.

Kenwood Vineyards sits on a beautiful, twenty-two acre-producing estate. The winery also produces wines from fruit sourced from some of Sonoma County’s best vineyards. Using the “Cuvèe” winemaking method, the harvest from each vineyard is handled separately to preserve its individuality and true character. Such “small lot” winemaking allows our winemaker to bring each lot of wine to its fullest potential.

True to history, the winery is housed in the original winery buildings. Inside, the winery has been redesigned with winemaking versatility in mind. More than 125 stainless steel fermenting and upright oak tanks are used in combination with 14,000 French and American Oak barrels, giving the winemaker flexibility and diversity in production.

With hard work and dedication to quality, over the past forty years, this winery has earned a reputation for crafting wines that offer consistent high quality and outstanding value.

Domaine Laroche Chablis 2010 Saint Martin  $ 24.99   89 Rating Robert Parker!

Cuvée Saint Martin is a blend of the best plots of Domaine Laroche in the Chablis appellation. All plots are located on Kimmeridgian soil with a west to northwest orientation. Thanks to the diverse nuances of these sources, they bring richness and complexity to the final cuvée.

Definition: Saint Martin, the patron saint of Chablis, was a Roman cavalry officer who converted to Christianity, lived as a humble monk and was elected Bishop of Tours. After his death in 397, his body was brought back to the Abbey of Marmoutier in Tours, where his relics (his famous cloak, in particular) were kept. In 877, as the Normans were invading the Touraine, monks took his relics to Chablis to avoid destruction. Saint Martin’s relics were kept for a decade in the Obédiencerie, the prayer hall in the ninth-century monastery in the town of Chablis.

Viticulture: Converting toward organic viticulture: 2010 is the first year of organic cultivation for these vineyards. Domaine Laroche will require four consecutive years of organic cultivation (one more year than EU regulations prescribe) before their viticulture will be considered 100% organic. Traditional Chablis pruning system with strict pruning and debudding. Trellising to aerate the canopy and leaf plucking to avoid compact canopy and avoid development of botrytis.

The qualities of the year come through beautifully in the 2010 Chablis Saint Martin. Layers of silky, polished fruit flow with gorgeous length and persistence. The 2010 is another overachiever among the entry-level wines of this great Chablis vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2012+. 

 

 

September 2013 Wine Club Selections

September 2013

With summer behind us and football season in full swing, this is one of my favorite times of the year!  If you have not attended one of our monthly wine tastings then you need to sign up for the next tasting on Monday September 16th at Corrado’s Italian Ristorante.  It is themed as “Distributors Choice” and for $25 per person you will taste up to 20 different wines along with Corrado’s delicious Italian cuisine.  You must bring a check or cash to The Oconee Cellar to reserve your spot.  We are about half way full as of now, so don’t hesitate before its too late!  These tastings are the talk of the lake, so sign up today!

Mas Carlot 2011 Clairette De Bellegarde     $ 13.99 Retail

This month I chose two French wines.  I keep sampling these great values from France and I am so excited to share them with my wine club members.  The white wine, Mas Carlot 2011, is a little know varietal called Clairette from Bellegarde, which is older than the appellation of Costières de Nîmes.  It was created in 1952 and is planted exclusively with Clairette.  Clairette is one of the main grapes for Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This cuvée is produced from vines planted in 1946 and harvested at 25 hl/h or about 1 ½ tons per acre.  This wine is vinified in stainless steel which allows the wine to remain fresh and aged sur lie in tank after fermentation.  The wine is rich on the palate and displays bright orchard fruit with hints of white pepper on the finish. Unfortunately, there are only about 500 cases of the 2011 Clairette de Bellgarde, a fresh, elegant, pure-as-a-mountain-stream style of wine that is racy, with plenty of fresh citrus and crushed rock notes. Not meant for long aging but for drinking in its first 12-20 months of life, it is a tasty, elegant, Chablis-like style of wine.

Chateau Dubory 2009 Bordeaux Superieur   $14.99 Retail

The 2009 Vintage for Bordeaux, France was rated 97-99 by Robert Parker and 96-97 by Wine Spectator!  So you can see why I continue to buy almost any Bordeaux I can find that is priced under $20!  The Chateau Dubory 2009 fits this mold to perfection.  A blend of Merlot, Cabernet, and Cabernet Franc, this smooth elegant wine is rich yet refined with silky tannins.  What a tremendous value!  Enjoy this wine for the next 4-5 years!

Connoisseur’s Club  

Norton Privada 2010, Mendoza, Argentina   $ 25.99       91 Rating by Wine Spectator!  $ 25.99

I tasted this at one of our wine tastings at Corrado’s and loved it!  The name “Privada” refers to the private stash of wine the family would make and only serve to its closest friends.  Lucky for us, they now make enough to sell to the general public.

Norton dates back to 1895 when Edmund James Palmer Norton first set eyes on Mendoza countryside during the construction of a train line that joined Mendoza and Chile. Very impressed by the terroir, he founded Bodega Norton, south of the Mendoza River, with a plantation of vines imported from France.  Today, Jorge Riccitelli – Bodega Norton´s Chief Winemaker- was awarded  “WineMaker of the year 2012” by the prestigious magazine Wine Enthusiast, first getting this award for an Argentine Winemaker.  Wine Spectator includes Norton 2010 Reserve Malbec in the ‘Top 100 best wines in the world.

A dense, smoky red, showing a creamy edge to the spicy kirsch, plum sauce and grilled fig notes that mingle with hints of baking spice and medium tannins. Fine length. Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now. 6,500 cases imported.

Trefethen Chardonnay 2011, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley  90 Rating Wine Enthusiast!  $ 27.99 Retail

In 1979, Trefethen 1976 Chardonnay was named “Best Chardonnay in the World” at the Gault Millau World Wine Olympics in France, beginning their 30-year tradition of excellence with this most popular of white wines. Key to their success is our vineyard’s location in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, where well-drained, loamy soils and a marine-influenced climate yield Chardonnay grapes with rich, balanced flavors.

A fine Chardonnay, front-loaded with tropical fruit, Asian pear, and green apple flavors, with rich honey and vanilla from charred oak barrels. With a crunch of acidity, it’s Trefethen’s best Chardonnay in years.

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!

March 2013

March 2013                                             The Oconee Wine Club

Spring is finally in the air!  The time changes soon, so don’t forget to Spring forward.  This month I chose two wines from one of my favorite European countries, Italy!  The red, Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre 2009, is from the Veronese  area of Italy.  For centuries, the Allegrini family has defined winemaking in the Valpolicella area north of Verona, while continually engaging in their tireless pursuit of perfection. Today, they operate one of the most highly acclaimed Italian estate wineries, renowned in particular for their exceptional Amarone production. As one of the first families to develop several cru vineyards, including the famed La Poja dedicated to 100% Corvina, they continue to demonstrate a respect and devotion to Valpolicella wines paired with a modern sensibility. Years of research and experimentation are evident in every aspect of Allegrini’s wines, from the meticulous vineyards and cellars to the innovative grape-drying process; everything is done with the objective of enhancing and perfecting the intrinsic quality of their wines. While demonstrating the same quest for perfection, the winemaking style focuses on emphasizing local grapes and crafting enticing wines that consistently showcase elegance, intensity, concentration and complexity.

Franco Allegrini became Allegrini’s winemaker in 1983, assuming his father Giovanni’s responsibilities shortly after his death. Franco had worked closely with Giovanni for many years, acquiring both his father’s skill and passion for fine wine. Relying on his rock-solid intuition, Franco was responsible for a revolution of sorts in traditional Valpolicella winemaking, pioneering several fundamental innovations including the introduction of barriques, reducing the aging period to maintain a lively fruitiness in the flavors and aromas, modifying the well-known Ripasso technique and the drying process, with the creation a modern drying center called Terre di Fumane that today stands as a benchmark for the Valpolicella region.

Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT 2009  $19.99

89 Rating by Wine Spectator, “Flavors of blackberry, candied black currant and kirsch mix with hints of pomegranate, violet and balsamic in this open-knit, creamy red. Medium-bodied, with a lightly juicy finish. Drink now through 2017. 18,300 cases made”

This blend of 70% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella and 5% Sangiovese is a smooth, fullbodied cru made in an innovative ripasso style. After the harvest, the grapes from the Palazzo della Torre vineyard follow two different paths: 70% of the grapes picked are vinified immediately, and the remaining 30% are left to dry until the end of December. The fresh wine made at harvest is blended with the fermenting juice of the dried grapes, initiating a second fermentation, and rendering a more highly concentrated and complex wine. Allegrini affectionately refers to Palazzo della Torre as its “baby Amarone.”

Banfi Le Rime Pinot Grigio 2011  87 “Best Buy” from Wine Spectator $ 9.99
Exclusive use of free-run juice to avoid colour extraction from the skins. The temperature-controlled fermentation (15-16°C) is followed by a short storage in stainless steel tanks and, finally, by an early bottling to capture varietal freshness.  Colour: straw yellow with fresh green reflections. Bouquet: fruity, fragrant and harmonious.  Taste: fresh, floral, full and appropriately acidic.  Enjoy as an aperitif or charming complement to antipasto, pasta and light meals.

Connoisseur’s Club

Saintsbury 2010 unfiltered Carneros Chardonnay $ 24.99

92 Rating Wine Enthusiast, “There’s a bit of oak here, but not too much, giving a smoky, buttered toast richness to the orange, lime and pineapple fruit. It’s a rich, flashy Chardonnay, with crisp acidity and a clean, spicy finish.”

Powers Champoux Vineyard Reserve Cabernet 2009  $ 29.99

Past vintages have rated 90-93 by Parker!

From it’s inaugural release in 1992, Powers Winery has remained committed to crafting concentrated, structured and age-worthy wines, while practicing and innovating environmental, community and fiscal sustainability.

This shared view of integrated stewardship led to our partnership in 1996 with Paul Champoux and four other wineries to purchase Mercer Ranch Vineyard and form Champoux Vineyards, LLC. Under the management of Paul Champoux, the estate has become one of Washington’s premiere vineyards, boasting some of the state’s oldest root stock, planted in 1972. Champoux Vineyards forms the core of Powers’ Cabernet Sauvignon program.

Whether a single vineyard Reserve or a unique blend of diverse fruit, Powers wines have always been priced to provide exceptional value to consumers. Over the past 17 years the winery has continued to increase production and our wines are now available throughout the United States, select Canadian Provinces, many European countries, and some parts of the Pacific Rim.

Rich, layered and decadent aromatics of cherries, pine needles and forest floor. These brooding scents are woven with dark red cassis and granite in mouth-filling richness. This wine is dense and wild with layers of rich anise and pine. Not for the faint of heart, this is complex wine will compliment intensely flavored foods and is sure to gracefully age for many years to come.

 

May 2012 Wine Club Selections

May 2012                                                               Wine Club Selections

The May wines are in!  This month I chose two French wines that are both rated 90 or more by Robert Parker.  Although these wines come from different producers, they are both imported by European Cellars Selection (Eric Solmon).  They are one of the premier importers of Eurpean wines.  Robert M. Parker Jr. said Eric Solomon was his #1 Wine Personality of the Year 2002. 

Signargues Old Vine Cotes Du Rhone 2009 $14.99

In 1994 Eric visited the Vignerons d’Estazarques and met a young, passionate director/winemaker named Jean-Francois Nicq.  By the end of the day, he & Jean-Francois had decided on a custom bottling of old vine syrah from one of their best parcels, Andezon.  This opaque-black, blockbuster Syrah could have been Australian Shiraz.  What a find!  Previously sold in bulk (vinous suicide) to a very famous producer in the Rhone Valley, Eric jumped at the opportunity and over a decade later it remains one of the core items in the Eric Solomon portfolio.

Some years later, a spectacular parcel of old vine Grenache was found in the Côtes du Rhône Villages Appellation Signargues which would be developed in to ‘La Granacha.”  Signargues is the furthest south of the Côtes du Rhône Villages Appellation and it spreads out over 4 different communities : Domazan, Estézargues, Rochefort du Gard and Saze.  The terroir of Signargues is well known to historians going from the occupation of the area by the Romans to the battles of Charles Martel, from the Popes in Avignon to the cult of Bacchus.  Vestiges still exist, such as the double faced statue of Bacchus and Ariane which can be seen in the Louvre Museum, found by an archaeologist on the land.

91 Rating by Robert Parker! 

The 2009 Domaine d’Andezon (90% Syrah and 10% Grenache) is a tank-fermented and aged, unfined/unfiltered cuvee made only for the American market from 50-year-old vines. It offers explosive notes of smoky bacon fat, cassis, and blackberries, a deep, rich, chewy style, and an exuberant, flashy personality. With unbelievable flavor intensity and personality for its price, it will provide plenty of pleasure over the next several years.

LaFage Cote Est 2010 $12.99

One of the oldest viticulture areas of France, vines in the Roussillon were cultivated by the Romans, and perhaps even before that. With some of the most dramatic topography in France, many of the zones are composed of extremely steep hillsides – resembling the Priorat in Spain in many ways.

One of the most sought-after winemakers of Europe at the moment, Jean-Marc Lafage lends his expertise with Southern European varietals to several top estates in both France and Spain (he makes Evodia  with Eric Solomon among other custom cuvee projects) and also in South America. However, his best work is perhaps at home at his estate in the hills of the Roussillon with his wife, Eliane, also a highly accomplished winemaker.

90 Rating Robert Parker! 

The Lafage 2010 Cote Est – comprising, as usual, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Chardonnay, and a bit of Marsanne – is delightfully scented with honeysuckle and iris, and its palate combination of juicy lime with the bite of cress, tangerine rind, and persistent inner-mouth florality put me in mind of some top-notch, lighter Gruner Veltliner. In fact, this harbors 13% alcohol yet finishes with a striking sense of levity, not to mention combining subtle but alluring textural enrichment via the lees with refreshing vivacity and intriguing, mouthwatering hints of iodine and salt. Look for it to prove phenomenally versatile over the next 12-18 months.  As explained in issue 183, this blend is assembled as juice (not as wine) following a 12-15 day super-cold but gentle settling period for each variety and lot – just one of the many examples of wholly unorthodox Lafage methods resulting in something extraordinary, here above all in terms of uncanny balance as well as improbable price-quality rapport.

Connoisseurs Club Selections

The DiStefano Winery was established in 1983 being one of the first 5 wineries in Woodinville, now known as Woodinville Wine Country and home of 90 tasting rooms. The winery produces high quality white and red wines made from classic varietals grown in Washington State such as Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
DiStefano winery does not own its own vineyards, but relies on long-term relationships and contacts with existing well know vineyards, such as Willard and Roza Hills in Yakima Valley, Bacchus and Dinoysus in Columbia Valley, Rosebud and Weinbau on Wahluke Slope, and Alder Ridge in Horse Heaven Hills.

Di Stefano 2008 Meritage  $24.99

This killer red is a blend of 50% Cabernet, 20% Cabernet Franc, 19% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot.  Only 600 cases of this classic blend where produced! 

Enticing clove, cola and raspberry aromatics with a depth of rich dark cherries, black pepper and spice enlightened with molasses, brown sugar and blackberry notes.

Zd Chardonnay 2010  $ 29.99

Producing world-class wines was the vision of two former aerospace engineers who in pursuit of their dream launched ZD Wines. The initials ZD were a very nice tie between the new partners last names and a quality control program they had worked under “Z”ero “D”efects! Over the years, ZD Wines have graced the tables of White House dinner parties, spanning three administrations. The wines have garnered over 342 awards of excellence in prestigious competitions; and in 1997, ZD Wines was named a Winery of the Year by the Wine & Spirits Buying Guide.

This 2010 ZD Wines California Chardonnay is yet another testament to our unique style and pursuit of richness and balance through our careful selection of cool, coastal vineyards from as far south as Santa Barbara and Monterey counties to our own Napa and Sonoma Carneros appellations. All of the grapes were harvested at optimal maturities and 100% barrel fermented in our cellar which is kept at a chilly 48°F during fermentation. This long, cool fermentation preserves the vibrant tropical and clean citrus aromas while also helping to inhibit any malo-lactic fermentation, thus maintaining a balance of forward fruit and bright natural acidity. Aromas of pineapple, guava and pear mingle with hints of vanilla and orange blossoms. The palate is full bodied and rich with the perfect balance between fruit, oak and acidity. Like many ZD Chardonnays, this wine is a joy to drink when young but will also age and develop beautifully for many years to come.

  • 90 Points – Highly Recommended – California Grapevine, Oct. 2011
  • Double Gold MedalSan Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2012
  • Best ChardonnayMonterey Wine Competition 2012
  • Best of Class|Gold MedalNew World International Wine Competition 2012

April 2012 Wine Club Selections

 April 2012           Wine Club Selections

Founded in 1970, with its first release in 1975, Marqués de Cáceres the Rioja bodega was established by Henri Forner, whose family has been active in the wine business for generations. The winery is named for a Spanish peer who was also an investor in the winery and a friend of Henri Forner.

The Forner family fled Spain during the Spanish Civil War and settled in France. In the early 1960s, Henri Forner and his brother Elysée bought and restored two abandoned châteaux, Château Camensac and Château Larose-Trintaudon. These châteaux are now recognized as two of the finest properties in Bordeaux. When Henri decided to establish a bodega in his homeland, he selected what he considered the finest viticultural area in Spain: Cenicero in Rioja Alta.

Emile Peynaud, former professor and chief wine researcher at the University of Bordeaux, was initial consultant to the winery. Today, Michel Rolland is wine consultant at Marqués de Cáceres and Henri and his daughter, Christine, are at the helm. The vinification methods at Bodegas Marqués de Cáceres are similar to those used in Bordeaux. Thus, French winemaking techniques and expertise have been applied to native Spanish grapes to produce one of the finest modern Riojas.

Marques de Caceres Reserve Rioja 2005 $ 19.99

winemaker’s notes:

Attractive, vivid ruby red color.  Intense, fragrant bouquet with a depth of blackberries, blackcurants, blueberries and vanilla.  Deliciously full and complex in the mouth with silky smooth tannins.  This reserva highlights the character of a unique vintage that is rich and structured, while combining the elegance of a splendid wine that promises to develop superbly over the next few years.

91 Points Wine Spectator

“This silky red offers fresh fruit flavors of plum and blackberry, with espresso and licorice notes. This is firm, bright and balanced, with a perfumed, floral finish. Drink now through 2018.”

Marques de Caceres Rioja Blanco 2010   $ 8.99           

winemaker’s notes:

Luminous, pale straw color with metallic highlights.  Lively bouquet combining pears and mineral notes with a discreet depth of grapefruit.  Well-integrated fruit flavors awaken the palate with their refreshing vivacity and persist in the mouth to give good length.

87 Points Wine Enthusiast  “Best Buy”

“A perennial Best Buy Rioja white that never deviates from the formula, which includes crisp aromas, fresh white fruit flavors and just enough sweetness so it doesn’t come across tart.  With proper acidity and weight, it hits the spot. Best Buy

Connoisseur Club Selections

 Lemelson Vineyards Tikka’s Run Pinot Gris 2010  $ 19.99

Lemelson  Vineyards was designed with two primary goals: to produce the highest  quality Pinot noir from our vineyards and to create a winemaking  environment that is both aesthetically beautiful and highly functional.  The 21,000 square foot, gravity-flow facility features a unique mobile  grape sorting platform and three levels to accommodate gravity based  production of approximately 12,000 cases per year with extended barrel  aging of Pinot noir.  Complete in 2000, the winery is located at the  foot of the Stermer Vineyards, three miles east of Carlton, Oregon.  Lemelson  Vineyards owns seven estate vineyard sites that are located in the   Yamhill-Carlton, Dundee Hills and Chehalem Mountain AVA’s and are all   Certified Organic.

The 2010 Tikka’s Run is more floral and mineral than previous vintages with nectarine, almond, chamomile, wet earth and chalk.  The palate is soft on entry with pear and candied orange balanced by vibrant Meyer lemon that carries through to the chalky, mineral finish.  Time in bottle should produce deeper, more tropical aromatics and lovely, broad textures while still remaining food friendly.

Tua Rita Perlato del Bosco 2009 Sangiovese-Cabernet $32.99

Tua Rita is located in Suvereto, a small medieval town in the Tuscan province of Livorno, on the coast south of Bolgheri.  Rita Tua and her husband Virgilio Bisti bought the property in 1984 and planted it with Cabernet and Merlot.  They later purchased an additional 17.5 acres of land, bringing the total estate to 55 acres, of which about 45 are planted with vines.  The winery lies at just 300 feet above sea level, on a clayey, silty soil. Luca D’Attoma is the winemaker at the estate.  Yields are kept to a minimum to ensure concentration of flavors.  The estate’s total annual production is currently 130,000 bottles. The winery released its first vintage in 1992, and soon began receiving praise and accolades from wine enthusiasts worldwide for its rich, full-bodied wines.  Indeed, in just five short years, its (100% Merlot) had achieved cult-like status, receiving outstanding ratings from the world’s most prestigious wine critics and publications.  Wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. called the 1999 Redigaffi “as close to perfection as a wine can get.”  The next year, he gave the 2000 Redigaffi a perfect 100 score.  The winery’s Bordeaux blend, Giusti di Notri, also garners near-universal praise.  Little wonder that Tua Rita’s wines are considered among the most difficult to find in Italy.

93 Rated by Robert Parker!

“The 2009 Perlato del Bosco is a stunner. Fresh delineated aromatics lead to layers of candied, expressive fruit. Silky tannins frame the explosive finish. In 2009 the blend is 60% Sangiovese – a touch higher than normal – and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020. ”

 

How to: Pasta

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.

At massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus. Vivamus elementum semper nisi.

Aecenas tempus, tellus eget condimentum rhoncus, sem quam semper libero, sit amet adipiscing se

Read more

Welcome on our new Homepage!

Welcome! This is our new Homepage. Fresh and modern as it should be for every restaurant 😉

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus. Vivamus elementum semper nisi.

Read more