November Wine Club Selections 2014

November 2014

Bodegas Bula Montsant red blend 2012

Bodegas Bula 2012 Bula is produced by the Can Blau estate. The D.O. Montsant, where Can Blau is located, is a horse shoe shaped appellation that surrounds the D.O. Priorat on three sides. It should have been included on the Priorat appellation but was excluded. Can Blau is composed of 60 acres of vineyards with an average age of 35 years. The soils are similar to Priorat with Montsant being a bit more complex with a mixture of slate (llicorella), sandy clay and chalk. Bula Montsant is made by blending Mazuelo, Grenache and Syrah. These three varieties are very well acclimated to the historical region that today covers the DO of Monsant. The soil is clay and sandy slate ideal for the cultivation of the previously mentioned varietals blended in this wine. Aromas of roasted coffee, casis liqueur, and mineral open up and intense and attractive nose. Full-bodied with a silky mouth-feel and good concentration and weight. The flavors are lasting and very satisfying. The finish is long with notes of dark fruit and minerals.

90 Rating International Wine Cellar“(40% carinena, 40% garnacha and 20% syrah, from vines that range from about 25 to 75 years of age; fermented in stainless steel and aged in French and American oak for four months): Brilliant ruby-red. Smoky, mineral-laced scents of dark berries and licorice. Chewy and focused, offering bitter cherry and cassis flavors enlivened by a note of black pepper. Dusty tannins give shape to the finish, which lingers with very good energy and sneaky sweetness.”

Pazo de Monterrey Godello 2012

Perhaps inspired by the commercial success of albariño in the western Galician region Rías Baixas, researchers in the late 1970s began working with godello in Valdeorras, in eastern Galicia. One of the earliest and best of the modern godello producers, Godeval, was founded in 1986.  Since then, godello has grown steadily more popular. Now, many producers make the wine, largely in Valdeorras but also in other regions of eastern Galicia, including Monterrei and Ribeira Sacra, and the adjacent region Bierzo in Castilla y Léon.

Pazos del Rei boasts the singularity of its origin, Monterrei, the denomination which is least well-known amongst the Galician wine regions. Monterrei shares the cultivation of the varieties with the neighboring regions: Godello with Valdeorras, Treixadura with Ribeiro, and Mencia with Ribeira Sacra, and is the only one of the Galician regions whose territory lies along the Duero riverbank, although it does not forsake the oceanic influence of the rest, a reason that serves to warrant the cultivation of the red varieties.

90 Rating International Wine Cellar“Pale gold. Complex scents of citrus zest, pear, flowers and smoky minerals. Fleshy orchard fruit flavors are firmed by juicy acidity and gain depth and spiciness with air. A ripe melon note comes up on the smooth, spicy, very persistent finish. “

 

October Wine Club Selections 2014

October 2014       The Oconee Wine Club

Hayes Valley Winery

Located in the northern Central Coast of California, the lore of Hayes Valley extends back to the days of missionaries and the historic El Camino Real. The land was planted with wine grapes in the late 1800’s, but the vineyards eventually succumbed to Prohibition.

Hayes Valley Today

Agriculture was restored to the Valley in the late 1990’s with the planting of new vines. The Hayes Valley is an ideal climate for growing grapes—cool, foggy nights followed by warm sunny days.

Sustainability

sustainabilityHayes Valley Wines are grown and produced at Clos LaChance Estate Vineyards and Winery in California’s Northern Central Coast, which was one of the first  17 certified sustainable wineries in California.

The winery is committed to producing the best quality wine possible while protecting the environment and conserving natural resources. As a family-owned and operated winery, it is important for Clos LaChance to maintain the long-term viability of the land for future generations.

Hayes Valley Chardonnay 2013  $ 13.99

Tasting Notes

Hayes Valley Chardonnay opens up with aromas of tropical fruits—pineapples and bananas. Pears and apples are also prevalent, with a hint of toasty oak. Flavors of baked apples, banana and vanilla carry through the palate, along with a creamy mouth feel and a hint of butter. Solid acidity makes this a great wine to pair with many dishes or to drink on its own.

Food Pairings

Chicken dishes (Chicken Piccata, Roasted or Grilled Chicken with a light sauce), Seafood (Steamed Lobster with Butter, Baked Shrimp, Roasted Halibut with a light sauce) and soft, mild cheeses (Brie and Camembert).

Winemaking

  • Handpicked and hand-sorted
  • Whole-cluster pressed; settled in tank for 48 hours
  • Racked to stainless steel tank; fermented at 55 degrees F
  • Post fermentation: 20% racked to French Oak barrels,
  • 20% malolactic fermentation
  • 80% Aged in stainless steel tanks – filtered and bottled

Ageing and Blending

  • 20% New French Oak – 80% stainless steel tanks
  • Blend: 100% Chardonnay

Hayes Valley Meritage 2012 $ 13.99

Tasting Notes

A beautiful dark ruby purple. Lots of fruit on the nose; currants, huckleberries, blueberries and dark cherry. A hint of vanilla and green pepper. On the mouth, the huckleberries stand out along with a beautiful spice. Medium tannins and acidity. A nice smooth finish with a hint of vanilla.

Food Pairings

BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, grilled onion chicken, beef stew, shrimp tacos, beef stroganoff with mushrooms, Montreal-seasoned tri-tip.

Ageing and Blending

  • 25% New French 10% New American, 65% Neutral French
  • Blend: 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Malbec

Connoisseur Club

Mauritson Wines

With over 270 acres of estate vineyards and close relationships with longtime growers throughout Sonoma County, they are able to source and manage our favorite blocks from each vineyard throughout the growing season and select the most premium fruit during harvest.

Each vineyard and appellation they source from carry particular qualities in either the terroir or the farming style that they look for when considering a Mauritson wine release.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc $ 21.99
Dry Creek Valley
The 2012 vintage of Mauritson Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc, is our best to date! The nearly perfect weather conditions throughout the growing season naturally controlled the vines’ vigor, allowing steady sugar accumulation and beautiful flavor and aroma development. In September we sampled the ripening Sauvignon Blanc every day, leading us to harvest our Hardie Ranch Vineyard in two separate blocks in order to achieve the complex flavor profile our Sauvignon Blanc is known for. The first pick retained high natural acidity and citrus flavors and the second pick revealed rich tropical flavors. All lots are hand harvested, whole cluster pressed and fermented separately to achieve immense concentration and depth.

The 2012 Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc is bright and fresh. Guava and hints of key lime pie jump out of the glass. The entry is vibrant, yet maintains elegance. On the palette, there is a harmonious dance of peach, passion fruit and crushed rock. As you would expect from a wine that sees no oak and no malo-lactic fermentation, it finishes clean and smooth with perfectly balanced acidity. Enjoy this wine with light appetizers, salads, seafood dishes or on its own on a warm summer evening. Around the winery, we fondly refer to our Sauvignon Blanc as our porch wine.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon  $ 34.99
Sonoma County
One of the greatest things about this wine is the diversity of fruit that we have to work with. Pulling from some of the best places to grow Bordeaux varietals in Sonoma County: Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Rockpile, gives us a distinct advantage in blending. The fruit was harvested between the middle of September and the last week of October.

The 2010 Mauritson Sonoma County Cabernet exudes both elegance and approachability. Sweet red fruit is complemented by undertones of chocolate, wild mint, mineral, and hints of dried garden rose. On the front palate, the wine exhibits polished juicy tannins and lush red fruit, giving way to roasted coffee beans and sweet oak in the mid palate. With ample Merlot, the wine has refined tannins and soft edges. The small crop yielded wines with balanced tannins and acidity, making them extremely food friendly and ageable for the next 5-7 years.

Wines Poured at The Grand Tasting September 29th 2014

The Grand Tasting  Monday September 29th

 15% Discount when you Purchase 12 or more bottles

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Table 1 Savannah Distributors                Price   # Bottles

Bodegas Bula Monstant                          $14.99

Cuvelier Collection Red                           $23.99

Roque Colombe Chateaunef-du-Pape    $39.99

Ojai Chardonnay                                      $27.99

Bodegas Obalo Rioja                               $15.99

Left Coast Cellars Cali’s Cuvee               $23.99

The Royal Chenin Blanc (S. Africa)         $11.99

Chassenay d’Arce Brut Champange NV  $46.99

Table 2 United Distributors                   Price   # Bottles

Von Strasser Estate Cabernet                $74.99

Von Strasser Diamond Mnt. Cab            $49.99

Antinori Marchese Chianti Reserve         $36.99

Kendall Jackson Grand Res Chard         $18.99

Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Res.       $24.99

Cambria Chardonnay                              $20.99

Table 3  Empire                                      Price   # Bottles

Elk Cove Pinot Gris                                $19.99

Meiomi Chardonnay                               $19.99

Hess Select Pinot Noir                           $19.99

Hess Block 19                                        $40.99

Bila Haut Occultum Lapidem                 $29.99

Colome Estate Red                                $29.99

Table 4    Prime Wine                                Price   # Bottles

Chateau Teyssier St. Emillion Grand Cru  $39.99

Patient Cottat Sancerre                             $25.99

The Pairing Chardonnay by Jonata          $24.99

Castello di Ama ‘AMA’ Chianti                 $26.99

Neyers Sage Canyon Red                       $22.99

Livon Pinot Grigio                                    $16.99

Fluer de California Pinot Noir                  $16.99

Star Lane Cabernet                                 $29.99

Table 5  Quality Wines                          Price   # Bottles

Hiedler Gruner Ventliner “Losess”           $23.99

Novellum Chardonnay                              $14.99

Novelty Hill Stillwater Creek Chard         $22.99

Cristom Jefferson Rsv Pinot Noir            $37.99

Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico           $20.99

Saint Cosme “Les Duex Albions”           $23.99

Tikal “Ptriota” Malbec/Bondra                 $20.99

Tournon Lady’s Lane Shiraz                  $49.99

Table 6 Northeast Sales                       Price   # Bottles

Brancai Tre                                            $ 24.99

San Felice Il Grigio Reserva                  $ 36.99

Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre                 $ 19.99

Viticcio Bere                                           $ 11.99

Tommasi Ripasso                                   $ 21.99

Table 7 Ultimate                                  Price   # Bottles

Cadaretta Sauvignon Blanc                 $17.99

Wild South Chardonnay                       $16.99

Tapiz Malbec                                        $19.99

Formation Pinot Noir                          $18.99

Lamadrid Single Vine Reserve Cab   $22.99

Table 8    Eagle Rock                         Price   # Bottles

Molet Prosecco                                  $13.99

Estampa Estate Malbec                       $13.99

Chozas Carrascal Tinto                       $13.99

Levendi Sweeny Rnch Chardonnay    $30.99

Levendi Sweetwater Ranch Cab.       $45.99

Tenute Costa Barolo                            $54.99

Table 9   National Distributing             Price   # Bottles

Domaine Charvin Cote du Rhone          $22.99

Ridge 3 Valleys Zinfandel                      $25.99

Charles Smith Cabernet                       $19.99

Sanford Pinot Noir                               $22.99

Pierre Sparr Riesling                            $16.99

Talley Aroyo Chardonnay                  $16.99

Table 10  Georgia Crown              Price   # Bottles

Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel            $24.99

Ermisch Erendira Pinot Noir             $34.99

Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec     $24.99

July 2014 Wine Club Selections

July 2014                      The Oconee Wine Club

This month’s white wine comes from a very well known winery located in Adelaide Hills, Australia called Jacob’s Creek.  In 1847, a young Bavarian immigrant called Johann Gramp missed the wine he used to drink in his home land. Instead of changing his habits, he decided to start growing grapes and attempt to make the wine himself. It was a way of adapting to a new country, but still staying true to his character.  What he didn’t know was that when he planted the Barossa Valley’s first commercial vineyard along the banks of Jacob’s Creek, he was also planting the seeds of one of the most popular wine brands in the world that would be named after the waterway.  Today,  Jacob’s Creek remains one of the most well known, trusted and enjoyed Australian wines around the world. It delivers fresh, elegant and great tasting wines that show true varietal character.

For the Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2013, they reserved selected parcels of grapes grown in the Adelaide Hills region in South Australia. The cool climate of the Adelaide Hills ripens the fruit, developing  a crisp acidity.  Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay exhibits regional characteristics of white peach, nectarine and lemon zest with hints of tasted cashew.

Rated 90 by Wine Spectator, “This bright and inviting white exhibits lively flavors of lemon curd, pineapple and pear on a taut frame, lingering expressively. Intense and stylish. Drink now through 2017.”  This wine represents a superb value at only  $11.99 per bottle!

The red for this month is the Red Knot Cabernet 2012 by Shingleback.  Grapes grown in the McLaren Vale area of Australia are used to make this delicious Cabernet.  The McLaren Vale region is located 45 minutes south of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. The area is bound to the south by the Sellick’s Hill range, extends east to Clarendon, reaches to the north just beyond Reynella and is bordered on the west by the waters of the Gulf St. Vincent.

The Red Knot family of wines are designed for immediate enjoyment, full of ripe, fruit driven flavours. The style is bright, fragrant and varietal with the emphasis on fruit richness, giving the wine lover a delicious wine experience at an affordable price.

Deep magenta. Cassis, cherry and bramble aromas are highlighted with hints of couverture chocolate and cedary French oak. Rich blackberry fruit, firm chocolatey tannins and savoury notes define the palate and linger.

Rated 89 by Robert Parker,  “Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2012 Red Knot Cabernet Sauvignon opens with a fragrant nose of cassis, violets and eucalyptus with an undercurrent of chocolate box. Medium to full-bodied with well-married blackcurrant and menthol flavors, it is nicely framed by a medium level of fine-grained tannins, balanced acidity and a long finish.”  Another killer value from Australia for only $16.99 per bottle!

Connoisseur Club

The red for this month is the Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2012.  Chakana founded February 1, May 2002, unknowingly at first, the same day the Southern Cross (constellation called Chakana by indigenous Andean highlands) assumes its upright signaling the start of a new agricultural cycle.  Chakana winery was founded by Juan Pelizzatti on May 2nd, 2002. Juan was driven to enter the wine industry first and foremost by his passion for wine, and also by the desire to invest his time and money on a product of agriculture. Juan’s mission is to create an integral experience to introduce world consumers to the taste and culture of the Andes. His vision is to become one of the top 20 exporters of wine from Argentina, by consistently offering outstanding value for money.

“100% Malbec aged in new and used French oak for 18 months exhibits a dense, saturated ruby/purple color along with a sweet perfume of charcoal, white chocolate, blueberries and blackberries intermixed with hints of forest floor and spring flowers. A wine of delicacy, suppleness and full-bodied power as well as tremendous harmony and purity, it will provide pleasure over the next 7-8 years. ”
92 PointsThe Wine Advocate              

The white for this month is the Jean Reverdy La Reine Blanche Sancerre 2012.  This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is made from grapes grown in Verdigny, one of the top villages in Sancerre. It dates back to 1650 and has been in the family for about 10 generations. Originally the family was growing vines and diverse polycultures, but since the 1950’s they have been focusing on producing wine only. Christophe Reverdy, son of the late Jean Reverdy, now produces around 100,000 bottles per year on average and exports 70% of the total production to UK, Germany, Sweden, Japan and the USA.  The Domaine spreads over 12 hectares (29.64 acres): 9 hectares Sauvignon, 3 hectares Pinot Noir, and produces red, rosé and white wine. The age of the vines is 25 years and older. The vineyard is divided into 15 parcels located on the hills of Verdigny, Saint Satur, Sancerre and Thauvenay.

The vineyards are planted on three different types of soil:

– silicious-clay soils, “Terres a Silex” (east of the hills) – 55%
– pebbly limestone soils, known as the “Caillottes” – 35%
– clay and limestone white soils, the “Terres Blanches” (west of the hills) – 10%

Try this wine with any seafood dish especially oysters and you are sure to experience what white wines made in the Loire Valley of France are all about.  $ 26.99 Retail.

 

 

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.”

 

 

March Wine Club Selections 2014

The Oconee Wine Club

March 2014

The red wine for this month is the Veramonte El Caballero Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 from Chile.  Veramonte was founded in 1990 as a vineyard-based winery whose mission is to produce high quality wines that accurately, authentically express varietal characteristics via Chile’s unique terroirs — the combined environment of soil, topography, climate and people. Our commitment to nurturing the ties of every wine to its soil or “sense of place” reflects a dedication to produce terroir expressive wines.

Veramonte is located in Casablanca Valley, and wines are made from estate fruit from both the Casablanca estate, ideal for the development of white and cool climate wines & Colchagua property, well-known for producing quality red wine grapes.

The Winery is a striking, modern facility that houses the latest technology and state of the art wine making, allowing to create authentic, vineyard expressive wines. Veramonte is dedicated to ultimate terroir premium wines.

90 Rating by Wine Spectator!

Firm and well-focused, with zesty red plum and wild berry flavors, supported by crisp acidity and chewy tannins. Green herb and spice notes appear on the finish. Drink now through 2018. 10,000 cases imported. –KM

Only $ 10.99 per bottle!

The white for this month is the Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay 2011 also from Chile.  Also rated 90 by Wine Spectator for $ 21.99 a bottle.

  • King Philip V of Spain bestowed the noble title “MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA” upon José de Santiago Concha y Salvatierra for his meritorious work as Governor of Chile and Knight of Calatrava in 1718.
  • Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay from Santa Isabel in Pirque was launched in 1989.
  • Marcelo Papa becomes chief winemaker of Marques de Casa Concha in 1999.
  • The origin of Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay switched to the Limari Valley. This new Marques origin reflects the constant challenge of delivering the finest quality and elegant wines while retaining the style, character and values of the brand in 2008.
  • Rated 90 by Wine Spectator in March of 2013.  “This smoky white opens up with dense pineapple, Pink Lady apple and zesty citrus notes that are tightly wound on a bright, medium-bodied frame. Drink now. 16,500 cases made. –NW”

Connoisseurs Club

The red for this month is the 2010 Xavier Vins Vacqueyras ( $34.99 Retail) made from 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, and 20% Grenache.  The wine is named after the winemaker Xavier Vignon, one of the most highly renowned oenologists in Chateauneuf de Pape, France.    Vacqueyras is a French wine Appellation in the southern Rhone wine region of France, along the banks of the River Ouveze.  It is primarily a red wine region with some white and rosé wines being produced. Being a little brother of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and, arguably, Gigondas, the wine is moderately prestigious and can yield pleasing results when treated correctly.

Rated 91 by Robert Paker, “The 2010 Vacqueyras was made from a somewhat unusual blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Grenache, most of it from the Plateau de Garrigue, near Sarrians in Vacqueyras. This rich effort reveals lots of forest floor, roasted herb, blackberry and cassis notes as well as a hint of acacia flowers. Impeccably pure, rich and long, it should drink well for 6-8 years. ” 

The white for this month is the Chateau Brondelle 2011 from the Graves area of Bordeaux France.  Château Brondelle is located 2 km south of Langon and 50 km southeast of Bordeaux in the Graves region of Bordeaux, so named for the famous gravel soils that produce lovely, mineral, white wines. This 62 acre estate has been in the same family since the end of the 19th century and its wines were noted as early as 1929. Since 1968, this property has been completely replanted and the present owner, Jean-Noel Belloc, is creating an outstanding wine that express fully the potential of the terroir.

This is a delightfully fresh and lively wine. It displays lovely aromas of citrus and floral notes. It holds lots of weight and complexity in the mouth yet remains light and youthful. A fantastic white Bordeaux for only $ 19.99 a bottle!  Great with seafood and light chicken dishes.

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.

January 2014 Wine Club Selections

January 2014                               The Oconee Wine Club

Jean d’ Alibert Domaine de Chambert Chardonnay 2012      Retail $ 15.99

The type of Soil the grapes are grown in are very chalky with a Mediteranean sea influence.  Traditional wine making techniques include skin maceration followed by regulated temperature.   This Chardonnay has a very bright, clear yellow, golden straw color. It has a powerful, yet delicate nose with aromas of melon and rhubarb, with very discreet honey notes. The attack in the mouth is smooth but lively, thus giving a general impression of fullness.  It matches perfectly with fish, oysters, stuffed mussels and fresh goat’s cheese. Ideal as an aperitif.

The South of France has been, for the last 10 years, a good source for value Chardonnay. Though many of the Southern French versions don’t have the complexity of Burgundy, they are FAR less expensive. This delicious Chardonnay from Domaine de Chambert has the richness and full-throttle style of our most popular California Chardonnay, but with fine acidity that cuts through all that oak and fruit. Even though I’m not generally a fan of this richer style, the wine’s balance makes it appealing to me, and it will also appeal to anyone who loves an oaky Chardonnay. If you prefer your Chardonnay on the crisp side, chill this wine well; if you like a richer texture, serve it a bit warmer. This is an excellent wine to serve with lobster or cracked crab dipped in lemon butter. Enjoy over the next year.

Terra Sanctus Cotes du Rhone Village 2011 $ 16.99

This stylish red is made of 60% Grenache & 40% Syrah grapes are sourced from 30-50 year old vines in the Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu appellation.  Traditional winemaking in cuve béton (concrete vats) for fermentation and elevage.  The 2011 Terra Sanctus explodes in the glass with fresh scents of framboise, pine needles, and hints of freshly crushed black pepper.  Elegance and balance are the hallmarks of wines hailing from the Plan de Dieu which sits as a pebbly plateau near Rasteau.  The Terra Sanctus has striking flavors of currants, raspberries and plum with a long and spicy Châteauneuf-du-Pape-like finish.

Within the boundaries of the Côtes du Rhône Village appellation, there are several villages whose wines rise above those of the rest of the appellation and therefore are allowed to put their name on the label. Plan de Dieu is one of these villages and the grapes for this wine come from this area just northeast of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  Made from 30-50 year-old Grenache vines that have very low yields, this is 60% Grenache with 40% Syrah. This has all the dark-fruited, subtly spicy elements you would expect of a Rhone with this pedigree and is loaded with black currant, blackberry, licorice and pepper.

Connoisseur’s Club

Antica Chardonnay 2012 Retail $ 29.99

“Antica” originates from the words Antinori and California, and it represents a long-standing vision to produce great Antinori wines in the Napa Valley. The Antinori Family history is a narrative about devotion to winemaking woven through six centuries, stretching from the family’s legendary vineyards in Tuscany to their newest estate in California, Antica Napa Valley. For over 26 generations the family has always personally managed the business and today it remains entirely familyowned. The Antinori Family reputation has grown throughout the centuries by making innovative, sometimes courageous choices, always with unwavering respect for land and tradition. The qualities of tradition, passion and intuition have made Antinori one of the leading Italian producers of fine wines.

Antica Napa Valley is a breathtaking estate set high in the eastern mountains of the Napa Valley. Located in the remote Atlas Peak District, the 550-acre estate produces only small lots of Antica Napa Valley wines, a testament to the discipline and care of the Antinori Family. For Antinori, the California adventure began in 1966, when as a young man, Piero Antinori first traveled to Napa Valley and encountered its spirit of a new frontier. Twenty years later, the Antinori Family along with some business partners discovered a beautiful estate there. The Antinori Family was attracted to this spectacular property located in the Atlas Mountain of Napa Valley because of its breathtaking location, rocky soils, high elevations and beautiful landscape.

In September 2007, Antinori released in limited quantities the inaugural vintages of Antica Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. It is the Antinori Family’s belief that their Napa Valley estate’s intrinsic “DNA” will produce wines of great personality and style.

The 2012 Chardonnay is pure, ripe, and richly flavored, yet fine and delicate. There are lots of distinctive peach, nectarine, and pear notes, finishing with subtle hints of vanilla and toast flavors. The finish on the wine is mouthwatering and gains depth with its long persistence on the palate.

B Side Cabernet Napa Valley 2011 Retail $22.99

In the early 1950s record companies introduced the two-sided 45. The “A” side played the song the record companies hoped would become a hit. But the “B” side was often the real find, frequently revealing an undiscovered gem.

Inspired by these unheralded classics, B Side wines bring this alternative sensibility to the decidedly A-list world of Napa Valley wine. Hailing from Napa’s “flip” side, B Side reds are crafted with grapes sourced from the slightly-off-the-beaten-track vineyards along the valley’s eastern hillsides. They’re authentic originals: a little experimental and unexpected, crafted and perfected behind-the-scenes for those with a penchant for discovery.

Our 2011 B Side Cabernet Sauvignon opens with aromas of plum, blackberry compote, cardamom and hints of cigar box. Black cherry and cassis flavors transition to bittersweet chocolate and espresso through the mid-palate, revealing layers of depth. This wine is full-bodied, with well-integrated oak and smooth, supple tannins.

Bordered by two mountain ranges, Napa valley stretches approximately 30 miles north to south, one mile East to West at its narrow northern end and five miles at its widest point near the town of Napa. Its maritime climate—warm days and cool nights—coupled with deep yet not excessively fertile soils makes it ideally suited for the cultivation of ultra premium grapes. The first grapes were planted here in 1838, and today Napa accounts for four percent of California’s total wine production, focusing primarily on the top-end of the wine market.

The 2011 vintage was a trying one for growers. It was an unusually cool year and a late frost affected many vineyards cutting yields and pushing out harvest. The weather remained unseasonably cool through much of the growing season, and was devoid of any real grape ripening heat spikes until well into September. Rain and lower temperature returned again in October further reducing yields and bringing fears of botrytis. These early rain events gave way to the long-awaited Indian summer, with the grapes finally getting ripe enough to pick. While the harvest wasn’t abundant, the emerging crop displayed powerfully concentrated flavors developed during the extended hang-time they enjoyed.

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!