April Wine Club Selections 2014

April 2014

Oconee Wine Club

The red wine this month comes from a winery located in Lodi California called Klinker Brick Winery.  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 most rich, intense and multi-dimensional zinfandel tends to be produced from “Old Vines”, vines that are at least 50 years old. “Old Vines”, also known as Ancient Vines, Gnarly vines, Old Timer Vines, Old World Vines or Old Twisted Vines are in decline, mature in age, with low vigor. They tend to have fewer clusters of grapes with smaller berry size, yielding more intense sugars, color and concentration of flavors typically producing wines that are generally better balanced with more body and structure.

Soil and Climate

Soil and climate play an important role in the character and style of wines from Old Vine Vineyards. The longer, warmer, drier growing season in Lodi provides a distinct advantage over coastal areas. The grapes are able to “hang” longer on the vine, giving the pH and acid time to balance. This tends to result in a wine with a longer, smoother finish. The deep, sandy loam soils of Lodi enable the vines’ roots to grow deep and absorb moisture from below. Little water is needed, if at all, enhancing the color and flavor in the grapes.

Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2011  $ 19.99 retail   89 Rating Wine Spectator!

The 2011 vintage produced smaller yields than previous vintages. Our Old Vine Zinfandel comes from vines with an average age of 85 years.  On the nose, aromatics black raspberry, cedar shavings are paired with pepper and spice. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, with berries and dark cherry flavors, balanced with firm structure and a silky texture. As always, this wine has a smooth and lingering finish.

No Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Lake County $ 10.99

The white wine I chose is also from California, Lake County to be exact.  This is the story of No Vineyards and Winery.  Some years ago, a group of friends sat around the dinner table on an early spring evening and enjoyed some good wine with dinner. Between them, they share more than 100 years in the wine business. Together they represent a 30-year veteran of the grape growing business, a Master of Wine, a couple of hardworking wine brokers and a youthful winemaker. One might say they know their stuff.

As the evening wore on, the group became engaged in the idea of creating a value-oriented, quality wine with no boundaries, no rules and no precedent. At the heart of the project would be great fruit. Winemaking would be hands-on without being manipulative — to let the true expression of the grapes speak for itself. The packaging, along with the premise, would be easy-to-use, fun, friendly, and new.

That evening, NO was born.

Now, almost seven years later, we are harvesting our sixth vintage of NO.  The Sauvignon Blanc from beautiful rolling vineyards in Northern California’s Lake County and the Chardonnay from picturesque Monterrey. This wine is perfumey, bright fruit and crisp, well-balanced acidity. That’s fancy wine lingo for it smells yummy and tastes even better. Just good juice — straight from the vineyard to you. Sealed with a Stelvin closure (read: screw cap), the only thing standing between you and a perfectly refreshing, food-friendly glass of wine is the simple twist of the wrist.

The intent is not to dumb down the wine or enjoyment of it, but rather to eliminate all the superfluous clutter that comes with high-priced, estate-designated, conjured-sense-of-lifestyle wines. In the case of NO, our name says it all.  “No oak. No cork. No malolactic fermentation. No Attitude. No Kidding.”  This translates into what we believe is one fabulous, drinkable bottle of wine that bucks trends, hype and commercialism and stands proudly with its easy-to-read label and an easy-to-love price tag.

Connoisseur Club

The red for this month is the 2011 Black Stallion Napa Valley Cabernet.   Located on the grounds of a historic equestrian center, Black Stallion Winery is the latest addition to the distinguished collection of wineries in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. Each of the varietals we produce is handcrafted and carefully blended from small vineyard lots. Each lot is fermented and aged separately in our cellar until just prior to bottling when we carefully blend these lots together to achieve wines of balance with layers of complex flavors. Black Stallion Winery is dedicated to crafting high quality wines that are elegant and distinctive yet approachable.

The 2011 vintage is full-bodied and balanced with savory aromas of blackberry, plum, black cherry and sage. Flavors of rich black cherry, mocha espresso, brown spice and caramel unfold gracefully across the palate with lush tannins and a long elegant finish.

92 Rated by Wine Enthusiast  $ 24.99

“Here’s another fantastic value from Black Stallion, which has an uncanny ability to produce Cabernets of great depth and charm that can stand against more expensive wines. This 2011 is dry, full-bodied and rich in flavors of black currants. It might even age, but there’s no reason not to enjoy it now. ”

The white comes from one of my favorite wineries to visit in Sonoma County called Ferrari Carano.  The 2012 Chardonnay has aromas and flavors of apple, citrus, pear, marshmallow, quince, peach, lemon, hazelnut and lingering, creamy toasted oak notes.

90 Rated by Wine Enthusiast

“There are lots of buttered toast and popcorn flavors in this Chardonnay, but the underlying tropical fruits and pears are strong enough to stand up to them. It’s a decadent wine to drink with richly sauced shellfish dishes.”