September 2014 Wine Club Selections

The Oconee Wine Club

Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio 2013 Retail  $12.99

Luna Nuda is the Italian phrase, meaning “Naked Moon” often used by vintners to describe a clear night sky with a bright full moon shining and shimmering over the beautiful Italian countryside, the fresh smell of dew as it softly dusts the trees carried in the calm whispering breeze.  An experience that has and continues to inspire generations of Italian winemakers.  Luna Nuda was created in Alto Adige Italy at the Castelfeder Wine Estate and Tuscany Italy at the Fratelli Nistri Wine Estate.  The vines bearing the grapes for these fine Italian wines have seen many generations of naked moons, and we believe there is a little of that energy and beauty inherent in each bottle of our Chianti and Pinot Grigio.

Buckhead Life Group in Atlanta Georgia is now serving Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio in many of their restaurants, including Pricci, Veni Vidi Vici, Buckhead Diner, Chops, Nava, Atlanta Fish Market, and Bluepointe. These represent a few of the elite restaurants in Atlana and we are very exited about showcasing our exciting new wine from Northern Italy in such fabulous venues.

The Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio was hand-harvested in cool morning hours.  It is Fermented in cool stainless steel tanks to retain freshness and purity.  Grapes sourced from carefully selected low yield vineyards in Alto Adige and Trentino.

Basilica Cafaggio Chianti Classico 2010 Retail $ 18.99

Located in the “golden valley” of the Chianti Classico area, Villa Cafaggio is considered one of the finest producers of Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva and “Super Tuscan” wines.  The origins of the current Villa Cafaggio site date back to the 15th century, when Benedictine monks owned the land and began cultivating grapevines and olives. The 400 meter altitude and mainly southern exposure provide the ideal microclimate and create the best conditions for developing the company’s wine production. For over thirty years, the Cafaggio Basilica has produced and sold its wines on the international market to widespread acclaim.

The Villa Cafaggio estate has 40 ha of vineyards, 85% of which have been replanted planted with Sangiovese over the last two decades. These vines have now reached perfect maturity and are being used to produce Chianti Classico.  The wine is aged in Slavonian oak casks, traditionally used in the production of quality Chianti. The result is a rich, full bodied wine with a deep ruby red color. It has an intense fruity aroma with notes of spicy cloves and a wonderfully refined black cherry and plum fruitiness on a long finish.

91 Rating by Wine Enthusiast      # 10 in the Top 100 Best Buys!

“This stunning wine boasts a bright, vibrant character. The palate has a juicy core of black cherry spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon that recalls Christmas cake. It’s fresh and delicious, with silky tannins that make it easy to enjoy soon.”

Connoisseur Club

In 1971 Sanford Winery and Vineyards discovered an overlooked, grape-growing treasure in the Santa Rita Hills. Recognizing a magical combination of climate and soil conditions much like those in France’s famed Burgundy province, Sanford planted the area’s first Pinot Noir in its Sanford & Benedict vineyard.  The Santa Rita Hills AVA is 100 square miles of heaven for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and Sanford’s estate vineyards – Rancho La Rinconada and Sanford & Benedict – lie within it.

Under the direction of Doug Fletcher, Vice President of Winemaking for Terlato Wine Group, Sanford maintains low yields to nurture the lush fruit. To retain the intensity and integrity of the Santa Rita Hills fruit, Fletcher’s team uses a unique gravity racking system. Powerful hydraulic lifts raise and lower vats, minimizing handling and preserving the esters that give Sanford’s wines complexity and delicacy.

Sanford’s white wine fermentation takes place in both 60 gallon French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks, while the Pinot Noir is fermented in open-top stainless steel tanks and then finished in French oak barrels. Crafted in small lots, Sanford wines have a consistent style: Their full-bodied fruit flavors are balanced by mouth-watering acidity.

Sanford Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills 2011  Retail $ 25.99

Our 2011 Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay comes exclusively from our two estate vineyards in heart of this cool climate appellation. The 2010 vintage was marked by low yields due to spring frost.  This resulted in intense flavors with bright acid. By gently whole cluster pressing and barrel fermentation in French oak, this Charonnay has lovely texture to balance the vibrant palate. Our 2011 estate Chardonnay offers intriguing aromas of lemon peel, apricot and toasted hazelnut. In addition to the bright fruit, this wine has aromas of white flowers. On the palate the minerality and acidity give this wine great structure, which carries through its long finish. This full bodied wine has nice acidity to keep it in balance and makes a nice complement to most seafood, poultry and pasta with lighter sauces, and makes an excellent pairing with mushrooms (especially chanterelles and morels).

Alejandro Fernandez Dehesa La Granja 2006 Retail $ 26.99

Alejandro Fernández personifies the mercurial 20th-century Spanishexperience. A family breadwinner from the age of thirteen, he went on to learn several trades, beginning as a master carpenter. After military service he worked selling agricultural machinery but soon came to manufacture equipment of his own design, attaining national success with a revolutionary beet harvester. During all these years Alejandro harvested and made wine yearly from his own vineyards, nurturing a lifelong dream of establishing a bodega for the production of great red wines, following the traditions of his ancestors dating to Roman and Visigothic times.  In 1972, Alejandro and wife Esperanza licensed their bodega in Pesquera, the 16th-century lagar and press house serving as grape receiving and processing through the 1982 harvest. (His machine shop which ceased business in 1985 still serves as the source for stainless tanks and countless other items for vineyard and bodega.)

Since 1982, fermentation has been of destemmed whole berries only, maceration varying from 12 to 20 days. The unclarified wine goes directly to small oak after pressing. Barricas are an astute blend of American, Spanish and French oak, custom-cured and made by Spain’s finest coopers.  Innovations such as overhead lifts and Alejandro’s patented barrel steamer facilitate the frequent racking process. Clarification is natural in the cold Castilian winters, assisted only occasionally with egg white fining prior to bottling. Neither filtration nor cold stabilization is practiced.  At a time when the region was pulling out vineyards in favor of irrigated row crops such as beets, Alejandro was augmenting and developing vineyards, his Viña Alta in 1972 the area’s first to be wire-trained.

This 100% Tempranillo is from the Castilla y Leon opens with a mild oak and mild blackberry with a hint of black licorice. On the palate, this wine is full bodied, balanced and juicy. The flavor profile is a tasty black plum and black licorice blend with hints of minerality, old oak, and spice. The finish is dry and it sticky tannins show very nice length. This would pair well with slow cooked barbecue beef brisket. This is a great value from Spain!


September Beer of the Month Selection

September 2014

Victory Brewing Company Festbier

The story of Victory Brewing Company starts on a school bus in 1973 when fifth-graders Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski stepped aboard, on their way to a new school. The two became fast friends and remained so, even as they grew up and went to college on opposite coasts.

Just months out of college, Bill’s appreciation of good beer and access to his father’s home brewing equipment inspired him to explore the hobby. That same year (1985), Bill gave Ron a home brewing kit as a Christmas gift. With that, both Bill and Ron developed their love of the craft, and a friendly rivalry grew between the two. The good-natured competition pushed Bill and Ron to become accomplished home brewers, and as they both grew disillusioned with their jobs in the corporate world they realized their combined skill and love of brewing could pave the path to successful careers as brewers.

Ron left his job as a financial analyst and started an apprenticeship at Baltimore Brewing Company (BBC), working under a Dutch-born and German-trained brewer named Theo DeGroen. After working there for nearly a year, Ron had the necessary prerequisites to move on to study at the Technical University of Munich at Weihenstephan.

Immediately upon Ron’s departure, Bill took over his emptied role in Baltimore. While Ron was enhancing his German brewing knowledge, Bill was expanding the line of beers produced at the BBC to include several German specialty beers, many of which went on to win multiple awards at the Great American Beer Festival. After his time at BBC, Bill completed his brewing studies by traveling to Munich, Germany to attend Doemens Institute.

After Ron’s year of education in Munich, he returned stateside and took a role at Old Dominion Brewing Company in Virginia. Over the course of four year as the brewmaster there, he helped to increase production from 1,500 barrels annually to nearly 15,000.

With knowledge, experience and a love of quality beer in place, Bill and Ron decided they were ready to open their own brewery near where they first met in Pennsylvania.

Victory Brewing Company opened its doors to the public on Feb. 15, 1996. What was once a Pepperidge Farm factory became home to a 144-seat restaurant, 70-foot-long bar and a full-scale brewery. In its first year, Victory Brewing Company brewed 1,725 barrels of beer.

Since then, Victory has increased the size of the restaurant to 300 seats. The brewery has also expanded, producing  93,196 barrels of beer in 2012. As loyal craft beer drinkers continue to show their dedication to flavorful, quality beer, Victory plans to continue its own growth.


Malt: Imported 2 row Vienna and Munich German malts

Hops: Whole flower German hops

ABV: 5.6%


Subtly sweet with a delicate malt nose, our Festbier gains its impressive body from our use of all imported German malts and decoction brewing process.

Food Pairings

Spicy Latin dishes, pizzas and burgers

August 2014 Wine Club Selections

August 2014

The Pozzan Family

What began as a love of terroir, has grown into a legacy. With his roots extending to Italy’s famed Piemonte wine region, Michael Pozzan was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but spent summers with his grandparents on their 35-acre vineyard estate. Located in Healdsburg, Michael’s grandfather had purchased the land after WWII. He planted zinfandel grapes to sell to local wineries, but always retained a portion to make wine for family and friends. Michael learned the winemaking craft first hand, following the seasons of the grape in one of California’s most celebrated wine-producing regions, with his grandfather as his guide.

Today, Michael Pozzan Wines is owned and operated by Michael and his wife Mary Ann, also a native of California; sons Matt and Dante are the next generation. Although currently with other wine producers, over the years, Matt and Dante have assisted their parents in operations, sales and marketing in anticipation of joining the family business sometime in the future. Founded in 1991 and based in Oakville, the heart of the Napa Valley, Michael Pozzan Wines carries on an enduring tradition. In Italy, Michael’s family still owns the original vineyard his great-grandfather planted over 150 years ago. Here in California, using grapes exclusively selected from premier Napa and Sonoma County vineyards, the wines of Michael Pozzan remain highly regarded for their consistent quality and value.

Annabella Special Selection Cabernet Napa Valley 2011   $ 15.99 Retail

Named to honor Michael Pozzan’s beloved grandmother, our Annabella wines are a collection of wines hand-sourced each vintage from select vineyards throughout the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Offered in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, these wines are a toast to a woman of remarkable grace and spirit whose love of family, friends and home-cooked meals are celebrated to this day. Annabella wines represent not only quality, but value as well. Because of their popularity and limited production, these wines may be allocated on an annual basis.  It is very hard to find a better Napa Valley Cabernet for this price!!!!

Annabella 2010 Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon

75% Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

10% North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

10% Napa Valley Merlot

5% Sonoma Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

Aged in French Oak for 16 months.  This medium plum colored Cabernet Sauvignon is from one of the most highly regarded places in the world for producing the varietal; Napa. The aromas are text book Cabernet.

Michael Pozzan Russian River Chardonnay 2012   $ 13.99 Retail

Following the traditions of three generations rooted in Italy’s famed Piemonte wine region, Michael Pozzan wines are a stylish, award-winning collection of lush reds and crisp, flavorful whites that are the perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of foods, and priced to enjoy every day. Whether barrique-aged in oak or the product of cool fermentation in stainless steel, these wines capture the essence of terroir, vintage after vintage.  This is an incredible value for any Chardonnay coming out of Russian River.

This 100 % Russian River Chardonnay is a real crowd pleaser. It is aged 4 months in 1 and 2 year old French Oak.  The color is a textbook medium straw. Aromatically, the wine is tropical with passion fruit, lychee and guava. The palate holds sweet, fresh Fuji apple flavors followed by baked apple cinnamon, caramel, citrus and passion fruit ripeness which finishes with juicy pineapple, peach nectar and honeysuckle notes. The Russian River is arguably the finest AVA for Chardonnay and this wine is an excellent example of why. It was barrel fermented in 100% French oak and aged sur lies for 4 months.

Connoisseur Club

Veedercrest has been making award winning wines since its founding in 1972. It was one of the participants at the infamous Judgement of Paris. It has won significant awards at most of the major wine judgings around the world. President Jimmy Carter and his White House dinner guests and Pope John Paul II during visits to America enjoyed Veedercest wines.

In the early 1970s legendary California winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff telephoned amateur winemaker Al Baxter and invited himself to dinner and a tasting. Tchelistcheff who was at that time the most influential post prohibition American winemaker was the mentor for such notables as Robert Mondavi and Louis Martini. He was most notable for his contributions toward vineyards2defining the style of California’s best wines, especially the Beaulieu Private Reserve Georges de Latour Cabernet Sauvignon. Andre had heard about Baxter’s amateur winemaking and about some wonderful wines made by Al in his basement. After the dinner and tasting, Tchelistcheff concluded the wines were very good. He advised Baxter to consider going commercial. Veedercrest was born!

Baxter formed an investment group with co-principals Ron Fenolio, now sole proprietor of Veedercrest, and the Ring Family of New Jersey. A 300 acre property was acquired on Mt. Veeder for vineyard developmentand a vineyard was planted. In the 1970s vineyards, especially mountain vineyards, were planted with much winder spacing than today. Part of the reason was to allow the wide founder1track tractors to work between the rows without turning over. Today tractors can be adjusted so that the tractor is level and the wheels and tracks ride on different levels of the vineyard. Veedercrest pioneered planting some of the steepest slopes on the higher elevations of Mt. Veeder.

Among Baxter’s innovations as one of the early California pioneering winemakers was his participation in the development of fruit forward wines, the making of California’s first true Bordeaux blend, using all five Bordeaux varieties (including grapes from the only acre of Malbec then in California), and promoting truth in labeling with full varietal descriptions and full vineyard designations on the front label of the bottles.

The year 1972 saw the first releases, including Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot and Reisling. By 1976 the wines had garnered such critical acclaim that they were selected by Steve Spurrier to be in the infamous 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting where Chateau Montelena and Stags Leap bested the best of the French. Make sure you see the entertaining movie “Bottle Shock” about this great event, featuring Chateau Montelebottle1na’s story. At that historic tasting Veedercrest Chardonnay was acclaimed as the most “French” in style of all the Chardonnay wines entered, regardless of whether French or California in origin. Veedercrest wines were later served at White House dinners under President Jimmy Carter and to Pope John Paul II during his visit to Philadelphia. In 1981, at the International Wine Exposition in Bristol, England, Veedercrest garnered more awards for its wines than any other American winery. The tradition of making great award winning wines continues today.

Veedercrest Chardonnay 2012 Russian River  $ 26.99 Retail

This Chardonnay is made specifically for those who love to hate California Chardonnay. Made in the style of the great Chardonnays of the Piemonte region of Italy and the Chablis region of France. It is more characteristic of a Sauvignon Blanc but truly 100% Chardonnay. Veedercrest was recognized at the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting for making the most French style Chardonnay of all the Chardonnays entered in the tasting, and we still make it the same way.

This wine is crisp and acidic, with pineapple, pear, mango and lemon flavors. Also present are hints of cardamom, kaffir, and baked apple. It is lean and elegant and can easily be paired with oysters, cracked crab, filet of sole Veronique or any dish with a cream sauce. Veal ala Normande anyone?

Veedercrest Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 North Coast   $29.99 Retail

This cabernet is comprised of 75% cabernet and 25% syrah as a blend of Napa and Mendocino fruit. Fermented to almost total dryness in temperature controlled stainless steel fermenting tanks. This low alcohol wine was then and designed to be drunk young.

This crystal clear wine possesses a pure garnet color, which has initial notes of cherry. The top of the palate sensation is fruit forward dark cherry with a hint of blueberry. Side palate picks up the pleasing tang of a lemony citric acid, with raspberry overtones and light tannins at the back of the palate. This North Coast cabernet has little residual sugar. This wine pairs well with roasted chickens stuffed with lemon and sage or roast duck with a blueberry or cherry glaze. It also pairs well with baked ham or roast pork.

16th Anniversary Sale

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How to: Selecting the perfect wine

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The Oconee Beer Club

Beers of the Month

The Oconee Beer Club

  • The Oconee Cellar will pick out a different specialty micro-brew each month
  • The price each month for your allotted beer will vary (between $ 7.99 and $ 14.99)
  • Some beers may come in 32 oz. bottles, 4 packs, 6 packs, cans or bottles, etc…
  • By signing up for The Oconee Beer Club, you will agree to purchase your allotted beer before the month ends.  You may pick your beer up starting on the first of every month   
  • The monthly selections will only be available to Beer Club Members during the month.  A month later the beer will be available to the general public
  • There is a $ 10 administrative fee due at initial sign up
  • Oconee Beer Club Members will get first chances at allocated beers through email offerings
  • You will be removed from The Oconee Beer Club if you fail to pick up two consecutive monthly selections
  • The Oconee Cellar reserves the right to change or discontinue The Oconee Beer Club as needed


________________     ___________________

     First Name                  Last Name

________________     ___________________

      Phone #                        Email

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       Date                          Signature (I agree to above terms and conditions)

Mollydooker Carnival of Love 2012 Pre-Sale

We are getting the Mollydooker Carnival of Love 2012 Shiraz in at the end of the month. This wine is rated 95 points by both Robert Parker and Wine Spectator! Sine 2005 it has been rated between 93 and 98 by Parker and 94-96 by Wine Spectator. Pre-sale price is $ 69.99 per bottle. Save $5 per bottle! Call us or stop by the store if interested. 706-453-0420 This wine is limited and will arrive at the end of the month.

See ratings below:

Wine Spectator Review
  Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love 2012   Score: 95
  Release Price: $75   Country: Australia
  Designation: Highly Recommended
  Sinewy, lithe and expressive, packing red berry, black cherry and cardamom aromas and flavors into a tightly focused package. The finish expands and powers up, driving a long and meaty finish. Displays muscle and poise. Drink now through 2022. 4,729 cases made. –HS

2012 Mollydooker Carnival of Love       95 Rating!

Drink: 2014 – 2025  

Very deep purple-black in color, the 100% Shiraz, single vineyard 2012 Carnival of Love exudes fragrant notes of warm blackberries, creme de cassis and dried mulberries intermingled with a lovely dried herb undercurrent, lavender, dark chocolate and anise. With a nice structure of medium to firm rounded tannins and a lively acid backbone, this very big, full and rich wine has a very long finish. Drink it now to 2025+.

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.”



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.