December 2014 Wine Club Selections
This month I chose two French wines both rated 92 by Robert Parker!
Chateau Pesquie Terrasses 2012 $ 13.99
Chateau Pesquie is one of Robert Parker’s all time favorite French wine producers, and the Wine Advocate clearly shows the love with three 90+ ratings for the last four vintages.
The 2012 Cuvee des Terrasses is another brilliant example of an elegant and fruit forward wine from Pesquie. The talented brothers Alexandre & Frederic Chaudiere took the outstanding growing conditions in 2012 and turned it into a fabulous Rhone style wine. Don’t miss it!
Located at the foot of Mount Ventoux, Chateau Pesquie has one of the longer histories in the region. In the early 1970’s, Odette & Rene Bastide, bought Chateau Pesquie from an heir of the famous Provençal writer, Alphonse Daudet. They were wine pioneers, as the Southern Rhone wine appellation of Cotes du Ventoux was not created until 1973. Rene & Odette completely replanted the vineyards and the results of that initial work are paying huge dividends as their Syrah and Grenache vines now average 35 to 40 years of age. Although the Chateau Pesquie vineyards are situated in the southern Rhone Valley, the altitude and cooler temperatures of Mont Ventoux lend the terroir more northern characteristics of texture and finesse. With notes of blueberries, cherry liqueur, licorice and spices the 2012 Pesquie Terrasses is a terrific value red.
92 Rated by Robert Parker!
The Wine Advocate – “In the same mold and an awesome value year in and year out, the 2012 Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee des Terrasses is a blend of 70% Grenache (60-year-old vines) and 30% Syrah (30+-year-old vines) that was aged two-thirds in concrete (and some in stainless steel) and one-third in older oak. Made from a blend of different terroirs on the estate (and basically declassified Quintessence) and coming from hillside vineyards lying between 840-930 feet in elevation, it offers up a gorgeously pure, supple and seamless profile with kirsch and berry-styled fruit, licorice and spring flower-like qualities all emerging from the glass. Elegant, forward and delicious, it gains in stature in the glass, is ridiculously textured from such an inexpensive wine, and has sweet tannin emerging on the finish.”
Novellum 2013 Chardonnay $ 14.99
Year after year, the Novellum Chardonnay is lauded for being one of the best Chardonnay values on the United States market. Because the wine is un-oaked, many restaurants have found it to be a terrific “by the glass” Chardonnay which marries quite well with food.
The Wine Advocate – “More serious and layered, the 2013 VDP Cotes Catalanes Novellum is a crazy value that needs to be tasted to be believed. A custom cuvee by importer Eric Solomon and a blend of 100% Chardonnay that comes from two separate vineyards, this Cotes Catalanes is aged three months (on Viognier lees) in a combination of Burgundy barrels and stainless steel. Exotic and perfumed, with ample white peach, creme, brioche and subtle nuttiness, it flows onto the palate with a medium to full-bodied, layered and beautifully detailed texture that shows bright acidity and fantastic purity of fruit. An incredible effort that has both richness and freshness, it should continue to thrill for another handful of years. “
Bedrock Wine Co. Old Vine Zinfandel 2013 $ 29.99
Bedrock Wine Co. was founded in 2007 by Morgan Twain-Peterson in a 550 square-foot, former chicken coop with 8 foot ceilings and no fermentation space. After six years of Bedrock being a one-man-show, Morgan was able to talk his best friend, Chris Cottrell, into moving to California from New York to join him. They now happily have a little more space to move around in but share the same objectives that guided the winery at the start.
The 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel comes from vines averaging over 80 years of age. Like its predecessor, the lovely 2012, it benefited enormously from the second year in a row of exceptional quality with higher than average yields. Though its core still revolves around the Sonoma Valley appellation (Bedrock Vineyard, Monte Rosso, and Casa Santinamaria Vineyard), we have become geographically more adventurous due to the addition of a few pretty amazing vineyards. The first of these is Nervo Ranch in Alexander Valley with its steep, decomposed shale soils. The second is Sodini Ranch on Limerick Lane in the Russian River Valley that Bedrock Wine Co. happily farms. The last is the amazing Stampede Vineyard in the Clements Hills AVA of Lodi: own-rooted on granitic sands and planted in 1919, it is a star in the making under the new ownership of the Perlegos family. There are also bits of Papera Ranch, Pagani Ranch, and Lorenzo’s in the blend. Though it is legally a Zinfandel, and labeled as such, it is also a Bedrock wine so you can be sure it has its full quotient of the wacky, weird and wonderful in it as well—nearly 23% Carignane, Mourvedre, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Abouriou, Aubun, and assorted mixed white varieties. We are thrilled with this wine–I think it is every bit as good as the 2012 though perhaps reflective of the age-worthy 2013 vintage.
MacRostie Chardonnay 2012 $ 24.99
Though MacRostie Winery and Vineyards was originally founded in 1987, the seeds for MacRostie go back to 1974—to the early days of Sonoma County winemaking, when Steve began his winemaking career at Hacienda Winery. At a time when most California winemakers were fixated on Bordeaux varieties and Napa Valley, Steve and a handful of other pioneers took a different path, embracing the fog-shrouded vineyards of Sonoma County and their untapped potential for producing some of the finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the world. While at Hacienda, Steve quickly gained renown as a winemaker capable of making exceptional Burgundian-variety wines. He also began to develop his own style, favoring crispness, complexity and vineyard character, as opposed to overt opulence.
In 1987, Steve established MacRostie Winery and Vineyards. To make his earliest wines, Steve reached out to growers he knew and respected—leaders of Sonoma County winegrowing like the Sangiacomo family. Steve also worked to champion quality in the region, both in the vineyards and the winery, and MacRostie’s wines were soon widely hailed for their unique balance of cool-climate structure and vibrant fruit. In 1992, years before the modern Pinot Noir boom, MacRostie added Pinot Noir to its portfolio, and quickly developed a devoted following for the pure and elegant style of these wines.
The wine is pale straw gold in color, with honey-suckle and jasmine aromas. Citrus flavors; kefir lime and tangerine, dominate the taste profile while the mouth feel is elegant and full, with a ripe pear and a touch of vanilla caramel from the oak. The finish is soft and smooth, very dry, but leaves lingering lush primary fruit flavors.
90 Rating Wine Enthusiast
Wine Enthusiast – “So bright and zingy in acidity, and so ripe in tangerine, mango, lime fruit and honeysuckle, that you hardly notice the oak influence. Yet, it’s there in the form of buttered toast. The result is a big, powerful Chardonnay, clean and vibrant, for drinking now with dramatic shellfish and pork dishes.”