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.