Exceptional White

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Stags 2014 Chard

Stags’ Leap Winery 2014 Napa Chardonnay

Stags’ Leap Winery, (note the placement of the apostrophe), produces the Chardonnay I will discuss today. The use of “Stags Leap” may be confusing. Another nearby winery named, “Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars” produces excellent wines as well, also note the placement of that apostrophe. Lastly, there is the Stags Leap District, which is the name of the appellation where the two aforementioned wineries are located. The Stags Leap District (no apostrophe) is renowned for producing outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, is located between the Napa River and the Stags Leap Palisades.

One of California’s earliest wine estates, a unique terroir and ideal microclimate support a classical standard of viticulture, land use, and winemaking that is as relevant today as it was over a century ago. An intimate valley within the greater Napa Valley, Stags’ Leap is a place of natural beauty, storied buildings and gardens, a lively history, and a reputation for elegant wines showing finesse and intensity. A fashionable country resort in the mid-twentieth century, popular with Hollywood due to its 1892 stone Manor House and historic gardens, legends of bootleggers and gangsters, ghosts and gypsies, Stags’ Leap has been home to three major family groups up through the modern revitalization of the winery that began in the 1970s. Stags Leap Manor, as it was called in the 1920s, was known as one of the prominent country retreats in the Napa Valley at a time when resort and spa business was big. Founders Horace and Minnie Mizner Chase entertained on a lavish scale, and in addition to lodging and dining, amenities included lawn tennis, swimming, horseback riding, children’s activities, golf, music, cards, a library, and Napa Valley wines and liquors (prior to and after Prohibition).

The 2014 Chardonnay had a rich light sunshine color, with a bouquet of fresh stone fruit and citrus aromas with whiffs of toasty oak. The Chardonnay was very crisp and clean with a lemon, melon and pear flavor tightly wound around some light toasty oak. The medium finish had notes of wet stone and minerality on this well balanced Chardonnay. Summer is just getting started, so grab a few bottles of this elegant wine and relax. A great price for a summer favorite.

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Bouchard Pouilly 2012

Bouchard Perè & Fils 2012 Pouilly-Fuissé

Founded in 1731, Maison Bouchard Père & Fils is one of Burgundy’s oldest wine merchant houses. In 1775, Joseph Bouchard acquired his first vineyard in Volnay in the famous “Les Caillerets” climate and started to develop the family’s vineyard holdings. Over the centuries, the House has been devoted to acquiring highly renowned parcels, in order to build a prestigious domaine. The famed vineyards include: Beaune Gréves Vigne de L’Enfant Jésus, Chevalier-Montrachet, Montrachet, Corton, Corton-Charlemagne, Bonnes-Mares and Clos Vougeot to name a few. In 1995 this exceptional collection was purchased by Joseph Henriot, and is today part of Maisons & Domaines Henriot. Maison Bouchard Père & Fils has invested in a modern vinification techniques.

The star of the Macon appellations lies at the foot of the Solutre and Vergisson cliffs that rise high into the sky. Pouilly-Fuisse not to be confused with Pouilly Fume which is a wine from the Loire – has become very famous throughout the world. Enthusiasts like its elegance and lively, silky texture. The 2012 Vintage: Pale light golden color with aromas of stone and tropical fruits, with a waft of floral. The palate shows ripe apple and peach flavors with citrus notes.  This medium-body wine has good balance with a smooth creamy finish, ending with mineral tones. Very Nice!

Cheers!

Mid-Week White

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LaVal Albarino 2014

La Val Rías Baixas Albariño 2014

Bodegas La Val was established in 1985 and was one of the first wineries in Rias Baixas. Unusual for the area, La Val only uses its own estate grown grapes rather than buying them from local growers. They own 150 acres of Albariño most of which are located in the Condado do Tea sub-region. The particular micro-climate of their main holding in Condado do Tea allows them to be the first winery to open the harvest, which is typically in the first half of September. Jose Maria Ureta is the current winemaker and he is extremely well respected in the D.O. and considered to be one of the young up-and-comers. As a winery concerned with quality first and foremost, the new vintages of their Albariños tend to release in May/June of the year following harvest. Because great Albariño grapes are very high in acid they tend to taste very “bitter” young. Producers that do harsh filtering, fining or sell slightly sweet styles do not worry about this and rush to market early. Quality minded producers like La Val let the new wine rest a bit longer in tank so that the harshest aspects of the wines’ acidity has softened.

Pale straw with green edges and aromas of citrus, white flesh fruit, herbs and wet stone. On the palate pear, melon, lemon zest and Asian spice. The wine has a good bit of chalky minerality, vivid acidity and gentle spice. The finish lingers nicely leaving with lemony notes. Nice value!

Cheers!

Mid-Week White

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Willm 2013 Riesling

Willm 2013 Riesling Reserve

Founded in 1896 by the Willm Family, Alsace Willm was the first Alsace producer to export wines to the United States after Prohibition. Alsace Willm is located about 20 miles south of Strasbourg in Barr on the Route du Vin d’Alsace, which is the “Wine Road of Alsace”. Alsace Willm produces a selection of outstanding Alsace wines, both still and sparkling, as well as some Grand Crus.

The 2013 Reserve Riesling is 100% Riesling that is aged for about 3 months on its lees, with bottling occurring about 10 months after the harvest. Note: “Lees” refers to deposits of dead yeast or residual yeast and other particles that precipitate, or are carried by the action of fining to the bottom of a vat of wine after fermentation and aging. I noticed a pale golden yellow color with aromas of floral, citrus and apricots, very pleasant. The palate transforms the fruit into rich fruit flavors with a mineral tang, allowing the distinctive Riesling flavor to come on the finish, however dry in style, not a sweet Riesling.  A great value and a bargain for a fan of Riesling, an absolute “must” to try this one. Goes great with food! Enjoy!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Tenuta Nardi Brunello 2010

Tenute Silvio Nardi 2010 Brunello Di Montalcino

Tenute Silvio Nardi consists of 80 hectares of vineyards in an unspoiled part of central Tuscany, Montalcino, whose symbol is its great red wine, Brunello. Silvio Nardi founded the estate at Casale del Bosco, and since 1985 it has been run by Emilia, his youngest daughter. Emilia Nardi knows she can depend on Casale’s special and distinctive territory to produce a contemporary and elegant Brunello. She has invested in the vineyards of this harmonious natural setting. Each of her signature wines expresses the differing character of Sangiovese when it is grown at Montalcino. The estate’s vineyards are situated between 140 and 420 meters above sea level, some extend north-west of Montalcino on the hills around Casale del Bosco, while others are located to the north of it at Tenuta di Bibbiano and to the south-east at Manachiara, where the cru of the same name originates.

This 100% Sangiovese wine, which was aged in oak for 2 years (12 months French oak and 12 months Slavonian oak), I noticed a clear deep Ruby red color with aromas of ripe dark fruits, wet stone and sweet spice. The palate revealed a full-bodied wine with medium acidity, fine yet smooth tannins and a slight warmth of alcohol present. The ripe fruit flavors of cherry and strawberry are complex yet not overdone. Some cacao and tobacco appear on the long finish.  Grab a bottle and pair it with a rich spicy tomato sauce over some wide pasta. Tasting Sample!

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Mannequin 2013 Chard

Orin Swift Mannequin 2013 Chardonnay

The history of Orin Swift Cellars dates back to 1995 when on a lark, David Swift Phinney took a friend up on an offer and went to Florence, Italy to spend a semester “studying”. During that time, he was introduced to wine, how it was made, and got hooked. A few more years of university led to graduation and eventually a job at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1997 as a temporary harvest worker. Deciding that if he was going to work this hard, it would eventually have to be for himself, so in 1998 he founded Orin Swift Cellars; Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name. With two tons of zinfandel and not much else, he spent the next decade making wine for others as well as himself and grew the company into a multinational brand that now includes 300 acres of vineyards in the Southwest of France. This international ambition has led to projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations around the globe. Despite the growth, Orin Swift Cellars continues to operate as a small, passionate team of friends and family dedicated to making great wine.

The wine is a blend of 76% Chardonnay, 8% Viognier, 6% Marsanne, 5% Grenache Blanc, 3% Muscat, and 2% Roussanne, aged in 40% new French oak for 11 months. The grapes were sourced from several northern California regions including Napa Carneros and Sonoma Coast. Deep straw yellow with aromas of tropical fruits and sweet spice. The palate shows flavors of pineapple, melon, apple and hints of lemon rind with complex spice. The wine is well balanced with integrated oak, crisp, lively acidity and ends with a long finish. Very nice alternative to the 100% California Chardonnay!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Taittinger Nocturne NV Disco

Taittinger Nocturne Champagne

When Pierre Taittinger first discovered the Champagne region, he was a young liaison officer during the first World War. It was thanks to his passion for wine and gastronomy that he returned several years later and, with his brother-in-law, invested all his energy into the development of a burgeoning champagne business. Since 1932 Champagne Taittinger has grown and taken its place among the great Champagne houses, commanding a bold innovative style particularly influenced by Chardonnay. Having bought back the family business in 2006, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger has surrounded himself with a team that is both young and bound together by a spirit of attainment and permanence. His daughter Vitalie and his son Clovis have accompanied him on this adventure.

I was able to find one of the special “Disco” bottles of Nocturne, which hit the market in 2014, but you can still find a few bottles, worth the hunt. The wine is comprised of 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier and receives a bigger dosage adding some residual sugar, weight and complexity to the Champagne, still on the dry side, but labeled “SEC”. The wine is a non-vintage blend from about 30 different base wines from multiple harvest years, carefully blended to maintain Taittinger’s “house” style. The wine was aged in the bottle for 4 years on its lees before disgorgement. I noticed a nice bright yellow color and immediately a bouquet of baked apples and sweet spice filled my glass. The bubbles are fine and plentiful with a foam mousse, amplifying the handcrafting that went into the wine. The taste was rich in my mouth with flavors of apple, ripe strawberry and blackberry with yeasty notes. The Champagne was well balanced and had a nice structure, somewhat creamy with a touch of sweetness.  The finish was long in length and had mineral characteristics. Happy 4th, enjoy with someone special on the disco round!

Cheers!

Mid-Week White

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Matanzas Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Matanzas Creek Winery 2014 Sauvignon Blanc

Naturally defined by the three mountain peaks that envelop it, Bennett Valley existed for many years in quiet obscurity – bountifully sustaining an agricultural community that had all but forgotten the valley’s pre-prohibition vinicultural roots. It wasn’t until 1977 with the founding of Matanzas Creek Winery that the area’s winemaking potential was once again unearthed. But Matanzas Creek didn’t just breathe new life into the area, it helped revolutionize the entire industry and, in the process, put Bennett Valley back on the map. And now, over thirty years after the release of its first vintage, Matanzas Creek stands at the forefront of California viticulture.

Pale-yellow color and fragrant aromas of tropical and citrus fruit with hints of garden spice. This is one of the few Sauvignon Blancs that are barrel-fermented, about 17% French/American oak, which adds a wonderful gentle toasty flavor. The palate shows fresh fruit flavors of peach, nectarine, lemon, and crisp apple, with the subtle earthy mineral tones. The wine has 6% Sémillon adding a smooth quality, with lively acidity on a medium length finish. Good value!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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JDavies2011 Cab

J. Davies 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain District

The Davies family, proprietors of Schramsberg Vineyards in Napa Valley, produces still wines from the historic Diamond Mountain vineyards purchased in 1965 and replanted to Bordeaux varietals beginning in 1994. The wine is named in honor of patriarch Jack L. Davies, who along with his wife, Jamie, revived the Schramsberg property and established the preeminent American sparkling wine house more than four decades ago. A creation of the next generation of the Davies family, the J. Davies Cabernet Sauvignon is the product of an intimate knowledge of a place and a passion to create a delicious red wine.

Opening a bottle of the 2011, which is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Malbec and aged for 24 months on French oak, I noticed a dark purple, almost inky color with aromas of fresh ripe red and blue fruit.  The palate shows the fruit nicely with plum, blueberry and black cherry flavors, a touch jammy, ripe round tannins, touch of spice with smoky cacao and earthy minerality.  Decanting this young Cabernet will benefit, however will last a decade in your cellar.

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Chanson Vire-Clesse 2014

Bastion De L’Oratoire Chanson Viré-Clessé 2014

Roots that stretch over several centuries, the history of Chanson is closely tied to the history of France. It perfectly reflects the evolution of the country through 260 years of existence. Every man and women who proudly bared the colors of Chanson over the centuries shared and still share a profound respect for the earth, the vine and the wine, and going on today. Gilles de Courcel and Jean-Pierre Confuron, pure Burgundians, took over from the Chanson family in 1999. Both are ardent supporters of an integrated viticulture, deeply respectful of the terroirs. The respect of vine, combined with precise and meticulous vinifications, aim to give the specificity of each terroir and offers tastings that are characteristic of the region.

Pale yellow with aromas of white stone fruits, citrus and complex floral scents. Crisp and fresh the palate shows peach, lemon and a touch of honey. Well balanced with lively acidity, plenty of mineralality giving way to a lingering ending. Very nice! Great value!

Cheers!