Exceptional White

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Emmolo 2013 Sauvignon

Emmolo 2013 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Jenny Wagner has taken the reins of Emmolo (m–oh–low) Winery from her mother, Cheryl Emmolo, the owner and founder of this lovely Rutherford estate. Jenny’s great-grandfather, an Italian immigrant, Salvatore Emmolo, planted virgin soil to grapevines, such as Carignane and French Columbard in the 1920’s. After becoming an established grape grower, he started a grapevine rootstock nursery and opened up Palermo Winery in 1934, named after the city from which he immigrated. Throughout the years Jenny’s grandfather, Frank Emmolo, found out that Sauvignon Blanc was best suited to that soil. Today, her grandparents continue to enjoy life farming on this Rutherford property.

A marriage of the Rutherford and Oak Knoll AVA’s, the 2013 Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc is straw yellow with aromas of fresh fruit and wet stone. On the palate crisp peach, honeydew melon and orange rind flavors with a touch of floral spice. The wine is well balanced with vivid acidity and minerality on the lingering ending. Nice value! Tasting Sample!

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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IFrati 2014 Lugana

I Frati Càdei Frati 2014 Lugana

The company Ca’ dei Frati has been around since 1782, according to a document that refers to a House with a cellar located in the place of Sermione hotels in Lugana tener Fratti. It was in 1939 when Happy Dal Cero, son of Domenico already grower in Montecchia di Crosara, near Verona, moved into that House, Lugana di Sirmione. After thirty years, in 1969, his son Peter starting to bottle its first label of Lugana House of Friars. In 2012 Pietro Dal Cero leaves the company to his wife Santa Rosa and children Igino, Gian Franco and Anna Maria who run the company with the same passion and determination.

If you have never tried a Lugana, put that on your list, you will not be disappointed. Made with 100% Turbiana grapes. Lugana can be consumed young or aged for a few years gaining some mineral tones and elegance. The wine shows a light straw yellow color, with rich stone fruit and floral aromas. On the palate the wine displays flavors of ripe apricot, apple and bits of citrus enclosed in delicate acidity on a lingering ending. The finish has minerality that shows up gently. Very nice, great value. Buy 2 and put one aside for a few years!

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Cellar Selection

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Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2011

Lapostolle 2011 Clos Apalta (Limited Release)

Lapostolle was founded by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and her husband Cyril de Bournet in 1994. The Marnier Lapostolle family, founders and owners of the world-renowned liqueur Grand Marnier, is famous for producing spirits and liqueurs, but the family has also been involved in winemaking for generations. In creating Lapostolle, the family has pursued the same uncompromising approach to quality that made Grand Marnier a global success. Its objective is simple as it is ambitious: to create world-class wines using French expertise and the superb terroirs of Chile. Lapostolle is distributed in more than 60 countries around the world.

Recently Charles de Bournet Marnier Lapostolle, CEO of the Lapostolle Winery, held a private wine tasting in CT and we tasted 4 of his wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Canto de Apalta, Cuvée Alexandre and Clos Apalta. See photos, Charles is the one on the right with yours truly. All of the wines were outstanding and I will discuss his premier wine, Clos Apalta. Charles, thank you for taking time to share stories and information.

Lapostolle Charles3                                   Lapostolle Charles Panel1

One of Chile’s finest premier wines. Dark and deep inky purple red. A blend of 57% Carmenère, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot and aged in 100% new French oak, the wine displays aromas of ripe concentrated red fruit with sweet spice. The palate has flavors of plum, raspberry and cherry and notes of figs, vanilla and mocha. Complex structure with round velvet tannins that are long lasting on the finish and ending with some espresso notes. Tasting Sample.

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Cellar Selection

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StClement Orppas 2012 Cab

 St. Clement Oroppas 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

A Napa Valley landmark since 1878, St. Clement Vineyards produces small lots of luxury and single vineyard wines from exceptional Napa Valley vineyards. Hand-crafted from grapes grown in the Napa Valley, St. Clement wines reflect a deep respect for the land and an understanding of the valley’s unique geology, soil and climate. St. Clement’s portfolio of stunning Napa Valley wines is anchored by the flagship Oroppas Cabernet Sauvignon. The first vintage of Oroppas was made in 1991, and over the years, it has become a style icon for St. Clement. The key to Oroppas is having a palate of consistent flavor profiles and tannin structures to work for the blend.

Pouring a glass I noticed a deep dark red wine with aromas of red and dark fruit and floral spice notes. Aged for 19 months, with majority of grapes from vineyards in Coombsville and Rutherford, the palate showed dark cherry fruit with plum and spice. Bright acidity, fine tannins make this wine approachable now, but needs a few years to develop. The finish is a bit robust and lingers nicely ending with oak notes.

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Exceptional White

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Landmark 2013 Overlook Chard

Landmark Vineyards 2013 Overlook Chardonnay Sonoma County

Landmark Vineyards was founded in 1974 in Windsor, California, by a group that included Damaris Deere Ford, the great-great-granddaughter of John Deere, inventor of the first steel plow and founder of the world’s largest tractor manufacturer. In 1989, Damaris Deere Ford, became sole proprietor and relocated the winery to Sonoma Valley. Landmark Vineyards is located at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain in Sonoma Valley. In 1993, world-renowned consulting enologist Helen Turley was hired to work with former winemaker, Eric Stern. In addition to the estate vineyard, Landmark sources grapes from a range of different vineyards and those selected are the finest in the highly diverse microclimates of Sonoma County’s winegrowing regions.

Opening a bottle, the color is a bright golden straw with aromas of stone and citrus fruits with some earthy spices. The wine sits on French oak for 10 months (33% new). On the palate crisp apple, pear and lemon zest with a touch of oak. Balances with lively acidity, the finish is about medium and ends with citrus mineral notes. Drink now for its freshness!

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Cellar Selection

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Muga 2010 Selection Especial

Bodegas Muga 2010 Rioja Selección Especial Reserva

The Muga wine cellars were founded in 1932 by Isaac Muga Martínez who originated from a family with strong ties to the winemaking industry. On the death of the founder in 1969, his children Manuel, Isabel and Isaac Muga Caño took over the reins. Two years later in 1971, they moved their headquarters to their present location in the traditional Station District on the outskirts of Haro. Bodegas Muga has continued to grow as the years have passed but it has never lost the spirit of a family-run company. The winery controls every step of the viticultural and vinification process from the vineyards to making their own barrels and fermenting and aging the wine entirely in oak. Muga is one of only six estates in the world that owns its own cooperage and they import the oak directly from the United States and France. Bodegas Muga is one of the oldest and traditional Rioja producers.

Dark Ruby with aromas of ripe fruit, smoke and fragrant spice notes. A blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 7% Mazuelo, and 3% Graciano from this top Haro producer. On the palate, cherry, raspberry and blackberry, with firm dry tannins, and smoky oak. The wine spent about 30 months in French and American oak, then 18 months in the bottle before release. On the finish a touch of vanilla spice and minerality with a lingering ending. Will continue to improve! Very Nice!

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Mid-Week White

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Inma Soave 2014

Inama 2014 Soave Classico

In the 1960s, Giuseppe Inama, the estate’s founder, began using his savings to purchase small plots of vineyards in the heart of the Soave Classico region. At that time few understood the area’s potential but Giuseppe believed that he could make a wine capable of restoring Soave’s reputation by working with only top quality vineyards of old-vine Garganega (Soave’s original grape). Today, Inama (pronounced “eeh-NAM-mah”) comprises 70 acres of vineyards in the heart of the Soave Classico and Giuseppe’s son Stefano, who assumed control of the winemaking in 1992 and has cutting-edge outlook, is considered a dynamic visionary of the region. Inama also grows traditional Bordeaux varietals on 60 acres in the Colli Berici, Italy’s oldest DOC for Cabernet and Merlot grapes.

Made with 100% Garganega grapes, the wine shows a light yellow color, with rich stone fruit, citrus and floral aromas. On the palate the wine displays flavors of apple, lemon and bits of pineapple wrapped up in vivid acidity on a lingering ending. The finish has minerality that shows up gently. Very nice, great value.

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Cellar Selection

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La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza 2007

La Rioja Alta S.A. 2007 Viña Ardanza Reserva

On the 10th of July 1890, five Basque and Rioja families shared their passion for wine and founded “Sociedad Vinicola De La Rioja Alta” in what is known as the Haro Station District. That day was the start of an ongoing searching for excellence that their descendants still pursue today. The company changed its name to LA RIOJA ALTA in 1891, and in 1941 the company took on its present name, LA RIOJA ALTA, S.A. A year later, chairman of the board, Leandro Ardanza Angulo, registered the renowned brand name, “Viña Ardanza”.

To give you a little taste of the town of Haro, in the La Rioja region of northern Spain, every year on June 29th, the day of the patron saint San Pedro, the Haro Wine Festival is held. The festival involves wine drinking competitions and contests and a Batalla de Vino (Battle of Wine), beginning at 7am, with a procession of people old and young, dressed in white shirts and red scarves, all carrying jugs, bottles, botas and other types of containers filled with red wine. The wines are poured at each other from buckets, squirt guns, or any other device that sprays. You start off wearing a white shirt and it is pinky-red when the battle is over. The Town of Haro provides all the wine. Check out the Haro Wine Festival link.

It was my birthday recently, so my son got me something special to drink, a 2007 Viña Ardanza Reserva. From 30-year old vines, the wine is 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha. The Tempranillo spent 36 months on 4-year old American oak and Garnacha spent 30 months on 2-year old American oak, then bottled in 2011, released in the fall of 2015. Vivid Ruby with red fruit aromas, spices and earthy notes. The palate revealed a complex structure with full ripe fruit, cherry and raspberry with some vanilla, mocha and tobacco notes. The finish had typical Rioja earthy mineral flavor, silky tannins and a long ending. Will continue to improve! Nice!

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Exceptional White

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Zarate 2015 Albarino

Zarate Rías Baixas 2015 Albariño

This small well run cellar was established in 1920 by the Zarate family and is located in the Salnes Valley. Eulogio Pomares currently oversees the vineyards which are planted on granitic rock, and now beginning to replant some vines to biodynamics. The Zarate is sourced from 11 vineyards with an average age of 35 years. Only two Rias Baixas producers make reds and Zarate is one of them. Caino Tinto and Loureiro Tinto are both made from indigenous grapes of the same name and are both tiny production around 300 bottles. They are noted to be wines with an elegant, floral, tart, almost salty character with fresh acidity. I will try and get my hands on a bottle and comment.

The 2015 Albariño has a pale yellow color with green edges and concentrated aromas of stone fruits, citrus and floral notes. The palate shows peaches and apricots with a tangy mineral focus with a chalky edge. Pronounced acidity lifts this wine and will let it age and refine over the next 3 to 5 years. On the vibrant finish, the wine is crisp with lemon zest and a medium+ mineral ending.

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Weekend Selection

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Hall 2012 Cabernet

Hall 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Kathryn Walt Hall is the proprietor of Hall Wines and has been involved in the California wine industry since her family first purchased a vineyard thirty years ago. She has had a distinguished career as a successful businesswoman, community activist, and most recently as the United States Ambassador to Austria. Kathryn Hall and her family have been grape growers in Mendocino County since 1972. The Walt family owns 63 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc in the Redwood Valley and has sold their grapes to such wineries as Fetzer, Parducci and Beringer. Kathryn managed the family vineyard from 1982 to 1992. During this time she produced Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon under the label Walt Vineyards. Continuing her family tradition, she maintains a strong emotional attachment to vineyards, wine and the wine country.

Craig Hall is chairman and founder of Dallas-based Hall Financial Group and along with his wife Kathryn, created a premier vineyard and winery company in the Napa Valley area. A life-long entrepreneur and investor, in addition to the vineyard and winery business, his professional interests today include real estate, venture capital, technology and hotels in the U.S. and Europe.

Hall’s Napa 2012 Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, aged for 20 months in French oak (55% new), is a deep red color with aromas of dark dried fruit with hints of floral and spices. An ideal growing season in 2012, the palate shows dense dark berry fruit tastes with a touch of cinnamon spice, espresso beans and a bit of cacao. Well integrated with fine structured tannins, the wine is complex yet enjoyable and will age well for a number of years. The finish had good length and ended with a touch of oak.

Cheers!