Cellar Selection

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 caymus-cab-9-16-16                  Caymus 2012 Cab

Caymus 2012 40th Anniversary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Third Coravin Tasting)

In 1971 Charlie Wagner and his wife Lorna Belle Glos Wagner asked their son Charles  (Chuck) Wagner, who had just graduated from high school, if he would be interested in joining them in starting up a winery. If Chuck declined the offer, Charlie and Lorna were planning to sell out of their ranch in Napa Valley and move to Australia. Chuck accepted his parents’ offer to launch the winery, Caymus Vineyards. The Wagners produced their first vintage in 1972, consisting of 240 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon. Since then, Caymus has focused their efforts in the production of quality Cabernet Sauvignon.

Coravin

Back in the summer of 2015, I received a birthday gift of a Coravin wine system. The Coravin allows you to take wine out of the bottle (no screwcaps, only corks), leaving the cork in place and preserve and protect the wine until you are ready for another glass or want to open the bottle. I took out a glass on July 25, 2015 and took out a second glass on February 5, 2016, and a third glass September 16, 2016.

The wine was still superb, actually with a little age now, even better than my original notes. Deep ruby red with focused aromas of black fruit, herbs and spice.  The palate is focused, with fresh flavors of sweet ripe dark fruit, mostly plum, blackberry and black cherry, with complex oak, leather and chocolate.  The wine is well balanced, tannins continuing to develop nicely, slightly savory, finishing with sweet vanilla oak notes.  My notes from my the three pours using the Coravin were very consistent. It works! This is an Elegant Wine! It was perfect to drink now as well as for future aging, but why wait? More still left in the bottle, check back in about 6 months for another taste.

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Lynmar Estate Quail Hill Vineyard RRV Pinot Noir 2012

Lynn Fritz first purchased Quail Hill Ranch and Vineyards in 1980, drawn to the maritime climate and the authenticity of the rolling Russian River vineyards. The property has some of the oldest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines planted in the Russian River Valley. The grapes from these early vines were bought by Tony Soter and Merry Edwards to make wines considered to be some of the best in the Russian River Valley. Lynmar began a small winemaking activity in the early 1990s and produced small amounts of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which were extremely well received. Over the next 35 years, Lynn purchased several contiguous properties, which have been amalgamated into a single stunning estate bordered by the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed.

All 14 of Lynmar’s Pinot Noir clones were selected to craft this signature Estate blend, representing the expression of Russian River Valley. A rich deep Ruby red with aromas of dark berry fruit, and rustic spices. The 100% Pinot Noir wine was aged on French oak for 14 months, (35% new) before bottling in December 2015. On the palate, the wine was medium+ in weight and shows sweet cherry, plum and blackberry. The Pinot had velvet tannins encircled by lively acidity and a touch of pepper and gentle oak giving the wine tremendous depth and balance. An elegant wine that with great length on the finish. Extraordinary! Only 828 cases were produced!

Cheers!

Exceptional Red

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Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery 2013 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Sebastiani’s first century in Sonoma winemaking began when Samuele emigrated from the Tuscany region of Italy in 1895 and started Sebastiani nine years later. A stonemason by trade, he quarry-mined the Sonoma hills for cobblestones that were used to build the streets of San Francisco. He worked long hours and saved carefully to buy land in Sonoma County, from which he would make wine for the Sonoma community and San Francisco’s restaurants. The winery was the only one in Sonoma County to continue operations through Prohibition, making a small amount of sacramental and medicinal wines. It has been joked, and perhaps with some grain of truth, that during this time there was a resurgence of people becoming very religious. When the combination of Prohibition and the Depression hit hard, Samuele initiated major projects at the winery to create employment for his neighbors. When there wasn’t sufficient work at the winery, he built around the plaza and constructed a skating rink, motel, theater and meeting hall at the Catholic Church. To keep people employed at the winery, Samuele began canning peaches, pears and nectarines.

I attended a private wine tasting and tried several of Sebastiani’s wines. Their Alexander Valley stood out as an outstanding wine, at a great value. A blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Merlot, the wine was a very deep and dark red with ripe black fruit aromas and elegant spice. On the palate, blackberry and black cherry with vanilla spice and oak. The wine was well balanced with tannins, acidity and oak. The finish was rich and lingered with earthy spice on the ending. The wine has some aging potential, but it is great now! Tasting Sample!

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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ZD Pinot Noir Carneros 2013

In 1969, aerospace engineers Norman DeLeuze and Gino Zepponi, along with their families, turned their entrepreneurial enthusiasm toward winemaking. These were the early days of California’s wine industry, and they were among Napa Valley’s adventurous winemaking pioneers. Their founding concept was to produce world class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reminiscent of France’s renowned Burgundy wines. They achieved this endeavor by sourcing from the cool Carneros regions of Napa and Sonoma. The ZD Wines brand highlights the initials of the founding partners’ last names, but it also symbolizes the term Zero Defects, an acronym for the quality control program Norman and Gino worked under while designing rockets at AeroJet, a rocket propulsion manufacturer in Sacramento, CA. Norman’s wife and founding partner Rosa Lee DeLeuze jokes that ZD also stands for the names of her two cats, Zesty and Delightful.

A great full-body Pinot! Deep Ruby with berry aromas and earthy spice. On the palate strawberry, cherry and plum fruit with vanilla spice and cedar notes. The wine is well structured, silky smooth tannins, balanced acidity carry the wine to a lingering finish. Very Nice!

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Ewald Gruber Grüner DAC Muhlberg 2013

At the age of 16, Ewald Gruber senior then decided to turn the farm into a model winery. He wanted to become one of the leading winegrowers – passionate and using the latest technology available. Despite the fact that he is retired now, he still looks after the vineyards together with his son Christian. His wife Hermine does the bookkeeping. The Gruber Family Winery has been growing wine in Röschitz since 1814. Until the middle of the last century, the wine was grown almost solely for private consumption. And this passion is contagious. Three of his six children took over the winery in 2012. And then there are the “Wine Spirits”, (notice the label), the mascots of the Grubers. What are they? Micro-organisms for natural pest control; yeast which induces fermentation; the little children of Bacchus and the fauns ensuring joy and pleasure? Nobody knows, but the Gruber’s love them.

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I attended a private tasting given by Franz, pictured below, and tasted 4 of his wines. The wine were all great and I will comment on his reserve Mühlberg 2013 Grüner Veltliner, a rich and beautiful wine from the oldest Gruber vineyard located near Hundspoint. Franz was very knowledgeable about the wines and was a pleasure to speak with.  Thank you Franz for the opportunity to taste your wines.

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Golden yellow color with aromas of tropical fruits and hints of aromatic scents. On the palate melon, banana and kiwi flavors with undertones of apple and pear, very complex. A full-body white with good balance and acidity. To me it appears that the wine had a bit of oak aging, but I forgot to ask Franz. The wine finished with a mineral citrus tang on a long ending. Very Nice!

Franz, maybe next on your next trip you can bring a bottle of Trockenbeerenauslese Chardonnay to try.

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Baumard Savennieres Papillon 2010

Baumard Savennières Clos du Papillon 2010

Savennières is a tiny region located on the northern banks of the Loire River, just across from the town of Rochefort Sur Loire. The entire appellation consists of fewer than 200 acres (77 hectares) of vines, all planted to Chenin Blanc. The South/Southeast facing vineyards are planted on unique soils composed of schistose volcanic debris mixed with sandstone and granite, imparting a strong, intensely original minerality to the Chenin Blanc grape. Maximum permitted yields are the lowest in France for dry whites (25 Hectoliters per Hectare), resulting in wines of stunning concentration and perfume. The combination of this concentration with the naturally high acidity of the Chenin Blanc grape results in wines capable of lasting and improving for decades.

Light Straw color with white flesh fruits and nutty aromas. On the palate melon, apple and pear flavors with sweet fig nuances with some floral notes. This wine did not come into contact with oak aging. On the finish, this full-bodied wine was rich, creamy and elegant, with fresh acidity and mineral tones. This 2010 is drinking well now. Very Nice!

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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Craggy Range 2011 Pinot

Craggy Range 2011 Pinot Noir

Craggy Range is a family owned winery established in 1997 and situated in the shadow of the spectacular Te Mata Peak in the premium wine growing area of Hawke’s Bay New Zealand. Craggy Range produces a collection of iconic wines from multiple regions in New Zealand. Owner Terry Peabody and his family pursued the single vineyard approach to winemaking, planting on green fields and bare land ensuring a focus on quality from the very beginning.

Ruby with a touch of purple on the edges and aromas of black and red berry fruits with floral spice. On the palate black cherry and raspberry flavors with fine tannins on a crisp acidic frame. The finish yields a bit of toasty oak, full-body that has a lingering ending. Very Nice!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Cristom Eileen Pinot 2013

Cristom Pinot Noir 2013 Eileen Vineyard

The development of Cristom Vineyards is the result of a twenty-plus-year collaboration between an engineer, a winemaker and a farmer – who are, first and foremost, stewards of the land. Founder Paul Gerrie hired Cristom’s winemaker Steve Doerner and Vineyard Manager Mark Feltz in 1992. Together at the winery since day one, they have consistently produced masterful and expressive Pinot Noirs. The four estate Pinot Noir vineyards – Eileen, Jessie, Louise and Marjorie – are named for Gerrie family matriarchs. Each single vineyard has its own natural variances in soil, elevation and exposition, and Steve strives to craft wines that are representative of both the vineyard and vintage. While Cristom Vineyards are widely recognized for single vineyard wines, however their craft of blending is apparent than in their hallmark Pinot Noir cuvées, Mt. Jefferson Cuvée and Sommers Reserve.

Tasting Eileen Vineyard, The 2013 had less whole clusters than previous vintages because of the cooler growing season. Rich Bright Ruby with aromas of red berry fruit, and sweet spices. On the palate, the wine was full-body and showed a focus of fruit, sweet raspberry, cherry, cranberry and currants. The Pinot Noir showed refined smooth tannins surrounded by lively acidity and a touch of earthy minerals and cinnamon spice, giving the wine a tremendous depth and balance.  This is a very elegant wine that had great length on the finish. Nice!

Cheers!

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!

Cheers!