Weekend Selection

Tags

, , , , ,

Muga 2009 Unfiltered

Muga 2009 Reserva Unfiltered

Since the XVII century, the Muga family has been linked to the wine world and to the area of Rioja.  Fast forward to 1932 when Bodega Muga Winery was founded and today the winery operates with the same principals it did almost 100 years ago.  Muga also has its own cooperage and is able to control the right touch of oak desired in its offerings.

Opening a bottle, which I let sit for about an hour, the color was a glistening deep ruby.  The nose was clean with plenty of ripe red and black fruit with a touch of spice.  The wine is made from 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 7% Mazuelo and 3% Graciano.  The palate was generous with red berries and dried fruits with well integrated oak and acidity with nuances of toast, leather and cedar.  The finish was smooth and about medium in length.  Great offering for the price.  Don’t miss this one.

Cheers!

Restaurant Selection

Tags

, , ,

IMG_2037

Fratelli Alessandria 2005 Barolo Monvigliero

Fratelli Alessandria produces wines only from their own grapes and continues to manage the winery as a family run operation.  Fratelli Alessandria is owned by Gian Battista together with his wife Flavia, his brother Alessandro and his son Vittore.  Together they proudly carry on their ancestors’ tradition and passion for wine making.  Gian Battista’s belief is that “A great wine comes from a great vineyard”, and he personally takes care of the vineyards.

Fratelli Alessandria Barolo Monvigliero has been aged for at least two years in oak and six months in the bottle before release.  The Nebbiolo grapes used in this vintage comes from vines at least 35 years old.  Gian keeps his yields low in order to get concentrated rich grapes which, which are then aged in small barrels in order to obtain a well-structured and complex Barolo.

Pouring a glass, I noticed a vivid light ruby color giving off a big bouquet of delicious sweet cherries and a touch of plums.  Tasting the wine the big round flavor of red berries, cherries, and sweet spices exploded and concluded to a delicate lingering finish with soft tannins.  The restaurant price was $90, however you can pick one up for under $60 if you can find a bottle.  Happy Hunting!

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

Tags

, ,

Merry Edwards 2012 Pinot

Merry Edwards 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

One of California’s first woman winemakers, Merry Edwards began her career at Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1974.  She went on to become the founding winemaker at Matanzas Creek in 1977 and remained there until 1984.  In 1997, family and friends joined Merry to found Merry Edwards Winery, with a focus on producing Pinot Noirs with a sense of place from Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast.  Living her dream, she and her husband, Ken Coopersmith, now manage five estate vineyards: Coopersmith, Cresta d’Oro, Flax, Georganne and Meredith.  They maintain collaborative relationships with several other dedicated growers to supplement their estate production.

The wine is deep ruby with a clean nose of black dark fruit, black cherries pushing forth with a touch of spices, chocolate and oak.  This wine is medium bodied with well integrated tannins and alcohol with a very smooth lingering finish.  Very Well Done!  Also be sure to visit the Merry Edwards website for some fine recipes.

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

Tags

, ,

Brunello 2005 Castelgiocondo

Marchesi De’ Frescobaldi 2005 Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Castelgiocondo

The history of the Frescobaldi family begins around the year 1000, during the same time period as the birth of the banking industry of Medieval Florence.  The Frescobaldi’s quickly became the absolute protagonists of political and economic life earning them the right to the title “Treasurers to the English Crown”.  The family’s start in wine production is documented at the beginning of the year 1300 at the historic estate of Tenuta di Castiglioni in Val di Pesa, southwest of Florence.  From the beginning, the family has demanded that their wines be of quality and that they reflect the uniqueness of their terroirs, and by the beginning of the 1400’s great Renaissance artists such as Donatello and Michelozzo, had become faithful clients.  A century later the Frescobaldi wines were served at the tables of the Papal Court and the English Court of Henry the Eighth.

Opening a bottle, which I let breathe for about an hour, the 100% Sangiovese wine, which was aged in oak for 2 years, I noticed an absolutely clear deep brilliant ruby red color when I finally poured a glass.  Aromas of ripe dark and red fruits with some sweet spice.  The palate revealed a full-bodied dry wine with medium acidity, smooth tannins and a slight warmth of alcohol present.  The ripe fruit flavors are complex yet not overpowering as a number of flavors emerge to a lingering pleasant finish.  This is Top Flight!  Grab a bottle and pair it with a rich bolognaise sauce over some wide pasta.  Yum!

Cheers!

Exceptional Red

Tags

, , ,

Martinez Lacuesta 2005 Reserva

Martinez Lacuesta 2005 Reserva

Félix Martínez Lacuesta, obtained a law doctorate from the University of Madrid, founded the bodega in 1895, at 21 years of age, together with his brothers. He was the first president of the National Society of Winemakers and Associated Industries and he directed the La Rioja Wine Syndicate.  In 1909 Don Félix Martínez Lacuesta was granted a registered trademark “Martínez Lacuesta” for all types of wine, one of the oldest trademarks in Spain. Fast forward to 2009 where the company’s director Don Luis Martínez Lacuesta completed a new bodega in Haro, on a piece of land called Ubieta, that has been in operation since 2010.

Opening a bottle, I noticed a clear ruby red wine and immediately sensed aromas of dark red fruit mingling with some subtle oak. The wine spent 30 months in new and one-year old American casks and an additional 30 months in the bottle before release.  The palate showed some ripe black cherry flavors, dried fruit with a touch of vanilla.  The wine presented good balance with medium tannins and acidity, slight toasty oak finish.  This wine is a wonderful bargain at $20, don’t wait try some soon.

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

Tags

, , ,

Cakebread 2012 Two Creeks Pinot

Cakebread Cellars 2012 Two Creeks Pinot Noir

Recently I commented on Cakebread’s Chardonnay, a real gem, so I wanted to dive farther into their wine offerings. Cakebread Cellars was founded, in 1973, by Jack and Dolores Cakebread and they have an enduring commitment to quality, their belief is that life’s occasions are elevated by good people, good food, and good wine flows through everything they do. In 2013, Cakebread Cellars celebrated their 40th harvest, and the second generation of winemaking, however in 1994, Cakebread made their first Pinot Noir, and in 1995, the family purchased a 60-acre former apple orchard in Anderson Valley near Boonville and began developing this vineyard to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Today, the winery owns 13 sites totaling 982 acres, 460 of which are currently planted.  The Cakebread Website is full of interesting information and loaded with recipes, lots of great recipes, so be sure to check out the website, you won’t be disappointed.

Cakebread Cellars 2012 Two Creeks Pinot Noir is a blend of several French Dijon clones and the famed Joseph Swan and Pommard clones.  With the Dijon clones supplying bright fruit and acidity, the small-berried Swan clone providing intense varietal flavors, and the Pommard clone contributing mid-palate weight and a warm spice tone, Two creeks is a fruit forward, yet complex pinot noir showcasing the best of Anderson Valley.  Julianne Laks, winemaker at Cakebread, comments that “2012 was a picture-perfect vintage in California”

As I opened a bottle of their Two Creeks Pinot Noir, aged for 10 months in French oak (38% new), I was delighted with forthcoming aromas of lively red fruit, cherries, strawberries and raspberries with a hint of fragrant spice. The wine is silky smooth, very refined on the palate, bringing forth the vibrant red fruit, with the slightest touch of oak and earthy tones coming through and rounding out to a perfect finish.  After drinking a glass, I agree with Julianne Laks and that 2012 was a picture-perfect vintage for Cakebread’s Two Creeks Pinot Noir.  Be sure to add this wine (you can grab a bottle for under $50) to your cellar and pair it when you grill up a meaty fish such as swordfish or tuna.

Cheers!

Exceptional Red

Tags

, , , , ,

Rombauer 2009 Merlot-1

Rombauer 2009 Carneros Merlot

I recently commented on the Rombauer 2012 Carneros Chardonnay, see Sept. 30, 2014 review, and indicated that Koerner Rombauer was born and raised in Southern California, later became a commercial pilot with Braniff until the airline ceased operations in 1972, moved his family, two horses, and five dogs from Dallas to the Napa Valley, where they purchased 40 acres of hilltop land on the Silverado Trail, near St. Helana.  What was interesting was that the Rombauer’s had no intention of starting a winery.  They did, however, have a great appreciation for the role of wine in the fine dining experience.  Koerner’s great aunt Irma Rombauer was the author of the internationally renowned cookbook “The Joy of Cooking.”  So it didn’t take long in their new surroundings before they became fascinated with the wine industry and in 1976, Koerner and his wife Joan, became partners in Conn Creek Winery and learned the business from the ground up.  In 1981 they sold their interest in Conn Creek Winery and began construction of the Rombauer Vineyards on their Silverado property.

Opening a bottle which is 85% Merlot; 12% Cabernet Sauvignon; and 3% Petit Verdot; I noticed a clear very deep ruby color and rich aromas of dark ripe fruit. The wine spent 18 months in French and American oak and gave flavors of black cherry, blueberry and plum flavors and mingled with soft sweet spice on the palate, finishing very smooth.  The 2009 Merlot vintage in California was one of the best recent vintages.  The Carneros region, with its climate and clay soils, produce a Merlot which is true to its varietal characteristic.  This Merlot is truly a gem, especially at $23.  Enjoy.

Cheers!

Exceptional Red

Tags

, , ,

Matanzas 2010 Merlot

Matanzas Creek Winery 2010 Merlot Sonoma

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 viticultural 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.

Pouring a glass, I noticed a dense purple color with a clean nose of ripe black and red fruits, plums and cherries. The fruit follows the nose and adds some cedar, leather and smoky notes and firm tannins, nicely balanced.  This wine will certainly stand up to a rich meal.  A great bargain at $23.

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

Tags

, , , ,

Ramon Bilbao 2005 Gran Reserva

Ramón Bilbao 2005 Gran Reserva

Bodegas Ramón Bilbao was founded by Ramón Bilbao Murga, an experienced wine trader who had been selling wine since 1896 from premises at Calle Las Cuevas in Haro. Ramón Bilbao was a forward-looking grape grower; a pioneer in the art of ageing.  The winery was handed down from one generation to the next until the year 1966, when Ramón Bilbao Pozo, the last of the descendants, died.  The business was converted into a corporation with new shareholders.  New facilities were built, also in Haro.  The new company wished to continue the work of its founder, Ramón Bilbao, and concentrated on making aged wines.  The family business Diego Zamora, S.A., one of the largest beverage groups in Spain and owner of the well-known brand Licor 43, acquired the winery and began a new venture, renovating and adapting existing facilities.  The development of top-quality wines together with innovation while respecting the purest Rioja traditions, represented by the history of the wines of Ramón Bilbao, are the trademark of this emblematic company in Rioja Alta.

Pouring a glass the wine is a deep ruby color with bright edges. Aromas of red fruit, raspberries and cherries with notes of black pepper and sweet vanilla spice are pleasingly pronounced.  The taste is clean and dry with firm tannins.  The fruit on the palate turns into ripe cherry, berry and plum flavors with some leather, tobacco, and chocolate nuances.  A mineral tang is detected on the finish.  This wine is predominately Tempranillo, but I believe there is some Graciano added to this blend.  The wine is aged for 30 months in American oak casks and for 36 months in underground darkness before being released.  Delicious, especially the $25 price where most of the Gran Reserva’s start at around $50.

Cheers!

Exceptional White

Tags

, , , , ,

Roederer

Roederer Estate Sparkling Anderson Valley Brut N.V.

Roederer Estate is the first California sparkling wine to be produced by Champagne Louis Roederer, further building upon a 200-year tradition of fine wine making from this family owned company.  Roederer’s unique winemaking style is based on two elements: complete ownership of its vineyards and the addition of oak-aged reserve wines to each year’s blend or cuvée.  The Roederer Estate is located 125 miles north of San Francisco near the Mendocino Coast, and since 1982 began developing its own vineyards and crafting wines.  The Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut made its debut in October 1988.  Anderson Valley offers a climate of warm days and cool nights and has well-drained soils which are ideally suited to the Roederer Estate’s style of winemaking.  The Roederer Estate uses only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in its own vineyards.  In making the final Non-Vintage (N.V.) product, each year Roederer blends reserve wines, from its cellar, which have been aged in French oak casks, creating their signature style.  Such balancing of reserve wines to create a consistent wine from year to year demonstrates Roederer’s winemaking skills.

Gently popping the cork (be sure to tip the bottle at 45 degrees and gently twist off the cork and making only a hiss of a sound so as not to bruise the wine) and pouring a glass (be sure to use a flute glass to get the most concentrated amount of bubbles) I see a deep pale lemon color with fine bubbles floating up. The nose was clean and lightly pronounced with aromas of honey and toast.  The wine is 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir and was aged for a minimum of 2 years on its yeast.  The taste revealed a dry wine with medium acidity and body and flavors of baked apple and very subtle mineral notes.  The finish was pleasant and is an outstanding example of a Champagne style wine made in California.  If you are having a party you can get 2 bottles of Roederer for the price of 1 bottle of French Champagne, and most people will not detect a difference.  Grab some for the holidays which are just around the corner!

Cheers!