Weekend Selection

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pieropan-la-rocca-2013

Pieropan La Rocca Soave Classico 2013

The Pieropan business was founded in 1880 in the heart of the medieval village of Soave, in the historic Palazzo Pullici. Four generations marked the history of the company, each with their own contributions which varied according to the times, knowledge and entrepreneurial attitude. The wine business started with Leonildo, physician of Soave, who was driven by knowledge in biology and chemistry and began working in the family vineyards and whose work in the cellars was carried on by his sons, Fausto and Gustavo who worked with infinite passion. Pieropan has shown the world just how great Garganega can be. Third generation Leonildo (Nino) recognised the importance of terroir early on, acquiring various hillside crus and expanding the prestigious Calvarino and La Rocca vineyards. Today, Nino is joined by sons Andrea and Dario, maintaining the family’s profound commitment to the terroir and tradition of Soave.

La Rocca, made from 100% Garganega and aged for 15 months in large barrels. Bright intense yellow with aromas of tropical fruits and gentle oak notes, rich and complex. On the palate apple and orange zest with nutty flavors and vivid acidity. Smooth and elegant the wine ends with oak, mineral notes and gentle spice. Tasting Sample!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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fulcrum-brosseau-2014

Fulcrum Brosseau Vineyard Chalone AVA Pinot Noir 2014

A Fulcrum is the point on which an object balances. This was the name winemaker David Rossi chose for his winery when he founded it in 2005 – years before the word balance became an essential element in any discussion about great New World Pinot Noir. For David, a Fulcrum represented the style of winemaking he spent years refining. It was also an ideal metaphor for his belief in leveraging the finest grapes to create balanced, complex and age-worthy Pinot Noirs.

david-rossi-fulcrum-wea1

I recently went to a private tasting at one of my favorite wine shops, Stew Leonard’s Wines, in CT, where I met David Rossi (pictured on left above, with me) and he poured some of his favorite wines. Today I am discussing his 2014 Fulcrum Brosseau Vineyard Pinot Noir.

This is a powerful Pinot, very dark red, almost purple, with smoky spice and dark berry aromas. On the palate cherry and blackberry flavors with earthy spice notes, well structured, with firm savory tannins but not consuming. The ending is lingering with full fruit on the finish. About 140 cases made and should age well. Very Nice! Tasting Sample.

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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marlene-nicolas-crozes-hermitage-2014

Chevalier Marlène & Nicolas Crozes-Hermitage 2014

Crozes-Hermitage wraps around the base of the great hill of Hermitage, capturing a snippet of its famed neighbor, more approachable earlier in age. Hermitage named in the 13th century, when an injured knight returned from the Crusades and the Queen gave him permission to build a small home, or “hermitage,” for his recovery at the top of this hill. Today, the most revered and costly wines of the Northern Rhône hail from this hallowed ground. This small production 2014 Crozes-Hermitage is crafted by an under-the-radar producer destined to become a household name. While examples from Hermitage can easily soar past $100 a bottle, Nicolas & Marlène single vineyard Crozes-Hermitage delivers complexity that mirror the great hill for less than $30 a bottle.

Ruby with aromas of black fruits, perfumed spices and oak notes. On the palate of this Syrah, blackberry, plum and blueberry flavors with herb spice and mineral characteristics, big and tangy. Savory tannins, well balanced on a lingering finish ending with toasty oak. Will continue to improve with age. Very Nice!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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domaine-serene-2011-pinot-yamhill

Domaine Serene Yamhill Cvuée Pinot Noir 2011

Grace and Ken Evenstad first arrived and settled in the Dundee Hills in the Willamette Valley in 1989. At that time, the couple had spent over 20 years together in Minnesota building a successful business and a deep appreciation for the wines of Burgundy. The Evenstads had faith in Oregon early on, before there was a national market for domestic Pinot Noir. When the time came to pursue their longtime dream of growing and producing world class Pinot Noir, they invested in a 42 acre hilltop estate that had just been logged in the beautiful Dundee Hills of Oregon. With the support of their family – and to the surprise of many of their friends in Minnesota – the Evenstads established Domaine Serene, effectively creating Oregon’s luxury wine industry. They named the winery after their daughter, Serene, and their first vineyard on the estate was named after their son, Mark Bradford Evenstad. Today, Domaine Serene produces Pinot Noir from six vineyard estates, spanning three Willamette Valley AVAs, and Chardonnay solely from high elevations in the Dundee Hills.

Yamhill Cuvée is named for the county where all of the Domaine Serene Estates are located. This signature blend includes grapes from the Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, and Yamhill-Carlton AVA’s. Vivid ruby red and rich fruit aromas of red berries and floral spices, known as the “little sister” of the Evenstad Reserve.  The palate yields sweet cherry and strawberry fruit with a hint of oak and citrus zest.  The wine is well balanced and finishes long with smooth tannins, residual fruit and mineral tones.  The wine was aged for 12 months in new French oak (54%). Drinking well now!

Cheers!

Mid-Week Red

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mommessin-2016-beaujolais-nouveau

Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau 2016

On November 17, 2016 wine aficionados across the U.S. celebrated the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau. Since this French wine first came to the U.S. in 1982, Beaujolais Nouveau Day has been an annual celebration to honor the end of harvest and offer the first taste of the new vintage. Released at 12:01 a.m. on the third Thursday in November per French law, Beaujolais Nouveau is a bright, flavorful red wine made from the Gamay grape. As with most wine aficionados, I too am always anxious to join in on the celebration and try the new harvest upon release, I think it’s fun to participate in this tradition. My wife and I stopped at a French restaurant, receiving an allocation of the wine flown from France, and enjoyed a few glasses in celebration of this day!

Heir to the Cluny monks, Mommessin has its origins in Southern Burgundy. In fact, it was at Grange Saint-Pierre, an old outbuilding of the Abbey of Cluny, that Jean-Marie Mommessin, the company founder, set up him and his wife in the business during 1865. The key of Grange Saint-Pierre later became the House’s emblem. The acquisition of the renowned Clos de Tart in 1932 seals the House’s establishment in the heart of Burgundy. Its head office later was transferred in Quincié-en-Beaujolais, after more than a century of presence in the Mâconnais. The next chapter in Mommessin’s history is now evolving in the green hills, at the foot of Mount Brouilly, where the company’s innovative spirit and open attitude continues to florish. Here their expertise and experience, steeped in Burgundian tradition, are transmitted through their wines.

Usually I am less than excited after drinking a bottle, however for the past two years I was delighted! Pouring a glass, I noticed a light Ruby red color (not as deep as 2015) and aromas of rich ripe red fruits. The palate shows Strawberries with some cherry sweetness. The full-bodied wine has fine tannins and balanced acidity, finishing with good length. Nice! At $10, a real bargain.  Grab a case and celebrate!

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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villa-capezzana-carmignano-2008

Villa di Capezzana Carmignano 2008

At Carmignano the vines have been cultivated in pre-Roman era, about 3000 years ago, as the Wine jars and tasting cups found in Etruscan tombs demonstrate. In the archives of state of Florence a parchment was found, dated 804; it is a lease showing that as early as 1200 years ago, in Capezzana, vines and olives were cultivated for the production of oil and wine. In the early Renaissance, around 1475, Monna Nera Bonaccorsi built the first ‘Nobleman’s house’ and nine farm houses with the wine-making buildings. Other generations and families followed on the estate property; The Biscotti, related to Medici & The Marchesi Bourbon del Monte. In the eighteenth century a married Biscotti Bourbon enlarged the farm and acquired new farms. After the Bourbon del Monte, the company was passed to the Adimari Morelli and then to Franchetti and Rothschild, the widow Sara de Rothschild, and to finally to the Contini Bonacossi, in 1920.

Had this a couple of years ago at a tasting, like it, but thought it needed some time so I grabbed a few bottles and put them in my cellar, waiting paid off! A blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, Dark red color, very deep, with aromas of black fruit and sweet herbs. On the palate blackberry, ripe plums and dried cherry flavors with smoke, tobacco and oak notes. I did open the wine for about 30 minutes before tasting. Fine soft tannins with lingering finish, about medium, ending with earthy tones. This is about at its peak and should be consumed over the next year or so. Nice value!

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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rochioli-2012-rr-pinot-noir

Rochioli Russian River Pinot Noir 2012

The legacy began in 1911 when Joe Rocchioli Sr. immigrated to America along with his parents, Michele and Menichina Rocchioli (they later dropped the second “c”). Originally from a small village just outside of Lucca, the Rocchioli’s were one of many Italian families that arrived in New York, made their way across the country, and settled in Northern California. Although Joe Sr. really considered himself a crop farmer, he planted popular “jug wine” blending grapes like French Colombard, Early Burgundy and Valdeguié (Napa Gamay). By the mid-1950s he raised enough money to purchase the Fenton Acres property, the same location where Rochioli Vineyards are today. Their passion for fine wine and high quality grape growing began in 1968 when Joe Jr. began planting Pinot Noir. He had his own ideas as to what would grow best and planted fine Pinot Noir clones from France. This was a remarkable decision as there was very little known about the grape and they were considered a pioneer at the time for doing this. Joe Sr. had the foresight to know that the soil and microclimates of this unique spot in the Russian River Valley was very special and would one day produce some of the world’s greatest wines. Shortly after growing Pinot Noir successfully, Joe Jr. planted Chardonnay.

A blend from several vineyards, but mostly from the Sweetwater Vineyard.  Bright Ruby with aromas of ripe fruits and complex spice. On the palate classic concentrated flavors of raspberry, cherry and currants with pepper, herbs and oak. Aged for 15 months on French oak, soft tannins on well balanced structure. The full body finish had a touch of oaky tones and lingered through the ending. Very Nice.

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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clio-2009

Bodegas El Nido Clio 2009

The Bodegas El Nido winery is located in the Valley of the Aragona, 10 kilometers north of the town of Jumilla, in the “top boundary”, so named because it is the highest altitude in the municipality. The vines are planted on soils mostly of limestone and very stony surface. The winery began bearing fruit in 2001 as a result of the partnership between the Gil family and Chris Ringland, one of Australia’s best winemakers. The first harvest sold was 2002 under both El Nido and Clio brands.

A favorite. Dark red color with aromas of ripe fruit, floral notes and perfume spice.  Aged for 24 months on French and American oak, the 70% Monastrell and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon blend shows cherry and blackberry flavors, rich with notes of espresso and oak. Tannins are a bit gritty and savory, good balance carrying fruit to a lingering finish, ending with some earthy tones. Excellent!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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iavi-arrufi-vi-de-guarda-2008

I’Avi Arrufi Vi de guarda 2008

L’Avi Arrufi is an estate-bottled wine made by Celler Vinos Piñol with organically grown grapes in the high elevation region of Terra Alta, located south of Barcelona. The Piñol family has been wine growers for four generations. L’Avi Arrufi means, “Grandfather Arrufi,” the man who founded Celler Piñol in 1945. Today, less than 800 cases are produced of one of the family’s most distinctive wines, made from organically grown vines over seventy years old. L’Avi Arrufi is “liquid geography,” a wine that sings the special music of Terra Alta’s terroir composed of phrases and notes of the specific flavors of the Mediterranean climate. The story of Cellar Vinos Piñol mirrors the ascendance of Spanish wines in world markets over the past ten years, a story of how a reverence for old, treasured vineyards and the best family traditions have been combined with new winemaking methods to make the finest wines possible. Similar to Yecla and Vinos de Madrid, Terra Alta is one of Spain’s up-and-coming wine regions with an identity built on exciting projects and progressive innovation.

Was lucky enough to get a bottle from the 739 cases produced. A blend of 60% Cariñena, 30% Garnacha, 10% Syrah and aged for 14 months in French, American and Hungarian oak. Deep red, dark edges, with aromas of black fruits and complex earthy spices. On the palate black cherry and blackberry flavors with herbs, cacao and pepper spice.  Full-bodied, well balanced wine with smooth tannins. Lingering finish ending with cinnamon and mineral notes. Very Nice! Will age well for another decade!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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achavalferrer-2009

Achaval Ferrer Quimera 2009

It began in 1998 when a group of Italian and Argentine friends came together to make a dream a reality, bringing Argentine wine to the global marketplace. Argentina is regarded as one of the dynamic regions in the world. Only 4 countries produce more wine than Argentina. Significant investments in technology have improved the winemaking production in the past several years, with many premium quality wines, Achaval Ferrer Quimera among some of the best.  I had this gem at a restaurant on Cape Cod, and each October, the restaurant marks down all of their wines 50%, below retail!

Dark red with aromas of dark red fruits, cedar and spice, very complex nose. On the palate, this blend of 31% Malbec; 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot; 18% Cabernet Franc & 4% Petit Verdot, and aged for 14 months on 40% new French oak, shows Black Raspberry and Black Cherry fruits, pepper spice and oak notes. The wine is well balanced with vivid acidity and soft tannins. The finish is rich with fruit and mineral tones carrying through the lingering ending. Very Nice!

Cheers!