Exceptional Red

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BodegasAltoMoncayo_AltoMoncayo_wine2

Alto Moncayo 2009 Garnacha

Bodegas Alto Moncayo is truly among one of Spain’s finest wine estates.  Bodegas Alto Moncayo is a joint venture of Jorge Ordoñez, Jose Miguel San Martin, Dan Phillips together with Bodegas Borsao.  Their flagship wine is Alto Moncayo made from 100% old vines Grenache grapes.  Their website is still being developed, but check out what they have and read the reviews from Robert Parker, a top U.S. wine critic.  Located in the town of Bulbuente, Spain, the winery possesses very unique soils of red clay and the hillside location provides soils very poor in organic matter and shallow.

Opening a bottle of the 2009 Bodegas Alto Moncayo, Garnacha, I see a dark ruby red color and begin to smell aromas of dark sweet berry fruit.  The wine is aged in new oak for about 20 months.  The palate yields a full bodied taste of ripe chewy berry fruit, cherries and strawberries, with a hint of vanilla spice, cacao and mineral notes.  The finish is medium length with firm tannins with a nice touch of oak.  Superb wine from Bodegas Alto Moncayo.

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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Frank Family 2013 Chard Carneros

Frank Family Vineyards 2013 Chardonnay Carneros

First constructed as the Larkmead Winery in 1884, the building was refinished with native sandstone from the nearby hills in 1906 and still stands tall today. The massive stone edifice is considered an archetype of California’s wine country; it appears on the National Register of Historical Places and is listed as a Point of Historical Interest in the state of California. The Frank Family Vineyards focuses their energies on making superb wines, producing Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Petite Syrah and several distinctively different Cabernet Sauvignons.

Today I am tasting their Carneros Chardonnay, I noticed a vivid pale yellow color and wonderful aromas of fresh fruit and citrus.  Tasting the wine I notice a layer of complexity with ample stone fruit flavors, white peaches, Asian pears and a touch of green apples on the palate concluding with subtle citrus tang, well balanced with lively acidity and a crisp medium finish with round oaky notes.  A delight!

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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Tinto Pesquera 2010 Reserva

Bodegas Alejandro Fernández Tinto Pesquera 2010 Reserva

Wines produced by Alejandro Fernández are made exclusively from the difficult, quick-maturing Tempranillo variety, of which he is the acknowledged master. His world-famous Tinto Pesquera is aged a minimum of 18 months in oak, with selected Reservas and Grandes Reservas remaining in barrel for 24 months and longer. Already over 70 years old, Alejandro shows no sign of letting up, rising at five every morning and personally overseeing all stages of the winemaking. The attention to detail is evidenced in this excellent vintage.

Opening a bottle the color is a very dark Ruby red with aromas of earthy red/black fruits with hints of herbs, toast and sweet spice.  The palate shows ripe black cherry flavors with vanilla nuances, lively acidity and developed tannins.  The long finish brings a light toasty oak flavor making this well balanced wine a joy to drink.  Shows good backbone to develop another 5 to 10 years.

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Ramey 2009 Cab Napa

Ramey 2009 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Ramey Wine Cellars crafts outstanding quality wines that are both delicate and magnificent and comes from some of the finest vineyards in Napa and Sonoma.  Ramey selects vineyards for their ability to continue producing the highest quality fruit.  David and his wife Carla founded Ramey Wine Cellars in 1996 after spending time at Matanzas Creek, Chalk Hill, Dominus and Rudd.  Ramey Wine Cellars is located in Healdsburg, in the heart of the California wine country.  Ramey’s varietals are basically Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Syrah.  Today I will review their Napa Cabernet.

The Ramey Wine Cellars 2009 Napa Valley, consists of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, and aged in oak for two years, two-thirds in new barrels (a mixture of French and American).  Opening a bottle, especially a 2009, I would recommend decanting for at least 45 minutes before enjoying this wine.  Pouring a glass I noticed a very deep ruby red and aromas of rich dark berry fruit, with a hint of earthy spice.  On the palate layers of complex powerful flavors pour forth, dark juicy cherries, currants and bits of cocoa.  Wine is well balance with dense tannins and a structure that lingers nicely.  Delicious!  Grab a bottle for around $50, but let it sit in your cellar as time will enhance this beauty.  Stay tuned, I will try some of their other Cabernet offerings, which may be a little difficult obtaining some of their limited production wines on the East Coast.

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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Sequoia Grove 2011 Napa Cab

Sequoia Grove 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa

Who would have guessed Napa Valley, a small pioneer community established during the gold rush days would flourish into one of the most prestigious wine growing regions in the world today? Surrounded by its purple hued mountains, Sequoia Grove Winery sits on 22 acres right in the heart of the valley floor in a region referred to as the “Rutherford Bench”. Here the alluvial soil, rich in minerals, combined with the fog from the bay, mingling with the warm inland temperatures create the ideal location to produce Cabernet Sauvignon.  Michael Trujillo, the Director of Winemaking and President, has been with Sequoia Grove since its beginnings joining the team in 1982 and has the passion to acquire the best Napa Valley fruit available.

Opening a bottle of the 2011, which is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec and aged for 20 months (60% French and 40% American 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 raspberries and black cherry flavors, a little jammy, firm tannins, touch of spice with smoky chocolate and coffee nuances.  Decanting this young Cabernet will benefit.  Nice value around $35.

Cheers!

Mid-Week Reds

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Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray Vineyards

Today I am writing about 2 wines from Andrew Murray Vineyards, their Andrew Murray labeled Pinot Noir from Santa Ynez and their new offering “This is E11even” Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley.  Both of these wines have similar price points and outstanding values.  I recently met Andrew Murray at a tasting in Stew Leonard’s wine shop in Norwalk, CT (see picture of Andrew above).  His wines were so popular that all of his higher priced offerings were sold prior to my arrival.  However I was lucky enough to spend a few enjoyable minutes with Andrew discussing his wines, especially his new This is E11even offering.  Hopefully my wine shop will restock and I will grab a few bottles of the wines I did not get to taste and report back in the future.

Murray Syrah 2013 Santa Ynez

Andrew Murray 2013 Tous Les Jours Santa Ynez Valley Syrah

Andrew Murray fell in love with the emerging Rhône varieties, Syrah and Viognier, in the late 1980’s while traveling through France’s Rhône Valley. Leaving his UC Berkeley paleontology studies behind, he pursued his new mistress, Syrah, with an internship in Australia. His three-month tryst evolved into a 15-month romance with the famed Australian Shiraz.  Returning to the states, he earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from UC Davis’ renowned wine program, then founded his eponymous Santa Ynez winery and vineyard.

Opening a bottle, I see a Deep Ruby color with intense dark fruit aromas.  The palate brings rich black fruit flavors, sweet spice, cedar like oak, subtle tannins, good balance and structure with a medium finish.  Tremendous value!

Murray Eleven 2013 Pinot Santa Maria

This is E11even 2013 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

Andrew Murray once dreamed of becoming a rock star (most kids wanted to be a firefighter or astronaut). But instead he became one of the youngest winemakers during California’s wine boom in the late 1990s.  Andrew has also been instrumental in California’s “Rhône Rangers” movement, as he and his family based their wine project on Syrah and other Rhône varieties at a time when these wines had little recognition in California.  His “This is E11even” label is a tribute to his teenage ambitions and a nod to a scene in the movie “This Is Spinal Tap” where a character’s guitar amp volume dial goes up to 11, Andrew, with these wines, plays with convention, sometimes blending together varieties to achieve a flavor profile rather than adhering to common practice.  Though best known for his Rhône reds, Andrew casts his eye on another Central Coast specialty, Pinot Noir, and shows that he’s just as capable of coaxing out the best qualities in that variety.

Opening a bottle, sealed with a Stelvin screw-cap, because Andrew said corks work about as well as his old 8-tracks!  I notice a vivid ruby red color with a bouquet of fresh red fruit, made from 5 different Pinot Noir clones.  The palate reveals cherries, red plums and strawberry flavors with a gentle touch of spice and floral notes layered into a soft structure.  The medium body wine finished nicely with a slightly tangy smoky oak flavor.  Melodious, only 1,111 cases were produced, so grab a guitar and Rock-on!

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Ch La Nerthe 2013 Chateauneuf Blanc

Château La Nerthe 2013 Châteauneuf-Du-Pape Blanc

The vineyard of the Castle Nerthe represents 92 hectares of the single supporter, certified in organic farming since 1998, when the 13 grape varieties of the appellation are planted.  It is about one of the biggest vineyards of Châteauneuf du Pape (the New Pope’s castle).  The land is there special.  The majority of the vineyard is pebbly with high terraces, combined with clay, lime and loamy sands sprinkled with pebbles rolling down the slopes on the Southern exposure.

Today I have tried their Blanc wine, which is a combination of 4 grapes: 40% Grenache Blanc, 40% Roussanne, 10% Clairette and 10% Bourboulenc.  Only about 300 cases of this gem was imported to the US so if you are lucky enough to see a bottle, grab it as it will disappear fast.  Opening a bottle (be sure not to over chill as you will lose out on all of the complex flavors and aromas going on) I noticed wonderful aromas of green and stone fruits with a slight citrus notes.  The palate shows firm fruit, apples, peaches and Asian pear, crisp with good balance of acid.  The finish, about medium plus in length, leaves with a nutty earthy ending.  I met with the wine distributor from Pasternak Wine Imports, who indicated this white wine can be enjoyed now, but if you put it down for a few years, the age will benefit the wine greatly.  I was fortunate to grab several bottles so I will let some age develop before opening another bottle.

Cheers!

Exceptional Red

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11_ClosDuVallabel

Clos Du Val 2011 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Clos Du Val, French for “small vineyard estate of a small valley,” was founded in 1972 in the now legendary Stags Leap District of Napa Valley by Franco-American entrepreneur John Goelet. After a worldwide search to purchase vineyard properties from which to craft world-class wines, 150 acres in Stags Leap and 180 acres in Carneros were chosen, solidifying Clos Du Val’s iconic stature and formidable place in Napa Valley history. Today, Winemaker Kristy Melton, handcrafts wines to reflect the classic style, finesse and grace Clos Du Val is known for. The Three Graces, Splendor, Mirth and Joy have adorned Clos Du Val’s labels since 1972 (above photo from their website). These mythical daughters of Zeus were said to preside over Olympian banquets and celebrations, spreading good cheer and raising a glass to the prosperity, happiness, health and good fortune of all.

The 2011 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 2.5% Petit Verdot and 0.5% Petite Sirah. The wine is aged for 18 months in French oak (25% new). Pouring a glass, which I recommend decanting, I notice a deep ruby color with aromas of dark fruit, mostly blackberries and black cherries. The palate showed a young wine full of rich fruit with spicy notes. This full bodied wine was clean and well balanced, with noticeable tannins, a touch toasty, although time in the bottle should help. The finish was about medium in length and had an interesting earthy sweet spice ending. An overall great value for this Napa offering. I will look to acquire some of their limited release and reserve wines and comment in the future.

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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IMG_2673         Emeritus E

Emeritus 2009 Don’s Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

I’m back again this week with another truly outstanding, limited release wine, from Emeritus. In 1999 Emeritus was born when Brice Cutrer Jones closed on the purchase of Don and Marcia Hallberg’s prime apple orchard in the heart of the Russian River Valley. The 115–acre parcel, the Hallberg Ranch, is located two miles north of Sebastopol, on both sides of the Gravenstein Highway and directly on the Gold Ridge, the ten-mile long ridge that bears the name of the predominate soils of the area. The wine I am commenting on today was made in honor of Emeritus’ first winemaker Don Blackburn, this wine is made from the middle of Hallberg Ranch’s C-Block. It captures Don’s spirit of aromatics, fruit and spice and strength. Only two barrels were made of this vintage. Jump on their website and you still might be able to pick up one of these beauties.

Pouring a glass of Don’s Block Russian River Pinot Noir, I noticed an enticing ruby color with crimson hues and immediately noted complex ripe red fruit aromas with a gentle touch of spiciness. To my delight this wine was well structured and focused with dark cherries, raspberries and blueberries. The palate also had firm oak, sweet earthy spice and ending with a nice lingering finish with soft edges. WOW!! An absolute joy to drink.

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Emeritus 2009 Wm Wesley      Emeritus E

Emeritus 2009 William Wesley Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

In 1999 Emeritus was born when Brice Cutrer Jones closed on the purchase of Don and Marcia Hallberg’s prime apple orchard in the heart of the Russian River Valley.  The 115–acre parcel, the Hallberg Ranch, is located two miles north of Sebastopol, on both sides of the Gravenstein Highway and directly on the Gold Ridge, the ten-mile long ridge that bears the name of the predominate soils of the area.  Emeritus Vineyards also owns two small parcels in the true Sonoma coast near Annapolis at an elevation of 900 feet.  Named the William Wesley Vineyard, this site offers a different flavor and texture expression of Pinot Noir than the home ranch vineyard.  The William Wesley Vineyard bottling has been the primary wine sold to mailing list customers.

Pouring a glass of William Wesley Pinot Noir I noticed a dark purple color with aromas of full fruit, berries, spice and floral scents.  The palate shows remarkable ripe red fruit flavors, cherries and dried fruits, slightly jammy.  The wine offers firm tannins, lively acid with an overall good balance concluding to a complex lingering finish.  A joy to drink.

Cheers!