Weekend Selection

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Dominio do Bibei Ribeira Sacra Lalama 2012

Dominio do Bibei is located in the Quiroga-Bibei sub zone of the Ribeira Sacra D.O. Like all Ribeira Sacra sub zones, this area is one of spectacular mountain ranges and rivers, but it is drier and harsher than the others. Javier Dominguez is the brainchild of this crazy adventure to recapture a once grand vineyard. Javier’s vision is reflected in the winery and its simple design. Gravity rules. There are no stainless steel tanks; wood or cement are the vehicles of choice and they come in all the different sizes. The idea is to return to the past to rediscover what was once here. The wine maker Laura Lorenzo has similar ideas. She follows many of the ideas of biodynamic viticulture to obtain the purest expression of this terruño. Planted on these terraces are old vines of Mencía, Garnacha, Brancellao and Mouraton. The sites vary greatly because of the orientation of the plots and the soil types. Because this is a transition zone which touches Valdeorras, there are soils of slate, granite and clay interspersed among the hillsides.

A blend of 90% Mencia, 10% bend of Brancellao, Mouraton, Souson, and Garnacha, and aged for 14 months in French oak. Light Ruby with aromas of fresh young fruits with sweet herbs and floral scents. On the palate light fresh fruit flavors of red berry fruits with balanced spice, oak and acidity, soft tannins. Lingering finish ending with flinty mineral tones and earthy herb spice.  Very nice, let this one age for a few and it will be spectacular!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir 2013

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.

Their Flagship Wine, made consistent from vintage to vintage defining their standard to measure against all of their Pinot’s. Vivid clear Ruby with complex aromas of rich fruit and spices, aged for 16 months in French oak (57% new). The palate yields elegant fruit flavors of cherry, strawberry and sweet currants with notes of herb pepper and a hint of citrus zest.  The wine is well balanced and finishes long with smooth tannins, ending with notes of cacao, mineral and oak.

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Robert Mondavi 2013 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

Robert Mondavi Winery, located in Oakville, CA, makes a number of outstanding and consistent quality wines and established his winery in 1966 with a vision to have his Napa Valley wines to be among the world’s finest.  Robert Mondavi also believed his wines should reflect its “roots” and be a signature creation from a combination of the soil, climate and production techniques, both new and old, which transforms the grapes into a fine wine.

Oakville Cab has an alluring dark purple, almost inky color with loads of blue and black fruit aromas. The wine is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot & 2% Malbec and aged in French oak (72% new) for almost 2 years. The taste reveals powerful complex flavors, blackberry and sweet plums with sweet spice, oak and earthy notes. Well balanced with good acidity and big developed tannins.  Full-bodied finishes smooth ending with cacao and wood spice.  Delightful!  This wine went great with a USDA Prime Fillet Mignon, skillet seared and oven roasted.  Keep an eye for future tasting notes on other Robert Mondavi’s many winery offerings.

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Cakebread Cellars 2012 Two Creeks Vineyards Pinot Noir

Over 30 years ago, Jack Cakebread came to photograph the Napa Valley for a book and while there, he casually mentioned his interest in one day owning a vineyard to some family friends who had a ranch in Rutherford. When he returned home that afternoon, the phone rang and it was the family friends offering to sell their property. He headed back up to the valley that same afternoon to make his best offer, and Cakebread Cellars was born. 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.

I recently had a 2015, thought it needed more time so I searched for an older vintage and found a 2012, their debut vintage of Two Creeks Pinot Noir. A blend from 2 different Vineyards (43% Apple Barn & 57% Annahala) and aged for 10 months in French oak (38% new). Aromas red and dark berry fruits with complex, soft earthy spice notes. On the palate juicy cherry and strawberry flavors, rich and complex with a great mouthfeel, integrated spice and oak. Smooth tannins with good balance with acidity on a lingering finish, an outstanding wine that I would have to say is perfect now!

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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Hacienda Monasterio Ribera del Duero 2014

Hacienda Monasterio is owned by Carlos del Rio whose family has been in the sherry business for decades. Being fortunate enough to own some prime, south-facing parcels on the right side of the river, Carlos hired Peter Sisseck, the owner/winemaker of the famed Ribera estate Pingus to take over the winemaking in 1995. Peter has helped to turn this old estate into a Ribera powerhouse with wines that can age for years.

A blend of 80% Tinto Fino, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot and aged for 17 months in French oak (30% new). Deep bright red with ripe sweet berry fruits aromas and earthy mineral notes. On the palate fresh ripe cherry, strawberry and blueberry flavors with fine smooth tannins with hints of light spice. The finish lingers ending with some oak and smoke tones. Drinks well now, but needs some time to tone down the ripe fruit!

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Mount Eden 2014 Edna Valley Chardonnay

Mount Eden Vineyards is a small wine estate perched at 2000 feet overlooking Silicon Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation, about 50 miles south of San Francisco, founded in 1945. Mount Eden’s lineage of estate bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is the longest in California. Planted in austere, infertile Franciscan shale on a cool, exposed mountaintop, these low-yielding estate vineyards have consistently produced great wines for over a half-century. In 2007 Mount Eden acquired an additional 55-acre wine estate in the Saratoga foothills, which was christened Domaine Eden.

Opening a bottle, the color is a bright golden straw with aromas of stone and tropical fruits with some floral spices. On the palate crisp pear and lemon zest with a touch of sweet floral spice. Nicely balanced with acidity, the finish is about medium and ends with citrus mineral notes. Drink now for its freshness! Great value on this Chardonnay!

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Orin Swift Mannequin 2015 Chardonnay

The history of Orin Swift Cellars dates back to 1995 when on a lark, David Swift Phinney took a friend up on an offer and went to Florence, Italy to spend a semester “studying”. During that time, he was introduced to wine, how it was made, and got hooked. A few more years of university led to graduation and eventually a job at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1997 as a temporary harvest worker. Deciding that if he was going to work this hard, it would eventually have to be for himself, so in 1998 he founded Orin Swift Cellars; Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name. With two tons of zinfandel and not much else, he spent the next decade making wine for others as well as himself and grew the company into a multinational brand that now includes 300 acres of vineyards in the Southwest of France. This international ambition has led to projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations around the globe. Despite the growth, Orin Swift Cellars continues to operate as a small, passionate team of friends and family dedicated to making great wine.

The wine is a blend (and changes each vintage) of 90.6% Chardonnay, 5.8% Sauvignon Blanc and 3.6% Muscat, aged in 40% new French oak for 9 months. The grapes were mostly sourced from Sonoma Coast and Atlas Peak AVA’s. Bright straw with aromas of stone and tropical fruits with floral spice. The palate shows flavors of peach, melon and apple with hints of sweet lemon and wet stone. The wine is well balanced with integrated oak, crisp, lively acidity and a long finish ending with a burst of minerality. Very nice alternative to the 100% California Chardonnay!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva 2004

It all started in the middle of the nineteenth century when French negociants visited the Rioja region to find alternative sources of quality grapes to transform into wine, since the phylloxera epidemic had decimated their vineyards. Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, a knowledgeable and enthusiastic student in the art of wine making, followed closely in their footsteps. Don Rafael fell in love with the region and especially the area around Haro, the mythical capital of the Rioja Alta region. He observed that there was a magical combination of soil and climate that would offer the perfect environment for producing wine that would eventually become world famous. Around 1877 he began the design and construction of the complex that is today known as the López de Heredia bodega (winery), the oldest in Haro and one of the first three houses in the Rioja region. Bodegas López de Heredia stands out as one of the few family-run bodegas regulated by the Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja – DOC (Appellation region).

A blend of 75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 10% Mazuelo and Graciano, and aged for 6 Years in old American oak barrels! Nice!! Light Ruby with complex aromas of red fruit, spices and smoke. On the palate raspberry and cherry flavors with herb spice, vanilla, smoky oak, leather and hints of pepper. Well balanced with smooth tannins, vivid acidity and a long lingering finish ending with earthy spice tones. Still young! Very Nice!

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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Cakebread Cellars 2015 Two Creeks Vineyards Pinot Noir

Over 30 years ago, Jack Cakebread came to photograph the Napa Valley for a book and while there, he casually mentioned his interest in one day owning a vineyard to some family friends who had a ranch in Rutherford. When he returned home that afternoon, the phone rang and it was the family friends offering to sell their property. He headed back up to the valley that same afternoon to make his best offer, and Cakebread Cellars was born.  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.

Had this at a restaurant, went well with the Sushi Grade Tuna I ordered! A blend from 2 different Vineyards (52% Apple Barn & 48% Annahala) and aged for 10 months in French oak (37% new). Aromas red and dark berry fruits with earthy spice notes. On the palate, raspberry, cherry and plum flavors, rich and complex with nice mouthfeel, integrated spice and oak. Fine smooth tannins with good balance of acidity has plenty of room to develop. Lingering finish, an outstanding wine.

Cheers!

Exceptional Red

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Napa Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

The winery was founded by Charlie R. Woods on five and a half acres of prime Oakville soil. In the 1970s, he built a geodesic dome there to store barreled wine, and he concentrated on making reds, in particular Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery changed hands a number of times before being purchased in 1996 by Koerner Rombauer and Rich Frank. A decade later, the Trinchero family was looking for a winery property that would capture the essence of Napa. Napa Cellars, with its ideal Oakville location and fame for luscious Chardonnay and authentic Napa reds, was the obvious choice. Winemaker Joe Shirley came on board a year later, in 2007.

Grapes selected from a collection of prime Napa Valley vineyards, including Atlas Peak and Spring Mountain, 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot, aged for 15 months in 98% French oak and 2% American oak (30% new). Deep red with aromas of ripe red fruits with pepper spice. On the palate, cherry and blackberry flavors with cacao and espresso notes, has an underlying sweetness. Full-body, fine juicy tannins, nicely integrated, balanced with acidity ending with earth and mineral notes. Nice value!

Cheers!