This month’s Estate selections:
As before, since we have wine club members who are White / White, this month we will have 2 white wines and one red for the Estate Selection …
BV Tapestry Reserve – Red Blend, Napa Valley 2009
Our take on this wine …
A nicely balanced Cabernet blend that shows great today and has some significant aging potential. Very rich with supple tannins. 91 points Wine Spectator.
NOTE: We were able to get a very special, one time buy low price for the wine club. The good news is this wine sells for $60 at the winery, but the wine club is getting it for $32. The not as good news is when it is gone we will not be able to get that price again, so enjoy this while you can.
Tasting Notes …
Our 2009 Beaulieu Vineyard Reserve Tapestry displays the art of blending varietals and vineyard locations to create a wine that combines layer upon layer of flavors and excellent depth with graceful tannin structure. Deep, briary blackberry and cassis character comes from the wine's core of Cabernet Sauvignon. Black- cherry notes and a plush midpalate texture reveal a generous blending of Merlot, while Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec add violet, forest loam and graphite notes, as well as deep saturated color and rich texture.
Winemaker Jeffrey Stambor chose specific blocks of reserve-quality grapes that would give Tapestry the combined attributes of rich fruit expression and softer tannins for relatively early approachability. He selected two-thirds of the Cabernet Sauvignon from the famous bench on the west side of the Rutherford American Viticultural Area (AVA) and the balance from the Stags Leap District, Spring Mountain District and Calistoga AVAs. The Merlot was grown in a Los Carneros AVA vineyard that achieves excellent ripening levels, while the Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec came from our estate vineyard in St. Helena and the Malbec came from our estate in Calistoga.
Although Napa Valley's winter and spring rainfall was only about two-thirds of normal, its timing was ideal for the vines. Moderate temperatures during the growing season produced stellar quality by allowing the grapes to reach optimum maturity and maintain acidity. After a frost-free early spring, ideal conditions prevailed during bloom and berry set. The mild summer and early fall allowed long hangtime under near-perfect conditions. The wines show off the vintage with well- developed flavors supported by exceptional tannin and acid structure.
76% Cabernet Sauvignon
6% Cabernet Franc
5% Petit Verdot
74% French oak 26% American oak 58% new barrels
Palmina Arneis, Honea Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley 2011
Our take on this wine …
Oddball white varietals are always dangerous ground. However, this wine was so unique and has such a nice balance and mouthfeel. I hope you all like this wine as much as we do.
How can one resist opening a bottle of wine whose varietal name translates to "whimsical"? Arneis is an ancient grape that hails from the Roero hills of Italy's Piemonte region. Also translated as "rascally" or "a little crazy” Arneis has a reputation of being a difficult grape to grow — one that will first test the patience of the grower and then the winemaker. But behind willfulness often lies artistic genius, and so it is with Arneis’ impetuous nature.
In Italy, this rapscallion grape now grows in the area around Cuneo in an area of sandy ground, marine deposits and rolling hillsides with bright sunshine. Palmina’s Arneis is grown at the Honea Vineyard in the “Los Olivos District” of the Santa Ynez Valley, and that vineyard features rolling hills, sandy alluvial soils and warm sunny days followed by cool and crisp evenings. Once delivered to the winery, the golden clusters are pressed to a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak, where each fermented naturally with indigenous yeast. Malolactic fermentation was neither encouraged nor inhibited during the year long aging process. To further merry flavors and textures, capricious Arneis was bottle aged for an additional six months prior to release.
A light straw color with burnished highlights of gold foretells of 2011 Arneis' vibrant character. An alluring floral nose of acacia and chamomile that mingle with hints of apple and sandalwood waft from the glass with a swirl. Medium bodied, Arneis envelopes the palate with just tree-picked pear flavors and texture, then refreshes with apricot and clementine and a long and lingering spice component of fennel and tea. This is a persistent wine, rich in body, layered in textureand an exotic melange of stone fruits, minerality and spice that finishes with a reminder of perfectly backed Madeleines.
Arneis is a delightful aperitif, but also a wine with enough body and personality to hold its own with a wide range of strongly flavored food. Arneis is also a white wine that will continue to evolve with a few years of cellar aging. Serve just chilled.
CRU Chardonnay Vineyard Montage Monterey County 2011
(2nd White Wine for Estate Club)
Our take on this wine …
A solid example of a California Style Chardonnay. A nice kiss of oak with a creamy mid-palet and solid acidity.
The 2011 CRU "Vineyard Montage" Chardonnay was sourced exclusively from marine influenced vineyards throughout Monterey County. These vineyards include: Cobblestone and Marks Vineyard in Arroyo Seco, and Pariaso Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The Pariso Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands overlooks Monterey County’s Salinas Valley. The southeast facing slopes bene- fit from the morning sun, followed by afternoon sea breezes and mod- erate night time temperatures. Ken prefers to use the CH96 Chardonnay on 101-41 rootstock from this vineyard. Both the Marks and Cobblestone Vineyard are located near the town of Greenfield. The Marks Vineyard is comprised of clone CH76 on 101-14 rootstock and the Cobblestone is Clone 809 on 101-14 rootstock. By utilizing various clones and terriors, more complexity in aro- ma, flavor, and balance is brought to the final blend.
The fruit for the 2011 Vineyard Montage Chardonnay was hand harvested and whole cluster pressed into a settling tank, remaining there for 24 hours. The juice was then racked off of the solids where it was inoculated with CY3079 and D-47 yeasts. The morning following inoculation, the juice was transferred to barrels for fermentation. The barrel composition for this wine consisted of 20% new French oak barrels. The wines were elevage or stirred with their lees throughout their nine month barrel aging process. The wines were then inoculated for malolactice fermentation at the end of their primary fermentation.
On the nose: tropical notes, hints of spearmint, white peach, and lychee. On the palate: ripened white peach, green apple, mango, and melon with a hint of minerality on the finish.
Varietal (s): 100% Chardonnay
Appellation: Monterey County
Total Acid: .6.5g/L
Finished Alcohol: 14.1%
Bottling Date: 7.12.12
Aging: 9 months in French Oak.
Total 9-liter cases: 1705
Winemaker: Ken Post
This month’s Reserve selections:
Passenger Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley 2009
Our take …
You all know we love Cabernet here at The Wine Bar. This is a classic example of modern Napa Valley Cabernet. Lush Stags Leap fruit drives this wine. It is still young, but is tasting great. This is an instant gratification wine.
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvingon AVA: Stags Leap District, Napa Valley
Cases Made: 148
Kimberly Jones operates a successful wine broker/distributor of wines in the state of California and Chris Blanchard, MS is the veteran of years of work as a sommelier developing wine programs nationally and in sales with distributor and winery partners. Both have a wealth of contacts in the vineyards and a number of friends eager to see them succeed in the wine business. They are both riding along as Passengers in this wonderful business, always looking to find an outstanding vineyard source to create a wine they had always dreamed of making. In 2008, Chris was able to finally find an incredible vineyard source through one of his winemaking friends, who helped him secure enough fruit to make a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from this single vineyard in the hills of the Stags Leap District. Through the winemaking process, Kimberly and Chris were able to develop a structured, balanced, fruit forward wine, similar to the style they both enjoy drinking. Their first ride as Passengers together.
Describing the wine:
2010 was a powerful vintage in terms of structure for this Stags Leap District fruit. This vintage maintains the hallmark of balance between a moderate alcohol level and rich concentrated Napa Valley fruit flavors that are supported and absorbed by the structure of the vintage.
The wine spends 18 months in 30% new top quality French oak, a barely noticeable component, which compliments the pretty, black cherry, cassis and blackberry fruit. It finishes with balanced structure, elegant and fine, with integrated tannins and a long finish.
Mc Intyre Vineyard Block 3 Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands 2010
Our take on this wine …
As you know, we taste a ton of wine with a large portion of that being Pinot Noir. The Mc Intyre Block 3 struck us with a classic Santa Lucia Highlands fruit and extraction. This big fruit is balance with solid acid and sweet tannins. All and all a super Pinot Noir … only 100 cases produced!
Compared to the 2009 vintage, which along with the 2007 vintage is considered a benchmark of Santa Lucia Highlands quality, we honestly did not expect much from the 2010 vintage. Spring was quite cool which extended the bloom and fruit set period to the point where we ended up with a significant amount of "hens and chicks" within the cluster. "Hens" are full size mature berries with seeds and "chicks" are immature seedless berries that do not ripen properly.
The grapes for this hand crafted, reserve, block-designated wine were harvested and sorted on September 29, 2010 from our SIP (Sustainable In Practice) certified Estate Vineyard, McIntyre Vineyard, located on Sanchez Road near Gonzales in the coveted Santa Lucia Highlands Appellation. Our block- designated wines represent the highest achievement our Estate Vineyard has to offer, as we discover just where the most uniform vines grow on this property then thin those vines to just one cluster per shoot. In this manner, each shoot can download the most pure flavor Mother Nature has to offer into just one cluster that optimally ripens in this cool maritime climate.
The results of her handy work are fully expressed in this opulent wine. There is plenty of instant gratification here, as this wine is much more approachable in its youth than the preceding vintage. This aromatic Pinot provides plenty of ripe raspberry, plum and black cherry notes with earthy, spicy undertones of fragrant sorrel mushrooms, anise and sage. While this wine may not have the reductive strength so powerfully evident in the 2007 and 2009 vintages, it nonetheless has enough of this vital component of age-ability to provide pleasure for some time to come.
This wine is Dijon clone 777 and was produced using our typical minimalistic winemaking protocol, including the use of wild, indigenous strains of yeast and malolactic bacteria. Great care was taken to ensure that the entire pure flavor that nature downloaded into these grapes was extracted for your pleasure and enjoyment!
Harvest Brix: 24.8
Harvest Date: Sept 29, 2010
Total Acidity: 0.65 grams/100ml
PH: 3.53 Alcohol: 14.1 %
Cases Produced: 100