- Q & A
June 2006 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 182 Rejected: 121 Approved: 61 Selected: 6
June gives us the promise of summer. We look forward to long days by a pool, grilled dinners served in the twilight, and more leisure time with family and friends. A good bottle of wine can make these warm days and evenings more memorable. Come; open a bottle from this month's selections. Savor the coming summer!REGULAR SERIES
2005 Sycamore Lane, Chardonnay, California
The Trinchero family makes wines that are quaffable, fruit-forward, complex, and perfect with many cuisines. This Chardonnay is no exception. This wine will become your summer "house wine", and your guests will welcome it at every event.
2003 Feudo Arancia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sicily, Italy
The Arancio Estate is a significant winery in western Sicily. Their state-of-the-art equipment and distinctive winemaking make their wines sought after throughout Italy and the world.
2000 Fife Scarlet, Napa, California
A smooth, exquisite blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Fife Scarlet is a long¬time dream of Dennis Fife. At an amazing price, you can enjoy this sophisticated and complex wine now or cellar it for a few more years.
2005 Norfolk Rise, Pinot Gris, Mount Benson, Australia
We keep finding great wines from Australia. Norfolk Rise is a smooth summer-sipper and can accompany most of your summer recipes.
Domestic SelectionSince 1947, the Trinchero family has offered a diverse collection of fine wines from premier growing regions in California and Australia. They currently own 6,000 acres of vineyards in California, all located in high quality growing regions. Most of their vineyards are located in prime maritime appellations such as Lake County, Santa Barbara County, and Napa Valley. All of their fruit is selected with strict quality and consistency standards. Their collection of wines includes Sutter Home, Montevina, Trinity Oaks, Little Boomey, and Fre, among others. The family strives for wines that are rich, fruit forward, well-structured, and delicious. They are also a remarkable value. Rick Oberschulte is a veteran of the California wine industry and the winemaker for Sycamore Lane. Sycamore Lane is a high quality brand produced from grapes grown throughout California. For his Chardonnay, Rick selects grapes of super-premium quality and character from select vines. The grapes are night harvested to safeguard the essential aromas, then handled with utmost care from vineyard to cellar. Each lot of grapes is fermented separately, aged in American oak, and then expertly blended to achieve the fruit forward, food-friendly style of Sycamore Lane. The growing season in 2005 allowed the Chardonnay grapes to enjoy a long "hang time' on the vine, which developed a full, rich flavor to the grapes. After harvest, the grapes were cold-fermented in stainless steel tanks. Partial malolactic fermentation and wood ageing gave the wine a full, round texture and toasty flavor. This wine is a close cousin in style and quality to more expensive super premium California Chardonnays. The wine pours into the glass a vibrant, golden yellow color. The nose displays fresh apple, pear, peach, a hint of butter and white toast. Smooth, round, and creamy are all perfect words to describe the palate. The peach, citrus, and creamy apple flavors are balanced with crisp acidity and a lingering, almost sweet, finish. This is an ideal match with any seafood or poultry.
Color: Golden yellow
Nose: Fresh apple, pear, peach, butter
Palate: Smooth, round, creamy
Imported SelectionGruppo Mezzacorona is a growers association founded more than a century ago, with roots deep in the Italian winemaking traditions. These wise growers know that producing the best wine sometimes requires starting from the ground up, and that's exactly what they did after purchasing a 700-acre property in Sambuca di Sicilia. They uprooted the vineyards and demolished the old winery. Within a few years, the acres were re-planted, a powerful irrigation system was in place, and a new wine-making facility was built. Now Fuedo Arancio's winery and barrel-aging cellar are among the most modern in southern Italy. The work has paid off: Fuedo Arancio's wines have exceeded all marketing expectations, and have made a great impact on the international market. Young and energized employees help drive the success of these delicious and value-priced wines throughout the world. "We're firm believers in Sicilian wines and we're very excited to be among the first to bring them to the U.S.," says a company spokesman. Vineyard Manager Martino Andreoli oversees each varietal's special needs. He claims, "Every consideration is taken to match each variety to its soil, exposure, and location, to bring out the very best that each grape has to offer." Winemaker Calogero Statella, who was present throughout the reconstruction, says, "We made sure to install the best equipment for hot climate winemaking. Our wine is always and exclusively in contact with stainless steel. That's the best method for safeguarding our product." Their Cabernet Sauvignon showcases Sicily, as well as their winemaking expertise. The wine is an intense purple, red color. The nose is assertive and complex, rich with black currants, spices, black plums, cedar, and tobacco. It smells delicious, and once on the palate it's officially delicious. Full-bodied, rich with the heat of the Sicilian sun, refined tannins and the flavors of spice, currant jam and dark cherries. It's perfect with grilled red meats, game and seasoned cheeses.
Color: Intense, purple/red
Nose: Black currants, spices, black plums, cedar
Palate: Full-bodied, refined tannins, spice, currant jam
Finish: Lengthy, rich
Limited Series SelectionFife Vineyards is a long-time, finally realized dream of Dennis Fife. A California native, Dennis grew up in a small agricultural community surrounded by friends in the wine industry. He went to college, then completed a tour with the U.S. Coast Guard, then earned an MBA. In 1972 he finally launched his own wine career. For nearly three decades, he held many prestigious jobs in the wine industry, but never as the principal grower-vintner. At last, in 1988, he purchased his first vineyards, and now owns vineyards in Napa, Spring Mountain and Mendocino. Dennis' strength is his wide range of experience across the business, from vineyard to sales. Since 1974, Dennis has been working with the three classic Bordeaux varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. He has very definite opinions about which varieties should be grown in which vineyards. Ten years ago, he took the opportunity to put his ideas to the test and planted his vines. The 2000 Fife Scarlet is the wonderful result. Fife Scarlet is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The careful blending of these grapes has created some of the world's greatest wines. (In the United States, a wine without 75% of one varietal cannot be called by any varietal name. American vintners call these hand-crafted wines blended from traditional Bordeaux grapes "Meritage" (rhymes with "heritage") wines.) Generally, these blends show off the winemaker's artistic nature and reflect a unique style as well as quality. Fife Scarlet does all this beautifully. The color is a dark, rich purple. The nose is exuberant with classic varietal scents of cassis, dark chocolate, cedar, a touch of sweet cheery and vanilla. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, layered with cassis, black fruit, and balanced with creamy tannins and a soft, lingering finish. Don't hesitate to drink it now, but it will cellar nicely for 3-5 years. It will be perfect with most recipes involving meat and also strong cheeses.
Fife Scarlet Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon
(Mare-low, ka-bur-nay frahnc, ka-bur-nay saw-veehn-yawn)
Color: Dark, rich purple
Nose: Complex berries, cassis, chocolate
Palate: Full-bodied, smooth tannins, vanilla, sweet cherry
Finish: Plush, long
Limited Series SelectionNorfolk Rise vineyard and winery is located in the rugged limestone coast region of southern Australia. The wine estate is the newest addition to the Kreglinger portfolio of wines, which also includes Pipers Brook, Ninth Island, and Kreglinger. Norfolk Rise is a natural progression for Kreglinger, as part of their efforts to develop cool-climate styles of wine. The vineyards cover 180 hectares on coastal hills. The Pinot Gris vineyards are 37 degrees south of the equator and planted in perfect "terra rossa" soils. These red clay soils provide nutrients, mineral flavors, and enough water retention for full ripening. The grapes were harvested in March with minimal handling, and kept fully protected from oxidation. The winery is in the heart of Mount Benson with state-of-the-art winemaking equipment. Nonetheless, the wines are still made in small batches. At the winery, the harvest was fermented for 20 days in stainless steel to maximize the fresh fruit flavors and aromas. A screw-cap bottle insures that the wine maintains its quality and freshness until it reaches your table. The Norfolk Rise 2005 Pinot Gris is a great summer wine with a pale straw color and a tinge of bronze. The nose is fresh and exotic with smells of pears, musk, kiwi and mango. After one sip, you'll be hooked on its complexity, richness of fruit and refreshing acidity. Try this wine with mixed seafood pasta, vegetable dishes and roast or grilled chicken.
Mount Benson Australia
Color: Pale straw with hints of bronze
Nose: Pear, musk, kiwi, melon
Palate: Dry, complex, rich with acid, white fruits
Finish: Clean, persistent