- Q & A
February 2006 NewslettterWines evaluated last month: 174 Rejected: 160 Approved: 10 Selected: 4
February is noted for being the season of love. Here at the Wine of the Month Club we have lots of love to share with you. We love searching for the wines; we love tasting the wines; and mostly, we love passing these special wines on to you. Enjoy this month's selections.REGULAR SERIES:
2004 Grove Street Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County, California
When you're looking for the perfect wine for appetizers or Thai food, this is the wine to reach for. It's clean, crisp and refreshing. Delicious!
2002 Deakin Estates, Cabernet Sauvingon, Victoria, Australia
The wines from Australia just keep getting better and better. Deakin Estate is 100% Cabernet and full of mouth-filling flavors of black plums, chocolate and mint. Stock up on this one!
2002 Lake Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, California
The grapes used for this wine are grown in the most exclusive vineyards in the Alexander Valley. The gravelly soils add a distinct flavor. Have plenty of this on hand for BBQ.
2003 Stacked Stone, Syrah, Paso Robles, California
Don Thiessen produces some of the finest grapes from the Paso Robles Appellation. The Stacked Stone Syrah is full-bodied, jammy and peppery. A great match with chili or pasta bolognese.
Domestic SelectionGrove Street Winery was established in 1988 in the historic Sonoma Valley town of Healdsburg, California. The winery has been producing highly acclaimed wines from the heart of this world-renowned region ever since. Grove Street Winery was purchased by Peter T. Paul in 1999. By using the finest grapes available from growing appellations surrounding Healdsburg, Grove Street has garnered accolades and gold medals from the nation's most prestigious wine - competitions. Today, Grove 3treet is one of the few 100% family-owned wineries in California. Peter T. Paul purchased the winery with a vision to offer the best wines from Sonoma County for less than twenty dollars a bottle. The ownership of Grove Street Winery reinforces his philosophy of making winemaking fun. Mr. Paul is also a gourmet cook and loves to entertain, so he always has plenty of Grove Street wines on hand. He is also very involved with raising funds and contributing money to charitable organizations in the Bay Area for underprivileged children and their families. The winemaker, Mikael Gulyash, has over 20 years experience in winemaking. He formerly made wine for B.R. Cohn, Jordan and King Estates wineries. Gulyash's winemaking philosophy stresses balance and finesse with minimal input. His wines are made with his unique style with traditional winemaking methods. Lake County's ideal climate and altitude make it an ideal place for grapes to grow. Not only are the grapes of excellent quality, but few pests can tolerate the climate. Lake County does not have moth pests, leafhoppers, mites, and no confirmed cases of Pierce's Disease. 2004 was an excellent growing year, and the heat was modified due to the afternoon breezes the vineyard receives off Clear Lake. The Grove Street Sauvignon Blanc has a light yellow color with a hint of green. The nose is clean and bright with smells of pineapple, banana, and pears. On the palate, the wine is dry, crisp and clean with fresh acidity and fruit flavors. This wine is a perfect aperitif and will also complement fresh spicy foods, such as Thai and Japanese.
Lake County California
Color: Light yellow.
Nose: Clean, pineapple, banana, pears.
Flavor: Dry, crisp, pears, apples.
Imported SelectionBehind the scenes at Deakin Estate is an experienced and enthusiastic team. From the vineyard to the winery and inside to the operations department, there is a strong sense of commitment and innovation. The Australian spirit of openness, good humor and integrity unite and contribute to the ultimate success of Deakin Estate wines. Winemaker Dr. Phil Spillman and Vineyard Manager Craig Thornton deliver the high quality wines that have made Deakin Estate so popular. The vineyard and winery complex is at Red Cliffs near Mildura, the valley of North West Victoria. The Mildura region was transformed into an agricultural oasis in the 1880's. Alfred Deakin, a former Prime Minister of Australia, encouraged California's Chaffey Brothers to bring their expertise to the vast inland valley of the Murray River. Since then, the region has become one of Australia's most productive and properous sources of high quality produce including citrus, olives and, of course, grapes. There are 865 acres under vine and the weather is warm and sunny. The Deakin Estate wines were launched in 1994 and can now be found in 28 countries around the globe. In 2002, the winery received a Water Award for their water conservation practices. The team at the winery are leaders in innovative vineyard techniques such as partial root zone drying, canopy management and yield monitoring. The Deakin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a versatile red wine. This easy drinking Cabernet is simply a good wine; no pretensions, just solid great tasting wine at a bargain price. It is made of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The color is deep red with pink tinges. The nose is inviting with intense fruit aromas of black currant, berries, mint, and chocolate. The palate is dry and mouth-filling with dark berries. There are earthy and meaty hints with some black plums, a touch of cabernet herbaceousness and the distinct frame of American oak. The finish is lengthy with soft, dry tannins. This is delicious and easy drinking now, but this wine will improve for up to 3 years. The Deakin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent accompaniment to red meat dishes, pastas and cheeses. See our recipe for Pot Roast Piemontese on page 13, Adventures in Good Food. Enjoy!
North West Victoria Australia
Color: Deep red with pink tinges.
Nose: Black currant, mint, chocolate.
Palate: Dry, full-bod- ied, black plums, herbaceous.
Lengthy, tannic finish.
Limited Series SelectionThe most important aspect of Lake Sonoma Winery is location, location, location. Because the location of where grapes are grown is most critical to the final outcome of any wine, the philosophy at the winery is simple: "You cannot make great wine from mediocre grapes." The mission at the winery is to produce premium, Sonoma County sub-appellation and vineyard specific wines from Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley that taste great and do not cost a lot. The winery is located in Healdsburg, in the heart of beautiful Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, California. The valley has distinctive growing conditions which set it apart from other regions in the area. The area experiences coastal cooling in the late afternoon during the summer, but the fog rarely enters the valley until after nightfall. As a result, the vines receive long hours of sunshine needed to bring the grapes to full maturity. The soils are primarily gravel and sandy loam. Deep, well-drained and fertile, this soil produces good crops of extremely flavorful grapes. The grapes for Lake Sonoma Cabernet were crushed and fermented warm, pumping juice from the tank bottom over the cap on a regular basis. The wine settled in stainless steel tanks and was then racked to 60 gallon French and American oak barrels for 28 months. The color is dark purple. On the nose are classic nuances of cassis and currants. The wine is dry, full-bodied and rich with black fruit and a hint of cocoa. Perfect with any grilled meats.
Alexander Valley California
Color: Dark purple.
Nose: Cassis, currants.
Palate: Dry, full-bod- ied, black fruit, cocoa.
Long fruity finish.
Limited Series SelectionStacked Stone Cellars began in 1999. The owner, Don Thiessen, had established a reputation of the finest wood-working available. He wanted to unite his love of fine craftsmanship to a love of wine. He named the winery Stacked Stone after the elaborate stacked stones landscaping on the grounds where his wine is made. Stacked Stone Cellars produces some of the finest grapes from the Paso Robles Appellation. Paso Robles, California, is located half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Paso Robles is one of the fastest-growing premium winery regions in California. Hot days with coastal breezes cool the vineyards in the evening. The first grapes were planted here in 1797 by the Spanish Conquistadors and Franciscan missionaries. Don decided to grow his grapes on the west side of Paso Robles. The west side Paso Robles' soils and climate are unique and perfect for his ideal of Syrah. The calcareous, chalky soils are unusual to California. The rainfall is much heavier then on the east side of Paso Robles. The vineyards take advantage of these rains by "dry farming," using no irrigation. It is this unique combination of unusual chalky soils, abundant rainfall, and the rough, rocky high elevation that challenges the vines into producing small berry clusters of extremely concentrated fruit. Each bottle of Stacked Stone Cellars wine is hand-crafted with an aim of perfection. The motto at the winery is, "Every glass exemplifies our commitment of excellence." After one sip you will have agree. The color is a very dark purple violet. The nose is ripe with hints of black cherries, cassis, earth, bacon fat, smoke and coffee bean. On the palate it is dry, rich, and full-bodied. The flavors are complex, like the nose, with lots of dark fruit, a touch of peppery spice and smoked meat. It is nicely balanced, has good structure, soft tannins and the finish is warm and lingering. This is a wine to be enjoyed now but will also cellar for 35 years. Be sure to stock up so you can see how it improves. This is great wine with stews and soups, or any recipe with meat. Cheers!
Paso Robles California
Color: Dark purple violet.
Nose: Pepper, smoked meat, dark fruit.
Palate: Dry, full-bodied, soft tannins, cassis.
Warm lingering finish.