- Q & A
November 2005 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 222 Rejected: 220 Approved: 16 Selected: 4
It gets so hard sometimes tasting all these wines and then having to eliminate so many. We can assure you that there are a lot of great tasting wines out there. This month we selected four out¬standing wines that we are positive you will enjoy drinking with incredible prices; some as much as 50% off their regular price. Cheers!REGULAR SERIES:
2004 Wisteria Cellars Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, California
Another great Chardonnay for less than ten dollars? Wisteria Chardonnay is dry, full-bodied and full of tropical fruit flavors. Great drinking wine so be sure to stock up for the holidays ahead.
2004 Quarry Road Merlot-Cabernet Franc-Cabernet Sauvignon, Waikato, New Zealand
That's right, here is New Zealand showing off her ability to make a red wine full of character and flavor. Also support¬ers of the National Wetlands Trust, Quarry Road is leading the way for New Zealand red wines.
2002 James Judd & Son Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, California
James Judd is a small, boutique winery making exquisite, lip-smacking wine in the beautiful Paso Robles region. We are fortunate to offer you this very special find.
2003 Finca La Linda, Syrah, Lujon de Cuyo, Argentina
Syrah is a magical grape with mul¬tiple personalities and styles. Finca la Linda is typical Syrah, dark red color and chalk-full of smoke, leather, black pepper, and blackber¬ries. Yummy!
Domestic SelectionChardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make a white varietal wine. It is believed to be named after the village of Chardonnay in the Maconnais region of France. DNA fingerprinting research at the University of California, Davis suggests that Chardonnay has originated as a cross between Pinot and the Croatian Gouais Blanc grape varieties. Gouais Blanc is not popular (duh?) and is almost extinct. Chardonnay is also known by the names Aubaine, Beaunois, Melon Blanc, and Pinot Chardonnay. No matter how you call it, its attraction, for wine makers and lovers alike, is its versatility. In the U. S., it is often made using full malolactic fermentation with some oak handling. Without oak, Chardonnay produces a soft wine, with fruity minerally flavors. When aged with oak, it acquires a smokey, vanilla, caramel, and butter aroma. The grapes for the Wisteria Chardonnay were sourced from the vineyards in the Arroyo Seco AVA in Monterey County, where high winds, dry days, and bay fogs create a cool, but very long, growing season. Loamy sand and gravelly loam soils are mixed with stones which limit root growth and vine vigor. These growing conditions are ideal for cool-climate grapes such as Chardonnay. These excellent conditions lead to full, forward fruit flavors and ideal acidity. After fermentation in stainless steel, the wine was aged in small French and American oak barrels for seven months. Chardonnay has a natural affinity to oak. Spending time in barrels give the wine a softness and complexity that is reflected in the nose as vanilla and on the palate as butterscotch. Wisteria Chardonnay has a clear, light gold color. It has generous, forward fruit featuring apple, nectarine and tropical fruit notes. The palate is dry and full-bodied, complemented by crisp acidity and hints of vanilla and toast from the barrels. The finish is long and pleasant. Best served slightly chilled, Wisteria Cellars matches very well with chicken and with dishes that are served with butter or a cream sauce. See our recipe match on page 13. It is also robust enough to serve with Filet Medallions and Veal dishes. Most Chardonnay lack the acid to match as well with seafood as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Riesling. Salut!
Arroyo Seco California
Color: Light gold.
Nose: Forward fruit, apple, nectarine, tropical fruit.
Flavor: Dry, full-bod ied, hints of vanilla and toast.
Long and pleasant finish.
Imported SelectionWaikato is a region of lush, green hills, bush and farmland, with exceptional surf on the West Coast. The beautiful Waikato River carves its jour¬ney through the landscape and intersects the regions hub, Hamilton - a city of culture, fine cuisine and gardens. Waikato is cow country, or 'mooloo' to the locals. Its cli¬mate is questionable for grape growing, and yet, Romeo Bragato, New Zealand's first government viticulturist, set up his research station at Te Kau whata. "Why?", many people asked. Bragato announced, "Because the rolling hills and the views over the lakes reminded him of his homeland, Italy!" The first wines were produced in 1902. The research station is gone now, but the area is still growing grapes and is an important place in New Zealand's vinous history. Quarry Road Estate is in the old Cook's winery. The pres-ence of Lake Waikare is the dominant relevant feature. The Lake is New Zealand's third largest and is also very shallow, which allows for the creation of thermal updrafts that contribute to the microcli-mate to produce exceptional grape growing conditions. Quarry Road Estate builds on this microclimate by having most of the grapes planted in silicious quartzite soils. The ground temperature can be as much as 8 degrees warmer than the surrounding areas. At Quarry Road Estate they realize "the debt we owe to Mother Nature and we are proud to support the National Wetlands Trust of New Zealand to conserve and pro-tect these important and frag-ile ecosystems." All proceeds at Quarry Road go to the Trust to help in their work." Wow! Drink wine and sup¬port the earth at the same time. We like that, and we like this wine, too. The blend is designed to highlight the attributes of Merlot, while bal¬ancing the more structured and hefty Cabernets. The result? A wine with a deep, ruby color. The nose is domi¬nated by chocolate, red berry fruit typical of Merlot and the perfumed cassis smells of Cabernet Sauvignon. The palate is full-bodied and the French oak adds a touch of smokiness. There is a touch of leather and licorice, weight, and complexity. The wine will complement a wide range of foods, particularly pasta and red meats such as ribs and steak. Or, simple pour a glass with some crusty french bread and a good friend. Enjoy!
65% Merlot 30% Cabernet Sauvignon 5%Cabernet Franc
(mare-low, ka-bur-nay saw¬- veehn-yahn, ka-bur-nay frahn)
Waikato New Zealand
Color: Deep ruby.
Nose: Chocolate, red berries, cassis.
Palate: Full-bodied, smoky, leather, licorice.
Complex, long finish.
Limited SEries SelectionA trip to Paso Robles is always full of surprises. This area has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years and the quality of the wines has greatly improved and continues to do so. The summer temperatures are ideal for growing grapes that have earned winemakers accolades and notoriety from the Paso Robles Appellation. The area is characterized by warm, clear days with few clouds, fog, or winds. At night the temperature drops from a cool marine layer that moves over the region after sunset. This fluctuation of temperature is consid¬ered to be a key to the varietal character in the resulting wines. The proximity to the ocean, the numerous canyons and valleys, and the ele-vation, makes for many different microclimates. These variations allow for many different vari¬etals to thrive here. Pinot Noir loves the cool areas, and Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon love the warm day/cool night weather. The soils vary within short distances from clay loam, silty clay and various rock to gravel, granite, shale, and sandstone. The Cabernet Sauvignons from Paso Robles have a distinct and intense fla¬vor of berries. James Judd & Son has a dark ruby-purple color with a garnet edge. The nose is light with ripe fruit, grape preserves, anise, cedar and chocolate. The palate is dry, full-bodied and pleasant with cher¬ry, raspberry, almond, red meat, and a soft oak flavor. The wine is bal-anced and smooth with a medium-long finish with a slight minty fla¬vor. This Cabernet is a keeper, but with limited production you will need to stock up soon. This is the wine to serve with all your holiday meals. Pot roasts, filet mignon, venison, and other meat dishes will love this wine. Cheers!
2002 James Judd & Son
Paso Robles California
Color: Dark ruby purple.
Nose: Grape preserves, anise, cedar, chocolate. raspberry, almond.
Palate: Balanced, dry,soft oak, cherry, red meat.
Limited SEries SelectionThe Arizu family, is now in their 4th generation of winemakers and are thoroughly dedicated to the creation of wines of great quality. At the start of the 20th century, the Arizu family purchased an important flour mill to convert it to a winery. Today the extensive subterranean tunnels used to bring water from the Mendoza river to operate the water-mill, are now used as dark cellars where the wine rests until release. Lujan de Cuyo lies in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in the Vistalba district. The soil of the Vistalba Valley is red and white gravel, clay, and peb bles. This is a great combina tion for ideal drainage and aeration. The Vistalba Valley enjoys a special micro-climate; very cold Springs, hot Summers with cool nights, premature frosts in Autumn and very cold Winters. The Arizus believe that it is the combination of soil and climate that gives origin to the excellence of their wines. The combination of lime and clay in the soil with good drainage, and the dry, cold winters give fragrance and finesse to the Syrah grapes which are grown here. Syrah has been famous since the Roman times and is responsi-ble for making some of the finest red wines in the world. Syrah can be made into a wide range of styles from simple and fruity to complex, brooding, and powerful. One of her greatest attributes is to retain a certain peppery char-acteristic no matter where the vines are grown. The Australians call it Shiraz, after the city in Iran where the grape is supposed to have originated. The Finca La Linda is a typical version of Syrah. The color is dark, black red. It has the delightful aromas of smoke, cedar, leather, and black pepper. The flavors are complex and mouth-filling of blackberries, raspberries, and black and white pepper. The palate is dry, earthy, and balanced. The finish is endless and smooth. Easy to drink now with rich stews and meats, five to ten years in the cellar will soften the tannins and make for a smooth and softer wine. Explore the grape by buying several bottles and drink them over the years to taste the differences. You can't lose; Syrah is a win, win grape. Cheers!
Finca La Linda
Lujon de Cuyo Mendoza Argentina
Color: Black red.
Nose: Smoke,cedar, leather, black pepper.
Palate: Complex, dry, earthy, balanced.
Finish is endless and smooth.