- Q & A
October 2005 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 218 Rejected: 204 Approved: 10 Selected: 4
There was press in the wine trades last week that the $5.00 - $9.00 wine market was booming. It stated that there are many wines in that price range, for a myriad of reasons, that were of great value and opportunity. It mentioned that there are wines that sell for these prices that are worth twice, if not three times that based on the quali¬ty. What have I been saying all these years? DUH! Cheers! REGULAR SERIES:
2004 Canyon Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, California
Can we ever get enough of this noble varietel? We don' t think so. This is your basic multi-berry cornucopia. It is very balanced, soft and ready to drink. And what a price! Be sure to stock up.
2004 Newen Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, Patagonia, Argentina
Sauvignon Blanc is clas¬sically light, vibrant and herbaceous. But, blend¬ed with Semillon and the wine becomes rich, com¬plex, and creamy. This perfect combination has resulted in a wine of exquisite flavors and is very food-friendly.
2001 Piattelli Cabernet Sauvignon, Tupungato, Argentina
This is a wine of superior quality and great value. The glass is full of vibrant fruit flavors and the sophistication of world-class winemaking. Buy extra bottles to keep in your cellar.
2003 Kudyah Nero d'Avola, Sicily, Italy
Grown only in Southern Italy, Nero d'Avola pro¬duces a wine with bright, jammy fruit intermingled with earthy flavors of smoked meat and chocolate.
Domestic SelectionCabernet Sauvignon is the premier red grape in the world. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape in the Bordeaux region of France and is grown in every major growing region in the world. The grape produces distinctive wines that are tannic and can have long ageing potential. Cabernet Sauvignon is a small, dark, thick-skinned grape of average yields. It is a brash, vigorous vine and needs slightly warmer growing conditions than other varietels to achieve maturity. It grows in a variety of soils, but prefers soil that is dry and well-drained with lots of sunshine. It survives cold winters and buds late. When you think of the finest red wines in the world, you often think of wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon. The Central Coast of California extends from the inland Livermore Valley in the north to coastal Santa Barbara County, about 300 miles to the southwest. Most of the Central Coast is dominated by marine influences including wind and fog, which provide cool mornings and evenings. "The long hang time gives more flavor and aroma intensity," explains Phil Franscioni, Director of Winemaking and Operations for Canyon Oaks. "The conditions also produce red wines without heavy tannins, that are drinkable young and are "consumer friendly." A wave of new planting is currently underway on the Central Coast. The current wine boom and demand for premium winegrapes has turned many heads to the Central Coast for high quality, low priced wine grapes. Canyon Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from several vineyards along the Central Coast. It is balanced, soft, and ready to drink. The color is a medium-dark ruby. The nose issues typical Cabernet Sauvignon aromas of cassis, toast, pencil-lead, youthful raspberry, licorice, and a hint of eucalyptus. It is light to medium-bodied, with a good balance of soft, berry fruit flavors, cassis, currants, and mild tannins. There is a wonderful flavor profile of black cherry, blueberry, hints of smoke, vanilla, and cedar all wrapped together for an elegant glass of wine. The finish is medium-long with just a hint of dust. Canyon Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon will accompany grilled meat dishes, stews, and pasta dishes.
Color: Medium-dark ruby.
Nose: Cassis, pencil lead, raspberry, licorice, eucalyptus.
Flavor: Medium-bod ied, soft, berries, currants, blueberry, vanilla.
Imported SelectionWhere in the world is Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grown? Well, almost everywhere even at the 'end of the world' in Patagonia, Argentina. Vines have been planted in this area for decades, but it has only been in the past 10 years that thor-oughly modern winemaking has taken off. Historically, the area has been known for its orchards, especially apples, cherries, and chanar. Chanar is a thorny native shrub that is rapidly giving way to grapevines, with more than 4,000 acres planted in the past few years. Much of the devel-opment has come from a plan by Julio Viola, who turned from developing housing pro-jects to developing vineyards. "Our biggest money maker in the area is oil, but I wanted to find something more sustainable, " Viola said. In 1999, he got a $2.5 million loan from the Argentine government, bought 8,000 acres of land, dug an irrigation canal, hired a vineyard manager, and started planting vines. He built wineries and sold them. Viola kept one operation for himself, a winery he calls Bodega del Fin del Mundo (winery at the end of the world). Here in the district of San Patricio del Chanar, Viola makes three ranges of wine. The mid-range, called Newen is just beginning to be import-ed to North America. As members of Wine of the Month Club, you are some of the first people in America to try this fabulous wine! This is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semilion. When writing about Sauvignon Blanc, our thoughts focus on food. That is the beauty of this varietel; both the wine and the food are enhanced by the pairing. Semillon is the soft, subtle, rich Yin to balance the herba-cious, acidic, thin Yang of Sauvignon Blanc. The Semillon grape adds weight and aroma to the herbal and vibrant flavors of the Sauvignon. The best Sauvignon (or Fume') Blancs exhibit the scent or flavor of fresh garden herbs and new-mown grass or hay. The Newen is a fine example of this. The wine is clean and refreshing on the palate with citrus, melon, pineapple and figs. This is great with pan-fried sand dabs with lemon butter, mesquite-grilled pork, smoked salmon, Thai and Asian foods and simple sal-ads. See our recipe for Plum, Basil and Red Onion Salad on page for 13 for a simple, deli-cious, and unique pairing.
Sauvignon Blanc Semillion
(saw-veehn-yahn blah she-me-on)
Color: Light straw.
Nose: Garden herbs, grass, hay, pineapple, citrus.
Palate: Dry, clean, crisp, figs, melon, dill.
Finish is crisp and lingering.
Limited Series SelectionArgentina is the 5th largest wine-grape producer in the world. With big competitive advantages in climate, excellent vineyard health, and low production costs, Argentina has the opportunity to offer high-quality wines at convenient prices. Alfredo Emilio Koch started his 1,300-acre vineyard and winery in the 1950's and named it "La Juanita." Celina Koch pioneered the organic movement in Mendoza with the first organic garden in the area. In the 1940's Gindro Piattelli moved to Mendoza and brought the art of wine-making from his native Tuscany. Following in his mother and grandfa¬ther's steps, Alfredo Luis Koch, and his wife, Monica, continue the traditions in Agrelo and Tupungato, achieving the highest quality and flavor that their grapes can produce. Tupungato lies in the Andes Foothills, having the highest elevation in Mendoza at 3,500 feet and providing a unique grape-growing environ¬ment. Lots of sunshine, warm days and cool nights are perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon. They also have gravelly, limestone soil with good drainage. Perfect. The vineyards are all organic to maintain the grape's purity. Water for irrigation is supplied by the snow melt from the Andes Mountains. 2001 was a great vintage in this area. The color is deep, black cherry. The nose is complex with floral and fruity small berry, red and black cur¬rant smells, a touch of herb, earth, and notes of vanilla. The palate is medium-bodied with strong flavors of black¬berry, cassis, and soft wood tannins. This wine is extraordinarily balanced and harmo¬nious. It is ready to drink now, but will keep a few years as well. With only 500 cases made, it is a good idea to re-order sooner rather than later. Enjoy!
Color: Dark cherry.
Nose: Floral, red currants, herbs, vanilla.
Palate: Medium- bodied, blackberry, cassis, soft tannins.
Balanced lingering finish.
Limited Series SelectionNero d'Avola is Sicily's most popular red grape, used in the region's best selling wines. The name, which liter¬ally means "Avola black," is a good description. New viti-culture techniques, such as night harvesting, are being used to retain flavor without producing an overpowering wine. The result is often com-pared to Syrah. Sicily boasts a single climate, blessed with consistent growing seasons from year to year, with lots of warm sunshine, and very lit¬tle rain. Nero d'Avola is a wine that most people love; it is not pretentious and makes the perfect partner with veni¬son, beef, lamb, and thick Texan steak with wild mush¬rooms. This is one wine that can only be made in Sicily; it is the epitome of Sicilian fla¬vors. The black grape of Avola makes a rich, per¬fumed, and velvety red wine that is easy to drink but can also age well and has a great affinity for oak. Avola is a wine-growing region in Southeastern Sicily, where the variety has been grown for centuries. For generations, it was used primarily added to lighter reds to add color and weight. It is now produced as a single varietel and is worth seeking out and getting acquainted with. Which is exactly what we did when we came across the Kudyah Nero d'Avola. The Terre di Giurfo estate has been a family prop¬erty for over two hundred years. It is 90 acres of premi¬um Nero d'Avola, Syrah as well as other indigenous Sicilian varietels. Kudyah is an award-winning example of the succulent fruit pro¬duced from the Nero d'Avola grape. The color is deep, dark red. The nose is peppery, spicy, savoury, gamey, black cherry, almond, vanilla, and cherry cola. The intense fruit smells are also on the palate with smooth, slightly grainy tannins. The wine is dry, full-bodied, and round with leathery, earthy, smoky, sour cherry flavors. This is a big wine, not for the faint of heart. It is good now and will improve over the next few years. It is an obvious choice with foods such as red meats, roasts, braised meats, and seasoned cheeses. In true Sicilian fashion, it is the wine of choice for local dishes such as Caponata. See Adventures in Food on page 13 for an authentic recipe. Salud!
Color: Dark ruby.
Nose: Peppery, spicy, gamey, black cherry, almond.
Palate: Dry, full-bodied, round, earthy, sour cherry.
Rich, full finish.