- Q & A
May 2005 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 240 Rejected: 222 Approved: 18 Selected: 4
May Day began as Spring festival long ago. People gathered together to celebrate the coming of Summer. At Wine of the Month Club, our May Day custom is to find you super-tasting wines with super-value for all your summer activities.REGULAR SERIES:
2004 Green Bridge Viognier, San Martin, California
is a wine that reminds us how delicious Viognier (vee¬on-yeah) is. Known for its distinctive, perfumed nose of fresh cantaloupe and yellow roses, this is an outstanding example of this special grape.
2003 Blason del Valle Tempranillo, Mendoza, Argentina
is a special project from the Barberis Family. Since 1965, they have built a reputation of making some of the greatest wines in Argentina. As you will see, this Tempranillo is no excep-tion!
2000 Franus Zinfandel, Brandlin Vineyard, Mount Veeder, California
is a bold, rich wine. Peter Franus is notorious for his 'hands-on' approach and creat¬ing stylish wines with distinctive personalities for almost three decades. Mount Veeder produces some of the very best fruit in California.
2002 Clanon Wines Petite Sirah, St. Helena, California
Winemaker, John Clanon, has traveled the world making wine in some of the most distin-guished wine regions of California, Australia and France. Small lots, abundant fruit charac¬ter, elegant structure and his talents are what make this wine so spe¬cial.
Domestic SelectionViognier (vee-on-¬yeah) is fast growing in popularity. The last ten years has seen a massive increase in Viognier production throughout the world. This is the grape used to make the famous Condrieu in the Northern Rhone region of France, which is one of the most expensive white wines in the world. In 1965, Viognier was almost extinct with a mere 8 acres planted in the Rhone, but renewed interest has brought plantings up with new plantings in the U.S., Australia, and Brazil. The major drawback of the grape is that it is a very shy producer and somewhat difficult to grow. It is easily infected with powdery mildew and must be harvested at its peak maturity to display its unique personality without overwhelming alcohol or sugar. The main attraction of Viognier is its powerful, rich, and complex aroma of overripe apricots mixed with orange blossoms and acacia. Viognier is always made in a dry style, yet the texture is creamy and some say, oily and rich. The prime appeal of Viognier is its fresh aroma and is a wine that should be consumed young. As members, you alone have access to the Green Bridge Viognier. It is bottled especially for us from grapes sourced from premium vineyards in Arroyo Seco and the San Joachim Valley. This is another added benefit of being a member of Wine of the Month Club. Here is a wine worthy of all your favorite summer dishes; salads, roasted chicken, stir-frys, curry and Thai recipes with coconut. The color is golden-straw with yellow hues. The nose is open and fresh with fresh canteloupe, honeysuckle, orange blossom and pineapple. Ah! If you could just smell it for some uplifting aromatherapy. The flavors tantalize your taste buds with pears, peaches, lime, pineapple, Valencia orange and some cinnamon spice from a little time in oak. There is richness and depth on the palate, a soft creamy texture and touch of mineral on the finish. This is a very special wine for you, our special members. Cheers!
San Martin California
Color: Golden straw with yellow hues.
Nose: Fresh canteloupe, honey suckle, pineapple.
Flavor: Pear, peach, tropical fruit, cinnamon spice.
Imported SelectionTempranillo is considered the 'noble' grape of Spain. However, in recent years, the growing conditions along with the innovation of talented winemakers, the grape is being grown successfully in Australia, Portugal, Mexico and South America, specif¬ically, Argentina. After Spain, Argentina is the sec¬ond country with the largest surface planted with Tempranillo vines. Tempranillo is a dark lush grape that can age many years and often rivals the best Cabernet Sauvignon for texture, flavor and age-worthiness. The word "Tempranillo" is named after the Spanish word "Temprano" which means "early," referring to the fact that this grape ripens sooner than most other red varietels. Tempranillo has several aliases including Cencibel, Ull de Llebre, Tanta de Pais, and Tinta de Toro. Bodega Barberis is a family-owned winery about 50 miles south of Mendoza. The climate is dry, with strong sunny days and cool nights. There is a steady breeze and plenty of water from the Andes Mountains. The four Barberis brothers are very successful and continue to innovate and produce wines of great dis-tinction. Bodegas Barberis is also, interestingly, the leading Argentine exporter of kosher wine produced under strict Orthodox Jewish supervision. Each year, 20% of its 100-hectare winery is super¬vised by a team of Hasidic Jews who also honor the Jewish tradition of "tem¬mot vena 'aserot" which requires 10% of its kosher wine production be given to charity or spilled on the ground. This is unusual and fascinating since most of Argentina and the Barberis family are strict Catholics! The Blason del Valle Tempranillo is a bottle of wine full of fruit and com-plexities. The color is deep red. The nose is compelling and full of spice, black cherry, plums, oak and smoke. The palate is full-bodied and vibrant with black raspberries, spice and soft integrated oak fla¬vors. Yummy! The finish is long and invites you back for another sip. This is a balanced, easy-drinking wine with enough com¬plexity for grilled meats and soft tannins for lighter dishes such as pasta, chicken and appetizers. Drink now or save a few in your cellar.
Blason del Valle
Color: Deep red.
Nose: Intense fruit of black cherries and raspberries, cardamon and allspice.
Palate: Dry, full-bodied, soft, complex. Leather, spice, cherry and spice.
Limited Series Selection"It's hard to believe that I'm in my third decade of making wines in Napa Valley", says Peter Franus. When you love what you do, the time simply flies by. Peter Franus Wine Company, in Napa Valley California, handcrafts intensely focused, vineyard designated Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. His niche has been carved in the Napa wine landscape with wines that are distinct with consistent quality year after year. Peter's life as a winemaker is interest¬ing and challenging. He constantly strives to make wines that are layered, memorable and interesting. He is particularly proud of this bottling of Brandlin Zinfandel. It represents a decade of wines made from this property. Brandlin vineyard grows on an east¬ern exposure hillside about 1200 feet above the valley floor. These are unirrigated head trained vines and are part of Napa Valley histo¬ry; probably the oldest vines on Mount Veeder. Crop levels remain under three tons per acre and always result in concentrat¬ed wines packed with mul¬tiple flavors. "I have a ten¬dency to talk about intu¬ition in winemaking, as well as the energy and soul of a wine. In that vein, I am calling this a miracle wine," says Peter. The wine had an extra long, slow fer¬mentation which added another great dimension to the wine. This is a wine with its own vivid and out¬going personality. What a beautiful dark, saturated violet color! The nose is loaded with rich fruit fla¬vors, mineral, allspice, boy¬senberry and truffle. The palate is bold with creamy cinnamon, white pepper, boysenberry, and blueberry jam. Viscous and lush, it is still firm and showing healthy tannins. You are in great company with a glass of this wine. "In light of all the Zinfandels on the mar¬ket, it is vital that a wine exhibit personality. I guar¬antee that Brandlin will never be lost in the crowd," promises Peter. We agree whole-heartedly! Enjoy a glass with your next BBQ or cheese course.
Franus Brandlin Vineyard
Mount Veeder California
Color: Dark violet.
Nose: Mineral, all spice, boysenberry. truffle.
Palate: Cinnamon, white pepper, blue berry jam.
Rich and viscous.
Jammy, dry finish.
Limited Series SelectionThe time has come for us to stand up for Petite Sirah! Here is a grape varietal which has been planted for centuries and has often been overlooked as Syrah or the controver¬sial Durif grape. Recent DNA has proven that Petite Sirah is indeed a synonym for Durif, just as Syrah is also named Shiraz. However, every grape has two parents. Once that variety begins to propagate, it remains fairly consistent through¬out its life. So, every Cabernet Sauvignon vine is just about the same as any other and it's been that way for hundreds of years. But, if you go back in its history, you come to the very first one and those two parents of Petite Sirah are Syrah and Peloursin. Petite Sirah is not a clone of Syrah, it is the offspring of Syrah. For the longest time, the Petite was brought in from the bullpen as a blending savior. Need more color? Petite Sirah. Need more body? Petite Sirah. Need more flavor? Petite Sirah. That was then. This is now: Petite Sirah deserves to stand on its own. With that in mind, John Clanon has crafted a structured wine that is powerful yet velvety, and reflects the unique terroir of the Rutherford Bench Chavez and Leeds Vineyards. The grapes are handpicked and handsorted. After fer¬mentation, the wine spends 23 months in used French and American oak. There are only 350 cases of this wine made; a very spe¬cial wine for you, our members. This is classic Petite Sirah, just about as good as it gets. The color is dark, inky purple. The nose has a wonderful dusty, black pepper which is typical Petite Sirah. The palate is rich, opulent black cherry, black pepper, wild berries, licorice and anise. It explodes in your mouth. The tannins are balanced with rich fruit and a hint of mineral on the long finish. Enjoy with grilled or roast beef, pork or lamb.
Clanon Petite Sirah
Chaves & Leeds Vineyard – Rutherford
Color: Inky purple
Nose: Dusty, black pepper, perfume.
Palate: Black pepper, Licorice, anise, wild berries.
Long mineral finish.