- Q & A
March 2005 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 241 Rejected: 225 Approved: 12 Selected: 4
I am telling you right now, the quality of the wine coming in from all over the world is unsurpassed. I can't say "I'll take it" fast enough. I think you can already see what I am talking about with the January and February selections. Hang on to your seats; things are just getting started! Here are the next set of wines in this incredible line¬up.REGULAR SERIES:
2001 Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc
from Napa Valley California stands apart from other Sauvignon Blancs. Cheryl Emmolo fulfilled a lifelong ambition to produce her own wines and this premium bou¬tique wine is delicious and one we are all proud of.
2002 Agustinos Estate Merlot is the realized dream of Juan Ignacio Ramsay, who wanted to produce a Merlot in the style of the great Merlot from Pomerol, France. He chose the best selection of grapes grown in the Chilean valleys. Unlike, most Pomerol's, this wine is affordable as well as fabulous tasting.
2001 Rymil MC2 (squared)
is a family owned winery in the world famous terra rossa Coonawarra region of Australia. This is an area known for its red, rich soil. A rich combi¬nation of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it is perfect with BBQ.
2000 Chateau Haut - Bellevue, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux
reminds us again the unbeatable quality from the Bordeaux region. This Cru Artisan is a real sleeper from this vintage and we feel blessed to be able to share this special bottle with you. Enjoy!
Domestic SelectionEmmolo Wine Company news: Sauvignon Blanc from 50-year old vines! The fruit that Caymus, Mondavi and Frog's Leap have coveted! Cheryl Emmolo is the owner and founder of Emmolo Winery. The industry is nothing new to her. Her Grandfather, Salvatore Emmolo established a rootstock nursery in St. Helena in 1923. Her father, Frank Emmolo, took over management of the nursery and also planted Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot grapes on his River Ranch and Galleron Road vineyard sites in Rutherford. Cheryl spent her youth driving the tractor, picking grapes, and blending wine. Wanting to extend the winery business to the next generation, Cheryl founded Emmolo as a legacy to her children, Charlie, Joey and Jenny. "The wine business is like eating and sleeping - it's just the part of the natural rhythm of my life," says Cheryl. These grapes from the River Ranch Vineyard are coveted and used by great wineries such as Mondavi and Frog's Leap. As all small family wineries do, all of the Emmolo wines are approached with the care and attention to detail worthy of the family name. Her main goal is always to capture the true varietal characteristics, vintage after vintage. The old vines combined with newer vines, and the skills and passion of a lifetime in the vineyards, have made a wine which the family can be proud of and we are thrilled to share it with you. This Sauvignon Blanc is very different than other grassy green Sauvignon Blancs. Partially aged in oak and aged sur lie, it is rich and full-bodied and stands in a league all its own. The color is mint green with golden flecks. It has head-turning aromas of honey, hazelnuts, figs and anise. The palate is powerful for a Sauvignon Blanc with hints of oak, mineral and citrus. The finish lingers with wet stone and lime. This is a perfect little wine that is not too tart, not too green, not too oaky and, of course, not too pricey. Pair it with blackened fish or smoked salmon.
Napa Valley California
Mint green color.
Honey, hazelnuts, fig, anise on the nose.
Rich, full-bodied, oak, mineral and citrus palate.
Finish of mineral and lime.
Imported SelectionChile has made its name by pro¬ducing decent, delicious and affordable wines. Predictions are that Chile will soon rival Australia for becoming an alternate resource for pre¬mium wines with not so premium prices. Chile is the only country that has been free of Phylloxera, which makes for the most organic vines in all of the world. Agustinos Estate began with the philosophy of becoming a leader in the industry by harnessing the work of nature by being environmentally friendly and working with nature instead of manipulating it. All the grapes are grown in their own vineyards. This allows them to control the production process from the beginning of the grow¬ing season to the hand-picking at harvest time. Their winemaking respects the great French traditions while embracing modern technology. The winery is state-of-the-art with mod¬ern laboratories, a capacity of 7.2 million liters and over 800 French oak bar¬rels. Constanza Schwaderer is the wine-maker. She has a degree in Agriculture and another in Enology and Viticulture. For her, grapegrowing and winemaking is an art, a sci-ence, and an important way of life that is reflected in Agustinos wines. These are wines built on hard work, careful vineyard management, grape selec¬tion, and low yields. The Aconcagua Valley is an almost perfect place to grow grapes. The weather is the ideal temperate Mediterranean, warm in the day and cold at night. The soil is fertile with lots of stones, which act to hold the heat and the moisture. These Merlot grapes were all hand-picked at their optimum ripeness. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks for 15 days. This gives the wine an approachable fruitiness. After several months in oak barrels, the wine is ready for us to drink. It has a medium ruby, red color. The nose is most inviting with smells of red licorice, crushed raspberries and pencil shavings. The taste is fresh and friendly with herb notes, red fruit, good structure and plum nuances. The finish is clean and balanced. This wine invites you to appreci¬ate nature, good food and fellowship.
Aconcagua Valley Chile
Ruby, red color.
Red licorice, crushed raspberries, pencil shavings.
Clean, balanced finish.
Limited Series SelectionRymill Winery is situated within The Riddoch Run Vineyards at the northern end of the famous terra rossa strip, about 3 miles from Coonawarra. The winery is midway between Adelaide and Melbourne. Rymill Coonawarra's wine-maker is John Innes. He is dedicated to producing subtle, complex wines which are designed first and foremost to go with food. His interest in food and wine evolved after a stint as assistant winemak¬er to Carlo Corino, a well known Italian winemaker who passionately makes wines that were excellent accompaniment for food. After this valued experi¬ence, he came to Coonawarra. In 1989, he was instrumental in plan¬ning, designing and over¬seeing the building of the Rymill winery. Not only is he the winemaker, he is also involved in the vine¬yard management and is the company's General Manager. In keeping with his credo that wine is made to be drunk with food, Innes says, "Tannins are one of the most difficult aspects of a wine's make¬up to understand for regu¬lar drinkers. They are the textural part of a wine's structure...if it all works in the vineyard, then there's a tactile result in the wine, matched with good acid levels, which enhance its capacity to match complex flavors and textures in many styles of food." The grape composition of MC2 (squared referring to the two Cabernets - very clever), is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. The color is dark cherry red. The nose is highly aromatic with bright notes of American oak, mint, green olives and clove. The palate is medi¬um-bodied, with blackcur¬rant, cassis, leaf and earth. The tannins are integrated and savory. The finish is lengthy, with fine-grained tannins and berry flavors. We recommend that you enjoy the wine tonight, but 2 to 5 years of ageing could prove to be very interest¬ing. "A good comment after a meal that 'the wine was great' is all the compli¬ment I need," say Innes.
MC2 Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc
(mare-low, ka-burh-nay saw veen-yah, ka-hurh-nay frah)
Dark cherry red color.
Blackcurrant, cassis, leaf and earth.
Lengthy berry flavored finish.
Limited Series SelectionBordeaux is the largest and most important fine wine pro-ducing regions of France. The ranking of Cru Artisan is an old fashioned term for the Cru Bourgeois level. It may say Cru Artisan on the label, but these deli¬cious wines are far from simple, everyday wines. These are wines of tremendous value and in a vintage as great as 2000, the quality is con¬siderable. Noted wine writer Jancis Robinson agrees as she wrote, "Cru Bourgeois (Artisan) wines of the Haut Medoc offer some of the best values to be found in Bordeaux." Bordeaux has a mild, humid cli¬mate which is influenced by the sea and rivers. The winters are temperate and the summers are warm and long. There are many types of soil but generally it is gravel, clay or sand over lime¬stone. The red wines are made from five varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Merlot. These are blended together to give each wine a particular style. Cabernet Sauvignon gives the wine high tan¬nin and acidity with an aroma of blackcurrants. Petit Verdot is a grape of high alcohol and adds intense color, aromas, and back-bone to the wine. Merlot also has high alcohol and is the grape that softens the fierceness of the noble Cabernet Sauvignon. Chateau Haut-Bellevue is an amazing Haut Medoc! The 2000 is a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 12% Petit Verdot. This is a classic Haut Medoc quaffing wine. It has a glorious black pur¬ple color. The nose is sweet with tobacco, cas¬sis, and notes of floral. It is medium-bodied with black fruit, cedar, cigar box, spice and sage. It is hefty and intense. The finish is long with sweet fruit and fine tannins. This wine will improve in the bottle so surprise yourself and lay in an ample supply of this tasty treat for later.
CHATEAU HAUT BELLEVUE
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot
(mare-low, ka-bur-nay saw- ¬veen-yah, peh-tee veer-doe)
Black purple color.
Nose of tobacco, cassis and floral.
Taste of black fruit, spice, sage, ripe currants.
Long sweet finish.
What is decanting and
what does it mean to
let the wine breathe?
D.S., St. Louis, MO.
They have not yet invented oxygen tanks for wine bottles and so we must decant.
Decanting simply means to transfer a wine from its original bottle into another vessel. There are four reasons for this maneuver: One is to sep¬arate the wine from the sediment that may be in the bottom of the bot¬tle, especially an older red wine. Number two is to bring the wine up to room temperature from the cool cellar temper-ature. Thirdly is to let the wine aerate or breathe. And fourth is primarily for aesthetics. It is nice to watch the process and the wine looks nice in a decanter. For a wine to breathe, the surface of the wine must make as much con-tact with the air as pos¬sible. So uncorking it and leaving it in the bottle, does very little for exposure. For a young red wine, this exposure can soften the tannins. With older wines, it should be done just before serving so it does not lose its fruity aromas. When it is impractical to decant, you can pour the wine into a large wine glass and swirl it now and then to help it open up. Remove the foil from the Cottle and hold the neck above a light source, traditionally a candle, so you can see the wine flowing out of the bottle. Slowly pour the wine until you see the sediment flow and then stop. Pour the wine from the decanter into the wine glass. Take a deep breath just as the wine is doing, then sip and enjoy!