June 2004 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 209
Rejected: 195 Approved: 14 Selected: 4
To balance out the selection of two domestic wines from last month's Regular Series, we have selected two imported wines for this month 's Regular Series. The stars are once again aligned properly and all is right in our wine world! Enjoy!
This month's import white selection, the 2003 Gracia Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, puts so much of one varietal into a bottle that it's like a tutorial in Sauvignon Blanc making from around the world! All of this delicious information can be gained in one reflective sip of this lovely, fresh wine!
Another Syrah? We promise to bring you the best wine we find each month and the best wines
recently have been Syrahs. You will see why we are so excited about our 2001 Vina Cochagual Syrah.
Looking for a classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon? Your search is over, our 2000 Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon is what you have been waiting and longing for in a Cabernet Sauvignon.
Do you have a 2000 Bordeaux in your collection that 's still developing? Are you tired of the waiting and want to drink a fabulous Bordeaux right now? 2000 was a fabled vintage, however 2001 was excellent in its own right. Our 2001 Chateau Terrefort Lescalle is ready to drink and enjoy right now! Salud!
Truly, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most widely planted and successfully grown grapes spanning every major wine growing region of the world. From the steely and mineral fashionings of South Africa and New Zealand to the classic Loire Valley beauties and stately Bordeaux whites of France. Then there's California's melony & herbal offerings to Italy's avante garde "new white" plantings and on across the Mediterranean basin for numerous other renditions. From dessert sweet to bone dry and everything in between, there is a style of Sauvignon Blanc to suit every imaginable taste. And now this absolute beauty from yet another new growing region in Chile, the Country's southernmost growing area the Bio Bio Valley.
If you haven't heard of this viticultural area yet, don't worry, no one else has either. The Gracia Winery and Vineyards were established more than 100 years ago and are owned by the Ibanez Family, leaders in farming, business and education
To sip the 2003 Gracia Sauvignon Blanc one is led on an almost prismatic tour of the tantalizing flavor spectrum of the Sauvignon Blanc grape. The poor, perfectly drained sandy soils of this Mediterranean, marine influenced climate generate a nose, which is stunningly fresh and immediately fruity in expression with hints of asparagus, lemon and lime peel and melony notes. One might say purely Californian in influence except as the flavors unfold on the palate one discerns a limestone, mineral and steely aspect that shouts Loire Valley Sancerre. Yes, a certain nuttiness and green pea mineral streak that could fool the Sancerre lover but then another nuance enters....raciness that takes you right away to the best of New Zealand Sauvignons! Then a round, well "cut" mouthfeel with elegant fruitiness and tangy acidity suggests the classiness and finish of an estate White Bordeaux to bring your tasting experience full circle.
We have not tasted a
Sauvignon Blanc this all-inclusive in some time and we are delighted to offer our customers such an ebullient and forthright wine
statement. It's a perfect match for grilled well-seasoned foods! Enjoy!
Bio-Bio Valley, Chile
Aromas of asparagus, lemon and lime peel and melon. On the palate limestone, mineral, nuttiness and green pea, then finishing off with elegant fruitiness and tangy acidity.
Imported Selection 2
Wherever there is sun, good rocky drainage and poor soils, Syrah finds a home and a place to produce its ruby purple brew.
Just such a place is the Tulum Valley in San Juan, Argentina, the second most important growing region in that burgeoning wine country. The San Juan Province was identified by a recent Yale University study as having the most solar exposure in the world, allowing even more "hang time" for grape ripening than such celebrated areas as Washington State. This starkly beautiful growing region in the foothills of the Andes lies at a latitude of 31 degrees/32 degrees south and lends itself ideally to the production of exceptional, rich and ripe red wines for an eager and waiting world-already primed by the luscious Malbecs and Cabernet Sauvignons emanating from its climes.
The Vina Cochagual Estate is a sprawling and ambitious agricultural
experiment covering nearly 2000 acres with 800 of these already under vine. Mature plantings of classic varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah vie for attention with new plots of Tempranillo, Tannat, Viognier, Rousanne and other test cultivars¬exploiting the choice site's ability to produce delicious wines.
And the word delicious just about sums up the Vina Cochagual Syrah. When we tasted this wine in our Wine of the Month Club tasting bar we had just sampled several other very good Syrahs which were vying for a spot in the lineup. This one stood quickly apart from the other contenders. One is taken first by its dark, brooding, almost opaque violet-purple color and its viscously uniform movement in the glass. Then an explosive aroma of ground espresso bean, black licorice and melted chocolate tones practically tackles the nose leading to an exceptionally well balanced, rich and ultimately soft but
mouthfilling impression with a long, complex almost "roasted" finish resulting from the Tulum Valley's legendary warmth.
P.S. sunglasses and a parasol recommended when sipping this red beauty...
Tulum Valley - San
Ground espresso bean, black licorice and melted chocolate tones. Long, complex almost "roasted" finish. Perfect for all grilled meats, BBQ.fests and cheese courses.
Limited Series Selection
Usually when people think of California wine, they first think of Napa Valley. And there is one grape that stands out and has made a name for its self in Napa Valley: Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines labeled Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon are thought to be exceptional wines and the 2000 Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon is no exception!
The 2000 growing season started early. Often budbreak and flowering indicate an early harvest. However, the mild¬ness of the growing season and the absence of an "Indian Summer" pushed har-vest back. The longer hang time gave the winemaker fully developed fruit and an aromatic and fla¬vorful wine.
The grapes for the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon came pri¬marily from the
Komes Ranch, Pope Valley and Oakville vineyards. Napa Valley is one of the best places in the world to grow Cabernet and these vines flourish in the soils and climate in these three outstand¬ing appellations. The Napa Valley is not very large - some¬times running as nar-row as 1 mile and expanding to 5 miles wide and 35 miles long but within that finite area it has tremendous diversity.
The 2000 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon spent over two years in oak barrels, using both French and American oak, with a small per¬centage of new bar¬rels. It exhibits all the classic characteristics of Cabernet Sauvignon from the region - full, forward fruit and black cherry, cassis and cocoa with a smooth finish. It is nicely balanced, with a full mouthfeel and overtones of the oak
in which it was aged. This wine has all the flavor and complexi¬ty you come to expect from a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy!
Full, forward fruit and black cherry, cassis and cocoa with a smooth finish.
Limited Series Selection
As many wine lovers know by now, the vintage year 2000 in Bordeaux has been hailed as possibly the greatest quality harvest in history by many crit¬ics. Indeed, these 2000's are legendary in color, richness and depth-but one might ask, what do I drink while waiting for them to age? They are such big and unresolved wines! That's true and we have found the answer in a gem called Chateau Terrefort Lescalle from 2001.
Such focus and energy has been expended on the aforementioned 2000's that the good to very good 2001 vintage in Bordeaux could have passed almost unno-ticed.This 2001 Terrefort Lescalle gives aficiona¬dos a perfect taster's win¬dow into the lovely dimensions of this deli¬cious and ready to drink year.
The Chateau itself is sit-uated in the small village of Macau in the north¬eastern portion of the Haut Medoc-adjacent to
the more famous com¬mune of Margaux. Vine composition of the estate is equally divided between Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot with a tiny por¬tion of Malbec---the five classic varietals of the area. A rigorous selection of only the best and most perfectly ripe fruit is used in the estate wine and blends. Although the farm itself is capable of producing many thou¬sands of cases, only sev¬eral thousand in total are ever offered for sale. This makes Terrefort Lescalle a favorite for those in the know in the French wine trade and in the restau-rant scene.
This wine has a fragrant and heady aroma of cas¬sis and blackberry jam. On the palate, one finds violets, black licorice, red currants, bayleaf and an altogether seductive fruitiness. Rich and sub-stantial with good mouthfeel and a long fin¬ish, this is a lively and charming drink with a light, mouthcleansing, tannic brace at the finish.
It is luscious with lamb and a great match for grilled meats and aged, hard cheeses. While per¬fectly drinkable now, this bottle will age well and gain in complexity for up to 7 years. Highly Recommended...
Chateau de Terrefort
Violets, black licorice, red currants, bayleaf and an altogether seductive fruitiness.
"Why have you selected
so many Syrahs and
Petite Sirahs for the
Wine of the Month Club
These days, many curious wine lovers may find themselves wondering if Syrah is the Next Big Thing in Winedom-the new Merlot or roaring red phe¬nomenon of the fresh Milennium. Many critics and wine aficionados think that indeed it is. With Syrah's immense adaptabil¬ity and its tendency to pro¬duce a good, hardy crop in almost any suitable grow¬ing condition, superb Syrahs are popping up not only from the grape's homeland in France (Rhone, Languedoc, Nimes and the southeast quad¬rant) but also from Australia, California, Washington State, Italy
(Sicily and Tuscany!) Spain, Portugal, South Africa and even Mexico.
Wine Spectator recent¬ly reported that Syrah vine¬yards now total more than 287,000 acres globally. The reason for that is demand. Consumers love the rich fruit, spice, bright acidity and texture of the grape. It is a very food-friendly wine that delivers now or can age quite gracefully. Bottom line is that there is a
lot of great Syrah wine out there to be had.
As for the confusion between Syrah and Petite Sirah, they are two distinct varietals. In California the Petite Sirah grape was long thought to be Syrah, but some enologists now believe it actually may be the Durif variety. Other studies have discovered that Syrah has its origins from the Mondeuse Blanche grape and the Dureza grape, two rustic grapes from eastern France. Generally, Syrah is known as Shiraz in the southern hemisphere. See our insert for more information on Syrah.