- Q & A
April 2004 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 202 Rejected: 188 Approved: 14 Selected: 4
April is here and with it comes the start of Spring. Traditionally a time of rebirth and renewal, whether in the garden or in the soul, this time of year is always an exciting one! We are just as excited about Spring as you are! We look forward to the approaching months knowing that the best wine is yet to come!
We had such a great response for the Peralta Cabernet Sauvignon in the February Limited Series, we couldn't pass up the 2003 Peralta Sauvignon Blanc for our Regular Series! This one will keep the hot streak going for one of our favorite wineries!
It's a 14-hour flight to Australia, but only seconds to your wine collection and this lovely selection from down under, the 2001 Deakin Estate Shiraz.
The 2001 Louis Bernard Cotes d'Rhone will make you want to "roam" for some more of this special reserve from southern France!
The 2002 Solaris Pinot Noir is named after the Latin word for "of the sun". Once you taste this wine, you will know right away that the sun did indeed bless and nurture these grapes through harvest!
Here comes the sun.... and the wine! Salud!
Domestic SelectionFor those of you who read your monthly newsletter thoroughly, the Peralta name will sound familiar to you, and for good reason! We featured the Peralta Cabernet Sauvignon in our Limited Series in the month of February. We were bowled over by the incredible response for that wine, so much so that when we came across the 2003 Peralta Sauvignon Blanc, we felt we couldn't pass it up! The Peralta winery has a rich and lengthy history in California. In fact the winery is named after Rosalie Peralta, a descendent of Luis Maria Peralta, considered the pre¬eminent Pueblo official of San Jose, California. He was a prominent office holder and member of the community. But in our view, his greatest contributions came when he turned to grape growing! Nowadays, the Peralta Family Winery is dedicated to producing wines of quality and balance at prices that are affordable. This month's selection is a blend of 88% Sauvignon Blanc from Paso Robles and 12% Chardonnay also from Paso Robles. The small percentage of Chardonnay is typically added to produce a layer of complexity and a touch of strength. The Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from two different vineyards in Paso Robles. Grapes from one of the vineyards gives fresh fruit and buoyancy. The other provides acidity and structure. Paso Robles is a town about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on Highway 101. The area is characterized by warm, clear days, generally un-encumbered by clouds, fog or severe winds. The nighttime temperatures drop by approximately 40°, cooled by a marine layer that moves over the region following the sunset. Many consider this fluctuation to be a key to the varietal character displayed in the resulting wines. Paso Robles has many microclimates which enables the area to produce high quality varietals that love the cool weather such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, as well as varietals that love warmer weather such as Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Our members in both Clubs will attest to that! The Cabernet Sauvignon was a fantastic wine and so is this one, another winner from Paso Robles!
Sauvignon Blanc, 2003
Paso Robles, CA
Clean citrus flavors. Exciting fruit. Tangy acidity. Great with oys¬ters Rockefeller or seared Ahi tuna.
Imported SelectionThis month's red selection, a Shiraz with intense color, concentrated fruit aromas and flavors is an Australian wine with a decidedly California connection! The 2001 Deakin Estate Shiraz comes from a vineyard located at Red Cliffs near Mildura in the North West of Victoria. Mildura was established as an agricultural settlement in the 1880s after Alfred Deakin, a former Prime Minister of Australia, encouraged California's Chaffey Brothers to bring their irrigation expertise to Mildura. The region subsequently became one of the most productive agricultural areas in Australia specializing in citrus, olives, almonds and grapes. The Chaffey Brothers, George and William, developed the California cities of Ontario and Etiwanda, just a few miles east of Wine of the Month Club offices. George made Los Angeles the world's first all electrically-lit city. Then he and William went into the California desert and there they built a modern irrigation system and created an 8,000-acre fruit-farming community. They then went off to Australia and, fortunately for our members, the Deakin Estate emerged as a by-product of their efforts in Australia! There are 350 hectares (approximately 865 acres) under vine in the Deakin Estate vineyard. Main varieties include Colombard, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. The Deakin Estate Shiraz is a blend of Shiraz 90%, Ruby Cabernet 8% & Petit Verdot 2%. This Shiraz is generally very ripe with intense color and good tannin levels. It was harvested at optimum maturity resulting in a wine with concentrated fruit aromas and flavors. Flavors ranged from raspberry to plum to pepper and spice. The 2001 Deakin Estate Shiraz is medium bodied of excellent color with rich fruit and pepper flavors, integrated oak and soft lingering finish. Here's to future cooperation between Australia and California! Cheers!
Shiraz, 2001 Deakin Estate
NW Victoria Australia
Aromas of ripe fruit fla¬vors of plum and rasp¬berry with a touch of spice. A full flavored rich wine with good length and soft tannins. This Shiraz would go well with steak, pizza and anything spicy.
Limited Series SelectionThis month's wine comes from the Rhone Valley region which stretches for 125 miles between Vienne in the north and Avignon in the south. The vineyards of the Rhone form one of France's great wine regions. This wine is proof of that! The Rhone Valley has two regions, the north¬ern Rhone and the southern Rhone. The principal red grapes of the southern Rhone are Grenache and Syrah, but Carignan, Counoise, Mourvedre, and Terret Noir are also grown. The 2001 Louis Bernard Cote d'Rhone is a southern Rhone Valley wine. Louis Bernard produces a variety of whites and reds from the Côtes-du-Rhône appellation. The brand is imported by Boisset America in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1980, Boisset America is an importer and supplier of French and California wines. Domestic brands include Joliesse, Lyeth, Christophe and Fog Mountain. Imported brands include Bouchard Aine et Fils, Ropiteau and J. Moreau & Fils. The grapes for our wine came from differ¬ent sources in the south¬ern Rhone Valley. About 50 cellars con¬tributed their best grapes. A blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache was used for this wine. The harvests were essentially done by hand at optimum maturity from vines with a small yield. This wine contains no stems and had a 1 month fer¬mentation period. The wine was barrel matured in French oak (1/3 new oak, 1/3 one year oak, 1/3 two year oak) for 14 months. This Côtes du Rhône will impress you by its dark color, its structure, its strong bouquet and its long finish. You'll love this wine with red meat, game and strong cheese!
Cotes d' Rhone Grande Reserve 2001.
Louis Bernard Southern Rhone, France
Very dark red with violet hints. Very complex with notes of little black fruit, soft licorice, spices and vanilla.
Full and fleshy with a long finish.
Limited Series SelectionSOLARIS is Latin for "of the sun" and celebrates the sun-kissed California vine¬yards where the grapes are nurtured through harvest. Solaris wines are handcrafted, vibrant, fruit-forward and intensely flavored. The winemakers like to call the style, "Refined Concentration" because they frame the bold and lush fla-vors with balanced acidity and structure for an ultimately enjoyable and food-friendly wine. Solaris wines are very unique because they are borne of the collab¬oration of world-class winema king talent from Diageo Chateau & Estates Wines. They deliver on exceptional flavor and value. The 2002 Solaris Pinot Noir is fruit-for¬ward yet elegantly balanced, with a lin¬gering finish that will pair well with all sorts of delicious food. The 2002 growing season was moderate with some rains in late May which caused a smaller crop set of highly flavorful fruit. The summer growing season was mild and long, perfect for lengthy maturation, until the heat of September and October fully ripened the grapes. Harvest began in Carneros with Pinot Noir in early September and was completed by early October. Overall, the 2002 vin¬tage had great weath¬er, and the resulting Carneros wines are stellar. Our Pinot Noir was harvested during the early days of September under warm conditions that yielded supremely fla¬vorful, rich grapes with more color than normal, and more tannins; the most intense Pinot Noir in years.
Pinot Noir, 2002.
Clear deep ruby color, shows intense aromas of cherry, blueberry with a savory hint of baked ham. The flavors are fruit forward, domi nated by wild cherry, sun-ripened straw berries and notes of cinnamon and san dalwood.
Member Inquiry"I read about your Limited Series but I am not sure what that is exactly. Can you tell me?"
J.A., Williston, ND
You have probably seen the Limited Series wine selections every month in the newsletter, so you might be familiar with the wines we have show¬cased in the Limited Series.
We have two Clubs, the Regular Series and the Limited Series. Our Limited Series is identical to our Regular Series except that in the Limited Series you normally get two red wines instead of a red and a white wine. The reason for this is premium wines such as those in our Limited Series tend to be red wine. However you can request white wine only, for we do choose an alternate premi- ¬ um white wine for our members who prefer white wine.
Is it more expensive? Yes. It is approximately $40 dollars per month plus tax and shipping. But, only the very finest examples of premium quality wines are selected for the Limited Series. We like to call it "The best of the best". A notch or two above the rest. Some wines are priced by name, not by quality. But the Limited Series selec¬tions are rare examples of truly extraordinary wines. These wines can be regard¬ed as exceptional bargains when compared to other wines in the same or higher price categories.
So, if you are a Regular Series member who is inter-ested in further expanding your knowledge of fine and exceptional wine, give our Limited Series a try. You will enjoy all the same ben¬efits in the Limited Series as you did in the Regular Series. You will be glad you did.