- Q & A
June 1007 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 268 Rejected: 245 Approved: 23 Selected: 6
"It is the month of June, the month of leaves and roses, when pleasant sights salute the eyes and pleasant scents the noses." –NATHANIEL PARKER WILLIS
2006, Oak Grove, Pinot Grigio. California
Oak Grove is a small premium producer of hand-selected grapes in California's North Coast. There were only 4,000 cases of this delicious wine made. 2002, Vizcaya, Cabernet Sauvignon. Mendoza, Argentina
The Vizcaya family has been making quality wines for four generations. Enjoy this wonderful wine from Argentina's premier wine region. LIMITED SERIES
2003, Nugan, Durif. South East, Australia
Nugan Durif is a big, boldly structured red wine from Manuka Grove at the Nugan Estate. This is a big hit for all you lovers of full-throttle, muscular, dark fruit wines. It should cellar for at least a decade. 2002, Barnadown Run, Shiraz. Heathcote, Australia
Turning the world upside down, Barnadown Shiraz displays all the characteristics we love about Shiraz: rich, peppery fruit and lots of black fruit. This wine is a keeper—no, a drinker—no, a keeper—you decide!
Domestic SelectionPinot Grigio is made from the varietal Pinot Gris. It's a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape, and it grows best in cool climates. In France, it's at its best in Alsace where it's also known as Tokay d'Alsace. In Germany it's called Rulander when it's sweet and Grauburgunder when it's dry. In Italy, it grows best in the northeast—Alto Aldige, Friuli, and Lombardy. In California, it grows well in the northern coastal areas, and it produces a wine very much in the Italian style. There are three distinct styles of Pinot Grigio. The first is youthful and vibrant with crisp acidity and soft mineral flavors. The second is more complex with herbaceousness, minerals, floral and fruity notes. These wines tend to be more full-bodied. The third style of Pinot Grigio has a pale copper color with more complex aromas, and flavors of nuts, minerals and citrus. The 2006 Oak Grove Pinot Grigio is a style that falls somewhere between the first and second categories. The grapes are sourced from southern Monterey County near the Arroyo Seco River. The vines grow in a rich volcanic soil. The vineyards enjoy foggy mornings and plenty of mid-day sunshine. The resulting harvest has regional character and Pinot Grigio typicity. The color is very pale straw. The nose is fresh with apricot, citrus, and pear. The taste is clean and lush with hints of mineral, grapefruit, lemon, and green apple. The finish lingers with healthy acidity. This food-friendly Pinot Grigio will pair extraordinarily well with seafood and light pasta dishes. It will also be good with veal cutlets. (See recipe on page 13.)
Color: Very pale straw
Nose: Fresh apricot, citrus, pear
Palate: Dry, lush, mineral, grapefruit, lemon, green apple
Finish: Clean, acidic
Imported SelectionArgentina's geography creates the perfect stage for the skills of the Vizcaya winemasters. Their vineyards are located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The mountains experience a huge variance between day and night time temperatures; the days are sunny and warm, and the nights are cool and crisp. This allows for gradual ripening of the fruit and an increased hang time to achieve full ripeness. The vineyards are 3000 to 5000 feet above sea level. Two thousand feet of vertical variance gives the farmers the opportunity to select small plots ideal for growing specific varietals. The soil of these vineyards is full of boulders and large pebbles, covered with soil. Gonzalo and Marcelo Vizcaya love Argentina. They're dedicated to making wines that best represent the majestic mountains and rich vineyards of their country. To this end, they founded the Mendoza Wine Society to support and market wines and products from Mendoza, Argentina. The 2002 Vizcaya is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Oscar Roberto Lana has achieved a smooth wine with balanced tannins and a great fruity mouth-feel. The color is a brilliant ruby. The nose is complex with lots of red fruit smells and oak smells of walnuts and hazelnuts. The palate is full-bodied with sweet, jammy fruit and integrated soft wood tannins for just the right amount of complexity. It finishes long and lush. This wine is ideal with red meats, game, and aged cheeses.
(ka-bur-nay saw- veehn-yawn)
Color: Brilliant ruby color
Nose: Complex red fruits, walnuts, hazelnuts
Palate: Full-bodied, well- balanced tannins, sweet jammy fruit
Finish: Long, lush
Limited Series SelectionNugan Estate Wines is a legacy of one man's vision and a tribute to a family's continued dedication. It all began in Valencia, Spain, where Alfredo Nugan began a fruit export business. By the 1940s, through innovation and strict quality controls, the business became a top supplier of superior produce to Australia, and then to the world. Eventually, Nugan decided to live in Griffith, South Australia, where sunshine and water allowed him to grow produce year-round. In the 1970s the company expanded into producing juices. In the 1990s the Nugan Group planted vineyards and began selling grapes. Today, the family has moved into the business, science, and art of world-class winemaking. Senior Winemaker Daren Owens holds a degree in Wine Science and has been with the winery since 2000. When he started, the winery was operating out of an old juice plant with just three tanks and six wine barrels. Today's winery is a state-of-the-art complex capable of crushing 10,000 tons of grapes and holding more than 2000 barrels. The company successfully navigated this transition by believing in "hard work, innovation, and 100% commitment to the future." The Durif grape is also know as Petite Sirah in the Rhone Valley of France. Aussies proudly label it as "Durif." Once overlooked for more mainstream varietals, Durif is becoming increasingly popular. All the grapes for the Nugan Durif are sourced from their own vineyards. The color is a dense inky red. The nose is exclusively Durif with earthy tones, cloves, cinnamon, black berries, and allspice. The palate matches the nose with intense flavors chocolate, and soft chewy tannins. The finish lingers. This is a wine to be enjoyed with Indian spiced lamb, beef stews, and game dishes.
South East Australia
Color: Dense crimson
Nose: Earthy, cloves, cinnamon, ripe black berry
Palate: Dry, full-bodied, soft chewy tannins, fresh raspberries, chocolate, earth
Finish: Elegant and long
Limited Series SelectionThe region of Heathcote, Australia, boomed with the gold rushes of the 1850s. Agriculture—cattle, sheep, wheat, barley, and tomatoes—replaced gold as the driving force of the economy. Today the rush is in the vineyards and wineries, boosting employ¬ment, sales, and tourism throughout the region. Barnadown owner and winemaker Andrew Mills operated his own textile business for twenty-five years. He left the city to fulfill a dream of country living and winemaking. He trained under the great David "Duck" Anderson of Wild Duck Creek. Andrew dreamed that he could "make small batches of red wine that would gain recognition as some of the best wine coming from Heathcote" He took charge of his dream by personally hand-harvesting the grapes, and overseeing the fermentation, racking, and ageing in French oak barrels. Barnadown Winery is located on the western slopes of the Mt. Carmel Range. The climate and the soil of Heathcote are strongly influenced by the Mt. Carmel mountain range. The mountains provide a tunnel for the cooling south to south-east winds that blow throughout the growing season. The result is a lower temperature so the grapes have more hang-time to achieve optimal ripeness. Thanks to the hillside location, rainfall is even through most of the year. The soil is mostly Cambrian Clay Loam, also known as Terra Rosa, a thick red clay soil. The Barnadown 2002 Shiraz has a deeply saturated ruby purple color. The nose is complex with black pepper, cherry fruit, and dark plums. The palate is dense and chewy with mouth-filling cassis, black berry, smoke, pepper and earth flavors. The generous finish indicates a wine that will cellar for at least 7 or more years. Enjoy this wine with sausages, steak and meat lasagna.
Color: Deep ruby, purple
Nose: Black pepper, cherry, dark plums
Palate: Dense, chewy, mouth-filling cassis, blackberries, smoke, pepper, earth