- Q & A
February 2007 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 125 Rejected: 106 Approved: 19 Selected: 8
"One kind word and a glass of wine can warm three winter months."REGULAR SERIES
2005, Crooked Limb, Chardonnay Do you know the way to San Jose'? Just south of San Jose' is San Martin, home of Crooked Limb Winery and Vineyards. Everyone's favorite grape, here is another Chardonnay that is outstanding at an unbelievable price.
2006, Flagtree, Merlot/Malbec/ Cabernet Sauvignon Taste the magic and mystery from the south of the world. Flagtree is committed to pro¬ducing only the best quality wines with consistency and passion. This blend will keep you warm this winter.
2002, Encierra, Cabernet Sauvignon Encierra is a story about tradition. The family pioneered winemaking in the Colchagua Valley and continues with pride and passion to make superb wines for the international market at very reasonable prices.
2003, Kenneth Volk, Merlot The man, the myth, the legend - Kenneth Volk. Kenneth has been making wine for almost three decades with zeal and intelligence. We are proud to bring you his 2003 Merlot and hope you enjoy every sip.
2004, Lugana, Costaripa Three generations of wine-making bring us this refreshing and delicious Trebbiano from Italy. The Vezzola brothers are passionate about their skills and make big flavored wines from their small estate in Lombardy.
2004, Trewa, Chardonnay Chilean wines have become first-choice among connoisseurs in less than a decade. Made with care for seven generations, Trewa Chardonnay is delicious and high quality for the price. Enjoy!
Domestic SelectionCrooked Limb Winery and Vineyards is a new project based in the San Martin area, just south of San Jose. This area has been home to fine wine grapes since the late 1800's. There are ancient, head-pruned vines producing Petit Sirah and Zinfandel on the property. The famed Mt. Madonna Vineyards, home to award-winning Petit Sirah wines is a close neighbor as are a handful of other well known, boutique brands. The Chardonnay fruit for this wine was sourced from family-owned and operated vineyards in two primary areas: southern Monterey County and the Sacramento Delta region. Monterey fruit has traditionally shown ripe pear, apple and vanilla qualities, while the Delta area vineyards offer broad buttery flavors with a noticeable trace of lengthening acidity in the mouth. Combined together, this California blend is a pleasing taste experience. A small portion of fruit from Crooked Limbs 30 to 40 year old vineyards in Paso Robles was also added to round out the flavor spectrum. A combination of small and large oak cooperage was used to age this wine in the outstanding 2005 vintage. Small French oak barrels and larger American oak uprights were used for 8 to 10 months of barrel age and were periodically racked from one type of barrel to another for added complexity. About half the final lot underwent malolactic fermentation and about a third was barrel fermented for traditional "central coast" richness. We are very pleased with this initial offering of 2005 Crooked Limb Chardonnay. The color is a pale golden yellow. The nose is classic Chardonnay fruit with tropical fruit, green apples, peaches and butter. The palate is soft and creamy with ripe fruit, round buttery flavors and lots of ripe fruit. It is a remarkably well balanced wine that is drinking well today, though it may improve with age for an additional year or two—gaining bouquet and dimension. Try this wine with blackened sea bass, seafood salads and mild cheeses or appetizers. .
Color Pale golden yellow.
Nose: Tropical fruit, green apples, peaches, butter.
Palate: Complex, soft, creamy, ripe fruit.
Finish: Round buttery finish .
Imported SelectionCovering almost the entire southern half of South America, Argentina is the world's eighth largest country. Argentina is home to some of the world's tallest mountains, expansive deserts, waterfalls and diverse land ranging from wild and remote to the metropolis of Buenos Aires. Deep in the south lays the area known as Patagonia and the Lake District. South of the Rio Colorado, the climate here is considered desert although the temperatures range from mild to freezing and the land varies from river valleys to giant ice-capped Andes. The valleys support enormous flocks of sheep, vegetables, and fruit and, of course, grapevines. Here at the end of the world is where Flagtree wine is made. The winery began in 1999 on land that no one thought could grow much. Huge investments were made and the world's most complex irrigation canal was laid to water the vines from the mountain water. The dry, desert weather brings with it constant moderate winds and these were battled with wind breaks and nets to keep the young vines from being damaged. These are very determined wine-makers and the results are spectacular. By 2000, the first vintage was released to rave reviews and since then, the wines have won awards around the globe including Shangai and the United States. These warm, continental growing conditions are great for Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. They are able to achieve full ripeness without worry about frost or moisture. Malbec is almost synonymous with Argentina. It shows its true colors in this country. This careful blend of these three classic varietals is a real treat. It pours an intense red ruby color from the glass. The nose is enticing with bright red fruit, raspberry, marmalade, some hints of floral and vanilla. The palate is soft and round, with an explo¬sion of fruit and spice with smoke and cherry. This wine can be enjoyed now or cellared for two years. Try a glass with our Macaroni n' Cheese recipe (page 13) or any meat recipes. .
Flagtree Merlot/Malbec/ Cabernet Sauvignon.
(mare-low/ mahl/beckika-bur-nay saw-veehn-yawn) .
Neuquen Patagonia Argentina.
Color: Intense ruby red.
Nose: Forward red fruits, raspberry, marmalade, floral.
Palate: Medium-bodied, round, well- balanced, vanilla, smoke.
Finish: Lingering finish.
Limited Series SelectionThe legacy of Encierra dates back to 1765. The Eyzaguirre-Echenique family was among the pioneers of wine-making in Chile. Miguel Echenique and his son Gabriel brought the first cuttings from France to the Colchagua Valley and set the standard for fine wine-making in this valley. They named their wine Encierra which is the Spanish word for "enclosure" after the small valley where their vineyards grow. In 1947, the family invested in state-of-the-art technology and constructed a new winery. In 1970, the family again up-graded and began to introduce new grape varieties and planted more acres of vines. The family and their team of experts believe that the key to quality wine production lies in the soil. They are committed to nurturing the land and giving back to it as much as possible to avoid future damage. Every bottle made at Encierra tells the story of many dedicated, passionate generations of wine making. Intense care and an acute eye for detail are made at every step of the winemaking process. From the soil, the vines, harvesting the fruit at the right time, blending, ageing and bottling; the family is involved every step of the way. The proof is in the pudding (I mean, the bottle). This 2002 Encierra Cabernet Sauvignon is hand-harvested and then aged 12 months in French oak. For added complexity, there are splashes of Carmenere, Merlot and Syrah added. The wine exudes a bright red burgundy color. The aromas are of dark fruit, spice, hints of cedar and blackcurrant. The palate is balanced, with complex flavors of plum, red berry, raisin, and integrated oak and soft tannins. The finish is long and elegant. This is a wine that will pair nicely with meats, rich sauces, and deep, after-dinner discussions. .
(Ka-bur-nay saw-veehn-yawn) .
Colchagua Valley Chile.
Color: Red burgundy.
Nose: Dark fruit, spice, hints of cedar, blackcurrant.
Palate: Complex flavors of plum, red berry, inte- grated oak.
Finish: Elegant finish.
Limited Series SelectionMerlot is a wine for all seasons and gets constant attention. Naturally fruitier than Cabernet Sauvignon, quicker to ripen, and easy to pronounce, its popularity knows no bounds. The 1980's brought a plethora of Merlot wine to the market. Some of it was so generic it could not be recognized as Merlot. Yet it maintained its reputation as a soft, fruity wine, easy to drink and easy on the budget. Kenneth Volk has been making wine for over thirty years and has seen trends come and go. He loves Merlot and makes Merlot from the best Merlot vines in California. Templeton and western portions of Paso Robles have consistently proven to be California's finest areas for growing merlot. Merlot needs a long growing season to develop fruit maturity. This area has warm daytime temperature for building fruit-driven grapes, while the cool mornings maintain acids and a low PH so important for Merlot. Under-ripe and over- cropped Merlot can lean toward smells of green beans and asparagus, Volk insists only on full-fruit maturity before harvesting to play down these vegetable qualities. "At Kenneth Volk Vineyards we believe that consistently complex, interesting wines are achieved through comprehensive and execution in the vineyard. The winemaking process should support and enhance the excellent flavor of well-tended grapes," says Kenneth. At Kenneth Volk Vineyards, their goal is to create multifaceted wines that are delicious to drink. We think he succeeded with this Merlot. His Merlot is a dark purple red color. The nose is fruit forward with plum, ripe berry, fig and mocha. The palate is full-bodied with soft, integrated tannins, tastes of plums, fig, mocha and lots of ripe berry fruit. This is a wine to be enjoyed anytime and will pair with beef dishes as well as pasta and chicken Kiev.
Paso Robles California.
Color: Dark purple red.
Nose: Plum, berry, fig, mocha.
Palate: Full-bodied, integrated oak, purple plums, fig, soft smooth tannins.
Finish: Rich lengthy finish