- Q & A
January 2007 NewsletterWines evaluated last month: 155 Rejected: 125 Approved: 30 Selected: 8
"Ring out the old, ring in the new. Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true." LORD TENNYSONREGULAR SERIES
2005, Canyon Oaks, Merlot, California Canyon Oaks prides itself on selecting only the finest grapes for its bottlings. This Merlot is soft, fruit-driven, and rich with complex flavors. It is immediately appealing but will also keep a few years in your cellar.
2005,Alianca, Bairrada, Portugal The past few decades have seen great changes in the wines of Portugal. The country's most talented enologists are making wines of world-class stature. Using the finest indigenous grapes, Alianca introduces you to its note-worthy wine.
2003, Napa Redwood Estates, Cabernet Franc, Mount Veeder, California Owned since 1950 by the Yates family, Napa Redwoods Estates makes wine with passion and a dedication to tradition. Limited bottling makes this a wine that is truly special. Enjoy!
2002, Mandolin, Syrah, California Mandolin is a small winery that is generating considerable attention for its delicious wines and has the luxury of choosing from the top vineyard sources in California. The Mandolin is an instrument noted for its brilliant tone and great power and was the inspiration for the winery's name.
Domestic SelectionMerlot will always be in style and one of everyone's favorite wine styles. Soft and supple, Merlot is easy to drink and full of smooth elegant tannins. Canyon Oaks prides itself on selecting the best grapes from the finest vineyards from Arroyo Seco Vineyards in San Martin California. The team of winemakers blends from these select vineyards and use only the very best for the final cuvee. Their primary objective is to create wines that are fruit forward, friendly and easy to drink. Arroyo Seco Vineyards is one of the largest vineyard owning families in the world. They own over 12,000 acres throughout California from Napa to Sonoma to Monterey, in Paso Robles and the Central Valley. The 2005 Canyon Oaks Merlot was made with grapes grown in Monterey. This area is perfect for growing Merlot with its hot days and cool nights and plenty of fog. The soil is well-drained clay with pebbles. Merlot is generally used in Bordeaux as a blending grape. It softens the harsh tannins in Cabernet Sauvignon and adds a plush fruit accent. In the clay soil of Pomerol, Chateau Petrus produces a 100% Merlot that fetches some of the highest prices in the wine world. The influence of Merlot has spread all over the globe. Besides Bordeaux, it is planted in Southern France, Italy, Australia, Spain, and South America and, of course, California. It shines best when it is soft with fleshy cherry fruit, balanced tannins and structure. The 2005 Canyon Oaks fits the profile perfectly. The color is a dark red. The nose is forward and dense with bright cherry fruit, plums, complex floral and a hint of vanilla. The palate is medium bodied with red berry fruit and plum flavors, balanced acidity and soft integrated tannins. What a perfect wine for baked honey ham, roast beef, pasta with meat sauce and pizza. Enjoy!
Color: Dark red
Nose: Forward berry fruit, plum, toasted walnuts
Palate: Medium-bodied, balanced, complex flavors of plum and red berry
Finish: Toasty oak finish
Imported SelectionThe Bairrada region is located in the north of Portugal. This coastal region has been producing wine since the 10th century. Known mostly for its dark red wine made from the Baga grape, the British were its main consumers. In 1756, Portugal's Prime minister ordered that all the vineyards in Bairrada be uprooted to protect the authenticity of Port production. It seems that the Douro was losing its reputation to fraudulent Port practices. The first fraud was the use of elderberry bags being added to the wines to give them color. The second source was that other wines, especially Bairrada's, were being passed off as Douro wines. So Prime Minister Pombal uprooted all the elderberry trees and every vine in Bairrada. This was unfortunate for the region and it took them almost two centuries to bounce back. By the 1860's it had become the most important table wine region in the country. In 1887, it was the home of the first viticultural school, and in 1890, it made the country's first Method Champenoise sparkling wine. In 1979, it was awarded full DOC status. The region is now noted and respected for producing outstanding red, white and sparkling wines. Francisco Nuno Peres Jorge Antunes is one of the finest winemakers in Portugal. He is extremely educated first in Bordeaux and then in Portugal. He not only makes wine at Alianca but also consults at wineries throughout Portugal. "My aim is to make wines that give pleasure," he says, adding plaintively, 'other wise what is the point?" The grapes used are indigenous to Portugal. Arinto is known for its acidity and citrus flavors. Maria Gomes is a synonym for Fernao Pires and is the most planted white grape in Bairrada. It has a distinct herbal aroma. Bical is added for body and texture. The 2005 Alianca has a clean citrus color with hints of lime. The nose displays fruit forward smells of lemon, lime, green herbs and chicken soup. It is light bodied with refreshing acidity, flavors of peach, spice, and apples. It matches perfectly with fresh water fish, feta cheese, green olives and pasta with pesto.
Arinto, Maria Gomes, Bical
(ah-reen-to, mah-ree-ah go-mehz, bee-kal)
Color: Citrus with lime tinge
Nose: Forward fruit, herbal, lemon, floral
Palate: Crisp acidity, medium-bodied, fresh fruit, peach, spice, tangy acidity
Finish: Clean, crisp finish
Limited Series SelectionFor more than 55 years, the Yates family has owned and farmed their vineyards located at the end of beautiful Redwood Road in Mount Veeder, California. Mount Veeder is located in the hills between the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, nine miles west of the town of Napa. The appellation is best explained as 'Mount Veeder is a big hill in the Napa Valley. Napa Redwoods Estate is a big plot of land in which Castle Rock vineyard resides. This area became known as the "Redwoods" or "Napa Redwoods" in the early 1900's. Napa Redwoods Estate is run by a close-knit family. Michael Yates is chief winemaker and his eldest daughter, Whitney is assistant winemaker. Michael loves agriculture and specialized in trees and vines in college, always dreaming of someday running the family ranch. Whitney shares her father's love of the land and has a passion for hard work; coordinating and overseeing all aspects of the vineyard operations. The area of Mount Veeder has a temperate growing season. The grapes are hand-harvested. The mountain climate and volcanic soils grow grapes with incredible fruit and intense flavors. The 2003 vintage was challenging, however, it produced perfectly ripe grapes in the Yates family vineyard. The small yield made wines of complete ripeness and acidity. The Napa Redwoods Estate Cabernet Franc is a blend of 81% Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 7% Merlot. The color is a bright reddish purple. The nose opens with aromatics of plum, black cherry, spice and hints of French oak. The palate is rich and full-bodied with fruit flavors of plum, black cherry and a long lingering finish. This wine will drink beautifully now but will continue to evolve over the next 3 to 4 years. It will pair with all your winter stews and cheese courses.
Napa Redwoods Estates
Cabernet Franc Napa California
Color: Bright reddish purple
Nose: Plum, black cherry, liquorice
Palate: Full-bodied, rich, lush cassis, plums, spicy oak
Finish: Structured finish
Limited Series SelectionMandolin is a small winery with great ambitions. It began as the dream of two friends in the wine business, Brent Shortridge and Philip Zorn. Their goal is to make wines that emphasize balance and rich fruit flavors. Philip Zorn is a respected winemaker with international experience. Born in the United States and raised in Germany, Zorn attended the nation's top enology school. He returned to the U.S. in 1984 and worked for a number of noted wineries throughout California. This process gave him a keen understanding of winemaking in California. Brent Shortridge moved up the ranks from the cellar working with Andre Tchelistcheff to marketing to the boardroom as Marketing Director for the Napa Valley Vintners Association. He has a biochemistry background and his initial intentions were to be a medical doctor. They collaborated to create Mandolin with similar goals to create luxury wines at affordable prices. The pair set out to develop balanced wines with varietal character by sourcing grapes from only the top-notch vineyards in California. They pooled their resources and established relationships with growers and vintners to focus on making wine rather than accumulating land. The Mandolin wine-making style emphasizes balance and expressive fruit flavors, rather than sweetness or excessive oak. The 2002 Mandolin Syrah was mostly sourced from the rocky soils in the Monterey region of California. Syrah is a grape that loves heat and a long growing season to develop full ripeness. The color is a dark black red. The glass offers aromas of raspberry, black currant, and lush blueberry. It is rich, full-bodied, with integrated oak and balanced with ripe fresh fruit flavors. The finish is lingering. Serve with roasted meats and well-seasoned dishes.
Color: Dark black red
Nose: Blueberry, raspberry, black currant
Palate: Rich, full-bodied, integrated oak, lush fruit
Finish: Long elegant finish