November 2006 Newsletter
Wines evaluated last month: 121
Rejected: 95 Approved: 26 Selected: 6
November comes, November goes, With the last red berries, and the first white snows. With night coming early, and dawn coming late, ice in the bucket and frost by the gate. The fires burn and the kettles sing, and earth sinks to rest until next spring.
Four generations of passion and grape growing have gone into making Kinderwood Merlot. The winemakers at San Antonio handcraft each wine using the most modern equipment blended with family experience and tradition.
2006, Flagtree, Sauvignon
Blanc / Chardonnay.
The practice of blending different varietals to make a fine wine is hardly new.
The results can be greater than the sum of its parts. This white wine made with passion and finesse is a work of art from one of the most exciting wine regions of the decade.
2003, La Filice, Syrah.
Paso Robles, California
La Filice Winery is operated by a family whose roots go back 70 years in California. Their approach is to pick grapes from the greatest vineyards in the Central Coast, and then let nature make the wine. Handcrafted and delicious!
2003 Red Horse Ranch,
Merlot. Central Coast,
Made for casual enjoyment, Red Horse Ranch Merlot has fruit-forward, bold, rich flavors that make you go back to the glass again and again. Celebrate the "way of the west" with this limited production Merlot.
The winemaking at San Antonio Winery has spanned four generations, beginning with Santo Cambianica in 1917. Today the entire family is involved in an enterprise built on lifetimes of devotion to making great drinking wines. The family has vineyards in select coastal regions of California renowned for their excellent grapes. Some of these properties are in Napa Valley along the Silverado Trail, Rancho Soledad, El Camino Real, Loma Vista, and Paso Robles. The winemakers use techniques that express the individual flavors of each parcel of land, relying on the family's experience while embracing new viticulture and winemaking methods.
Anthony Riboli is the first family member to receive a degree in winemaking and grape growing from U.C. Davis. He took the books from the classroom into the vineyards with innovations such as clonal selections, crop thinning and deficit irrigation. But, he claims his greatest pleasure is working with his father and grandfather in the winery.
Arnaud Debons graduated from the winemaking
program at the University of Toulouse in France. He worked in Bordeaux and Cahors before deciding to move to the United States to challenge his talents. He assisted at Newton Vineyards before joining the winemaking team at San Antonio. He is enthusiastic, energetic and committed to the high standards set before him.
Kinderwood Merlot is a premium wine from the California Coastal appella¬tion. Blended from many vineyards throughout the area, the grapes are selected for their premium ripeness and consistency. Kinderwood Merlot is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks to preserve the bright fruit aromas and then it is barrel aged for complexity and flavor.
The wine pours a deep purple color. The aromas greet you with smells of blackberry, spice, ripe fruit, and a hint of vanilla. The palate is dry, soft, and full of plum, black currants, and dark fruit flavors. The finish is smooth and silky. This wine is a perfect match with grilled beef, hamburgers, and autumn stew.
ripe fruit, vanilla
dry, plum, black
currants, dark fruit
Smooth silky finish
Many wine drinkers believe that Argentina's wine industry is young, yet in truth Argentina has been making wines for hundreds of years. In the mid 16th century Spanish settlers brought vinifera vines to the foothills of the Andes Mountains. For years the local people enjoyed these basic, common red wines with their robust, regional beef dishes. In 1816 after Argentina achieved independence from Spain, a wave of European immigrants brought with them a taste for more sophisticated wines. Argentina's School of Agriculture was founded in 1853, and the headmaster, Frenchman Miguel Pouget, introduced French varietals, vine cutting techniques, and new winemaking methods. By the end of the 1800s Argentina had invested in irrigation projects that prepared the land for today's modern viticulture. Today Argentina produces wines of world-class quality. Because land and labor in Argentina are relatively inexpensive, consumers can look to Argentina for great tasting wines of remarkable value.
In the far south of Argentina, Patagonia is a wine growing
region bursting with pride for its wines. The vineyards in the province Neuquen enjoy a cool southerly climate with a long sunny growing season, with chalky soils. Growing Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in a cool, sunny climate with chalk soil seems to work in Burgundy and the Loire Valley, and it works well in this area, too.
At the Bodega del Fin del Mundo, they are passionate about this area, and Winemaker Marcelo Miras is proud of the blend he has created from the fruits of the land. He found that the cool climate Chardonnay gives depth and balance to the delicate flavors of the Sauvignon Blanc. This is not a common blend, yet it is delicious. The wine has won Silver Medals in Argentina and we're certain that you'll want to give it your own medal of distinction.
Flagtree has a clear yellow color with lime highlights. The nose is fresh and forward with citrus, green herbs, cilantro, and a touch of honey. The palate is soft, delicate, and rich with citrus fruit and a touch of creamy butter. The finish is soft and lingering. Marcelo loves this wine with tuna tartar. Enjoy!
Yellow with lime
green herbs, honey
Soft and lingering
Limited Series Selection
Paso Robles is becoming known as the region in California with the most potential for producing many different high quality wines. It's located in the center of California's Central Coast, just 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The warm daytime temperatures drop dramatically each night, and the autumn rains fall after harvest—both of these characteristics of the local climate allow the grapes to fully ripen while maintaining acidity. La Filice Winery obtains its premium grapes from Paso Robles. The winery has located vineyards with soil profiles and sun exposure perfect for growing Syrah.
In the 1930s the Filice family acquired the San Martin Winery in the Santa Clara Valley, California. For more than forty years, their wines won numerous awards. The winery was sold in 1973. However, Ed Filice continued the family's winemaking tradition. In 1986 he and his cousin Tim Filice made wine in a garage. Their wines kept getting
better and better, so fourteen years later they established La Filice Winery. Their approach to winemaking is very traditional; "Great wine is made in the vineyard," they believe. They want to express the varietal character of the grape from the particular vineyard site and vintage.
La Filice Syrah is hand crafted from harvest to bottling. This artisan approach is only possible on a small scale with a huge commitment to quality. Each lot was vinified and aged separately before blending. The oak is a combination of new and used Yugoslavian and French. There are less than 300 cases of this wine, so you know it's special. The color is a deep, garnet-crimson. The nose is intriguing with earthy smells, dark black cherry, oak and smoke. The palate is full-bodied, yet soft with ripe fruit and integrated tannins. The finish is a lengthy mouthful of fruit. You could sip this with aged cheeses and flavorful tapas as well as more robust dishes.
Earth, dark black
berry, smoke, oak
ripe fruit, integrated
Lengthy fruity finish
Limited Series Selection
The identity of any wine region is inextricably linked to its history. Honoring the pioneering efforts of those who settled and tamed the rugged terrain of the Central Coast, Silver Stone Winery introduces Red Horse Ranch. Red Horse Ranch wines are sourced from the finest Central Coast grapes available. They are crafted to express the land in which they are grown. They are all made in small batches, hand harvested and made in limited amounts.
Red Horse Ranch owner and winemaker Dan Kleck has been making wine for 29 years. He began in the mid 1970s making wine in the Long Island region of New York. He has a preference for cool climate growing seasons. He and his wife, Debra moved to California when he went to work for Jess Jackson and Kendall-Jackson. He then realized the potential of the vineyards in Monterey and Santa
Barbara. He founded his winery in 1997 with one mission: "to hand-craft wine from key coastal appellations, focusing on unique growing sites." Dan Kleck has a gift for capturing the intricate nuances of the vineyard and the grape in each wine he makes. His wines are rich and approachable.
The Red Horse Ranch Merlot is a wonderful blend of 88% Merlot and 12% Petit Sirah. Just when you thought you've had enough Merlot¬taste the Red Horse Ranch with that splash of Petit Sirah and you'll be hooked. The wine pours a rich purple garnet color. The nose is assertive with damson plums, blueberry, chocolate, and red currants. True to form, the palate is smooth and soft with rich flavors of black fruit, spice and perfectly balanced tannins. The finish is smooth with a hint of vanilla. It's a great wine to pair with steak, pasta Bolognese and burgers.
Rich purple garnet
black fruit, cedar,
Smooth with a hint