October 2006 Newsletter
Did you know that nearly two billion dollars worth of Halloween candy is sold every year in the United States? Not to worry, you will never spend that much on wine and this month's selections are just as delicious and more so, than any candy.
2005, Bliss, Chardonnay,
Music has been a part of the Bliss family for three generations. They imparted a love of music in their three daughters that has been passed down. Whether it's classical, country or jazz, it sets the stage. "It evokes emotions. The music you love with a glass of wine, a good meal and friends."
How low would you go for a great glass of wine? We
go all the way to the south of the world to bring you another great wine from "del fin del mundo" the end of the world. Fresh and fruity with no signs of oak, this is a wine to drink now with your favorite friends and beef dishes.
2001, Finca Koch,
At Finca Koch, they have a passion for wine. They love the excitement of each vintage and the product it produces. They want to share their joy with you and hope that their wine provides you with many enjoyable moments.
2005, Grayson, Merlot,
Paso Robles, California
The team at Grayson invites you to experience first-rate quality wine at incredibly reasonable pricing. This is Paso Robles at its red-wine best, soft and full of high-priced lus¬ciousness. It is irresistible and a super value.
Irv Bliss had no idea in 1943 that his dream of making wine would turn into a world-class winery. Now, three generations later, the wines have won medals in competitions all over the country and just keep getting better and better. Grape vines, both producing world-quality fruit, now join acres of fig trees.
Grapes were first planted in Mendocino in the 1850's. Prohibition nearly stopped Mendocino's wine trade. The "wine boom", beginning in the 1960's, inspired many growers to Mendocino again. Old vineyards were revived and new vineyards were planted. Local wineries began to make wine with grapes that before were shipped to Sonoma for blending. Today, Mendocino vineyards and wineries prosper as the special quality if its wines are becoming more popular.
Mendocino County is on the Pacific Coast and is greatly influenced by the water. Winds from the ocean in the summer are cool and in the winter, they bring rain. Because of the mountain and valley terrain, there are many different microclimates. Anderson Valley is the coolest, Potters Valley, Yorkville Highlands and Redwood Valley are
moderately warm and Hopland and Ukiah are the warmest regions. Bliss Vineyards is in south Hopland where the summers are hot and dry with clear, cool nights; this combination produces very ripe fruit with good acidity. This southern Mendocino growing area is called Sanel Valley and surrounds the town of Hopland on the Russian River, just before it moves through a narrow canyon south in Sonoma County. Most Sanel Valley vineyards are on the river plain. The BATF is currently in discussion to establish this region as an Approved Viticultural Area.
The grapes for Bliss Chardonnay were all hand-picked and whole cluster pressed. All fermentation and ageing was done in stainless steel. Winemaker Fred Nickel who has over 20 years in the industry says, "Crafting fine wine means using grapes of the highest quality." The wine pours a clear, honey hue. The nose is soft and shy with green apple, pear and butter. On the palate it is medium-bodied, very smooth, and warm with butterscotch, baked apple, pear. It finishes soft and lengthy. Music played an important part in the life of Iry Bliss. He urges you to uncork the bottle, turn on some music and enjoy.
Clear, honey hue
Soft, green apple,
Classic, age worthy
The word 'Patagonia', like Mandalay or Timbuktu, has lodged itself in the Western imagination as a word meaning the ultimate, the very point beyond which no one can go. Patagonia is the most southern wine growing region in the world. It is emerging as Argentina's new star for premium vines and wines. The government has also become involved by securing land for grape growing only so oil and natural gas companies cannot work or build there. Within Patagonia, the Neuquen region has its leading producer, Bodega del Fin Del Mundo. Neuquen is in northern Patagonia and is basically a desert. Hot days and cool nights are ideal for grape growing. The lack of water to the sandy soil was a problem until each acre was outfitted with a mile's worth of irrigation piping which brings water from the Neuquen River and snowmelt for the Andes Mountains. This irrigation system is state-of-the-art and is computerized so each vine row receives the right amount of water for their needs. The winds are constant and keep the vines
pest-free, but they can be damaging to the vines so poplar trees were planted to break the strong winds that blow through the area. With this kind of care, attention, and financial investment, the dedicated staff make every effort to produce wine that is worthy of all their ambitions. It has paid off with more than 100 awards at competitions throughout the world.
All the grapes are hand-harvested and handled gently from the field to the stainless steel fermentation tanks. Winemaker Marcelos Miras is serious, intelligent and resourceful. His goal is to make wine that is delicious as well as affordable. He has certainly succeeded with this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The color is a deep ruby red. The nose is aggressive with red berries, cassis, mulberry and spice. The palate is fruity, full-bodied with soft tannins, round and well-balanced. The stainless steel tank fer-mentation give the wine a lightness and fresh, clean finish. This is a great wine to drink now with venison, beef and burgers or within the next 2-3 years.
Deep ruby red
Small red fruits,
fruity, well balanced,
dark red berry fruit
Limited Series Selection
Argentina is the fifth largest wine making producer in the world. The region lies between the 22nd and 42nd southern parallels along the foothills of the Andes mountain range. The region boasts a variety of climates and soils but mostly the area is dry and arid with low levels of rain and humidity. This low rainfall makes it necessary for irrigation which is mainly from water from the mountain rivers that descend the Andes. The sunny days and deep soils of the Mendoza region make it an oasis of high wine-making quality.
Mendoza is divided into 5 wine regions and each of these is subdivided into many sub regions and climates. Finca Koch is located in the De Uco Valley which is the highest in altitude and situated at the 34 degree south latitude. The wide temperature ranges in this pocket of land help the red varietals develop their tannins and good color.
Alfredo Koch started his winery in 1950 and named it
"La Juanita" for his wife Mary Jane. Today, his grandson Alfredo Luis and his wife, continue his traditions with passion along with new advances in winemaking. Their wines have garnered silver and gold medals in wine competitions in Europe and the United States. The Koch vineyards were the first in Argentina to be certified organic, without the use of pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. The Tupungato vineyards for this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon are 3,300 feet above sea level. The grapes were aged in 60% French Alliers oak and 40% American oak.
The color is an intense, deep ruby red.
The nose is complex with cassis, dark chocolate, blackberries and roasted grain. The palate is full¬-bodied, balanced with well-i-ntegrated tannins and fruit flavors of ripe blackberries and dark spice. The finish is soft and long. This is an ideal match with beef dishes and strong cheeses.
Soft long finish
Limited Series Selection
Paso Robles is, and some would say, has emerged as a leader in California viticulture. Paso Robles is the largest AVA, American Viticultural Area, in San Luis Obispo County. It has 18,500 acres under vine and is famous for its structured Cabernet Sauvignon and ultra-supple Merlot grapes. The Santa Lucia mountain range shelters the region from the fog that cools the southern San Luis Obispo AVAs. The soil here is a mix of calcareous and siliceous rock. The daytime summer temperatures are often over 90 degrees and in the evening, the vines are cooled by ocean breezes that come down the eastern mountain slopes. These cool breezes help maintain the grapes acidity levels.
Grayson Cellars has many decades of winemaking skills and artistry in the Napa Valley of California. The founders believe that they can use these talents to create some of the highest quality wine at incredibly reasonable 'by-the-glass' prices. They want to make better bottles of wine at better prices than what's generally in the market right now. They believe that some
of these wines can be made with grapes sourced from Paso Robles. These grapes are then produced into delicious, note-worthy wines at their state-of-the-art facility in Napa Valley. The wines are carefully crafted by winemaker, Brian Mox. Brian began his career in Electrical Engineering, but was drawn to the culinary arts and then to the wine-making craft. He graduated UC Davis and went on to his PhD studies for viticulture. Brian has been making wine since 1990. He has left his mark on such great wines as Laird Cellars, Pine Ridge, Etude, Crichton Hall, Stonegate, Riboli Family Estate and several others.
Mox says, "We insist on using only the highest quality grapes for Grayson wines."
His Merlot is a beautiful purple garnet color. The nose is bright with black cherry, raspberry, cinnamon spice and toasty oak. The Flavors are soft and fruity with a touch of earth, medium-bodied laced with soft, smooth tannins and a Lingering equally soft finish. It is ready to enjoy now but will keep a few years in your cellar as well.
Rich purple garnet
Black cherry, toasty,
oak, cinnamon spice
jammy, earthy fruit
Soft lingering finish
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