Archive for March, 2013
As VINO regulars well know by now, we are HUGE fans of winemaker Fred Scherrer & his wines. Fred epitomizes the concept of artisan, handcrafted & boutique, as he is essentially a one man show.
Interestingly, we have found over the years, it is hard to find a winemaker/winery who excels at 1 grape variety…..much less Fred excelling at 5 or 6! Yes, his are wines to search out for…..AND they do get better with age…..even his Zinfandels.
Ric Forman is one of the long time, superstar winemakers out of the Napa Valley. I believe his career has now spanned 6 decades. I first tasted his work when he was making the wines at Sterling, starting in 1969. I can tell you first hand his Cabernet based wines were standouts even then.
After a stint at Newton & many different consulting projects, Ric decide to make his own wines under his own label.
Being a highly revered winemaker in the Napa Valley, Ric finally chose his site atop a knoll, just below & contiguous with Howell Mountain.
Fritz Haag produces truly special wines, which combine power, breed & finesse with remarkable ethereal-ness, grandeur, amazing purity & impeccable balance. I try to buy them every year I can, as it is always at the top of my list in particular his Brauneberger Juffer & Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr wines.
Here is what a friend wrote, which better explains their sites–”The classified, top locations of Brauneberger Juffer and Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr extend for about 2 km on the steep, left bank of the Mosel opposite the village of Brauneberg. At present, the estate owns the largest and best portion of the Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenur. In addition, the estate also owns the best parts of the Brauneberger Juffer. All sites are 100% Riesling.
What is currently in fashion, wine wise, is BIG, lavish, opulent, much more forward, red, bordering inkywines…..AND the media spends quite a bit of attention & copy in their publications accordingly. If you think about it, that’s what really sells copy, after all, which is the real intent.
Even when we do winetastings at VINO, it is the “Big Red” tastings which draw the most attention & therefore attendance.
Well, as much time as we may spend ooohing & awe-ing over the 96 pointers, we need to spend even more time finding & featuring well made, interesting, lighter, much more delicious, food friendly styles of wines. Here are 5.
Burgundy is a specific, geographically delimited area of France. It starts in the north with & around Chablis….heads south….to the Cote d’Or (further broken down to the Cote de Nuits & Cote de Beaune in the south)…..down to Cote Chalonnaise….the Maconnais….& finally Beaujolais….with some other, smaller ones in between.
For the most part, Chardonnay & Pinot Noir are the star grape varieties, which can produce something VERY special in the very finest pockets of the region’s Kimmeridgian limestone soils.
The resulting wines are really like no other. Here is recent staff training we did to show our staff how different red Burgundies can be.
As VINO regulars well know, our 2 favorite Chianti wines year in & year out are produced by Fontodi & Felsina Berardenga. A few weeks ago we were treated to some of Fontodi’s wines, which finally came to the Islands (at least legally) after 30 years of trying. The wines made the wait seem worth it.
We were also able to get tiny amounts of Felsina Berardenga wines a few years back.
This iconic Chianti estate is located in the southeastern corner of Tuscany, on the edge bordering Colli Senesi. Their estate is comprised of many parcels, all roughly between 320 to 450 meter elevation with a complex matrix of rocky quartz, calcareous alberese, sandstone & small pebbles soils.
What a fabulous winetasting we had this past Saturday on the Island of Maui. Here were some of the highlights/new releases.
2010 Au Bon Climat Chardonnays
I have been a fan of Au Bon Climat wines for many, many years. Owner/winemaker Jim Clendenen championed the Santa Barbara appellation & helped usher its wines on to the world stage.
From Emme’s Island Moments TV Special–”Local Grinds”
Chefs Russell Siu, Jean Marie Josselin, Alan Wong, Emme Tomimbang & Roy Yamaguchi
Renato Ratti (Barolo)
Chef Celestino Drago
Chef Norman Van Aken
Superstar Farmer, Richard Ha & Chef Alan Wong
Winemaker Fred Scherrer & Superstar Master Sommelier Larry Stone
Gary Burk (Costa de Oro), Nunzio Alioto (Master Sommelier & my best friend), Justin Willett (Tyler/Lieu Dit); Chef DK Kodama, Rich Molino & James Ontiveros (Native9/Alta Maria/Autonom)
2010 Cantina Terlan Pinot Bianco
One amazing pairing is this dry, riveting, “bright eyed & bushy” tailed Pinot Bianco from hills of Italy’s Alto Adige. These kinds of wonderfully aromatic white wines, especially those with such crip, refreshing acidity works wonders.
Terlano is a growers’ cooperative (founded in 1893) up in the alpine peaks of south Tyrol, which is the northernmost province of Italy. The soil here is red porphyry (volcanic origin), rich in quartz & feldspar, with a topsoil of coarse silaceous stone & sand.