Archive for New Releases
Mike Officer & his team are one of the VERY TOP producers of Zinfandel out of California today.. His are real formidable, highly acclaimed wines, that’s for sure, which are well worth seeking out.
–Zinfandel “Saitone Ranch” 2011—is another old vine vineyard (planted in 1895) in that Olivet Lane corridor. The 2011 is 92% Zinfandel & 8% “other grape varieties. The wine sees 16 months in oak (22% new) & bottled unfiltered & unfined.
–Zinfandel “Carlisle Vineyard” 2011—is his own ranch, planted in 1927 on Olivet Lane & organically farmed. The 2011 is 82% Zinfandel & 18% other grape varieties (38 in all). Wild yeast fermented, 16 months in oak (27% new), bottled unfiltered, unfined.
There has been a 2 to 3 year hiatus of us getting more of this wine. In reality, the production is just too small, especially in vintages like 2010 & 2011. Thankfully, we were able to get some 2012. The grapes come from a wind pounded hillside down in Monterey & we love how winemaker Eric Laumann is able to craft such a pretty, enticing, lush, rounded, wonderfully aromatic, food friendly white wine. We find these well executed, aromatic, refreshing white wines work their magic with contemporary fusion foods.
Here are some wines you might want to check out!
DOMAINE LA TOUR VIEILLE–Here is truly standout domaine from the Catalan region of southern France.
Here are some of the highlights from a recent Trade Tasting over on Kauai.
2012 Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc
This is joint project of superstar sommelier Eric Railsback & Tyler winemaker/owner Justin Willett. The Lieu Dit wines are stylistically much more like Loire Valley & this Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect example. The 2012 is sleek, highly refined, pure, minerally with more interesting-ness, minerality, length & rounded edges than one typically finds from most Californians. The grapes come from THREE different vineyard sites–Gassini, McGinley & Star Lane (sand, shale, gravel, clay, serpentine & rock soils). This wine is fermented in stainless steel & oak….& then aged in old oak. Kudos to Eric & Justin!!!
Just the other day we tasted 3 interesting Austrian wines you might want to consider. The first 2 come from Heidi Schrock. The 10 acre estate vineyard is located in the village of Rust (Burgenland), which is roughly 5 miles from the Hungarian border. The ampitheater of rolling, sandy, southfacing hillsides (with some clay & calcareous) near Lake Neusiedel traditionally result in rich, viscous wines.
Santorini is an ancient, very picturesque Greek island, with remarkable blue waters & breathtaking, panoramic views.
This is also the home of one of Greece’s finest white wines, which is produced from the indigenous Assyrtiko grape variety.
The vines are planted in volcanic soils, which have very little clay, resulting in wines of a distinct minerality. Furthermore, these soils, interestingly, are inhospitable to the phylloxera louse, which is why there is still a remarkable amount of VERY old vines scattered throughout the wild countryside.
Cheryle & I stopped by Saxum & the James Berry Vineyard recently. It was great to spend some time with winemaker Justin Smith again. He certainly has evolved into quite the superstar through his incredible Saxum wines.
It starts with the soil.
I must say, tasting through his 2011′s, they are really some of the best I have ever had from this winery. His 2011 “Bone Rock” was the single most memorable wine from Justin Smith I have had in all these years. The 2011′s are LONG….have great length with amazing minerality & buoyancy.
We have been been friends with Bruce & Barbara Neyers for a long time AND have been HUGE fans of their wines also for a long time. I distinctly & clearly remember at a Trade Wine tasting held at the Halekulani Hotel, Bruce came to me with a bottle of his 1992 Neyers Merlot in hand. It was that good! And, it still serves as a benchmark of what Californian Merlot can be.
I recently has an opportunity to sample 3 of their wines & walked away again VERY impressed with each.
2011 Neyers Chardonnay “304″
Several years back, I met Mark Tarlov, a movie executive/producer, who was launching a very comprehensive new wine project named Evening Land Vineyards. I remember being flat out astounded at how complex & multi layered this project really was, after hearing Mark unfold the portfolio. The grapes were coming from incredible pedigreed parcels out on the true Sonoma Coast (having purchased the Occidental Vineyard of Kistler fame, located on iconic Taylor Lane); Oregon, where they exclusively leased the highly revered Seven Springs Vineyard; AND some unique & interesting parcels from Burgundy, France which superstar winemaker (& their consultant) Dominique Lafon sourced. In addition, they cleared the land & planted a “dream” vineyard way beyond the Santa Rita Hills appellation western most boundary on a hillside teaming with silaceous clay soils & completely naked to a relentless, pounding sea wind.
Last Night at DK Steakhouse, we did yet another winetasting with the staff. being it is Summer time, we decided to show them some really interesting white wines from around the Mediterranean basin. Here were some of the standouts.
20% Grenache Blanc, 20% Grenache Gris, 20% Macabeo, 30%Vermentino, 10% Roussanne