Archive for New Releases
A while back, a friend asked me to start digging around for interesting Washington state wines. He strongly felt, this is the time, as there is a whole, NEW generation of winemaking phenoms emerging in the Washington state wine scene AND taking it by storm. This whole scene reminds me of what unfolded in Paso Robles, Santa Barbara & the Anderson Valley, where a group of young bucks are looking to change the game. Furthermore, the Rhone varietal based reds can provocatively fill that opening between Pinot & Cabernet, in terms of weight & drama. Thankfully, the pursuit is making wines offering better natural balance without compromising depth & true character.
Today’s winetasting VINO was an opportunity to explore…AND hopefully have some fun along the way.
2012 Chateau Feuillet Petite Arvine
A VERY unique white wine from Valle D’Aosta at high altitudes & hand built stone terraces to hold the soils & vines in place. I believe that is why they planted vines too….so the roots would help hold the soil in place.
When I mentioned German wines, most people make funny faces in response. It has become very apparent to me, the words “German wines”, conjure up images of sweet, syrupy wines for many.
There are many things I would love to say about that, but we’ll save that discussion for another day. I would prefer to instead focus on the thought that ALL wines can be made dry, medium dry, medium sweet, sweet & dessert in style…….depending on what the winemaker wants to do…..whether it is Cabernet, Chardonnay, sparkling, red or white.
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.