Archive for White
The highly acclaimed Durell Vineyard was “an old cattle ranch at the base of the southwestern hills of Sonoma Valley, which stretches across 3 appellations–Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Coast & Carneros“. Ed Durell was the original owner (1979) but sold it to the Price family in 1998.
The vineyard is 30 miles away from the Pacific Ocean (west)…..10 miles from the northern reaches of San Francisco Bay (south)…..& to the north a 2400 mountain.
Geologically, the soils are rocky-clay-loam. Yes, this vineyard is well renown for its rocks….which many of its winemaking fans say creates a distinct stoniness in the resulting wine.
Because of our VINO restaurant, we are always searching for tasty, interesting, food friendly Mediterranean white wines which will work with our foods. Easier said than done. Here are 4 of our recent “finds”.
This is Vermentino grown in the rugged, unhospitable, remote terrain of Cap Corse on the isle of Corsica. Cap Corse, a largely isolated and thinly populated peninsula at the top of Corsica, sits like a finger pointing up at Genova, its former colonial ruler. The Genovese landed on the Cap in the 14th century and from there soon conquered the entire island. Little has changed at the domaine since it began, and it is still Michel who works the vines and makes the wines on his own as he has done for nearly six decades.
Yes, we had yet another BYOB dinner, where the participants brought some amazing older wines. Here are some of the highlights.
1999 Raveneau Chablis Premier Cru “Butteaux”
Without a doubt, Raveneau produces some of the purest, most transparent Chardonnays in the world. Because the wines see some oak, it really does take a few years of bottle age for the true terroir to once again really express itself, as this 1999 deftly displayed. Everything is now in totally harmony & I really loved the riveting, breathtakingly ethereal, sea shell-y minerality. My only other comment is drink it up….why wait. Life is just too short.
In case you didn’t know, my partner DK & I have 8 restaurants here in Hawaii. 5 of them feature contemporary Asian foods. Because of that, we went out & created THREE German white wines which would better work with our foods. One is dry…..one is medium dry & the other slightly sweet, fruity & lower in alcohol. Each one is from a different winegrowing region & features a different star winemaker. For me, it really is like a “dream” team.
Bruce & Barbara Neyers purchased their 40 acre ConnValley vineyard in 1988. The estate ranges from 400 feet to 1000 feet elevation & has several soil profiles. They first planted Merlot in the basalt (compacted volcanic ash) soils. They first planted cabernet in 1996. The high slope parcel was only recently dynamited & then also planted to Cabernet (where in 2005 their AME bottling was produced from). The vineyard is farmed organically & sustainably. Their other superstar vineyard source, is Il Novillero.
2010 Chardonnay ‘El Novillero’ –
The Haarts own roughly 7.5 hectares of vineyards in Piesport–4.5 in Goldtropfchen (soft, splintered gray/blue slate) , 1 hectare in Grafenberg (red slate) & .4 hectares in Domherr (deeper, finer soils from erosion). In addition they own .3 hectares in their monopole Kreuzwingert (big stones/clay soils, cooler microclimate, which is actually a parcel in the Goldtropfchen vineyard) & .3 hectares in Wintricher Ohligsberg (big stones/hard blue slate with quartz).
Some of our absolute favorite Rieslings out of Germany come from Bert Selbach & Dr F Weins-Pruem.
Bert is a descendent of the iconic Pruem family of the Mosel River region & therefore has small but cherished holdings in the top vineyards above the towns of Wehlen, Graach, Urzig & Erden.
One of his showstoppers comes from a 1 hectare parcel in the great Wehlener Sonnenuhr Vineyard which results in wines of great filigree, lots of riveting minerality & breathtaking refinement, especially special because of his style of winemaking.
In a tasting today, we were fortunate to sample 3 fabulous 2010 Premier Cru white Burgundies from Domaine Comtesse Bernard de Chérisey.
Based in the relatively unknown hamlet of Blagny, which is located higher up the slope between Meursault & Puligny Montrachet…..the combination of this higher elevation (& cooler growing conditions), their resounding high mineral parcels & the winemaking skill of of Laurent make for some very interesting, unique, compelling wines which truly standout in my mind…..in a “throw back” style reminiscent of the way it was. Needless to say, eventhough I have tasted only a few vintages, I am all in with these wines.
By Chantal Sarrazin
A drop of white in an ocean of rosé: the image of Cassis is deeply entrenched. Influenced by the Mediterranean climate, these white wines are infused with minerality drawn from the clay and limestone soil. At Clos Sainte-Magdeleine, this feature is amplified by the élevage.
Recently we did a staff training down at our Sansei Waikiki & DK Steakhouse restaurants on German wines, which I thought you might find interesting as well.
Back in the old days, we were lucky to get 2 or 3 vintages out of 10 which fully ripened grapes in Germany….that’s how marginal of a wine growing region this country really was. Now because of the warming of our planet, since 1988, we have quite a bevvy of superb vintages with very few exceptions! One of the side effects from the warmer growing conditions, is a growing amount of “other” grape varieties such as Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir & even Cabernet Sauvignon now popping up in the most unpredictable places.