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July Wines

 

Red Wines


Cline Vineyards

Pinot Noir, Sonoma County

Why I chose this wine for you:
Pinot Noir is one of the most difficult-to-find high quality varietals below $30. The Cline Family, however, has figured out how to make a stellar wine at just below this price point that tastes elegant and ripe, without being overdone.

Location:
The Clines were early pioneers in southern Sonoma County planting Pinot Noir vines almost 20 years ago. The location that Fred Cline selected benefits from a coastal mountain opening that spans from the Pacific Ocean, through the town of Petaluma and onto the San Pablo Bay. In summer, vines experience foggy mornings and cooling evenings balanced by sun-drenched warm afternoons. These growing conditions allow the fruit to hang longer, fully ripen and mature, which adds bright acidity and intense flavors.

Winemaking:
Grapes were de-stemmed and pumped directly to stainless steel fermentation tanks. Indigenous yeast was relied upon to begin fermentation. The “cap” which was made up of grape solids was pumped twice a day to extract color and flavor, then pressed shortly after dryness. The wine settled in a stainless-steel tank then racked and aged for 5-10 months on 40% new French medium- toasted oak, in addition to a small amount of American and Eastern European oak.

Tasting:
Pinot Noir has sumptuous flavors of raspberry, dark chocolate and lilacs, with subtle hints of vanilla and toasted oak.

Food Paring:
This is the perfect wine for lamb, duck or braised meats.

Langmeil Offspring

Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley, Australia

Why I chose this wine for you:
High-quality Cabernet Sauvignon has gone up so much in price that as a buyer I am forced to look for new sources of this grape. Luckily, on my last trip to Australia, I was able to create a special blend from the Barossa with the Lindner family.

Location:
This wine is sourced from a group of vineyards in the Barossa Valley. The vines are own-rooted, allowing much extraction of fruit even at a young vine age. The soil in the area is a red clay over limestone, perfect for extracting minerality and character from Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winemaking:
The grapes were picked in the morning to prevent an early start to fermentation. After a quick maceration, alcoholic fermentation began with inoculation of yeast. The wine was fermented to completion, drained off the gross lees and aged in French Barrels (10% new). After 18 months in oak, the wine was bottled where it ages for six more months before release.

Tasting:
The wine showcases lifted blueberry, black currant and black olive on the nose, with cedar and hints of licorice and sweet spice adding to the complexity. Bright and rich berry fruits coat the palate and mingle with brambly spice, hints of black olive and licorice.

Food Paring:
This Cabernet Sauvignon is a great pairing with mushroom risotto, braised beef, ribs or duck.

Frei Brothers

Zinfandel, Sonoma County, California

Why I chose this wine for you:
Sonoma County has been leading the resurgence for elegant, lower alcohol Zinfandels. This Frei Brothers is a good example of how elegant Zinfandel can be when made in a more restrained style.

Location:
The Dry Creek Valley (where most of this Zinfandel hails from) is characterized by warm days, cool nights and a long and balanced growing season, ideal for Zinfandel. The mature vineyards that this wine is sourced from create wines with density and complexity but also feature finesse and elegance.

Winemaking:
The grapes for our Zinfandel were gently destemmed, but not crushed, allowing a significant amount of whole berries in fermentation. The wine was cold-soaked to extract intense color and flavor from the grapes before primary fermentation. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged on its
lees to enhance the mouthfeel.

Tasting:
This wine shows concentrated flavors of mixed berry compote and plum, melded with hints of jam and toasty oak—framed by rustic tannins and a lingering finish.

Food Paring:
Zinfandel typically does best paired with meat-based dishes. For this wine, a spaghetti with meat sauce would be a great combination.

E. Guigal

Côtes du Rhône Red, Rhône Valley, France

Why I chose this wine for you:
E. Guigal is one of the iconic producers in France. They make some of the best Syrah in the world from Chateau d’Ampuis. The thing that I most like about the winery is that they also make some great value driven wines like this Côtes du Rhône Rouge.

Location:
Sourcing is from various vineyards throughout the Rhône region of France. Because Guigal makes so many different productions of Rhône wines, they often need to declassify barrels. That means that this wine often has much more expensive sourcing than the Côtes du Rhône name would suggest.

Winemaking:
The wine was fermented in temperature controlled tanks to prevent oxidation and build aromatic complexity. The varietal makeup is 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre. Each lot was kept separately so that specific flavors could be isolated for the final blend. The wine was then aged 18 months in oak foudres.

Tasting:
Aromatically, the wine shows fresh fruits with red berries and spices. The palate is full, round and racy with smooth tannins.

Food Paring:
Serve this wine just a touch chilled, and it makes a perfect pairing with brie or camembert. It can also be a good pairing with cold meats.

 

White Wines


Bodegas La Caña

Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain

Why I chose this wine for you:
Albarino has gained lots of attention lately due to its fresh, flowery style. The La Caña is sourced from some of the best vineyards in Rias Baixas showcasing the salty minerality of the grape.

Location:
Rias Baixas has an Atlantic climate with humidity for the majority of the year with warm summers. The region is influenced by the gulf stream and therefore rarely has to deal with frost pressure. These grapes are dry-farmed due to the abundance of rain during the season.

Winemaking:
The wine is sand-harvested and stored in small baskets. 25% is fermented by indigenous yeast in French oak puncheons and demi-muids (500-600 L. barrels, respectively) to build layers on the palate. 75% is fermented in stainless steel tanks to retain freshness. The wine is then aged eight months on the lees to continue development of flavors on the palate.

Tasting:
This firm white delivers mineral, quinine and ginger flavors that show grip and focus, backed by noticeable tannins that give way to a smoky finish. More savory than fruity, though peach and quince are in the mix. Distinctive. Drink now through 2022.”
-Thomas Matthews
Wine Spectator Magazine, Oct. 31st, 2018 Bodegas La Caña 2017, 91pts

Food Paring:
The minerality and acidity in this wine make it a great pairing with light fish dishes.

Starmont

Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Why I chose this wine for you:
Jeff Crawford is an up-and-coming winemaker in Napa crafting stunning cool climate wines with a sense of place.

Location:
By sourcing this Sauvignon Blanc from different regions of the Napa Valley, each component contributes its own distinct expression to the final blend. Sauvignon Blanc is famously expressive of the land on which it is grown with each site providing a different aspect of the varietal.

Winemaking:
After being handpicked and sorted, 95% of the fruit was whole cluster pressed and the rest de-stemmed with the juice cold-soaked with the skins for 24 hours before being pressed. Fermentation was in a combination of stainless steel tanks (54%) and neutral French oak barrels (46%). The wine was aged five months in neutral French oak barrels and will continue to develop for 2-3 years from vintage.

Tasting:
The wine shows loads of complexity on the nose with nice fresh notes (lime leaf and lemongrass), citrus notes (key lime), floral notes (citrus blossom), and tropical notes (guava, lychee, pineapple). On the palate, the wine is racy and bright.

Food Paring:
This Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect pairing with light fish dishes like halibut or cod, finished with lemon.

Hecht & Bannier

Côtes de Provence, Rose – France

Why I chose this wine for you:
After taking a recent trip to Aix-en-Provence, I was able to meet with one of the true innovators of Southern France, Gregory Hecht. A relatively new négociant, he and his partner Francois Bannier have a passion for making outstanding Rose from Provence and Languedoc.

Location:
The selections for this wine are from clay-limestone soils of the cooler parts of the upper Provence vineyards. The higher altitudes allow maturity without excessive sugars. The blend is completed with grapes from the limestone foothills of Montagne Sainte Victoire, whose wines are marked by a vivacious and persistent minerality. Fresh Cinsault planted a few meters from the Mediterranean Sea in La Londe des Maures are introduced to bring a subtle salty and anise expression.

Winemaking:
Vines are harvested at night between 3 am and 9 am to avoid oxidation and to preserve all of the fresh characteristics of the terroir and varietal. Grenache and Syrah are macerated together so that their personalities and qualities intermingle. The reductive character of Syrah balances beautifully with the oxidative natural character of Grenache. The wine is then aged in a combination of concrete and stainless steel tanks.

Tasting:
This is a Provence rosé of immense charm and minerality, redolent of fennel, anise and purple flowers. On the palate, there is an elegant strawberry and watermelon character that finishes with just a touch of tannins.

Food Paring:
This wine pairs well with fresh fruit, crackers and strawberry compote.

Famille Hugel Cuvee Gentil

White Blend – Alsace, France

Why I chose this wine for you:
One of the oldest wineries in France, the Hugel Family has been making wine since the 17th century. This white blend showcases their tremendous knowledge and talent for winemaking, but won’t break the bank.

Location:
Produced exclusively from hand-harvested grapes in clay and limestone vineyards in a dozen of the best localities in and around Riquewihr. Gentil “Hugel” allies the suave, spicy flavour of Gewurztraminer, the body of Pinot Gris, the finesse of Riesling, the grapiness of Muscat and the refreshing character of both Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner.

Winemaking:
The grapes were taken in small tubs to the presses, which were filled by gravity. After pressing, the must was decanted for a few hours, then fermented in temperature-controlled vats (at 18 to 24°C). The wine was racked just once, before natural clarification during the winter. It was lightly filtered just before bottling, and the bottles were then aged in cellars until released for sale.

Tasting:
This is an aromatic wine with tremendous backbone. It is one of the rare white wines that could pair well with meats like boar or beef.

Food Paring:
Enjoyed ideally for an apéritif, this sparkling wine will also match well with fruit or cheeses like Taleggio.