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September Wines

 

Red Wines


Beronia Reserva

Rioja, Spain

Why I chose this wine for you:
Rioja continues to be one of the most underpriced regions in the world. Long aging requirements in oak, low-yielding viticulture and lots of hands-on winemaking at Beronia make it even more shocking that this wine is available at such a reasonable price.

Location:
Beronia sources all of their Tempranillo, Garnacha and Mazuelo (Carignan) from the Rioja Alta, the region with the highest altitude and coolest climate in the area. Not all of the grapes are sourced from the 25-hectare estate, but because Beronia is one of the most important vineyard managers in the region, they are able to find some great sourcing for this wine from old vine vineyard owners to supplement the plots they own.

Winemaking:
The grapes underwent pre-fermentation maceration followed by a slow and controlled fermentation with periodic pumping to extract color and aromas. Following this, the wine was aged in mixed oak barrels of American staves and French tops for 20 months to allow a paused and harmonic evolution. The American oak gave a sweet character of vanilla and coconut while the French oak gave spice—making for the perfect balance.

Tasting:
On the nose, the wine shows complex aromas of black fruits—above all, blackberry. There is a great bouquet of spices on the palate with cinnamon and hints of cedar on the finish. Overall, the wine is fresh, structured and complex with a long aftertaste.

Food Paring:
This is a bold wine that requires a bold food pairing. It would go great with a char-grilled tri-tip steak or BBQ lamb.

Klinker Brick

Zinfandel • Lodi, CA

Why I chose this wine for you:
Klinker Brick owns a number of the oldest Zinfandel vineyards in Lodi. They can therefore create wines at scale that show great balance and complexity without being overly alcoholic or extracted.

Location:
The winery owns 16 different vineyard sites across Lodi, with most being in the newly created Mokelume River AVA. Being the closest appellation to the ocean, it is the region that cools off first in the evening, leading to slightly lower alcohol wines with more freshness on the palate.

Winemaking:
The wines were hand-picked, sorted and then crushed. They were then cold-macerated for 24 hours before fermentation was begun in large oak vats and stainless steel. During fermentation, three pump-overs per day were employed to extract fruit and tannins. After fermentation was completed, the wine was pressed and racked off into barrels where it was aged for 10-12 months, depending on the vintage.

Tasting:
Bright and fruity, this wine has aromas and flavors of raspberry and blackberry with hints of toast and spice from the oak. The finish is long, smooth and elegant with lots of fruit extract.

Food Paring:
The bright fruit and freshness in this wine make it a pleasant pairing with pizza with salami, pepperoni and fresh tomato toppings.

House of Cards

Cab is King Cabernet Sauvignon • Napa County, CA

Why I chose this wine for you:
Tom Hinde and David Sayre have a long and very successful history all over the California winemaking map. House of Cards is their collaboration where they have declassified much more expensive wines from other projects to make a reasonably priced, high quality North Coast Cabernet.

Location:
This wine is sourced from a number of Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyards in Napa County. Because the sourcing is confidential, the sites cannot be revealed.

Winemaking:
The grapes were picked in the cool of the morning and cold-macerated for 1-2 days for color extraction. Early extraction with multiple pump-overs promoted great color and deep, smooth tannins. The wine then completed malolactic fermentation before blending. Complementary oak styles were chosen to enhance the wine’s aroma, flavor and texture.

Tasting:
The Cab is King Cabernet Sauvignon has a very nice balance between the fruit-driven styles of modern Napa wines and the earthy, herbal ones of the 1980’s and 1990’s. Dusty tannins frame a powerful mid-palate, layered with mouth-filling flavors of black cherry, leaf, mint and milk chocolate. Smooth and balanced, an elegant finesse defines the long and lingering finish.

Food Paring:
This Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious with chocolate but would also do well with roasted or grilled meats.

Joel Gott

Pinot Noir • Santa Barbara County, CA

Why I chose this wine for you:
Sara Gott continues to make some of the best appellation-specific wines on the market with her attention to detail and passion for creating high quality wines.

Location:
The fruit for this wine is from Santa Barbara County, because of its ideal conditions for growing elegant Pinot Noir with nuanced flavors. Vineyards closest to the coast in the Central Coast AVA experience cool, foggy mornings and warmer afternoons, bringing out well-developed fruit flavors and balanced acidity in the grapes. Fruit from vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills add spice and minerality to the wine. Santa Maria Valley experiences a cold and windy climate, delivering smaller yields and giving the wine its structure and tannins.

Winemaking:
The grapes were picked in the cool of the morning and cold-macerated for 3-4 days for color extraction. Open top fermenters were employed to prevent over-extraction and to help build aromatic complexity. The wine then completed malolactic fermentation in half new French oak barrels and half 1-2 year old barrels where it then aged for 10 months.

Tasting:
A complex wine with soft tannins and a velvety texture, the Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir opens with aromas of Rainier cherry, pomegranate, strawberry and ground cloves. Bright acidity frames the mid-palate, balanced by red fruit flavors, spice and a long, elegant finish.

Food Paring:
This is a ripe and luscious Pinot Noir, great with blue cheeses, triple crème bries or game hens.

 

White Wines


Enrico Sarafino

Gavi di Gavi • Italy

Why I chose this wine for you:
Serafino is one of the most respected producers of Barolo. The winery also puts tremendous effort into their white wines, with this Gavi di Gavi being one of the standout wines of the appellation.

Location:
This wine is made from Cortese grapes grown in the historical part of the Gavi village area in the heart of the appellation. The grapes are sourced from the best low-yielding vineyards, creating a wine with density of fruit extract but still plenty of fresh fruit aromas.

Winemaking:
The grapes were hand-harvested and whole cluster pressed while still cool. The fermentation was then completed in a neutral vessel between 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit to retain flowery aromas. The wine was aged on the fine lees for a couple of months to create a touch of creaminess on the palate, then removed off the lees in a tank to enhance the flowery aromas.

Tasting:
Fruity aromas of Meyer lemon and honeydew melon are balanced with herbal notes of thyme and almond skin. The wine has fresh, zippy acidity with lots of lemon and spice on the palate and a salty, mineral taste on the finish.

Food Paring:
This Cortese is a perfect combination with seafood-based dishes like Shrimp Scampi. It would also pair well with soft cheeses or a charcuterie plate.

Justin

Sauvignon Blanc • Central Coast, CA

Why I chose this wine for you:
The central coast is becoming one of the best locations for Sauvignon Blanc because of the diversity of climatic influences that create numerous aroma profiles. Justin Sauvignon Blanc is a great example of this trend and offers quite a value in this high-end white wine category.

Location:
This wine reflects the diversity of climates and soils in the Central Coast. These range from the cool, limestone-laden Templeton Gap area to the warmer, sandy, river-influenced eastern regions. The cooler regions build the citrus and flowery aromas whereas the warmer eastern regions showcase tropical fruit characters.

Winemaking:
The Sauvignon Blanc grapes were hand-picked to enhance the delicate tropical fruit flavor. A portion of the fruit went directly into the press as whole clusters. Juice was fermented at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks using a variety of yeast strains, selected to bring out the aroma and flavor profiles of Sauvignon Blanc. Malolactic fermentation was inhibited to retain acidity.

Tasting:
Bright, crisp and fresh, the flavors on the nose are of lime and grapefruit, accented by tropical fruit notes of pineapple and melon. The bright acidity means this wine is great to enjoy on a hot day, but it also has enough body to stand up to a main dish.

Food Paring:
This wine pairs great with pasta and pesto sauce or a fish dish that utilizes garlic as an important component.

Rodney Strong Chalk Hill

Chardonnay • Chalk Hill Vineyard, Sonoma County, CA

Why I chose this wine for you:
Rodney Strong has always been best known for their high quality red wine, but they have been making world-class Chardonnay from the Chalk Hill appellation since 1977. Because they own their own vineyard in the area, they have been able to keep the price reasonable in this otherwise very expensive region.

Location:
Rodney Strong was the first to see the potential of the Chalk Hill area as an exceptional place for Chardonnay. He planted his first Chardonnay vines here back in 1965. The ocean fog and chalky-white volcanic soils combine to produce distinctive Chardonnays that offer crisp citrus, mineral tones, lush floral notes and a rich, baked apple character.

Winemaking:
The wine was made from hand-picked fruit and whole, cluster-pressed grapes. Barrel fermentation in new and seasoned French oak added toasty vanilla and spice complexities. During the twelve months of barrel aging, the wine was regularly stirred using a technique called “batonnage,” imparting an elegant fullness and creamy texture on the palate.

Tasting:
In the glass, the wine is both creamy and crisp, with flavors of golden delicious apple, pear, Meyer lemon and baking spices with a hint of minerality on the long finish.

Food Paring:
This wine is great to enjoy on its own but will also pair well with cow’s milk cheeses or chicken prepared with a butter, garlic and herb sauce.

Von Winning

Winnings Riesling • Pfalz, Germany

Why I chose this wine for you:
Von Winning is one of the top producers of Riesling in the Pfalz region of Germany. After visiting the winery in 2018, it became clear to me that their dedication to quality winemaking has resulted in some of the best price to value offerings available of white wine in the world.

Location:
The grapes for the Winnings blend are mostly from Bichofsgarten in Bad Durkheim, though there is some fruit from Deidesheim in the blend. Most of the soil is sandy loam on gentle, south-facing slopes, creating a wine that is lusher and more forward than many of the Rieslings from the limestone and granite soils further East in the appellation.

Winemaking:
Following hand-harvesting, whole clusters were pressed using gentle cycles to minimize extraction of harsh components from the skins and seeds. Most of the wine was fermented in stainless steel at coolish temperature to retain purity, but 10% was fermented in large French oak foudres to give the wine more mouthfeel and allow for some lees stirring. Fermentation was halted with just a touch of residual sugar to help round out the forward acidity in the wine.

Tasting:
This wine shows delightful aromatics of Meyer lemon, lime, peach and citrus flower. The palate is bright with similar characters and a front-to-back finish of steely minerality.

Food Paring:
Versatile Riesling goes with pretty much anything but is especially good with turkey and mashed potatoes.