Cellars Wine Club November 2012 Wine Tasting Notes and Monthly Specials including wines from Italy, Argentina, Washington, California, Portugal & Australia
Senso – Italy
2011 Sangiovese IGT Rubicone
Emilia-Romagna is the hyphenated name for the two provinces which meet at the capital Bologna in northern Italy. It’s a long, narrow region surrounded by the Marche, Toscano, Liguria, Lombardy and the Veneto. It’s one of Italy’s oldest regions, dating back to the time of the Etruscans in the 7th century BC. Once the Romans settled here, they took things a step further and built the Via Aemilia (hence the name) to transport wine between cities. Although Lambrusco planted here by these ancient cultures are the signature grapes of the Emilia section of the region, Sangiovese is now leading the export market. For a quaffable wine this Sangiovese from Senso delivers. Produced as an IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) Rubicone in Emilia Romagna, this is a basic wine made from 100% Sangiovese grapes (the same grapes that go into making Chianti in the neighboring Tuscany and even some Super Tuscans). It’s a nice ruby color, medium bodied dry but fruity wine. It has a powerful nose of bitter cherries and a lively palate, with good depth of cherry fruit, crisp acidity and decent structure. The wine may be light on weight but it is long on flavor. If you don’t expect miracles from an entry level wine this is a good Italian red to start with until you climb higher to Chianti, Riservas and the expensive Super Tuscans . It is wine to be appreciated young (within the next 2 years). With its well-rounded acidity and mild tannins, Senso is extremely versatile and pairs well with a wide range of poultry, meat and pasta dishes.
El Supremo – Argentina
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Vino Tinto
In the year 1959, Rufino Pablo Baggio (RPB) established his winery in the city of Maipú, province of Mendoza. Maipú is where most of the early immigrants were settled, some arriving as far back as 1878 and it is here that their parcel of free land was located. Many of these new and welcome arrivals were from Italy. Consequently Maipú boasts as many Olive trees as vines. With altitudes at 750 to 1,060 meters, and an abundance of minerals deposited from the Andes river, conditions for growing grapes are ideal. Presently RPB is creating Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Torrontes, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. RPB pays homage to Argentine’s War of Independence hero Pancho Ramirez with his El Supremo line of wines. Born in 1786, Francisco “Pancho” Ramirez was an Argentine governor during the Argentine’s war with forces loyal to the Spanish crown. He died in 1821 while trying to rescue his wife who was captured by an opposing faction of the Argentine government. Homenaje a Pancho Ramirez translates to “Homage to Pancho Ramirez.” Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is an eminently quaffable wine with a frankly appealing bouquet dominated by bright red fruit flavors (plums, cherries, and raspberries) backed up by a hint of spice. It’s medium weight and dry on the palate with agreeable soft subtle tannins. This friendly wine is perfect for pizza night. Try it with lighter meats like veal or pork chops or marinated and grilled vegetable kebabs.
Laberinto – Argentina
2011 Torrontés Mendoza
From the mysterious South American continent comes a grape grown primarily in Argentina. It has pizazz and liveliness just like the Argentineans themselves. The Torrontés grape has for generations been blended with other white grapes, yet on its own, Torrontés grapes – in this case from the Tupungato region in Mendoza – result in a wine that is very aromatic and full of fruit, giving the sensation of biting into a fresh grape. This wine is un-oaked, allowing the full characteristics of the grape to come through. Maipu Mendoza is truly a grape growing and wine making paradise, one of the richest and oldest traditions on the continent. Located in Tupungato, Mendoza with an altitude of 1,100 masl, wine making relies on a large diversity of strains, climate and gravely soil. This 2011 offering is made from 100% Torrontes. It pours a yellow color of straw with flashes of green in the glass. In the nose it has vibrant and intense aromas of peach and pear with an orange citrus fruit background. It has a very drinkable palate that is voluminous and carries citrus with a tropical fruit finish. Drink now through 2014. Pair with all white meats and light sauces.
Saintpaulia Vintners – Woodinville, Washington
2007 Merlot Yakima Valley
Saintpaulia Vintners was built in 1993 on land adjacent to an 80,000 square foot commercial greenhouse known as Shinoda Floral, Inc. The winery’s name was taken from the botanical name for African violets, Saintpaulia, which was the floral’s specialty from 1970 to 2002. Winemaker Paul Y. Shinoda, Jr. has held many roles in both private industry and in the public sector, yet his main passion has always been wine. After touring vineyards and refining ideas from some of the finest and most well-respected wineries in Washington, Oregon, California, and the Burgundy and Champagne regions of France, Paul began commercially producing Cabernet Sauvignon in 1994. Saintpaulia Vintners’ mission is to produce age-worthy Old World Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery’s first vintage, a 1994 Cabernet (released Fall 1998), was produced from Blackwood Canyon Vineyard’s grapes that were grown on Red Mountain near Benton City, WA. This site is considered by many to be among the best in the state for Cabernet Sauvignon. To insure the continued success of its mission, Saintpaulia entered into a venture with Blackwood Canyon Vineyards and Cellars to plant both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes on land “to die for” on Red Mountain. Once again this further solidifies the axiom that great wines are started in the vineyard. Saintpaulia’s 2007 Merlot is quite typical for Yakima Valley Merlot with its sweet cherry, berry flavors and complex aromas that include plum, mint, cigar box, and sweet spices. Round, supple tannins make this wine immediately enticing and food friendly. Pair with a wide variety of foods such as pizza, burgers and pot roast.
Chatter Creek Winery – Woodinville, Washington
2007 Syrah Wahluke Slope Clifton Hill Vineyard
Gordon Rawson started making wine as a hobbyist over twenty years ago while he was working for a fine wine distributor in the Seattle area. In 1987, he parlayed his enthusiasm for winemaking into a job at Columbia Winery where he had the opportunity to work with Master of Wine, David Lake. David’s style of management was to have his staff involved in all aspects of the winemaking process that allowed Gordon to both observe and participate in the artistic side of winemaking. Early in 2000, he departed Columbia Winery to focus solely on Chatter Creek. Chatter Creek specializes in handcrafted varietal wines that emphasize the diverse terroir of Washington State. Production is styled after class European wines, focused on the Rhone and Bordeaux varietals. Chatter Creek wines are small lot products from vineyards where Gordon works hand-in-hand with the growers to obtain the best possible fruit. The fruit is gently handled, and fermented in small one-ton fermenters. Chatter Creek wines are aged in seasoned barrels so as to not overwhelm the subtle nuances of the terroir. Gentle technique in the cellar produces elegant wines that are balanced, with classic old world style, and containing new world fruit and finesse. This 2007 vintage is made from 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier. The Syrah block of the Clifton Hill vineyard is only about eight acres in size, and produces elegant and concentrated wines year after year. The Clifton Hill Syrah is traditionally co-fermented with Viognier to create this complex wine where pinpoint balance is the theme. This year’s vintage is dark ruby in color, with a purple rim. The nose is a savory mix of cedar, orange peel, plum and blackberry. The palate finds a warm, weighty attack full of blackberry, plum, grilled meats, dark chocolate, with an underlying minerality that gives way to a high glycerin — almost creamy — mid-palate that unfolds into a lingering, sexy, cocoa and port-like finish. Drink now through 2015.
Magito Wines – Sonoma, California
2008 Sauvignon Blanc ‘Rivertrace’ North Coast
Magito Wines are created to reflect the Spirit of the Magi, an ancient tribe that was revered for sharing their cultural heritage. Magito (muh-GEE-toe) means to give, to share, and to enjoy with friends. Their specialty is blending grape varietals from great vineyards in Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley and other California wine country regions. It’s the winery’s way of celebrating the diversity of different vineyards, and the power of blending to create new ways to enjoy wine. The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc is an artful blend of 82% Sauvignon Blanc, 8% Viognier, and 10% Verdelho. Complex aromas of citrus, honeysuckle and pear frame this handcrafted wine. Melon and citrus flavors mingle with a crisp finish. This 2007 Sauvignon Blanc will make an ideal aperitif wine and a great companion to a myriad of food pairings including fresh or grilled fish and seafood, particularly oysters, crab, and lobster along with grilled or broiled chicken dishes and a wide range of cheeses.
Quinta del Rosa – Portugal
2008 Vale da Clara Red Douro DOC
The Bergqvist family have been in the wine business since 1815 when they started making port. Starting in the early 1990′s, the family again became a pioneer by taking red wine production in the Douro region seriously. The result was many awards and accolades along with being supplied to many prestigious restaurants and wine stores around the world. For the last five years, the Bergqvist family has also been making their Vale da Clara wine by buying carefully selected grapes from nearby properties. The wine is distinctly different as it is designed and produced to appeal to the American palate (less oak with more fruit). The 2008 Vale da Clara is made from traditional Portuguese grapes of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz. The wine carries a deep red color. This wine smells sweet and fresh. It has aromas ripe red fruits, with a jammy and spicy character. On the palate it is soft and rich, with a well-balanced smooth tannic structure. The finish is nice and elegant. This wine is ready for drinking. It should be served at room temperature and is ideal with meat, poultry and pasta dishes.
Tenuta Ca’Bolani – Italy
2009 Refosco Friuli DOC Aquileia
The Ca’ Bolani estate is at Cervignano del Friuli within the district of Aquileia, whose wines were already held in high esteem at the Imperial court during Roman times. Their characteristically intense personality stems from the area’s strong sunlight, from the proximity of the sea, from the zone’s soils and from its exclusive microclimate. Its history dates back to the 16th century, during the Serenissima, when it was the property of the noble Bolani family, whose major exponent was Count Domenico, Procurator of the Venetian Republic in Friuli. As the area is only a short distance from the coast, breezes blowing in from the nearby sea mitigate the continental climate. The average temperatures and the heat index are the same as those found in Europe’s most famous viticultural zones: the area of Aquileia comes within the so-called Alpha climatic zone, which also includes the Maremma and Bordeaux. The clayish soil veined with gravel is alluvial in origin and allows for good natural drainage. Moreover, the stones present in the surface of the soil encourage better ripening of the grapes thanks to their reflection of sunlight and their ability to retain heat. This 2009 offering is made from 100% estate grown Refosco. After fermentation, the wine was aged for six months in oak casks prior to bottling. The finished wines pours a dark ruby red color in the glass. It offers pleasing aromas of red berries, blackberries and plums along with subtle notes of violets and spices. In the mouth this structured yet juicy wine delivers waves of black fruits along with gentle tannins and a pleasing crispness. Drink now through 2015. It will pair well with stewed and broiled meats and mature cheese.
Oakridge Wines – Australia
2008 Over the Shoulder Sauvignon Blanc
Since its founding in 1978, Oakridge has been making wine in the Yarra Valley and has evolved as an outstanding winery, regularly producing wines of exemplary quality. Bordered by the mountains of the Great Dividing Range and stretching across 10 hectares of landscaped vines and gardens along Maroondah Highway, the family-owned estate is dedicated to producing outstanding and distinctive wines while providing visitors with a truly memorable wine and food experience. The Yarra Valley produces outstanding fruit for premium wine production. Its cool climate growing conditions is a platform for the production of wines with wonderful varietal characteristics and flavors at lower levels of ripeness when compared to other wine regions in Australia. Oakridge’s Over The Shoulder Sauvignon Blanc is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Overall the wine is crisp, clean and displays prominent lychee, passion fruit & Chinese gooseberry on both the nose and palate. The palate is lengthened by a clean, fresh herbaceousness that extends through the mouth leaving a full, round finish. This wine is light and refreshing. Drink now through 2013. This wine is perfect with Asian cuisine or a crisp salad.