Jane English Newsletter: 110th Edition
TOP PICKS OF THE MONTH (prices vary store to store) $Best Buy
- FERRARI-CARANO 2010 Bella Luce Sonoma County $16 (premiere
- MAYACAMAS VINEYARDS 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley
- VILLA MARIA ESTATE 2010
Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc $15
- ROBERT CRAIG 2008 Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $50
- RUSSIAN HILL ESTATE WINERY 2008 Pinor
Noir, Russian River Valley $32
- KENWOOD VINEYARDS 2010 Chardonnay
Sonoma County $14
- SPRING VALLEY VINEYARD 2008 URIAH Estate Walla Walla, Washington
- VALLEY OF THE MOON SANGIOVESE 2010 Rosato di Sangiovese Sonoma County $14
- BRIDLEWOOD ESTATE WINERY 2008 Monterey County Pinot Noir $20
- KENWOOD VINEYARDS 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
$12 $Best Buy
- FERRARI-CARANO 2010 Fume Blanc, Sonoma County (Dry Creek,
Alexander and Russian River Valleys) $15
- VALLEY OF THE MOON 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay Russian River Valley (RRV) $14
- JOSEPH PHELPS VINEYARDS 2008 Napa
Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $56
- RUSSIAN HILL ESTATE WINERY 2008 Gail
Ann's Vineyard Chardonnay, RRV $32
- SHAFER 2009 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa Vally
- BAREFOOT CELLARS nv* California Riesling $7
- SILVER RIDGE 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, California $12 $Best Buy
- NAKED EARTH 2009 Blanc,
Languedoc-Rousillon $12 $Best Buy
- KITCHEN SINK 2009 White California $10 $Best Buy
- FAT CAT 2009 Chardonnay, California $10 $Best Buy
- WINERY OF MONTH, ROBERT CRAIG:
I'm so happy to claim Bob Craig as a fellow Texan. I met him at the dinner
party opening The Hess Collection new winery in Napa Valley where he was general
manager. Now Bob celebrates three decades as a mountain man, producing
distinctive Cabernet Sauvignons from vineyards in the highest, most remote reaches of the
Valley. A pioneer in Napa Valley mountain vineyards, he has been a visionary in
creating his wine style for Cabernets that emphasize ripe fruit, supple tannins, and early
balance and integration. Robert Craig spent 12 years researching Mt. Veeder's
vineyard potential in the 1970s. He learned to respect mountain vineyard land and
regarded Mt. Veeder as the penultament place for growing incomparable
grapes. During the 1980s, Bob developed over 300 vineyard acres on Mt. Veeder
and spearheaded the appellation campaign to have Mt. Veeder designated. Eventually a
Mt. Veeder appellation caught up with his knowledge about growing world-class Cabernet
Sauvignons. Bob and three long-time friends started his winery in 1992 with a dream
to hand-craft small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon from great winegrowing appellations
of Napa Valley. His first Cabernet debuted in 1995. In 2002, the Craig family
completed a state-of- the-art winery located at nearly 2300 feet along the summit of
ROBERT CRAIG 2007 Mt. Howell Cabernet Sauvignon (86% Cab Sauv,
10% Merlot, 2% Cab Franc, 2% Petit Verdot) $80: "Aromas and flavors
include blackberry, red currant, raspberry and black cherry accented by notes of cracked
pepper, lavender, savory spices, coffee, vanillaand Howell Mountain bramble. The
fruitiness flows seamlessly from mid-palate to a full-throttle finish. Howell
Mountains rugged terrain produces acclaimed Napa Valleys Cabernets, and our
estate vineyard and winery are at the highest elevation, along a ridgeline overlooking the
valley at nearly 2300 feet. The thin, rocky, volcanic soils are well-drained,
causing the vines to struggle for water and nutrients and creating small, intensely
flavored berries. Daytime temperatures are moderate and nights are warmer,
translating into an extended growing season that allows the berries to ripen slowly.
Mountain berry, wildflower, warm spice, and pepper flow through this signature Howell
Mountain Cabernet. Unfiltered and unfined, the 2007 vintage is a seamless wine, with all
of the elements in the right place to create exceptional balance and complexity.
Decanting highly recommended." 1488 Cases. Wine Spec. 92, Robt. Parker 96
ROBERT CRAIG 2007 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (83%
Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot) $70: Craig's first Mt. Veeder Cabernet was
made in 1993. His winemaking skills in this 2007 wine display how his vision,
knowledge and capability have been rewarded. "The 2007 shows best how Mt.
Veeder terroir gives wine great pleasure and prestige. It has luscious fruit, fine,
silky tannins and powerful finish. Bob helped plant this single-vineyard source in
1990. It is along the mountains summit at 1800 feet. The steep contours
offer quintessential Mt. Veeder terrain with multiple hillside exposures and changes in
elevation. The resulting microclimates create varied weather patterns that influence
grape development and ripening. The well-drained sandstone and blue shale soils
provide an ideal foundation for growing small, concentrated berries. Aromas and
flavors include blackberry, black currant, dark chocolate, vanilla bean and creme de
cassis underlain with cocoa, and cedar. Concentrated fruit fills the palate,
enlivened by bracing acidity and enveloped in refined, sweet mountain tannins for a noble
finish. Unfiltered and unfined, it aged 20 months in Chateau-style French oak and is
among the most ageworthy of our mountain Cabernets--with 20+ years of enjoyment.
Decanting recommended." Robt. Parker 93+ and Wine Spec. 94 Production: 1480
ROBERT CRAIG 2008 Affinity Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (82%
Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 7% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec)
$50: This classic Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignon is from Robert Craig's estate
vineyard in the foothills south of Stag's Leap. "The 2008 blend remains
predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, with Petit Verdot added for deep, concentrated flavors
and a touch of Malbec introduced for further weight, complimented by silky Merlot and
Cabernet Franc spice. The result is an intense, deeply satisfying, full-bodied wine that
will reward with further bottle age. Aromas and flavors include a mélange of dark
black berries, dark-roast espresso and hints of anise underlying warm mineral notes,
cassis, violets and spice with signature fruit entwined with more coffee, dark chocolate,
and touches of violet and licorice. A warm mineral component echoes the wines
foothills heritage and its finish is firm with supple tannins that keep the luscious fruit
aloft and bolstered by crisp acidity. The foundation for Affinity is our estate
vineyard and an adjoining property to the south of Stags Leap, in the southeastern
foothills of Mt. George. The rocky soils and Bordeaux-like growing conditions produce
distinctive black-red Cabernet fruit with hints of currants and violets. The fruit is
hand-picked in small lots, each of which is kept separate during fermentation and barrel
aging before the final blend. 4780 cases
- SPLURGE WINE OF MONTH: QUINTESSA 2007 Napa Valley Red Wine $155: QUINTESSA (a red
meritage), like classic wines of the world, bears the same name as its vineyard. The
goal is to produce a wine each year that best expresses the extraordinary QUINTESSA
vineyard. The vineyard's diversity provides many stylistic options and the fruit
from each block is harvested, sorted, and delivered by gravity to fermentation
tanks. Each block of wine ages separately for up to two years in French oak, then
the components are selected for the final Quintessa blend. Afterwards, bottles are
laid down for another year before release. While each vintage is unique, words like
elegance and finesse and silkiness best describe the character of the vineyard.
"We blend fruit for harmony, balance, and length of flavors and above all, to
make Quintessa a delicious food wine," says Agustin Huneeus, Vintner/Proprietor
- Skin contact: 35 days; Time in oak: 19 months; Oak Regime: 100% French (85%
new), very fine grained, chateau style, medium plus toast.
- "Quintessa 2007
opens to rich, complex aromas of dark black currant fruit with undertones of raspberry,
anise and spice. On the palate, the wine delivers what the nose promisespower,
refinement and complexity of cassis, blackberry, mocha and enticing spice flavors. A
broad, rich middle palate and a long finish offer a delicate balance of intensity and
elegance, full fruit and supple tannins. This vintage will gain complexity in the bottle
and age gracefully for a decade or more. Charles
Thomas , Winemaker
- SPECIAL PRAISE of MONTH: VALLEY OF THE
MOON: Consistently, VALLEY OF THE MOON
has produced delicious, balanced, quality wines from Sonoma County vineyards with
fine, rich volcanic soils. For over a century the estate vineyard provided
grapes to discriminating producers. Now, a block of its
old vine Zinfandel 1940s plantation is complemented by recent plantings of
Barbera, Sangiovese and Petite Sirah--all farmed sustainably with natural pest
controls and soil amendments. VALLEY OF THE MOON
Winery is a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art production facility and its historic structures
include the restored 1887 stone and redwood winery. Wines include Sonoma County
Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir and is a California leader in the
production of up-and-coming wines--Syrah, Sangiovese, Pinot Blanc, Rosato di Sangiovese
and Cuvée de la Luna, a proprietary Bordeaux-inspired blend. In high demand, VALLEY OF THE MOON wines are worth the search, embracing
time-honored winemaking traditions that balance the ancient and modern for contemporary
harmony in making world-class wines. Visitors are welcomed daily to
the historic cellar in the heart of the Sonoma Valley. (Please see below).
- FERRARI-CARANO's Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boutique on Healdsburg Plaza (113 Plaza Street) is the place to
enjoy the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. Ferrari-Carano will host Brazilian jazz group
Ricardo Peixoto Quartet on Saturday, June 11, 4pm 6pm, paired with wine and small
bites! Admission is free, no reservations are required. The Healdsburg Jazz
Festival, June 3 12, 2011, celebrates tens days of great jazz from the
industrys multi-talented artists. For information, (707) 431-2222, or visit www.seasonsofthevineyard.com or www.healdsburgjazzfestival.org.
TAPAS Grand Wine Tasting - June 5, 2011: The Tempranillo
Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society (TAPAS - www.tapasociety.org) is hosting the most
extensive annual tasting of domestically produced Spanish and Portuguese varietal wines in
North America in San Francisco. Iberian Peninsula grapes, also grown in America,
produce some of the hottest-selling wines on the market. Come sample wines from over
30 participating wineries and learn about varieties like Tempranillo, Albariño, Garnacha,
Graciano, Mourvedre, Touriga, Verdelho, Bastardo and more. Many TAPAS members are
limited-production, family-owned wineries and will be pouring small lot wines that are not
widely available. This year the event will be held at the Fort Mason Festival
Pavilion on Sunday, June 5, 2011. San Francisco, CA Tickets are $60 at the
door, or $40 in advance at tapas4.eventbrite.com . For directions to the Fort Mason
Center, visit www.fortmason.org .
- WEST SONOMA COAST VINTNERS LAUNCH FESTIVAL
West of West (WOW)
Wine Festival offers some acclaimed cool-climate Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Syrahs
created by the West Sonoma Coast Vintners (WSCV), an
association of Sonomas coastline wineries and growers. The WOW Festival,
August 5-7, 2011, is one hour north of San Francisco in Occidental, CA
with access to small production, limited-release wines, seminars, and the Whole Hog Feast
at the 130-year-old Union Hotel. Come experience first-hand the extraordinary wine,
food and culture of the West Sonoma Coast!
Tickets: by event or the All-Access
Saturday Pass and Sunday Open House Pass, $375
. To buy www.westofwestwine.com
- WSCV members are dedicated to preserving and protecting the history, landscape
and culture of the West Sonoma Coast, and to promoting its wines to the media, trade and
public. The growing areas include Annapolis, Fort Ross/Seaview, Occidental, Freestone,
Green Valley and the Sebastopol Hills.
Current WSCV members are Benovia Winery,
Benzinger Family Winery, Boheme Wines, Ceritas Wines, Chasseur Wines, Cobb Wines, Evening
Land Vineyards, FAILLA Wines, Flowers Vineyard & Winery, Fort Ross Vineyard &
Winery, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Freestone Vineyards, Hawk Hill Vineyard, Hirsch
Winery, LIOCO, Littorai Wines, Martinelli Winery, Patz & Hall Wine Company, Peay
Vineyards, Ramey Wine Cellars, Red Car Wine Company, Small Vines and Whetstone Wine
CENTRAL COAST WINE CLASSIC July 7-10, 2011: Enjoy the many
festivities of the 27th Annual Classic for four days celebration of wines, cuisines,
music, art and lifestyle of California's Central Coast. For information: WWW.CENTRALCOASTWINECLASSIC.ORG
- TOURS OF ALASKA
- Alaska celebrates International Year of the Forests: Visit
Alaskas national forests in 2011 throughout the year to celebrate International Year
of the Forests. Designated by the United Nations General Assembly, events will
promote sustainable management and conservation of the worlds forests.
Alaska is home to the nations two largest national forests, the Chugach, in
Southcentral Alaska, and the Tongass, in the Inside Passage. Together, they
encompass more than 22 million acres for Alaskans and visitors to enjoy world-class
sightseeing, hiking, wildlife viewing, fishing, rafting, skiing and camping at more than
200 public-use cabins open year round. Events in Chugach and Tongass national
forests continue through November with film festivals, art shows, educational seminars and
lectures, a hummingbird festival and other events celebrating the ecosystems and wildlife
of Alaskas forests. For a complete calendar of events and more information,
Hikers get a virtual preview of Denali
backcountry hikes: Denali
National Park and Preserve has a new virtual tour, giving ideas of what to expect on a
park-ranger-led Discovery Hike. For decades Denali has offered visitors a day hiking
with a park ranger in the backcountry where there are no trails or roads. The
adventures vary from moderate to strenuous. The online guide covers challenges and
difficulty of various hikes, how to sign up, what to wear, recommended gear and a glossary
of important terms. Hike occur daily and descriptions are published on the
parks web site each Thursday. For Discovery Hikes information or the
interactive guide, visit http://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/discovery-hikes.htm
birding, eco, culture and fishing tours in Nome:
Alaska Northwest Adventures LLC will offer birding tours beginning June 1 on the waters of
Safety Sound near Nome, a premier location to spot nesting or migratory birds. Avid
birders can visit areas inaccessible to independent travelers. Alaska Northwest
Adventures LLC will partner with Nome Discovery Tours for a new summer adventure to the
village of Council (70 miles east of Nome) traveling by jet boat along the Niukluk River.
Boat fishing, instruction about local ecology and Alaska Native habitation are
offered by Native Inupiaq hosts, Tom and BJ Gray. For information, visit www.nomebirding.com. Book tours with
Alaskan NW Adventures LLC at 907-443-3971 or Nome Discovery Tours at 907-443-2814.
- NEW YORK TIMES REPORT on INN at DOS BRISAS (Texas Travel Guide,
March 2011): ". . . there's a restaurant in Washington, Texas (50 miles east of
Houston) which at least two sources rate on a par with some of the nations most
acclaimed restaurants. The restaurant at the Inn at Dos Brisas (opened 2004) has
earned the elite Relais & Châteaux designation as well as five stars from the Forbes
Travel Guide. And the newest distinction is Chef Craig Shelton, a chef who pioneered
the farm-to-table approach at the Ryland Inn in Whitehouse, N.J. In the Dos Brisas
kitchen, Shelton has been combined classical French cooking with cutting-edge culinary
techniques involving thermocirculators, liquid nitrogen and vacuum chambers. Meals include
selections of seasonal fruits and vegetables picked from the inns estate 10-acre
organic farm, which features a 7,000-square-foot high-tech greenhouse.
- This is a seed-to-plate operation, said Mr. Shelton, who honed his
skills at restaurants like Bouley in New York. He opened the Ryland Inn, where he
earned a James Beard award, in 1991. A series of electrical and structural problems forced
him to close the restaurant in 2007.
- Landing here is an incredible reversal of fortune, he said.
This is a majestic platform where I can cook without constraints or pressure to turn
tables and using the finest and freshest ingredients. The Inn at Dos Brisas,
10000 Champion Drive, Washington, Tex.; (979) 277-7750; dosbrisas.com. Five-and eight-course tasting menus are $105 to $135, with
an additional $95 to $125 for wine pairings; à la carte is also available. (There is a
mandatory 20 percent gratuity.) Reservations should be made well in advance.
FORD COPPOLAS RUBICON
ESTATE Renamed INGLENOOK With a New Winemaker: Coppola acquired the Inglenook
trademark for Rubicon (Rutherford, Napa Valley) to revert to the properties original
historic name. Additionally, Chateau
Mârgaux Winemaker Philippe Bascaules will be INGLENOOK Estate Manager and
Winemaker beginning the summer of 2011. BACKGROUND HISTORY OF RUBICON AND
INGLENOOK: Inglenook Vineyards was founded in 1879 by fur-trader Gustave
Niebaum who settled in Rutherford and planted vineyards.
His great-nephew John Daniel inherited the property and during the 1940s and 1950s built
a reputation for fine Cabernet Sauvignon. Nonetheless,
monetary matters in the 1960s forced Daniel to sell the property. By 1975, when Francis and Eleanor Coppola
purchased part of the famed property, the Inglenook Estate had been broken up and its name
sold. The Coppolas spent the next twenty years reuniting the vineyards and restoring
winemaking to the historic Inglenook Chateau. Today, Inglenook is restored to original
dimensions and is again a great American wine estate.
- SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY WINES: Continuing
the century-old tradition of producing fine grapes and wines made from them, The San
Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association is proud to announce the latest awards from some of
our Member Wineries at recent competitions:
- GOLD MEDAL: Cardella Winery 2009 Sangiovese, Fresno County, Fundus Vineyard
- GOLD MEDAL: Fasi Crest 2007 Syrah, Madera
- SILVER MEDAL: Fasi Crest, 2008 Sweet Syrah, Madera
San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition:
- Birdstone Winery won the following:
- GOLD MEDAL: Tinta Madera
Port, California, '97
- BRONZE MEDALS: 2008
Malbec, Madera; 2008 Primitivo, Madera; 2008 Tempranillo, Madera
- Established in
2008, the San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association is the non-profit trade association
responsible for promoting and protecting the San Joaquin Valley as a sustainable
winegrowing region. Our association serves as the voice for the specific needs and
issues of winegrowers, wineries and associates throughout our eight county region. For information, please visit www.idrinkwine.net.
- NIAGARA Food
& Wine Expo May 27 -29, 2011 Niagara Falls will welcome chefs and visitors to the
Scotiabank Convention Centre to enjoy local food and wine.
The Chef Stage is an opportunity for
Expo attendees to experience award-winning foods with delicious wine. Scotiabank
Convention Centre, Niagara Falls. www.niagarafoodandwineexpo.ca
- CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE KEEPS GETTING GREENER:
Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) is leading environmental preservation with initiatives to reuse
woody biomass and wastewater from wine production. The Champagne appellation-wide
program will transform 150,000 metric tons of wood waste from vineyard pruning into
energy, reducing pollution and helping replace fossil fuels used in wine production with a
renewable source of energy. Through
this BIOVIVE (Biomasse Viticole) initiative, the Champagne region is working with local
utilities to cut the current carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 10,000 metric
tons per year, the equivalent of taking 5,000 vehicles off the road. (please see
- Consumer Wine Awards: Consumers (120)
and Rotarians (100) in Lodi, California, participated as Consumer Evaluators (aka judges)
for the 2011 Consumer Wine Awards at Lodi. They voted their favorites from 700
entries with wine results as diverse as the judges. Twenty-one won
platinum--including a Lodi Zinfandel, two
Pinot Grigios, a Napa Valley Bordeaux blend, a Pennsylvania Chardonnay, a Chardonnay from
Virginia and a generic-boxed Rhine wine from California.
- "Uniquely, panels of
consumers (not wine critics or experts) judged the wine categories. Consequently, awards
were given by people who buy the types of wines they judged."
- Competition Co-Director
Pooch Pucilowski said they recognized that some wines which get a shrug from experts get
kudos from consumers who buy and drink them.
- Master of Wine Tim Hanni
devised the focus and methodology for the event and says, Consumer Wine Awards
encompasses the things we value and are working to bring to the wine community. We're
exploring a better understanding of consumer preferences in order to give them additional
- A full listing of results
and information on the 2012 Consumer Wine Awards at Lodi can be found at www.consumerwineawards.com.
Master of Wine Tim Hanni
has investigated consumer research studies on wine preferences. Embarrassed to admit that you like White
Zinfandel? Don't be. He discovered that opposite to drinkers of big, tannic,
alcoholic red wines, theres a huge potential market for folks who love sweet wines. For the full report, please see www.timhanni.com
AUCTION NAPA VALLEY: Grapegrower Beckstoffer. For the first time in
its 31-year history, Auction Napa Valley is offering wines made from grapes grown by
independent grower Andy Beckstoffer and his heritage vineyards: To Kalon in Oakville, Dr.
Crane in St. Helena, and Vineyard Georges III in Rutherford. (Please see full story
SPRING VALLEY VINEYARD
CELEBRATES TEN VINTAGES of Uriah Estate Walla Walla, Washington at the TEXAS
HILL COUNTRY FESTIVAL. Please see report, tasting notes below.
HOTEL HEALDSBURG and
WILLIAMS SELYEM will introduce an exclusive new package during
October. Behind the Scenes with Williams Selyem provides guests a
first-ever visit to the world-famous winery, traditionally closed to the public.
The package includes a tour and tasting at Williams Selyem winemaking facility,
lodging at Hotel Healdsburg, dining at Charlie Palmers Dry Creek Kitchen, and
extraordinary wines from the cult Pinot Noir producer. The package is available June
1 October 31, 2011. Package price is $1,156 midweek and $1,276 weekend for double occupancy. There
is an optional upgrade to a suite for an additional $150 per night. For
reservations, please call Hotel Healdsburg Concierge 800-889-7188.
THE FINGER LAKES WINE CENTER has opened as the first educational
wine facility in New York. It will be a new gateway into the expansive Finger Lakes
wine region. Visitors can explore an entire wine region by tasting brands at the
facility where experts help guests express their palettes and map out specific wine trail
routes. Additionally, various seminars teach aspects of the wine process.
"With more than 200 wineries in 14 counties, the Finger Lakes is known to produce the
best Riesling and Gewurztraminers outside Germany," says Anna Tabakh of Quinn
PR. For information: http://www.fingerlakeswinecenter.org
Wins 2010 Born Digial Wine Award. A post on Been Doon So Long, the winery blog
authored by Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard, has received the 2010 Born Digital Wine
Award for Winery Self-produced Content. Grahm
In the article, On a
Mission: The Germ of an Idea, Grahm discusses the rather radical (in the most
literal sense) notion of growing grapes from seeds, rather than vegetative cuttings as is
common practice. He considers the theoretical possibility of a diverse genetic pool
of familial vines creating a unique opportunity to express terroir in an
A prolific writer, Grahm in 2009 published a collection of
his writings on wine, life, literature, and philosophy titled Been Doon So Long: A
Randall Grahm Vinthology. The book won the 2010 James Beard Award and was named 2010
Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year. Grahms winery blog Been Doon So Long
won the 2010 Wine Blog Award for Best Winery Blog.
maverick innovator, is best known for his work popularizing Rhône
varietal wines in California. His first vintage of Le Cigare Volant, in 1984, was an
Châteauneuf-du-Pape and firmly established him as the leader of the
Rhône Rangers movement in the United States. Grahm established Bonny
Doon Vineyard in 1983 in the bucolic northern California hamlet of Bonny Doon. The winery
produces wines reflective of terroir in a natural, un-manipulated manner, imbued
with life force. Since adopting Biodynamic vineyard practices in 2003, Bonny Doon wines
evidence a deeper sense of place, more complex character, and a noticeable note of
minerality. Bonny Doon Vineyard, a rationally scaled 25,000 case winery, produces a select
assortment of super-premium wines, notably the Rhône-influenced Le Cigare Volant, Le
Cigare Blanc, Vin Gris de Cigare, and Le Vol des Anges. A new, paradigm-shattering estate
property in San Juan Bautista is under development, its rationale deriving in large part
from arguments advanced in the blog under discussion. To learn more about the winery,
please visit bonnydoonvineyard.com.
On a Mission: The Germ of an Idea, the winning post, can be read on the Been
Doon So Long website at http://www.beendoonsolong.com/2010/11/on-a-mission-the-germ-of-an-idea/
- CHEFS GO LOCAL for 2011 GO TEXAN RESTAURANT ROUND-UP-- Statewide
dine-out week highlights local ingredients, benefits food banks During the
statewide dine-out week, July 25-31, GO TEXAN member restaurants are offering special
Texas menu items. Restaurants also are encouraged to donate part of their proceeds
to local food banks and will receive a special menu feature on the Round-Up website for
doing so. Our farmers, ranchers, winemakers and fishermen make it easy
for chefs to serve fresh Texas fare, Commissioner Staples said. The GO TEXAN
Restaurant Round-Up celebrates that connection while Texans enjoy local products and
support local food banks. For one of the nations largest statewide dine-out weeks,
we encourage patrons to Go Out. Go Eat. GO TEXAN.
Hundreds of Texas restaurants across the state are participating in this years
Round-Up, including Johnny Caces Seafood and Steak House in Longview, Southwest
Bistro at the Hyatt Regency Austin, Haven in Houston, Calesa in Harlingen, Canary by Gorji
in Dallas and Glazed Honey Ham Co. in Lubbock.
Im excited to show that we care about serving fresh local food and authentic
Texas wines, said Jim Baron, owner of Blue Mesa Grill and TNT / Tacos and Tequila in
Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin. Our customers are interested in where their food
comes from and appreciate fresh local products. This is a great opportunity for
Texas restaurants to partner with local food producers and give to local food banks.
(quotes are winemakers' comments and prices vary from store to
- VILLA MARIA ESTATE: "The 2010 vintage was superb for
Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough New Zealand, producing wines with weight, concentration,
vibrancy and flavor. The late February rain events, moderate yields and long warm, dry
autumn period resulted in excellent vine vitality, optimal balance and clean fruit
allowing each site to show its true potential.
- Our VILLA MARIA ESTATE 2010 Private
Bin and 2010 Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blancs are now in market. Villa Maria was
founded in 1961 by Sir George Fistonich who, through his dedication to quality, has led
Villa Maria to become the New Zealand wine icon it is today. His entrepreneurial spirit
has seen Villa Maria push the boundaries in every aspect of winemaking. Villa Maria was
the first wine company in New Zealand to declare the winery a "cork-free zone,"
- all wines from the 2004 vintage onwards with a screwcap to ensure quality in
every bottle. It was also the first New Zealand producer to employ professional
- VILLA MARIA ESTATE 2010
Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc $20: "This wine comes from select vineyards within
the Awatere and Wairau Valleys of Marlborough. A portion of the vineyard parcels
received skin contact in the winery to enhance the intensity of flavors before the fruit
was gently pressed, cold settled and racked for fermentation. The wine is concentrated and
juicy with vibrant fruit and fantastic mid-palate weight, finishing with crisp acidity.
- VILLA MARIA ESTATE 2010
Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc $15: "This wine is produced from vineyards scattered
throughout New Zealands Awatere and Wairau Valleys in the Marlborough region. An
array of mesoclimates exist within these valleys producing a wide spectrum of flavor
profiles that provide considerable blending options. This wine has a distinct Marlborough
character and bursts with aromas of gooseberry, citrus, melon and passion fruit.
- SPRING VALLEY VINEYARD URIAH Estate Walla Walla, Washington
CELEBRATES TEN VINTAGES: Uriah Corkrum was born in 1866, shortly after his
family's wagon train
- arrived in Walla Walla Valley. As a young man, he farmed before losing his
land in the depression of 1893, but fortunately could purchase Spring Valley Ranch in 1897
and spent his life farming it. Decades later, Uriah's granddaughter Shari and her
husband Dean Derby planted the first merlot grapes at Spring Valley. "We were
thrilled our grapes were prized by producers," Dean says. The first Spring
Valley Estate Vineyard wine was the 1999 vintage. The Derbys son Devin Corkrum
Derby served as winemaker until his untimely death in 2004. Devins assistant
and friend Serge Laville took over as winemaker and continues the legacy of Spring Valley
Vineyard. I was taught winemaking in France, he says, but I
learned how to make Washington wine from Devin Derby. Both men believed in
relying on the vineyard and allowing nature to take its course in the winemaking process
with minimal, careful intervention.
- Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival featured a tasting of Spring
Valleys URIAH, including the first vintage, 1999, which showed generous fruit, an
elegant smoothness and a layered complexity. All vineyards are estate and over the
years the maturing vines have evolved superbly. As Winemaker Serge Laville says,
"Blending is the last step of quality." The fine 2003 vintage of URIAH
blended 77% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. It was filled with
aromas and flavors of dark fruit, chocolate, and luscious, soft tannins with a balanced
evolution over the palate. The small-crop 2004 is the only Uriah that includes
Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend (about 5%). It has perfumy aromas and flavors of
blueberry, wood-spice, raspberry, dark cherries with a strong, firm finish. The 2006
vintage was a dry season with a low yield, giving an intensity of fruit with game
overtones, vanilla and bees-wax nose, well-melded flavors, and a floral fragrances.
It includes 54% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Franc, 7 % Petit Verdot and 6% Malbec.
The ideal growing season was dominated by a hot, dry summer and a long, mild ripening
period that lasted into October, producing small berries loaded with condensed
flavors. The 2007 Uriah is rich and big with a good, bold structure and
balance, a subtle nose reminiscent of leather and blackberries with big flavors and good
acidity. The 2008 vintage had very cool conditions with record low
yields. The wine blend is 53% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Franc, 8 % Petit Verdot and 3%
Malbec and is the current release. This wine is young and shows great promise and I
would cellar it for for two or three years for greater pleasure. Uriah wines cost
about $50. Only a few thousand cases are made each year, but finding these extremely
well-made wines is an immense reward.
- KORBEL 2009 California Brut
Organically Grown Champagne $16: Luxurious and earth friendly, this sparkler is
Korbels third release. It shows
classic character and crisp, elegant style along with its green credentials. In 2007, Korbel received
certification from the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and using
certified grapes (without usage of synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers)
released the inaugural organically grown California Brut Champagne. An expanded selection of organic grapes and
fine-tuning of production techniques have given this 2009 champagne refined fruit, classic
complexity and uncommon finesse. It
shows Korbels commitment to sustainability.
- Produced like all
Korbel California champagnes using the time-honored méthode champenoise,
the 2009 Korbel California Brut showcases delicate yet lively green apple, lemon zest,
fresh citrus and white peach aromas and flavors, accented by subtle yeast complexity. This appealing champagnes lithe palate and
persistent effervescence lead to a long, crisp finish.
- Established in 1882, Korbel
Champagne Cellars produces the United States most popular méthode champenoise
champagne. Owned and managed by the Heck
family since 1954, Korbel currently makes 11 California champagnes and a small amount of
still wine. In a separate facility, Korbel also produces one of the countrys most
FERRARI-CARANO releases several new vintages. Since
1985, Ferrari-Carano has been a leading producer of world class, nationally acclaimed
wines. Vintage after vintage, the wines exhibit a remarkable consistency of style
and elegance. Don and Rhonda Carano's uncompromising commitment to quality and
excellence is a reflection of their desire to produce memorable wines that enhance the
pleasures of gracious entertaining and not focus on short-term financial goals.
- FERRARI-CARANO 2010 Pinot Grigio Russian River
Valley (RRV) $17: "Aromas of lime, honeysuckle, melon, green apple, and mineral are
complemented by clean, refreshing flavors of lemon and peach with a round mouth-feel and a
crisp, lingering finish. Four vineyards in Russian River and
Alexander Valleys created this wine. Mild weather led to grapes with more citrus
flavors and slightly higher acid levels. Individual lots of hand-harvested pinot
grigio grapes were gently whole-cluster pressed to minimize color or harsh tannins, then
racked to stainless steel tanks for a cold fermentation and bright flavors and crisp
acidity were preserved."
- FERRARI-CARANO 2010 Fume Blanc, Sonoma County (Dry Creek,
Alexander and Russian River Valleys) $15: "Aromas of lime, kiwi, citrus, and melon
complement flavors of grapefruit, lemon, mango, and guava. Record spring rains were
followed by a record mild summer--July was coolest in 50 years. Hence, citrus
flavors flourished with slightly higher acid levels. Cool tank fermentation gave a
crisp freshness while subtle oak barrel aging added complexity and depth. Wine aged
in barrels sur lie with weekly baton for a month. Individual lots were treated
separately until blending to create the final Fumé Blanc blend."
- FERRARI-CARANO 2009 Chardonnay Sonoma County $23: "Formerly
Alexander Valley Chardonnay, this 2009 Chardonnay changed appellations because we added
superior lots from our vineyards in Russian River Valley and Carneros to combine with
Alexander Valley fruit. This full-bodied wine's aromas of apple, graham cracker,
flowers, and honey, are balanced by lemon and pear flavors and lingering, creamy
marshmallow, toasted oak notes for a deliciously flavored, well-balanced Chardonnay. Over
60 individual lots were either whole-cluster pressed or gently de-stemmed, crushed,
pressed to cold settle for two days in stainless steel tanks before moving to barrels.
Aged separately in French oak, the wines complete 100 percent malolactic
fermentation and are sur lie aged and stirred every two weeks for ten months."
- FERRARI-CARANO 2008 Tre Terre Russian River Valley $30: The 2008
Ferrari-Carano Tré Terre Chardonnay from Russian River Valley is a delicious, full-bodied
wine with aromas of lychee, lemon, pear, green apple, peach, mineral and fig. Rich flavors
of nutmeg, brown sugar and oak spice complement and linger on the finish. An elegant wine
with rich fruit, the Tré Terre Chardonnay is perfectly balanced with nice acidity and
depth. The fruit for this wine comes six vineyard sites in the Russian River Valley, an
area known for producing some of the worlds best Chardonnays. A year of fire and
ice, we began 2008 battling heavy frost in April, a hot summer and heat continuing into
the early fall. Reduced yields but intensely flavored, well-balanced, ripe fruit was the
happy result of a very challenging growing season. The Chardonnay grapes for this wine
were picked during the month of September. Seven Chardonnay clones comprise our 2008 Tré
Terre Chardonnay. Each lot for this wine is whole-cluster pressed, then cold settled for
two days in stainless steel tanks, and within 24 hours is moved directly to barrels,
utilizing 19 different French oak cooperages. Aged completely separately in French oak,
the wines complete 80 percent.
- FERRARI-CARANO 2010 Bella Luce Sonoma County $16: "This is
the premiere release of our proprietary white wine blend. Bella Luce (beautiful
light in Italian) is the sister wine to our SIENA and Pinot Grigio. Bella Luce
is a fragrant, light blend of complementary varietals in aromas, flavors and texture.
It has layered aromas of peach, vanilla, flowers, orange blossom, pear and lime.
Distinctive and round on the palate, Bella Luces flavors of cream, vanilla, citrus,
and apple shine through. A mild growing season with a warm summer, void of heat spikes,
allowed grapes to ripen evenly. Each varietal was individually picked at optimum
maturity. Individual lots of chardonnay, muscat canelli, semillon, muscat giallo,
gewürztraminer, pinot blanc, and riesling grapes were gently pressed for cold settling in
stainless steel tanks, then racked to stainless steel tanks for a cold fermentation. The
wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation in order to retain its bright flavors and
BONNY DOON VINEYARD; The
Vin Gris de Cigare Central Coast ($15)
stylistically follows the 2009, with some slight vintage-dependent variation. The wine is
a blend of 70.5% grenache, 16.5% roussanne, 11% grenache blanc, and
2% mourvèdre. But what is most
significant is that the wine is in fact a true Vin Gris; that is, made from juice created
by direct pressing of the grapes, not as a saigner. I
have historically anguished in the thirty years of making this wine, about getting the
color right, having enough fruitiness in the nose, all of the neurotic things
that winemakers of vins deffort anguish about. I am delighted to report that at least in the
instance of pink wine, less truly is more. Now,
there were some very strange vintage specific phenomena, mind you. This wine, fermented with indigenous yeast, (as are
all of our wines), underwent spontaneous malolactic fermentation, (as did all the white
wines in our cellar this year.) While not
precisely the outcome that we intended, we went with the flow. The wine was left on lees
until April, and stirred vigorously; the discreet lees autolysis has given the wine a
wonderful texture and savoriness. (3298 cases produced.)
BONNY DOON VINEYARD; As far as the Bonny Doon 2008 Central Coast
Syrah, Le Pousseur, you know, I am a bit of a contrarian, and
with the chiens courant of the wine press pronouncing the syrah category,
like Generalissimo Franco, still thoroughly dead, I feel personally compelled to pursue
this category thoroughly a main. This is our entry-level Syrah,
produced from three coastal vineyards, (62% Alamo Creek, 15% Chequera, and 23% Terra
Bella) with yields kept well in check and harvested at a rational level of maturity. What I love best about this wine is its earthy,
mineral character, which I largely attribute to the gravelly soils of the Alamo Creek
vineyard. Very pleasant acidity, with an
earthy, savory meatiness, this is precisely the Syrah that I believe the Central Coast can
do exceptionally well. 2705 cases
SHAFER NAPA VALLEY WINES : The Red Shoulder Ranch in the
Carneros region offers a long, consistently cool growing season, which is ideal for
retaining acidity in Chardonnay fruit. The vineyard is draped across rolling hills
within sight of San Francisco Bay. Here we've planted a blend of five Chardonnay
clones that give us small clusters, low yields and abundant flavors. To focus on
varietal flavors, Shafer uses only wild yeast for fermentation and does not put the wine
through malolactic fermentation. Shafers Carneros vineyard is
home to countless gophers who love to feast on young vine roots. To contain this
problem, Shafer has erected owl nesting boxes and hawk perches to encourage day and night
rodent patrol. The Red-shouldered hawks and other birds of prey do such an
outstanding job, we named the vineyard in their honor, says Doug Shafer.
"The long, cool growing season in Carneros allows the fruit to mature slowly
and evenly, letting us wait for the right moment when sugar and acid achieve
balance," says Doug Shafer.
- SHAFER 2009 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa Valley
$48: This big, luscious, boldly flavored Shafer Chardonnay has long been a favorite of
mine. It is a single-vineyard, small-clustered, low-yield clones wine that is
fermented in individual oak and stainless steel barrels. Winemaker Elias Fernandez
says, "The 2009 offers lush, luxurious aromas and flavors of melon, honeysuckle,
apricot, pineapple and flint all held together with bright acidity, good structure and
- RUSSIAN HILL Estate Winery: In the
heart of the Russian River Valley, Russian Hill Estate is a family owned and operated
Gomez and Ellen Mack established Russian Hill in 1997 after a two-year intensive search
for the appropriate site. It was imperative that the land be capable of producing
outstanding estate vineyards but also allow for construction of a winery. Only by having
full control of both the vineyard and wine production, did the team at Russian Hill feel
they could produce wines of the quality they envisioned.
They are dedicated and relentless in their pursuit of fine wines.
Using the utmost care from vineyard to bottle, Russian Hill is dedicated to the production
of world-class wines: Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay and Viognier. The key philosophy
of the winery is to maintain the highest degree of excellence in viticulture and
winemaking practices to allow wines to fully express the source of their various
vineyards. These wines are a real treat. Be diligent in searching for them
because the production is limited. They are indeed worth the search.
- RUSSIAN HILL Estate Winery
2008 Gail Ann's Vineyard Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
$32 (524 cases): "The 2008 vintage of our Gail Anns Vineyard Chardonnay has the
best of two worlds - rich tropical fruit flavors due to a warmer than usual year that are
nicely offset by a bright, racy freshness that is classic Russian River Valley. The nose
is extraordinarily complex and pleasing with aromas of lime, mango, cantaloupe, honey and
jasmine. A very rich palate adds flavors of almond and lemon and a beautiful
minerality. The flavors are bright, the oak is subtle and the wine is balanced and
- RUSSIAN HILL Estate Winery
2008 Pinot Noir, Russian
River Valley $32(1834 cases): "A standout
vintage for our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, the 2008 has an enticing nose of orange
zest, cinnamon, cloves and plums. On the palate there are additional flavors of black
cherry and sassafras. The wine is racy with a nice sense of zip due to its refreshing
acidity. Well integrated tannins give the wine a nice structure and balance."
- RUSSIAN HILL Estate Winery
2005 Windsor Oaks Summit Syrah, Russian River Valley
$36 (304 cases): "Simply stated, the 2005 Windsor Oaks Summit Syrah is bold and
beautiful. Its appearance is stunning with a deep red-blue hue and lovely long legs.
The nose is intense with aromas of orange blossom, cranberry, cocoa and leather. On the
palate, flavors of black cherry, plum, cranberry and walnut intermingle with a touch of
earthiness. This wine has a perfect balance of fruit, structure and acidity and, at
five years of age at release, is ready to make its debut."
SMITH & HOOK 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast $30:
"Rich and bright on the nose, this Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon, has
aromas and flavors of black plum, black cherry, black currant, cassis, clove, and cedar.
Layers of dark fruits and chocolate blend with a medley of ripe berries with
vanilla hints. The substantial, mature and chewy tannins finish with a finely
integrated acidity. Made from grapes grown at our own Smith and Hook Ranches and
crafted from the vine to the bottle with attention and care, the Smith & Hook Cabernet
Sauvignon is a wine that is sure to please even the most discriminating palate.
Pair with aged red meats and cheeses, rib roasts and braised shortribs.
NAKED EARTH and GREEN TRUCK
celebrate Earth Day 365 days a year by creating wines that inspire awareness and
appreciation of our Earth's natural environment. The Bronco Wine Company portfolio
includes several organic brands that are easy on the environment as well as the budge.
NAKED EARTH and GREEN TRUCK are two of them. NAKED
EARTH wines come from the South of France. The rolling hillsides of France's Languedoc-Roussillon region are
where Naked Earth earns its name. Conjured from completely natural grapes that bask
in the warm day glow of southern France, and rest in its cool and tranquil nights, Naked
Earth is the product of Mother Nature never touched by harsh chemicals or unnatural
are made with certified organic grapes grown in the Languedoc-Roussillon, a sun-soaked
vineyard region. Viticulture practices are stripped-down basics so minimal that
grapes are made by the environment: Vines live in ecological harmony with the soil, water
and organisms. Natural settings create healthier grapes.
- NAKED EARTH 2009 Blanc,
Languedoc-Roussillon $12: "The clean and golden color is
accented by Viognier. Stunningly floral and full on the nose, with scents of honey,
apricot and pear. Crisp entry with notes of lemon and grapefruit, moving into more rounded
flavors like vanilla and hibiscus flowers, ending on a dry finish with gripping texture,
coming from its generous minerality and balanced acidity. Pleasing by itself, or in
harmony with creamy cheeses, barbecued chicken, cream-based pastas, grilled fish (halibut,
Best served chilled and enjoyed with friends. Grapes
are patiently macerated, soaked and saturated for a deeper color. Their fermentation
is carefully observed, and their meticulous blending produce fruit-driven, food-friendly
wines. So, enjoy Naked Earth for its delicious nectar and its respect and care for
- NAKED EARTH 2009 Rouge,
Languedoc-Roussillon $12: "Beautiful concentration, with
rich and dark crimson hues, showing raspberry-red tinges at the edges. An impressive
nose of strawberry and vanilla, with accents of cinnamon and smoke. Thick, rich and
concentrated upon entry, moving into notes of ripe fruits like strawberry and
blueberry. The finish is long and elegantly spicy, ending with hints of dark
cherries, espresso and chocolate. Serve with red meat, hearty pastas, pizza and
- GREEN TRUCK 2009 Petite Sirah,
Mendocino County $14: "Winery notes describe this wine as lush
flavors of cassis, dark cherries and plums with a hint of pepper, and brown spices add
just the right horsepower."
- GREEN TRUCK 2009 Chardonnay, North
Coast $14: "Green Truck Wine from Red Truck Winery is
committed to sustaining a healthy environment, a journey that led to organically grown
grapes on the rugged California
Pacific coastline bordering rolling hills, scenic ridges and vineyards. This
organic Chardonnay is lively with apple and pear aromas and flavors that are refreshing.
Medium bodied, balanced and enjoyable with light fare.
FAT CAT Cellars: "At Fat Cat Cellars, our vibe is velvety
varietal wines. Wines inspired by the jazz music we love. So try our jam
session Cabernet Sauvignon, mellow Merlot, smooth Pinot Noir, bebop-crisp Chardonnay, or
our new and exuberant Pinot Grigio. Youll find a fusion of rich flavors and genuine
Cat-itude in every glass. You dig?"
- FAT CAT 2009 Pinot Noir, California $10: "This
Pinot Noir is smooth. Smooth as jazz. Smooth as the word lounge. Marvel at
this Cats medium ruby color. Ask your tongue to dance with the bright, well-balanced
blend. Wild berry aromas and lively accents of plum and raspberry swing together with
crisp acidity and light tannins for one finesse of a finish. Juicy, man, juicy. Play
this velvety number solo or with something equally as smooth: Keiko Matsui, or David
Sanborn. Some Diana Krall will definitely groove, too. Heres what to put on
your plate. Try Goat Cheese or Brie on your favorite crackers. Maybe with some Ceviche.
For entrées, match this Cat with Lamb, Blackened Chicken, Beef Brisket, Tuna, or Striped
Bass. Wine & Spirits Magazine June 2009 named Fat Cat 2007 Pinot Noir an Exceptional Value; Fat Cat 2008 Pinot Noir won Gold Medal at Tasters Guild International Wine Judging 2009
- FAT CAT 2009 Chardonnay, California $10: "Bright and crisp
as a bebop band, our straw-colored Chardonnay is in perfect harmony with fresh fruit
flavors, hints of vanilla and butterscotch, and delicate apple and peach finish notes.
Snappy. Impressive. Yes, it does its sunny California grape heritage proud. Serve chilled
with just enough Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, or Herbie Hancock on the side. Throw in
some Brubeck if the evening is warm. Start with Asiago, Havarti, or Emmentaler
cheeses. Move on to Seafood Pasta, Halibut, or Cracked Crab. Improvise with a Chicken
Caesar Salad or a Pork Loin. BEST OF THE BEST California Values Quarterly
Review of Wines, Summer 2009
- KENWOOD VINEYARDS 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris
and Chardonnay will make your summer much better. Kenwood
Vineyards makes wine people enjoy drinking and sharing and the key is respecting the
variety by enhancing its intrinsic character without over-manipulating. The three
newly released 2010 white wines from Kenwood Vineyards illustrate the tastiness of this
approach. Pinot gris grapes yield extraordinary quality when grown in very cool
conditions of the Russian River Valley. This grapes fresh tropical fruit
character is a natural crowd-pleaser, so Kenwood winemakers gently whole-cluster press and
cold-ferment the juice and bottle early for maximum fruit.
- To fully capture Chardonnays rich character, Kenwood
Vineyards harvests grapes from the very cool Russian River Valley and somewhat warmer (but
still cool) Sonoma Valley. Judicious oak fermentation and aging complement
Chardonnays assertiveness and depth. In 2010, Kenwood barrel-fermented
approximately two-thirds of the harvest in small French oak barrels and aged the young
wine in barrels on the yeast lees for five months, during which it underwent malolactic
fermentation to achieve additional elegance on palate.
- KENWOOD VINEYARDS 2010 Pinot
Gris Russian River Valley $16: "Fresh and vibrant, aromas and flavors combine
just-picked pineapple, papaya and lemon with a hint of almond, for a dry and
refreshing Serve well-chilled for a summer wine without peer and delicious on its
own or with a wide variety of lighter foods. 1,250 cases. Available in select
markets nationally or directly from the Kenwood Vineyards website, www.kenwoodvineyards.com.
- KENWOOD VINEYARDS 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
$12 (13.5 % alc.):
"KENWOOD Sauvignon Blanc has set the
standard for more than 30 years. The popular consistent competition winner ranks as
a California classic. Now this classic has an environmentally friendly bottle (ECO Series)
and new closure. The new ECO Series bottle is
appreciably lighter and has a 25 percent reduction in the CO² needed to produce and
transport it compared to the traditional wine bottle. The new Stelvin screw cap
preserves the wines fresh aromas and flavors, and eliminates the risk of oxidation
From the small and cool 2010 vintage, Kenwood harvested grapes from five Sonoma
County appellations at optimal maturity. Individual vineyard lots were
cold-fermented separately and the young wine remained in neutral stainless steel tanks
until bottling to preserve its delicious fruit. This 2010 Kenwood Sauvignon
Blancs fresh, alluring aromas of guava, lemon and lime gain complexity from a
background note of new mown hay. Vibrant flavors of lemon and lime are accented by a
dash of herb complexity. Flavorful yet lithe on the palate and fine natural acidity
enhance this superb wines long, food-friendly finish."
- KENWOOD VINEYARDS 2010 Chardonnay Sonoma County $14: "This wine showcases appealingly complex
aromas of red and green apple, butter and vanilla, together with a subtle nutmeg accent.
Apple, lemon and toasty oak dominate the medium-bodied flavors. Generous on the palate but
smooth in texture, it culminates in a long, crisp finish. This is a fresh, balanced,
complex Chardonnay that can certainly be appreciated unaccompanied, but really shines with
chicken and seafood dishes. The vintage produced an impressive 87,400 cases.
JOSEPH PHELPS VINEYARDS has
two new releases for your pleasure: JOSEPH PHELPS 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and
the 2010 EISÉBE.
- JOSEPH PHELPS VINEYARDS 2008 Napa
Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $56 (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13%
Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec) and 83% from estate vineyards and 17% independent
growers) : "The 2008 growing season started out with lower than normal
rainfall for the second year in a row and the longest cold and frosty spring recorded
since 1971. May brought unusually high temperatures during the latter part of the month,
in the midst of bloom. Such drastic weather changes led to imbalances in the vine,
especially at this important time in the life cycle, prompting flower fertilization to
cease prematurely in some Cabernet Sauvignon clones. Surprisingly this was a blessing in
disguise leading to looser and lighter cluster formation. This natural thinning allowed
adequate airflow within the clusters during maturation and also nicely balanced out the
crop load on each vine. June, July and August proved to be months with consistently warm
temperatures that led to even and healthy vine development. Our weather record keeping
revealed that overall heat accumulation for September and October was higher than our 25
year average by seven to 17 percent, respectively. Grapes were
harvested between September 11 October 24, 2008 at an average 24.5° Brix,
fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged 18 months in a combination of 50% new French
and American oak barrels and 50% one- to two-year-old oak. Coopers include Nadalié,
Sylvain, Demptos, Taransaud, Ermitage, François Frères, Dargaud Jaegle, Demptos
(American) and Canton (American). The 2008 Cabernet reveals aromas of plum and
blackberry intertwined with graphite, forest floor, dark chocolate and curry notes. The
fruit and spice carry through on the palate adding to the multilayered texture of this
wine. Supple, integrated and age-worthy tannins create a long, lush finish."
- JOSEPH PHELPS VINEYARDS 2010 EISÉBE
(376 ml) $50: "In 1994, the desire to produce an 'ice wine,'
or Eiswein, as it is called in Germany, prompted us to adopt an innovative program whereby
Scheurebe grapes would be picked in the late season and then commercially frozen, thus
concentrating their already-high sugar levels. We called the wine 'Eisrébe.'
After harvest grapes were frozen to minus 5º F, then partially thawed and pressed,
after which the sugar content of the juice measured 34.4º Brix. The wine
was then fermented in stainless steel tanks to 23.5% residual sugar and 8.0% alcohol and
bottled in January, 2011. The 2010 Scheurebe has delicate aromas of
apricot, candied pineapple, and orange blossom. Characteristics of crushed rock,
honey, and great acidity and a viscous texture lead to the long lasting, refreshing finish
with well balanced, bright acidity."
MAYACAMAS VINEYARDS Winemaker-Owner Robert Travers has released
two delectable white wines to brighten your summer. Bob takes great pride in his
wines, as well he should. He knows what he's doing and every aspect gets scrutiny
from his discerning eyes. The steep rocky slopes of the vineyards at Mayacamas yield
small crops of tiny grapes. This small fruit is intensely flavored and results in
very full character development in the wines. Winemaker Robert Travers designs winemaking
procedures to preserve this intensity. Annual Chardonnay production averages nearly
1,500 cases. It is made entirely from Chardonnay grapes. Pressing is
accomplished immediately after crushing and destemming. Cool fermentation follows
and lasts about three weeks. Secondary malolactic fermentation is not induced.
Then Mayacamas Chardonnay is given several rackings and a light fining during the
next six months of aging in 600 to 1,200 gallon American oak casks. A year of aging
in 60 gallon French oak barrels precedes bottling. These wines usually reach maturity at
five to eight years of age but some hold near their peak for many more years. Mayacamas
produces several hundred cases a year of Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is made entirely from
Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Crushing, destemming and pressing are followed by three
weeks of cool fermentation. Several rackings and a fining during the eight to ten
months of cask aging precede bottling. Usually released when a year and a half old,
Mayacamas Sauvignon Blanc is usually at its best when three to five years of age, but some
vintages age well for several more years.
- MAYACAMAS VINEYARDS 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley
$25: "Honeydew melon rind on the nose gives way to freshly cut limes on the palate.
Diamond-like precision in the acid balance and focused fruit make this a bright, lovely
wine to go with shellfish and all manner of seafood." Alcohol/Residual Sugar:
14.5%/0.1% Optimum Period for Consumption: Now - 2014
- MAYACAMAS VINEYARDS 2008 Chardonnay, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley $30:
"The nose is tropical - - banana peel, pineapple tart, and a bit of effervescent
lemon. on the palate, more lemon character is joined by a hint of white peaches, and the
subtlest vanilla. The hallmark fresh acidity is in form here. This Chardonnay will go
beautifully with roasted chicken." Alcohol/Residual Sugar: 14.5%/0.1% Optimum
Period for Consumption: Now - 2018
KITCHEN SINK: Like a great chef who
creates a culinary tour de force from whatever mix of flavors and spices the cupboard
provides, our winemakers embrace the same "kitchen sink" approach to crafting
deeply flavored and harmonious artisan blends from our cellar's diverse selection of
vineyard and varietal lots. Our Kitchen Sink brand includes a red blend and a white blend
both created in a fruity, lush and approachable style.
KITCHEN SINK 2009 Red California $10:
"Our Kitchen Sink Red is a full-bodied, fruit-forward wine that is ripe and lush. On
the nose, cassis, plum and crushed red berry aromas are layered with a hint of black
pepper. The palate features red fruit flavors on the lush finish.Fifteen percent of this
wine was aged in oak barrels to give it a complex structure. Winemaking Analysis:
Varietal composition: 38% Zinfandel, 34% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petite
Sirah, 2% Mixed red varietals; Alcohol: 13.6%; Total Acid: 0.54 g/100ml; pH: 3.64
Awards and Accolades: Silver Medal - California State Fair Wine
Competition, Los Angeles International Wine Competition, Pacific Rim Wine Competition,
Monterey Wine Competition, and New World International Wine Competition
KITCHEN SINK 2009 White California $10:
"Our Kitchen Sink White is a lively, aromatic wine with a lush fruity mouthfeel.
Aromas of melon, pear, tangerine, and rose petals are layered with a slight lychee note
with a hint of lemon rind. The palate features these same juicy flavors on entry and the
mid-palate is lush with melon and pear flavors and has a light flinty finish.
Winemaking Analysis: Varietal composition: 36% Chardonnay, 32% Chenin
Blanc, 21% Gewurtztraminer, 11% Mixed white varietals; Alcohol: 12.6% Total Acid: 0.59
g/100ml; pH: 3.27. Awards and Accolades: Best of Class - San Francisco Chronicle
Wine Competition 90 points Wine Enthusiast
CONCANNON'S portfolio has released two new vintages of
GLEN ELLEN. All GLEN ELLEN wines are available in 1.5L
magnums and in 750 ml sizes and, as a partner with Concannon, benefits from
state-of-the-art winemaking facilities and Central Coast fruit. Additionally, CONCANNON
4th-generation vintner John Concannon reports, "For over 125 years our family
has been producing great wines at exceptional values, and there are no better examples
than the wines from our Selected Vineyards tier, all released nationally for $10.
Here are our three new releases from Central Coast.
- GLEN ELLEN 2010 Pinot Grigio, California $10 (1.5L):
"Our Pinot Grigio is a light-bodied wine that bursts with flavors and aromas of
citrus, melon and apple. With a clean, crisp finish this versatile wines is a
perfect match with seafood and stands up to the spicy Latin and Asian cuisine."
- GLEN ELLEN 2009 Old Vine Zinfandel, California $10 (1.5L):
"The immensely flavorful grapes for this wine comes from rare 120-year-old vines.
It is medium bodied with berry and blackberry aromas and a hint of spice that's a
perfect partner with everyday foods like barbecue, pasta and burgers."
- CONCANNON 2009 Selected Vineyards Cabernet
Sauvignon Central Coast $10: "Aromas and flavors of cherries, plum, chocolate and
vanilla oak with rhubarb, pomegranate and oak overtones and a finish of sweet
- CONCANNON 2009 Selected Vineyard Pinot Noir Central Coast $10:
"Aromas and flavors of raspberry, strawberry, warm spice accents of cloves and
cinnamon and quince, this rich wine is medium bodied and food friendly. It finishes
round and smooth."
- CONCANNON 2008 Selected Vineyards Merlot Central
Coast $10: "Soft edges and rich flavors unveil a luscious wines.
Aromas and flavors of ripe fruit, cherry and plum. Toasty oak spices on the
nose with a smooth finish."
PANTHER ROCK WINE COMPANY has new
releases: COTTONWOOD CREEK CELLARS and MOTOS LIBERTY. COTTONWOOD CREEK is a new organic red wine made with 100% organic grapes. It
has a green focus from the vineyard to the table: Made with CCOF Certified Organic Grapes;
Eco Lightweight Bottles; Natural recyclable Cork; Recyclable Paper Labels; Soy Ink
Printing; Non-bleached, Kraft Natural Shippers.
- COTTONWOOD CREEK 2010 Red Table Wine,
California $7: "COTTONWOOD CREEK is a
classic red table wine with a dark ruby color,: says Winemaker John Allbaugh.
"Fresh fruit is present with hints of berries. On the palate are silky tannins
accompanied by hints of sweet toasted oak. The finish is long and
- MOTOS LIBERTY 2008 Cabernet
Sauvignon, California $11: Winemaker John Allbaugh say, "This
wine has a deep, rich silky red color that has complex aromas that blend blackberry,
chocolate and cherries. The palate has abundant fresh berries with mocha hints and
ends with a long refined finish."
BRIDLEWOOD ESTATE WINERY Winemaker David Hopkins says he takes
full advantage of the wealth of grapes available in the Central Cost region. "At
Bridlewood, we craft a range of premium wines that reflect the kaleidoscope of flavors
found in dozens of Central Coast vineyards from Monterey to Santa Barbara," Hopkins
says. "I spend a great deal of time in the vineyards that dot the Pacific
Coastline, searching for grapes that will give unique flavors in the glass. In the
winery, it's all about blending. We meld different vineyard lots to coax the best
flavors into his Syrah, Viognier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. The result is a
collection of wines that are generous of fruit and seamlessly integrated balanced
wines that speak to the flavors of the Central Coast."
- BRIDLEWOOD ESTATE WINERY 2009 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon $15:
"This wine is a new release for us,"says Winemaker David Hopkins.
"At Bridlewood we like to take our time and pour our passion into winemaking.
We get these grapes from our Sunnybrook Ranch in southeast Paso Robles, which has an
extremely long growing season, perfect for Cabernet. You'll find this a classic Cabernet,
deep in color with leading notes of blackberry and dark fruit, chocolate, hints of
pomegranates, caramelized sugar and molasses. Variety Content: 77% Cabernet
Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 1% Zinfandel and 1% other. Alcohol: 13.5%.
- BRIDLEWOOD ESTATE WINERY 2009 Monterey County Chardonnay $15:
"Monterey County enjoys cool, foggy climate that is ideal for Chardonnay.
Typically, bud break begins several weeks earlier and harvest ends several weeks later
than other growing regions. This extra month of time on the vine allows the grapes to
develop intense, complex flavors. Monterey County houses one of the largest AVAs,
the Monterey AVA, which includes nine sub-regions, united by the cooling influence of the
Monterey Bay. This Chardonnay emphasizes the pure ripe fruit typical of the region
and most fruit was harvested at night and early morning to keep grapes optimally cool for
fermentation. The cold-settled wine was racked to stainless steel fermentation with
constant temperature between 57-59º F. About 92% underwent malolactic while 8% did
not in order to retain the delicate floral attributes. This aromatic Chardonnay
displays ripe aromas and pure flavors of nectarine and golden apples; time in the bottle
will allow tropical flavors to develop." Varietal Content: 91%
Chardonnay, 6.5% Viognier, 2.5% other white. Alcohol: 13.5%. Wine
Acidity: 0.57 g/100ml
- BRIDLEWOOD ESTATE WINERY 2008 Monterey County Pinot Noir $20:
"At Bridlewood we like to take our time. Aromas open with dark cherries, cola
nut, purple plum and a sweet spiciness. As the wine breathes, earthy tones emerge, giving
way to sweet black cherry and smoky accents. Flavors are sweet cherry and tangy current
notes lead the palate to flavors of berries, pomegranates and mushrooms. Smoky oak and
spice combine with elegant tannins to stretch the mid palate, ending in a luscious finish.
The balanced acidity and tannin structure allow this wine to be enjoyed on its own
or with a wide array of foods."Alcohol: 13.5%
BAREFOOT CELLARS has a trio of summer
wines ready for you. Winemaker Jennifer Wall tells me that Barefoot Cellars is the
most awarded wine under $15 in the U.S. "We got our start as a 'garage wine'
back in the Sixties but really stepped up what Barefoot was about in 1986 when Michael
Houlihan and partner Bonnie Harvey decided to relaunch the brand. The two of them,
along with the first Barefooter, Randy Arnold, believed in making and selling wine that
was both delicious and affordable and that could be enjoyed by everyone from first-time
wine-consumers to hard-core aficionados. We believe that we can both promote our
brand and satisfy our desire to make the world a better place by partnering with various
non-profits and pouring at various fund-raising events. Over the years, Barefoot has been
a part of thousands of non-profit events and our popularity has grown along with our
support of these ground-breaking organizations. We took another big step in 2006 by
becoming a sponsor of the Association of Volleyball Professions (AVP) Beach Volleyball
supporting a grassroots sport that originated in our state-California. Weve also
teamed up with the grass roots non-profit, the Surfrider Foundation, to create the
Barefoot Beach Rescue Project, designed to clean up beaches and ensure they are
"Barefoot friendly." These two initiatives help us spread a sense of fun in the
sun while furthering the Barefoot philosophy of giving back. Over the years, our
wines have garnered numerous accolades and professional awards, but more importantly to
us, we have a growing circle of loyal fans who love to enjoy our wine and who have joined
us in the spirit of giving back to our communities and to our world. For us, and we hope
for all of you, thats an achievement well worth toasting with a glass of Barefoot
- BAREFOOT CELLARS nv* California Chardonnay
$7: "Golden and smooth, with a sweet vanilla aroma, our medium-weight
Chardonnay is full of honeyed peach and Fuji apple flavors. This wine makes every moment a
little more fun, whether you're watching the sunset from your back porch or reality TV
from your couch."
- BAREFOOT CELLARS nv* California Sauvignon
Blanc $7: "The perfect wine to pack in your picnic basket, Barefoot Sauvignon
is full of the flavors of ripe summer fruit. Sweet notes of honeydew melon, juicy
nectarine and white pear."
- BAREFOOT CELLARS nv* California Riesling
$7: "This light-bodied and refreshingly sweet wine hits all the right
fruit-filled notes: delicate orange blossom, juicy apple, and tangy lemon." *nv means non-vintage
BRONCO WINE COMPANY releases several summer sensations that just
might become year-round preferences. They are delicious and affordable and will be
great for celebrations like graduations, birthday, weddings and such. Bronco has
been in business for more than 110 years and has a knack for offering reasonably -priced,
- SILVER RIDGE 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, California $12: "Mother
Nature reduced crop size naturally in the vineyards with a light frost. The small
crop yielded fruit with intense citrus and floral aromas and flavors that were retained
throughout fermentation. The wine has a nice bouquet of grapefruit and gooseberry
leading to a soft, but crisp citrus finish."
- COASTAL RIDGE 2010 Moscato, California $8: "A delicious
combination of honey, peach, apricot and grapefruit. The natural sweetness creates a
luxurious fullness on the palate as the wine finishes long and fresh."
- BIVIO Prosecco Sparkling Wine Italy $16: "A fresh dry
sparkling wine with a fruity and floral fragrance and fine bubbles. Enjoy for any
occasion, with most any food."
- VALLEY OF THE MOON: VALLEY OF THE MOON SANGIOVESE: Sangiovese are known for
producing savory reds. The grape also produces fresh rosés. A California
sangiovese pioneer, Valley of the Moon Winery makes both and the new releases of
Sangiovese wines showcase two sides of this grape--each distinctive and delicious.
- The dominant red grape of Italy, sangiovese is equally at home in
Sonoma County, with an affinity for appellations with very warm days and cool evenings
such as Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and the northern reaches of Sonoma Valley.
These locations deliver the varietys distinctive character of spice and
bright acidity. The winemaking, however, makes the skilled contrasts. The
Sangiovese red is fermented to dryness at moderate temperatures, then pressed and racked
into small French oak barrels to age for 16 months. Small percentages of Barbera and
Merlot in the final blend enhance the finished wines aromas and texture. The Rosato
di Sangiovese gets its brilliant color from an overnight soak of crushed grapes and juice.
After gentle pressing, the juice is fermented at very cool temperatures in
stainless steel tanks. The young wine remains in stainless steel until bottling to
maximize fresh fruit character. VALLEY OF THE MOON Unoaked Chardonnay fulfills the requests for for this style of Chardonnay.
- VALLEY OF THE MOON SANGIOVESE 2010 Rosato di Sangiovese Sonoma County $14 (91% Sangiovese, 8% Pinot Noir, 1% Petite Sirah, 13.5% alc.) 1,500 cases: "Fresh and vibrant aromas and
flavors of cranberry and cherry, red plum and spice are accented by a dash of kiwi.
This easy-drinking, virtually dry rosé finishes with crisp acidity. Serve chilled
and enjoy as a refreshing aperitif or paired with a wide range of summer fare.
- VALLEY OF THE MOON SANGIOVESE 2008 Sangiovese, Sonoma County $16 (84%
Sangiovese, 10% Barbera, 6% Merlot, alc. - 13.5%) 1,200
cases: "Aromas of cherry, raspberry, baking spices and hint of
bay leaf with flavors of cherry and rhubarb and herbal notes add some complexity.
Combining generous weight on the palate with solid structure and superb balance, this
classic Sangiovese shows fine length in the finish. Approachable now, it will gain polish
and complexity with cellaring.
- VALLEY OF THE MOON 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay Russian River Valley (RRV) $14:
"While grape variety dictates wine character, the vineyard site
and vintage dictate its personality. This wine illustrates both influences
convincingly. The very cool RRV appellation and the unusually cool 2010 vintage,
showcase the cool-climate personality in impressive and uncommonly appealing style.
Russian River Valley's Pacific Ocean influence produces strong afternoon winds and
frequent overnight and early morning fog that cool the regions vineyards during
summer and autumn, resulting in a long growing season that enhances the intrinsic
character of Chardonnay which, like Pinot Noir, loves cold climate even as
it preserves the grapes natural acidity. The wine has fresh, forward aromas
and flavors of orange blossom, tangerine, lime and mineral with vibrant lime, green apple
and kiwi fruits are accented by subtle accents. Mouthfilling yet nimble on the
palate, this food-friendly Chardonnay stays fresh and vivacious through the long, crisp
finish. The 2010 growing season proved to be among the coolest in 50 years
and produced Chardonnay with exceptionally powerful fruit and extraordinarily high
AUCTION NAPA VALLEY: Lot
Honors Grapegrower Andy Beckstoffer
- For the first time in its 31-year history, Auction Napa Valley is
offering wines made from grapes grown by respected independent grower Andy Beckstoffer and
his heritage vineyards: To Kalon in Oakville, Dr. Crane in St. Helena, and Vineyard
Georges III in Rutherford. The Napa Valley Vintners, through this auction, is
spotlighting Napa Valley history and vineyards. This is important, said Beckstoffer.
- This is a fantastic honor both to me and to the seven vintners
whose wines will be presented. Even more important, it is a singular honor and recognition
for all of the independent growers, their vineyards, and the long history of grapegrowing
in the Napa Valley, said Beckstoffer. Most people dont realize that half
the grapes in the Napa Valley are grown by independent grapegrowers who do not make wine.
We are dedicated to growing the grapes and preserving the Napa Valley as an American
premier viticulture region. Great wines are made in the vineyards, so the vineyards must
- Over the years, vineyard owner Andy Beckstoffer has painstakingly
acquired some of Napas most historic and highest quality vineyards in the Napa
Valley vineyards that have produced great wines for more than a century. Now one of
the 40 live auction lots at this years Auction Napa Valley will feature some of the
best wines from these vineyards. The lot includes the following 3 liter bottles, all of
which scored above 95 in Robert Parkers Wine Advocate (two scored a perfect
100). Each will be personally signed by Beckstoffer and the winemaker:
- 1. REALM 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon,
Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard, St. Helena
- 2. B CELLARS 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon,
Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard
- 3. CARTER 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon,
Napa Valley, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard
- 4. MACAULEY 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon,
Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard
- 5. POETIC JUSTICE 2007 Cabernet
Sauvignon, Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard
- 6. SCHRADER 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon,
Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard CCS, Oakville
- 7. SCHRADER 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon,
Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard MMVII, Old Sparky
- 8. TOR 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon,
Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Clone 4
- 9. TOR 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon,
Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Clone 6
- 10. REALM 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer To
- 11. SCHRADER 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer
Vineyard Georges III, Rutherford
- Included in the auction lot is a large wall hanging of a beautifully
recreated antique map of Napa County from 1881, showing the location of historic vineyards
such as Dr. Crane, To Kalon, and Georges III. The wines are fabulous, but this map
may just steal the show, said Beckstoffer. Also included is a viticultural tour of
the Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard for eight people, escorted by Andy Beckstoffer and the
respective winemakers. Then its off to the Beckstoffer estate in Rutherford for a
tasting of great vintages of Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard and other heritage vineyard
wines, followed by a lunch prepared by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. The auction itself
will take place June 2-5 at Meadowood, St. Helena, California.
- Andy Beckstoffer was a leader in developing a winery definition ordinance
that required Napa wineries to focus on making wines from Napa grapes. Beckstoffer
Vineyards has researched, promoted and implemented the latest in modern viticulture
techniques. The Heritage Vineyards have been farmed with the very best that art and
science can offer, and have produced some of the most famous and highly rated wines in the
world. This lot of wines captures the essence of these vineyards, and the remarkable story
- About Beckstoffer Vineyards
- Beckstoffer Vineyards is the largest family, non-corporate vineyard owner
in Napa Valley. Vineyard acquisitions include several of Napa Valley's most historic and
pedigreed vineyards, including Las Piedras (established in 1841), Missouri Hopper (1850),
Dr. Crane (1857), To Kalon (1865), Bourn (1872) and Georges III (1895). A pioneer in
environmental awareness, technical development, sustainable farming, and business
practices, Beckstoffer Vineyards is the largest seller of luxury premium wine grapes
(primarily cabernet sauvignon and merlot) in the North Coast. Beckstoffer Vineyards
delivers grapes to more than 50 wineries, sourcing the finest grapes for vineyard
designate (or single-site) wines to over 20 luxury premium wineries. In a 2009 Wine
Spectator review of California Cabernets, nearly 40% of the top-rated twenty-five
wines were grown by Andy Beckstoffer.
- About Napa Valley Vintners The Napa Valley
Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the
Napa Valley appellation as the premiere winegrowing region. From seven founding
members in 1944, today the association represents over 4oo Napa Valley wineries and
collectively is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. Proceeds support health,
youth and affordable housings non-profit programs in Napa Valley.
- FAIRNESS OF WINE LAWS:
Imagine if Texas lawmakers, in a bid to protect mom-and-pop bookstores, barred Amazon.com
from shipping into the state. Or if Massachusetts legislators, worried about Bostons
shoe boutiques, prohibited residents from ordering from Zappos.com.
- Such moves would infuriate consumers. They might also breach the
Constitutions commerce clause, which limits states from erecting trade
barriers against one another. But wine consumers, producers and retailers face such
- Last month, Representative Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, introduced a bill in the
House that would allow states to cement such protectionist laws. It should
appall wine snobs, beer swillers and even teetotalers. In this case, the law would
protect not small stores and liquor producers, but the wholesale liquor lobby.
- Like virtually all of Americas liquor laws, this proposal traces its
origins to the temperance movement. When Prohibition was repealed by the 21st Amendment in
1933, states were given the authority to regulate the transportation or
importation of intoxicating liquors within their borders.
- States were allowed to decide whether they wanted to remain dry. As alcohol
again started flowing freely, states either assumed control over its sale and
distribution, or created a wholesale tier to sit between producers and retailers.
- Before Prohibition, many bars were owned by brewers or distillers. Temperance
advocates blamed these bars for some of the ills associated with drunkenness, and believed
that keeping the producers away from the business of selling directly would help society.
- Lawmakers hoped this wholesale tier would weaken producers. And indeed, the
wholesaling industry grew quickly, as most alcoholic beverages had to pass
through it before ending up at liquor stores, bars and restaurants. It was,
essentially, a state-mandated middleman.
- Today, wholesaling is big business. Together, the nations two largest
wholesalers Southern Wine & Spirits
and Republic National Distributing
Company have revenues of about $13 billion.
- A chunk of that cash is funneled to lawmakers. The National Beer
Wholesalers Association maintains the nations third-largest political action
committee, and since 2000, it has donated $15.4 million to candidates for federal office
about $5 million more than the A.F.L.-C.I.O donated in that time.
- In the past decade, it spent $5.6 million on lobbying Congress; the Wine and
Spirit Wholesalers of America spent $9.3 million.
- The expenditures make sense. The wholesaling industrys survival depends on
maintaining todays highly regulated system. It is estimated that because of
wholesalers, consumers pay 18 percent to 25 percent more at retail than they
- And in recent years, the industrys dominance has been threatened.
- Last year, the United States
passed France as the worlds largest wine-consuming nation (in bottles,
not yet per capita). Americas love affair with wine deepened in the early
1990s, when many people developed a preference for high-end wines and started
ordering directly from producers.
- Wholesalers didnt like being cut from these transactions, so they pushed
state lawmakers to prohibit direct shipping. Many did. By 1999, just 19 states
allowed consumers to order wine from out-of-state producers.
- But in 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in Granholm v. Heald
that the 21st Amendment did not give states the authority to pass nonuniform laws in
order to discriminate against out-of-state goods. Thus, lawmakers could prohibit
out-of-state wineries from shipping into a state only if they were willing to block their
own wineries from shipping out.
- In the six years since, several states have liberalized their wine laws. But many restrictions remain.
- Alabama oenophiles can order wine only from an out-of-state producer if they
have received written approval from the states Beverage Control Board. Wineries can
ship into Indiana and Delaware only to consumers who have visited the winery and made a
purchase in person. In 37 states,
residents are prohibited from ordering wine from online retailers or auction houses or
even joining wine-of-the-month clubs.
- The bill under consideration in Congress will make things even worse.
- This proposal would allow discrimination against out-of-state producers and
retailers if lawmakers can prove that such laws advance a legitimate local purpose
that cannot be adequately served by reasonable nondiscriminatory alternatives.
- That means that if a states discriminatory liquor laws produce tax
revenues, for instance, they cant be challenged in court.
- But instead of burdening consumers by foisting more restrictions on alcohol
sales, lawmakers should free the market and expand consumer choice by scrapping this bill
and letting wholesalers know that it wont be considered again, as the commerce
clause reigns supreme.
- Nationwide, there are more than 6,000 wineries, and about 7,000 American
wine retailers have Web sites. Wine clubs affiliated with newspapers (including this one),
gourmet stores and even rock bands are
taking off. Yet most Americans have access to only a small fraction of whats
- The wholesaling industry is right to be nervous. After all, consumers have
shown that they will order directly from producers and specialty retail shops if given the
chance. But thats no reason to save an antiquated system that gives Americans
fewer choices and makes them pay more.
- David White is the founder and editor of the wine blog Terroirist.
- CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE KEEPS GETTING GREENER:
Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) is leading environmental preservation with initiatives to reuse
woody biomass and wastewater from wine production. The Champagne appellation-wide
program will transform 150,000 metric tons of wood waste from vineyard pruning into
energy, reducing pollution and help replace fossil fuels used in wine production with a
renewable energy source. Through
this BIOVIVE (Biomasse Viticole) initiative, the Champenois work with local utilities to
cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 10,000 metric tons per year, the
equivalent of taking 5,000 vehicles off the road. Similarly, wine production results
in 600,000 cubic meters of wastewater and byproducts each year. Since 1990, the
Champagne industry has steadily increased its environmental stewardship; now 95 percent of
wastewater is treated and 91 percent is recycled. "Champagne only comes from
Champagne. Its distinctive land and climate cannot be replicated and the people of
Champagne understand that they must preserve the region's centuries-old wine-making
tradition," said Sam Heitner, Champagne Bureau director and CIVC representative to
U.S. "These efforts are a few of the many environmental initiatives undertaken
to reduce the region's carbon emissions 25 percent by 2020."
- Champagne is not only wine; it is a unique
region with a long history of winemaking expertise. Located 90 miles northeast of
Paris, the region covers less than 80,000 acres. Only grapes handpicked in the delineated
plots inside the appellation can produce Champagne. The CIVC, comprised of all grape
growers and houses in Champagne, has led these environmental initiatives to ensure that
Champagne continues to focus on quality and preserve its unique wine-growing location.
- The region's
leadership in emission reduction began in 2002 with the first-ever wine region
environmental impact assessment. Based on the audit results, the Champagne region set
itself the goal of cutting carbon emissions 25 percent by 2020 and 75 percent by 2050.
Consequently, more than 40 initiatives
currently reduce the region's environmental footprint. For example, after
determining that production, packing and shipping accounted for 33 percent of the region's
carbon emissions, the CIVC announced a new standard bottle in 2010 (more than two ounces
lighter) that will reduce the annual CO2 output by 8,000 metric tons, equivalent
to the annual CO2
of 4,000 cars. The new design changes the bottle neck and was tested to ensure
it maintains the performance, safety and character of the bottle historically used in the
2002, the Champenois showed true leadership by engaging in the most comprehensive
environmental audit of a wine region that had ever been conducted," continued
Heitner. "Introducing a lighter bottle, reusing wood waste and capturing wastewater
are small steps that, when implemented throughout the region, help make a significant
difference in the carbon emitted from the Champagne appellation."