Friday, April 29, 2011

Hall Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Many people head to New Zealand, South Africa or Chile for Sauvignon Blanc but I am here to tell you that there are great Sauvignon Blancs in our back yard - Yountville (Napa), CA.  The Sauvignon Blanc grape is a green skinned grape that was originally from the Bordeaux region of France.  The 2009 Hall Sauvignon Blanc is a powerful medium-bodied dry white wine that starts with a rich and powerful nose of grapefruit, along with some lemon and kiwi and touch of vanilla.  This refreshing and fruit forward wine has a nice crisp acidity with long lasting flavors of peach and lemon to start, some bosc pear in the middle and then a little heat on the back end.  This is a very enjoyable wine.  We served it with a chicken and seafood paella and it was a perfect compliment.  Wine & Spirits Magazine gave the Hall Sauvignon Blanc 2009 a 91 point rating.  I would definitely agree with this rating.  It retails for $22, which is a little high but worth it.  Give this a try.  Another very nice Sauvignon Blanc from Rutherford, CA is the Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (review posted October 13, 2009).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Emilio Moro Finca Resalso 2008

Over the past few weeks, I have been on a Spanish wine hunt.  I have even gone back to some of my favorites, including the Tinto Figuero 15 (tasting posted February 25, 2010) .   I also just found in CT the Bodegas Ondarre Rioja Reserve 2004 which until now could only find in Switzerland (tasting posted July 31, 2009).  Can't wait to pop that cork.  The other night while having pizza, I tried the Finca Resalso 2008.  The Resalso is from the Leon region of Spain where the tempranillo grape is actually known as Tinto Fino. This dark garnet colored wine made from 100% tempranillo grapes started off with a big powerful aroma of black fruit that quickly changed to cowhide and star anise.  The 2008 had been aged for 4 months in French Oak barrels but the nose led you to believe a lot longer.  I also thought there was an abundance of alcohol on the nose.  On the palate, this medium bodied wine had plenty of red and black juicy berries along with dark chocolate, and again, a slightly elevated alcohol taste and oakiness.  The 2008 has a 13.5% alcohol content.  The earthiness that you sometimes find in the tempranillo wines was completely lost in this one.   I actually went back a day later to try it again but it did not get any better.  There was also a noticeable increase in acidity and a bitter cherry taste on the back end. The sales clerk at the store said he hadn't tried it so I was on my own.  The Wine Advocate rated this 90 points.  Maybe I had a bad bottle but I think they missed the boat on this one.  The Resalso  2008 at $13 or the Ondarre Reserve 2004 at $11 is a no brainer.   This would definitely be a pass next time.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tomaiolo Pinot Grigio 2010

Tonight my wife made mussels with a saffron aioli sauce.  An Italian Pinot Grigio by Tomaiolo was chosen for this dish.  Unfortunately, for my taste, this did not work.  Along with some fruity aromas, it also had a hint of rubbing alcohol.  Additionally, the acidity was overbearing and the taste was more of a gasoline (I would guess) taste and a bitter back end.  Italians are known for picking the Pinot Grigio grapes a little early so the acidity remains high.  The alcohol was only 12% but it smelled and tasted a lot higher.  The producer claims it has an apple blossom scent and flavor but I completely missed those.  This would be a definite pass next time.  For $9, what do you expect.

Monday, April 11, 2011

50% OFF Arger-Martucci Wines

Arger-Martucci is having a blowout 50% sale until Friday, April 15.  Great wines from a family owned and operated winery located in Napa, CA.  Below are the tasting notes.  Several of these wines are previously posted in the blog.  93 point wines at 50% off.  Get it while it lasts.  Call Anthony Arger at (775) 750-6545 and tell him Jason sent you.  Don't miss out on some great wines and great prices.  The prices below are the retail prices BEFORE the sale.  Sale price is only for single cases of one varietal/type of wine.  No mixed cases. 

2009 ILIAD (Proprietary White Blend) ~ Mendocino

The Iliad is a proprietary white blend, which complements our proprietary red blend and estate reserve, the Odyssey. Representing the true art of winemaking, this blend achieves a body, flavor and richness that proves superior to any of its individual varietal components. Harvested from select vineyards in Napa and Mendocino counties, the four aromatic varietals that compose the Iliad are Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, and Muscat. The bouquet is truly exotic with an immediate impression of melon, pear and even coconut. The mouthfeel is very rich with hints of tropical spice, which suggests Viognier first, then Gewurtztraminer, and finally, a hint of grapefruit from the Sauvignon Blanc. There is a small amount (less than one-half of one percent) of residual sugar, which enhances the richness on the palate. This is the perfect wine to accompany any lighter dish or simply to “sip” on the veranda.  $24.99

2005 PINOT NOIR (Estate) ~ Carneros

Our 2005 Pinot Noir was harvested on September 22 from our traditional source in Carneros. Picked at 24.5 Brix and with excellent acidity levels, the grape cluseters were destemmed, cold-macerated for 48 hours, and then fermented for 16 days on the skins. Once finished, the grapes were gently pressed and finally placed in 100% French Nevers Oak for 14 months. Of note is the color of the wine, which is garnet, not black. The bouquet has a cloak of rich, red fruits from raspberry to red currant. The mouthfeel is smooth and silky with a generous sweet mid-palate that supports an elegant structure with softer tannins. The flavors are dominated by dark cherry, plums and hints of toastiness. Drinkable now, winemaker Kosta Arger believes the wine will continue to mature and improve over the next five years.  $27.99

2005 SYRAH (Estate) ~ Atlas Peak

2008 Orange County Fair Gold Medal Winner
2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Silver Medal Winner

The 2005 Syrah was harvested on November 2nd from our Odyssey Vineyard on Atlas Peak. This vineyard is situated 1,350 feet above the valley floor. The grapes were de-stemmed then cold-macerated for 3 days then fermented for an additional 25 days on the skins. While the 2004 was a classic Napa style Syrah, the 2005 is a bigger mouthful. A bit richer in texture, it gives off the classic white pepper bouquet with hints of black cherry. This wine was so intense we blended it with 4% Merlot to soften it a bit. The result is a rich-textured mouth feel with flavors of cherry and leather that linger on the palate.  $24.99

2005 CABERNET SAUVIGNON (Estate) ~ Atlas Peak

Wine Enthusiast Rated 93 Points (December 2009)
2009 California State Fair Wine Competition Gold Medal Winner

The 2005 harvest was one of the finest in recent memory for the Napa Valley. Most of the harvest was done under perfect conditions. Our Cabernet Sauvignon was hand-picked on October 23-24 at 24.9 brix from our Odyssey Vineyard on Atlas Peak. The grapes were de-stemmed then cold-macerated for 72 hours in small lots, then fermented “on the skins” for 25 days. The wine was aged in our customary combination of Seguin-Moreau French Nevers Oak, 40%, Hungarian Oak, 40% and American Oak, 20% for 22 months. The final blend was made in April, 2007 and bottled in September 2007. This 2005 consists of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. The bouquet literally jumps from the glass with leathery and plumb overtones. The mouthfeel, or texture, is luscious with nuances of chocolate and cinnamon on the palate. The low yields from our hillside vineyard, which is 1,350 feet above the valley floor, and our clone selection combine to give this wine an intense concentration, unique to great Napa Valley Cabernet.  $39.99

2005 ODYSSEY (Estate) ~ Atlas Peak

Wine Enthusiast Rated 93 Points & Cellar Selection (December 2009)

We consider our Odyssey to be the ultimate in a proprietary estate red wine. This premium wine represents a consistent house style representing Arger-Martucci Vineyards and is 100% estate grown. The grapes are hand-picked from our Odyssey Vineyards, 1,350 feet above the valley floor on Atlas Peak. The Cabernet Sauvignon, composing 39% of the blend, is selected primarily from the French 337 clone planted on a single section of the vineyard. The remainder of this blend is composed of 31% Cabernet Franc, 28% Merlot, 1% Petite Verdot and 1% Syrah. The wine was aged 22 months in predominately French Nevers and Hungarian Oak. The richness of the 2005 vintage is immediately noticeable in this blend. While the characteristics of classic Napa Cabernet are present, no single varietal dominates the blend. The result is an elegant feel in the mouth with nuances of cinnamon and black cherry on the palate. We create our premium estate red to be immediately appealing, yet the soft tannins which result from extended maceration and barrel-aging will make this wine very age-worthy.  $49.99 (Corked Wine Blog Favorite)

2005 CABERNET FRANC (Estate) ~ Atlas Peak

The 2005 Cabernet Franc was harvested on October 23rd at 24.7 brix with excellent acidity levels. Consistent with our low-yield philosophy, only 2.5 tons per acre were produced from our mountainside vineyard on Atlas Peak. The clusters were de-stemmed, cold-soaked for 72 hours and then fermented on the skins for an extended maceration period of 25 days. This prolonged skin to juice contact enables us to extract the maximum intensity which is evident in the intense color and flavor. This wine was barrel-aged in 40% Hungarian oak, 40% French Nevers oak, and 20% American oak. Winemaker Kosta Arger considers oak aging similar to a “spice-rack” in cooking - each type of oak adds different layers of flavor to the profile of the wine. To soften the mouth feel and add complexity, 4% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon were added to the wine. The bouquet gives intense black cherry with nuances of tobacco and vanilla. The wine finishes with phenomenal richness and texture with hints of cherry and leather.  $34.99

2005 PETITE SYRAH ~ Calistoga

2009 West Coast Wine Competition Silver Medal Winner

The Petite Syrah grapes were harvested from 140 year old vines situated in Calistoga. Vines of this age are extremely shy-bearing, producing approximately 4 to 6 clusters per vine. The grapes were harvested on October 27th then cold macerated for 2 days, and fermented on the skins for an additional 24 days. The wine was aged in 100% French Oak for 18 months. The color is almost black as one would expect. The bouquet is that of green olives and intense black pepper with hints of tar and smokiness. The texture is a bit more austere than the 2004, yet still gives a big mouthful of rich Petite Syrah flavors true to the varietal.  $44.99

2006 DULCINEA (Late Harvest) ~ California

The 2006 Dulcinea is comprised of 90 % Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillion, harvested at 35 Brix. The residual sugar was 10.2% by weight. Each grape variety was heavily botrytis and individual bunches were hand selected. The entire clusters were placed in the press and gently squeezed for 3 hours. The wine was then aged in small French and American oak barrels for 19 months. This wine is an incredibly rich, sauternes-style dessert wine. The bouquet gives immediate apricots and peaches that follow through on the palate. The texture is rich, but not cloying on the palate. The complexity of flavors is quite remarkable – peaches, a touch of tropical, and a hint of nutmeg.  $39.99.