2012 Chamisal Chardonnay, Central Coast, $17.99/Sale $13.99: Sourced from a number of coastally influenced vineyards ranging from Monterey County to San Luis Obispo, the common theme amongst these vineyards is cool climate, elevated sites with well drained sedimentary soils and naturally limited yields. This wine boasts an aromatic mix of lush tropical fruits and ripe red delicious apples. The palate belies the stainless winemaking; rich with ripe pineapple and white peach characteristics and a long, full mid palate with clean, lingering acidity. For those of you who prefer a lighter style Chardonnay, this could be perfect.
2011 Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc, North Coast, $31.99/Sale $27.99: Blanc de Blancs (white from white), made from Chardonnay, is the counterpart to the Blanc de Noirs (white from black), made from Pinot Noir. Blanc de Blancs was the first wine Schramsberg produced in 1965 and was America’s first commercially produced, Chardonnay-based brut sparkling wine. Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs gained international recognition in 1972 when then President Nixon served the wine at the historic “Toast to Peace” in Beijing, China. The Schramsberg style of Blanc de Blancs is dry and crisp. Small lots of malolactic- and barrel-fermented wines are added for complexity. The wine is aged on the yeast lees in the bottle for about two years prior to disgorgement. With its vibrant, fruitful and crisp nature, this sparkling wine will maintain its freshness, structure and refined finish for many years.
2010 Mark West Carneros Pinot Noir, $21.99/Sale $15.99: We’ve carried the basic Pinot from Mark West for a long time because it is such a great value. When we tasted this one from their Carneros vineyard, we couldn’t resist putting it in as well. It has more depth and richness than its little brother, with enticing aromas of dark berries, boysenberries, and raspberries. A sweet entry of brown sugar and molasses on the palate is followed by berry flavors with a bit of orange zest. Again, a great value in Pinot Noir from Mark West…especially at this killer sale price!
2011 Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma County, $34.99/ Sale $29.99: An intense ruby red wine with bright highlights and a nose of red fruit, nutmeg and licorice. The tannins are sweet and firm, creating the body and structure characteristic of the strain. Its finish is nice and long. With profound fruit and excellent acidity, the 2011 might be one of Seghesio’s best Old Vine Zinfandels yet. 92 Points, Wine Spectator
2012 Belle Glos Dairyman Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, $47.99/ Sale $39.99: 2012 was a great vintage, and this Pinot made by the grandson of the co-founder of the venerated Caymus Vineyards won’t disappoint. Situated in the southern alluvial plains of the Russian River Valley, Dairyman Vineyard’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean results in a cool morning fog and afternoon coastal breezes that elongate the growing season. This produces small, concentrated and flavorful berries, producing bright cherry characteristics, brown spices, and a keen minerality overlaid with a rich, velvety mouth feel.
2009 Cenyth Red Blend, Sonoma, $62.99/Sale $53.99: A collaboration between two famous wine producing families, one French, one American, this wine marries the ripe fruit of California with the structural elements more common to European wines. It is a classic blend of all five Bordeaux varietals…47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec, aged in 100% French oak for 15 months. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by notes of licorice, forest floor, earth, black cherries and black currants. With a smooth texture and Old World style, it lures you in and holds your interest. Really good! 93 Points, Wine Advocate
|2012 Caymus 40th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $65.99/Sale $59.99:
Can you believe it? Caymus rolled back their price in celebration of their 40th Anniversary.
This is twenty dollars per bottle cheaper than the 2011 which is $79.99!
2012 was a great vintage and this wine is everything a devoted Caymus fan could ask for!
It is every bit the palate pleaser that we’ve come to expect from this legendary Napa house. Black cherries, sweet plums, chocolate-covered berries and lavish oak compete for your attention in the flavor profile, and the texture is pure silk.
Know anyone turning 40? We don’t know how long this price will last so we suggest purchasing it sooner rather than later!
Turnbull Wine Cellars
A couple of weeks ago, Joel Portmann of Turnbull Wine Cellars came by Coaltrain to taste us on their Napa Valley wines. Turnbull, founded in 1979, was designed to be low-key and in tune with its environment, and is a classic example of a small hands-on Napa Valley winery. We were impressed to find really good, classic Napa Valley Cabernets and Sauvignon Blanc at reasonable prices…relatively speaking. Try these. They are showing well now but will get better and better over the next decade. – PM
2012 Turnbull Oakville Sauvignon Blanc, CA, $19.99/Sale $16.99: Aromas of grapefruit, guava and melon lead to bright fused fruit flavor (not too tropical) balanced by a slight minerality. Three successive picking passes help create the layering of flavors found in this wine, which is crisp and lively, but not too aggressive, with medium body and a focused finish.
2012 Turnbull Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, CA, $47.99/Sale $42.99: Sourced exclusively from four estate vineyards throughout Oakville and Calistoga, reflecting some of the best terroir the Napa Valley has to offer, this Cab displays the aromatics of dusted summer blackberries and crème de cassis. Dark cherry tones highlight a richly complex, while amazingly elegant, mouthfeel. The tannins are silky, rich and smooth. By the way, we have three Magnums of the 2008 (a very good vintage in Napa) priced at $99.99.
2010 Turnbull Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, CA, $58.99/$54.99: From Turnbull’s Oakville estate vineyards, each with varying soil types, creating terroir, character and depth in the wine. Each vineyard block is vinified separately in small stainless steel tanks. The wine is barreled down into individual lots and aged in French Oak barrels for twenty months. The result is spicy red fruits, dusty raspberries, white pepper and hazelnuts. Red berries up front, with a rich, mid palate density and finishing with smooth black cherry and baking spices. A concentrated and spicy finish. A true expression of Oakville terroir. 93 points, Robert Parker
|Many of you may remember the Amici Cabernet, a staff favorite for many years. The Amici rep was in recently to taste us, and, as you can see, we loved all of them. – PM
2012 Amici Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, $25.99/Sale $23.99: 2012 is widely regarded as one of the best vintages on record for Napa Valley winemaking, and this blend of 50% Sauvignon Musque and 50% Sauvignon Blanc is from vineyards in St. Helena and Rutherford in Napa Valley. It borders Cakebread and is similar in style…crisp but not overly aggressive. The wine exhibits distinct aromas of citrus, fragrant honeysuckle, and notes of pineapple and guava. On the palate, round flavors of tropical fruit and lemon custard are balanced by a clean, wet stone minerality and a hint of lemon zest. It is a complex and elegant wine that pairs exceptionally well with food.
2012 Amici Cellars Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, $33.99: Beautifully aromatic, this wine opens with a dazzling bouquet of rich raspberry and fragrant violets. On the palate, flavors of black cherry, raspberry and cola spice swirl around hints of earth. We like it because it is not overly fruity. Velvety tannins lead to excellent length on the finish, with a persistent core of fruit that lingers for minutes, not seconds.
2010 Amici Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $46.99/ Sale $43.99: A blend from two of Napa Valley’s premier sub-appellations, this 2010 Amici Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon contains 75% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Rutherford Bench and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Yountville, with a splash of Petit Verdot for additional depth and complexity. This smooth seductive Cabernet features classic Rutherford Bench flavors of black cherry, cassis and ripe plum layered with subtle notes of licorice and mocha. Beautifully balanced, with soft, well-integrated tannins and wonderful ripeness, the wine drinks beautifully now but will age gracefully for 8-10 years.
2012 Domaine Magellan Blanc, Languedoc, $14.99/Sale $13.49: This wine is unlike so many other whites we have tried lately! A curious blend of Grenache Blanc (60%) and Rousanne (40%) from the warm French Mediterranean region of the Languedoc, this lovely white wine clings to the tongue and really speaks of texture. Nuanced green apple and green melon flavors make this the perfect summer white for fresh white fish on the grill with a hint of chutney. It would also pair well with spring risotto or a medley of cheeses. Medium bodied, this is a nice alternative to unoaked Chardonnay as well! It’s time for a change!
2013 Domaine Eugène Carrel Jongieux Blanc, Savoie, $12.99/ Sale $11.99: Coming from very steep vineyards created by ancient glaciers in the French Alps, this wine, made from the native Jacquere grape, is like “drinking bottled mountain air.” It is clean and minerally, fresh yet not tart. Serve as an aperitif or with shellfish.
2013 François Chidaine Sauvignon Blanc, Touraine, $13.99/Sale $12.49: Revered for his masterpiece Chenin Blancs, we finally get a chance to see what Chidaine can do with Sauvignon! Not your typical, simple Touraine SB, as it sees all estate fruit and is Biodynamic/Organic! This vibrant, crisp white radiates its place of birth in the Loire. Deep chalk beds and warm summer sun develop in these grapes a cheerful disposition and mouthwatering acidity. In the heat of the summer, there is hardly a better choice than this lemony, mineral-focused white, whether sitting on the porch with a book, grabbing it on the go for a barbecue or having it alongside salads, fish or, of course, goat cheese (a local favorite with this wine!).
2011 Domaine de la Janasse, Terre d’Argile, Côtes du Rhône Villages, $26.99/Sale $19.99: A Cotes du Rhone Villages is from specific villages within the Rhone and is a step above the usual Cotes du Rhone. This cuvee is composed of equal parts Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan grown in clay soils just outside Chateauneuf du Pape. This cuvee is complex and elegant with lots of kirsch, earth, forest floor and black fruit characteristics. It should drink well for 5-6 years. 91 points – Robert Parker
2010 Chateau de Vaudieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape, $49.99: From Famille Brechet, Chateau de Vaudieu is one of the older estates in Chateauneuf du Pape. The beautiful, classic chateau was built in 1767. 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre, the wine comes from vines that are on average 50 years of age. It is aged in a combination of new French oak barrels and demi muids for 18 months. On average, slightly more than 4,000 cases are produced each year. Ripe, supple and already delicious, this wine will mature for years to come, but hey, it’s already got almost 4 years on it. The wine was produced using 100% organic farming techniques. 92 points – Robert Parker
2011 D66 Grenache, Maury, $39.99/Sale $34.99: Department 66 is not only a French region, but the inspiration and namesake for Orin Swift winemaker Dave Phinney’s winery and vineyards in the town of Maury. Ink black in color with a shade of crimson on the band, this is concentrated and finesse driven wine. Dark dried fruit, cocoa, spring flowers, and Mediterranean herb aromas are framed by seasoned French oak resulting in stunning aromatics. The entry is rich with exotic spice notes leading to mouth filling flavors of blackberry, licorice, blueberry jam and espresso. The finish has a velvety texture that lingers indefinitely with enough minerality to remind you of this special region. 95 points – Robert Parker
A TALE OF TWO RIOJAS
In the realm of Wine Geekdom, we do sometimes get caught up in another language. The following two wines give us fine examples of what we mean when we say “Old World” and “New World” styled wines. They are both from Spain so you would say, “Old World”, but this refers to how they are made and their style, not just their country of origin.
2009 Vivanco Crianza, Rioja, $16.99: Filled with rich fruit, this luscious wine reveals some use of oak and, thus, some vanilla aspects. Along with these aspects that give it the “New World” moniker, it also has a nice tannic structure that show up on the long finish. Great for summer grilling and could even hold up to some spicy foods.
2010 Fernandez Gomez Crianza, RIOJA, $14.99/Sale $13.99: A delicate, dry and earthy representation of 100% Tempranillo, this gets the “Old World” title. It is the finesse and subtly of the fruit along with the earthiness and a nice dryness that qualify it in this category. Delightful with a bit fattier food, maybe a veal chop…mmm.
2008 Rubinelli Vajol Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Veneto, $13.99/Sale $12.49: Vivid aromas that recall pungent apple skin open the nose of this compact Valpolicella blend, comprised of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Oseleta and Molinara. You’ll also get aromas of cranberry, bitter almond and dried cassis. The grapes are dried on mats, but for a shorter time than Amarone, so we would call this wine a “baby Amarone.” A lot of flavor and complexity here for such a low price!
2013 Giocato Pinot Grigio, Primorska, $10.99/Sale $9.99: Made from grapes hand-selected from some of the best sites just 2 miles from the Italian border in Slovenia, this wine has a bit more body than your typical Pinot Grigio. It is bright and crisp, with aromas of delicious green apple, acacia flower, and almonds. Ready to enjoy now, and for this price, you might as well stock up!
2013 Sofos, Klimenti Korinth, $12.99/Sale $11.99: This white Sofos, which means “the wise one,” is a certified Organic blend of 50% Moschofilero-50% Chardonnay. A light yellow color with green tinges, the nose shows citrus, melon, white flowers and rosebud, while the palate has freshness, medium body with lemon notes, hints of mint and fresh summer fruit. Elegant, crisp acidity combines with a long aftertaste. As you might expect from a Greek white wine, it’s a perfect quaff in this hot weather.
2012 Recuerdo Torrontés, La Rioja, $16.99/Sale $12.99: The emblematic white wine of Argentina, this Torrontés is cultivated in La Rioja – located in the Famatina Valley wine region. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve its fruit intensity and lively palate. Light in color, Torrontés has a citrus perfume with a pronounced floral essence. Peaches, Asian fruits, and hints of lemon explode on the palate. Well balanced, with a crisp finish, this white wine pairs well with a variety of lighter fare and will surely impress your Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier-loving friends.
2011 Errazuriz Max Reserva Chardonnay, Aconcagua Valley, $16.99/Sale $14.99: Sourced from the Manzanar vineyard, located barely 7.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean, this pale yellow Chardonnay delivers aromas of fresh tropical fruits like pineapple and mango, as well as citric notes of mandarin and orange zest. Its creamy feeling on the palate is refreshed by a vibrant acidity, characteristic of this cold vintage. It delivers flavors of fresh citrus fruits, with a persistent ending and a captivating mineral aspect.
2011 Errazuriz Max Reserva Carmenere, ACONCAGUA Valley, $16.99/Sale $14.99: Beautiful carmine red with bright violet at the rim. The nose and palate stand out for the black fruit framed by notes of spice and ground coffee along with a touch of green pepper (a common characteristic of Carmenere). This is a wine with good structure and fine-grained tannins that promise good longevity in the bottle.
2010 Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Aconcagua Valley, $16.99/Sale $14.99: A bright ruby red color and an expressive nose that showcases fresh red fruit and a hint of mint, all nicely complemented by notes of dried fruit and a subtle touch of sweet spices. Light balsamic touches enhance the complexity even more. Velvety on the palate, this wine starts out friendly but firm, with fine tannins and flavors that reiterate the wine’s aromatic profile of dominant fresh red and black fruit accompanied by hazelnuts and sweet spices. The wine’s excellent acidity foretells its great cellaring potential. 93 Points from Patricio Tapia (Lead Chilean Critic for Wine and Spirits Magazine)