Wine: Superb New Releases

| September 1, 2015



Charles & Charles Rosé Columbia Valley 2014 — This is the result of Charles Beiler’s experience in making rosé in Provence, and Charles Smith’s vast knowledge of winemaking in Washington State. The 2014 is the most delicious and complex to date. Exceptional value! $12

  1. Lohr Gesture Grenache Rosé Paso Robles 2014 — Made from 100 percent Grenache specifically harvested at a lower sugar level to produce a rosé — not the saignee method. Fresh raspberries in the bouquet followed by a supple and luscious taste. One sip begs for another. $18

Crossbarn Rosé of Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2014 — Crossbarn is Paul Hobbs’ innovative winery dedicated to the production of great wines at affordable prices, using sustainable vineyard practices and traditional winemaking techniques. A third excellent vintage in Northern California has assisted in the production of a wine with beauty, depth and quality. “…aromas of white tea, tangerine blossom and Rainier cherry.” Lovely finish! $18

Clos de Capelune Cru Classé Rosé Cotes de Provence 2014 — One of the most classy and elegant rosés produced anywhere, this is a blend of 35 percent Grenache, 30 percent Cinsault, 20 percent Mourvèdre and 15 percent Rollo. Made from an exceptional 12 hectare plot on the highest vineyard in the Cote de Provence (449 meters). Beautiful color and hue, and almost ethereal, engaging taste and finish. I believe I could start each evening after a hot day with a glass of this wine and some hors d’oeuvres! $65



ROCCA SVEVA Soave Classico 2013 — Made from 100 percent Garganega with bright fruit of apples and melon. Excellent balancing acidity and intriguing almond finish. Perfect match with goat cheese salad with beets. Only 12.5 percent alcohol. $15

Kunde Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County Magnolia Lane 2014 — Established in 1904, Kunde is one of the “must” visits if ever in Sonoma County. Every member of the winery staff is trained and practices sustainable farming to the nth degree. One of the goals of the Kunde family is to leave the entire operation — and it is huge — in as good or better shape for the next generation than it was in the generation before. This crisp and citrus-styled wine has “…lovely aromatics of honeysuckle and a beautiful pure melon and lemon zest character on the palate.” $16

Cuvaison Sauvignon Blanc Carneros 2014 — All estate grapes. A wine of verve and brightness. None of the too-much grassiness or grapefruit that bring down some Sauvignon Blancs. Fruit in harmony with acidity. Perfect match with fried oysters at La Vista. $18

Decoy Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County 2014 — Made by talented winemaker Dana Epperson, this is 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc, aged 100 percent in stainless steel to preserve the tropical and citrus flavors. In the vineyard, grapes were picked at different levels of ripeness, which has added beneficial dimensions to the wine. $20

Talbot Chardonnay Kali Hart Monterey 2013 — The second spectacular vintage in a row for the Santa Lucia Highlands, and a stunning offering for this pioneer (for the area) estate winery. Rich, bright tropical fruit is complemented by refreshing acidity. Named after Rob Talbott’s youngest daughter. Who knows, Kali Hart may be making Kali Hart Chardonnay some day!! An exceptional value. $20

Duckhorn Chardonnay Napa Valley 2013 — A combination of the finest Napa vineyards, coolest Napa regions and French oak barrel fermentation with lees stirring, has resulted in one of the best Napa Chardonnays at this price point. Luscious, and perfect with both Danish Havarti on a triscuit before dinner and with chicken spaghetti with a rich cream sauce for the entrée. $35

MacRostie Chardonnay Carneros Sangiacomo Vineyard 2013 — Steve MacRostie has been working with grapes from this vineyard since 1987. He says the depth of his relationship with the Sangiacomo family (third generation now), is reflected in the quality of this offering. Approachable and alluring, this wine displays excellent fruit flavors with subtle and spicy notes. Only 12 barrels produced (about 24 cases per barrel). $44

Patz & Hall Chardonnay Carneros Hudson Vineyard 2013 — This stunning winner comes from a prized 3-acre plot inside Houstonian Lee Hudson’s Carneros vineyard. The long, cool 2013 growing season “…ultimately provided lovely aromatics and pure, varietal flavors,” states winemaker/co-owner James Hall. Aged in 50 percent new Burgundian French oak and bottled without filtration. An expression of both richness and elegance. $55



Dominios de Castilla Ribera del Duero Crianza 2012 — From one of my favorite wine-growing areas, this 100 percent Tempranillo gives more than a hint of what a $30-$50 Ribera tastes like. Deeply colored with cherry and blackberry flavors and notes of sweet tobacco, this is a “must buy” at this price. Aged 14 months in American and French oak. $13

Los Vascos Carmenere Grande Reserve Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Colchagua 2012 — This may be the best value in all of Carmeneredom! A tiny bit of funky Carmenere smell makes this one of those wines to be prized by members of the cognoscenti who find an esoteric imperfection perfect! Dark fruits and coffee tones. Rich and satisfying. Excellent with a cheddar cheeseburger, and I will soon try one with a wedge salad with blue cheese, bacon bits and tomato slices. $16

Concrete Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi 2012 — Produced by the Flash Détante process and fermented in a combination of 75-year-old concrete tank and 60-gallon oak barrels for a year, hence greater complexity and a unique, patented vertical flavor profile. A delicious, full-bodied Zin with blackberries, vanilla and hint of toasty oak. The winery recommends BBQ, zesty pasta, pizza or juicy burgers. $20

Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2013 — Made mostly from Alexander fruit, this almost-perfect vintage has resulted in one of the top Cabernets available at this price point — exactly what Duckhorn Winery is trying to accomplish with the entire Decoy line. Although a sizzling match with a sizzling steak, I found it perfect with a cheeseburger brought home from Pappas Burgers. $25

Rodney Strong Estate Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2013 — From Sonoma County’s first carbon neutral winery, and one of the first to plant Pinot Noir in Russian River Valley (1968)! Harvested under ideal conditions, this food-friendly gem has aromas of cherries and roses. Aged 13 months in small French oak barrels, it has developed a floral, baking spice character, and finishes with a flair. The winery recommends roasted pork loin or wild mushrooms over polenta. $25

On Point Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2013 — A second fantastic value from Fulcrum winery. A blend of two famous Sonoma Coast vineyards: Gap’s Crown (rich and lush flavors) and Sangiacomo (cherries, smoke and earth). Aged for 15 months with 18 percent new oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Only 282 cases produced. $36

Amici Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 — A blend from five top vineyards in Napa Valley, this was aged 20 months in 50 percent new French oak. It is 85 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 11 percent Merlot, 3 percent Cabernet Franc and 1 percent Petit Verdot (I guess for a hint of P.V. perfume). This awesome 2012 vintage is again displayed here with black fruits, earth, coffee and cocoa. The tannins are tender, and the finish is something to sigh over for about 30 seconds. $45

Masi Agricola Costasera Amarone 2011 — The flagship of the Masi Agricola stable (same family ownership for 250 years). Big, bold and rich, with the telltale hint of raisins, this unique wine was recently a perfect match with rack of lamb (which can sometimes overpower a lighter red). If you’ve never tried an Amarone, this quintessential stallion is a good place to start. Also works well with strong, but not stinky cheeses. $65

Goldeneye Pinot Noir The Narrows Vineyard Anderson Valley 2012 — This is the coolest of Duckhorn Winery’s estate vineyards, as well as the lowest-yielding at just over 1.5 tons per acre. In fact, it was too cold in 2011, thus no bottling! “This spectacular vintage showcases the earthy, primal qualities we love about this site,” says winemaker Michael Fay. Lovely, dark and deep — perfect with grilled salmon or roasted chicken on a snowy evening. $82

Patz & Hall Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands 2012 — Aged in 75 percent new oak and held back for a year in bottle, this is the final Patz & Hall release from the supercallafragilistic 2012 vintage. From the coveted Pisoni “Old Field” plot, this is the most rich and powerful Patz & Hall wine. Although it sells out quickly, and needs the extra year in the bottle before ready, “…the truth is, we could probably sell it right out of the barrel,” says co-owner Donald Patz. $90l

2012 Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley






2013 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay 2013 MacRostie Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay


Superb New Releases

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Category: Wine Reviews by Denman Moody

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