What a Difference Being Different Does; Cadle Family Wines

If you are tired of the usual suspects in Napa Valley; Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, Cadle Family Wines is just the place for you.  Kevin Cadle’s creativity drives him to produce wine varietals off the beaten path in the Napa and Sonoma regions.  This is a place you can take your palate to new places, with the incredible fruits and terroir beaming from every bottle Kevin creates.

Kevin spent many years traveling the world while teaching.  He lived and taught in various countries such as Curaçao, Morocco, Bolivia, Colombia, Korea as well as many others.  He enjoyed the different wines he tried in these countries and opened his mind to wines of the world.  This gives him his unique perspective on producing wines and varietals that many Napa winemakers are unwilling or uncomfortable in producing.  Since Northern California has some phenomenal terroir and climates, Kevin knew good farmers can grow virtually any varietal of grapes.

Kevin has a bit of a different story, like his wines.  He did not take the typical route to become a Napa Valley winemaker.  Although he was born in the Bay Area, he completed his college on the East Coast in Boston, then traveled the world teaching before he decided to realize his passion and dreams to become a winemaker.  While in his last teaching stop in Curaçao, he decided it was time to take his young family back home to make his dreams a reality.  A Bay Area native, he selected the University of California at Davis to acquire his Masters in viticulture and enology.  After a few years working by taking up an internship and role as assistant winemaker at premier wineries such as Etude and Acien. He took a leap of faith and started producing his own label.  We are sure glad he did!

Kevin, finds great quality grapes mostly from Napa Valley and Sonoma and produces wine of exceptional stature and finesse.  Although, his winemaking for his own label is still in the early stages, he is making a name for himself as an up and coming winemaker standing out with rarer varietals for California wines. With a couple vintages under his belt, I can see that he will stop at nothing short of phenomenal wine and will be a winemaker and producer for many years to come.

His 2014 Sangiovese and Dolcetto are what really stood out during my tasting of his portfolio.  The structure and finesse of both of these wines are tremendous.  From first aromatic sniff to the first sip and continuing to the back of your palate, the wine elegantly dances it’s way like a fine flamingo dancer mesmerizing your full spectrum of senses.

Profiles:

2014 Sangiovese

This is one of my favorite bottles of wine right now.  Medium bodied, hiding 15% alcohol through attractive aromas and favors Bing cherries, ripe blackberries, dusty figs that flows with delicate tannins with flavors of vanilla extract and white rose petals on the back of the palate. A great food wine that pairs perfectly with grilled rosemary pork chops.  Drinking very well now but will continue to evolve over the next 3-5 years. 93 #CMKPts

2014 Dolcetto

Another delicious bottle coming from a couple blocks of Dolcetto vines in Chalk Hill.  A lively bottle with a little tangy cranberries, dried blueberries, fig and cherries.  Even a little farm fresh strawberry jam integrated into this wine. 91 #CMKPts

2015 Gewurtztraminer

Not normally my favorite varietal but Kevin can do no wrong with the Carneros fruit. Out of my comfort zone, this bottle is absolutely scrumptious with tropical fruits such papaya, Manila mangos, lychee and star fruit.  Perfect acidity and a nice minerality that tingles your senses on the back of your tongue. 90 #CMKPts

2015 Barrel sample Chardonnay Mosque

Clone 809 from Chalk Hill.  This Chardonnay is shaping up to be a champion.  Even during the day that Kevin was working on cold stabilizing this wine, it was magnificent.  Creamy, lighter colored chard with a nice nose of jasmine, sweet orange blossoms and ripe apricot. Nice finish with flavors of vanilla sticks and wet stone. Early 90 #CMKPts

Cheers!

Cameron Marc Kossen

CMKWine.com

Intstagram: CMKWine

Twitter: @CMKWine

CMKWine8@gmail.com

#CMKWine #CMKPts

Gran Canaria: The Santa Brígida Culture

photo 5photo 5 When you think of the Canary Islands,  beaches, resorts, and dry, arid, rocky terrain likely comes to mind.  While that’s mostly true, the island of Gran Canary is called a “small continent” thanks to it’s diverse climates and differing terrain.  In the area of Agaete and Santa Brígida, you’ll find a lush green oasis where coffee, oranges, avocados, mangoes, guava, and even wine grapes grow in abundance.  It’s reminescent of a drive through the French Riviera, just off the Mediterranean Sea.  Although wine grapes have grown in the Canary Islands since the 15th century, only recently the culture of wine producers and consumers has evolved to be mainstream, with tremendous pride in the wine making. Some Canarios have traveled throughout Europe and enjoyed high quality wines and decided it was time to put the Islands on the wine map.  Many are well educated and maintain a prestige and class known of the finer wines of Mainland Spain, France, and Italy.

Today, we will explore the definition of old school wine making at La Vica and Plaza Perdida, move up to Los Lirios which incorporates more Bordeaux style varieties, and finish up at the largest and most modern producer of wines on the island. Who better to explain what Santa Brígida has to offer than my friend, Victor Lugo Jorge, who is an owner at one of the older wineries on the island, Bodega Los Barrezalles (http://www.bodegalosberrazales.com/portada_ingles.htm).  Victor picked us up at the bus terminal, on time, another sign that Canario culture is changing.  He had hand picked wineries of different qualities and intrigue to visit on this magnificent spring day. We started off at one of the most historic wineries on the island, Vina La Vica (https://www.facebook.com/LaVicaDesentidos) and Vinedos Plaza Perdida (http://bodegasplazaperdida.com/).  Proprietors, Luis Molina Roldan and 78 year old Marcello greeted us and showed off their wine making facilities.  Although they each have their own vineyards, they share a property to produce their individual labels.  They maintain the original crush pad dating back over 200 years. We toured the facilities and barrel room (French and American oak).  Combined, they produce approximately 1,250 cases of wine annually.  Everything in the vineyard is worked on by hand.  They have Listan Negro vineros (vines) over 100 years old, and produce award winning wines. I tasted from a bottle of Vina La Vica 2013 Tinto wine, made up of 60% Listan Negro and 40% Tintia.  The Listan Negro has larger clusters while the Tintia are very small.  It was well structured and had nice red fruit flavors. From Plaza Perdida, I tasted Marcello’s 100% Listan Negro (2013) which was quite exceptional.  Both were barrel aged in 50% French oak and 50% American oak and produced “robles” style or 3 months in oak. Marcello is the definition of “old school.”  Although, he is 78 years old, it would not surprise me to see him producing wines for another 2 decades.  He is very passionate about his wine and he learned everything from his family, starting at a young age on his property. We drove up the road to Luis Molina Roldan’s finca (land) and he graciously walked us around his vineyard.  As it was Spring, the clusters had just started to form.  He has Listan Negro, Tintia, and a Canary white varietal, Malvasia.  An old volcano rises up his terraced vineyard meaning the soil is volcanic rock, and you can taste the minerality in the wines.  We enjoy a glass of Blanco Seco made form his Malvasia grapes.  It was a nice dry white with aromas and flavors of tropical fruit. Next, we drove a short way up the road to Bodega Los Lirios (https://www.facebook.com/bodega.loslirios).  The property was picturesque and well designed.  Owner Carlos Diaz-Reixa produces approximately 15,000 bottles per year.  He grows more mainland grapes that are starting to pop up on the island.  We tasted a bottle of Tinto Joven 2014 Tocon. Although this wine was only aged in the barrel for 2 months, I fell in love.  Made up of Tempranillo, Merlot, Syrah, and Castellana Negra, It was absolutely fantastic, bursting with flavors and the taste of the volcanic minerals so abundant in the terroir here.  I purchased a couple bottles of this wine and enjoyed one back home in California and was impressed, especially day 2.

Situated on top of the mountain was Hoyos De Bandama (http://bodegahoyosdebandama.com/).  The building is fairly new yet it was already being expanded to produce more wines. The winery reminded me of back home in Sonoma and Napa Valleys.  The tasting room was elegantly designed and they had logo merchandise for sale.  We began the tour with Maria Delgado Cayon.  She is the daughter of the owner, speaks impeccable English (Oxford educated), received a Sommelier certificate in Madrid and has a passion for good wine that rivals yours truly.  The facilities currently have a 100,000 kilo capacity.  They have a cold press, large stainless steel tanks, a semi automatic bottling machine from Italy that can accommodate 4,000 bottles per hour, and an onsite Enologist, Gabriel Morales.  I spent some time in the “lab” with Gabriel watching him test the various samples. Our tasting started with the 2014 Blanco Seco which was made up of Canary white varietals, Malvasia Aromatica and Malvasia Volcanic.  It also had Verdello, Gual, Marmajuelo, and Mostcatel (Muscat).  It was crisp, clean, had a nice mineralty and flavored with tropical fruits as well as citrus.  Next was the 2013 Tinto Coleccion.  This was made up of Merlot, Syrah, and Castellana.  It was an excellent wine and would pair well with pasta, rice dishes and even fish.  Next we tasted the 2014 Semi Dulce Blanco.  It was made up of Malvasia Aromatica and Moscatel.  A nice wine with some flavors of pear and not overly sweet.  We then finished with 2012 Tinto Barrica Anada.  This wine was made up of Listan Negro, Castellana, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.  Aged 8 months in the barrel and an additional 18 months in the bottle.  Great fuller body wine that can be paired with red meats. Maria was a gracious host, very knowledgeable about wines of all regions, and will most likely move into a more global distribution of their wines.  Look for the Caldera label in boutique stores soon.

. photo 1photo 2 A day of wine tasting deserves a great late lunch.  Our gracious host, Victor Lugo Jorge, had the perfect spot in mind.  He took us to the posh restaurant, Casa Del Vino.  When we arrived, we experienced a wine tasting event for the “professional” wine tasters of the islands. Outside there was a table of at least 2 dozen wine experts from the various islands.  They were loudly enjoying their work of preparing to judge the wines produced in the Canary Islands.  Every single member of this group was well dressed and wearing sport coats.  They  sniffed, swirled, and savored mostly red wines.  It was quite spectacular, something I did not expect to see with this island culture. Victor seemed to know everyone as he was greeted with hugs and smiles At Casa del Vino. We indulged in extremely well prepared dishes served with the caliber found in the finest restaurants in Napa Valley.  The service was impeccable, and the dishes were perfectly prepared, and presented.  The dishes were served Tapas style with our group of four which included the proprietor of Bodegas de Berrazales, Victor Lugo Jorge. We started with freshly baked artisan bread and a salad topped with local warm goat cheese; amazing and savory. Next we moved on to a salmon tartare dish that was quite enjoyable and flavorful.  Then we tried a lightly fried cheese that was absolutely incredible and tasted out of this world.  It was surrounded by olive oil and herbs, crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside. Lastly we shared a sweet adobo pork dish and tuna steaks, both paired with amazing French fries.  It was quite the way to finish the day; big thanks to Victor Lugo Jorge of Bodega los Berrazales (http://bodegalosberrazales.com/portada_ingles.htm).

My #SipSavorServe recommendations:

  • Sip on some La Vica Semi Seco with some olives and goat cheese.  Or better yet, a warm goat cheese salad.  This semi dry white has a nice light tropical fruit and mineral flavor with crisp acidity.
  • Savor a glass of Los Lirios Tocan Tinto.  This juicy red blend explodes with bright fruit and volcanic minerals.  Enjoy with some Manchego cheese, rack of lamb, or even a ribeye steak.
  • Serve HB Caldera Tinto Coleccion with a sausage pasta, Spanish rice or paella.  A well balanced delicate red wine.

Cheers!

Cameron Marc Kossen

CMKWine.com

Twitter: @CMKWine

Instagram: CMKWine

CMKWine8@gmail.com

Like Columbus, I Discovered Wine in the Canary Islands of Spain

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How do wine grapes grow in the Canary Islands you may wonder? Good question. As the entire globe has become obsessed with wine culture, so has this historic group of islands. The island of Gran Canaria is like a continent all its’ own as the terrain and climates vary so drastically throughout the fairly small island. Near Sahara Africa, the island sometimes confuses those who can’t imagine quality wines could be produced in this region, yet they actually host the most southern vineyards in the Northern hemisphere.

The Canary Islands boast a wine culture that has been around for many centuries yet is still in its infancy in terms of actually producing connoisseur quality wines. They have wines that range from an inexpensive Tinto and lightly mineral white, to wines of better quality and deeper complexity. They are discovering more varietals capable of growing and thriving in the volcanic soils and warmer, dry climates. Wineries are growing Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, as well as the typically Canario varieties such as Tintilla, Castellana, Listan, and Malvasia. Many wineries have begun to improve their wine making facilities and capacity by utilizing stainless steel tanks, French and American oak barrels.  They are even beginning to age their wines in barrels more than the typical “Robles” or three months in barrel. Some wines are barreled 8 months to 1 year, especially when combined with the Bordeaux varietals.  I will outline a few wineries pursuing the new school approach to wine making in my next blog series.

I joke that Christopher Columbus, who’s first stop was in the Canary Islands after leaving Spain sailing towards the Americas, picked up his first wine club shipment here.  He did indeed load up on wine for the long journey West.  While I didn’t travel as long of a journey as Christopher, I still picked up some old world wine to enjoy in the “new world.”  Day one I tasted wines in the Agaete Valley in the Finca La Laja.  I will profile the wines of another region, Santa Brigada, in a later post.

My first visit was to the historic Las Bodegas de Berrazales (http://bodegalosberrazales.com/portada_ingles.htm) in the Agaete Valley.  As you drive through the picturesque village near the coast, the architecture and old world Spanish charm is visually apparent and as you travel up the windy road towards the winery, majestic mountains rise up in all directions.  It is absolutely gorgeous, fruit tress and canopy style vines draping overhead.  While it is unusual to see wine grapes grown this way, it is quite beautiful. In the summer months, temperatures rise up to nearly 40 degrees Celsius and having grapes grown ten feet overhead allows the sea breeze to cool and protect them.  The vines are mixed with beautiful flowers, mango, guava, coffee, avocado, and orange trees. One of the proprietors, Victor Lugo Jorge greets us with an overview of the land (La Finca), the history of the grapes, and education in coffee and other produce grown on the property.  Victor is the third generation tenant of this land, college educated, and articulates a deep passion for his family and the lands they grow their agricultural bounty on.  We try red coffee beans directly off the plants before Victor shows us their roasting process. We walk around the charming main building and are welcomed with a warm smile, a plate of super sweet oranges, and some fresh water from the mountain springs above our heads. Victor begins by showing off some of their oldest 80 year old vines, as well as some as the newer 20 year old vines.

We then view the winemaking process from crush pads, stainless steel tanks, French and American oak barrels, and the bottling machine.  The winery is relatively small scale but carries some of the longest tradition of wine growing on the island.  Everything is done by hand in this family winery, or as a winery is called here, “Bodega”.  The land or “la finca” as the Spanish call it is absolutely stunning and a treat in its’ own.

Victor Lugo Jorge treats us like family and does a fantastic presentation and tour of his “bodega”. His love for the family land and their wines is present in the wide eyed and passionate descriptions he provides us.  We sit down for a tasting with Victor on the terrace and we have an array of foods to pair with our tasting.  There are local breads, cheeses, Iberian style ham, and sweet breads to indulge in.  I am fully impressed as we all know, food and wine is the simplest way to my heart.

First we try a dry white Semi Seco wine.  It is a lighter white wine with great mineral flavors from the volcanic soils.  We then move on to the Rose which is a dry wine as well.  Next, to my surprise and delight, I am treated to a barrel sample of a new, very special white wine they are producing, La Nina de la Laja.  It is a wine dedicated to Victor’s grandmother, the matriarch of the property.  It has medicinal characteristics with tropical fruit flavors.  Following this, we try the red Tinto Roble (2013).  This wine is more age worthy (3-5 years) and made up of 90% Tintilla and 10% Listan Negra.  I enjoyed this red tremendously although it is a lighter body red, it is truly a food wine. We finish with the 2014 Blanco Dulce or sweet wine which is comprised of 90% Muscat and 10% Malvasia. My favorites are the Tinto Roble and the Blanco Dulce.

The word “Roble” on the bottles stylistically refers to the fact the wine only stays in the barrel for up to three months.  The local wine fruit flavors disappear if they are left in oak too long.  The local red varietals are Tinto, Listan Negra, and Tintilla.  The local varieties avoided phylloxera and are some of the only on the planet. The white variety of Malvasia is rooted in DNA directly from the Canary Islands and is virtually unknown elsewhere.

My #SipSavorServe recommendations:

  • Sip on the Blanco Dulce on the patio during a warm evening.  Although this is a sweet wine, it is not syrup like and has a good balance of sweetness and structure.  It is made up of 90% Muscat and 10% Malvasia, the later only found in the Canary Islands.
  • Savor the first and coming release of the La Nina de La Laja.  This medicinal, tropical white has quite a lot going on yet it has near perfect harmony of flavors.  It will pair well with full body cheese like a Manchego.  Stay tuned for the inaugural release of this wine.
  • Serve the 2013 Tinto Roble with a BBQ pork tenderloin or a lamb roast.  It is well balanced, delicate, and has red berry fruit flavors.

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Cheers!

Cameron Marc Kossen

CMKWine.com

Twitter: @CMKWine

Instagram: CMKWine

CMKWine8@gmail.com

Flavors of the Futures: Livermore Valley Barrel Tasting Weekend the Millennial Perspective

LVBTW

Livermore Valley just hosted it’s 7th Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend. Individuals were invited to head to the 35 participating wineries for a unique experience including the chance to taste wine right out of the barrel, and meet winemakers.

About 30 miles east of San Francisco, Livermore Valley Wine Country is considered one of California’s oldest wine regions. Spanish missionaries planted the first wine grapes in the Livermore Valley in the 1760s. Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines in the 1840s. Pioneer winemakers C. H. Wente, James Concannon, and Charles Wetmore recognized the area’s potential and founded their wineries in the early 1880s. Livermore Valley captured America’s first international gold medal for wine in 1889 at the Paris Exposition, putting California on the world wine map.

Livermore Valley wineries were actually the first to bottle varietal labeled Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Sirah. Nearly 80% of California’s Chardonnay vines trace their genetic roots to a Livermore Valley clone. Livermore Valley also boasted more than 50 wineries until Prohibition and now has over 40 wineries and more than 5,000 acres of vineyards. (https://www.lvwine.org/history.php)

The weekend started off at Steven Kent Winery, owned and operated by Steven Mirassou -a 6th generation winemaker. Steven was there himself to discuss the unique Livermore Valley offerings, as well as pour samples from his 2013 Home Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine Enthusiast’s Steve Heimoff has said, “Steven Kent is producing today’s greatest Livermore Cabernets, wines that hearken back to the valley’s roots as one of California’s best wine regions.”  The tasting room delivers a classic wine aesthetic and knowledgeable staff. (http://www.stevenkent.com)

Following the advice of several recommendations, 3 Steves Winery was up next. The Winery not only boasts award-worthy views, or a winning creation story (their tagline reveals a clue, “3 Friends Striving To Make The Perfect Wine”), but was named the Winner of the 2014 Best Red Wine Of Show (Sweepstakes Award) in the Largest US Wine Competition in the World, the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. One of the Steves, Steve Burman, was pouring the 2013 Zinfandel which has now made the winery a popular destination, grapes coming from the Cienega Valley near Hollister. Bring friends and pack snacks to enjoy the fun tasting room experience. (http://3steveswinery.com)

Sunday kicked off at another local’s favorite, McGrail Vineyards. McGrail prides itself on being a boutique winery centered on family friends and fellow wine lovers. McGrail’s vineyard is a 16 acre hillside Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in the Livermore Valley, approximately 1,000 feet above sea level. At the tasting room, enjoy not only bocce but some truly breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards. (http://www.mcgrailvineyards.com/home.html)

The final major stop of the weekend was Eagle Ridge Vineyard. Eagle Ridge was tucked away, and pulling up to the small tasting room felt a bit like stepping into the set of an eclectic movie shoot. Friendly staff from both Eagle Ridge and Dante Robere Vineyards walked us through their barrel tastings and current portfolios. The very balanced and “un jammy” 2010 Estate Grown Zinfandel from Eagle Ridge was a favorite. (http://eagleridgevineyard.com)

The #SipSavorServe Recommendations from the weekend:

  • Sip: We also stopped at Garre (http://www.garrewinery.com/index.html) for lunch and the winery offers a “destination” like facility with an outdoor cafe overlooking some impressive vistas. Grab a bottle of the Garre House Sparkling Wine, bring some brie, fruits, and almonds, and stroll the grounds or grab a bench and watch some bocce
  • Savor: 3 Steves Winery 2012 “Three Zins” Zinfandel. Savor this complex yet elegant wine with flavors of fruit, spice, and a long finish while unwinding for the day.
  • Serve: Steven Kent 2014 “Lola” White Blend. At 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Semillon, this blend is great for every palate. It presents lovely citrus notes and would be perfect to serve this spring with a fresh crab salad or some goat cheese on wheat crackers.

Cheers!

Skylar Schock

Chief Marketing Officer

CMKWine

Rutherford: Napa’s Heart and Soul

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rutherford sequoia

Rutherford is situated in the heart of Napa Valley wine country, nestled between Oakville to the south and St. Helena to the north.  Cabernet Sauvignon is the variety most people think of when describing their favorite Rutherford wines.  Known for a distinct earthy and dusty flavor profile, the name “Rutherford Dust” is often associated with wines born of this appellation. The area is on a river bank and the deep sandy soils drain very well, forcing the roots to grow deep when finding water.  Being slightly warmer than other Napa appellations, the fruits have an easier time achieving optimal ripeness and sugar levels.  The “Rutherford Bench” produces wines with great complexity, earthy/dusty fruit, and very balanced tannins.  Most Cabernet Sauvignon bottles will age quite nicely.  The bench grows all of the Bordeaux varietals; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc.  Most winemakers will use all of these in their Cabs as only 75% must be Cabernet Sauvignon to be labeled as such.  Blending the other 4 Bordeaux varietals gives structure and balance to the Rutherford wines.

I visited Rutherford on a recent March “California Winter” day.  It was a comfortable warm and shoots had just started to sprout out of the vines.  Although not as picturesque as late spring and fall, winter is an ideal time to visit Napa due to thinner crowds and better service at the wineries. My first stop was one of my favorite wineries on the 29 in Rutherford, Sequoia Grove Winery (http://www.sequoiagrove.com/).  Sequoia grove is a gem hidden beneath giant redwoods surrounding the tasting room. Sequoia Grove is not as well known as neighbors like Cakebread, Peju, and Caymus, but I find their diverse portfolio stunning and winemaker Molly Hill does an amazing job at the helm.  There is truly something for all taste buds and price points in the portfolio.  They produce fantastic whites including Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.  Molly also makes Syrah, an amazing Cab Franc, a fantastic Merlot, and a large portfolio of Cabernet Sauvignons worth getting lost in.  The tasting room at Sequoia Grove is warm, inviting, and serviced by hospitality experts passionate about their wines.

I moved on to Grgich Hills Estate (http://www.grgich.com/) for my next appointment, my first visit to their tasting room.  I had heard much about the Grgich Hills wines but had very little experience with them.  Grgich made their name in Napa nearly 4 four decades ago.  Owner, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich as winemaker helped put Napa Valley on the map in 1976 with his 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay.  He crafted a Chardonnay that won the blind “Paris Tasting” in 1976.  Mike shocked the judges and the world with this huge win. With such history, I had to experience for myself what Grgich Hills wines were all about.  The grounds were beautiful and right off Highway 29.  The Napa Valley Wine train made a stop right out front. Highlights of my tasting included the 2012 Fumé Blanc and the 2008 and 2009 Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon.

Other wineries I considered in my write up: Piña (http://www.pinanapavalley.com), Caymus (http://www.caymus.com), Round Pound Estate (http://www.roundpond.com), and Cakebread (http://www.cakebread.com).

Rutherford wines, are always a delight and some of the best wines Napa Valley produces.  Even the historic and famed Heitz Cellars (http://www.heitzcellar.com/winery) jumped on the opportunity to purchase prime Rutherford grape land back in 1984 and now produces a fabulous Trailside Cabernet Sauvignon.  Although their tasting room is technically in the southern part of St. Helena, they are must visit if you get the chance. David Heitz takes a different approach and releases his Cabernets a couple years later than most Napa wineries.  He believes his wine needs an extra couple years in the bottle to come into form.  If you are curious as to how long Heitz wines can lay down in your cellar, be sure to ask Joe in the tasting room.  He has bottles that he enjoys that are more than 20 years old.

My #SipSavorServe profile:

  • Sip Round Pond 2013 Sauvignon Blanc: bright and crisp, aromas of peach, melon are showing nicely.  On the palate, this wine gives way to pears, crisp tangy apples and balance with a nice acidity that makes this wine pair nicely with sushi, creamy cheeses, or a warm porch on a nice sunny day. I give this vintage 90 #CMKpts.
  • Sip Grgich Hills Estates 2012 Chardonnay: Crisp Fuji apple opens to honeydew melon, a slight nuttiness, and a nice acidity round out this Chardonnay.  As it does not undergo Malolactic fermentation, this wine is bright and invigorates the palate with delicious acidity. This wine will go nicely with brie, seafood, roasted chicken or BBQ pork tenderloin. 91 #CMKpts
  • Savor Sequoia Grove 2011 Rutherford Bench Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: 2011 was one of the most challenging vintages in the valley in many years yet Molly produced a great bottle that will improve over the next decade. Red hue, bright dusty notes move into red cherries, rich caramel, graham cracker and a slight toasty coconut flavor.  It has layers of red fruits, espresso, toast and red cherries. Savor this wine as a staple on it’s own or with a nice steak.  I give this vintage 92 #CMKpts and it has huge potential to improve with time.
  • Savor Piña 2010 D’Adamo Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine is a typical chewy Napa Cab that can really be savored by itself.  Once you open a bottle of this vintage, expect to finish it without sharing. It’s that good! Flavors and aromas of lush blueberries, blackberries, and black currant invigorate the palate opening to espresso roast and mocha.  This is a rich and full bodied wine. 92 #CMKpts
  • Serve Caymus 2010 Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon: Deep purple in color, toasty oak aroma with ripe dark fruits mainly consisting of black cherries and plum. Cassis, cocoa, and vanilla round out the middle palate.  Well structured tannins that are equal parts delicate and bold.  This is fantastic wine may have benefited greatly from a lower yielding 2010 growing year.  Serve with BBQ ribeye steak with peppercorn crust. With this recommendation, your guests may inquire if you are renting an extra bedroom.  94 #CMKpts
  • Serve Sequoia Grove 2011 Stagecoach Vineyard Syrah: Reddish purple in color. Intense aromas and flavors of blueberry, boysenberry, and freshly ground black pepper. A lovely earthy flavor of dank mushrooms is found on the back of blueberry and raspberry.  I was really surprised with this vintage.  I was not expecting such power and rich flavors from a very tough growing year. Serve with gamey meats or hearty cheeses. 91 CMKpts
  • Teaser Review: Sequoia Grove 2012 Rebellious Red  This is my favorite Rebellious Red since the 2008 “Tempranillo” version.  Although, Molly does not disclose what it is made of, this vintage is Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.  My guess is that it is 55% Franc and 45% Sauv.  This bottle is an absolute bargain at under $30.

Cheers!

Cameron Marc Kossen

CMKWine.com

Twitter: @CMKWine

Instagram: CMKWine

CMKWine8@gmail.com

Finding Wine in the Windy City: A Millennial’s Guide

What does a wine lover do during a weekend away in Chicago? Start by drinking some craft beer of course! Chi-town is ripe with microbreweries and tap houses, featuring a fantastic selection born and brewed in Illinois. Casual beer drinkers and “MBA”’s (Master Beer Appreciators) alike must make a stop at Goose Island for a bite to eat and a sampling of unique and flavorful beers. http://www.gooseisland.com/index.html

The wine scene in Chicago is underdeveloped, yet boasts some serious potential. Most of the cities italian eateries and famous pizzerias offer a few wine options but lack a robust selection. There are however, a few gems worthy of a wine aficionado’s attention.

After an entirely underwhelming and poor customer service experience at Eataly’s wine shop, we were off in search of wine in the windy city.

City Winery was next up, and it did not disappoint. Located just west of The Loop, City Winery is a fully functioning winery (producing 100 tons of grapes per year), a restaurant, and music venue- all residing within the walls of 1200 West Randolph Street. Grapes are sourced from vineyards all over the world including Hyland Vineyards from the Willamette Valley in Oregon and Catena Vineyards in Agrelo, Mendoza Argentina. We sat at the bar and spent the better part of an evening sipping and discussing wine under the service of City Winery’s extremely helpful and knowledgeable staff member Aaron Mace. City Winery is a pioneer in developing an urban wine country. They aim to give fans of wine, food, and culture the chance to touch and feel all the aspects of the winemaking process—the crush, the fermenting, the blend and they even offer the opportunity to create your own private barrel. City Winery has a winery in New York, and additional locations in Napa and Nashville. Plan to check out their calendar and spend an evening enjoy wine and entertainment. http://www.citywinery.com/chicago/

Our quest concluded at boutique wine bar Rootstalk, a small establishment nestled near Humboldt Park. Rootsalk offers an extensive and worldly wine list with mouth-watering descriptions and a complementary smattering of food options. The burger with bacon aioli could easily be considered the best burger in the city, and the warm beet salad with toasted hazelnuts is something I will attempt to replicate at home. I don’t think you can go wrong ordering anything on the menu, but I was extremely pleased to be drinking a glass of “the sexiest red you’ll sip all year” in a 2010 Domaine Mercouri Refosco/Mavrodaphne Vin des Letinon from Greece’s Peloponnesus region. Sour-cherry, black raspberry and tobacco, violet and rosemary were at home under burnt cinnamon and cedar tannins. Stop by for an authentic experience and opportunity to try some unique wines of the world. http://rootstockbar.com

If you’re headed to Chicago or not, we hope you have the chance to try some of our #SipSavorServe recommendations below!

Sip – City Winery 2012 Taylor Street Tuscan (40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Franc) – Sip while catching up with family or friends before your next dinner together

Savor – 2012 Hermanos de Domingo Molina Malbec/Tannat from Argentina (Thanks to the Salta’s high elevation and terrific sun exposure the grapes boast some serious depth and character. Silky on the palate with flavors of raspberry, dark chocolate, black pepper, anise, and plum) – Savor while relaxing in your favorite getaway at home or on vacation

Serve – City Winery 2013 Pinot Noir (Sourced from Hyland Vineyard in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and unmistakably pinot, each sip offers a balanced complexity.) – Serve with bruschetta or a roasted veggie rigatoni

Cheers!

Skylar Schock

Chief Marketing Officer

CMKWine

Umpqua Valley Oregon-Where Tradition Meets Innovation

Oregon is known for rain, vast green forests, picturesque mountain ranges, and of course, Pinot Noir.  Although, Pinot Noir is what has made Oregon famous in the wine world, they grow an abundance of other very pleasant varietals.  Oregon lays with the same latitude as Northern Spain and up to Burgundy, France.  It also has similar soil composition as well.

I am profiling my favorite wine region in the North West United States, the Umpqua Valley. It is the one of earliest wine regions in Oregon and the most diverse AVAs.  It has over 150 types of soil from volcanic and sedimentary rock, to alluvial, clay, and silty clay.  It makes one of the most most fascinating growing regions on the west coast of the US.  Over 40 varieties planted in this region with the focus being Syrah, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Riesling.

Umpqua Valley AVA (http://www.umpquavalleywineries.org/) was officially founded in 1984 and now is made up of 32 wine producers and is growing rapidly.  1,500 acres of wine grapes line the valley floors and cascade up the beautiful hillsides. The majority of wineries are family owned and managed; they take pride in their past.  Although, it has a history that spans back to the 1880s with German immigrants, it is still relatively unknown to world for its’ wine production. As most wine production went dormant during the prohibition period in the 1900s, it took decades to re-establish the vineyards.

Deep rooted tradition does not mean this Southern Oregon hot bed does not push the boundaries and act as pioneers in wine making in the United States.  In the late 1950s, Richard Sommer who was educated at the critically acclaimed University of California at Davis, planted the first Pinot Noir in Oregon.  He ignored the advice of his UC Davis educators who claimed grapes would not grow in Oregon.   Sometimes ignoring your professors can be a brilliant move, in this case the world is a better place thanks to Richard.  Now, Pinot Noir from Oregon is world renowned and some of the best on the planet.

Umpqua Valley did not stop at just pioneering Oregon Pinot Noir.  Scott Henry of Henry Estate Winery (http://www.henryestate.com/) developed the now famous “Henry Trellis System” that increases yield, reduces mold, and minimizes the need to spray.  That is what happens when you take someone deep rooted in 5 generations of Umpqua farmers and he becomes an aeronautical engineer.  After an aeronautical career spanning approximately a decade in California, Scott came back to his family roots and we are all better for that. The first Tempranillo was planted by Abacela Winery (http://www.abacela.com/) in 1995 and became America’s first internationally acclaimed bottle of this varietal.  Albacela didn’t stop there, in 2000, they planted Albarino and are known as the first in America.  The first Grüner Veltliner in the United States was planted by Stephen Reustle in 2003.  Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards (http://www.reustlevineyards.com/) produces one of the finest Grüner Veltliner bottles I have enjoyed.

My #SipSavorServe profile:

  • Sip on Reustle Payer Rock Grüner Veltliner as the weather improves.  Can be enjoyed alone, with spicy food, fish, and grilled vegetables.  The last 5 or so vintages I have tried have been epic and turned me into a huge fan of this varietal.  Cases have been purchased and I cannot not begin to count how many dozens of people I have exposed to this Grüner Veltliner. Every single person is amazed how pleasant this wine is.  Many Americans have not heard of this varietal since it is thinly produced in the United States, but Stephen and Gloria have put the U.S. on the Grüner map. Aromas of green tea, tropical fruits are abundant.  It opens up with flavors of pineapple, coconut, more tropical fruits, tea, and a little dusting of white pepper.  It has a crisp acidity that is absolutely perfect in this wine.  I recommend purchasing a case as a wise investment at $24 per bottle, before discount. Spring and Summer is coming and this wine is a must have in your cellar as it is guaranteed to impress your most knowledgeable wine friends.  It can be cellared for quite a few years and will continue to improve.  2013 Grüner Veltliner gets 91 #CMKpts and the Reserve gets 93 #CMKpts.
  • Savor an Abacela 2011 Barrel Select Tempranillo.  This wine is deep in color and structure.  It is full of flavors of the ripe wild blackberries, violets, smoke, tobacco, spice, chocolate, mocha, and perfectly strong and powerful tannins.  This wine has bravado and can be savored with Spanish dishes, Thanksgiving turkey, red meats, and hard cheeses such as Menchego. Available for $36 per bottle, this wine can be cellared for nearly a decade.  I give this vintage 91 #CMKpts
  • Serve Henry Estates 2008 Barrel Select Pinot Noir with your brie, your favorite fish or light meat such as turkey, lamb, duck, or roast pig.  Earthy aromas, abundant smell and tastes of red cherries, rip red fruits, medium spice, and great balance make this wine a must have. It is more of a burgundy style of Pinot with earth and spice box tones that dance with the fruit flavors above. As it is already nearly 7 years old, I would suggest drinking in the next year or two.  It is available from the winery at $30 per bottle.  I give this fine wine 92 #CMKpts.
  • Teaser Review: Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir. Medium red in color, very slight brown hue with good clarity. Aromas of currant, floral bouquet with slight oak.  Plum, red cherry, slight white pepper, cola, light oak and delicately finished with creamy, elegant tannins.  The years in the bottle have done wonders with this vintage yet it still may have a few more years before it is at it’s peak.  If you are lucky enough to have this in your cellar, cheers!  The quality of this vintage is proving Stephen Reustle is blessed with fantastic Dijon clones, a perfect vineyard in an ideal Pinot Noir climate.  It exemplifies Stephen’s care in the vineyard and wine making prowess.  I give it 94 #CMKpts.

Cheers!

Cameron Marc Kossen

CMKWine.com

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