Tuesday, August 19th, 2008
Hello again! This is my first post in weeks. Such extended silence is a prelude to death in the ruthless wine blogosphere, as it assures one's traffic counts will plummet. My wine club duties stole all my time this month, as our August shipment requires manual intervention to assure club wines are not sent to members living in ruinously high temperature zones. Such care and attention makes our customers happy.
And we too have much to make us happy! Phelps won eight, May and Walsh are indomitable, Dara Torres is the hero of the over-40 set, and America's dual sweethearts Johnson and Liukin fight for gold and still manage smiles. And, perhaps best of all, our August selections have left the warehouse with tasting notes and recipes that showcase each wine. Here are the wines members will receive, now available to the greater public at regular prices. To enjoy the full membership experience, you can customize a club to suit your preferences here.
Miles' Pinot Selections (~$75/shipment)
Subscribers to this club are die-hard Pinot fans. Our little corner of the globe just happens to be one of the rare areas whose climate and soils support world-class Pinot noir. Each shipment includes two selections of hand-made wines from boutique producers whose production rarely exceeds 5,000 cases. Named for Miles Raymond, the Pinot-smitten character in 'Sideways'.
Oak Savanna, 2005 Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, $37.00
This wine is remarkably dark for Pinot Noir, with an aroma that tempts you to take a noseful, wherein you'll find raspberries, chocolate, and an earthy spice and a hint of toasty oak from spending 20 months in French oak barrels. On the palate this is a rich, layered and complex wine with a certain level of “freshness” from its natural acidity, which prevents the wine from appearing heavy. "All in all, a balanced and ageworthy Pinot Noir." ~ Andrew Murray, Winemaker
Vaquero Cellars, 2006 Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, $34.50
This elegant wine can be deceptive upon first encounter. Its reticent nose belies its complexity in the mouth, where evolving flavors run the gamut from cherry/cranberry flavors and subtle hints of tea, and a long and pleasant finish. Moderate acidity makes it an easy wine to enjoy during the cocktail hour, one that will please a wide range of wine lovers. The label image and the name of this wine are an homage to the Southwestern cattle ranchers of yore. Santa Barbara county is still known as "horse country" - no surprise to visitors to our Solvang wine shop who passed the many horse ranches and breeding facilities en route. The Vaquero is alive and well.
Maya's Selections ($55/shipment)
Subscribers also receive two selections per bi-monthly shipment, often featuring wines that reward some aging (if one can muster the discipline to resist the corkscrew!) Of course, many collectors use our sampling program to discover new wines to buy, others simply enjoy the regular arrival of new wines to use in their home entertaining. We love both types, of course. "Red wine only" option available.
Qupe, 2007 Bien Nacido Cuvee, $19.95
This wine is pure pleasure. Fresh and full of youthful exuberance, it is a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Viognier. The Chardonnay was harvested early, with low Brix and high acid, while the Viognier was harvested uber-ripe to maximize the aromatics. The resulting blend is a heady wine with come-hither aromas that surprises the taster with it crisp structure. The lower alcohol (13.5%, if my memory serves correctly) makes this a most refreshing wine. The grapes were whole cluster pressed, the juice chilled and settled overnight, then fermented and aged in neutral French oak barrels for 5 months. Then malolactic fermentation was invoked to soften the mouthfeel. Try it. And once the bottles arrive, hie thee to the refrigerator – for quickly will they disappear!
Arcadian Winery, 2000 Syrah, Garys' Vineyard, $47
Club members enjoyed a significant discount on this special library wine from the cellar of Winegrower Joe Davis - it was included as part of their $55 August shipment. Join here before October first and you will enjoy the same discount in your first shipment! Wines from Joe Davis have a delightful combination of ripe fruit, elegance on the palate and moderate alcohol. I love this wine, I must admit, and its rarity makes it a perfect wine for gifts or other special occasions. Look for telltale signs of aged Syrah - smoked meat interlaced with still ample fruit, oak notes of vanilla and spice that are now melding into the background, and a mouthfeel that is soft and inviting as one would expect in an 8 year-old Syrah. Very food friendly.
Jack's Selections, $35/shipment
Named for the 'Sideways' character more interested in a good time than the detailed examination of each wine, these crowd-pleasing wines are ready for immediate consumption at your next party. With above-average quality, they are selected to represent good value in an every-day wine.
Uvaggio, 2007 Barbera (Rosato), $14.95
Winemaker Jim Moore fell in love with Italian wines while toiling as a winemaker for Mondavi's Frescobaldi partnership. He came back from Italy and launched his own Cal-Ital label, and in the last decade he's earned a reputation as a top producer of same. A refreshing summer wine that will surprise those expecting a nose-full of the strawberry, watermelon and bubble gum aromas found in many blush wines. Crisp and a bit austere, a wine begging for foods with a similarly lithe profile.
Imagine Wines, 2005 Merlot, Santa Ynez Valley, $19.00
Yeah, I too remember the anti-Merlot rant from the movie 'Sideways'. And it resonated with me, as most of the Merlot on the market is insipid. This one is not, and I recommend checking it out - you'll find scents of warm cherries, fresh-turned earth and buttered toast, while its flavors feature dark fruits, vanilla and hints of peppermint to please the palate. The fruit is from Lucas & Lewellen's vineyard, resulting in a very good wine for the money. Just 110 cases produced.
“When we are doing what we love, time doesn't matter. At that moment, time no longer exists.” ~Marcia Wieder
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