Award Series – Under $15
RED – 2010 Joseph Carr “Josh” Cabernet Sauvignon, North
Coast, California – $14.95 -A quote from the winemakers: “After
we’re done producing our portfolio of Joseph Carr wines, we like to
sit around ‘the garage’ we call a wine cellar, and tinker with a few
things. We laugh, tell stories and produce a winemaker’s wine that
we make just for ourselves; handcrafted wines that we jokingly refer
to as a “vin de garage.” We really liked the vibrant flavors of spicy
blackberry, plum, and tobacco in this medium-weight Cabernet.
Dusty tannins with hints of coffee and cola finish things off nicely.
Drink today through 2015, and try with red meats, even burgers!
WHITE – 2011 Terra Andina Sauvignon Blanc, Central
Valley, Chile – $11.95 – The Central Valley of Chile is one of the
most important wine-producing areas in South America in terms
of volume. It is also one of the largest wine regions, stretching from
the Maipo Valley to the Maule Valley. Terra Andina offers us this
intense, fresh Sauvignon Blanc with scents of grapefruit, jalapeno,
grass and pepper. The first impression is sweet grapefruit, then come
reflections of jalapeno along with a lively acidity. This vivacious wine
will match nicely with shrimp scampi, grilled salmon with lime-butter,
or lemon-shrimp risotto. Drink today through 2014.
Classic Series – Under $20
RED – 2009 Domaine la Rocaliere Lirac, Rhone Valley,
France – $19.95 – Discovered and brought into the country
by Small Vineyards importers of Seattle, this southern French
wine from Lirac is a blend of 30% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 30%
Mourvedre and 10% Syrah. The result is a richly flavored wine with
scents of cherry, plum, and spiced mincemeat. The first taste has a
sweet hit then more cherry and plum show with hints of creosote.
Good structure and big ripe fruit, the wine needs to be paired with
food to show its best.
WHITE – 2010 Urlar Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand -
$18.50 – Family owned, Urlar Estate produces single vineyard wines
using organic and biodynamic principles. Scents furnish aromas of
pink grapefruit and reminded us of the smell of fresh-cut green
jalapeno! Lots of pink grapefruit shows up on the palate with a
honey-like smoothness. This richly textured Sauvignon Blanc is extremely
well balanced with fruit flavors that seem to just keep going.
Drink today through 2014, try with a goat cheese dressed salad.
Collector Series – Under $30
RED – 2009 Belle Pente Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton,
Oregon – $29.95 – First planted in 1994, Belle Pente owns 70
acres just two miles east of the town of Carlton in the new Yamhill-
Carlton viticultural area. With their intention to create a fresh,
easy-drinking lighter-style wine that reflects the best characteristics
of the vintage, this is classic Oregon Pinot Noir offering scents
of warm cherry, raspberry and earth. With a smooth texture the
wine shows flavors of baked strawberry and classic hints of forest-y
mushroom offering good balance. This rich wine fills in with notes
of black plum. The earthy note on the finish suggests a good pairing
with roast lamb to enjoy now through 2015.
WHITE -2011 Trinchero Sauvignon Blanc, Mary’s
Vineyard, Napa Valley, CA – $27.95 – Mary’s 14 acre Napa
Valley vineyard was planted in 1990 and is sustainably farmed.
The wine features scents of lemongrass and straw with hints
of mineral with very flavorful highlights and a silky texture.
Lemongrass flavors dominate along with suggestions of grapefruit
and minerality. Very pretty with a long, rich finish the wine is
vibrant enough to match with a wide variety of fish and seafood,
and likely an ideal match for lemon and caper laced chicken picatta.
Drink today through 2014.
Prestige Red – Under $50
RED – 2009 Ehlers Estate Merlot, St. Helena, Napa Valley,
California – $50.00 – Founded in the mid 1800s and now farmed
with strict adherence to organic and biodynamic farming standards,
this Napa Valley producer donates 100% of their proceeds to support
the Leducq Foundation, funding international cardiovascular
research. True to Napa form, this richly textured Merlot has deep
scents of dark cherry and blueberry with hints of roast meat. Ripe,
lush, and balanced, its full-on fruit flavors mingle with complex
suggestions of dried cherry, chocolate and black tea. Dusty tannins
and a lightly brisk acidity makes this a delicious wine today that
could also age comfortably through 2017. We recommend enjoying
this wine with braised or roasted meats.
Cellar Selection – Under $100
RED – 2009 Bouchard Chambolle-Musigny, Cote d’Or,
Burgundy, France – $79.00 – Located in eastern France, the
province of Burgundy is known as the motherland of Pinot Noir. The
2009 vintage is reputed to be fabulous due to a long, warm summer,
and Bouchard’s wines consistently display superb purity of fruit,
complex layers of flavor, as well as considerable aging potential. Wine
Spectator gave this beauty 90 points, saying, “This round red is rich and
youthful, packed with spicy cherry, raspberry and mineral flavors. For
all its flesh, there’s a lively structure and a lingering finish.” We were
especially taken with the wine’s ripe berry fruit flavors intertwined
with earth, spice, and lively tannins. We suggest giving it some cellar
time, with optimum drinking from 2014 through 2020.