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Spain, Rose, Vina Real, Rosada, Rioja, 2014100% tempranillo

N/ Bright and clean with lovely fresh rain aromas, citrus zest, wet rocks, granite, and dry hay.

T/ Light mouthfeel. Nice, dancing acids over a rich minerality with light flavors of red berries, honeysuckle, and pink grapefruit.

She has an extended, mineral rich finish with nice mouthwatering action.

For me, a true delight. Yes, decidedly old world in style, just the way I like my rose. At $14 this is a bargain.

Delicious on her own, but also well suited to a wide range of foods as her  acid can cut through a lot.

www.cvne.com

Price = $14

N = A-

T = A-

I = A

Overall = A-

This wine was a media sample kindly provided by the winery.

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Chile, Pinot Noir, Ventisquero, Kalfu, Sumpai, Leyda Valley, 2013N/ More wood in first sniffs than I was expecting, also plenty of spice. Star anise, nutmeg, and then deep, dusty black cherry and cherry aromas. She also has a bit of the reduced aromas that are unfortunately common in many affordable Chilean wines.

T/ Medium mouthfeel. Quite divergent from the nose in the sense that she is far more pleasing and smooth. Full of rich black cherry flavors and multiple layers of wood. Hints of musky earth and mushrooms intermixed with an interesting minerality makes for a virtual nature hike here.

Price = $24

Alcohol = 13%

http://www.ventisquero.com/

Best after a long and vigorous decant – even better decant, re-bottle and vaccu vin for a day.

N = B-
T = A-
I = B+
Overall = B

This wine was a media sample generously provided by the winery.

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Antica 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antica 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antica 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antica 4

Antica Napa Valley is an Antinori Family Estate located a lengthy, but beautiful, drive up Soda Canyon road in Napa.

If you want incredible, even for Napa, scenery make an appointment and go.  I won’t wax on about that part of the experience, the pictures attached here should give you a good indication of the splendor of the grounds.

What I will talk about here is the wines.  I was very, very pleasantly surprised by not only the quality but also the price points.

Additionally, my host, Kim Peters was a great ambassador for the estate and Chef Kim Wiss served up fantastic bites.

Antica 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wines…

2013 chardonnay ($35) 2,000 cases

N/ Nice spice introduction. Multiple mineral wafts. Toast. Rive rocks.

T/ Medium mouthfeel. Creamy but still dancing with acid.  Citrus, lime, 2/10 on the butterscotch scale (i.e. an excellent amount in my book). Balanced, clean, wonderful lines of light wood work and a little lime zest on her close.

Nose = A

Taste = A

Intangible = A

Overall = A

 

2012 pinot noir ($35) 125 cases

N/ Classic California pinot with bing cherries and light smoke.

T/ Medium mouthfeel. Solid red berry contingent with light black cherries. Nice acid work but I prefer a bit more.

N = A- / B+

T = B

I = B+

Overall = B / B+

 

2012 malbec ($35) 50 cases

N/ Light taffy, black and purple fruits, black soil. Touch of confection.

T/ Medium mouthfeel. Clean, elegant lines of purple fruits, savory notes, mushrooms, and river rocks. Good acid work as in the wines above. Long finish.

Would I have picked this out of a blind lineup as a malbec? No, as even though my experience is vast with this grape, it is decidedly Argentine focused. A bit high price compared to South American malbec but this is a very different wine. Old world crafted and delicious.

N = A-

T = A

I = A

Overall = A

 

2012 cabernet sauvignon ($60) 5,000 cases

N/ Lovely black currants, spiced wood, and river rocks.

T/ Medium mouthfeel. Wonderful acid. Clean, pure expression of black cherry and currant. Dancing acid again, stunning. Lovely, clean, mineral kissed finish. Perfect with food.

N = A-

T = A+

I = A

Overall = A

I truly recommend you make an appointment and try these wines.

http://www.anticanapavalley.com/

3700 Soda Canyon Rd, Napa, CA 94558
(707) 265-8866

Antica 6

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Chile, Chardonnay, Ventisquero, Kalfu, Kuda, Leyda Valley, 2013An un-oaked chardonnay whole cluster fermented in stainless steel tanks.

N/ Very agreeable dried hay, honeysuckle, sun-bleached rocks, crisp green apple, and pears. Rose petals. Also has a hint of gooseberry more commonly associated with sauvignon blanc. Love this nose.

T/ Medium-full mouthfeel, which is a bit of a surprise as  I was expecting a lighter body from her nose. Wonderfully acid driven, mouthwatering flavors of a green apple, honeysuckle, and pears. Mouth coating. Good mineral work too.

Wow. Impressive. Shows that South American chard can bloom without any oak.

One of better under $20 chards I’ve had in a long while.

Price = $19

Alcohol = 13%

http://www.ventisquero.com/

N =A +
T = A
I = A
Overall = A / A+

This wine was a media sample generously provided by the winery.

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USA, Cabernet Sauvignon, Faust, Napa Valley, Coombsville, California, 2012Red blend of: 80% cabernet sauvignon, 16% merlot, 2% cabernet franc, and 2% petit verdot.

Note: over 50% of the fruit for this vintage came from the 110-acre Faust Vineyard in the Coombsville district, which is the highest percentage that has ever made it into the final blend for this wine. I’ve enjoyed almost every wine I’ve had from Coombsville.

N/ As in past vintages, this wine is classic Napa cabernet with aromas of cassis, black cherry, forest floor, and well-integrated oak.

She needs some airtime to blossom, I’d suggest a decant and wait an hour for best results.

T/ Medium-full to full mouthfeel. Similar to the 2011 she shows deep flavors of black fruits, black cherry, earth/mushroom and soil notes, and a small tart bite. Solid mineral and earth flavors, as well as a tobacco note, close her. Extended finish.

http://www.faustwine.com

Winemaker = Charles Thomas

Price = $50

Alcohol = 14.5%

N = A-
T = A-
I = A-
Overall = A-

This wine was a media sample kindly provided by the winery.

From the winery:

“2012 was an ideal vintage with bud break in early spring and perfect weather at bloom. A classic Napa summer followed with warm days and cool nights, leading to a long even harvest with no pressure from rain for the Cabernet Sauvignon. Extensive selective picking and sorting ensured that the grapes that reached the tanks were in optimal condition, fully ripe and full of flavor. The grapes were hand-picked, double-sorted and crushed, then cold-soaked and fermented in both French oak and stainless steel tanks. After an extended maceration and malolactic fermentation in barrel, Faust was aged for 19 months in 100% French oak, 30% new.”

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Chile, White Blend, Reserva, “Devil’s Collection,” Casillero del Diablo, Concha y Toro, Casablanca Valley, 2013

Uncategorized

White blend of: 85% sauvignon blanc, 10% chardonnay, and 5% gewürztraminer. N/ 2 out of 10 on sauvignon blanc “cat aroma” scale, which is just right for me. Lemon zest, gooseberries, yellow dried grasses, honeysuckle, herbals, and a touch of butter. T/ Medium-full mouthfeel. Rounder that one would expect from her nose. Citrus, light grass and […]

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Hula Hula, Mixed Drinks, Foofy Drinks, Brazil, Brasil

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Hilariously foofy – but really all delicious…. Cocktail artistry by Juliana Glistau. Carve: A big pineapple, deftly give the top a modern haircut. Combine: Coconut milk, condensed milk, vodka, ice, meat of a pineapple – blenderize. Garnish: Mint, cherries, and star fruit.   Em Portugues…   Hilariantemente “foofy” – mas realmente todo delicioso. … Maestria do […]

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Chile, Chardonnay, Cocha y Toro, Serie Riberas, Gran Reserva, Colchagua Valley, 2012

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N/ 4 out of 10 on the butterscotch scale. Very agreeable and pronounced wafts of sun bleached rock. Outside of the actual tea, this is an amazing mimic of the aroma of chamomile. Sea spray, and a hint of iodine/kelp. Really, really nice. One of the nicer Chilean chardonnay noses I’ve encountered. T/ Medium full […]

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USA, White Blend, The Whip, Murrieta’s Well, Livermore Valley, California, 2013

Uncategorized

White blend of 28% Sémillon, 24% Chardonnay, 14% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Orange Muscat,11% Viognier, 11% Gewürztraminer and 1% White Riesling. N/ Gardenias, honeysuckle, white and yellow flowers, marine/beach and salt, fresh hay, honey and light confection. Complex and alluring. T/ Medium full mouthfeel. Lightly sweetened honeysuckle, pear, limes, tropical fruits and melons. Some creamy butter […]

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USA, Riesling (Semi-Sweet), McGregor, Finger Lakes, New York, 2013

Uncategorized

N/ Pleasant florals, peaches, apricots, balsa wood, yellow grasses, and light vaseline. T/ Coating full mouthfeel. A fair amount of acid still shines thorough a full payload of sweet peach and pear juice, triggering a nice mouth water. Too sweet for me, but certainly not cloying, and many will enjoy the levels here. Simple but complete. A […]

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USA, Cabernet Sauvignon, 14 Hands, Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2012

Uncategorized

Recommend decanting. This can be easily accomplished by pouring into a clean glass pitcher, if you do not have a “proper” decanter. Wait at least 30 minutes, preferably one hour before enjoying this. N/ Deep notes of slightly smoked plums skins dominate her nose. Ripe currant. Crushed fall leaves. Forest floor. Taffy. Suntan lotion. T/ […]

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USA, Cabernet Sauvignon, Jamieson Ranch, Double Lariat, Napa Valley, 2011

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N/ Plum skins and black, brooding fruits dominate. Cassis, black cherry, pine needles, wild herbals, and brick dust as well. Barbecue. Cedar. Robust and complex. T/ Medium full to full mouthfeel. Massive black fruits, cassis, and black cherry. Ample acid work, with some nice defined layers of flavor intermixed with the more amorphus big fruit […]

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USA, Cabernet Sauvignon, Parducci, True Grit, Reserve, Mendocino, California, 2012

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Red blend of 80% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot, and 5% syrah. N/ Dusty plums, boysenberries, rhubarb, paprika, redwood sawdust, and slate. T/ Medium mouthfeel. She starts with a tart pucker leading to clean lines of black fruits, ripe cranberry, and red berries. Nice mineral notes, light tobacco flavors, and some sandy tannins close her out. […]

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USA, Pinot Noir, Bruliam Wines, Wildcat Mountain Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, California, 2010

Uncategorized

N/ Deep black cherries and plums. Musky spices, clean oak, and perfumed lavender delight. Pine needles stored in a cigar box. T/ Full mouthfeel. Acids are still dancing after a fair amount of bottle rest. Herbed, complex cherry and soft plum skin flavors. Elegant. Clean. Rich. Two years ago this wine was absolutely delicious… and she […]

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Australia, Shiraz and Viognier Blend, Terlato & Chapoutier, Victoria, 2013

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Blend:  95% shiraz and 5% viognier N/ Countryside sage and soil, a virtual walk amongst wild sagebrush and lavender. Black cherry, taffy, fresh rain, and wet cement. Wonderful. Her only distraction is a hint of rubber. T/ Medium full mouth feel. Dusty, black cherry and cassis with a slightly disjointed cranberry pucker. Woody flavors and a […]

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Italy, Red Blend (Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese), Liberta, Collazzi Vineyards, Toscana, 2012

Uncategorized

N/ Cellar room, sage, crushed rose petals, cassis, light confection, sweet woods, forest floor, and rhubarb. Complex and delightful. T/ Light to medium mouth feel. Silky but bouncing with acidity. Clean, mineral driven cassis and red berries, with a cranberry tartness that tamed with time in the glass. A perfect food wine that worked seamlessly with […]

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USA, Cabernet Sauvignon, Faust, Napa Valley, California, 2011

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N/ Right after opening she had some smoldering campfire aromas that I typically associate with carmenere rather than cabernet, but, as I thought, these dissipated over the next 20 to 30 minutes. In short, open up well before you intend to enjoy this bottle – she needs some airtime in order to blossom. Her nose is […]

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New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc, Dashwood, Marlborough, 2013

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N/ 5 out of 10 on my cat aroma scale. Which would be nice for a whole lot of folks, but just a bit high for my personal preference. Gooseberries, honeysuckle, and sun bleached rocks are nice though. T/ Medium mouthfeel. She starts with a nice lime and honeysuckle tartness, then proceeds into some light yellow […]

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USA, Moscato, 14 Hands, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2013

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N/ She is a wonderful gardenia and white flower explosion. Soft honeysuckle, sandalwood, and rock notes play second fiddle to the flower power. T/ Medium to full mouth feel. Round and coating. She’s dominating by a white flower reduction, that is delicious, but accounts for almost all of the show. Her close, however, saves the performance […]

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Winery & Vineyard Visits / Winemaker Focus / Cornerstone Cellars / Jeff Keene / Napa Valley, California & Oregon

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I had the privilege of sitting with winemaker Jeff Keene for an extended tasting of Cornerstone wines. The offerings were delicious, impressive, and showed a broad range of styles. The wine also importantly showed restraint in all the right places. Jeff was 100% delightful and explained his winemaking philosophy beautifully. Passion is an over-used word in the […]

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