What to Look For In April

cepas-antiguas-rioja-2014In April, The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series offers four special wines.  To begin the parade is Bodegas Martinez Corta’s 2014 Cepas Antiguas Selección Privada Rioja, a wine that constitutes one of the best values in Rioja wine.  This Cepas Antiguas spent just enough time in new French oak barrels, which imbue it with everything it needs to please and succeed in life, including a bright ruby robe, a soft, seductive aroma of blueberry, red cherry, and plum mingled with hints of cinnamon, clove, and vanilla, as well as wonderful flavor and texture.

Our next Premier Series feature is the 2014 Tamellini Soave DOC.  Year after year, Tamellini Soaves consistently impresses critics and consumers alike, as the many 90+ point scores for Tamellini Soaves readily attest.  However, no Tamellini Soave DOC to date outshines the quality and purity of the 2014 Tamellini Soave DOC.

Next in this month’s quartet is the 2011 Santa Lucia Castel del Monte Nero di Troia, a soft, rich, velvety wine with plenty of flesh and backbone.  As a quintessential southern Italian red from one of the region’s indigenous varietals, it offers an eye-popping, deep purple color, a heady aroma, and a big mouthful of wine.

Last, but certainly not least, is a first time offering from Camille Braun.  Thanks to the natural, biodynamic viticultural practices at the estate, the 2014 Camille Braun Cuvée Marguerite-Anne Pinot Blanc offers a delightfully fruity, crisp, delicate glass of Pinot Blanc with superb definition.  Light and ethereal in bouquet and supple and supremely clean on the palate, Camille Braun’s 2014 Pinot Blanc stands out for its pinpoint precision and clean energizing flavors.

beckmen-vineyards-pmv-ballard-canyon-syrah-2013The International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors Series is proud to offer three more superb wines in April.  Our first April feature is the outstanding 2013 Beckmen Vineyards Purisima Mountain Vineyard Ballard Canyon Syrah, a wine that recently received 93 points from Wine Spectator.  This Syrah catches the eye and captivates the senses from the moment it is poured.  Beguiling scents of blackberry, kirsch, violet, and sizzling bacon pour from the glass.  In the mouth, this dense, beautifully endowed Syrah offers massive appeal in the form of rich berry fruits, plum, dark chocolate, wood smoke, and pepper, all wrapped in polished, tightly-wound tannins.  From its savory bouquet to its authoritative finish, the 2013 Beckmen Vineyards Purisima Mountain Vineyard Ballard Canyon Syrah embodies the essence of great Syrah.

In our next April Collectors Series offering, Clelia Romano clearly demonstrates why her 2014 Colli di Lapio Fiano di Avellino is the premier Fiano and the benchmark by which other premium southern Italian white wines have come to be measured.  Brilliant and sparkling in the glass, the 2014 Colli di Lapio Fiano di Avellino offers up an enticing array of aromas and flavors: spring flowers, stone fruits, and incense all make their appearance and exude a seductive energy with pinpoint precision, refreshing acidity, and gentle minerality.

The 2012 Bethel Heights Aeolian Estate Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir rounds out this month’s Collectors Series offerings.  For nearly four decades, Bethel Heights has produced many of Willamette Valley’s most compelling, estate-grown Pinot Noirs.  In fine vintages and fair, Bethel Heights has fashioned top notch Pinot Noir.  In the blessed, highly favored 2012 vintage, Bethel Heights has produced a truly exceptional Aeolian Estate Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir.  Consummate winemaking skills, great terroir, and exceptional weather conditions in 2012 have resulted in an outstanding 2012 Bethel Heights Aeolian Estate Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir.


What to Look For In March

Peltier-Station-Lodi-Petite-Sirah-2009In March, The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series offers four special wines.  The 2009 Peltier Station Lodi Petite Sirah, a robust, mature red from California’s once-again fashionable Lodi AVA, leads the way.  If you have never had a Peltier wine, now is the time to try Peltier’s beautiful Petite Sirah.

Paired with Peltier’s scrumptious Petite Sirah is the 2014 Tenuta Le Calcinaie Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a certified organically produced white wine of incomparable elegance and purity.  Rare among Tuscan white wines for its flavor, freshness, and longevity, Vernaccia di San Gimignano owes its 800-year reign as the region’s most lauded white wine to the predominance of the relatively rare Vernaccia clones that thrive in the environs of San Gimignano.

Hailing from the golden hills of California’s Calaveras County, the 2012 The Big Mouth Red is produced almost exclusively from Syrah.  It offers a captivating aroma of black fruits, licorice, and violets, along with copious quantities of velvety-smooth berry flavors to provide great drinking pleasure.

Rounding out this month’s Premier Series wines is the 2014 Denis Dutron Macon-Fuissé from France’s Maconnais region in southern Burgundy.  With a brilliant, sun-kissed robe, an enticing bouquet of freshly picked mountain apples, acacia flowers, and freshly baked bread, and a wealth of soft, creamy flavors that meld beautifully with the wine’s pure natural fruit and refreshing minerality, this enticing white wine offers everything classic white Burgundy from Maconnais has to offer.

Domaine-du-Vieux-Lazaret-Chateauneuf-du-Pape-RougeThe International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors Series is proud to offer three special wines in March.  Our first March feature is the outstanding 2012 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Jerome Quiot, a leader in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  His 2012 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape underscores the great quality of the 2012 vintage in Provence.  His classic 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape offers exceptional aromatics in the form of deep black fruits, violets, Provençal garrigue and savory herbs, which serve to introduce a trove of ripe berry flavors infused with hints of Asian spices, rose petal, and black pepper.  Full-bodied, yet perfectly balanced, the 2012 Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the most beautiful young Châteauneuf-du-Pape we have tasted from this excellent estate.

Benovia is one of California’s finest producers of Chardonnay, as the 2013 Benovia Russian River Chardonnay, this month’s Collectors Series white wine feature, will attest.  Presenting itself as sunshine in a glass, the 2013 Benovia Russian River Chardonnay sparkles with a glint of the sun’s golden rays, possesses an enticing aroma of butter, oak, coconut, pear, spring flowers, and spice, and offers a palate-pleasing cornucopia of flavors in the form of orchard fruits, spice, and minerality.  Who can ask more of a Chardonnay?

The 2011 Antucura Vista Flores Grand Vin rounds out this month’s Collectors Series offerings.  Antucura is one of Argentina’s great estates and Vista Flores Grand Vin is the winery’s flagship wine.  A Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec that spent 16 months in French oak barrels, the 2011 Antucura Grand Vin offers copious quantities of rich, deep-down blackberry, plum, currant, and spice flavors that fill the mouth and satiate the palate.  It weighs in at over 15% alcohol but never loses its elegance or panache.  Most Bordeaux wines should offer so much and be so good.



What to Look For In February

casarena-malbec-2014In February, The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series offers four exceptional wines from four different countries. Situated in Mendoza’s premier viticultural areas of Agrelo and Lujan de Cuyo, the award-winning Casarena Estate shines as a beacon of quality and value, and its 2014 Casarena Estate Malbec leads this month’s venture. Casarena’s ultimate goal is to become Mendoza’s greatest vineyard project, a feat Casarena is realizing with the help of Eno Rolland and Bordeaux oenologist Michel Rolland’s renowned team, who oversee vinification.

The 2014 Emile Beyer Tradition Pinot Blanc d’Alsace comes to us from one of France’s greatest producers of Pinot Blanc. The 2014 Emile Beyer Tradition Pinot Blanc exudes aromas and flavors of Bosc pears and mountain apples laced with soft seductive hints of freshly baked bread and spice that make it easy to drink and completely satisfying, either as an aperitif or at table with seafood, salads, pastas, and white meats.

Another one of this month’s special features is the 2010 Oro de Xiloca Garnacha, a delicious wine from the Xiloca estate’s old vines, some of which are up to 100 years old. The 2010 Oro de Xiloca offers an enchanting bouquet of ripe black cherry infused with subtle hints of plum, espresso bean, and vanilla, as well as plenty of rich, refined flavors and a long, delightfully dry finish.

Last, but not least, in this month’s International Wine of the Month Premier Series is the 2014 Terra d’Oro Chenin Blanc-Viognier, a special white wine that garnered 90 points from Wine Spectator and earned a coveted place on Wine Spectator’s 2015 list of Top 100 Values. This artful blend makes for one tasty, mouth-filling glass of white wine with alluring aromas and flavors of tropical fruits, mango, and papaya to grace the nose and enliven the palate.

westerly-happy-canyon-cabernet-sauvignon-2010The International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors Series is proud to offer three special February features. Our first February feature is the outstanding 2010 Westerly Happy Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon. If Happy Canyon and Westerly are unfamiliar to you, they won’t be for long after tasting the 2010 Westerly Happy Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon. Westerly has fashioned a truly beautiful, classically styled Cabernet Sauvignon that received 92 points from Wine Enthusiast. While remaining fresh, complex and impeccably balanced, the Westerly Cabernet delivers tremendous flavor along with considerable finesse – a marriage of the finest attributes of California Cabernet and Classified Bordeaux.

The 2012 Emile Beyer Grand Cru Pfersigberg Alsace Riesling is this month’s Collectors Series special white wine. Hauntingly beautiful in aroma, delicate and complex in flavor, Emile Beyer’s 2012 Grand Cru Pfersigberg Riesling offers an enthralling potpourri of spring flowers, orchard fruits, cardamom, and pure fruit and mineral flavors to delight the nose and palate. Emile Beyer’s 2012 Grand Cru Pfersigberg Alsace Riesling is delightfully dry. Under the direction of Christian Beyer, the domain’s present guardian and the family’s 14th generation Alsace winegrower, Beyer’s wines rank among France’s finest.

The 2012 Casarena Owen’s Vineyard Agrelo Cabernet Sauvignon rounds out this month’s offerings from the Collectors Series. Although Argentina is best known for fine, full-bodied Malbecs, it is Argentina’s old vine Cabernet Sauvignons that garner the greatest scores and provide the grandest red wines to grace the tables of the great steak houses of Buenos Aires and Mendoza. The deeply colored 2012 Casarena Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (91+ points from Robert Parker Jr.’s The Wine Advocate, as well as from Stephen Tanzer) is one such grand Cabernet. It offers plenty to excite all of the senses.


What to Look For In January

chateau-beauregard-ducasse-graves-rouge-2012In January, The International Wine of the Month Club offers four outstanding wines from two continents.  Produced from Bordeaux’s classic red wine varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, the 2012 Château Ducasse Graves delivers an exceptional glass of red Bordeaux from Bordeaux’s oldest and greatest wine-producing appellation.

The 2014 Château Chanteloiseau Cuvée Jean Jules Graves Blanc is a fine white wine from Graves.  As a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, this classic white Graves is blessed with beautiful citrus aromas and flavors, pinpoint minerality, and a refreshing finish.  It makes a wonderful aperitif and comports itself equally well at table with seafood, salads, pastas, and white meats.

From the golden hills of Amador County, the 2013 Terra d’Oro Amador County Zinfandel delights the nose and palate with juicy berry flavors, hints of bramble, spice, and wild herb.  This is a bold, beautiful red Zinfandel that combines rich flavors and fine-grained tannins.  As a classic, old-vine California Zinfandel from America’s own red grape varietal, this Terra d’Oro offering over-delivers in every way.

Wine lovers in search of hand-crafted Chardonnays are in for a treat with the 2014 Complicated Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.  Fashioned by two next-generation winemakers, Carlo Trinchero and Josh Phelps, from two of California’s iconic wine families, this seductive Chardonnay offers opulent fruit aromas and flavors that integrate deft touches of spice and French oak to provide one tasty, uncomplicated Chardonnay.

The International Wine of the Month Club’s Collectors SeriesSilvio-Grasso-Barolo-2011 is proud to offer three special January features.  Our first January feature is the outstanding 2011 Silvio Grasso Barolo from one of Italy’s iconic producers.  Barolo, known as, “the king of wines, and the wine of kings,” ranks as one of Italy’s best red wines.  The 2011 Silvio Grasso Barolo offers up an amplifying bouquet of red fruits, plum, rose petal, and spice, while it delights the palate with supple, complex, and expansive flavors. This is a wine perfect for enjoying now or cellaring for a decade or more.

The 2013 Maison Gille Rully Premier Cru Rabourcé 2013 is this month’s Collectors Series special white wine.  It offers a radiant straw color and scents of acacia, privet, and orchard fruits before revealing pure Chardonnay fruit flavors in the mouth.  Born in the fashionable Rully appellation of Burgundy, this Premier Cru demonstrates why Burgundy is the spiritual home of Chardonnay and why Rabourcé’s special terroir merits Premier Cru status.

The 2009 Château Armandière Diamant Rouge Cahors Malbec is a rich, ripe, and sophisticated Malbec that delivers the boldness and intensity of the finest Argentinean Malbecs, along with the added complexity, refinement, and sophistication of the best French wines. The 2009 Diamant Rouge is a rare and highly allocated wine from Château Armandière, one of the greatest estates in Cahors, the original home of Malbec.

What to Look For In December

Alejandro-Fernandez-El-Vinculo-2011In December, The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series offers four outstanding wines from around the world.  Produced from 80-year-old vines by Alejandro Fernandez, Spain’s “King of Tempranillo,” the 2011 Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez El Vinculo exudes infectious charm, stunning aromatics, and plush juicy flavors.  Blackberry and currant scents and flavors mingle with hints of sandalwood, Asian spices, and smooth new oak to delight the nose and palate.

Another of this month’s special features is the 2014 Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer, which hails from South Africa’s Western Cape, an area regarded as the planet’s most spectacular wine country and the source of many of the greatest white and red blends.  The 2014 Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer is a unique, dry white blend of Riesling, Viognier, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc that provides enormous drinking pleasure.  This is a complex dry white wine whose fragrant aroma alone is worth the price of admission.

The Laronde Desormes Bordeaux Supérieur winery fashions one of the finest and longest lived Bordeaux Petit Château wines.  This little gem of a property produces only a few thousand cases of Bordeaux wine each year from the estate’s 22 acres of vines.  Born in the sublime 2010 vintage, the 2010 Château Laronde Desormes is classic red Bordeaux from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot that over-delivers in every way.  Enjoy!

The 2014 Château Andrea Graves Blanc rounds out this month’s Premier Series wine selections.  Château Andréa is a superlative, well-situated property of less than 5 acres in the Graves appellation of Bordeaux, and its 2014 Château Andréa Graves Blanc is a compelling white wine.  Imbued with subtle floral, citrus, and ripe melon scents, along with polished fruit and mineral driven flavors, this wine delights the tongue and slips easily down the thirsty throat.  Add a long, truly dry, mineral-driven finish, and you’ll find a recipe for fine drinking pleasure.


valenciso-reserva-nvThe International Wine of the Month’s Collectors Series is proud to offer three special December features.  Our first December feature is the 2008 Valenciso Rioja Reserva, Decanter Magazine’s Wine of the Year and a wine to which Luis Gutierrez of Wine Advocate awarded 93 Points and succinctly described as, “… explosive, aromatic, perfumed Tempranillo that mixes the more common strawberries, raspberries, and cherries with unusual violet and subtle spices with plenty of nuances and changing details, elegant and complex, starting to develop tertiary characteristics.”  All we can add to this description are two words: taste it!

The 2013 Château Beauregard Ducasse Cuvée Albertine Peyri is another special wine that underscores the success of white Bordeaux in the 2013 vintage and especially classic white Graves.  Dry and rich in flavor, the 2013 Château Beauregard Ducasse Cuvée Albertine Peyri demonstrates the essence and charm of traditional white Graves, which are a blend of barrel-aged Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Rounding out this month’s Collectors Series is the 2012 Domaine Raspail-Ay Gigondas, a powerful Southern Rhône offering from Dominque Ay, who fashions wine ideal for a cold winter’s night.  No one consistently turns out better Gigondas than Dominique Ay, as the superb, full-bodied 2012 Raspail-Ay Gigondas attests.  Enjoy this outstanding Gigondas now and for another decade.