What to Look For in August

cru-appellation-series-santa-lucia-highlands-chardonnay-2011In August The International Wine of the Month Club’s Premier Series features four exceptional offerings, including the 2011 Cru Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay and the just released 2014 Château Eulalie Plaisir d’Eulalie from Minervois.  In past vintages, Madame Coustal’s Plaisir d’Eulalie Minervois from France’s oldest wine producing region has been a perennial favorite with club members.  For the record, Madame Coustal’s 2014 Plaisir already drinks beautifully and looks to be one of her finest Plaisirs to date.  Wine lovers will also want to check out this month’s two Spanish wine offerings, the 2012 Bodegas Ayles Barrica Garnacha and the 2013 Nidia Rueda Verdejo.

yardstick-ruth's-reach-napa-valley-cabernet-sauvignon-2012This month, our Collectors Series members won’t want to miss Nick Goldschmidt’s 2012 Yardstick Ruth’s Reach Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine by which many other Napa Valley Cabernets will be measured.  Yardstick is made by Goldschmidt Vineyards, which produces an elite group of limited release Cabernet Sauvignons from single sites.  It earned it a 90-point rating score and Gold Medal from The Tasting Panel magazine (Anthony Diaz Blue).   The limited, highly allocated 2014 Joseph Chromy Tasmania Chardonnay and the 2013 Nugan Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz, a special wine akin to the great Amarone wines of Italy’s Veneto, both make their debut with The International Wine of the Month Club in August.

Looking ahead, September promises more outstanding wines, including the 2012 Stolpman Vineyard Ballard Canyon Syrah, 2012 Domaine Grand Tinel Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Greece’s most compelling white wine from the enchanted island of Santorini – the 2014 Sigalas Santorini Assyrtiko.  Enjoy!

Salud!
Don

The Best White Wines for Summer

White-Wine-wmcSummer calls for white wines that quench the thirst and refresh the palate, wines with zip that disappear eagerly down the throat and immediately make me want to come back for more.   Big, buttery Chardonnays with plenty of oak have their place, but summer makes me search out a wide array of white wines with distinctive varietal character, minimal oak, and real quench-ability.

Sauvignon Blanc is my first go-to summer varietal, particularly from Sancerre and producers such as Fournier and Moreux.  Sancerre is France’s quintessential Sauvignon Blanc with crisp, racy flavors that capture the palate and enliven the senses.

Excellent Sauvignon Blancs from Chile, New Zealand and South Africa abound, too.  The Errazuriz Max Reserva and Casa Silva Cool Coast from Chile are particularly noteworthy, as they provide more body, flavor and quench-ability than most.  Although New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc have become nearly synonymous, some New Zealand examples strike me as a bit thin and acidic, but not Dog Point’s Marlborough Section 94Dog Point Section 94 is full-throttle Sauvignon Blanc that’s truly world class; it drinks great young and is even better after five or more years in the bottle.

For high-quality, everyday summer white wines, Italy is hard to beat, and I don’t mean just Pinot Grigio.  Costantini Frascati from estate organic grapes, the remarkable Stefano Massone Masera Gavi and any Verdicchio from Bisci or Tavignano make me smile as often as I drink them all year round.  Authentic estate grown Soave from the Veneto’s premier grape varietal Garganega offers plenty of pleasure, too, in every season.  Gini and Tamellini are clear stand-out producers who make consistently exceptional Soave every year.

Another wonderfully refreshing summer wine is Grüner Veltliner, Austria’s quintessential white grape.  Premium producers, such as Pichler and Hirtzberger, fashion world-class examples, but for every-day fare, Domaine Wachau gets my vote for their hard to beat, affordable, and tasty Grüner Veltliner.

Blends make great summertime whites, too.  California and South Africa have become quite adept at putting together thirst quenching blends with plenty of character.  Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer from South Africa’s South Coast strikes me as one of the best.  Fashioned initially with seafood accompaniments in mind, this mouth-watering blend of Riesling, Viognier, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc offers especially pure fruit flavors as well as good, crisp acidity, which makes it a summer stand-out as well as a great all year round quaff.

It’s summer, be adventurous.  Try something other than big, buttery Chardonnay, even if it’s a delicious un-oaked California Chardonnay, such as the soon to be released 2014 Pietra Santa Estate Chardonnay.

Salud!
Don

To Decant or Not to Decant Wine

When and How to Decant Wine

DecanterTo decant or not to decant wine is a hot topic and almost always a leading question.  Personal choice and impatience dictate whether or not you should decant your wine. In reality, decanting serves just two purposes: aeration and removal of sediment.

Young, tannic red wines benefit the most from aeration.  In order to begin releasing the esters that give a wine its aroma and flavor, oxygen needs to be introduced and work its way into the wine.  Decanting helps to speed up the oxygenation process, but it also tends to tame a bit of a wine’s youthful tannin.

For many wine drinkers, the most compelling reason to decant a wine is to remove all or most of the natural sediment from mature wines whose sediments precipitate out over time. Some younger unfined and unfiltered wines may also contain sediment or tartrate crystals.  Although sediment (grape skin, yeast, etc.) and tartrate crystals are harmless natural byproducts of wine, they are unsightly and can detract from the pleasure of drinking a wine.  Hence, decanting becomes a viable option.

How to decant a bottle of wine

  • Allow a bottle of wine to stand upright for at least several hours before opening until the sediment settles to the bottom of the bottle.
  • Upon opening the bottle, carefully pour the wine slowly into a clean carafe or decanter.
  • For best results, shine a light behind the bottle of wine so that you can see when the sediment begins to rise in the bottle.
  • If done carefully, one should only need to leave a couple of ounces of wine in the bottle for you and your guests to enjoy the rest.

Here at The International Wine of the Month Club™, we leave decanting up to our customers. You can fine more information about decanting throughout our website, and even learn how our online subscription wine club works to see that you aren’t just getting great wine – you’re getting the best value and quality, guaranteed.

So, whether you decant your wine or enjoy it straight from the bottle, The International Wine of the Month Club™ will raise a glass with you.

Salud!
Don

Enjoy Huge Savings on Four Highly Rated Wines!

Today we’re very excited to bring you another Special Offer on four limited-production wines which recently blew us away at our tasting panels, including one of the finest Châteauneuf-du-Papes we’ve encountered in recent memory, two impressive Pinot Noirs – from the Old World and the New – and a vivacious, stunning Chardonnay from Napa.

Domaine du Grand Tinel Cuvée Alexis Establet Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012 (France)

Grand Tinel Cuvee Establet 2012Sourced from 100-year-old Grenache vines, the Alexis Establet is regarded as Domaine du Grand Tinel’s best cuvée of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This delicious French wine features crushed flower, menthol, cherry blossom, and white chocolate notes, can be consumed straight away or allowed to age for 10-12 years, and has a 93-point rating from The Wine Advocate. Learn more by visiting domainegrandtinel.com.

Wine Advocate: 93 points. Panel Review: 93 points.

Retail Price: $60.00, Our Price: $35.95. Save 40%!

Jacques Girardin Santenay Clos Rousseau Premier Cru 2012 (France)

jacques-girardin-santenay-clos-rousseau-premier-cru-2012The Jacques Girardin Santenay Clos Rousseau Premier Cru 2012 is a top choice for those who appreciate a quality Pinot Noir from France’s Burgundy region. This rare, limited-production wine was sourced from a 4.75-acre Burgundian vineyard, and is very difficult to find in the U.S. With a 93-point rating from The International Wine of the Month Club’s panel of experts, this wine is recommended for celebrations, parties, and important events. Visit girardin-santenay.com for more information on Jacques Girardin Santenay’s wines.

Panel Review: 93 points. Very limited production: Almost impossible to find outside France.

Retail Price: $40.00, Our Price: $27.95. Save 30%!

Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2012 (California)

Walt-Blue-Jay-Anderson-Valley-Pinot-Noir-2012With 93 points from Wine Enthusiast and 92 points from Pinot Report, the Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinor Noir 2012 is regarded as a delicious, well-rounded selection that wine enthusiasts around the world will enjoy. Sourced from California vineyards in Anderson Valley, the 2012 Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir contains blueberry, lavender, and mineral tones with a rich, fruity flavor and mouthfeel. Visit waltwines.com to learn more about the Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and its other great wines.

Wine Enthusiast: 93 points. Pinot Report: 92 points. Panel Review: 93 points.

Retail Price: $40.00, Our Price: $29.95. Save 25%!

Poseidon Vineyard Estate Grown Carneros Napa Chardonnay 2013 (California)

Poseidon_Vineyard_Estate_Chardonnay_2013Produced by the expert winemakers at Poseidon Vineyard, the 2014 Estate Grown Carneros Chardonnay features lemon oil, apple blossom, and fresh ginger notes, and finishes with green apple, lime, lemon custard, and buttery oak flavors. With a 92-point rating from Wine & Spirits, this Poseidon Vineyard Chardonnay is a good choice for any time throughout the year. Learn more about Poseidon Vineyard by visiting tricyclewine.com.

Wine & Spirits: 92 points. Panel Review: 92 points.

Retail Price: $28.00, Our Price: $23.75. Save 15%!

To order, visit http://www.winemonthclub.com/sale.

Hurry! Sale ends July 1, 2015!

South Africa: This Year’s Hottest Wine Destination

South-African-VineyardWith stunning scenery, excellent restaurants, and exceptional wines, South Africa’s Western Cape has become a must go wine destination.  Add the American Dollar’s present favorable exchange rate to the South African Rand and the Western Cape’s proximity to Cape Town, arguably Africa’s most beautiful city, and it’s easy to see why South African vineyards are this year’s hottest wine destination.

Stellenbosch, along with nearby Franschoek, Paarl and Swartland, dominate the wine production on South Africa’s Western Cape.  Some must-see wineries include the iconic Klein Constantia estate, known for fashioning excellent Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Vin de Constance, one of the world’s greatest dessert wines.

More excellent South African wineries include Black Pearl, Mary-Lou Nash’s pearl of an estate for fabulous Shiraz; Edgebaston, the source of David Finlayson’s very impressive age-worth Cabernet Sauvignons; Rustenberg, the home of the John X. Merriman, which might be the best Meritage offering anywhere for the money; Eagle’s Nest, an upcoming star for Shiraz and Viognier; Downes Family, outstanding producers of  incredible Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc; and Barista, a leader in the burgeoning Pinotage market.

Don