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.

Salud!
Don

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.

Salud!
Don

Super Bowl Foods & Wine

The big game is happening this Sunday. Party food is high in calories, so we will all be chucking that diet we all started at the first of the year. Oh boy, I am looking forward to eating party food and drinking my fair share of some tasty wines. Oh yeah, and watching the Patriots and Seahawks battle for the title.

Don’t just stick to one type of wine, enjoy your Super Bowl party food with a variety of wines. If your friends are like mine the wine won’t go to waste. Start with a sparkling wine, Viognier, Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc with the veggie tray or chips if you dare.

Work your way through the game with either a Merlot or Zinfandel and then a Cabernet Sauvignon while munching on the chili, burgers, meatballs and pizza.

Just because it is game day don’t forget the chocolate with a port or a sherry to complete a great party night.

Here is an infographic to help you pair up your party foods with your wines for the Big Game Day.

Wine-Pairings

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.

The Best Red Wines of Bordeaux

Cars_GirondeFor most red wine drinkers, Bordeaux aficionados included, the best red wines of Bordeaux are not, and will likely never be, the region’s illustrious First Growths, Grand Cru Classés, and other classified or press-deified garagiste wines of miniscule production. Many wine lovers know the best red wines of Bordeaux will be the finest red wines they can afford from the world’s most renowned wine region, but let’s face it: only a small handful of billionaires can afford to fork over thousands of dollars for a single bottle of a fine vintage of Château Margaux, Petrus, or Haut-Brion, and fewer still will wait until these sanctified reds are truly ready to be enjoyed to the fullest.  So, what can red Bordeaux lovers do to slake their thirst for fine red Bordeaux?

Bordeaux, France, is the largest fine wine producing region in the world – a viticultural paradise jam-packed with small, family-owned châteaux and affordable red wine treasures.  This is particularly true in excellent vintages produced in 2010 and 2012.  Consequently, some of Bordeaux’s best bargains and most pleasing, ready-to-drink red wines can be found among Bordeaux Petits Châteaux, many of which bear just a Bordeaux Supérieur classification.

These are not the “big” names of Bordeaux, nor are any of these châteaux’s wines household words. However, select Petits Châteaux, such as the 2010 Château Barreyre and 2010 Château Laronde Desormes, constitute some of the best bargains in all Bordeaux and are ready to enjoy now. These are tasty, beautiful reds that over-deliver in every way.

For even more bang for the buck, the elegant, silky smooth 2012 Château Saint André Corbin St. Georges St.Emilion is downright irresistible now and much more inviting than many of the wines from its St. Emilion neighbors, most of which cost two to three times the price.  Another tasty, affordable gem is the 2012 Château Ducasse Graves, a sophisticated red Bordeaux that demonstrates why Graves, the oldest wine-producing area in Bordeaux, continues to enjoy the favor of critics and consumers alike.

The keys to finding the best red Bordeaux are the track record of a given château and the quality of the vintage.  Presently, the 2010 and 2012 vintages are the ones to look for, while we await the best red Bordeaux wines from the outstanding 2014 and 2015 vintages.

Salud!
Don