1st Bottle Red: Paolo Scavino, Dolcetto d’Alba 2020 Dolcetto, Piedmont, Italy

For the wine snob: Paolo Scavino is a historical winery in the Barolo region.  It was founded in 1921 in Castiglione Falletto from Lorenzo Scavino and his son Paolo.  Farming has always been a family tradition and passion.  Enrico Scavino has been working in the winery since the age of ten, beginning in 1951.  He now runs his estate with his two daughters Enrica and Elisa, who are the fourth generation.  Their work is inspired by the love and respect they have for their territory and they pursue purity of expression, complexity and the elegance for their wines from the three local grapes Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo.

For the rest of us: 100% Dolcetto,  The Dolcetto is an indigenous Piedmontese grape for a long time majorly planted  in the area.  Purple color, fresh and delicate aromatics of cherry, blueberry, spices and flowers. The structure has a lightness and brightness in it. Well defined by good tannins and harmonious acidity this wine has a pleasant freshness and intriguing character.

1st Bottle White: Domaine de la Prébende 2020

For the wine snob: Domaine de la Prébende produces a deeply mineral Beaujolais from a predominantly clay and limestone terroir, a rarity in a region dominated by granite soils. “Une prébende” essentially means “a tax,” and the Domaine sits on the location where monks used to collect taxes from the villagers. As Ghislaine Dupeuble puts it, “Monks didn’t like to own low end vineyards!”  The Prébende Beaujolais cuvée, “Anna Asmaquer,” is named for Ghislaine’s great grandmother, who married Jules Dupeuble in 1919. The family wanted to add her name to the label because it was Anna who managed the vineyards and winemaking.  She is the true source of inspiration for what has become Domaine de la Prébende today.

For the rest of us: 100% Chardonnay, The Anna Asmaquer Beaujolais is an old vines blend with profound minerality, a bright wild berry nose, and possesses typique Beaujolais finesse. The grapes are harvested manually and vinified completely without SO2. The wines are not chaptalized, filtered, or degassed and only natural yeasts are used for the fermentation. La Prébende crafts one of the best Beaujolais AOC values available today.

2nd Bottle Red: Domaine La Roque Cuvêe les Vieilles Vignes de Mourvedre 2018

For the wine snob: The picturesque landscape surrounding the historic Château La Roque appears largely unchanged from how it must have been two thousand years ago.  Romans were said to have planted the first vines, and Benedictine Monks created the sturdy vaulted-ceiling cellars that still house the bottles today.  Thirty-two of the Château’s eighty hectares are consecrated to terraced vineyard land with south-southeast sun exposure, on clay and limestone soils. This is unique terroir. Garrigue, the aromatic scrub brush that dominates the landscapes of the South, asserts its presence among these vines. Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, the noble varietals that Jack Boutin planted here years ago, make up the reds. The whites include Viognier, Rolle, Grenache Blanc, Roussane and Marsanne.

For the rest of us: 100% Mourverdre, Dense and structured, but plush and refined as well, this cuvée Mourvèdre possesses irresistible notes of dark fruit, cocoa, and coffee beans. For a long time, the reputation of Château La Roque has been particularly linked to the quality of its Mourvèdre grapes, this original grape variety which has such a great future. Red wine made with Mourvèdre grapes is powerful, colorful and tannic. Subtly peppery, it is often gamey when young with spiced black fruits always present. It is both robust and delicate. Deep and velvety. Coarse yet fine. It ages wonderfully.  We love it.

2nd Bottle White: Abbazia di Novacella, Alto Adige Valle Isarco Kerner 2020

For the wine snob:  The estate has long been known for producing world class white wines with a tremendous price/quality ratio. The white grape vineyards are in the town of Novacella, surrounding the abbey, while the red grapes grow further south. Schiava and Pinot Noir are planted near Lago di Caldaro, and Lagrein is planted near Bolzano. The production comes from a total of 80 hectares. The Abbey owns 6 hecatres near the winery in Novacella, as well as 15 hectares at their Marklhof estate near Bolzano. For the rest of the production, they work with over 50 small growers in the region. The soil for the wines is mainly granitic schist, created by ancient glaciers; and the vineyards are quite steep. In the Isarco Valley, vines do not live much longer than 30 years, and the yields are miniscule naturally, producing wines that are aromatic, fresh, and rich. Though it is one of the oldest wineries in the world with over 850 years of winemaking experience, the cellar is entirely modern. The lineup of wines is incredible! The range includes classics like Kerner and Pinot Grigio, as well as some lesser seen varietals like Veltliner and Moscato Rosa.

For  the rest of us:  Dazzling and elegantly structured, this racy white opens with aromas of yellow stone fruit, white spring flowers, Alpine herbs and crushed stone. Dry and savory, the palate has great energy and tension, delivering apricot, citrus and tangy mineral alongside crisp acidity.

1st Reserve Bottle Red: Cascarena Single Vineyard Owen’s Cabernet 2018

For the wine snob: Casarena is a true Mendoza destination for adventurers, foodies, and wine lovers. The winery was built in 1937 and sits in the heartland of Mendoza’s historic winemaking region, Lujan de Cuyo. The distinctive single vineyard wines make for unique culinary pairings that will elevate any dining experience whether at the winery’s world-class restaurant, your favorite local establishment or at your own dining room table.  Winemaker Leandro Azin and Agronomist Pablo Ceverino are two of the best young talents in Argentine wine. The team continues to conduct ongoing intensive soil research on their vineyard sites that are unlike any other terroir found in Lujan de Cuyo. Their dynamic and collaborative teamwork in the vineyard and at the winery is the core behind Casarena’s award-winning wines that have such authentic expression of their unique vineyard sites.  The name “Casarena” is a creative merging of the Spanish words “casa” (house) and “arena” (sand), and is a tribute to the sand-colored stone winery and the sandy soil that their estate is built on.

For the rest of us: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Black and red fruit on the nose with cherry, bell pepper, and subtle hints of coffee from the barrel fully integrated. In the mouth, it is wide and exhibits good complexity and round tannins. It is an elegant and robust wine with a long finish. Pair with a juicy steak or pasta bolognese.

1st Reserve Bottle White: Domaine Drouhin Oregon “Chardonnay Arthur” 2019

For the wine snob: Established in 1987, Domaine Drouhin Oregon is owned by famed Burgundy producer, Maison Joseph Drouhin. Hand-crafted by fourth generation winemaker, Veronique Drouhin-Boss, the distinctive Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of Domaine Drouhin are prized for their elegance, balance and finesse, as well as their ability to age. Philippe Drouhin, Veronique’s brother, is in charge of viticulture and has earned an international reputation for his work both in Burgundy and Oregon. Ninety acres of the 225-acre estate are now planted, with over 3100 vines per acre. Domaine Drouhin Oregon’s landmark 4-level gravity flow winery is nestled into the heart of the Dundee Hills.  Robert Drouhin’s vision of an Oregon estate winery that could rival the great vineyards of Burgundy has been realized at DDO. From what began as test plantings of cloned Pinot Noir rootstock, Domaine Drouhin now encompasses 124 acres of hillside vineyards. Interspersed with the Pinot Noir vines are 11 acres of Chardonnay, planted at various elevations and, like in Burgundy, planted right alongside rows of Pinot Noir.  The Drouhin Family’s winemaking roots run deep, having taken hold in Burgundy’s best vineyards more than a century ago. Through the years, there has been a very clear link, a continuum, that inhabits Maison Joseph Drouhin, and now Domaine Drouhin Oregon.

For the rest of us: The 2019 Arthur is joyously fresh and fragrant, with the intricacy and detail of spring blossoms. Here, clarity of flavor and balanced precision are front and center, lifting the pure chardonnay expression effortlessly from the glass. One finds aromatic notes of Anjou pear, green apple blossom, cardamom and coriander. Refinement and elegance follow through on the palate, all wrapped in a very fine texture. Enjoy now, but I expect this Arthur to age beautifully for the next 5-7 years.

2nd Reserve Bottle Red: Rombauer Vinyards Merlot 2018

For the wine snob: Inspired by the wine movement of the 1970s in Napa Valley, Koerner and Joan Rombauer entered the wine business in 1976, then launched Rombauer Vineyards in 1980. As stewards of the land, the Rombauers have strived to produce the best wine an appellation, terroir and climate will achieve. The second and third generations are dedicated to continuing Koerner and Joan’s vision.  Our Merlot is grown in estate-owned and grower-partner vineyards on the Napa side of Carneros, where the clay soils are similar to those of Bordeaux’s Right Bank. The cool climate allows the thin-skinned grapes to gradually develop flavor and tannin while retaining natural acidity.

For the rest of us:  83% Merlot 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, Rombauer Vinyards Merlot has complex aromas of black cherry, ripe plum and mocha intertwine with subtle notes of violet and mint. This medium-bodied wine is bursting with flavors of plums, red currant and figs upfront, leading to juicy red fruit on the midpalate. The soft mid palate finishes with fine, plush tannins highlighted by a bright acidity.

2nd Reserve Bottle White: Marine Layer Wines, Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast 2018

For the wine Snob: The story of Marine Layer begins with our intimate knowledge of the best vineyard sites for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in California. We’ve been making wine in the Sonoma Coast for over a decade, first with Banshee Wines. Over these years, we have established and solidified partnerships and friendships with some of the region’s top farmers that are the inspiration for Marine Layer.  Organic farming, heritage clones, hand-harvesting, and an obsession for quality guide our path. Every bottling of Marine Layer is produced in tiny quantities, some as small as 4 barrels. We use native yeast in our winemaking, minimal intervention, barrel-fermentations for our whites, and extended barrel aging for our reds. We’ve spared no expense to make wines that will compete with the very best Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the world.

For the Rest of us: 100% Chardonnay, This chardonnay is pale yellow with tinges of gold. Aromatics of white peach, marzipan, white flower blossom, and beeswax followed with undertones of thyme and marjoram. Mouthfeel is expansive and coating without being overly weighty and a fresh line of acidity and energized long finish.