1st Bottle Red: Bodegas Murviedro, Predicat, Priorat

For the wine snob: Predicat belongs to the Bodega’s range of wines elaborated under the DOQ Priorat. A blended red wine made with grapes grown in terraced vineyards on slate soils, 35 years old vines from own vineyards in the municipality of EL Molar. The grapes are grown in slate stone terraces. They have maceration of 6 days, alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Then aged 9 months in barrels.

For the rest of us: Grenache noir 45%, Carignan 45%, Merlot 10%. A red still wine with natural, fruity and mineral notes.

1st Bottle White: Belena, Macon Villages ‘Les Roches’, France

For the wine snob: The Mâconnais is located in Southern Burgundy and takes its name from a town called Mâcon. The hilltop vineyard which produces Belena is called “Les Roches” which means “The Rocks”. The vines are situated on the western side of the Saône river where clay, silica and granite dominate the soils. These contribute to this wine’s mineral freshness, and zest.

For  the rest of us: 100% Chardonnay from Old Vines. This is a classic expression of unoaked Chardonnay that balances supple richness with refreshing acidity. Notes of pear and peach transition to a minerally citrus finish. Enjoy with salads, roast chicken and creamy cheeses.

2nd Bottle Red: Le Clairon Des Anges ,Costieres de Nimes, France

For the wine snob: AOP Costières de Nîmes, the most southerly Rhône appellation, describes the wine growing area to the south of the ancient city of Nîmes and the Western Rhône delta. Soils consist of gravel deposited on sand by the Rhône and Durance rivers. This southern Rhône classic is made from selected Grenache and Syrah grapes harvested at optimum ripeness and sourced as a result of the enviable relationships Boutinot has built up with a number of growers from the region over the past decade.

For the rest of us: Grenache Noir 60%, Syrah 40%. Distinctive balsamic aromas lead to a herbal palate. Notes of liquorice, sweet spices and dry leaves on the finish.

2nd Bottle White: Hugues Beaulieu, Picpoul de Pinet, France

For the wine snob: Known as “the Muscadet of the South” in France, this is to the Mediterranean coast of France what Albario is to northwest Spain…the default wine for fresh shellfish & seafood. This wine is the perfect accompaniment for oysters and other shellfish. It is equally good with grilled monkfish, crayfish bisque”The wine consists of 100 Picpoul (or Piquepoul) – a very popular, traditional local variety planted on sun-drenched hillsides called “costires” (coastal region) in the Mediterranean garrigue, near the Etang de Thau – a coastal lagoon situated between the port of Ste and Marseillan. The vines are 15-20 years old. The garrigue is the name given to open scrubland made up of low-growing, dwarf bushy shrubs including holm oak, juniper, broom and wild herbs such as rosemary, thyme and sage.

For the rest of us: 100% Picpoul. The color is a superb pale yellow with bright hues. The nose is elegant, with aromas of fresh fruit and citrus fruit especially grapefruit. Well-balanced with typical focusing and zesty acidiy.

1st Reserve Bottle Red: Capiaux "Chimera", Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

For the wine snob: Since Sean Capiaux (also of O’Shaughnessy) founded Capiaux Cellars in 1994, he has been dedicated to the nuance and expression of the “Holy Grail” grape: Pinot Noir. Capiaux Cellars is dedicated to producing single-vineyard bottlings of Pinot Noir. Chimera, named for the creature of Greek mythology, or to describe anything that brings together disparate parts with dazzling results, stands out. This is Sean’s opportunity to combine fruit from seven vineyards along the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, and Santa Lucia Highlands. The result is a beautiful, nuanced wine. Sean’s style is a blend of classic and contemporary. He pairs cutting-edge fermentation equipment with traditional Burgundian technique that emphasizes natural, hands-on winemaking. Fruit is hand-sorted as soon as it arrives at the winery. Following a cool soak, all wines are fermented by indigenous yeast and see minimal new oak (rarely more than 33%). The wine ages in barrel for ten to 15 months before bottling, unfined and unfiltered to preserve aroma and flavour.

For the rest of us: 100% Pinot Noir. The Capiaux Chimera. is a rich, heady wine. A burst of dark red cherry, plum, lavender, rose petal and blood orange are all dialed up. This bold, generous Pinot delivers the goods, big time.

1st Reserve Bottle White: Domaine Pernot Côte d'Or Bourgogne, Chardonnay, France

For the wine snob: The 2020 vintage has turned out quite nicely chez Domaine Paul Pernot, where the house style remains fleshy, giving and front-loaded. For now, the domaine’s wines are made in much the same way that they always have been: whole-cluster pressed, barrel fermented and matured for some 11 months, with bottling before the next harvest. After embracing DIAM wholeheartedly with the 2019 vintage, we’re now back to natural cork (of superior quality) for the higher appellations and DIAMs for the rest. 

For the rest of us: 100% Chardonnay. This wine offers an expressive nose of white flowers, stone fruits and buttered bread notes. The mouth is mineral and elegant, and delicate toasty nuances bring extra length in the mouth alongside a fresh acidity and a good balance.

2nd Reserve Bottle Red: Clos des Cazaux, Vacqueyras Cuvee des Templiers, France

For the wine snob: The Domaine was founded in 1905 by Gabriel Archimbaud and is now run by Maurice Vache and his two sons Jean-Michel and Frederic. The Archimbaud and Vache families are among the oldest ones in Vacqueyras. The oldest part of the property dates back to the 12th century and belonged to “Les Chevaliers de l’Ordre des Templiers” (the Templar Knights). An ancient Moorish Tower sits on the property, the Tower of Sarrasine in ruins. The Vacqueyras Cuvee des Templiers has a  hand picked harvest; 100% destemmed but not crushed. About 20 days fermentation according to the vintage. Nine months in stainless-steel tanks and 12 months in concrete tank. No fining and only a light filtration for natural deposit.

For the rest of us: 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre. The Syrah vines are situated on the sandy, grey clay slopes of Vacqueyras near the estate. They are facing east west, so the sun warms the grapes early in the morning allowing a considerable synthesis of sugars. The sandy soil is poor giving a reduced yield. The resulting wine is very fruity with strong persistent aromas of red fruits, spices and violets brought by the Syrah. Intense black cherry, blackberry, blueberry and cherry flavors. Explosive fruit tannins give the sweet, creamy flavors structure and focus, bright and uplifting on the finish.

2nd Reserve Bottle White: Ken Forrester ‘The FMC’, Chenin Blanc, South Africa

For the wine snob: In 1993 hospitality industry veteran Ken Forrester and his wife Teresa purchased the historic Scholtzenhof estate nestled at the base of the Helderberg in Stellenbosch. Originally established in 1689 as Zandberg the property is one of the oldest wine farms in the Cape. Ken enlisted the help of his winemaker friend Martin Meinert in replanting and revitalizing the vineyards with an aim to craft a white wine that could rival any in the world! And so it was that Ken Forrester Vineyards was established with a focus on Chenin Blanc production.

For the Rest of us: 100% Chenin Blanc. The pinnacle of what we consider to be the finest expression of the grapes of this varietal – an icon chenin, a challenge to the world! Rich, layered with dried apricot, vanilla and honey. Will gain additional complexity with cellaring.