1st Bottle Red: J. Christopher, ’J.J’, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2018

For the wine snob: J. Christopher is a small winery located in Oregon’s Northern Willamette Valley, with a focus on expressive Pinot Noir made using the patient, unhurried approach of the Old World. Owned by renowned Mosel winegrower, Ernst “Erni” Loosen (of the Dr. Loosen estate), the winery’s hand-crafted wines are made from fruit grown in our own estate Appassionata Vineyard, as well as other excellent vineyards in the Willamette Valley. With a deep commitment to environmentally sustainable farming and production practices, J. Christopher strives to produce terroir-driven wines in an Old World style that emphasizes focus, length and balance.

For the rest of us: 100% Pinot Noir, This second-label Willamette Valley wine is a blend of barrels from the three appellations where we have long-standing grower relations.  Ripe, richly fruity, and with a fine tannin structure, J.J is a juicy introduction to the world of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

1st Bottle White: Domaine Paul Blanck, Pinot Blanc, Alsace AOC 2019

For the wine snob: 86 acres, 5 grands crus and 4 lieux-dits; The Domaine Paul Blanck winery is deeply influenced by the terroir areas that represent two thirds of the total acreage. Trailblazers of the focus on the notion of terroir in Alsace, previous generations of Blancks have put their faith in the terroirs to give birth to authentic and natural wines.  About 120,000 bottles leave the Paul Blanck cellar every year.

 For the rest of us: 100% Pinot Blanc.  On the nose you will find aromas of apricot, brioche and a touch of lemon.  This pinot blanc has pleasant acidity, slight minerality, stone fruit and has a nice long finish with mineral notes.  Excellent to pair with seafood, light-flavored meats, light/medium sauces and mild flavored cheese.

2nd Bottle Red: Château des Adouzes, ‘Le Tigre’, Red blend, Faugéres AOP 2018

For the wine snob: Château des Adouzes is a new estate for the Coste family. Château des Adouzes dates back to the Middle Ages and consists of 100 acres of vines planted on excellent schist terroir. The Grenache and Carignan average 70 years old. Syrah is also planted.  Château des Adouzes sits overlooking the village of Roquessels in the heart of the Faugères appellation. Faugères benefits from an unusual and specific geological history that compressed an ancient sea bed during the formation of the French Alps and the Pyrenees mountain ranges. The result is that the whole appellation is covered by schist rock. Schist is known for its capacity to drain excessive water during the heavy and sudden rainfalls Mediterranean climate receives. The cracks in the bedrock allow the vine roots to grow deep into the soil, which helps create balanced and powerful wines.

For the rest of us: 35% Carignan 35% Grenache 30% Syrah, Le Tigre shows cassis and raspberry with hints of pepper and spice on the nose. The palate is structured and smooth with fresh fruit flavors. Nice acidity provides freshness on the finish. Pairs well with duck, lamb, beef and pasta dishes.

2nd Bottle White: Hermanos de Villar, 'Oro de Castilla', Verdejo, Rueda 2020

For the wine snob: The Villar Brothers, founded Bodegas Hermanos Villar in 1995, owning 247 Acres of vineyards in the town of Rueda. The widely planted grape varieties are: white – Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc, Viura and red –Tempranillo. Over 30 year old vines. The vineyards where the grapes come from are the main reason for this wine’s sterling quality. The bright flavors and minerality are due to the high-elevation vineyards that overlook the town of Rueda and to the bed of river stones that cover the limestone subsoil. The vines are among the oldest in the region, with deep root systems that penetrate the limestone and mineral subsoils.

For  the rest of us: 100% Verdejo.  The ‘Oro de Castillo’ has aromas of Meyer lemon and green apple and are accented by chalky minerals and sea salt.  Dry and racy on the palate, offering lively citrus fruit and fresh fig flavors, and a subtle touch of tarragon.  This Verdejo finishes on a juicy note, featuring resonating stoniness and a very good focus and length.

1st Reserve Bottle Red: Sangiacomo Vineyard, ‘Once & Future’, Merlot, Los Carneros AVA 2018

For the wine snob: Once & Future is the return to the original vision Joel Peterson had for Ravenswood so many years ago – a small project specializing in wines from unique, older vineyards, made with a sensitivity to place and in a style that he personally loves and believes in. Once & Future are wines that force Joel to dust off the old redwood vats and get out a new punch down tool (his original one is in the Smithsonian). Once & Future are wines that dye his hands a harvest shade of black/purple and sometimes force him to take an additional Ibuprofen in the morning. In short – Once & Future are wines of sweat, commitment, and love.

For the rest of us: 100% Merlot.  Aromatics of ripe plums and cassis with hints of cedar lead to a bright flavorful energetic finish in this lovely well-balanced cool climate Merlot.

 

1st Reserve Bottle White: Montenidoli, 'Careto', Vernaccia, San Gimignano 2017

For the wine snob: Montenidoli, “the mountain of little nests”, is 24 hectares of vineyards surrounded by 200 hectares of woodlands.  The Etruscans were the first to discover this treasure and plant vines, then came the Romans and the Knights Templar.  Sergio Muratori and Elisabetta Fagiouli arrived in 1965, heirs to a long farming tradition.  The vineyards are planted to indigenous varietals: Vernaccia (San Gimignano’s historic white grape), Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Trebbiano Gentile and Malvasia Bianca.  Quaternary lands, on the slopes where the calcareous sediments left by the Ligurian Sea, enhance and enrich the bouquets of the white wines.  Triassic lands above, the oldest in Tuscany and the only Triassic planted to vine, are a precious source of minerals for the red wines.

For the rest of us: 100% Vernaccia.  At first look, the ‘Carato’ is straw yellow in color with an intense bouquet of lemon and jasmine flowers on the nose.  At first sip you will find citrus fruits, spices, and a long savory finish.

2nd Reserve Bottle Red: Monepeloso, ‘Eneo’, Red Blend, Costa Toscana IGT 2019

For the wine snob: When Fabio Chiarelotto purchased the Montepeloso Estate in 1998, it was already well on its way to international stardom.  Montepeloso draws from hillside vineyards around the town of Suvereto. The zone’s petrified clay soils, and its proximity to the sea, give a startling intensity of flavor to wines.  ‘Eneo’ has quietly achieved a rabid following of its own.  Aged in 2nd and 3rd year French barrique, it is a pure expression of Chiarlotto’s vision, with a blend of Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Marselain, and Alicante.

For the rest of us:  The Montepeloso ‘Eneo’ is a gorgeously ripe and bold Tuscan red blend. Flavors of blueberry, dark cherry, cranberry, and shaved chocolate combine with velvety, soft tannins.  There is also pronounced minerality accompanied by spice. Pair with grilled meat, aged cheeses and pasta.

 

2nd Reserve Bottle White: Rostaing, ‘Les Lezardes’, Viognier, France 2020

For the wine Snob: Domaine Rostaing, often called René Rostaing after its founder, is a leading wine estate in the Côte-Rôtie region of the Northern Rhône, and particularly known for its Syrah-based wines.  The first Rostaing wine was produced in 1971 when the estate covered a mere 1.5 hectares split between the Côte Blonde and La Landonne subregions of the Côte Rôtie.  Today the domaine has just over seven hectares (18 acres) of vineyards in the wider Côte Rôtie – a sizeable holding by the region’s standards – plus one hectare (2.5 acres) in the white wine (Viognier-based) appellation of Condrieu, which produces the La Bonnette cuvée.

Rostaing also owns a small plot in Lézardes, on the northern border of Côte Rôtie, where he makes Syrah and Viognier wines under the IGP Collines Rhodaniennes designation. Rostaing also owns an estate near Nîmes where it produces wines under the Languedoc appellation.

For the Rest of us: 100% Viognier from old vines adjacent but north of Condrieu.  Light gold with aromas of white flowers and stone fruit.  Bright and focused on the fragrant nose, displaying fresh green apple, melon and tangerine scents and a touch of florality. Juicy and taut on the palate, offering tangy citrus and orchard fruit flavors and a late, deeper suggestion of white peach. Finishes long and precise, with a repeating floral note and a touch of candied ginger.