1st Bottle Red: Presqu’ile, Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, California

For the wine snob: Harvest began at ‘standard’ time (late August/early September). Fruit picked later in September was naturally riper due to a longer hang time, which is evident in the layered, medium to full-bodied nature of the wines. Located in the heart of the Santa Maria Valley, Presqu’ile Winery produces cool-climate wines from a variety of organic and sustain- ably-farmed vineyard plots that span nearly 30 hectares across Santa Barbara County. Each wine produced at Presqu’ile is a direct reflection of a specific vineyard site’s variety, vintage, and unique climate conditions. All wines crafted at Presqu’ile are vinified with a minimalist mentality in the cellar, with the pursuit of terroir-reflection and purity

 

For the rest of us: 100% Pinot Noir, 10 months in neutral French oak. Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir provides a beautiful look into just how well this grape thrives in the region’s soils. Lifted notes of bing cherries, rose hips, dried orange rind, and sandalwood dominate the wine’s earth-driven palate that you normally find in French Bourgogne’s, which is why it makes this wine stand out from other California Pinot’s.

1st Bottle White: Presqu’ile, Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Maria Valley, California, 2019

For the wine snob: The Presqu’ile Vineyard is located just 16 miles from the Pacific Ocean, and is dedicated to 73 acres of vines, planted to Pinot Noir (39 acres), Chardonnay (13 acres), Sauvignon Blanc (6 acres), Syrah (6 acres), Gamay (5 acres), Nebbiolo (1.25 acres), and Aligoté (0.6 acres). The 2019 was a rather classic vintage in Santa Barbara, marked by a mild spring and moderate summer (only a few very hot days). Although mildew pressure was relatively heavy, we were able to push through the challenge. Long hang times and abundant cooling breezes allowed fruit to maintain acidity and optimally ripen.

 

For  the rest of us: Our Sauvignon Blanc is vinified and aged sur-lie in a combination of steel, concrete, and neutral French oak, which brings a variety of dimensions to this layered wine. Lively notes of lime peel, gooseberry, tart kiwi, and freshly cut herbs burst from the wine’s refreshing palate. This is what we believe New World Sauvignon Blanc should taste like.

2nd Bottle Red: Chateau Musar, Jeune Rouge, Bekka Valley, Lebanon 2018

For the wine snob: 50% Cinsault, 30% Syrah, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from organically certified vineyards. Chateau Musar first started producing the Musar Jeune rouge of wines in 2006 from the fruit of organic, low-yielding Bekaa Valley vines at around 3,300ft above sea level. Altitude keeps the average temperature at 77°F with hot sunny days, cool nights, and 300 days of sunshine a year, which ripens the grapes to perfection. Jeune Rouge is unoaked and made according to Musar’s natural non-interventionist winemaking philosophy. Harvest began in mid-August, 2018. The grapes fermented in concrete vats between 80°–85°F, they were not fined or filtered and the sedimentation occurred naturally. Blending of the 3 varieties took place in March 2019, it rested in concrete vats again until being bottled in the summer of 2019.

 

For the rest of us: The Musar Jeune Red 2018 is rich dark red in color, almost opaque with a hint of violet. It has intense aromas of red and black fruit, with notes of sweet spice, baked earth, concentrated plum and black cherry notes, similar to a baked fruit pie. The palate is richly fruited with an enticing core of black cherry, plums, blackberries, and black olives, with fresh acidity and soft, well-integrated tannins. A big, ripe wine that is soft, fresh, and juicy. Designed to be enjoyed in its youth.

2nd Bottle White: Hopler Winery, Gruner Veltliner, Austria 2020

For the wine snob: They are an Austrian, family owned, winery located south east of Vienna in Burgenland. Our 50 hectares of vineyards lie in the Leithaberg Hills on the shores of Lake Neusiedl. This unique location enables us to produce a wide range of wines; 55% white wine, 40% red and 5% dessert wine.  Hoepler wines have a clear signature.  They tend to be delicate, elegant and high in minerality. They are excellent to drink on their own but versatile when it comes to food and wine pairing.

 

For the rest of us: Harvested by hand, this 100% Gruner Veltliner has aromas of peach, roses, apricot and lime. On the palate this wine is fresh and clean with notes of citrus and apple. There is a delicate minerality and a touch of white pepper spice on the finish.

Reserve Bottle Red: Auctioneer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California 2018

For the wine snob: Michael Broadbent, the 24th Master of Wine, had a rich history in the wine business. His book Wine Tasting was the first book devoted to the taste of wine, and set the standard for how wine is tasted by professionals. Broadbent wrote notes on over 90,000 wines and had a monthly column in Decanter magazine for 36 years, but he is best known for pioneering wine auctions. He was the founder of Christie’s wine department in 1966, and partnered with Robert Mondavi to start the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 1981. The Auctioneer is a tribute to the great Michael Broadbent, and it is a wine he’d be proud to drink in good company. The final wine is refined, elegant, and beautifully balanced in essence, the style of wine that made Napa Valley famous. Aged in 60% New Oak and 40% neutral barrels for 15 months.

 

For the rest of us: This Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect representation of the glorious conditions Mother Nature provided Napa Valley in 2018. The wine is dark and dense, with aromas of Cassis, plum, anise, and just the right amount of toasty spice and vanilla. A fruit forward Cabernet displaying rich cherry and blackberry flavors. Your palate is enveloped in soft, ripe, tannins, which lead to beautiful balanced finish.

Reserve Bottle White: Stolpman Vineyards “Uni” White Blend, Ballard Canyon, California 2019

For the wine snob: “Uni” 2019 combines richness and intensity with high-toned energy from ideally moderate weather. Fruit hung long into autumn achieving ripeness while retaining unprecedented levels of acidity. This combination proved especially impactful for the late ripening Roussanne that often loses acidity as we wait for it to tan. The resulting Uni White shows honeysuckle in spades while carrying crispness enhanced by the addition of well-structured chardonnay. At the winery, winemaker Kyle Knapp’s baby he came up with idea of adding an additional tactile layer to this blend by leaving it hazy and unfiltered. In tasting the cleanly racked, clear lot versus the cloudy, stirred lot; we all agreed that the latter proved more compelling, luxurious, and maybe even sensual. Total production, 420 cases.

 

For the rest of us: 70% Roussanne, 30% Chardonnay. Honeysuckle balanced by intensely exotic tropical fruit and tangerine citrus. In the mouth the texture seems to possess round curves. Sublimely balanced for such a thick, rich wine as a floral hop component lifts up the finish. The slight cloudiness of the “nigori” style unfiltered, lees-stirred wine brings an intriguing fuzzy pear texture.

2nd Reserve Bottle Red: Robert Craig Affinity, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA 2018

For the wine snob: 2018 is Jason Price’s first vintage as head winemaker at Robert Craig Winery after many years in the associate winemaker role. Jason’s attention to detail shows in all the wines, and Affinity 2018 is no exception. Just south of Stag’s Leap, nestled in Coombsville’s Mt. George Foothills on the eastern side of the Napa Valley, our La Londe estate vineyard has produced exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon for our portfolio since Bob Craig purchased the property back in 1993. As a hillside, cane-pruned site that bears just 3.5 tons per acre, the 30-year-old vines allow a rare display of the volcanic, stony soils in the finished wines. Grapes are small, deeply black flavored, and undeniably racy with a big backbone of acidity.

 

For the rest of us: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec. 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Affinity is another solid vintage for the estate. Lots of currants, blackberries, smoked herbs, graphite, and charcoal notes emerge from the glass, and it’s medium-bodied, with a supple, elegant texture and outstanding length. It’s a classic, impeccably made Cabernet to enjoy any time over the coming 10-15 years.

2nd Reserve Bottle White: Robet Sinskey Vineyards “Abraxas”, Sonoma Vineyard, Los Carneros, CA 2017

For the wine snobs: Abraxas is a Vin de Terroir from RSV’s organically farmed (with BD principles) Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard. A Vin de Terroir is a single vineyard wine made of multiple grape varieties, in this case Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Gewürztraminer. The cool, windblown Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard is ideal for these aromatic white varieties. Each is planted adjacent to the other, picked individually at optimal ripeness, whole cluster pressed and cold fermented to preserve the freshness of the wine, and then blended to create the most elegant, balanced and delicious white wine of the vintage.

 

For the rest of us: This 2017 vintage of Abraxas is one of the more generous in recent memory. It produced a wine that is complex, clean, refreshing and shows the best of California sunshine balanced by the cooling San Pablo Bay breeze that influences RSV’s organically farmed Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard in the Carneros region. Chamomile, buttercup, honeysuckle and soft herbs lead a floral bouquet that evolves into a rush of fruit like kumquat, lime, green apple, and honeydew melon. The first sip bursts with juicy flavors of tropical fruit like passionfruit and white pineapple, fresh summer peach, green apple and a twist of Meyer lemon. Orange blossom, lemon balm and a soft honey note chase a line of minerality that drives long length and carries the wine’s complexity.