Friday, July 31, 2009

Wine Tasting Recap - Old World v. New World

Last night, Thursday July 30th, Stephanie and I presented a comparison tasting of Old World and New World wines in our upstairs tasting room. I thought it was a great tasting that really stressed the stylistic difference between “Old World” and “New World” wines. While I do think the terms are too general, the “New World” wines tended to show more upfront fruit, obvious oak influence, and less long term structural elements (hard acids and tannins) than their “Old World” counterparts. All wine’s were tasted blind, in flights of two. None of the taster’s, including Stephanie or myself knew which wine was the “New World” example or “Old World” example. Here is a brief recap of the flights;

Flight 1 Sauvignon Blanc

“Old World” – F&J Francis Bailly Sancerre 2007 – Elegant nose of wet stone, mineral and lemon, with great depth on the palate and finish. The acidity was extremely well integrated and finish was long with mineral elements dominating. Classic Sancerre.

“New World” – Cloudy Bay Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2008 – WOW, this is an absolutely delicious example of classic Marlborough flavors. Showing ripe grapefruit, grass, and very well integrated minerality. The wine was super well integrated and finished with refreshing acidity, without being artificial at all! (My biggest complaint with NZ SBs) This is a gorgeous wine, the best Coudy I have had in years!

Flight 2 Chardonnay

“Old World” - Albert Bichot Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaucopins 2006, Domaine Long-Depaquit – You could tell the difference right on the nose between the two, but it really exploded on the palate. This Chablis showed classic stoney, flinty elements intertwined with citrus fruit and a good chalky like texture. The acid creeps up on you, and is relaly well integrated into the wine. Delicious stuff…screaming for oysters!

“New World” – Chalk Hill Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2006 – I was really impressed with this wine, but you could definitely tell that it was a Cali Chardonnay. All that buttered popcorn and toasty oak burst out on the palate and hangs out right to the end. The ripe tropical fruit was still evident, and finished with a dollop of acid. Tasty

Flight 3 Pinot Noir

“Old World” – Pierre Naigeon Gevrey-Chambertin 2005 – I was slightly disappointed with this wine, I remembered it tasting much better last time I tasted it. The fruit was a little “stewed” almost macerated. The finish and palate were good, and it showed classic Gevrey stoney fruit on the palate…but just a little…blahhh

“New World” – Marimar Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2005 – Perfect example of a well built RRV Pinot Noir. The spice and ripeness were present, but restrained and very well matched with a nice backdrop of acid in a silky frame. Good stuff, better than I remembered.

Flight 4 Grenache

“Old World” – Domaine Saint-Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades 2006 – This wine is a ROCKSTAR! Seriously, talk about bang for your buck, this bad boy retails under $30 and has a shelf life of at least a decade! I know I am buying a few more(already have two in my cellar). Showed classic red fruit, dark spices, and a wet stone element that I found very intriguing, all wrapped in a powerhouse frame of tannins and acid that will easily let this wine age for 10 years! I can’t think of a better Southern Rhone for under $30, just an outstanding Grenache, my #2 wine of the night! (It will probably end up in the Ryan’s Favorite Wine’s tasting next Thursday!)

“New World” – Broc Cellar’s Dry Stack Vineyard Grenache 2005 – This was a shocker…it was really good! I haven’t tasted this wine in over a year, and remembered liking it…but I was really expecting to be disappointed. It showed great red Grenache fruit, but was masterfully blended with a new world ripeness and well balanced (but obvious) sweet vanilla and cedar oak flavors. Still maintained a freshness from still present acidity, it should drink well for another few years. A very good bottle of wine, and it was a crowd favorite as well.

Flight 5 Cabernet Sauvignon (mostly)

“Old World” – Chateau Haut Bailly Grand Cru Classe Pessac-Leognan 2004 – I am in love with this wine…seriously, I only wish everyone could have finished their night with a glass after it had been open for about 5 hours like I did. The 2004 vintage has decades left in the bottle, but is really showing what Bordeaux is all about right now. It shows incredible cigar box, with tobacco, fresh mint, and Asian spices mixed with dark red fruit and an incredible backbone of tannins and refreshing acidity. This is a wine to be held, and loved…and the price/quality ratio is ridiculous! My favorite of the night, especially after revisiting it later. If you plan to drink it soon, please decant for at least two hours!!! Also owned by M&T’s Robert Wilmers…

“New World” – Karl Lawrence Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - While I loved the Bordeaux, I couldn’t resist this spectacular Napa Cabernet either! This is really what Napa is all about, hedonistically delicious and massive Cabernet’s that don’t need decades to enjoy. Shows sexy ripe fruit, sweet oak, and a caressing mouthfeel…while I would marry the Haut Bailly, I would have an affair with the Karl Lawrence, its like the wine equivalent of Scarlett Johansson…too sexy to resist!

All this for $25!!!! You must be kicking yourself if you missed this!!! Don’t miss the next one!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Looking Forward to the Tasting Tonight

Tonight we will be tasting the best of both worlds; New and Old.

Can you taste the difference?

Call us to register - 634-9295.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

California Heavy Hitters Tasting

Hello Everyone!

We have added another tasting to our schedule for this weekend and it’s going to a fun one! We are going to be hosting a “California Heavy Hitters” Tasting!! So, for all of you wine lovers, this is not a tasting to be missed! We are going to be opening up bottles from some of the most talented wine makers in California. The tasting is going to focus on the best expression of California grape varieties and blends. You’re basically going to taste a little bit of everything. This should be a very exciting and delicious tasting!! The tasting will be on Friday, July 31st and will cost $30 per person. Here is the line-up (wines are subject to change):

Shramsberg Mirabelle Rose – The first family of classic method sparkling wine makers in the U.S.!! They are located in Calistoga, northern Napa Valley, and the ‘Mirabelle’ was rated 93 points by Wine Spectator this year, the highest rating for a California sparkling wine this year. Presidents are inaugurated with these wines!!

Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2006 – This producer is cool because the wines being made are the product of some of the most well respected wine makers in the world.

Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas Blanc 2007 – Tablas Creek is one of the most important “Rhone Ranger” producers in California, these wines have to be tasted to be believed!

Kongsgaard Napa Valley Chardonnay 2006 – Kongsgaard is a huge name is California Chardonnay producers. He is known for his massively concentrated and intense chardonnays; definitely a “cult” producer.

Hitching Post Highliner Hartley Ostini Pinot Noir 2006 Santa Barbara – Made famous by the movie “Sideways”. The ‘Highliner’ is their high-end Pinot Noir.

Carlisle Russian River Two Acres 2006 – This is a sort of Italian “field blend” wine. It is produced from a blend of different grapes from very old vines, to produce a delicious and robust wine. What makes this wine interesting is that the vines were planted in 1910 and are producing very old vine, low production wines

Ridge Geyserville 2006 – This is from one of the most important Zinfandel producers in California and their flagship bottling.

Corté Ríva Vineyards Petite Syrah 2005 – The producers of this wine are a couple of Filipino guys that worked in Robert Foley’s vineyards. This side project uses some of the best Petite Syrah fruit in California.

Paradigm Merlot Napa Valley 2004 – This wine is the product of one of the most important female producers in California, Hiedi Barrett, producer of the Screaming Eagle.

Etude Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2005 – This is Tony Soter’s flagship Cabernet, one of the best in Napa. The 2005 is a MUST try!

The tasting is going to be Friday, July 31 at 7:00pm, reserve your seat today for this incredible tasting!!

There are still a few seats left for the Old World vs. New World tasting this Thursday, July 30 at 6:30pm. This is going to be a really cool comparison tasting. We’re going to be comparing Old World and New World styles of wine produced from the same grape varieties. We have also finalized the list of wines being served that evening (wines are subject to change):

Sauvignon Blanc:

Sancerre F & J Francis Bailly 2007

Cloudy Bay New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2008


Albert Bichot Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaucopins 2006, Domaine Long-Depaquit

Chalk Hill Russian River Valley 2006

Pinot Noir:

Pierre Naigeon Gevrey-Chambertin 2005

Don Miguel Vineyard ‘Marimar’ 2005 Russian River Valley


Broc Cellars Dry Stack Vineyard Grenache 2005

Domaine Saint-Damien Gigondas 2006

Cabernet Sauvignon:

Chateau Haut-Bailly 2005

Pahlmeyer Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

The cost of the tasting is $25 per person. There are only a few seats left, so call to reserve your seat ASAP!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Upcoming Wine Tastings

Saturday, July 25:

Don’t miss an incredible opportunity to taste all of those wines that you’ve been dying to try! From 2-5 on Saturday we’re going to be hosting a store-wide tasting. We’re going to have 5 tasting tables arranged throughout the store allowing you to taste over 20 different wines!! We won’t be serving any food at this tasting, but come prepared to taste some delicious wines! Better yet, this is a FREE TASTING!

Thursday, July 30 at 6:30pm:

We still have spots left for our Old World vs. New World Tasting. This is going to be a really fun comparison tasting; we’re going to be tasting side by side 5 classic, international grape varieties in an Old World style and a New World style. You’ll be amazed at the difference between an Old World style Cabernet vs. a New World style. This tasting is going to really help explain the concept of ‘terroir’, which we will explain in more depth at the tasting. The cost is $25 per person, reserve your seat today!!

Friday, July 31 at 7 pm:

For all of you California wine lovers this is a tasting not to be missed!! To close out the month of July we’re going to be having an intense California tasting! We’re going to be opening up bottles from the California power-house producers. That means some of the best Napa Cabs, Sonoma Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and more. The cost for this tasting is $30 per person, reserve your seat ASAP!!