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The Heritage Red from Bedrock Vineyard is from a Zinfandel-based blend composed of 22 inter-planted varieties planted in the 1880s in Red Hill clay-loam soils, using no-till cover crop farming, and native yeast fermentation. Zinfandel really shines from these old, gnarled vines. The concentration of flavor that you get from the very low yields adds richness to the wines without having to pick them late and overripe. The nose shows a mix of violet, minty eucalyptus, and ripe, but not syrupy, purple plum. The palate shows additional complexity with a touch of cocoa powder, black tea, and black cherry. Rich and comforting, this will be excellent in the colder months! Michelle DeWyngaert
55% Zinfandel blended with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a touch of whites for aromatics from old vine plantings (up to 100 years old) around Sonoma County, fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and raised in a nice bit of French oak for a bold, bright-fruited, silky, and satisfying wine that is unbeatable at this price.
The makers of Bow & Arrow refer to this as their "least likely to exist" bottling from Willamette, and with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Cabernet Franc, that is not inaccurate. The name 'Air Guitar' playfully refers to their attempt at honoring the French Style of winemaking while in America, and indeed this wine is restrained, acid-driven, and very food-friendly. The Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a beautiful dry-farmed vineyard outside of Alpine, OR called the Borgo Pass Vineyard, and the Cabernet Franc is from the certified biodynamic Johan Vineyard in the Willamette Valley. The juice is aged for roughly a year in neutral puncheons. On the nose are just ripe black cherries, raspberry, dried rosemary, and soft shishito peppers. The palate has a perfect balance of tart blackberries, just enough tannin to give it some backbone, and at 12.5%ABV this wine is neither heavy, nor hot. A perfectly refreshing, medium-bodied red for any occasion. Michelle DeWyngaert
The creators of Bow & Arrow have long been inspired by the wines the Loire Valley (which might be one of the reasons they are so near to our heart), creating balanced, food-friendly wines that are unadulterated and unpretentious. The 2019 Gamay is made from fruit from the Hughes Hollow and Walnut Ridge Vineyards in the Willamette Valley and goes through a semi-carbonic maceration before aging for 10 months in neutral oak barriques. Though we have not yet been able to try this vintage, the winemakers description has us very excited, "the 2019 Gamay feels like crunchy red fruit locked inside a savory, herbal shell...with miniature lightning bolts coming out the sides."
A native of Oregon, but thoroughly inspired by Burgundy, winemaker Doug Tunnell has been farming his 40 acre estate vineyard strictly organically for the last 25 years, and more recently certified Biodynamic. This bottling is a selection of barrels from various plots throughout his vineyard to get a true representation of the vintage each year. This years "Select" Pinot Noir has a beautiful nose of fresh roses, stems and all, red currant, raspberry, and juicy pomegranate. Indeed this is very Burgundian in style with just a bit more focus on the fruit. The wine is fresh and lively; for me it conjures a crisp, fall, afternoon. Michelle DeWyngaert
Broadside is a project of very talented winemaker Chris Brock. The Cabernet is fermented with wild yeasts and aged in barrels, 10% of which are new. The resultant wine is remarkably fresh and full bodied with an interesting spicy character and plenty of bright, tangy dark fruit.
La Boutanche is global collaboration through Selection Massale born out of a desire for tasty natural wine without breaking the bank. This bottling is produced by one of our favorite natural winemakers in California, Chris Brockway! The 2019 is a blend from the steeply sloped, iron-rich, Arrowhead Vineyard just north of the town of Sonoma. The vineyard is farmed organically and without sulfur. This field blend is a mix of Zinfandel, Trousseau, Valdiguié, and tiny amounts of Sangiovese and Grenache Gris. The grapes are fermented whole cluster then racked into neutral barrels where they rest for nine months before bottling in generous liter bottles with screwcaps for easy access. This wine is delightful, very much in line with all of Broc Cellars wines, unpretentious, refreshing, and well-balanced with notes of juicy, brambly blackberry, black cherry, all spice, and a sprinkle of dried herbs. Michelle DeWyngaert
Something of a rarity outside Piedmont, Cameron Winery has been growing Nebbiolo on the Clos Electrique vineyard since 1994 because they were struck by the similarities in the Willamette to the climate of Northern Italy. In keeping with the traditions of Barolo and Barbaresco, the Cameron Nebbiolo is held for several years before release to begin to soften the tightly wound tannins characteristic of the grape. Though there is no mistaking this wine for Barolo, it is not for lack of quality but because it feels unique to Willamette (though there is a touch of VA ). The nose shows notes of an old cedar box, black cherry, and cinnamon Red Hots, and the palate is plush and ripe with red berry and dark volcanic rock with velvety mouth-coating tannins. This wine will do well in the cellar for another 5-10 years, or a long decant if you're opening it now. Michelle DeWyngaert
The Abbey Ridge Vineyard sits at one of the highest elevations in the Dundee Hills at ~600ft. These 40+ year-old vines are farmed organically and without irrigation; relying instead on cover crops to maintain the moisture/health of the soil. 2017 was a very successful and classic vintage for Oregon with no disease pressure. The winemakers describe this wine as having both rose petal and red fruit aromas as well as more savory notes of salumi, black pepper, and olive.
Inspired by the great wines of Burgundy, the winemaker of Cameron Winery uses traditional techniques both in the cellar and the vineyard for this Pinot Noir. The vineyard was originally planted in 1984 with old Burgundy clones on their own rootstock, and has consistently been organically farmed without irrigation. This is one of the warmest sites in the Red Hills in Dundee, and this vintage created the " deepest, darkest, purplest Pinot ever from Cameron."
The 2018 Dundee Hills bottling is a 100% Pinot Noir from a blend of two of the Cameron vineyards; Abbey Ridge and Clos Electrique, both farmed organically, and with no irrigation. This year was a bit warmer for the Willamette Valley than previous vintages, and as such the wine has a darker color with a fuller body and silky tannins. The winemakers describe this wine as having "a big voluptuous mouth with Amarone flavors that make for a great one night stand. " Sounds decadent!
From the folks who run Hobo Wine Co., here we have the delicious new vintage of one of our favorite inexpensive Cabernets from California! Tart blackberry and ripe cassis mix with herbal hints and wildflower on the nose while broadly gracing the firm, rich, powerfully tannic palate. Sourced from many lesser known but sustainably or organically farmed vineyards throughout Sonoma county. Aged for nine months in neutral oak barrels.
Cooper Mountain Vineyards started in 1978 when Dr. Robert Gross and his wife, Corrine, planted the first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in the unique soils of Cooper Mountain in the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon's Willamette Valley. Today, the estate has more than 100 acres dedicated to organic and biodynamic farming and winemaking. A great value and classic Oregon Pinot with notes of dried leaves, black cherry, macerated raspberries, and freshly turned earth. This vintage is a bit darker and denser than the previous vintage, but by no means overripe or heavy. A great pairing with roasted butternut squash with sage! Michelle DeWyngaert
A very special bottling of Napa Cabernet! The Kronos Vineyard is now nearly 50 years-old and though the yields are incredibly low, the intense concentration of flavor from the fruit without it getting too high in sugar/alcohol potential is well worth keeping these vines alive.
Cathy Corison's wines eschew the bold, heavy-handed flavors and dollops of massive French oak embraced by her Napa Valley counterparts, instead focusing on teasing deeply concentrated, ripened fruit from the deep, stony alluvial soils of her vineyards in Rutherford and St. Helena.
'Entre Nous' is a blend of fruit from La Colina Vineyard in Dundee Hills and the Four Winds Vineyard in the McMinnville Coast, all 100% Pinot Noir. This blend brings the ripeness and juiciness of the more inland vines, and the lift and elegance from the coastal influence. A small portion of new oak barrels and the rest neutral, frames this wine with a touch of baking spice, nothing dramatic, that will only continue to integrate as it ages. The nose has a beautiful floral, rose water aroma with notes of freshly picked white cherry, raspberry, and a sense of the volcanic soils that line the Willamette Valley. The palate is perfectly clean, almost austere with powdery tannins, but balanced by ripeness and power from the La Colina fruit. Michelle DeWyngaert
This is the newest release of Dashe's Vineyard Select, meant to be a food-friendly, "bistro wine". The blend is 80% Zinfandel, 9% Teraldego, 5% Tannat, 3% Mourvedre, and 3% Petite Sirah. The fruit for this bottling is sourced from a variety of vineyards Sonoma County, Contra-Costa, and Clarkesburg to create the perfect balance of ripeness and complexity. Each variety is fermented separately then aged for 14 months in 1-year-old French oak. Though I have not yet tasted this vintage, the Dashe wines have been a staple at Chambers Street for their consistently tasty Zinfandel. Michelle DeWyngaert
A beautiful example of Pinot Noir from the Demeter certified Johan Vineyard in the Willamette Valley. Exposed to cooling winds from the Van Duzer Corridor, it is the last picked of the Day Wines giving it a delicate freshness. The grapes are left 25% whole cluster during fermentation and then the juice is aged for 19 months in 15% new French oak, the rest neutral. This wine feels like Oregon to me. There is a perfect balance of richness and concentration to the flavor, while still showing enticing notes of fresh soil and dried herbs. The nose is a mix of fresh and stewed raspberry, rosemary, anise, and rose petals. The palate is plush with structured tannins that leaves me to believe that this will age nicely over the next several years. Michelle DeWyngaert
Drew Family Cellars was established in 2000 with a mission to create age-worthy, cool climate California Pinot Noir. They settled in the coastal appellation of Mendocino Ridge and planted their own estate in what was once an orchard, at 1250ft elevation. This bottling is a blend of fruit from their organically farmed estate and lots from like-minded farmers at the Valenti, Fashauer, Perli, and Wendling vineyards. The grapes are fermented with 20% whole-cluster bunches and aged in 10% new French oak, with the rest in neutral oak barrels. The nose is fully ripe, wild cherry, with a bit of stewed red fruit, licorice and dried herbs. The proximity to the coast and the abundance of fog keep the acidity well balanced with the richness of the fruit and that kiss of new French oak. MichelleDeWyngaert
Though the history of wine-making in Virginia is long, it was not always this promising! The creators of Early Mountain Vineyards strive to work with the unique climate and landscape of Virginia rather than fighting against it. To that end, they have found great success with hybrid varieties like this Chambourçin (with 10% Vidal) because they are heartier and more disease-resistant. The Shenandoah Valley brings in pockets of cool air that maintain acidity and freshness in the grapes. The nose is reminiscent of Gamay with an extra savoriness; notes of plum, cassis, garrigue, ground espresso, and blood orange. Because Chambouçin is naturally low in tannin, they decided to lean-in to its "chug-ability" by fermenting with a small portion of the white hybrid Vidal making this a juicy, refreshing red that is best enjoyed chilled. Michelle DeWyngaert
Let me start by saying this is not your parent's Zinfandel. This is a delightfully refreshing, 100% carbonic maceration of Zinfandel from the high elevation, Baldinelli Vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley. The vines here are roughly 30 years old, grown on sandy-loam soils, which comes through on the palate with powdery tannins. The juice goes through a long 21 day fermentation, then age for eight months in tank to preserve its freshness.
Drinking a Pinot Noir from Eyrie Vineyards is all the proof you need that these wines of the Willamette Valley deserve a place on the world's list of the most expressive and age-worthy wines. This single vineyard bottling from Roland Green stuck out the most to me in a tasting of five different Eyrie Pinots for its intense and captivating aromas. The Roland Green vineyard is positioned at about 550ft elevation planted over 30 years ago on rich volcanic soils, and like all their vineyards, the vines are own-rooted, non-irrigated, and certified organic. The nose is a powerful blend of ripe red and black cherry, tree bark and damp moss, a bit of salt and on returning to the wine, a touch of something smoky, like peat. The palate is concentrated with flavor and acidity. A beautiful wine that I cannot wait to revisit! Michelle DeWyngaert
Another stellar vintage of Folk Machine Pinot Noir showcasing the best of Central Coast fruit. More on the leaner side of Pinot Noirs rather than some of the fuller, higher octane wines from further inland. Kenny Likitprakong blends fruit from the Mission Ranch and Cedar Lane in Arroyo Seco, and a bit from the Brosseau and Tom Ritchie Vineyards in the Sonoma Coast. The grapes were fermented whole cluster with native yeasts and then kept on the lees with just occasion stirring to enhance the texture of the wine. On the nose are notes of ripe strawberry, red currant, sweet basil, and a bit of fresh potting soil. The palate is lean and fresh, with the softest tannins, finishing as a decidedly earthy example of California Pinot Noir. Serve this with a chill and pair with nearly any dish! Michelle DeWyngaert
I can't say that I've had much Syrah from Willamette, and indeed the Havlin Vineyard is relatively young (planted in 2009), but I'm already intrigued to find more. The vineyard is 100% dry-farmed and LIVE sustainable certified. The soil here is silt loam over ironstone bedrock, which not only helps keep the yields low on these younger vines, but also imparts a distinct mineral backbone to this wine. 20% whole cluster in the fermentation, aged for 18 months in neutral French oak, and then bottled with just a bit of SO2 in accordance with Mike Hinds' minimalist philosophy. The nose is rich with a touch of dark, bitter chocolate, and the palate presents a really beautiful, concentrated texture with black pepper and dried herbs. Perfectly savory, this wine is calling to be paired with something roasted. Michelle DeWyngaert
A perfect embodiment of crisp fall air and crunchy leaves, this is one of my favorite "chillable reds." The 'Cascadia' is a co-fermented blend of 84% Pinot noir, 10% Syrah, 4% Grüner Veltliner, and 2% Gamay from a selection of vineyards in the Willamette Valley that Franchere winemaker Mike Hinds either leases and farms himself or works closely with the vineyard owners to insure organic practices, low yields, and no irrigation is used. The grapes are crushed by foot with 50% whole clusters and then aged for nine months in tanks. The nose shows notes of forrest floor, savory herbs, cranberry, wild raspberry, and cracked pepper, and the palate is light, refreshing, and with powdery tannins holding it all together. Michelle DeWyngaert
For the first time, the Ghostwriter Pinot Noir was bottled entirely from Ahlgren Vineyard fruit. Winemaker Kenny Likitprakong described this vintage as more high-toned and a bit leaner than previous vintages. The grapes are fermented with 50% whole clusters and then aged in neutral barrels. This wine is a tribute to the late Dexter Ahlgren who had lovingly planted and tended this nearly hidden vineyard in 1976.
This Eola Amity Pinot Noir from Jess Miller brings to mind a seesaw as it rolls across your palate, balancing between dense concentration and juicy, lightness. The volcanic soils found throughout the Willamette valley can be smelled and tasted in Jess Millers wines and the high altitude and cool winds of the Van Duzer Corridor give it lift and freshness. This is the first vintage that Jess purchased fruit, and it comes entirely from the Bracken Vineyard farmed by Shelby Perkins (of Perkins Harter) with all organic practices, and converting to biodynamics. The grapes were fermented whole-cluster which led to a bit of carbonic maceration, foot stomped, and pressed into used oak barrels for 18 months. The nose is ripe and a bit stewed with black cherry, dried tarragon, dark, damp soil and crushed rocks. The palate is much lighter than the nose would suggest, the black cherries crisper, the tarragon fresher, with the volcanic rock presenting on the finish with persistent, powdery tannins. Michelle DeWyngaert
I am really enamored with this single-block bottling from Kelley Fox! The Maresh vineyard was planted in 1970 and is prized for its biodiversity; home to several kinds of fruit trees, an array of wildlife, and an abundance of cover crops. The Royal Ann block runs along a row of 100 year-old Royal Ann cherry trees and borders the Star of Bethlehem Flower block. Fermented ~50% whole cluster, and then aged in neutral French oak for about a year. This wine seems to defy physics by being both rich and opulent and also crystalline and vibrant. It has a beautiful floral quality on the nose, with notes of pomegranate and white cherries, intertwined with fresh rosemary and crushed rock. The palate is a bit riper with silky texture and notes of bitter-sweet amaro on the finish. This is a definitely a bottle to cellar, but pretty captivating already. Michelle DeWyngaert
Inspired by the blends of Northern Rhone, the winemakers of La Clarine created this co-fermentation of Syrah from the Fenaughty Vineyard, and Viognier from Sumu Kaw, both situated along the same volcanic ridge in the Sierra Foothills. The grapes are fermented together whole cluster, then racked into flextanks to settle until bottling.
One of the first wines I ever loved was old-vine California Zinfandel, so I was very excited to taste this expression from Maître de Chai. The Stampede Vineyard was planted in the early 1920s with own-rooted Zinfandel on decomposed granite. Inspired by the wines of the famous Ridge Vineyards, this bottling is a field blend of mainly Zinfandel, with a bit of Mission and Carignan. The fermentation is done with 50% whole cluster bunches in open-top neutral oak and then aged for one year. The wine is a classic Zinfandel mix of fresh, ripe, and also dried red plum and raspberry. The tannins are present and driving, but not aggressive, well balanced by its fresh acidity, and a peppery finish. This wine will be excellent with flavorful game meats, and I look forward to trying it again in several years to see how it has progressed. Michelle DeWyngaert
As the name suggests, this is designed (and absolutely succeeds) as a perfect companion to your dinners at home, of which we are enjoying a lot of these days. This is their first blended wine and it hits all the right spots. A mixture of Grenache and Barbera, with a bit of Zinfandel and Cabernet blended in for backbone. The grapes are destemmed, fermented with native yeasts and then aged in neutral barrels for a year and a half. On the nose are perfectly ripe black cherries, squashed raspberry, star anise, and rosemary. The color is a light, transluscent ruby, but on the palate is more body and concentration that it would lead you to believe with notes of juicy red plum, cranberry, and a slight grip of tannin to keep you from drinking the whole bottle in one go. Michelle DeWyngaert
Margins Wine focuses on lesser known grape varieties and encouraging farmers to transition to organic practices. The Sattler's Vineyard in Santa Clara is currently in transition and has commited to Margins to be fully transitioned by this year! Though this site is quite hot and dry, the evening are drastically cooler which leads to bright, fresh acidity in the grapes balanced with juicy, ripeness. This 2019 bottling is actually a blend of 90% Counoise, 4% Chenin blanc (Clarksburg), 3% Barbera (SCM), and 3% Merlot (SCM). The grapes are fully destemmed, fermented with native yeasts, and aged in neutral oak for four months before bottling as is, with just a tiny amount of SO2.The partial carbonic maceration gives this wine some bright candied notes on the nose with plum and cassis and a little white pepper, but the palate is dry and refreshing, with minimal tannins. Serve chilled and enjoy on a hot day by the grill . Michelle DeWyngaert
This juicy red is a blend of 50% California Zinfandel and 50% Carignane from two certified organic vineyards. The Zinfandel comes from a new plot in the North Ponderosa Vineyard, and a bit from the sandy Del Barba Vineyard. Martha explains that "the grapes from this vineyard feel more alpine in their flavor profile and body, bringing exciting new characteristics to this blend." The Carignan is sourced from the 70+ year-old vines of the Ricetti Vineyard in Mendocino. At only 13% ABV this bottling shows the lighter side of Zinfandel!
Dollar per ounce this is one of the best values for Napa Valley fruit that you can find! Steve Matthiasson is a dedicated organic farmer and low-intervention winemaker. This is old-school California Cabernet Sauvignon at its finest. The blend for 2016 is from six different Napa vineyards; 85-90% Cabernet Sauvignon with a small percentage of Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The wine is gently extracted with minimal pump-overs and fermented at a low temperatures. It is aged for 20 months in mostly used and less than 20% new French oak which adds just a touch of baking spice to the aroma and a silky texture to the tannins. This wine has a beautiful nose of freshly cut cedar, ripe purple plums, a touch of graphite and black tea, and the palate brings just a squeeze of lemon, fresh potting soil, savory herbs and raspberry. All signs lead to this being incredibly age worthy, but if you can't wait to open it, I recommend decanting for at least an hour. Michelle DeWyngaert
Sean Minor is a negociant production working with high quality vineyards throughout the central and north coast of California to create fresh, easy drinking, great value wines like this classic California Pinot Noir. Fermented with 100% de-stemmed grapes to emphasize the ripe fruit and aged in oak barrels to give it those quintessential sweet oak spices.
Mount Eden Vineyards have been the standard bearers of quality California fruit since the 1940's, and have remained focused on healthy winegrowing as the key to making great wine. Positioned near the coast of the Santa Cruz Mountains up at 2000ft elevation, they are perhaps more well known for their cool-climate loving varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but their Cabernet Sauvignon is just as compelling. Because of the high altitude and ocean wind this wine does have great acidity, but being positioned above the fog line gives their vines abundant sunlight and drier conditions leading to a complete ripeness, even for the Cabernet. It was a very low-yielding year, but that made the fruit all the more concentrated. The blend is 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc & 1% Petit Verdot aged in 100% new French and American oak for two years. The extended time in barrels and subsequent years resting in bottle mean have allowed the oak flavors and tannins to fully integrate. Notes of blackberry, ripe purple plum, cassis, rosemary, thyme, cacao nibs and forest floor mingle on silky, powdery tannins. This still shows vibrant fruit now, but should also mature beautifully with another 5+ years in the cellar. Michelle DeWyngaert
Richard Luftig, one of New York's best sommeliers, has made a Cabernet known for phenomenal quality and price: Pied a Terre Cabernet! Always one of our best-selling American reds, 2015 is a deep, ripe, and focused vintage for Pied a Terre. This is a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon that has classic California character but more structure and reserve than a lot of riper wine. The tannic structure is tightly woven, with fine acid backbone and lush cassis, blackberry, and slightly redder berry fruit. This is a California Cabernet meant to be consumed with food, and will pear excellently with New York strip steak, pork loin, or coq au vin. Andrew Farquhar
This the flagship Pinot Noir for Porter Creek from the beautiful southern facing slopes of the Fiona Hill Vineyard which sits atop hard clay and bedrock soils. Fermented with ~20% whole clusters and then aged in ~30% new oak barrels.
This is the flagship wine for the Stolpman Vineyards which best represents their vines and the greater Ballard Canyon each year. The Stolpman Estate Syrah is helping to define what a California Syrah really is with its ripe, sun-kissed fruit, that remains concentrated without becoming jammy or "hot" with alcohol. Thankfully the 2018 vintage only saw one heat spike, and it came in early July so the vines had a chance to recover, and allowed for a prolonged hang-time. The grapes were fermented with 50% whole clusters and aged for ten months in neutral French puncheons with sulfur only added at bottling.
The Bring It is an 'American Red Wine,' blending fruit from Washington and Oregon. 50% Pinot Noir, with the rest of the blend consisting of every other red grape that Swick works with, so truly an eclectic blend, as Joe has access to Sangiovese, Pinot Gris, Counoise, possibly even some Touriga Nacional or Malbec in the mix. We'll have to bug Joe for the full scoop! There's a little reduction on opening, essentially a touch of barnyard on the nose, which blows off quickly and gives way to pure red fruit, with light-medium body. A great wine to drink on its own or with salads and light fare. Serve with a light chill. -EL
The 'Juvenile' is a great way to taste the classic and enduring style of Turley Zinfadel without paying a fortune for one of the single vineyard bottlings. This is a blend of grapes from the youngest vines on 18 different vineyards.
Turley has long been regarded as one of the benchmark estates for old vine Zinfandel, and this bottling is made from a blend of fruit from vines aged 41-129 from parcels that were either two small for their own vineyard designate bottle, or new to the Turley family.
This Turley Bottling is an homage to Joe Duarte, a grower who first introduced the Turley's to the incredible vineyards of Contra Costa. The blend consists of fruit from the Evangehlo, Mori and Salvador vineyards; all with a vine age of 100+ years! The winemakers describe this one as having the "softest, silkiest tannins" in the lineup!
This is a single-vineyard bottling from the Dusi Vineyard, on the west side of Paso Robles, which consists of own-rooted, head-trained vines planted in 1945 on mostly alluvial soils. The warm climate and dense soils lead to this fuller-bodied, richer style Zinfandel.
This is a single-vineyard bottling of the Kirschenmann Vineyard which is owned and farmed by the Turley winemaker, Tegan Passalacqua.The vines were planted in 1915 on their own roots in silica-rich sandy soils of the east side of the Mokelumne River AVA. The proximity to the river keeps these vines cool which brings more freshness to the wine.
From one of the oldest vineyards in the Turley repetoire, the Ueberroth Vineyard was planted in 1885! The proximity to the Pacific, and the limestone soil makes this one of their most vibrant, high acid bottlings of Zinfandel. The vines are own-rooted, head-trained, gnarly vines that create concentrated, flavorful berries for this highly allocated wine.
The fruit for this Carignan comes from the 75 year-old vines of the Trimble Vineyard in Mendocino, which Two Shepherds shares with Porter Creek. As this is one of their coolest sites it is the last to be picked, somehow managing to be both rich and flavorful, but also light on it's feet and only 13% ABV. The grapes are foot-stomped and fermented whole cluster going through carbonic maceration, which gives it lift and freshness, then aged for ten months in neutral barrels. On the nose are notes of crunchy red currant and cherry, plum skins, some dried red fruits, dried herbs, and touch of leather as well. The palate is juicy and plump with soft, lingering tannins. Perfect with the slighest chill right now, but this will surely improve even more in the next 5-10 years. Michelle DeWyngaert
A really lovely bottling of California sunshine, this Chardonnay from Bacchus is fruit-forward, buttery and easy drinking. Enjoy with roast chicken or creamy pasta dishes. Bacchus is a project from winemaker and wine director David Gordon who set out to create high quality wines at a great value that showcased the best of California vineyards. I'm not saying you should sneak this into a movie theatre to make the perfect pairing for popcorn, but I'm also not *not* saying that..Michelle DeWyngaert
A classic example of Sonoma Coast Chardonnay that exemplifies the balance between ripe California fruit, a kiss of oak, and the freshness that you get from the coastal winds that whip up through the region. The mission at Banshee has always been to create quality, enjoyable wines that don't won't break the bank despite the appellation name. The grapes are gently pressed and then fermented with native yeasts, with this vintage only going through 75% malolactic to maintain its freshness and keep the butteriness to more of crème fraiche note on the nose. The palate has a delicious creaminess bit a bit of butterscotch and vanilla, but the bright notes of lemon zest and green apple keep this wine refreshing and food-friendly. Michelle DeWyngaert
This is a Gewürztraminer that might just change a few hearts and minds about the grape. In the wrong hands, Gewürztraminer can become cloying and overpowering with the scent of Grandma's potpourri, but this wine from Kenny Likitprakong shows some serious restraint. Sourced entirely from the Rancho Llegado vineyard in Monterey County, the frequent cool winds of the area maintain the much needed acidity to balance this wine. Banyan was designed by Kenny and his father with their Thai heritage in mind, and as such this Gewürztraminer is the perfect pairing for South-east Asian cuisine or anything with a bit of spice to it. Though it is fermented nearly dry, it maintains a softness with notes of ripe nectarine, a touch of tropical fruit, sage, and bright, fresh gardenia blossoms. Michelle DeWyngaert
Proof that not all Sauvignon Blanc is created alike, this is consistently one of our team's favorite expressions of the grape every year! Created entirely from the biodynamically farmed Le Chenaie Vineyard in Eola-Amity Hills, this Sauvignon Blanc feels singular and unique. The vines are now twenty years-old and the weather in the 2018 vintage was ideal leading to perfectly ripe grapes (picked at the perfect moment, of course) that create a tight-rope balance of fruit and freshness. The nose shows notes of fresh chamomile flowers, dried Meyer lemon peel, stone fruits, sweet basil, and a touch of sea salt. The palate has more weight than you'd expect from an Oregon Sauvignon Blanc but not at all heavy, and because of the ideal ripeness there is no overt "greenness" to the wine; the focus firmly on ripe apricot, Meyer lemon, and salted pink grapefruit. Truly delicious and hard to put down, it's a shame we get so little every year! Michelle DeWyngaert
Brian and Stephy Terrizzi's Broadside project focuses on sustainably farmed vineyards and minimalist winemaking (native yeasts, minimal handling, neutral oak), as well as purity of flavor and varietal expression.Their Central Coast Chardonnay is a quintessential example of their wine growing and winemaking philosophy; a bright and creamy Chardonnay with ripe lemon and peach flavors and a saline minerality.
Clos Electrique is the organic and dry-farmed estate vineyard for Cameron Winery. As one of the warmer sites in the Red Hills of Dundee, the grapes are picked earlier to maintain a balance of ripeness and acidity. For their Chardonnay from this vineyard, the wines are meant to emulate the richness of Meursault. This vintage is described by the winemakers with notes of "notes of honeysuckle, creme Anglaise, lemon curd, marzipan and orange blossom. The palate mirrors the nose along with unctuous mouth feel resulting from 2 years contact with the yeast lies prior to bottling."
The 'Giuliano' is the Cameron Winery ode to the great white wines of North-Eastern Italy, which shares many similarities with the terroir of Dundee Hills. This bottling is a blend of Auxerrois, Friuliano, Muscato, Pinot Blanco, and Pinot Grigio from the Abbey Ridge and Clos Electrique vineyards. The folks at Cameron tell us this year the wine "expresses notes of white peaches, marzipan, roses, quince, and a hint of earth and sea air. It has luscious, round, rich, viscous mouth filling flavors of lemon pâte de fruit, tangerine zest, and a touch of sea salt. " Can't wait to try it myself!
The 'Marena' bottling is a blend from their younger vines of the Heintz, Teac Mor, and Porter-Bass vineyards, meant to showcase a snapshot of the region and vintage. The wine is fermented and aged in neutral barrels on the lees and goes through full malolactic-fermentation with native yeasts.
Humbly labeled as "Willamette" this wine is actually 100% from the Four Winds Vineyard. At ~800ft elevation on the McMinnville Coast, it is one of the highest and also one of the closest to the coast in the Willamette Valley. In true Crowley style, this wine is subtle, finessed, and perfectly representative of the terroir of this region. Though it is aged in 33% new oak, it is administered with a deft hand. On the nose the oak is barely perceptible. Instead you are enticed with notes of chamomile, lemon zest, and yellow apple skins. This vintage was cooler for Willamette which meant the grapes could be picked later giving the wine lots of brightness on the palate rounded out by the oak treatment and a silkiness that develops as the wine rises in temperature. Drink this with something that won't be too overwhelming to let the delicate flavors shine; like lemon butter-poached halibut, or a creamy primavera. Michelle DeWyngaert
A bright, shining, skin-contact wine from the Layne Vineyard in Applegate Valley Oregon. This is a blend of Vermentino, Muscat, and Chardonnay fermented together on the skins and then aged in mostly used barrels with 1/6th new oak creating a deeply orange, still wine with a great grippy texture.
Such a great value from the Willamette Valley! Made to resemble a classic Alsatian edelzwicker, or field blend, it brings together fruit from six different vineyards and five different grapes: Pinot Blanc, Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Muscat. The grapes are pressed and fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts, and then malolactic is blocked to maintain the bright zippiness of the wine before being cold-stabilized and filtered. Floral, fresh, easy-drinking for any occasion! Michelle DeWyngaert
The team at Early Mountain Vineyards is working hard to put Virginian wine back on the map. Their aim is to craft low-intervention wines, that are sustainably farmed; experimenting with various organic, biodynamic, and pruning techniques to figure out how best to support the health of the vineyards in this region. The Petit Manseng bottling is 95% Petit Manseng, 3% Sauvignon Blanc, 2% Chardonnay and reminds me of a great Jurançon with notes of sweet almond blossom, honeysuckle, and tangerine. The palate is lush and juicy, with notes of honey, orange oil, nectarine, and hazelnut with a touch of bitterness on the finish from the extended skin-contact to leave it balanced and dry. Michelle DeWyngaert
Edmunds St. John continues to produce some of the most consistentl, high-quality California wine on the market. This tasty white blend of ~55% Vermentino and 45% Grenache Blanc is a testament to that. The fruit is from the Fenaughty Vineyard, previously an orchard, which sits at 2800ft elevation in the Sierra Foothills on the North edge of Carson Ridge. This vintage had a bit of slow start due to a very cold winter and a very wet spring, but in the end the quality of the fruit was great, albeit with lower yields. The juice was fermented in stainless steel and brought to a low temperature to discourage malo in order to maintain its bright acidity.
The wines from Eminence Road get better and better each year, and this year's Lamb's Quarter Chardonnay is no exception. As these wines are made with very little intervention, there is a real sense of rusticity from the barn they're made in, and the limestone and loam soil the vines are grown in show prominently on the palate. For this bottling, the grapes are destemmed and allowed the macerate for two days on the skins before fermenting in stainless steel tanks. The wine spends 22 months on the lees, and then bottled by hand, unfined and unfiltered. On the nose are notes of crisp yellow apple, fresh cider, clean linens, and chalk. The palate is bright, with yellow and green apples, Meyer lemon, and crushed rock on the finish giving it a lovely bit of texture. Michelle DeWyngaert
From the east side of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes, this Riesling grown on loam over shale and limestone saw 20% affected by botrytis this vintage. The grapes were crushed and destemmed, then allowed to macerate on the skins for two days. It was then fermented and aged in stainless steel for 11 months on the lees, then racked and bottled without filtration. Light, dry, and just a touch of tannin on the finish.
This was such a fascinating and delicious find! The meads of Enlightenment Wines are always unique and special, but I particularly enjoyed this sour sparkler made from apple blossom honey, lactic bacteria and local well water. As you first take a sip you notice the sweetness of the honey which transitions to a tart, mouth-puckering finish akin to drinking a dry sour beer. The nose is intense and earthy with notes of baked apple and cedar, and on the palate the honey gives way to crisp green apple and crème fraîche. Michelle DeWyngaert
The St. Crimson is a dry mead made from pressed black currants and NY state honey fermented with indigenous yeasts and then aged for a year in oak barrels. A beautiful deep ruby color, the nose is mix of cassis, raspberry, hibiscus, bruised herbs, and a whiff of something gamey. The palate is dry with juicy brambly fruits and a savory finish. This is delightful on its own on a cool fall evening, but also works well in cocktails, as the float on a NY Sour or in a spritz. Michelle DeWyngaert
For this batch of Floral Terranes still cider, Erik Longabardi and Benford Lepley headed upstate to Livingston Manor and Hillsdale, to collect apples from higher elevations with a mix of wild trees and some from an organically farmed orchard. The juice is fermented and then aged in neutral barrels until bottling. This cider is simutaneously rustic and elegant, like a barn dressed up for a wedding. There's notes of standing in the orchard, fresh leaves and bark, and white flowers and linen. It's lean and crisp on the palate, perfectly dry and with just a bit of grippy tannin on the finish. Michelle DeWyngaert
The creators of Floral Terranes drive through the towns of Long Island and seek out random uncultivated apple trees and grape vines. For the 'Suburban Moraines' cider, 10% of the apples used come from these discovered trees, and the rest of the blend is a mixture of Black Twig and Winesap apples from Breeze Hill Farm, Peconic, Long Island. There's a very pretty herbaceous quality to this cider like fresh sage, lemon balm, and chamomile tea, backed by notes of Pink Lady apple, creating a crisp, dry still cider. Michelle DeWyngaert
Hermann J. Wiemer saw the great potential of the Finger Lakes to create high-quality cool-climate Riesling as they do in his native Mosel, Germany. The winery was founded in the 1979, one of the first in the region, and continues to be a benchmark for excellent Finger Lakes Riesling. Despite the incredibly challenging weather conditions which can lead to disease-pressure, they are committed to sustainable farming by not using herbicides or insecticides, and reducing their need for fungicides by managing the canopies to increase airflow. The dry Riesling is an excellent example of the great potential of this region for cool-climate varieties.
This vintage of the La Clarine Viognier is a mixture of fruit from the granitic Cedarville Vineyard, and the volcanic Sumu Kaw Vineyard in the Sierra Foothils. The fruit is fermented together as whole clusters and then aged in tanks.
The grapes for this earthy Albarino come from Matthew Rorick's organically farmed vineyard in Calaveras County. The vines grow on very steep-east facing slopes of limestone topped with schist. The grapes are crushed whole-cluster into where they go through spontaneous primary and malolactic fermentaion and then remain on the lees until bottling for extra creaminess. This wine is has a deep-golden hazy glow in the glass with this very pretty aroma of wildflowers and meyer lemon zest, opening up to reveal a bit of dried hay and crushed rocks; clean, but rustic. The palate shows juicy, salted yellow plums and tangerine, and finishes with the flavor of tart lemonade and a chalky minerality from the limestone soils. Michelle DeWyngaert
A skin contact Pinot Gris from our friend Zach at Liten Buffel, from fruit sourced from the Niagara Escampment. Big and round, with some volatile acidity on opening. A wild and untethered orange wine, definitely for fans of the funky and intense side of natural wine spectrum. Drink with a light chill. There is a bit of a timer here as oxygen seems to bring about some strange flavors, so don't wait until day 2!
Maître de Chai sources this beautiful Chardonnay from the Rorick Vineyard in Calaveras County of the Sierra Foothills AVA. Way up at 2000 ft above sea-level, Matthew Rorick farms these 45-year-old vines on steep slopes of blue limestone and schist. The farming is done organically and the wines are made with native yeasts, fermented in and aged in neutral barrels for 11 months. The 2019 vintage is a little riper and and more fleshed out than the previous vintage but still maintains a core of crisp acidity. On the nose are ripe and baked yellow apples, fresh hay, sweet herbs, and a bit of salty buttermilk. As the oak is neutral it merely acts to soften the edges and brown the orchard fruit notes a bit for a decidedly old-school California Chardonnay. Michelle DeWyngaert
This is a deeply colored 100% Gewurztraminer from the Beckenridge Vineyard in the Dundee Hills. The grapes are destemmed and crushed, but remain on the skins for 20 days, with daily punchdowns to extract all that delicious aroma and texture. The juice is then pressed into neutral barrels and kept on the lees for 10 months. We have not yet had the pleasure of opening one of these beautiful bottles, as their small batches make it tough to get a sample, but the winemakers describe this wine with notes of "black tea, rose petals, and sea salt. "
The wines from Maloof are made by two of the nicest people, using some of the finest organically grown fruit in the Willamette Valley, and transforming it into tasty bottles of wine with as little added or taken away as possible. The 'Thistle Block' Pinot Gris comes form the certified organic Haakon/Lenai Vineyard in the Dundee Hills. The grapes are direct-pressed into neutral oak barrels where they ferment and then rest for eleven months on the lees with no stirring. As the Maloof team controls just two blocks of Pinot Gris from here, very little was made, but the site is so distinct that they continue to bottle it on its own. This wine is bursting with flavor; notes of honeysuckle, perfectly ripe peach, green apple, chamomile tea, and kumquat dance together on the palate. This is a joyful wine, to be enjoyed with or without food. Michelle DeWyngaert
A light, summery white blend from winemaker extraordinaire Martha Stoumen! The Post-Flirtation White is a mix of 23% Roussanne, 26% Marsanne, 10% Muscat Blanc, and 33% early-season Colombard fermented dry and clocks in a whopping 9.5% alcohol.The first three come from the First Generation Farmers in Contra Costa who work to inspire the next generation of growers to farm chemical-free and reduce food waste. Their climate is warm and sunny, with cool ocean breezes and sandy soils, bringing ripeness and a touch of sea-salt to this blend. The Columbard comes from the RIcetti Vineyard in Mendocino, planted in 1948 and brings brightness to the mix. Martha describes this wine as, "A beautifully light bodied wine that would complement a variety of foods from Dim Sum to oysters. Take me anywhere!" Michelle DeWyngaert
The Village collection from Matthiasson is a blend of lots that were left out of the more serious cuvées and fruit from some of the younger vines, but all are from organically farmed Napa Valley vineyards. This is a Chardonnay in its purest form; no new oak, no lees stirring or racking, and only two-fifths go through malolactic-fermentation. By picking the grapes at various times throughout the harvest season, they have created a balance of ripeness in the wine. On the nose are notes of lemon balm, sea spray, yellow apple, and white peach. The palate brings Meyer lemon, fresh yogurt, crisp, slightly under-ripe pineapple, and river rocks. I was so pleasantly surprised by the stoniness and freshness of this wine! Michelle DeWyngaert
The wines from the Finger Lakes in upstate New York have a special place in my heart, and the Nathan K Dry Riesling is perfect example of why. This vintage comes from two sites on the West side of Lake Seneca. The grapes from the 40 year-old plot are aged in neutral barrels, while the fruit from the younger vines are kept in stainless steel. Both are aged for 10 months on the lees before being bottled unfined and gently filtered. In the glass this wine is the color of daffodils and all the aromas of springtime: soft white almond blossoms, ripe apricot, a bit of sweet herbs, wet stone, Meyer lemon zest, all with a slight drizzle of honey. The palate is vibrant and juicy bringing plenty of energy but balanced with enough weight so it does not feel the least bit sharp or thin. Enjoy this wine now, as I did, with a spicy red pepper flake, anchovy and parsley pasta, or put it in the cellar for several years and wait for those honeyed and golden notes to really come through! Michelle DeWyngaert
Every so often I taste a wine that truly tells a story like this Chardonnay from Perkins Harter. The winemakers were inspired by their favorite wines from Chablis and certainly there is a nod to that here, with their use of neutral oak and salty sea-breeze quality, but there is also a unique Johan Vineyard quality to this wine. After allowing this to decant for an hour or so, the nose paints a picture of the farm from which it comes. There are cows grazing on fresh grass in the distance, fruit trees are blossoming, the rain from the previous day can still be sensed. On the palate I imagined a really fresh butter had been made from the milk of the cow who was grazing, mingled with notes of crisp green apple, lemon skin, and peach blossom. There's a really nice tension of acidity and freshness against the weight and stony texture. The lingering finish and balanced structure lead me to believe that this wine will continue to age gracefully for the next 5-10 years. Michelle DeWyngaert
Sourced from the estate's George's Hill vineyard, named in honor of founder George Davis who purchased the land in 1977, this biodynamically farmed vineyard site produces some of the most exciting Chardonnay in the entire Russian River. This wine is big on texture and has great aromatic power, with notes of green apple, almond, and darker mineral, oily, almost saline notes. On the palate this wine has great, peppy acidity, though it is not quite light-bodied. A certain breadth comes through on the palate, with ripe peach character filling out the back end as it slips into a long, softly nuanced finish that cycles between cream, citrus, and hazelnut. Tastes great now, but will continue to improve in the cellar for at least ten years. Andrew Farquhar
The 'Dabinett Spy' is aptly named for it's blend of 25% English Dabinett bittersweet apples, and 50% Northern Spy American sharp apples, with the rest of the blend made from Rhode Island Greening sharp apples. This still cider is dry, floral, and has a bit of tannin for a softly textured finish.
Scrumpy (a term for farmhouse cider in Europe) Ewe (referring to the sheep that graze their orchards) is a traditional cidery making cider the old-fashioned way up in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. The Farmhouse Dry cider is a blend of Old Winesap, Northern Spy, Spigold, Newtown Pippin, Gold Rush, Ida Red and Spartan apples fermented with native yeasts and aged for 10 months in a mixture of American and French oak. It is described by Scrumpy Ewe as having "hints of butter, lemon, floral, oak on the nose, full bodied."
A unique still, dry cider from Catskills cidery Scrumpy Ewe! The blend of apples includes (Bittersweets) Bulmer’s Norman - 22.5%, Major - 22.5%(Bittersharps) Kingston Black - 22.5% (Sharp) Liberty - 22.5%, and West Fulton Wild Apples - 10%. This is a rich, full-bodied cider described as "Leathery, minerally, complex, [with] heavy tannic structure."
An excellent, well-balanced example of California Sauvignon Blanc blended from three organically farmed vineyards in Mendocino. The fruit here is both fully ripe and surprisingly refreshing with notes of tropical fruit, pink grapefruit, and just a touch of soft, fresh herbs. This is a pleasant wine for drinking on it's own, but would be a great pairing for lighter proteins with a fruit chutney, or a vegetable quiche. Michelle DeWyngaert
Saralee Kunde is a bit of a legend in the Russian River Valley not only for her prowess in the vineyard, but also for her big heart. This parcel of Grenache Blanc in Catie's Corner Vineyard was actually specifically budded over to the variety in 2011 because of the Two Shepherds winemaker's passion for the grape. This expression is an ode to Saralee, and perhaps it is power of suggestion, but it seems to capture her joy and exuberance. The grapes are destemmed and spend about 2-4 hours on the skins, then fermented and aged in neutral barrels giving this wine soft, rounded edges. It is bottled unfined and unfiltered, but racked for clarity, and then spent several years in bottle, released this year when it was finally deemed ready. Ripe, fragrant cantaloupe and tangerine on the nose with honeysuckle and almond blossom. On the palate a bright acidity that is held within a juicy lushness, a bit of nutty hazelnut, fleur de sel, and a touch of almond skin on the finish. Michelle DeWyngaert
More of a ramato in style than an "orange" wine, this coppery coral, skin-fermented Trousseau Gris is hitting its peak right now. After two years of aging it is drinking more like a savory Bandol rosé with bit of extra texture on the finish. The fruit comes from 40 year-old Fannuichi Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, just up the road from the Two Shepherds farm so that winemaker, William Allen can keep a keen eye on it. It is possibly the only planting of this obscure variety in the United States. The grapes are destemmed and see five days on the skins before finishing the fermentation in neutral barrels where they aged for six months on the lees, and an additional two months before bottling. Between the lees, skin-contact, and barrel use, this is a beautiful textured wine with richness to it. Notes of white cherry, hibiscus, and freshly turned soil on the nose, and juicy white peach, walnut, and a mineral saltiness on the palate. A joy to experience as it evolves in the glass and over several days open. Michelle DeWyngaert