Argentina’s Domaine Bousquet: High Altitude Selections from the Uco Valley

Located in the Tupungato district of Mendoza’s Uco Valley, this very high altitude estate (5249’) buffeted by the cool winds of the Andes was founded by Jean Bousquet in 1997 with a first release of wines in 2005. Today the Domaine has 667 acres under vine, mostly farmed organically by Jean’s economist daughter Anne Bousquet and her husband Labid Al Ameri.  Their business experience has helped catapult Domaine Bousquet into Argentina’s 15th largest winery with 100 full time employees and exports to 50 countries. The winery now makes 3 million bottles per year. Continue reading

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Tannat and More from Uruguay’s Bodega Marichal

Juan Andrés Marichal is one our favorite Uruguayan winemakers, and these new releases of his don’t disappoint.  Bodega Marichal is a family-owned winery established in 1938 in the Canelones region located west of Montevideo.  We visited Juan at his winery when we traveled to Uruguay for our Report # 57 Tannat and Other Wines of Uruguay. Continue reading

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Mt. Beautiful of North Canterbury: New Releases

David Teece, the founder of Mt Beautiful wines, grew up on a farm in New Zealand, studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and taught at Stanford and Oxford before settling down in Berkeley, California, where he is a professor in the Haas School of Business.  In the early 2000s he went in search of a place in New Zealand where he planted a vineyard and return to his farming roots. He found that place in North Canterbury, located north of Waipara and about an hour and a half from Christchurch on the South Island’s eastern coast. It’s a cool location with just 1100-1280 Growing Degree Days.  Today, his vineyard is 75 hectares. Sam Weaver  has been the winemaker since 2007.  The wines are not only very good, they’re spectacular values! Continue reading

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Failla Spring Releases: 2016 Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah

These 2016 spring releases are a welcome collection of new California and Oregon bottlings from the talented winemaker Ehren Jordan and wife Anne-Marie Failla.  The 2016 vintage in California was a welcome relief from drought with a mild spring followed by a warm, steady growing season.   The vintage in Oregon’s Willamette Valley was short and early yet produced clean and ripe fruit. See our reviews below. Continue reading

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The Provence Rosés of Château de Roquefeuille

Léa Rouyet & Her Rosés

Château Roquefeuille is one Provence’s larger wine estates focused on producing high quality rosé.  Located in the heart of Provence just 30 km east of Aix-en-Provence, it consists of 202 hectares of clay and limestone soils planted to vines and produces three rosés that are exported to the US. We recently sat down with winemaker Léa Rouyet, who was on her maiden voyage to the US, to taste the wines at Washington DC’s Bistro Lepic, a traditional French restaurant in Georgetown that never fails to deliver delicious, authentic cuisine.  A native of French Basque country, Lea studied winemaking in Bordeaux and Montpelier and made wine in the Languedoc before joining Château Roquefeuille as winemaker three years ago.  All three of her wines (all direct pressed) are bright and fresh, but the mineral-rich, densely flavored 2016 La Combe Rosé was our favorite. We’ll be reviewing many more rosés from around the world in our upcoming 2018 special rosé report. Watch for it. Continue reading

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Obrigado: Impressive New Releases from Portugal

Over the past two decades, Portugal has made dramatic progress in producing world class red and white table wines.  Today, in the Douro, the Dão,  Alentejo and other regions many  talented winemakers are  crafting exciting wines from an amazing myriad of indigenous grapes grown throughout the country.  Until recently, many of these wines were only available in Portugal.  However, thanks to enterprising importers like OBRIGADO-Vinhos Portugal (Obrigado) we can now enjoy the rich variety of finely crafted  Portuguese artisanal wines in the US. Continue reading

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Smith-Madrone: Superb New Releases from Napa Valley


Smith-Madrone is a small family-owned and operated  artisanal winery in St. Helena.  It was founded in 1971 by Stuart Smith on a 200-acre ranch, partly planted as a vineyard over a century ago.  The Smith-Madrone estate vineyards sit on Spring Mountain at elevations between 1,300 and 2,000 feet on steep rocky slopes ranging up to 34% incline.  Their soils are mostly volcanic-based  clay loam, and their vineyards are dry farmed.  The winery produces about 4,000 cases a year of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, and a Presitige Cuvée, Cooks’s Flat Reserve.   The winery management team, pictured below, consists of  Stuart A Smith, Managing Partner, Charles F. Smith III, winemaker, and Sam Smith, Assistant Winemaker. Continue reading

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Dutton-Goldfield Chardonnay and Pinot Noir: 2015-16 Releases from Russian River’s Cool Green Valley

 Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield have collaborated in making some of the Russian River’s finest wines since 1998. Steve does the farming, and today he manages over 1100 acres of vines spread over 80 vineyards , mostly in Green Valley [shaded in green in the map below], located in the southwest corner of the Russian River Valley, which receives the brunt of cool Pacific wind and fog coming through Sonoma’s Petaluma Gap. Highly talented, UC Davis grad Dan Goldfield is responsible for the winemaking; he previously made wine at Mondavi, Schramsberg, La Crema, and Hartford Court. In this article we review some recent releases from the 2015 and 2016 vintages. 100% Fish Friendly Farming certified. Continue reading

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Selections from Argentina’s 2017 Vintage from Patagonia and Mendoza

This is our first report on Argentina’s 2017 vintage. The wines reviewed here from Aniello, Ricardo Santos, and Tercos are youthful wines that have seen only a modicum of oak aging. As a result, they are fresh and vibrant and meant for early, easy drinking.  The Aniello wines come from the Rio Negro valley in Patagonia, which we visited on our last trip to Argentina. The Ricardo Santos wines are from Mendoza, Argentina’s winegrowing center.  These wines are imported by Global Vineyard Importers of Berkeley CA. Continue reading

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Napa’s August Briggs Wines: New Releases 2014

  

Located in downtown Calistoga, Napa Valley, August Briggs Winery produces small quantities of handcrafted premium wines.  Founded in 1995 by August “Joe”  Briggs,  a consulting winemaker, and wife Sally, the winery is managed today by their nephew Jess Inman and long term employees Colette Millman and Matt Gacso.  Jess Inman serves as head winemaker and  oversees grape sourcing.  The four wines reviewed here are  exemplary of August Briggs’ well-crafted wines. Continue reading

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