Flaunt: New Releases from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast

Flaunt Wine Company is a new winemaking project of Dianna Novy, former co-owner and winemaker of the highly successful Siduri Wines and Novy Family Winery.  It is the reallization of her long-held dream of making a mark on the wine world with her very own wine brand.  Over the past 23 years, Dianna mainly worked with Pinot Noir so it is not surprising  that her first releases would consist of different Pinot Noir bottlings.  Judging from the three bottlings we have had the opportunity to taste, we would say that Dianna and Flaut Wine Company are off to a promising start. Continue reading

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Champagnes and Sparkling Wines for the Holidays

Champagnes and sparkling wines are especially popular during the winter Holidays. Families and friends toast their friendship and welcome the New Year with the bubbles that convey a sense of celebration and joy.  To help guide your purchases of Champagne and sparkling wine, we provide our evaluations of some of the best we’ve tasted over the past year. Continue reading

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Sherry and Port: Recommendations for Drinking and Giving

There’s no better time of year than now to drink fortified wines than when the temperatures sink, and the winds blow cold.  It’s the perfect time to sit by the fireplace and open a bottle of Sherry or Port to drink with cheeses and nuts.  We taste and review Sherry and Port wines whenever we have the opportunity. In this article we present our recommendations for consuming or giving to others based on our tastings over the past year. In addition to Sherry and Port, consider a fine Madeira, too.  We recently published a review article on the outstanding, historic Madeiras from Vinho Barbeito and the Rare Wine Company.

 

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New Releases of Colonial Styled Madeiras from Vinhos Barbeito & the Rare Wine Co.

Ricardo Diogo Freitas of Barbeito

Since 1998 Mannie Berk of the Rare Wine Co. has worked with Ricardo Freitas of Vinhos Barbeito to express the styles of Madeira drunk in the US colonial period. Different styles of Madeira became popular in different colonial cities. Cities with cold, snowy winters, like Boston and New York, preferred a sweeter style, while in the South drier Madeiras were more compatible with the summer heat.  The new country’s political leaders had their distinct preferences for Madeira.  After researching their purchase patterns and with the experience tasting very old Madeiras, the Rare Wine Co. and Vinhos Barbeito used indigenous grape varieties to create Madeiras that best match the tastes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others. These blends include components up to 80 years of age.  In this article, we taste new releases of these historically styled Madeiras. Continue reading

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Fine Wine Books for the Holidays

Connoisseurs of fine wines love to read about wine and where it comes from. And when they travel, they like exploring new wines.  Here are a few suggested books on traditional and less well known wine regions like England, Georgia, Greece and South Africa. Continue reading

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Verdad: Spanish Varieties from the SLO Coast

Verdad Wine Cellars is the brainchild of winemaker Louisa Sawyer Lindquist.  Verdad is a small (<3 thousand cases) winery focused on Spanish varieties like Albariño, Garnacha, Graciano and Tempranillo.  Louisa got her start in wine on New York’s Long Island, and it was there that she first developed a love of Spanish wine and Spanish wine varieties. She later moved to California where she met Bob Lindquist, who encouraged Louisa to make wine in Central California from Spanish varieties. Louisa and Bob founded Verdad and released the first Albariño with the 2000 vintage. They later planted the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard, which was Demeter-certified biodynamic beginning in 2009. Continue reading

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New Releases from Pellegrini-Olivet Lane of the Russian River Valley

2022 Olivet Lane Chardonnay

The Pellegrini family emigrated from Lucca, Italy, to Santa Rosa, California, in 1915 and soon began growing grapes and making wine. Sixty years later Robert Pellegrini established the 60 acre Olivet Lane Vineyard in the Santa Rosa Plains, planting two-thirds of it to Old Wente Chardonnay and one-third to Martini Clone Pinot Noir. Over the years some of Sonoma’s best wineries have sourced fruit from Olivet Lane, including Merry Edwards, of course, Gary Farrell, Kosta Browne, Paul Hobbs, WesMar and Williams Selyem. Continue reading

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2021 Clarice Pinot Noirs from the Santa Lucia Highlands

Adam Lee’s Clarice bottlings are ripe and lush expressions of Pinot Noir.   They reveal purity of dark red berry fruit with savory and spicy notes and firm tannic grip.  The 2021 vintage is perhaps riper and earthier than last year with relatively high alcohol for Pinot Noir.  The wines are still young with considerable potential for long term aging.   Readers will note that we have rated the outstanding Garys’ Vineyard and Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noirs slightly higher than the Santa Lucia Highlands blend.  If you are a Clarice Family Member you will have the chance to compare these three lovely bottlings.  If you haven’t become a member yet, now is your opportunity.  Our assessment of the wines follows.

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Beau Marchais 2021 Pinot Noir: The Unexpected Ending of a Beautiful Collaboration

Philippe Cambie

These three bottlings of Pinot Noir recently released by Beau Marchais are of a project launched  in 2019 by two seasoned winemakers, Adam Lee of California and Philippe Cambie of France.  Their joint venture brought together the talents of one of California’s finest Pinot Noir winemakers with one of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s most illustrious enologists and consultant to more than 80 wineries. Despite his extensive winemaking experience, Philippe never had opportunity to produce Pinot Noir, yet he and Adam Lee jointly crafted outstanding wines that in our opinion exhibited new expressions of California Pinot Noir. Continue reading

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The Extraordinary Wines of Domaine Economou: Artistic Winemaking in Crete

Yannis Economou

Yiannis Economou is one of Greece’s preeminent winemakers.  He combines deep knowledge of winemaking with a unique sense of artistry and produces original, beautifully crafted and refined wines. His domaine is located on Sitia in eastern Crete where he sources grapes from very low yielding, organically cultivated, self-rooted, old indigenous vines as well as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that he planted in 1998 in his vineyard on the Ziros Plateau. We tasted three of Economou’s exceptional wines for our upcoming report on The Wines of Crete, and we give our comment on those wines below. Continue reading

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