Future Reports

The Wines of Paso Robles: Exciting Red Bordeaux Varietals from the Cabernet Collective

Special Monthly Tastings

New Vintages and New Releases

February 2007

Italy

Caldora 2005 Trebbiano d'Abruzzo Abruzzo ($9) 88
Caldora 2005 Colle dei Venti IGT Pecorino Abruzzo ($13) 92
Caldora 2005 Montepulciano D'Abruzzo Abruzzo ($9) 88

2005 Caldora LabelCaldora is a young partnership between investor Valentino Sciotti, the renowned winemaker, Mario Ercolino and one of Abruzzo's largest wine cooperatives. The vineyards for Caldora are located in a 25km microclimate that runs along the Adriatic coast. These wines are fruit-forward, beautifully made, and reasonably priced. The 2005 Trebbiano is light lemon-gold in color and offers floral aromas with a touch of minerals. On the palate it is displays ripe citrus fruit flavors with excellent balance and a lingering finish. The 2005 Pecorino is a fabulous white wine and relatively unknown, as it rarely makes the export market. It displays a beautiful lemon gold star bright appearance and offers aromas of mango, banana and other tropical fruits. The palate is beautifully textured and richly-fruited with more tropical fruit flavors, pleasant acidity, and a long finish. This is a big winner. The 2005 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is a lovely purple opaque with a youthful fruit-forward personality, offering plum, strawberry and banana flavors with vanillin notes. It has a pleasant underlying spiciness with a lush ripe mouth feel, ripe tannins and a pleasant finish. It is also offered at a bargain price.

Importer: Vin Divino Chicago, IL

France

Patrick Lesec Selection 2004
Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc ‘Cuvee Aurore’ ($20) 91
Patrick Lesec Selection 2003 NV Petit Crau Vacqueyras ($8) 87
Patrick Lesec Selection 2004 Côtes du Rhône 'Bouquet' ($8) 90
Patrick Lesec Selection 2004
Châteauneuf du Pape 'Bargeton' ($45) 89
Patrick Lesec Selection 2004
Châteauneuf du Pape 'Pierres Dorees' ($30) 92
Patrick Lesec Selection 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape 'Rubis' ($24) 88
Patrick Lesec Selection 2004
Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc 'Cuvee Aurore' ($20) 91
Patrick Lesec Selection 2004 Côtes du Rhône 'Cuvee Richette' ($8)
Patrick Lesec Selection 2004
Gigondas Les Espalines 'Cuvee Tendrelles' ($20) 89
Patrick Lesec Selection 2003
Vacqueyras 'Grandy' Vacqueyras ($15) 87
Patrick Lesec Selection 2003
Vacqueyras Vieilles Vignes Vacqueyras ($18) 92

Patrick Lesec produces an impressive selection of high quality wines from the more important villages in the Southern Rhone. His wines are produced under contract with growers who previously may have sold their production to negociants. Once he makes agreements with these growers he works closely with them following non-interventionist winemaking. All of these wines are estate-bottled and vinified in the growers’cellars. Lesec is responsible for all of the selections and blending of cuvees and the winemaking. The wines are often not de-stemmed, nor are they fined or filtered and are generally hand-bottled. The amber colored 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc ‘Cuvee Aurore’ offers complex aromas of apricot marmalade with notes of dried sherry. On the palate it displays more stone fruit flavors with vanillin and sherry-like highlights that suggest bottle age. We were fascinated by this wine. The NV Petit Crau (little crow), a 50-50 blend 2004 Côtes du Rhône 'Bouquet' Labelof Merlot and Syrah has a youthful purple color and fruit-forward aromas of strawberry, clove, and cinnamon.. On the palate it displays ripe plums and black cherry flavors, notes of earth and leather, excellent structure and some rather chewy tannins on the finish. The 2004 Côtes du Rhône ‘Bouquet’ a blend of 70 percent Grenache and 30 percent Syrah, also has a youthful purple color with aromas of cassis, strawberry and all spice. On the palate it reveals ripe red and black fruits, a lush supple mouth feel, and well rounded tannins on the finish. A. super wine at a great price. The 2003 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Bargeton’ was aged 80% in wood barrels and 20% in tank. A blend of 78% Grenache, 20% Mouvedre, and a dollop of Cinsault, it offers a big meaty nose with red cherry fruit, smoke and game framed in barriques with prominent vanillin highlights and well rounded tannins. The superb 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Pierres Dorees' displays a dark purple ruby color with big meaty earthy character and notes of violets. On the full-bodied palate it offers a good fruit attack with dried cherry, and firm tannins on the finish. This wine will need cellaring for several years. The 2004 Cheateauneuf du pape 'Rubis' is dark ruby opaque in color and offers red currant fruit on the nose and a palate of dark cherry fruit, spice and toast. A delicious wine. The 2004 Côtes du Rhône 'Cuvee Richette' has a ruby purple hue and offers complex aromas of earth, tobacco, black fruits, pepper and garrique. It has a pleasant attack with a slightly tannic finish. The 2004 Gigondas displays a youthful purple ruby color with rich scents of blackberries and other dark fruits. It is soft on the attack and offers a palate of ripe black spicy fruit concentration through to the finish.. The 2005 Vacqueyras ‘Grady’ is medium garnet in color and reveals scents of black cherry and a background note of brett (brettanomyces). On the palate it displays a rustic character with ripe tannins on the finish. The 2003 Vacqueyras Vieilles Vignes displays a dark ruby purple color with clean and richly concentrated dark fruit aromas with a touch of spice. On the palate it reveals a lovely rich texture of ripe savory fruit, ripe tannins, and a lingering finish. One of the top wines from an outstanding collection of cuvees.

Importer: William Harrison, Imports Manassas, VA

California

Spann Vineyards 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Mayacamas Range ($35) 90
Spann Vineyards 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley ($35) 87
Spann Vineyards 2003 Mo Jo Sonoma County ($40) 88
Spann Vineyards 2003 Syrah Russian River Valley ($25) 88+

Spann Mo ZinSpann Vineyards in a relatively new family winery owned and operated by Peter and Betsy Spann. Their vineyards are located in the Mayacamas Mountains and are situated on a steeply terraced mountainside. . The Spanns dry farm their vineyards and strive for low yields, in some cases as little as one ton per acre. All of the Spann wines are hand crafted in very small quantities using both New and Old World winemaking techniques (foot crushing, blending, destemming). This is our first look at Spann wines and we think this winery shows great promise as a quality producer. The 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Mayacamas Range is dark opaque in color and has an attractive spicy black cherry fruit aroma with notes of black pepper. On the palate, it is well-structured and offers mouth filling black fruit flavors with hints of toasty oak, good grip and a long lasting finish. The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, a new release, is dark ruby opaque in color and has black cherry and blackberry aromas with notes of tar. Aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, the wine also displays prominent sweet oak which in our view dominates the fruit through to the finish. The 2003 Mo Jo is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. It has a dark ruby color with a lovely nose of dried cherry fruit, tea, anise and sandalwood. On the palate it is medium-bodied with black fruit and prominent oak notes on the finish. The 2003 Syrah is dark ruby opaque in color with a lovely nose of blueberry and plum. On the palate it offers a lush mouth feel with ripe plum flavors, big tannins and a long lasting finish. Here the oak seems to be kept well in the background.

Winery: www.spannvineyards.com


Silverado Vineyards 2005
Sauvignon Blanc Miller Ranch Napa Valley ($18) 87
Silverado Vineyards 2005
Chardonnay Vineburg Vineyard Napa Valley ($30) 88
Silverado Vineyards 2003
Cabernet Sauvignon Napa valley-Stags Leap District ($43) 90
Silverado Vineyards 2003
Solo Napa valley-Stags Leap District ($75) 93

Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon LabelSilverado Vineyards is a family business owned and operated by Ron and Diane Miller. It consists of seven estate vineyards located in Napa Valley and Carneros and a state-of-the-art winery in the Stag Leap District.. The winery began operations in the early 1980s and currently produces highly polished wines. Winemaking at Silverado Vineyards is in the hands of Jonathan Emmerich, a UC Davis graduate in Enology and an experienced California winemaker. The four wines reviewed here are exemplary of the high quality winemaking, especially from Cabernet Sauvignon, at Silverado Vineyards. The 2005 Sauvignon Blanc Miller Ranch has a pale straw color and a fresh grassy citrusy character. on the nose. On the palate it is clean crisp, fresh tasting (no oak) with excellent acidity and balance. The 2005 Chardonnay, Vineburg Vineyard has a lovely green gold color and offers aromas of green apples, honeysuckle and vanillin oak with a rich attack of lush fruit, , good acidity and balance, and a crisp finish. The 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon displays a youthful dark ruby purple color and offers aromas of black cherry, spice and cedar. On the full-bodied palate it exhibits rich texture and mouth feel, lovely ripe red berry and cassis fruit and ripe tart tannins on the finish. The delicious 2003 Solo is dark ruby opaque and offers aromas of plums, cedar, spice and violets. On the palate it displays highly concentrated black currant fruit with chocolate notes and a lovely texture with ripe tannins on the finish. While drinkable now, the wine would benefit from a couple of years of cellaring.

Distributor: Wilson Daniels Ltd. St. Helena, CA

Wines Tasted by Jay Youmans, MW & Mike Potashnik, Ph.D, Publishers, International Wine Review