425 Magazine, a Seattle lifestyle publication, just published an article featuring Chateau Montelena Chardonnay as one of five white wines to enjoy this summer:
“Chateau Montelena/Chardonnay/Napa Valley
The winemakers here are always trying new things, like aging some of their wines in steel drums instead of oak barrels to see what happens. Their experimentations have brought forth some amazing wine through the years. Their current straw-colored Chardonnay has a lot happening – it’s spicy, it’s fruity, and it’s even a bit tart. It’s good. Really good. $50, Montelena.com.”
Antonio Galloni blogged about an interesting blind tasting at Lucien Le Moine on the Wine Advocate’s Web site today:
“My day wrapped up with a 2+ hour tasting a Lucien Le Moine. We started with the 2009 grand crus from Vosne, which I missed last time. Richebourg was probably my favorite. Then we tasted all of the 2009 whites. As far as I know, Le Moine is the only winery where the 2009 whites are still in barrel. The wines went into barrel with their lees and have not been moved, racked or sulfured since harvest. The best of the 2009 whites are gorgeous.
At the end of the tasting proprietor Mounir Saouma served two wines, blind from bottle.
Wine #1 had a golden color. It also showed a grainy green streak I associate with some 2004s. I thought it was a good, but not great wine that had aged OK at best.
Wine #2 had a very similar color as #1, so I thought it was probably the same year. The nose was pure Meursault Perrieres in my mind. Wine #2 showed incredible class, with layers of fruit, persistent minerality and a gorgeous finish. It was clearly more complex and pedigreed than Wine #1.
It turns out both wines were 2004 Meursault villages from the same vineyard. Wine #1 was made with a pneumatic press, Wine #2 was made with a mechanic press. Wine #1 went into barrel with 4 liters of lees, Wine #2 went into barrel with 8 liters of lees. Both wines were aged on their lees for 18 months with no rackings until they were bottled straight from barrel with no SO2. According to Saouma at bottling Wine #1 had eaten through all of its lees, while Wine #2 had about 2 liters remaining in the barrel.
I was amazed at how different these wines showed today.”
The Star Ledger, a local newspaper in New Jersey, just came out with a piece on Château Montelena’s 2009 Riesling and how its crispness and bright acidity make it a perfect summertime wine. A few quotes from the article:
“Château Montelena’s Napa Valley location is too warm for producing quality riesling grapes, which is why Bo Barrett makes his riesling from certified organic grapes grown by Guinness McFadden in Potter Valley, about 2 1/2 hours north. McFadden’s vineyard is at 1,400 feet in the Mendocino Mountains, giving Château Montelena a perfect match of grape and climate.”
“The 2009 Château Montelena Riesling is wheat-colored with pronounced fruit and honeysuckle aromas. There are rich melon and peach flavors with just the right amount of acidity to keep the palate fresh. The riesling is a perfect wine for summer fare like grilled sea bass with pineapple salsa, curried chicken salad with diced green apples, or grilled pork tenderloin alongside New Jersey corn and yellow and red tomatoes showered with chopped basil and a sprinkle of extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt.”
Noval Black is featured in an article — Cocktail Port — in the current edition of the Tasting Panel Magazine. Below is a shot of Jim Meehan, bartender at PDT, mixing up a Noval Black-based cocktail, and an excerpt from the article:
“Noval Black, from Quinta do Noval, one of Portugal’s venerable port houses, is proof that what’s old is new again. Launched last year, the fruity port is not to be enjoyed in a red velvet smoking jacket; indeed, its maker encourages you to quaff it in a cocktail.
‘The idea is to liberate port from its constraints,’ says Christian Seely, Managing Director for the Quinta. And to do that, he’s enlisted de rigueur bartenders such as PDT’s Jim Meehan in Manhattan to create seriously sexy cocktails. Meehan, who loves a spirited challenge, said ‘I love stuffy British things, but that doesn’t sell drinks in 2011.’ Meehan uses it as a base for summer drinks, lightening it up with layers of citrus and fresh fruits with an intermittent zing like ginger beer or lime juice.”
Calling all Barolo lovers: Crush Wine & Spirits in New York City is offering a special two-pack deal for the 2006 Sandrone Le Vigne and Cannubi Boschis. According to Wine Advocate’s Antonio Galloni, “Sandrone’s 2006 Barolos are among the unqualified successes of the 2006 harvest.”
Ian Mc Fadden, Fine & Rare Wine Director of Crush, writes the following:
“Each vintage, we become more and more impressed with the wines of Sandrone.
Few producers are able to weave such purity and energy with such textural elegance… and nobody does it at anything close to this price. Yes, Giacosa’s red labels are among the most seductive wines on earth, forget about limiting the discussion to Barolo/Barbaresco, but they also hover around $400 a bottle.
The 2006 Sandrones are among the wines of the vintage – I think it’s fair to say that Galloni flipped for them, but read the reviews for yourself, they’re below.
Sandrone has always been a very well respected producer in the Piedmont, but in the last 5-10 years they have quite simply moved to the next level. The oak has been dialed back and the transparency and precision dialed up – few Barolos thread the needle so finely, satiny, seductive, curvaceous… yet also finessed, energetic.”
In a major feature on the 2009 New Zealand Pinot Noir vintage, Bob Campbell MW of Decanter magazine gives the ’09 Dog Point Pinot Noir 5 out of 5 stars, proclaiming it one of the very best pinots to come out of Marlborough.
2009 was an exceptional vintage for Pinot Noir all across New Zealand. As Campbell puts it, “winemakers in each of the country’s five main pinot regions are incontinent with joy about their 2009s. Some even claim to have made their best Pinot Noir ever.” The write-up on Dog Point reads as follows:
“It seemed inevitable that a partnership between Cloudy Bay’s ex-winemaker and viticulturist would make cracking wine. This is one of Dog Point’s best Pinot Noirs yet. It’s a seriously good wine with excellent cellaring potential.”
Read the full article here (subscription required).
In his ranking of the top 20 Northern Rhône whites of the moment, renowned Rhône critic John Livingstone-Learmonth listed Guigal’s 2009 Lieu Dit St-Joseph at the very top, giving it five stars and 18.5 points out of 20.
“Almost 100% Marsanne, this has a big, classy bouquet. Quality richness. Complex and vital. A mini-Hermitage.”
The full article on Northern Rhône whites appears in Decanter’s July edition, now on newsstands. Here is another quote:
“The wine trade reports that white Rhônes are hard to sell – I am in my 39th year of writing about the Rhône, and the story has always been the same. But for dedicated growers, the whites present something of a holy grail. The more cerebral the grower, the mroe he or she wants to prove that good, balanced white wine can emanate from the Valley.”
Michael Hill Smith MW, who started the Shaw+Smith Winery in Adelaide Hills along with his cousin, Martin Shaw, is among the 50 most important people in the wine world today, according to Decanter Magazine. Smith ranked 42nd on the Power list, with the following mention:
“A family buyout of Yalumba enabled Hill Smith to move to London and become the first Australian Master of Wine. The money he received from the buyout also funded the establishment of Shaw+Smith with his first cousin, Martin Shaw. Since then, the winery has become a reference for charactertful cool-climate Adelaide Hills wines, and Hill Smith a lauded ambassador for Australian wine in general. This Cordon Bleu-trained chef, wine judge, writer and restaurateur is a staunch advocate of Australia’s regionality agenda, set in context of promoting fine wine over big-box brands.”
Read the full article in Decanter’s July 2011 edition here (subscription required).
This video on Dog Point Vineyard really gives you a sense of the people behind this incredible winery, and their very special approach to viticulture and vinification – they are undoubtedly one of the most unique wineries in New Zealand, if not the most unique, and are producing simply unbelievable Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The Quarterly Review of Wines has just published a two-page feature on Dog Point in its Summer issue. Written by Rosemary George MW, the article describes the exciting new wine project started by ex Cloudy Bay chief winemaker and viticulturist, James Healy and Ivan Sutherland.
Here are a few excerpts from the article:
“When James and Ivan decided to work together, they laid down the ground rules, agreeing that they would do away with the high tech approach with which they had become familiar at Cloudy Bay. Their winery would be very “hands on.” Also they would hand-pick everything, which is pretty unusual for Marlborough. They are adamant that it enhances quality. Margaret Sutherland suggested the difference between a bruised windfall apple and the apple picked carefully from the tree, which has a much better flavor. And they elected to concentrate on the three varietals that suit Marlborough best – namely Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.”
“They make two qualities of Sauvignon. The simplest has a gentle pressing, with no lees contact, and entails a small percentage fermented with natural yeast. Section 94, which was named when the valley was carved up by the early settlers, is barrel-fermented, using old barrels, and spends 18 months on the lees. James explaiend that the method is very different from that used for Te Koko at Cloudy Bay. The pressing is very gentle and the management of the oxidative conditions with no SO2 is quite tricky. The aim is to enhance the minerality of the wine.”
“Cloudy Bay was the nursery for two talented winemakers, who are now creating their own labels, from grapes provided by one of the country’s most skilled viticulturists and grape growers.”