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Staff Favorites - Jim Chanteloup
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2012 Pisa Range Estate "Black Poplar Block" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 8-25-2014
This is another top flight Pinot from Central Otago, and a new one in our portfolio as well. In fact, I was drinking this wine in downtown Napa five hours before the quake hit. So, it could have been the last wine I was to have drank in my glorious and wine-filled life. And that would have been just fine and without any regrets! The nose shows purity of fruit with dark plum and black cherry abundantly displayed with notes of earth and dried orange peel. On the palate, the wine is juicy, with good drive, structure and fine, supple tannins that lead to a long finish. Truly a lovely bottle of Pinot Noir.
2010 Mount Langi Ghiran "Billi Billi" Shiraz Grampians Victoria
Review Date: 8-12-2014
The Billi Billi is a screaming deal for $10! The bouquet is packed with dark plum, blackberry, blueberry, violets and a hint of chocolate. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied with good balancing acidity keeping it bright, fresh and juicy. The perfect house red to keep on hand. Buy a case!
2013 Shoofly Wines Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria
Review Date: 8-12-2014
In Australia there are just three major regions that are known for producing Pinot Noir: the Mornington Peninsula, Tasmania and Yarra Valley. So, $10 for Yarra Valley Pinot is pretty crazy. The nose is bright and lifted, with raspberry, cherry, earth, dried tangerine peel, spice and a hint of minerals. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied with supple, silky tannins and good length. This is a super value for a daily drinking Pinot Noir. If you're a fan of California's Rickshaw or Angeline, you've got to give this a try.
Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-7-2014
The Bruno Michel wines always deliver, but the "Blanche" with 6 years on the lees will surely please. The bouquet shows toasty baked apple with hints of nutmeg spice and ginger. On the palate the wine has a rich and creamy mid-palate with refreshing acidity and a persistent, long finish. Great bubbles, with that kind of lees age, for $35? Yeah, buddy!
2012 John Duval "Entity" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 7-28-2014
With a very fine 2012 vintage in the Barossa, you'd expect nothing less than a superb wine from an iconic winemaker like John Duval. Well, he did not disappoint! The nose shows blue and blackberry fruits with dark plum, peppery spice, meats, damp earth and a hint of mocha. On the palate the wine offers seamless balance with supple, ripe refined tannins that are supported by juicy acidity with exceptional drive and length. Bravo John!
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 7-16-2014
The wines from Te Whare Ra have been turning heads since we've brought them into our New Zealand category, and the 2013s may be the best to date. The Pinot shows lovely dark plum, strawberry, cherry, light toasty oak, earth/clay notes, a hint of rose petal, tea bag and spice. On the palate, the wine has soft supple tannins that are balanced and harmonious with a long, persistent finish.
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 7-16-2014
The TWR savvy is bright with aromas of white grapefruit, passion fruit, gooseberry and a hint of tarragon. On the palate there is good texture and vibrant acidity that lead to a snappy, zesty finish with fine length. As good as it gets in a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
2004 Pirramimma Petit Verdot McLaren Vale South Australia
Review Date: 7-14-2014
Oddly enough, Petit Verdot has always been the "sleeper" varietal for this property. There is a fine bouquet with cedar, pencil lead, dark plum, red currant, pomegranate, some high-toned floral notes, tobacco leaf and a hint of dark chocolate. On the palate there is moderate acidity with fine-grained tannins and very good length. Very cool wine, and a steal at $15.
2012 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 7-7-2014
Beringer, which is located in Napa Valley, has been producing this wine from Sonoma County's Knights Valley appellation for some time now, and it has always remained a consistent value in California Cabernet. The vineyard lies at a higher elevation than Alexander Valley in Sonoma County, and manages to combine the suppleness of that AVA with the fine tannin structure of Knights Valley. The bouquet offers black cherry, dark plum, cassis, earth and a hint of bittersweet chocolate. On the palate, there is the previously mentioned supple tannins blended with a fine dusting of cocoa powder, bringing the finer-grained, firmer tannin structure. It's all framed by lightly toasted oak that is well-integrated, with good length.
2010 Henry's Drive "Pillar Box Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon Padthaway
Review Date: 6-17-2014
The Pillar Box Red was a standout value from the beginning, which was about 10 years ago. They now do reserve bottlings of Shiraz and Cabernet as well. I ran into Kim Longbottom, the owner of Henry's Drive where this wine is part of that portfolio last year in Australia, and could taste a shift in style coming on. There is more freshness and balance and less extraction and wood to be found. In doing this, I think they have also found a greater expression of their location in Padthaway on the Limestone Coast. The bouquet shows notes of dark plum, red currant, brambly boysenberry, iron, spice and a hint of tobacco leaf. On the palate there are fine supple tannins with a dusting of cocoa powder on the back end, with a elegant and balanced finish with good length. A fine Cabernet value.
2011 Esk Valley Chardonnay Hawkes Bay
Review Date: 6-16-2014
This is a great deal in a Chardonnay that manages to walk the line of opulence coupled with focus. The 2011 Esk Valley Chardonnay offers aromas of light toast, honey, spiced baked apple with a hint of tropical pineapple fruit. On the palate the wine is rich with a creamy texture that is supported by moderate plus acidity to keep it juicy with good persistence.
2012 Quartz Reef Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 6-11-2014
Austrian-born winemaker Rudi Bauer is something of a pioneer in Central Otago, with almost 30 years under his belt making wonderful Pinot Noir and superb sparkling wine in this region. I have to say, the 2012 is one of his best in recent memory and a deal at $30. The bouquet is bright and lifted, offering notes of raspberry, cranberry,cherry, Asian spice, earth, dried tangerine peel and a hint of toffee. On the palate there is terrific balance and focus with a beautiful dance between power and elegance supported by lively acidity. The finish is long, complex and layered that fans out like a peacock's tail.
2013 Grey's Peak (Greystone) Sauvignon Blanc Waipara Valley
Review Date: 5-21-2014
The Grey's Peak Savvy from Waipara shows a different side to this country's famous wines from Marlborough. The nose shows more citrus and a floral powdery note. On the palate the wine is richer and more round yet still has great supporting acidity and texture with a long, refreshing finish. You'll want to spend some time this summer with this baby!
2012 Grey's Peak (Greystone) Pinot Noir Waipara
Review Date: 5-21-2014
Along with the superb Te Whare Ra wines we're direct importing comes another winning addition. The Grey's Peak (Greystone in New Zealand) Pinot Noir from Waipara has a bouquet that offers dark cherry, plum, earth, clove, dried orange peel, mineral notes and a hint of graham cracker crust. On the palate, there are fine tannins with good tangy acidity that lead to a persistent finish with drive and energy.
2012 Penfolds "Bin 8" Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz South Australia
Review Date: 4-22-2014
Besides the great classic blends of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre in Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz is the other as you just don't see alot of Merlot in Oz. One of the great wines that I have lucky to taste was the 1976 Bin 389 Cab-Shiraz about 6 years ago and it was amazingly complex and very much alive. This new Bin 8 in the Penfolds portfolio is an excellent entre to the style of Bin 389 at half the price. The nose shows notes of plum, mullberry, black currant, cedar and a nuanced oak toast. On the palate there are fine tannins with a juicy mouthfeel and very nice length. This is pretty serious wine for the money from one of Australia's greatest producers.
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