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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.
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.
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.
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 Penfolds "Bin 138" Old Vine Grenache-Shiraz-Mataro Barossa Valley
Review Date: 4-22-2014
The Bin 138 is a blend of 66% Shiraz, 23% Grenache and 11% Mataro (Mourvedre)that belongs in the hands of anyone whois a fan of these classic Aussie blends or wines from the Southern Rhone Valley. The nose is lifted with blueberry, black raspberry,pepper, leather, roasted grains, damp earth, bittersweet chocolate and a light pencil lead/graphite note. On the palate the wine is polished and refined with fine grained tanninns, good structure and a long persistent finish. A few years in the cellar will only reward or decant for an hour or two in the near term.
2011 Te Mata "Awatea" Bordeaux Blend Hawkes Bay
Review Date: 4-10-2014
Here's the "little brother" to the Coleraine and one that you can enjoy on the earlier side. Showing a similar core of fruit with plum, cherry and minerals, it is more medium bodied with a hint of savoury herbs as well. There is still fine grained tannins, but with a softer edge to the structure.
2010 Wiston Estate "South Downs Cuvée" Brut West Sussex England
Review Date: 2-21-2014
The Wiston "South Downs Cuvee" compared to the Gusbourne shows a more linear chiseled feel with a bouquet that offers mineral, Fuji/green apple, light toast and lemony yeasty notes. On the palate, the wine is fresh, bright and crisp with fine acidity supporting the long, persistent, zesty finish. This would reward some cellar time as well. If Jim Barr can give a wine wags of his dogs tail for a rating, I'm giving this Five Queen's wave of the hand!
2008 Gusbourne Estate Brut Reserve, Kent, England
Review Date: 2-19-2014
The Gusbourne has a detailed fine bead and a nose that shows a nutty almond and yeasty note along with hints of honey, poached pear, brioche and dried tangerine peel. On the palate there is a lovely texture and richness from spending 3 1/2 years on the lees, that all comes together with excellent balance and length.
2011 Fromm "La Strada" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 11-13-2013
The 2010 “La Strada” Pinot Noir which scored 94-95 points from James Suckling, was a runaway success earlier this year with nearly 3,000 bottles sold. The 2011 though not yet rated, is a more than worthy follow up from this certified organic winery that is one of the top producers in Marlborough if not all New Zealand. The wine has a bouquet that is bright and lifted with raspberry, cherry, white pepper, clove, dried tangerine peel, and a subtle use of integrated oak. On the palate, ripe plum notes are added to the great purity of fruit which is supported by good acidity and a fine grained tannin structure that leads to a long persistent finish. While very drinkable now, you can put some away and be quite happy that you did for a modest price.
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