I have always been a big fan of the Scaia wines, enjoying them over the past several vintages. This is a new entry that we picked up recently. Unlike the lighter, fresher Scaia Corvina, this wine is a bit richer and displays a little more depth. Made from grapes of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Cabernet Sauvignon it’s a ruby red color with purple hues and ripe, red fruit aromas with spicy notes of black pepper, licorice, cocoa and tobacco. On the palate, it is soft and warm with a velvety texture and spicy cherry and berry fruit flavors.
I first tried Vickers Chardonnay in 2003 and I remember being surprised by its round, full-bodied texture, gentle touches of oak and suggestions of fruit & cream in the finish. I told my friends and family about it and we have all been including it in our wine cellars ever since. Since then, Vickers Chardonnay has risen above virtually every other Chardonnay made in this state. It is my honor to represent his 2014 Chardonnay as this month’s staff pick. I have been informed that Mr. Vickers ferments his Chardonnay grapes almost exclusively in containers made by the prestigious French barrel producer, Francois Freres. New French oak and very strict attention to detail in the crafting of this wine has resulted in a bright, fresh, fruit-forward creation reminiscent of white Burgundy. Aromas of lychee, peach, and honey-dew melon and a smooth, not overly complex finish that is perfectly appropriate for any time of year. Get some Vickers Chardonnay, pour yourself a generous glass & toast Mr. Vickers for his diligence and care–it is evident!
Occasionally the B-side of a popular record becomes equally or even more endearing than the A-side song. A while back, I reviewed the Bourgogne Rouge of this producer as my monthly wine pick. Now the new vintage (2014) of his Bourgogne Blanc has arrived and it certainly deserves equal air time. We’ve said it many times in the store (and possibly already in these pages): 2014 is a GREAT vintage for white Burgundy, and Dureuil’s wines definitely live up to that billing. In fact, Allen Meadows in his Burghound reviews of the vintage, said “Dureuil continues to fashion some of the very best wines in the Cote Châlonnaise and once again I was seriously impressed by the quality he has achieved.” This Bourgogne Blanc exhibits lovely balance and texture with orchard fruits, citrus and floral notes. There is an almost pungent sense of energy that reminds of its youth, reveals its depth, and hints at its long future evolution. The finish is both powerful and refined and resonates long after the last swallow. This is a serious “Best Buy” and highly recommended!
This red blend (60 percent Syrah, 30 percent Grenache, 10 percent Mourvèdre) hails from the Languedoc in southern France. The name garrigue is a reference to the low growing bush plants typical of the region that are peppered with wild herbs including rosemary and thyme. When used as a wine descriptor, it’s channeling the aromas you get walking through the brush, crushing those herbs. This wine offers red fruit aromas backed by that garrigue. The ripe cherry and berry fruit flavors are balanced by crisp, food friendly acidity, while an intriguing bit of meat and smoke come through on the smooth finish. An exceptional value.
Although the wine is from Argentina, the name Tikal refers to the Mayan ruins of Guatemala. A blend of 60 percent Malbec and 40 percent Syrah, from certified biodynamic vineyards located over 3000 feet above sea level, Tikal is also the name of winemaker Ernesto Catena’s son. The label features a dancing couple, and this wine actually inspired me to dance in my kitchen! It is a playful, fruity, fun and magical red wine, produced with organic grapes.
While I usually write about old world wines, I am going back to my homeland with my pick this month. While the regular Martini California Cabernet is a consistent best buy, this Alexander Valley Cab offers more weight, power and substance than the basic model. Nice red fruit aromatics are right up front in the glass with just a touch of oak in the background. I found the rich fruit in the mid palate to be very pure with blackberry cassis and some meaty, earthy, qualities as well. The soft tannins in the finish offer a nice balance. This was a perfect steak wine and a value considering the quality for the $$$. While most of my friends know I love Pinot Noir, my wife is a lover of Cabernet and she asked me to put a case of this in the cellar. Will do.
Every now and then I have to have a Chablis. When (not if, mind you, but when) I win the lottery, Chablis will be my everyday white. Not one that's easy enough to drink every day, but a wine that I must have every day. This one from the Boudin family, who own some of the oldest vines in the appellation of Chablis, is noticeably a bit richer than typical Chablis. But just a bit. Complex, but still Chablis clean, it teases with green apple, lime and citrus as well as warm, ripe stone fruits, almost moving into tropical aromas. Enjoy as an apéritif or as an accompaniment to seafood. It’s drinking well now but could cellar for a few years (like that would ever happen). Every now and then I need to be reminded what to look forward to!
The first thing that I would recommend when experiencing white Burgundy is to let go of any preconceptions you have regarding Chardonnay. Whether it is a well-oaked choice from California or a crisp, full-bodied, varietal from the Pacific Northwest—French Chablis is absolutely its own, uniquely special form of Chardonnay, and the Savary’s addition to the white Burgundy legacy represents some of the finest qualities of this highly regarded wine. Francine & Olivier Savary’s vineyard is in Maligny, a village just north of the town of Chablis. The Savary’s vines grow in a clay-limestone soil generously strewn with fossilized oyster shells. The result is a fine, true Chablis replete with glittering minerality and a soft, gentle mouth that seductively betrays Chablis’s reputation for austerity. The 2014 vintage is considered to be one of the better years for this wine and when I first tried it, I immediately contacted my family and friends and informed them that I was in love! I have not been this enthusiastic about a wine for many years now, and my enthusiasm for Savary Chablis has not dwindled in the least. Sadly, we sold through our allocation of 2014, but our supplier and many other wine appreciators have said that the 2015 version is even gentler, with a soft, round, voluptuous body. Both Olivier and his wife Francine’s families have Chablis winemaking in their veins and ancestral lineage. This Chablis is a tribute to the Savary’s and all of Olivier’s years of study at the Dijon wine school. Today, Francine and Olivier are joined by their sons, Maxime and Mathieu, whose ambition and young energy ensure a bright future for this domaine, and countless future love affairs between wine enthusiasts and this luminous and alluring version of a French classic.