Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Attn. Burgundy Wine Snobs...

Cyprus Pinot on the Deck overlooking Mt. Tam

 yeah, you are and you know it. I am too when I can afford the Burgundy producers I so love to collect and drink...but here's a real "drink now and enjoy" Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast AVA for only $35 a bottle. 

I've been singing the praises of the 2010 Cyprus Pinot Noir all Summer and Fall, but think this beautifully well balanced bottle (low-octane!) of Pinot is drinking truly spectacular right now. From our website...2010 Cyprus Pinot Noir

Aged in 85% neutral French oak, this Pinot reveals a nose of dark fruits with forest floor accents and a sublte earth spice. Hints of exotic spices come forward on the palate, which is silken and focused.  The Pinot hails from the Sangiacomo Amaral Ranch vineyard on the southern Sonoma Coast (just above the San Pablo Bay) and Tobias Glen, located in the southwestern part of the Russian River Valley. 

Both sites experience the moderating effects of a cool, ocean-influenced microclimate to produce low yields of bright, fragrant fruit with excellent flavor concentration. The 2010 vintage was very cool, but the vines enjoyed a long growing season, yielding perfectly ripened fruit with bright acidity. 

Less than 400 cases produced.  I'm looking forward to opening this bottle tomorrow with family over Thanksgiving Dinner.  

Cheers & Happy Holidays, let the wine flow!  - Ali

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Red and Rosé Right Now!

A few wines in my glass lately that rock...and lovely suggestions for the Thanksgiving Day table.

2011 Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon Rosé, Loire France $17 
Noblaie's rosé is produced from younger Cabernet Franc vines, which are planted in the deeper soils at the base of the hillside vineyard. It has a clear and smooth pink color, deep, rich aromas of watermelon and cranberry and loads of lovely fresh red fruits on the palate. According to my better-drinking-other-half at KandL - The 2011 is fruity, clean and refreshing, but with powerful volume. Without even a touch of sweetness, the finish is bracing and refreshing.

2011 Fable Rosé of Charbono, Napa California, $20 - available for purchase only on   I've been sipping on this one for months now, and it just keeps changing and getting more interesting as the time passes. From the Brack website: Cranberry red hued, the nose is of watermelon, cherry blossom and a dash of cayenne. The palate is full of cucumber, ripe pomelo, red cherries and a touch of rhubarb. The structure of this wine is reminiscent of the wines of Tavel. The acidity if high, yet there is a phenolic backbone that speaks to an ageability and even more interesting flavors to come.

2010 Terra Laura Cheverny Rouge, Loire France $18
I always look forward to this producer, thinking this wine should be bottled in Magnums for the ultimate party bottle too!  Also from KandL - Terra Laura is a 50-acre estate in the appellation of Cheverny. The estate was purchased by Laura Semeria in 2007 with her husband Léonard, and they aim to produce wines with the best possible expression of their unique terroir and 15-80 year old vines. This bottling is comprised of 60% Gamay, 35% Pinot Noir, 5% Malbec. It was fermented and aged in stainless steel for 12 months.

Also another wine that's drinking FANTASTIC right now from Brack Mountain, from the website: Nose is fragrant with mix of wildflowers, tangerine peel and bergamot. The palate is equally exotic with asian spice, enhanced by earthy flavors of dried fruits and loam. The mouthfeel of this wine is extraordinarily rich and supple.

2010 Jelly Jar, Old Vine Zinfandel, Nova Vineyard, Lake County California $24
I only drink really good Zinfandel, and Jelly Jar makes the cut for me almost every vintage release. Don't expect a big crazy high-octane Zinfandel here, this Zin is dripping with fall fruit flavors, black pepper and spices. If you like dry Italian reds, you will enjoy this style of Zinfandel too. Small production and very limited in Texas especially, look for it at Spec's stores!

Sorry for the brief notes and post this time around, I've got Sandwich the Dog waiting impatiently for more playtime (as always). Happy Thanksgiving to All - Ali 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Keeping it Personal

I spent the last few days leading consumer tastings in Whole Foods Markets across the great Chicago area. Honestly,  this part of the job is so invigorating to me - talking with wine shoppers always leaves me energized.  Wine is such a personal deal (well maybe not the lady who picked up a sample each of Bench Cab and L'Oliveto Chardonnay - mixed them together and threw the new "blend" down her throat).  I bet I spoke to at least 200 folks, eye-to-eye over the weekend, asking each "what do you like to drink", "what are you looking for today"...almost every single answer had to do with a great memory or emotion that provoked them to buy again from a certain region and or varietal or winery...  
On Saturday, a man walked near me so I asked him if he'd like to try a sample of wine...he stopped and said "I'm 86 years old, 2 years ago my wife cut me off from alcohol", he paused a moment and sorta rolled his eyes, "but she's not here at the store with me today, and I do love a nice Chardonnay".  He tried a big sip of the L'Oliveto Chardonnay walked away with a smile the size of Texas on his sweet old face. 

I just love it.  Heard about weddings in Sonoma, told people about how I was proposed to over the Golden Gate Bridge this summer (oh those store lights make my ring BLING!), was told that a baby sitting in the stroller was conceived in Napa, heard about how some grandparents celebrated a 50th Wedding Anniversary and toasted over their favorite Russian River wine, a proud dad told me about his daughter working on a local farming thesis in Sebastopol while attending UC Berkley, many folks telling me about their first time to San Francisco trips...all such personal reasons as to why they stop to discover more about what I was pouring in the middle of Whole Foods.  

Keep wine personal and you pretty much can never go wrong, drinking what you like & being open to wines you aren't so familiar with is key & is what it's all about...oh and the new memories to come from sharing bottles just may be the very best part. Cheers, Ali