Wine 101: Wine Fundamentals
September 27, 2017
Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Marlborough, New Zealand 13% abv. $17.99 750 ml
Peter and Joe Babich have more than 100 years combined experience in the wine industry and it is this experience plus the passion of the winemaking team that puts Babich into a class of its own. This Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is a classic in a country that has redefined the characteristics of good Sauvignon Blanc. It is consistently produced in a riper, softer style than many other N.Z. Sauvignon Blancs. It is clean, fresh and tropical, with fruit from several vineyards situated throughout Marlborough. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Winemaker`s Notes: Nose: Tropical fruits and lime with a touch of gun smoke. Palate: The palate is a basket of sun-ripened stone fruits and passionfruit, blackcurrant with just a touch of grapefruit. Gentle power with a dry lingering finish.
La Crema Chardonnay 2013 Monterey, California 13.5% abv. $25.99 750 ml La Crema was founded in 1979, and over the years has expanded its collection of vineyards to include some of the most esteemed sites in not just the the Russian River Valley but also Sonoma Coast, Green Valley, Fort Ross- Seaview, Mendocino, Carneros and Monterey. La Crema’s vineyards are all harvested by hand. The winemaking techniques are primarily traditional to ensure that the wines are true to both the variety and the terroir. The Chardonnays are whole-cluster pressed and fermented and aged in French oak on the lees with bi-monthly battonage to add texture and complexity. Winemaker’s Notes: This wine opens with bright citrus aromas and notes of apricot and honeydew melon. Taking center stage are flavors of yellow plum, tropical fruit and crisp apple, followed by rich tones of baking spice and caramel. A broad mouthfeel beautifully balances out the juicy acidity of this wine.
Vineland Estate Winery Semi-Dry Riesling 2014 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario 9% abv. $18.49 750 ml
For over thirty years, Vineland Estates Winery has elevated the wine and culinary experience in Niagara. Here, the essence of the Niagara escarpment can be both seen (in the unforgettable landscape of undulating vineyards looking over Lake Ontario), and tasted, in the wines that are a reflection of this unique growing area. The location the estate’s two most significant vineyards (St. Urban and Bo-Teek) are in the designated viticultural area of the Niagara Escarpment (Twenty Mile Bench sub appellation) and is the essence of the identity of their wines. The centrepiece of the Escarpment plantings is the 42 acre St. Urban Vineyard that surrounds the winery buildings. This vineyard showcases the Weis 21 Riesling clone, brought to Canada by the winery’s founder, Hermann Weis, an experienced Mosel grape grower. The first plantings went in the soil in 1979 and were followed successively in 1980 and 1981. The result is a legacy of great Riesling. 100% Riesling. Winemaker’s Notes: White peach, orange blossom, honeycomb, floral bouquet. Bright, focussed acidity balances the subtle sweetness. Firm, balanced, and tall on a base of classic limestone minerality.
Casas Del Bosc Reserva Pinot Noir 2015 D.O. Casablanca Valley, Chile 14.5% abv. $21.99 750 ml
Casas del Bosque is located 70 km from Santiago, the capital of Chile, and 30 km from one of the principal ports of Chile, Valparaiso. It was established in 1993 by Juan Cuneo Solari, the son of an Italian immigrant, to be a family boutique winery exclusively oriented to the production of high quality wines. Casas del Bosque has its own vineyards in the Casablanca Valley, the preferred place for premium wine production. At a time when the Chilean wine industry was pursuing quantity over quality, Mr. Cuneo sought special features and distinctive qualities to promote premium wine production. The great forests of ancient pine and olive plants and the small, abandoned white adobe houses were key factors in determining the vineyard location and manor house, giving it the name Casas del Bosque, or “Houses of the Forest.” 100% Pinot Noir. Blend composition: 60% clone 115 and 22% clone 777, 8% clone Valdivieso. Tasting Notes (courtesy the folks at The Wine Reserve): Brick red in colour, on the nose this Pinot Noir exhibits lively notes of red cherry and plum. In the mouth, notes of cinnamon and red apple are accompanied by just a hint of cumin backed up by fresh acidity and soft tannins.
Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot 2014 Columbia Valley, Washington State 13.5% abv $20.99 750 ml
Nestled alongside the Columbia River in eastern Washington, Columbia Crest winery opened its doors in the heart of the acclaimed Horse Heaven Hills in 1983. Year after year, the winery maintains its commitment to quality, heritage and innovation in grape growing and winemaking to craft exceptional wines. Washington State and the Columbia Valley represent the perfect grape-growing climate, from the weather to the soil to the vineyard sites. These growing conditions, along with outstanding viticulture and winemaking practices, allow Columbia Crest to create high-quality wines that are true to their varietal character and represent the unique terroir of the region. Every aspect of the winemaking process is carefully controlled during the production of Grand Estates. These uncompromising winemaking practices – while time-consuming and costly – are the only way to guarantee that every bottle of Grand Estates represents the varietal expression of the region. It’s this devotion to quality that has cemented Grand Estates as one of the world’s best wine values. Predominantly Merlot (87%) with small amounts of other varieties, including Syrah and Cabernet. Winemaker’s Notes: This Merlot has a rich aromatic profile with notes of chocolate and dark cherries. The complex fruit flavors are followed by a smooth, velvety finish.
Kingstone Estate Shiraz 2015 Limestone Coast, Australia 14.0% abv. $17.99 750 ml
Nina and Steve Moularadellis are both Greek immigrants to Australia and met each other while picking grapes in the Riverland in 1961. They soon bought a plot of land on which to build a farming business and in 1965 they proudly picked the first grapes off their own vineyard. Their son Bill grew up amongst these vines, learning the family business before founding the winery 1985. The estate has grown to become one of Australia’s most significant wine exporters and grape growers, strongly focused on long term relationships with customers around the world and building a reputation for quality, reliability and continuous improvement. As one of Australia’s largest grape growers, they own an extensive portfolio of vineyards in a diverse range of regions across South Australia and Victoria, ranging from dry grown cool climate to inland irrigated. Winemaker`s Notes: Color: Brilliant crimson with purple hues. Bouquet: Rich ripe plum fruits complemented by spicy pepper notes. Palate: Superbly full bodied with layers of lush dark berry and plum fruit that meld elegantly with spice. Hints of smoky oak balance well soft tannins and a smooth finish.
Seven Falls Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington State 14.5% abv. $24.99 750 ml
Inspired by a series of seven waterfalls that once flowed through the region, Seven Falls Cellars is sourced exclusively from the rolling hills of the Wahluke Slope. An exemplary sub-appellation of the Columbia Valley, the Wahluke Slope (Native American for “watering hole”) is carving out a reputation for big, bold wines rich in flavor and body. As one of the recent American Vitriculture Areas (AVA) established in the state, it is a virtual Eden for wine grapes. Established in 2005, the Wahluke Slope is one of Washington's warmest and driest regions, and the only 100% south-facing AVA in Washington State: it receives less than six inches of rain annually. The lack of precipitation allows for complete control of irrigation and wine vigor. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker’s Notes: The Seven Falls Cabernet opens with darker notes of coffee and cocoa, then transcends into black fruits including cherry and plum, with hints of mint, herb and spice. Powerful and bold, it is full and vibrant, with an elegant finish filled with notes of nut and spice.
Wine 101: Wine Fundamentals Sources
Johnson, Hugh, and Robinson, Jancis, The World Atlas Of Wine: 7th Edition Completely Revised & Updated, Octopus Publishing Group, London, 2013
MacNeil, Karen, The Wine Bible, Workman Publishing, New York, 2001
Mariani, John, Despite So Many Options, La Crema Wines Keep Their Own Style, Huffington Post, Jun 04, 2017
Perdue, Andy, Seven Falls A New Project For Ste. Michelle’s Doug Gore, January 28, 2013, Great Northwestern Wine
Puckette, Madeline, and Hammack, Justin, Wine Folly: The Essential Guide To Wine, Avery: An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, New York, New York, 2015
Robinson, Jancis, editor, and Harding, Julia, assistant editor, The Oxford Companion To Wine, Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press, Revised 2015
Robinson, Jancis, Vines, Grapes, and Wines: The Wine Drinker’s Guide To Grape Varieties, Mitchell Beazley, Octopus Publishing Group, London, 2002
Stevenson, Tom, The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia: The Classic Reference To The Wines Of The World, 4th Edition Revised 2007, Dorling Kindersley, New York