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A Spring Gem From Olabisi

Mar 29, 2012 10:37:02 AM

From what I consider to be one of the great values in California Chardonnay from a fairly small producer, the 2008 Olabisi Ceja Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay is once again very impressive!  I enjoyed the wine a few days ago along with my wife, with a light shrimp pasta and a fresh caesar salad.  The Chardonnay was the perfect compliment to a flavorful meal and a great day with the sun shining bright.  Serving the wine slightly chilled, it appearded in the glass as a beautiful golden-straw color and aromatics that left my mouth watering! Beautiful notes of white roses, key lime, and zesty lemon soon took over my senses.  On the palate the wine expressed great balance with a silky refined structure and depth that seemed endless.  The toasty Chardonnnay was extremely well layered and rich with a finish that lasted well into our evening.  Over the years I have enjoyed many great Chardonnays from all over the world, however, Olabisi has been a standout in my mind and has set the standard for California Chardonnay under $40.  Pick up a bottle for yourself and try it today, not only in the Spring, but all year-round! With a limited time offer from The Wine Stop, please redeem a special coupon code for Olabisi 2008 Ceja Carneros Chardonnay and save big!

Coupon Code: Ceja08       

0 Comments | Posted in Wines What We're Drinking Staff Picks By Harry Johal

Top Ten Picks For February 2012

Feb 4, 2012 2:09:32 PM

Every month is a battle among the staff to choose 10 of our best picks for the month. There are some real standouts for this month that are exceptional values. Philip Togni, formerly the wine maker at Chappellet who departed in 1981 to start Philip Togni Winery, has produced wines that have been some of our favorites and they over deliver every time. Switchback Merlot is a breathtaking wine that contains more of a cabernet profile rather than a merlot. When we talk about California chardonnay, very few producers can make a classic and well-rated chardonnay like the Varner brothers. One of the surprises in the line up is the Ch. Pesquie Quitessence with such vibrant fruit and depth, the wine will age beautifully. 

2008 Santa Ema Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Maipo Valley ($9.99)

90 Points Robert Parker: "Fragrant aromas of /Asian spices, incense, pencil lead, blackcurrant; some complexity, lengthy."

Color is deep violet-ruby-red. Aromas are elegant, sophisticated, and complex, with fruity notes that blend cherries, prunes, tobacco, and roasted coffee. On the palate Well-rounded and very well structured, with ripe tannins and plenty of texture. Long finish.

2010 Evodia Garnacha Calatayud ($8.99)

90 Points Robert Parker: "Altovinum’s 2010 Evodia is 100% Garnacha sourced from the highest elevation vineyards of Garnacha of any DO in Spain. It offers up a slightly exotic nose of earthy minerality, mocha, black cherry, and black raspberry. Savory, concentrated, and with a forward personality, this great value will deliver pleasure over the next 3-4 years."

2010 Les Vignerons d'Estezargues Domain de Fees ($12.99)

90 Points Robert Parker: "The newest cuvee is from a single estate, located just to the west of Lirac, called Domaine des Fees. Bottled separately, there are 1,000 cases for the US market and this blend of equal parts Grenache and Syrah, aged completely in concrete tanks, is stunning. Gorgeous notes of roasted meats, Provencal herbs, sweet black cherry liqueur, and licorice as well as spice jump from the glass of this dense, ruby/purple-tinged wine. Fresh, full-bodied and juicy, with a velvety texture, it is a beauty that would be best drunk over the next 3-4 years. Think of it as a Chateauneuf du Pape wearing a Cotes du Rhone mask."

2009 Château Pesquié Quintessence Côtes du Ventoux ($21.99)

93 Points Robert Parker: "The 2010 Terrasses actually eclipses their top cuvee, the 2009 Quintessence, which has just been released. This is a serious wine on its own, and certainly capable of lasting a decade or more, but the vintage quality of 2010 has produced remarkable fruit, with the best concentration and purity of fruit that I have seen in the southern Rhone since 2007, which remains the single greatest vintage I have ever tasted from that region. This blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache, aged in barrels for 12 months (40% new and 60% two years old) and bottled unfined and unfiltered, has a dense purple color and deep licorice, graphite, black currant and black cherry notes with hints of earth and spice as well as some pepper and meat juice in a dense, medium to full-bodied, slightly more tannic style than the 2010 Terrasses. To reiterate, it should last for at least a decade."

2007 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($28.99)

95 Points Wine Enthusiast: "MacRostie’s Pinots from this vineyard on the edge of the Sonoma side of Carneros always are big, ripe, powerful and ageable. This ’07 shows the fat, ripe character of the vintage, offering luscious raspberry, cherry, cola, red currant liqueur, bacon, anise, spice and sandalwood flavors. But it’s balanced enough to change in interesting ways over the next 5–7 years. Really a glamorous wine for your best meals. Editors’ Choice."

2009 Walter Hansel Cuvee Alyce Russian River Chardonnay ($38.99)

95+ Points Robert Parker: "A selection of the finest barrels, the 2009 Chardonnay Cuvee Alyce (named for Stephen Hansel’s mother) is fashioned from both the old Wente clone and the newer Dijon Clone 95. This Chardonnay possesses all the same characteristics as are found in The North Slope, but more structure, restraint and possibly more aging potential. This intense 2009 reveals that overwhelming elegance that is a hallmark of this vintage. The most backward of these estate Chardonnays, it should last for a decade."

2009 Varner Home Block Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay ($42.99)

95 Points Robert Parker: "The 2009 Chardonnay Home Block is fabulous. It is rather inward and reticent, but the wine’s personality is impossible to miss. Ash, minerals, earthiness are some of the notes that add complexity to the intense fruit. This is another sweeping, totally elegant wine from Varner. I find the Home Block a little less mineral than the Amphitheater. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2019."

2009 Philip Togni Tanbark Hill Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($38.95)

93 Points Robert Parker: "The 2009 Tanbark Hill is a rich, voluptuous wine graced with layers of expressive fruit, smoke and tobacco. It shows quite a bit of depth for this bottling. Licorice, crushed flowers, spices and mint wrap around the plush, inviting finish. This is all elegance and class. In 2009 one-third of the production was bottled as Tanbark Hill. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019." -Antonio Galloni

2009 Switchback Ridge Peterson Family Vineyard Napa Valley Merlot ($54.99)

A Wine Stop Favorite!!! This wine is brought to you by the talents of Robert Foley (Paloma, Pride Mountain, Hourglass, etc.)! Delicious raspberry and blackberry fruit. Sweet, rich mid-palate, with ripe fruit and espresso, leads to even, mouth-coating tannin. Densely packed and good grip in the finish. Very Cabernet-like.

2009 Achával Ferrer Finca Bella Vista Malbec Mendoza ($89.99)

98 Points Robert Parker: "The 2009 Finca Bella Vista was sourced from a vineyard planted in 1910 giving a miserly yield of 0.75 tons per acre. It displays slightly blacker fruit, a bit more depth and opulence, and a finish that seems endless. Give it 5-6 years of cellaring and enjoy it from 2016 to 2029+."

0 Comments | Posted in Wines Great Value Wines Staff Picks By Harry Johal

Visiting Chappellet Winery

Jul 14, 2011 4:40:03 PM

Chappellett Vineyards

Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyards at Chappellet

Some of our favorite wines for the last 5 years have been coming from Chappellet high up on Prichard Hill and next to one of the original cult producers in Napa Valley Bryant Family Vineyards. Perched up at 1,200 feet above the Napa Valley floor Don and Mary Chappellet have been creating world class wines since 1967 from their Pritchard Hill Estate. For the last two decades Phillip Titus has been making world class wines at Chappellet that have been constructed in a way to age gracefully.

During our visit to Chappellet this past fall we had a chance to walk through the vineyards and really observe the terroir and vines. The vines we walked through had clusters of Cabernet Sauvignon and were going to be picked any day. The 2010 growing season was a late harvest, Napa Valley was faced with showers in early October and then a heat wave rolled in towards the third week of the month. Looks like it will be a tough harvest to deal with espically following the 2009 which was superb year for Napa Valley but we are sure Phillip can handle just about anything.

Once we hit the tasting room we were eager to dive right in and try the wines. We started off with the 2009 Chardonnay whichChappellet Wines Tasted showed bright notes of orange zest and pear, a rich full body chardonnay that was very balanced. From their we moved into the 2008 Mountain Cuvee which always has been a great bang for the buck. ( The 2007 Mountain Cuvee had over 50% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, also had 92 Points Wine Spectator) The 2008 Cuvee had some big shoes to fill following the 2007 but it held its ground. The blend was 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc. Notes of blackberry, sweet vanilla flew from the glass, on the palate the wine had great structure and complexity with a finish that lingered for a good 30 seconds. (Over Delivered Like Always) The next wine has been a Wine Stop favorite since the 1997 vintage it was the 2008 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon the color was dark magenta, the nose was loaded with dark cherry notes, toasted oak and hints of mocha. Wine was complex yet forward and ripe with firm tannins this wine would be a great wine to put away in the cellar and forget about for about five years. Like always the Signature Cabernet was a wine that we would put up with the likes of Caymus or Cakebread any given day. The last wine of the tasting is always a treat to try and that was the 2007 Prichard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. It was ripe in your face mountain Cabernet with black cherry, blackberry and cola with notes of cinnamon and spice.

Our afternoon at Chappellet was wonderful and enjoyed our time trying the best wines of Chappellet. The two standout wines were the 2008 Mountain Cuvee and the 2008 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon.

Shop Chappellet Wines 

0 Comments | Posted in Wines Meet The Winemakers Industry News By Harry Johal

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