Greetings from the Wine Cellar:
As we move deeper into October, I’m happy to report that the wine grape harvest in California is mostly complete and generally considered to be highly successful, a welcome change from last year’s disastrous harvest season, particularly in Napa Valley. Last year’s wild fires in California wreaked havoc on the harvest in a lot of areas; many vineyards that escaped the fires had their grapes basically ruined by “smoke taint” which made them useless for making wine. This year, a very dry and rather hot year in California’s wine country has apparently resulted in a significantly lower than usual grape harvest, especially in Napa, but from all reports the quality of the vintage should be really high.
In Oregon and Washington, the harvest reports I’ve seen show a similar situation, particularly in eastern Washington where a hot summer has caused lower than normal yields but the grape quality is considered to be very good. All in all, it’s welcome news after the terrible events of last year for so many of our West Coast wineries. I’ll drink to that!
FEATURED WINES THIS WEEK
Conundrum 2019 California White Blend $15.99
Conundrum offers a floral bouquet that bursts forth with notes of honeysuckle and butterscotch. Tropical fruit flavors of mango, pineapple and kiwi fruit mingle on the front-palate. Then, fresh peach and pear flavors begin to dominate as this luscious wine comes to a wonderfully long and deliciously rich finish.
Quinta de la Rosa 2016 Douro Tinto (Douro Valley, Portugal) $17.99
This Douro red is a blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca and 30% Tinta Roriz, aged for one year in a mix of new and used French oak. It has a vivid dark fruit character, well supported by a firm tannic frame. Solid black fruit flavors are laced with intense acidity that keeps the wine bright and crisp through the finish.
Cuarto Dominio 2018 Chento Malbec (Uco Valley, Argentina) $19.99
The Chento Vineyard Selection Malbec is a profound dark violet color with ruby highlights. On the nose, black fruits, spice and violet aromas are edged with mineral notes. The palate is nicely concentrated, with ripe black plum and dark chocolate flavors.
Ferrari Carano 2018 Estate Merlot (Sonoma County) $22.99
This beautifully balanced, medium-bodied Merlot is made from select lots of grapes sourced from estate vineyards in Sonoma. The cooler climate, valley floor vineyards create fruit-laden wines for the blend, and grapes from mountainside vineyards provide intensity and structure.
Secoli 2017 Amarone (Veneto, Italy) $34.99
The Secoli Amarone offers a deep, lavishly dimensioned bouquet that teems with hints of leather, violets, dried cranberries, cloves and black tea. It’s dense and concentrated in the mouth yet not heavy, with a gracefully agile, ripe black fruit quality supported by dusty tannins.
NEW WINE & BEER ARRIVALS
Quilt 2018 Fabric of the Land Red (Napa Valley) $32.99
This red is a blend of Petite Sirah, Merlot, Zinfandel and Petit Verdot grapes from a spectrum of premier Napa vineyards. On the nose, aromas of blackberries, spices, dark chocolate and vanilla mingle. The rich palate offers vibrant flavors of ripe black cherries, chocolate and rosemary, with a velvety mouthfeel and soft smooth tannins.
Martin Ray 2019 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) $17.99
This was sourced from premium growing sites in the rugged Sonoma Coast region. Alluring layers of Meyer lemon curd, ripe Bosc pear, citrus blossom and a touch of honey highlight a palate that’s fresh and juicy, with vibrant acidity, well integrated oak character and a hint of vanilla bean.
Klosterbrauerei Ettal Dunkel (Bavaria, Germany) $5.99
The Klosterbrauerei Ettal Dunkel teases the palate with a delicate tanginess carried by a round, soft body. A light caramel sweetness harmonizes beautifully with fine undertones of hoppy bitterness. A classic Bavarian dunkel, this concludes on a soft and refreshing note.
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