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Greetings from the Wine Cellar:

Updates from the world of wine: I saw some depressing news last week. The headline read: “French winemakers face devastation after experiencing the worst weather in 30 years.” The article went on to report that an unusually severe frost in early April caused extensive damage to vineyards all across the country, with estimates of potential losses of as much as 50% of the normal grape harvest. All the major wine regions in France, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Rhone Valley, Loire Valley and Provence were affected. Weather variation has always been a big factor in the quality of vintages in Europe compared to here in the U.S. But remember what happened on the West Coast just last year: horrific wildfires raged all through wine country for weeks, and it’s now generally accepted that the 2020 vintage in many areas including Napa Valley and parts of Sonoma is essentially lost. The reason? “Smoke-taint.” Most vineyards weren’t destroyed by the fires, but many of them had their
almost-ready-to-harvest crop potentially ruined by thick smoke hanging over the vineyards for days on end, even after the fires were finally controlled. Wow. Now I’m getting really depressed. But I didn’t mean to just put out a real downer of a Newsletter this week. My point is simply this: Making wine can be a pretty tricky business, with a significant degree of financial risk borne by wineries in their efforts to make good wine and get it to your dinner table. It’ll be another year or two before these events affect price and availability of wines in the marketplace, but they will have some real effect. So bear it in mind a little bit the next time you raise a glass and enjoy a nice wine, and have a little sympathy. The romance of being a winery owner can sure have a dark side!


Round Pond 2019 Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley) $18.99

This zippy Sauvignon Blanc practically jumps out of the glass with its aromas of white lilies, spring rain, lychee fruit and grapefruit pith, all continuing to develop as the wine opens with air. In the mouth, a superbly juicy, fruit-laden richness is framed by mouthwatering acidity.

Mon Frère 2019 California Pinot Noir $15.99

Mon Frère Pinot Noir is sourced from vineyards in the Sonoma Coast, Santa Rita Hills and Santa Lucia Highlands appellations. A vibrant purple-garnet in the glass, it has enticing aromas of cherries and plums on the nose, plus a hint of violets and subtle spice notes. The well-balanced palate offers rich fruit, with fresh acidity and a plush texture.

Hope Estate 2017 Basalt Block Shiraz (Hunter Valley, Australia) $14.99

The Basalt Block opens with notes of pepper and spice, with undertones of blackberry and oak. A juicy palate offers ripe berry fruit, spicy plum and an underlying earthy, savory quality. Balanced acidity with well integrated oak and silky tannins provide the wine fine texture and good length.

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 barrels. It has a vivid dark fruit character supported by a firm tannic frame. Dense black fruit flavors are well supported with intense acidity that keeps the wine bright and crisp through the finish.

J. Lohr 2018 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles) $29.99

J Lohr’s ‘Hilltop’ Cabernet is always among Paso’s finest. Varietal fruit aromas of ripe black plums and violets are enhanced by a French oak barrel character of vanilla and dark chocolate. A dense, supple and approachable palate is followed by an intensely rich and fruit-filled finish.


Pertinace 2018 Langhe Nebbiolo (Piedmont, Italy) $24.99

The 2018 Pertinace Nebbiolo has a rich and alluring bouquet of raspberries and strawberries. The palate displays the classic varietal character of dark cherries accented with complex elements of dried herbs, earthy notes and cedar carried on an elegant smooth and silky tannic frame.

Schlumberger 2018 Pinot Blanc Les Abesses (Alsace, France) $17.99

Bright, fresh aromas of kiwi fruit, lemon zest and pear, accented by a background hint of green apples mix on the nose of this Alsatian Pinot Blanc. Ripe tropical fruit and nectarine highlight the vibrant flavors. The lithe palate combines superb balance with a crisp finish.

Castello del Poggio Smooth Red (Piedmont, Italy) $12.99

Perfectly ripe grapes highlight the soft fruit expression of this delightfully smooth and pleasantly light, semi-sweet red, overflowing with aromas and flavors of rose petals, red cherries and ripe, delicious wild berry fruit.


Mike Shelhamer
Old Town Wine Cellar
265 S. Main Street, Suite E
Yuma, Arizona 85364

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